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The Good and The Bad in the 2017 Florida Legislative Session

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The Good and The Bad in the 2017 Florida Legislative Session

On Monday May 8th, the Florida Legislature formally ended the 2017 legislative session. The session was scheduled to end on Friday May 5th, but because the House and the Senate could not agree on the final budget in time, the session was extended to the following Monday. The budget was approved by the House and Senate and now will be sent to the Governor for approval, veto or line item vetoes. Tallahassee insiders are predicting that Governor Scott may veto the entire budget which would mean a special session would be called to start the budget negotiations all over again. The state constitution requires the Legislature complete a budget by July 1st to begin the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The reason Governor Scott may veto the entire budget bill is because the legislature did not include several of Governor Scott’s priorities. Governor Scott requested $100 million for tourism marketing under Visit Florida and only got $25 million. Governor Scott requested $85 million for incentives to bring businesses to Florida and the legislature gave him zero.

The Good

The final budget came in at $82.4 billion, which is only an increase of $100 million over last year’s budget. This budget increase is the smallest since the great recession when the legislature had no choice but to reduce spending. The Legislature actually had to make significant spending cuts, when you factor inflation, increased enrollment in Medicaid recipients as well the increase in students attending public schools.

We consider this a huge victory, we have been fighting every year to reduce spending and after years of record spending and last year’s budget that was increased by $3 billion, the Legislature finally is listening. Also the Florida legislature passed the fewest number of bills in 20 years, we believe we have too many laws on the books and we need to repeal more laws.

This session was a success in scaling back corporate welfare. Incentive programs in Enterprise Florida were totally defunded and received zero money in the budget and Visit Florida only received $25 million. Visit Florida had come under scrutiny for questionable spending of our tax money, like the controversial $1 million deal with recording artist Pitbull or $2.8 million advertising deal with a racing car team.

Florida Forever, the state program for purchasing conservation land received no funding, keeping with our position that before any additional properties are purchased for conservation purposes, existing waterways, estuaries, rivers and other water bodies presently endangered must be restored.

HB 221 passed the Florida Legislature and is now waiting for the Governor to approve. HB 221 will prevent local governments from regulating “transportation network companies” such as Uber and Lyft and would adopt uniform, common sense guidelines that focus on safety and access to the new technology. This legislation allows people in Florida to continue benefiting from ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft and allow affordable, reliable rides.

The Bad

We supported many more bills this session than last year and unfortunately many bills did not pass. The House did pass several of the bills we supported and all but the Uber/Lyft bill died in the Senate. Our biggest disappointments were not passing the repeal of Red Light Cameras and not even getting a committee hearing on Campaign Finance Reform legislation. The Direct Care bill died in the Senate and was a victim of the traditional horse trading between the House and Senate. Every session House and Senate leadership hold legislation hostage as a negotiating tool to get one their priorities passed. This is an ugly side of the legislative process, the Direct Care bill would have served Floridians well in receiving affordable health care and should not been used for political gamesmanship.

SB 554/HB 679 would have allowed small craft breweries to self-distribute and not be mandated by law to use a distributor. HB 141/SB 166 dealt with craft distilleries and would have removed restrictions on how much distilleries can sell directly to customers. Unfortunately the big Distributor Companies used their political muscle to make sure SB 554/HB 679 failed and HB 141/SB 166 was watered down to increase the 2 bottle limit to 6 bottles.

Several good gun bills were filed in the Senate this year, mainly dealing with state mandated “gun free zones”. Senator Greg Steube filed multiple bills that eliminated many “gun free zones” such as airports and college campuses. Unfortunately all the bills were referred to Senator Greg Steube’s Senate Judiciary Committee which included Senator Anitere Flores and Senator Rene Garcia, both stated their opposition to the gun bills. Without their support, Senator Steube did not have the votes to get out of the Judiciary Committee. Their opposition effectively killed the gun bills for the session.

Summary

All things considered, the session was successful, despite many bills that we supported failed. The process to pass legislation in Tallahassee moves very slowly, and that probably is a good thing. The Founders set up a system of checks and balances to make sure bills are not rushed through the process on a Federal level and there is time to thoroughly vet each bill. We know in Washington DC, Obamacare was rushed through the process and has been a disaster. But, that also means good legislation will not pass any given session. The secret is to never give up, and keep coming back every session to pass good legislation. Because all of you made the phone calls and e-mails to legislators, our chances to pass good legislation next session are significantly increased.

Liberty First Network will continue to make the case and fight for the good legislation that failed this session. Our chance will start soon, Legislators will be filing bills starting in June for the 2018 Session and will begin voting on bills in committee as early as September.

We will be sending out reports on the specific legislation the Liberty First Network was tracking this session with our new Action Alerts E-Mail service. CLICK HERE to sign up.

Liberty First Network · 9851 State Road 54, New Port Richey, FL 34655, United States


Libertarian Party: Trump’s ‘revenue neutral’ tax proposal is taxpayer negative

Libertarian Party letterhead with torch eagle logo: slogan "Shrinking Big Government - Advancing Liberty"; address 1444 Duke St. Alexandria, VA 22314; 1-800-ELECT-US; www.LP.org

 

For immediate release
May 1, 2017

Libertarian Party: Trump’s ‘revenue neutral’ tax proposal is taxpayer negative

By Bernd Schade - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Nicholas Sarwark, Chair of the Libertarian National Committee, released the following statement today:

American taxpayers get to take home just 54 cents on every dollar they earn, while federal, state and local governments take the other 46 cents.

What a great deal for federal, state and local governments. Not so hot for taxpayers. Crushing, in fact.

President Trump’s tax reform proposal that he partially-unveiled on April 26 includes cuts in corporate tax rates, death taxes, and alternative minimum taxes. Republicans claim this plan will be ‘revenue neutral’ after these measures stimulate economic growth.

But when politicians say their plan is ‘revenue neutral,’ what they’re saying to taxpayers is, “we’re keeping your taxes high. We’re not cutting them a nickel.”

“Drain the swamp” President Trump wants to keep spending at the same perilously-high $4 trillion water mark as President Obama.

Keeping taxes and government spending high means government will remain wasteful, bloated, and dysfunctional. It will sustain thousands of wasteful bureaucracies and failed government programs. It will kill jobs, diminish people’s freedom, invite more overseas meddling, and inflict stifling red tape on businesses and individuals.

It’s taxpayer negative.

The goal of any tax reform proposal should be to dramatically reduce the total amount of money in politicians’ hands.

Government revenue negative is taxpayer positive.

We need tax cuts that give back thousands of dollars – every year – to taxpayers. Cuts that substantially hike everyone’s take home pay so taxpayers can save for their retirement, pay off their debts, support their families, enjoy the fruits of their labor, and take care of their loved ones in need.

Politicians forget: the money they take is not the government’s. It belongs to the hard-working taxpayers who earned it.

Better than two-thirds of all Americans believe that federal government spending is way too high.

We must reduce total government spending enough to both immediately end deficit spending and enable huge, immediate taxpayer-positive tax cuts.

The only way to drain a swamp is to pump water out of it – not keep it at the same level.

The only way to drain the swamp in Washington D.C. is to dramatically reduce total government spending and slash taxes.

Revenue negative.

Taxpayer positive.

 

Paid for by the
Libertarian National Committee, Inc. (LNC)
1444 Duke St., Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Content not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.

Wednesday: Join 10 Liberty Lovers at “Central L.A. Mixer/Meeting (Region 64)”

Wednesday
Greater Los Angeles Libertarian Party Meetup Group
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
7:30 PM
Gill’s Indian Restaurant
838 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90017
This month’s featured topic: Exciting news. The amazing Jonny Stryder will reveal his not-yet trademarked 12 Activist Things You Can Do To Change The World. Any one of these activist things, competently executed, could make you world famous. For a fu…
Learn more

Alex Snitker gives wrap up of 2017 Florida Legislative Session

Alex Snitker gives wrap up of 2017 Florida Legislative Session

Don’t miss Alex Snitker’s review of the 2017 Florida legislative session one week from today in Lake Worth.

Liberty First Network President Alexander Snitker will join us to give his take on the results for the 2017 Florida legislative session.

How did liberty fare? What can you do to make 2018 better?

Although we are not directly affiliated with Liberty First Network, if you are able to contribute to their cause, I am sure they would appreciate it. http://www.floridaactionalerts.com/

Admission is free, though if you are able to order at least a drink, it helps us use the back room for free. http://www.broguesdownunder.com/

The LP Palm Beach Executive Committee will meet following Mr. Snitker’s presentation.

Copyright © 2017 Libertarian Party of Palm Beach County, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Libertarian Party of Palm Beach County

303 E Woolbright Rd #233

Boynton Beach, FL 33435

Add us to your address book


Invitation: Central L.A. Mixer/Meeting (Region 64)

New Meetup
Greater Los Angeles Libertarian Party Meetup Group
Added by Jonathan Jaech
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
7:30 PM
Gill’s Indian Restaurant
838 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90017
This month’s featured topic: Exciting news. The amazing Jonny Stryder will reveal his not-yet trademarked 12 Activist Things You Can Do To Change The World. Any one of these activist things, competently executed, could make you world famous. For a fu…
Learn more

The Left, Not Kellyanne Conway, Invented ‘Alternative Facts’

RalphBenkohttp://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2017/02/11/the-left-not-kellyanne-conway-invented-alternative-facts/#1b0be90b51b8

The left is engaged in an all-out war on Trump and his supporters. One of its weapons is to attack declarations as “Fake News.” Prominent journalists had a field day with Trump Counsellor Kellyanne Conway for coining the phrase “alternative facts” in defending Sean Spicer’s observations about the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration.

The left pioneered what it now criticizes. >snip<

Something fundamental is at stake. What we are seeing in the political arena is a War of The Narratives. Conway, of course, is only a proxy target. Trump is the real target. Trump’s adversaries are trying to strip him of his most valuable advisors through ridicule and catastrophizing their trivial slip-ups.

Meanwhile, the left and right have their own views of the way the world works, as do sub factions within each. Loud voices on each side now tend to invalidate the other’s views as “Fake.”

I am aware of some of the flaws and contradictions within my own worldview. While not softening my convictions that awareness disinclines me to go ballistic when I (often!) detect errors or omissions in the arguments of my adversaries. As one who knows he dwells in a glass house it doesn’t makes sense to throw stones at those who disagree with me.

As it happens, though, the left laid the foundation for “alternative facts.” That’s an artifact of a world view which it pioneered. It condemns this as pernicious only when adopted by populist conservatives.

What’s really going on? Postmodernism, that’s what.

I’ll let you in on this Open Secret. It is one I know as myself a self-identified, dues paying, postmodernist. Postmodernism sounds scary. It’s not.

Consider its most succinct definition by Jean-Francois Leotard who distilled postmodernism into “incredulity toward metanarratives.” In plain English: “don’t swallow stories that pretend to explain everything.”

I am incredulous toward my own  passionately held arch-conservative metanarrative. That incredulity toward my own gives me license to be genially incredulous toward the progressive metanarrative. I don’t drink my own Kool-Aid®. I am not about to drink the other team’s.

>snip<

Walter Truett Anderson, a Good Guy, wrote the clearest (and most fun) exposition of postmodernism I’ve encountered in his book Reality Isn’t What It Used To Be.  Per cultureandyouth.org‘s review of this indispensable and delightful book:

Constructivists, with whom he [Anderson] generally identifies, understand that “we do not have a ‘God’s eye view of nonhuman reality, never have had, never will have.” (p. x) Rather, each culture, and now each generation, attaches meaning to reality by symbols. It is through these collective symbols that we begin to view and experience the objective “real world.” The world is not a “single symbolic world, but rather a vast universe of ‘multiple realities,’ because different languages embody different ways of experiencing life.” (p. xi)

As postmodern as some are calling today’s culture, the author notes the persistence of faith and spirituality; “if there is anything we have plenty of it is belief systems.” …

People and societies today, then, are trying to adjust to the increasing plurality of worldviews.  The author is optimistic as to our ability to make the best of this cacophony of beliefs, to make sense of it all, to find meaning in our lives, and to live with others in a positive manner.

What are the political implications? For one, the concept of “Alternative Facts” grew in the loam of postmodernism and its sister philosophical schools mostly hosted by the left. The left, not Kellyanne Conway, fostered this way of looking at things. Conway just played the hand she was dealt.

And the left, more than the right, has grasped the political implications of Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems. The implications, for those of us who struggled with math, were elegantly summed up by Siobhan Roberts in the June 29, 2016 New Yorker, that admirable bastion of the center left:

>snip< Of course, it has a proper and technically precise formulation, but the late logician Verena Huber-Dyson paraphrased it for me as follows: “There is more to truth than can be caught by proof.” Or, as the British novelist Zia Haider Rahman put it in his award-winning début, “In the Light of What We Know,” “Within any given system, there are claims which are true but which cannot be proven to be true.”

The field of semiotics, also, has a left-wing cast. For example, as noted in Wikipedia, “Roland Barthes (1915–1980) was a French literary theorist and semiotician. He often would critique pieces of cultural material to expose how bourgeois society used them to impose its values upon others.”

When you hear concepts like “gender is a social construct” you’ve probably entered The Semiotics Zone. The left’s ability to declare that while simultaneously embracing the immortal words of Lady Gaga from “Born This Way” is a marvel of mental agility.

For the record, I was born this way: a right winger.

And, speaking of mental agility, I count myself one of Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters.

Semiotics’ cousin Deconstruction also is mostly a Thing of the left. >snip<

You just didn’t see too many people at Trump rallies brandishing placards blazoned with quotes from Derrida. You’re more likely to encounter his writings at Berkeley. That said, it’s Derrida’s world. We just live in it.

The left also pioneered the wholesale political use of Weaponized Narrative, in which the storyline takes on more salience than facts. I have previously written about one of its most brilliant tacticians, Patrick Reinsborough, an arch-nemesis who I greatly admire. Do not miss his essay Giant Whispers.

This is tactically brilliant. As Napoleon once said “Imagination rules the world.” Yet use of narrative also compromises the left’s chastity, undermining claims to legitimacy in attacking the use of Narrative by, say, Donald Trump. Dramatic License goes both ways.

>snip<

So let’s be aware of some of the internal contradictions when left-wing polemicists attack people like Kellyanne Conway or her boss. My favorite left-wing polemicist is Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi. His invective surpasses that of Donald Trump. Here he is on The End of Facts in the Trump Era:

This gets to the heart of a chilling truth that much of educated America has yet to face about the Trump era. Amid all the howling about Trump’s deceptions, the far more upsetting story is the mandate behind them – not so much the death of truth in politics, but the irrelevance of it.

Taibbi’s propaganda is utterly first rate. Also, when you think about it in context, hilarious. One marvels at the curious quiet of postmodernists, semioticians, deconstructionists, and pundits of the left-leaning variety. These latter may be presumed to be well familiar with the provenance of “Alternative Facts” and the role of the left in fostering our current political culture.

Most of the left-wing Commentariat defaulted at a strategically “teachable moment.” Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.

In the final analysis one is reminded of Pandora and her jar. As recorded by Hesiod in his Theogony:

I will give men as the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of heart while they embrace their own destruction.’ … For ere this the tribes of men lived on earth remote and free from ills and hard toil and heavy sickness which bring the Keres (Fates) upon men; for in misery men grow old quickly. But the woman [Pandora] took off the great lid of the jar with her hands and scattered all these and her thought caused sorrow and mischief to men. Only Elpis (Hope) remained there in an unbreakable home within under the rim of the great jar….

Yes, definitely, let us deplore Fake News. I do, unequivocally. Yet there is more here than meets the eye: “An evil thing in which they may all be glad of heart while they embrace their own destruction” as taught to us by Hesiod. And it was, predominantly, the left that opened our own peculiar Pandora’s jar.

Luckily for us all, whether conservative or progressive, as Hesiod teaches … Hope remains “in an unbreakable home within the rim of the great jar.” Hesiod, prophetically, was foretelling the advent of Hope Hicks, President Trump’s White House Director of Strategic Communications.

Don’t let me pwn you. That’s just my own whimsical indulgence in an “Alternative Fact.”

The left is getting blown up with its own IED. Its flimsy crusade against Conway, like its flimsy crusade against Bannon, is designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to isolate, and weaken, Donald Trump. The left, not Kellyanne Conway, created “alternative facts.”

To read the full column, click here.

 

 

 

 


American Spectator – The Monopoly of the Left on Campuses ⚠

The American Spectator Logo

The Real Lessons of Middlebury College

The Real Lessons of Middlebury College

BY: THOMAS SOWELL

The rot goes much deeper and is much older than this latest round of left savagery.

Many people seem shocked at the recent savagery of a mob of students at Middlebury College, who rioted to prevent Charles Murray from addressing a student group who had invited him to speak. They also inflicted injuries requiring hospitalization on a woman from the faculty who was with him.

Where have all these shocked people been all these years? READ MORE

History Lessons Unlearned

How and Why Obamacare Repeal Will Succeed

BY: DAVID CATRONIt is a practical, 3-part process, against which no Republican can afford to vote. 

The tsunami of criticism that greeted last week’s introduction of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was probably inevitable, considering the questionable character of some career politicians, the liberal inclination of the legacy media, and the hopelessly convoluted maze of mandates, taxes, and regulations that is Obamacare. Even honest observers got important details of AHCA wrong, while failing to comprehend its place in the overall GOP plan to rid the nation of the “Affordable Care Act.” READ MORE

Want another perspective?: “Even If GOP Healthcare Bill Passes, It Is Destined to Fail

Daylight Saving

Deadly Daylight Savings?

BY: DIENEKESDaylight Savings may be doing more harm than good, studies find.

If you’re like most Americans who just lost an hour off your life when you awoke this morning due to having to reset your clock to “spring ahead” today, you’re probably wondering why we—and much of Western civilization—still honor that thing known as Daylight Savings Time.

Although we’ve been told that Daylight Savings helps save energy, there is evidence that Daylight Savings may actually cost more energyas noted by Duke Energy’s Illumination blog. READ MORE

More of Today’s Headlines:

The Spectacle Blog:

Read More


2017 Session: Week 15

 

2017 Session: Week 15

The 15th week of the 2017 Legislative Session has come to a close, and Liberty Lobby LLC continues to advocate for maximum freedom at the statehouse and Legislative Office Building (LOB) testifying for pro-freedom legislation and against anti-freedom legislation.

On Tuesday April 25, Liberty Lobby LLC CEO, Darryl W Perry testified on the following bills.

SB88 Authorizing wine manufacturer retail outlets. support
HB99 Relative to beverage containers. support
HB161 Relative to beverage sales at farmers’ markets. oppose

On Wednesday April 26, Liberty Lobby LLC CEO, Darryl W Perry testified on the following bills.

HB171 Prohibiting the state or its political subdivisions from assisting a federal agency in the collection of electronic data without a warrant. support
HB209 Relative to the adoption of Atlantic Standard Time. support

Audio is available for these hearings on the Liberty Lobby LLC YouTube channel. You can find updates on committee recommendations, and actions by the House and Senate, on legislation we are tracking, here.

And we have another success to mention, the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee voted unanimously to amend HB301 to incorporate our proposal to shorten that bill to eliminate the proposal to regulate electric grills. The amended bill was then amended on the floor to eliminate the requirement that the grill be UL certified. We’d like to thank Senators Woodburn and Guida for the Committee Amendment and Floor Amendment to this bill, respectively.

If you appreciate our efforts, please consider starting or increasing a monthly pledge via PayPal or Bitcoin.

– OR –

Please demonstrate your confidence in our efforts by investing a one-time contribution via PayPal, BitcoinDash or Zcash.

In Liberty,
Darryl W. Perry
CEO, Liberty Lobby LLC

The mission of Liberty Lobby LLC is to advocate for minimal government and maximum human freedom by weighing all legislation against the litmus of our principles and responding accordingly by testifying in legislative hearings, holding court with individual legislators, and crafting liberty-minded legislation.

Our goal is to acquire a mere $5,000 per year in contributions from people like you to help pay for travel and administrative expenses. If you are interested in helping fund Liberty Lobby LLC, you can start with a recurring contribution of as little as $5 a month. Every contribution helps bring us that much closer to achieving our goals and ensuring liberty in our lifetime.

Liberty Lobby LLC is not for hire to the highest bidder, and will advocate for 100% freedom on every issue, every time. Liberty Lobby LLC specializes in Election Law (specifically ballot access reform and voter rights), Freedom of Information / Government Transparency, Freedom of Speech & Municipal and County Government.

 

 


[PeaceOptions] Can You Hear the War Drums Beating?

 

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The non-Poetry of Carol Ann Duffy

LibertarianAlliance.mvc

 

Democratic Art: The Non-Poetry of Carol Ann Duffy
by Sean Gabb (2009)

Last week, I sent out a brief note, lamenting the seventieth anniversary of our declaration of war on Germany. Most of the replies were positive, and I suspect that the burden of proof is now shifting to those who still believe in the absolute rightness of the second world war. However, this is not a matter I wish here to discuss. One of my correspondents sent me a link to what he described as a poem by Carol Ann Duffy, who is the new Poet Laureate. He suggested that I might find it agreeable.

Let me give the piece in full. It was written to commemorate the death of the last known British veteran of the Great War, who received a state funeral in August this year. As published in The Times, it goes as follows:

Last Post Carol Ann Duffy

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If poetry could tell it backwards, true, begin
that moment shrapnel scythed you to the stinking mud . . .
but you get up, amazed, watch bled bad blood
run upwards from the slime into its wounds;
see lines and lines of British boys rewind
back to their trenches, kiss the photographs from home —
mothers, sweethearts, sisters, younger brothers
not entering the story now
to die and die and die.
Dulce — No — Decorum — No — Pro patria mori.
You walk away.
You walk away; drop your gun (fixed bayonet)
like all your mates do too —
Harry, Tommy, Wilfred, Edward, Bert —
and light a cigarette.
There’s coffee in the square,
warm French bread
and all those thousands dead
are shaking dried mud from their hair
and queuing up for home. Freshly alive,
a lad plays Tipperary to the crowd, released
from History; the glistening, healthy horses fit for heroes, kings.
You lean against a wall,
your several million lives still possible
and crammed with love, work, children, talent, English beer, good food.
You see the poet tuck away his pocket-book and smile.
If poetry could truly tell it backwards,
then it would

I do agree with the sentiment. I wish the Asquith Government had told the French and the Belgians to look to themselves in August 1914. Failing that, I wish we had made peace at the end of 1916. Failing that, I wish Tsar Nicholas had not been the only projector of the Great War to meet his just end. I wish, at the end of 1918, all the politicians who had rushed us into the catastrophe, and all the generals who had coordinated it, and all the newspaper editors who had jollied things along, and all the businessmen who had financed or built and fed the guns, and all the priests who had blessed them, could have been put up against a wall and machine gunned to death. But for the lunacy that began in Sarajevo, Lenin would have died a refugee in Geneva, Stalin would eventually have been caught and hanged for his bank robberies, and pictures modestly signed “AH” would be turning up now and again in the less prestigious auction rooms.

But if I agree with Miss Duffy that war is evil, I do not find her means of saying it in the least agreeable. I do not share my correspondent’s belief that she is a great poet. I do not even believe she is a bad poet. If Last Post is a fair sample of her work, I can only say that she no poet at all. She may have been appointed to an office previously filled by Dryden and Wordsworth and Tennyson. But she seems to stand in a tradition that reaches back through Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath and Ezra Pound to at least the 1920s. This makes her yet another poetic equivalent of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

Now, in making such a claim, I accept that the burden of proof is on me. The critics and, it appears, much of the reading public agree that Miss Duffy is a poet. I disagree. I need, therefore, to explain myself.

I will begin by defining poetry as an exalted, rhythmical speech. This is not an arbitrary definition, but is true both historically and by necessity.  In every civilisation of which I know, poetry has been the earliest literature. Without writing, a text can be preserved, over many generations, only by composing it in a language somewhat removed from that ordinarily spoken, and by arranging the words into regular and predictable patterns. It can then be memorised. It can be handed down with a minimum of corruption, because its form allows corruptions to be easily found and corrected.

The spread of literacy allows the development of prose. This does not mean that rhythm and other poetic devices can be ignored. Good prose can be as carefully written as poetry. In the best Greek and Latin and English prose, obvious attention has been given to the choice and patterning of words. The difference is that the rhythmical patterning of prose is less intended to aid memorisation than add to its meaning, and so can be more open.

Nor does the development of prose make poetry redundant. The authority of the earliest literature will have created a tradition within which some writers choose to continue. It will also be found that certain kinds of utterance remain more suited to poetry. In a literate age, the natural medium of philosophy and the sciences will be prose, and writers such as Lucretius and Erasmus Darwin will be regarded as more or less eccentric. But for certain kinds of narrative, and for the expression of powerful emotions, poetry will remain the natural medium.

This is an historical matter. The necessity follows from the meaning of words. If the word “poetry” is to have any meaning, it needs to be kept distinct in its forms from prose. There is no reason in itself why I should not call the first paragraph of this article a sonnet. There is no reason in itself why I should not define a fugue as a piece of music that has one theme in the tonic, another in the dominant, a development passage, and then a recapitulation of both themes in the tonic. For that matter, I could define a triangle as a quadrilateral with four right angles, or a cactus as a small arthropod animal, having an adult stage characterized by three pairs of legs and a body segmented into head, thorax, and abdomen. I could do all of this. But the result would be an intellectual mess. So far as I impressed my definitions on other minds, it would lessen the value of our language as a means of communication. Therefore, while much of the Old Testament was composed as poetry, the Authorised Version in English – however exalted in tone, or beautiful, or “poetic” – is prose.

Having said what it is not, I will now return to the matter of what poetry is. Of course, it is not the same as mathematics. In every language, its forms will be different. Even so, it is always a rhythmical composition more or less heightened by the use of other devices. These various devices can be isolated and analysed. Let me illustrate this definition with an example. I will take the first of the Shropshire Lad poems by A.E. Housman, which is similar in theme to Miss Duffy’s Last Post.

From Clee to heaven the beacon burns,
The shires have seen it plain,
From north and south the sign returns
And beacons burn again.

Look left, look right, the hills are bright,
The dales are light between,
Because ’tis fifty years to-night
That God has saved the Queen.

Now, when the flame they watch not towers
Above the soil they trod,
Lads, we’ll remember friends of ours
Who shared the work with God.

To skies that knit their heartstrings right,
To fields that bred them brave,
The saviours come not home to-night:
Themselves they could not save.

It dawns in Asia, tombstones show
And Shropshire names are read;
And the Nile spills his overflow
Beside the Severn’s dead.

We pledge in peace by farm and town
The Queen they served in war,
And fire the beacons up and down
The land they perished for.

“God save the Queen” we living sing,
From height to height ’tis heard;
And with the rest your voices ring,
Lads of the Fifty-third.

Oh, God will save her, fear you not:
Be you the men you’ve been,
Get you the sons your fathers got,
And God will save the Queen.

The most obvious device of this poem is its patterning of stresses. It is generally made up of alternating iambic tetrameters and trimeters – or we could say it consists of alternating lines of eight and six syllables, the stresses falling generally on the even. Thus:

from CLEE to HEAVEN the BEAcon BURNS,
the SHIRES have SEEN it PLAIN….

The rhyme scheme is important, but can be left aside for the moment as of less immediate notice than the patterning within each verse. This is not completely regular. Complete regularity has its place for achieving certain effects, but, in this kind of poem, will be monotonous. Instead, there is regularity throughout the first two stanzas – and see how “heaven” is contracted in the first verse to one syllable, or two very short and slurred syllables – until the rhythm has been set. This being done, Housman begins, in his third stanza, to vary the scheme, occasionally reversing an iambus into a trochee. Thus:

NOW when the FLAME they WATCH not TOWERS
aBOVE the SOIL they TROD….

This is to produce a more open, or dactylic, effect. It also marks a deviation of the theme from what the opening stanzas are intended to create. But I will come to this in a moment. For the present, I am interested only in the patterning of words. I have dealt with the obvious stress patterns. But there is also the quantitative patterning – that is, in the length of individual syllables, as determined by their nature or position. In Latin poetry, quantity provides the main rhythmical patterning, and stress, though important – see, for example, the last two feet of an hexameter verse – is subsidiary. In English poetry, the relationship is reversed, though quantity remains important. Because there is a tendency in English for stressed syllables also to be long, quantity can be as overlooked in poetic criticism as stress often is in Latin. But, if there is a tendency for the two to coincide, it is no more than a tendency. Take, for example, words like “however”. Looking at stress, it is an amphibrach. Looking at quantity, it is a dactyl.

In the Housman poem, there is, in the first two stanzas, a complete and therefore unusual coincidence of stress and quantity. The result is that the words have the steady, processional rhythm associated with state occasions. They lead naturally to the apparently triumphant and untroubled affirmation

 That God has saved the Queen.

Add to this the avoidance of hiatus between the words and of combinations of sounds within words that might disrupt the rhythm. I mean by this words like “crisps” or “asterisk” or “Monckton”. There is perhaps no word that does not have a place somewhere in poetry. But words like this, in this poem, would break up the smooth flow.

Then there is onomatopoeia, or the use of words that imitate the sounds of or otherwise suggest in their sounds the things they describe. Except where animal or machine noises are concerned, this will often be more a matter of association within a particular language than direct imitation. But it seems to me that certain letters have a brighter or darker sound than others. Thus, the letter “l” reminds me of brightness, as does the diphthong “ai” and the long vowel sounds in “fair” and in “mean”. This may be a chance association, or it may derive from the traditions of the English language, or it may be universal to mankind. Whatever its cause, it is there. We can see this very cleverly used by Housman in his fifty third Shropshire Lad poem:

Light was the air beneath the sky,
But dark under the shade….

Under the stars the air was light
But dark below the boughs,

But we see it also in the first poem. Thus, we have, in the first stanza the “bright” words “Clee”, “beacon”, “shires”, “seen”. Their overall effect is to contrast the underlying ceremonial rhythm with an impression of beacons flaming in the night sky.

An unusual feature of this poem is the relative absence of imagery. It is largely from the choice and placing of the words that we know the setting to be the English countryside – a countryside still untouched – and therefore not yet frozen and not yet demystified – by the modern British State. Perhaps something is added here by the modern reader, who knows and laments what happened in the twentieth century. But I think much the same effect was produced in the mind of the first readers, who were carried back by the talk of “fifty years” to an age when the English countryside was a still wilder and more mysterious place outside the towns. And Housman does this with barely a mention of scenery. He does it all with the sounds and associations of his words

I turn briefly to rhyme. This is one of the less important poetic devices. The Greeks and Romans used it hardly at all. Milton grew to despise it in English, and most verse plays in English are unrhymed. Used other than in lyrics or in ballad narratives, it can be an annoyance in English – though this is not to deny the frequent wit and polish of the heroic couplet. Otherwise, it aids memorisation, and is another of those technical devices that allows a good poet to shine when he makes it appear natural. In this poem, the rhyme scheme “abab, cdcd” etc is there largely because it is expected in this particular form, and to emphasise alternating length of the verses.

The rhyme scheme also prevents a corruption I once read when a verse was quoted by itself. This went:

From Clee to heaven the beacon FLARES….

This is obviously wrong, as “flares” does not rhyme with “returns”. It is also wrong irrespective of the rhyme scheme. As the verse is written by Housman, no single word stands out from the whole. Change “burns” to “flares”, and undue attention is drawn to this word, thereby destroying the balance of the verse. It also creates an expectation that is not delivered in what follows. The word has too much brightness, and exaggerates an effect that Housman makes just strong enough to do its work. I think it was Cicero who said of Demosthenes that the speeches were so perfectly written that to change a single word would destroy the effect of the whole. This applies in all great literature – and naturally applies in this poem.

Moving away slightly from the sound of the words to their overall effect, it can be seen that Housman intends an ironic deflation of Queen Victoria’s first Jubilee. He never says that the dead were a useless or scandalous sacrifice. But he does remind you that the kind of national greatness celebrated in the Golden Jubilee rests on the death of young men, and that talk of God’s Blessing is but a euphemism for their death. Well before the last verse, with its repetition of saving the Queen, we know that this is not something any Victorian Poet Laureate would have been expected to produce. How the Shropshire Lad poems became so popular in the trenches is not something I can explain. Then again, great poetry says something different to every reader.

With even a short poem of this quality, it would be possible to write page after page of analysis and commentary, and still not finish the subject. But I will make only one more main point. This is the fifth stanza:

It dawns in Asia, tombstones show
And Shropshire names are read;
And the Nile spills his overflow
Beside the Severn’s dead.

What this achieves is to admit the remarkable achievement of Victorian England by associating it with the Roman Empire – and then perhaps to warn where it was leading. Talk of Asia and the Nile carry the mind back to the conquests of Caesar and Pompey. This is immediately followed by a mentioning of rivers that spill their overflow. This is an echo of the Third Satire of Juvenal

          – quamvis quota portio faecis Achaei?
iam pridem Syrus in Tiberim defluxit Orontes
et linguam et mores et cum tibicine chordas
obliquas nec non gentilia tympana secum
vexit et ad circum iussas prostare puellas.

Which is translated by Dryden as:

Nor Greeks alone, but Syrians here abound;
Obscene Orontes, diving under ground,
Conveys his wealth to Tiber’s hungry shores,
And fattens Italy with foreign whores:
Hither their crooked harps and customs come;
All find receipt in hospitable Rome.

Is this intended as a prediction of how empire may destroy a nation? It may be interesting that one of Housman’s last students was Enoch Powell – who fell so entirely for a while under the older man’s influence that he wrote a volume of Housmanesque poetry.

In general, this is one of the last great poems written in English. And every effect that I have described is consciously intended. Housman was no unlettered balladeer, turning out works of beauty without ever knowing the means he used. As well as the last great English poet, he was one of the greatest textual critics of Latin. He knew the techniques of poetry as well as Schubert understood the techniques of setting poetry to music. He is the nearest, I think, to an English Catullus – poetic genius fused with perfect scholarship. I wish he were better regarded by the critics. Certainly, if his poetry has not found its way into any A Level Literature syllabus, his poems have never been out of print, and can be found in the poetry section of any moderately large bookshop in England, if not elsewhere in the English world.

I turn now back to Last Post. Now, what can I say about this? Where is the exalted language? Where is the known rhythmical pattern? The first two verses are a quotation, I think, from Wilfred Owen. He was at best a minor poet. His fame rests on his being the spokesman for a generation of young men tricked or bullied from their homes to be blown to mincemeat and rags. We have almost a duty to admire him. But he does not stand a close reading. Once, however, we are through this quotation, there is nothing at all that strikes me as poetic.

There are a few poetic conceits. There is one attempt at pathos that does almost work:

kiss the photographs from home —
mothers, sweethearts, sisters, younger brothers….

But does this work because it really is poetic? Or am I simply inclined to sadness by every mention of slaughter in the trenches?

There is an occasional attempt at rhyme – “mud” – “blood”, “bread” – “dead”. But these could easily by the chance rhymes that come up in prose. With “bled bad blood”, there is a nod at alliteration. But this strikes me as clumsy in both sound and meaning. Blood can be bled – just as a boiler can boil and a clothes iron can be used for ironing. But this is the sort of verbal trick that entertains children at infant school, or foreign learners of English who need to memorise the various word forms.

The whole piece, indeed, could easily be colloquial prose formatted with an unjustified right margin. When I copied and pasted the piece from The Times website, I looked at it and wondered if some of the lines had been accidentally broken by the subeditor. They looked too short. I had to check the version I had against another on the BBC website. The two corresponded in their formatting. But is this how Miss Duffy wrote the piece? Or is this an error copied on both websites from a single corrupt source? Because there is no recognisable structure, the only answer to this question would be to look for a printed version, or to write directly to Miss Duffy.

When I was a young man, I came on the Shropshire Lad poems. I will not bore you with a telling of what effect they had on me. But a first reading was enough to stamp verses and whole stanzas on my mind. It took very little effort to commit around a third of the poems to memory, where they remain a quarter of a century later. I have read Miss Duffy’s piece several times. As I write, I cannot recall a single verse.

What we have here is not poetry. Its lack of rhythmical structure aside, there is nothing beautiful or memorable about it. What reason is there for just about any of the words not to be changed? Take, for example, the verse

to die and die and die.

Is there any reason why this should not be changed to

  to fall and bleed and die?

Or is there any reason why

a lad plays Tipperary to the crowd

should not be changed to

 a lad plays Pack up Your Troubles to the crowd?

I make no claim that my variations improve the piece. But I cannot see how either of them changes, let alone damages, the effect in the same way as changing “burns” to “flares” would wreck the Housman poem.

Am I missing something? There are endless examples of how novelty has been taken at first as perversity or incompetence. When Mozart sent the score of his Dissonnance Quartet to his father, he got back a letter accusing the copyists of mangling some of the parts. It took fifty years after his death for Mahler to be accepted as a great composer. Perhaps I am some poetic Beckmesser – too obsessed with form to see the beautiful substance.

But I doubt this. Miss Duffy is not a fresh voice, striking up against a background of flat Tennyson imitations. She stands within what counts nowadays as the poetic mainstream. As said, she is another Ted Hughes or Sylvia Plath or Ezra Pound. And if there are some who would regard this as high praise, I do not intend it as anything but a bored moan when confronted with more of the same. I have reached an age where I feel reasonably sure of my artistic judgments. I say that Last Post is not poetry and is mediocre as prose. If Miss Duffy had called it a translation from the French of Apollinaire Cendrier, I promise I would not be running off to Kensington to look him up in the French bookshops there.

Why, then, is this stuff turned out by the ream? Why particularly has diligence in turning it out raised Miss Duffy to an office that Housman never filled? I want to think it is because she is Scottish. England is run by a clique of Scotchmen whose only similarity to their more illustrious forebears is nepotism and hatred of  their southern neighbour. It also helps that she is a woman. And I may have read somewhere that she is a lesbian. Except that she has a white face, she has all the qualifications nowadays needed for the office she fills. But, if this is the reason, why the unforced gusts of praise that attended her elevation? When Caligula made his horse a Consul, it was prudent not to laugh. But I cannot understand how anyone could, without a gun to the head, have written this about Miss Duffy:

Her poems are accessible and entertaining, yet her form is classical, her technique razor-sharp. She is read by people who don’t really read poetry, yet she maintains the respect of her peers. Reviewers praise her touching, sensitive, witty evocations of love, loss, dislocation, nostalgia; fans talk of greeting her at readings ‘with claps and cheers that would not sound out of place at a pop concert’. [Katharine Viner, writing in The Guardian on the 25th September 1999}

The answer, I think, to Miss Duffy’s popularity and official endorsement is the democratisation of the arts. The modern movement was motivated in part by a snobbish elite that wanted things to praise that ordinary people could not appreciate. Since then, however, the idea has taken hold that anything that everyone cannot do should be shunned. When the Victorians spoke of bringing the arts to the people, what they had in mind was Beethoven at sixpence a head in the Crystal Palace. What it means today is praising stuff that anyone could have created.

Of all the arts, music perhaps has suffered least. This is because most people still have some idea that music should entertain, and because composing and performing involve technical complexities that cannot be set aside. It may be that popular composers like Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson had no musical education, and had to hum their songs for others to write down and arrange. But these people had an ear for melody and a natural feeling for scales and intervals and time signatures. And, now the influence of Schoenberg has waned, classical composition has recovered to a tuneful mediocrity.

The visual arts passed though a decline that involved accomplished charlatans like Picasso and Henry Moore, who began with some ability to work in the traditional forms, but soon found there was money in merely pretending to be artists. They then settled into a scandalous trough dominated by Damian Hirst and Tracey Emin. But no one without a degree in fine arts really believes these people are artists; and ordinary people prefer to spend their own money on hanging up framed prints by Jack Vettriano.

The full horror is in poetry. Here we find the verbal equivalents of Tracey Emin and a universal insistence that what they write is poetry. What makes Carol Ann Duffy so popular is the knowledge that anyone else might have written her works. Writing in her style needs nothing more than a word processor with the right-justification turned off. Her nationality, sex and possible sexuality aside, she is the ideal poet for an age that calls itself democratic – and, in a debased sense, probably is.

I have never read any modern literature in French, which is the only modern language I know very well. I have never found anything notable in poetry of any period in Czech or Slovak. This leaves me with trying to guess future trends in English alone. But I believe that my language long since passed out of its classical period. In prose as in poetry, there are no great living writers. Sooner or later, there will be a reaction in public taste against everything written during the past half century, and against much writing in the half century before then. All the “great” modern writers now force fed to children in the schools will then be confined to the cheap bins in second hand bookshops, and there will be a recovery of interest in real literature. From that moment, literary English will be purged of distasteful modernisms, and will enter its Byzantine phase – growing ever more remote from the language spoken by the people. Then, with great labour, and a nervous examination of every word and its pronunciation, poetry will be written again that is not simply embarrassing. It will mostly be stale and rigid in its forms. But there will, every so often, be something new to add to the lower reaches of the classics.

This may happen just in time for the collapse of our technical civilisation – when the ruling class finally gets its hands on the ten per cent of the wealth owned by the rest of us and stops all further progress in the sciences. This may not be a cheerful prediction. At least it will mean, however, that no one will be expected to read Carol Ann Duffy a hundred years from now.

 

Recent Posts


20 powerful ways to replace Obamacare

downsizeDC

 

Trump is busy making plans for you. Do the same for him. #Obamacare Retweet

The Republicans have talked loud and long about replacing Obamacare. Now they must act.

But will their actions be good or bad? You must tell them what “good” looks like.

Additionally, you and I must also be prepared to paint a picture for those who are skeptical or concerned about a free market approach to healthcare. For the last month, Perry Willis has been researching, fact-checking, and drafting a complete package. His work will help you demonstrate that the free market solution addresses social concerns better — usually far better — than the statism under which we’ve been living.

Here’s our strategy…

  • We want to hit Trump’s transition team with the complete list of our healthcare proposals immediately.
  • Soon, we’ll have a new website. We’ll break these into discrete policy proposals and deliver them to the new Congress (the present site is still addressed to 114th Congress).
  • You’ll be able to promote the issues you favor most.

We’ve each submitted an open letter to Trump’s transition team. Today, we’re sharing it with you. This letter contains our proposals for repealing and replacing Obamacare. And we want you to do as we’ve done — submit it to the incoming Trump Administration. The more comments, the greater our power.

As we showed you last week, there are 20 of these proposals, so it makes for a long document. But each specific proposal is fairly short and easy to read.

You can access our open letter at the Downsize DC blog: 20 powerful ways to replace Obamacare.

And you can discuss it on our Facebook page.

We hope you’ll join us in this effort and stay tuned for the upcoming Congressional actions on our new system.

Jim Babka
Downsize DC

P.S. And if you like our work, please consider supporting Downsize DC.

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Government Under Fire for ‘Spree Killing’ Death Row Inmates as Drug Runs Out

The contentious issue of whether the death penalty is morally and legally justified has been raised again with the double execution of Arkansas inmates, Jack Jones (aged 52) and Marcel Williams (46).  Jack Harold Jones Jr, murdered a woman in 1995 and had been condemned to die.  Marcel Williams kidnapped, raped and murdered a mother of two in 1994 and received the same sentence.

The scheduled executions caused a fresh bout of controversy over capital punishment when the state ordered that multiple prisoners be executed in succession because their supply of lethal injection drugs were reaching their expiry date by the 30th April. In a bid to save money, they decided that they would put to death eight prisoners in the space of 11 days, with Mr Jones and Mr William’s set for the same day, a plan that some members of the public have likened to a spree killing. Had the plan been carried out, it would have meant that Arkansas had permitted the largest number of executions in a condensed period of time since they resumed capital punishments in 1976.

Even those in favor of the death penalty may have asked questions about how such a plan could be carried out without mistakes and could guarantee the right of the inmates not to experience torture as they died. With such a busy schedule of executions, it is easier for mistakes to be made.

Death Sentence Botched

The state ordered killing of Jack Jones added fuel to the fire when he showed signs of consciousness during his execution. Officials had attempted and failed to correctly site a central line in his neck for three quarters of an hour, leading them to place the line elsewhere, putting him at greater risk of awareness and suffering. Witnesses to the death chamber insisted they saw his mouth open and close and that he was gasping for air five minutes after his IV was administered. Prison guards were observed checking for consciousness on more than on more than one occasion. While the botched execution began at 7.06pm, Mr Jones was not pronounced dead until 7.20pm.

This led to a temporary stay for inmate Marcel Williams who was due to be killed directly after Mr Jones.  He and his lawyers argued that an execution with the same drug would be ‘torturous and inhumane’.  Despite these concerns, the judge disagreed and Mr Williams was executed three hours later by the same method in what was the State’s first double execution in 17 years.

Supplier Say Prison Authority Misappropriated Drug

Shockingly, the drug company who supplied the prison authority with vecuronium bromide, an ingredient in their lethal injection, say they want it back because they supplied it for medical use in hospital and not as an aid to kill people. The prison authority of Arkansas had promised to return its supply of drug to the manufacturer but failed to do so. Due to this, they were issued a restraining order banning them from using it in executions.
Public outcry and controversy over the drugs used, as well as concern about the possibility of cruelty led both the Supreme Court and District judge Kristine Baker to grant a temporary stay of execution for eight other prisoners destined for the same fate as Jones and Williams because it was so fast-tracked it denied them right to legal counsel and access to court.

This represents a victory for Libertarians and civil rights campaigners who believe that everyone has a fundamental right to life, but it may be a longer road before death penalty states re-examine their stance on capital punishment, particularly as the new President Trump has said he wants to execute anyone found guilty of killing a police officer. Fighting murder with murder can never be the answer in a civilized society and the debate is likely to continue as long as the practice does.

Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Two thirds of Americans prefer an alternative to the death penalty.  Lake Research Partners conducted a survey that found that 65% of participants favored other means of punishing offenders. Life without parole was a popular alternative.  The high number of innocent people on death row and the negative impact of execution on the victim’s families were among the reasons for this.  Restitution is another example that could be used in addition to a life sentence.  Restitution is financial compensation offered by the offender to the family of the victim, for example, to pay for medical bills, legal costs or funeral expenses.

Support for Affected Families

In addition to life insurance policies which can provide financial support to families who have lost a loved one, the local office of victim services may be able to compensate for medical and pharmacy costs and pay for a counselor for individuals who would like one, transportation for medical appointments or to court, occupational rehabilitation and the costs of shelter, if needed.

Help Stamp Out Institutionalized Killing

The government’s job is to protect the life, liberty and property of its citizens. State sentencing of citizens to death flies in the face of that notion. You can help turn up the heat and stop institutionalized killing by supporting the Libertarian Party. Libertarians oppose the death penalty while recognizing the need for a jury system and compensation for victims without the need to spill more blood.


Little Marco Embarrasses Himself — Again by Robert Ringer

Ringer_head_image

 

During the Republican primary, I was perplexed by how many conservatives held Marco Rubio (aka “Little Marco”) in such high esteem. My take on Little Marco from day one was that he was a snake in the grass and that his clumsy attempt to collude with Ted Cruz to derail the Trump Train pretty much confirmed that.

The South Carolina crowd went all out for Rubio in the primary, with Trey Gowdy, Tim Scott, and Nikki Haley all endorsing him. For personal reasons, I won’t comment on Gowdy or Scott, but Haley is the worst of the worst — every bit as phony as Rubio.

It was stunning when she took a swipe at Trump for his stern stances — stances that echoed the sentiments of millions of Americans who voted for him — then almost immediately started to walk back her holier-than-thou comments when the anti-Haley social-media frenzy began.

At the time, I’m sure she was totally confident that Trump had no chance of winning the Republican nomination, let alone the presidency. DT easily could have destroyed her (He won the South Carolina primary despite her efforts to undermine him), but she lucked out because of his shrewd pragmatism.

By shrewd pragmatism, I’m referring to his clever decision to get her off his back throughout his presidency by throwing her a bone and making her U.S. Ambassador to the UN. In addition, from an optics standpoint, it was a twofer — a female and the daughter of Indian immigrants. (That’s Indian as in India, not Indian as in Elizabeth Wacko Warren.)

It also was shrewd because Trump is smart enough to realize that a UN ambassador is pretty much irrelevant, but, again, the optics are impressive. Best of all, you can be certain that Haley, who, like Rubio, is for sale to the highest bidder, is now over the moon with excitement. So everyone has ended up happy.

Except for Little Marco, that is. When Trump got through swatting him like a pesky fly during the Republican primaries — trouncing him even in his home state of Florida — Marco said he was not going to run again for his Senate seat in the sunshine state. Like his opportunistic pal Nikki Haley, however, he quickly realized that to have a chance to achieve his dream of someday becoming president, it would be best for him to stay in the spotlight by being a United States senator.

So he ran, won, and is now back in Washington spreading his snotty little attitude around the Capitol Building. Little Marco is the ultimate politician, a kid who, through sheer self-discipline, has risen to unprecedented heights of insincerity.

Which brings me to his little back-and-forth with uber-impressive Rex Tillerson. Even I was surprised to watch Little Marco come at Tillerson in a style the Dirty Dems must have loved. It was a surreal scene — this 20-year-old-looking kid talking in an admonishing tone to one of the world’s most successful businessmen.

At one point, he asked Tillerson if he believed Vladimir Putin was a “war criminal.” What a dumb-ass question. I kept having the feeling that Tillerson was going to get up, turn Little Marco over his knee, and spank him. Down the road a bit, that’s surely what I suspect Donald Trump will have to do — especially if Rubio gets in the way of his agenda, starting with his cabinet appointees.

In fact, Trump may have to do it sooner rather than later if Little Marco teams up with those vile old buzzards whom Arizonians and South Carolinians keep inexplicably voting back into office — Mush McCain and Gomer Graham. These three guys are desperate to stay relevant, so look for them to give the Dirty Dems the majority they failed to win on their own by voting along with them. These guys will do almost anything to prevent Trump from looking good in the eyes of the voters.

As much as I disliked Little Marco during the primaries, I thought it was inevitable that he eventually would become president because he has so many years ahead of him in which to pull the wool over the public’s eyes. But that was before DT came along and turned the world of politics upside down. With this in mind, if I were his advisor, I’d urge him to tread lightly, find a way to suppress his delusions of grandeur, put a smile on his face, and be respectful to the heavyweights in the game.

What I’m saying, Little Marco, is that the only chance you now have of achieving your dream of becoming president is to play ball with the new sheriff in town. Perhaps you’re just a slow learner, because you should have figured out that it’s unwise to screw with Donald Trump when he nearly ended your political career during the primaries.

In any event, speaking for myself, I sure wouldn’t want to get Rex Tillerson mad at me. The guy is the reincarnation of James Arness. Best you take a deep breath, Little Marco, and calm down. You’re trying too hard to look tough, and you’re embarrassing yourself — again.

 

original story appears here: http://robertringer.com/little-marco-embarrasses-himself-again/


FEE – Why Obama Failed

The Supply Curve Explained with Cookies

by Joy Buchanan

If someone offered you $50 per cookie, and it took you one minute to make 1 cookie, then you might happily produce 60 cookies per hour. If you bought a new oven or invented a new method that let you make 2 cookies per minute, then you would produce 120 cookies per hour. That would indicate a shift in your supply curve.

READ NOW

The Relationship Between Culture and Poverty

by William Reddinger

Well-being depends not only on legal structure and good policy — it depends also on those institutions of civil society that lay beyond the reach of the state.

READ NOW

When Liberalism Went Into Retreat

by Ralph Raico

For reasons still unclear, the tide began to turn against the liberals. Part of the reason is surely the rise of the new class of intellectuals that proliferated everywhere. That they owed their very existence to the wealth generated by the capitalist system did not prevent most of them from incessantly gnawing away at capitalism, indicting it for every problem they could point to in modern society.

READ NOW

Why Obama Failed

by Jeffrey A. Tucker

What was the source of the failure? It was the same at the beginning that it was at the end. Despite his intelligence, erudition, earnestness, and public-relations genius, and the mastery of all the Hollywood-style theatrics of the presidency, Obama’s central problem was his failure to address the driving concern of all of American life: the economic quality of our own lives. Because he didn’t have a clue what to do about it.

READ NOW

Global Trade Is Why Your Television Did Not Cost $6,200 Like It Did in 1964

by Mark J. Perry

It is an amazing sign of the economic progress achieved over the last half century that even a billionaire in 1964 wouldn’t have been able to purchase most of the items above that even a teenager working at the minimum wage can afford today like a laptop computer, iPhone, iPod and Smart TV.

READ NOW

San Francisco Puts an End to Uber’s Fleet of Self-Driving Cars

by Brittany Hunter

Well, that didn’t take long. One week after releasing its new self-driving cars in its hometown of San Francisco, Uber has been forced to pull them from the roads thanks to the DMV and a regulation that doesn’t apply.

READ NOW

The Rise of European Liberalism

by Ralph Raico

As the modern age began, royal absolutism became the main tendency of the time. The first people to revolt against this system were the Dutch. After winning their independence from Spain they established a radically decentralized state with no king and little power at the federal level.

READ NOW


Ending Drug War propaganda

FreePressPublication

According to media reports, Donald Trump has proposed slashing the budget for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) from nearly $400 million per year to $24 million in fiscal year 2018, which begins September 1, 2017. UPI reports that such a funding cut would eliminate 33 jobs from the the so-called “drug czar” personnel.

UPI adds, the ONDCP which was “created in 1982 under President Ronald Reagan, is responsible for managing the executive branch’s anti-drug efforts and coordinating with state and local authorities to those ends.” In other words, the ONDCP is responsible for government propaganda that tells people, in the words of Mr Mackey from South Park, “Drugs are bad. You shouldn’t drugs. If you do them, you’re bad, because drugs are bad, mkay.”

However spreading propaganda about drugs is not the only activity of the ONDCP. They also oversee the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and Drug-Free Communities Support (DFC) programs. US News reports Bill Piper, senior director for national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, says he agrees with the budget proposal, “Historically it’s been a propaganda group more than anything else. Given everything Trump and [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions have said and done, it’s probably a good thing if this agency is eliminated.” Adding, “HIDTA and DFA programs are a waste of money” that “contribute to mass incarceration”, “use taxpayer dollars to oppose legalization,” and fund groups that “focus on stigmatizing drug users.”

According to a leaked document from the Office of Management and Budget, HIDTA & DFCA are duplicitous of other federal programs, and those other programs do not appear to be on the chopping block. However, the temporary spending bill passed by Congress recently did chop the DOJ’s ability to enforce federal cannabis laws in 44 states, DC, Guam & Puerto Rico (Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota & South Dakota were excluded from this provision). That budget bill also prohibits the DOJ & DEA from interfering with Industrial Hemp research across the country.

These measures are sure to upset Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who in February said, states can “pass the laws they choose,” adding it’s still “a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.”

While these budget cuts may give some cause to celebrate what is effectively a cease-fire in one front of the Drug War, millions of dollar will still be spent prosecuting and incarcerating people who have created no identifiable victim. The War on Drugs has been going on for 45 years, and the drugs are winning!


Darryl W. Perry

Darryl has spent most of his adult life as an advocate & activist for peace and liberty. Darryl is an award winning author, publisher & radio/TV host. He is a regular contributor to several weekly and monthly newspapers. He hosts the daily newscast FPPradioNews, the podcast Peace, Love, Liberty Radio, the weekly news podcast FPP Freedom Minute, and is a regular host of Free Talk Live.
Darryl is the Owner/Managing Editor of Free Press Publications, and the CEO of Liberty Lobby LLC.
Darryl is the Chair of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire.

To schedule an interview with Darryl please send an email to editor@fpp.cc or call 202 709 4377


Two elected Libertarians in Florida town, free market drives down cost of health care, and more

Libertarian Party letterhead with torch eagle logo: slogan "Shrinking Big Government - Advancing Liberty"; address 1444 Duke St. Alexandria, VA 22314; 1-800-ELECT-US; www.LP.org

 

News from the Libertarian Party:


Florida town now has two elected Libertarian officials

Austin Gravley, elected Libertarian town councilmember, Frostproof, Fla.

The town of Frostproof, located in Polk County, Florida, now has two elected Libertarian officials, as Austin Gravley was elected to the city council on April 4.

Even though the election was nonpartisan, Gravley switched his voter registration to Libertarian the day before the election. Gravley won with almost 62 percent of the vote.

Libertarian Martin Sullivan, elected in 2015, currently serves as vice mayor.

Click here for coverage in the Lakeland Ledger.


Delaware ex-GOP Libertarian running for reelection in Elsmere

Ed Zielinski, elected official and Libertarian candidate for Elsmere, Del. town council

Ed Zielinski, who switched from the Republican to the Libertarian Party last year, is running for reelection to the Elsmere, Delaware Town Council.

The election will take place this Sat., April 29.

Zielinski has fought against all tax increases brought up by the town council, and last year was successful in stopping one. He also was able to get tax relief for disabled and senior citizens, and has continually pushed for more spending cuts and tax cuts.

Click here to view Councilman Zielinski’s Facebook page.


What EpiPen and Lasik reveal about healthcare

Arvin Vohra, vice chair of the Libertarian National Committee

by Arvin Vohra, Libertarian Party Vice Chair

EpiPen is basically early 1900s technology. It’s a syringe containing adrenaline, attached to a spring. During the last couple of years, the price has increased from $100 per device to $600. Even though production cost has gone down to $10 per device, the price
has gone up.

Laser eye surgery, on the other hand, is futuristic technology. During the last few years, its price has declined from several thousand dollars per eye, to a few hundred. In other words, the price of the futuristic technology that requires both advanced technology and skilled labor has gone down to the price of 100-year-old tech that requires no skilled labor to use.

Why? There is less government involvement in laser eye surgery.

Read more here.


Colorado LP chair interviewed on Denver NBC television affiliate

Wayne Harlos, chair of the Libertarian Party of Colorado

Wayne Harlos, the Colorado Libertarian Party chair, was interview on the show “Next” on KUSA Channel 9, the NBC television affiliate in Denver, Col., on April 12.

Click here to watch the interview.


Mississippi Libertarian for mayor featured on ABC, Fox TV

Mariner Durant, Libertarian candidate for mayor of Meridian, Miss.

Mariner Durant, the Libertarian candidate for Mayor in Meridian, Mississippi this November, was recently interviewed on WTOK-TV, the local ABC affiliate. Click here to watch the interview.

Durant also was interviewed on Fox 30. Click here to watch.

 

Click here to view Durant’s campaign website.


2017 State LP Conventions

Visit LP.org/2017-state-conventions for newly announced LP state conventions and updates to those listed here.

Alabama: Feb. 25
Alaska: May 6
Arizona: Jan. 20–21
Arkansas: April 8
California: April 28–30
Colorado: March 24–26
Connecticut: March 11
Delaware: March 25
Florida: May 5–7
Georgia: March 25
Illinois: April 7–8
Indiana: May 5–7
Iowa: March 24–25
Kansas: April 22–23
Kentucky: June 23–25*
Maryland: April 29
Massachusetts: Oct. 14
Michigan: Feb. 4†
Minnesota: April 29
Mississippi: April 8
Missouri: July 22
Montana: Feb. 19
Nebraska: Oct. 20–22
Nevada: Jan. 21
New Hampshire: March 18
New Jersey: March 11
New Mexico: April 8
New York: April 29
North Carolina: Aug. 11–13
Ohio: May 5–7
Pennsylvania: April 2
South Carolina: Nov. 4
South Dakota: July 22
Tennessee: March 11
Utah: April 22–23
Virginia: May 6
Washington: April 21–23
West Virginia: June 24
Wisconsin: April 21–23
* LP Kentucky will also hold a special convention on Aug. 5, to focus on rules and constitutional changes that are needed to alleviate time constraints for rules issues at the main convention.  LP Michigan’s Feb. 4 event was a special convention for purpose of adopting bylaws pertaining to LPMI’s acquiring “major party” status; state convention to be scheduled for late spring.

 

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1444 Duke St., Alexandria, Virginia 22314
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Two Important Bills are going up for a vote in the House and Senate

LibertyFirstNetwork

 

Support HB425: Property rights are advanced when owners have the freedom to rent out their property

Many property owners in Florida generate extra income by renting their homes to tourist vacationing in Florida. These types of rentals also help Florida’s tourism by allowing families to save money by staying together in a home instead of multiple hotel rooms. This flexibility promotes more tourism, which produces $67 billion in economic activity every year.

HB 425 prevents local governments from passing new regulations on vacation rentals based solely on their classification, while not affecting local homeowners’ associations and neighborhoods that have adopted their own covenants, declarations, or bylaws.

Local governments have exploited current rental laws with excessive fines, penalties and fees. HB 425 will safeguard property owners from overreaching local governments with state-wide standards that protect property rights.

TAKE ACTION

HB 425 is on Special Order Calendar for Thursday April 27th, 2017 and could be voted on by the full House this week.

Call and e-mail your district Representative to support HB 425 and protect our property rights.

CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE

IMPORTANT: Make sure you save the contact information to your State Representative in your cell phone and include both the District office and Tallahassee office numbers and REMEMBER TO USE THE BILL NUMBER WHEN CALLING


 

Support SB 616: Support our right to carry firearms

SB 616 would allow concealed weapons permit-holders to carry guns into courthouses and temporarily surrender and store the gun at a security checkpoint.

TAKE ACTION

SB 616 is on Special Order Calendar for Thursday April 27th, 2017 and could be voted on by the full Senate this week.

Call and e-mail your district Senator to support SB 616 and protect our right to carry firearms

CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR STATE SENATOR

IMPORTANT: Make sure you save the contact information to your State Senator in your cell phone and include both the District office and Tallahassee office numbers and REMEMBER TO USE THE BILL NUMBER WHEN CALLING

 

Liberty First Network · 9851 State Road 54, New Port Richey, FL 34655, United States


Please Donate for This

 

Please help me reach $9,000 for this effort today.

 

Click here to see our progress.

 

Caryn Ann Harlos personally donated $1,500. And by the way, she’s the one who will spend hundreds, if not thousands of hours volunteering and organizing other volunteers to make this project happen.

 

This isn’t just about preserving and publishing our historical documents before they degrade too far. It’s also about using volunteers to go through approximately 100 boxes and file cabinet drawers with 45 years of history, to organize, scan, and ultimately dispose of many of the duplicate or unimportant items.

 

We simply can’t afford to pay someone to do this entire effort and I’m very thankful that Caryn Ann and her team of volunteers are donating their time, expertise, and passion for liberty to this project.

 

It takes people who really care about the Libertarian Party to look at a document, and decide whether or not it’s worth keeping, organizing, scanning, publishing, or recommending for disposal.

 

By the way, a few years ago, we had around 300 boxes of documents and various pieces of paper stored at LP Headquarters. It was getting hard to find important things, and also hard to find places to put newer items. Things were getting out of hand. Finally, I had enough, so I spent dozens of hours going through boxes and making quick decisions on what to keep, and what to toss or shred. I found plenty of things that were either too dirty, or obviously not important enough to be worth preserving (like ten-year old survey response forms).

 

I cut our number of boxes down from about 300 to just 100. But now we need someone to go through those remaining boxes and file cabinets slowly and carefully.

 

We’ve been paying about $240 per month lately to store these items in a climate-controlled storage. I hope to cut that cost in half or completely eliminate the need for outside storage by further reducing the number of physical copies of things we have to maintain.

 

But in the short run, we need to raise funds to cover associated expenses.

 

Please donate today.

 

Click here to donate.

 

 

Thanks again for your support.

 

 

 

Wes Benedict

Executive Director

 

===============

 

From April 25, 2017:

 

Dear Libertarian,

Caryn Ann Harlos

Our party is growing and I am thrilled to help welcome so many “newborn Libertarians”.

 

But, as we grow and move towards our future, we MUST know our past, and we are in serious danger of losing it.

 

Many of the original delegates and liberty-fighters that started this party have passed away and with them go their memories and their archives.

 

I have had a passion for our history from the very first moment I read our Statement of Principles and this continues unabated to this day.

 

Last December I visited our headquarters and asked for a tour of the archives, and when I got the thrill of holding the very first issues of LP News and older news release and pictures and materials, I was overcome with the conviction that this was the common property of us all.

 

Everyone should have this opportunity to at least see all of this work and these treasures.

 

We have a deep ideological history and knowing that we stand on the shoulders of giants and continue in paths laid down by others helps to ground and inspire the eager new Libertarians we have brought in and re-ignite the fire in the belly of those who have been working for years.

 

Other than the sheer love of our history and our principles, there is a very practical side to this work.

 

There are very few things that are completely new and this party has written on freedom issues over decades. So, why should affiliates and candidates have to re-invent the wheel when we are asked about how we would end taxation, defend gun rights, or even…. build the roads?

 

With these archives available, Libertarians could re-construct and tailor press releases and talking points without having to re-expend precious resources.

 

Also, knowing history keeps us from repeating bad history.

 

Oftentimes we believe we have some “new idea” or solution but if we only knew our history we could know it has been tried before and where it might not have worked—and thus save ourselves from repeating past mistakes.

 

History is important.  It matters.

 

No one will save our history if we don’t.

 

I believe this may be one of the most important projects I will work on in my life.

 

I have traveled from convention to convention re-igniting and starting the passion for our history in affiliate after affiliate.

 

We are currently preparing the archives to be moved from headquarters in Alexandria, VA, to Colorado, where I live and will be managing the organizing and cataloging of these precious items.

 

I am a professional paralegal with over twenty years of experience in document management.

 

Once we know what we have, we will know what we don’t have, and the hunt will begin to find those missing pieces. Also, it will allow us to concentrate first on the items of most interest and most use to party members and move on from there.

 

For example, newsletters of all kinds are of general and intense interest. Already, we have scanned all the past archive issues of Liberty Pledge and made them available and have assembled a “most wanted” list of missing issues… you can see the archive here.

 

You can view similar archives of past platforms that are in fact complete and wonderfully preserved here.

 

Our next target is all of those old issues of LP News from 1972 onward.

This will be a huge project as we have an incomplete collection of these items in our archives and they are fragile. We’ll also have to overcome the challenges of scanning large newsprint pieces.

 

After those items, we will find training materials, minutes (particularly convention minutes), position papers, and the like. This work needs volunteers and funding.

 

The home for these records will be LPedia.org – the working collaborative, crowd-sourced history of the Libertarian Party.

 

From the description page: “LPedia is not Wikipedia. Unlike Wikipedia, which is based on the model of an encyclopedia, LPedia is more like a library. LPedia includes encyclopedia-style articles, including articles based on or describing historical documents, but it also includes the historical documents themselves.”

 

This will not be limited to national items, though national items are those items in the scope of our Historical Preservation Committee. State parties can also use LPedia to preserve and update their history. It will take on a life of its own. Spontaneous order if you will. Very libertarian.

 

I invite you to start an account today and start documenting the part of our history that you know.

 

And I also ask that you consider donating towards our historical preservation efforts. You can do so here.

 

 

Caryn Ann Harlos

LNC Region 1 Representative

Chair, Libertarian Party Historical Preservation Committee

     

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1444 Duke St., Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Content not authorized by any
candidate or candidate committee.

Outreach to the Center

You are invited
to a special conference call about
Outreach to the Center
LNC Representative
Joshua Katz

Tuesday, May 16

 

5 PM Pacific

6 PM Mountain

7 PM Central

8 PM Eastern

 

Joshua has been elected to two offices: Chief of Emergency Medical Services in Hempstead, NY, and later as member of the Planning Commission in Westbrook, CT. He currently serves as an At Large Representative on the Libertarian National Committee.

 

TO RSVP
email RSVP@lp.org
and we will send you
the call-in information.

     

Paid for by the
Libertarian National Committee, Inc.
1444 Duke St., Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Content not authorized by any
candidate or candidate committee.

The Political Is Now Personal

RalphBenkohttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/living-room-conversations/the-political-is-now-pers_b_14662924.html

02/09/2017 02:57 pm ET

 

Living Room Conversations Open your ears. Open your mind. Open your home.

By Ralph Benko

The Rasmussen polling company recently issued a bulletin headlined “A lot of Americans have hard feelings after last November’s presidential election.” This is not a surprise but it is good to have it quantified:

“A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 40% of Likely U.S. Voters think the election has negatively affected their personal relationship with a friend or family member.

>snip<

One of the most famous declarations from “second-wave feminism” is that “the personal is political,” popularized in a 1969 essay of that title by feminist Carol Hanisch. There, as summarized by Wikipedia, “she urged women to overcome self-blame, discuss their situations amongst each other, and organize collectively against male domination of society.”

It quotes this from that influential essay:

“One of the first things we discover in these groups is that personal problems are political problems. There are no personal solutions at this time. There is only collective action for a collective solution.”

Amen. That said, we are now, more intensely than before, confronting a situation that that could be stated as the converse of this axiom: “the political is personal.”

>snip<

Had the Rasmussen organization included me in its poll it would have found me in neither “Strongly Disapprove” or “Strongly Approve.” I score “Cautiously Optimistic” based in part on my interpretation of information that has been only spottily been reported in the elite media, in part on my good opinion, some derived from first-hand knowledge, of many of those that Trump has surrounded himself with, and in part on my latitudinarian — “not insisting on strict conformity to a particular doctrine or standard” — natural disposition.

It would not be quite true to say that the election, or, to be more precise, Trump (and my hopeful take on him) has “hurt” a personal relationship. Yet it certainly has put a real strain on several, some very personal. Many dear friends of a left-wing, or refined cosmopolitan, orientation are genuinely appalled that I do not share their passionate indictment of Trump. I am grateful for their generosity in not letting a political view damage the personal love between us.

>snip<

What we are observing, politically, is a revolution. Bannon emphatically characterized it as such, well before the election, in a Skyped-in speech at the Vatican to the Human Dignity Institute. The full text was transcribed by Buzzfeed. (By “revolution” Bannon did not, in my view, mean what his detractors infer. He meant something more interesting. Read the speech and decide for yourself.)

That “revolution” has evoked a “counter-revolution.” The most notable event so far was the Women’s Marches. Their stand was most wittily summed up by a placard reportedly characterizing Donald Trump as “Super-Callous-Fascist-Racist-Extra-Braggadocious.”

If that’s what Trump is then those who support him are either knaves or fools. Trump’s supporters, however, consider that view of him as “Super-Callow-Fragile-Ballistic-Extraordinarily-Ferocious.”

Is a clash in which the political becomes personal inevitable? Is injury to personal relationships regrettable, but necessary, collateral damage?

Maybe.

Or maybe not.

There is a quiet “counter-counter-revolution” afoot. It is exemplified by LivingRoomConversations.org, AllSides.com and HiFromTheOtherSide.com among others. Its premise may be even more radical than that of the revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries: “The social is political.”

Listening to, not reviling, those of opposing viewpoints may not — probably will not and should not — change many views on issues. But it transforms our understanding of many of those who hold opposing views, recognizing that those who hold opposing views are not necessarily fools or knaves. Transformed mine.

We counter-counter-revolutionaries are seizing power to transform the political climate into one of construction, not destruction. Diversity of views is a treasure of classical liberal political culture.

We can disagree passionately without acrimony. That’s powerful.

It’s part of what made America great. It’s part of what can make America great again.

>snip<

To read the full column, click here.

Follow Living Room Conversations on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LivingRoomConvo

American Spectator – James Comey’s Bizarro World

The American Spectator Logo

James Comey’s Bizarro World

James Comey’s Bizarro World

BY: SCOTT MCKAY

Why is the FBI writing checks to Democrat oppo researchers in the middle of a presidential election?

Prior to this week, we knew of a number of actions and statements by FBI director James Comey surrounding the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

We knew that Comey surfaced in front of the press in early July to declare that, despite a lengthy and intensive investigation into Clinton’s illicit email server, “no reasonable prosecutor” would seek an indictment against her for conduct that he stipulated was violative of federal law on handling classified information. READ MORE

Trump Cabinet Science-Denial or Scientific Skepticism

Obama Gears Up for Underground War To Take Down New Adminstration

BY: JOHN C. WOHLSTETTERDo the Democrats see a “glorious summer” ahead, this year or next, when the Trump administration implodes?

Make no mistake at what is going on, an event without precedent in American history: Having lost a bitterly-contested, close election they felt certain they would easily win, the leadership of the Democratic Party seeks to remove a duly elected president they despise.

Spearheading this effort is none other than the immediate past president, Barack Obama. He has been joined by his operations aide and longtime loyalist Valerie Jarrett, by billionaire funders, by most of Hollywood and academia, by key elements of the “deep-state” federal bureaucracy, and with a de facto propaganda arm in the progressive press.

READ MORE

Enemy Central

Turning the Tables on the Wiretappers

ENEMY CENTRALPresident Trump has much in common with likable heroes and all-around good guys.

There’s been nothing like it since 1968. Let’s go to the videotape. The movie, Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen as the eponymous SFPD detective Frank Bullitt. It was McQueen’s greatest role — he let his eyes do his acting for him, always a wise choice in his case and boy was he observant this time. The movie is most famous for its extended “chase” scene, up and down San Francisco’s hills, full of left-turn, right-turn skidding and screeching until it all ended badly for the bad guys.

What people forget is how the chase started and what happened midway. READ MORE

More of Today’s Headlines:

The Spectacle Blog:

Read More


PeaceOptions – Conscious Choices: Joining the Fight vs. Standing for Peace

PeaceOptions

 

Apr 11, 2017 12:54 pm | John Dennison

 

Am I the only one torn over what we see in the news? It’s as if the Trump election and months since have ripped a hole in the fabric of my reality, making me question some of the foundations of this life I’ve been living. It’s put me through something of an existential crisis lately….

The post Conscious Choices: Joining the Fight vs. Standing for Peace appeared first on PeaceOptions.

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Apr 10, 2017 10:32 am | John Dennison

 

What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result? Well, then I must be nuttier than a fruitcake. Because I’m still here talking about peace while addressing the conditions — both inner and outer — that combine to steal it. Lately that’s had me writing and speaking…

The post The Insanity of Trying to Change My World appeared first on PeaceOptions.

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Apr 06, 2017 10:43 pm | John Dennison

 

Do you like to watch a good fight? There’s a great one going on and I thought maybe you’d like to watch it with me. It’s called ObamaGate, and we’ve got ringside seats for a winner-take-all death match now going on for the future of our country. Once upon a time I thought I’d be…

The post #ObamaGate: Ringside Seats for the Fight of the Century appeared first on PeaceOptions.

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Mar 23, 2017 11:01 am | John Dennison

 

This is the time of changes. Where we go from here is up to us. We all know the news. Turmoil abroad. Turmoil at home. Passions run hot, and people are at each others’ throats. We can’t seem to agree on much of anything. Worse, we don’t want to listen to those who see things…

The post Either We Change, or We Will Perish from the Earth appeared first on PeaceOptions.

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Mar 16, 2017 11:49 pm | John Dennison

 

Did you ever doubt yourself? Have you ever wondered whether you’re on the right track? Or that you were enough for the job? I have. And often still do. It’s hard, popping your own balloon and seeing yourself as you really are. Sometimes you just don’t like what you see. My new life started over…

The post Confessions of a Dead Man Walking appeared first on PeaceOptions.

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Donald Trump and the Nature of Victory

LibertarianAlliance.mvc

 

With a Bound, He was Free?
Donald Trump and the Nature of Victory

by Sean Gabb
(13th April 2017)

Since I am pushing myself into a debate between foreigners, I must begin by explaining myself. I am not an American, and do not wish to be one. I do not live in America, and do not wish to live there. The only country I love and know well is England. This being said, I have an obvious right of audience in the debate on Donald Trump. England and America share a language. Any impartial observer looking at the two countries will see two ruling classes, almost joined at the hip, facing two subject peoples whose assumptions about the good life and how it may be promoted largely overlap. If the relationship is unbalanced by an inequality of size and wealth, what happens in either country has an inescapable effect on what happens in the other. Rules of politeness that hold me from commenting on affairs in France or Germany do not apply to America. Here, then, are my thoughts on what has happened in America during the past week.

 

I am disturbed my Mr Trump’s apparent breaking of his election promises. He promised no more interventions in the Middle East. He has attacked Government forces in Syria, and on grounds that seem dubious in themselves. He promised better relations with Russia. These relations now seem lower than they were when Mr Obama was the American President. He denounced NATO as “obsolete.” He is now happy with NATO. American healthcare is not my proper concern. But it is worth observing, in the light of his foreign policy, that he seemed to promise his working class supporters a system less dominated by entrenched special interests. It is a mercy, I am told by friends whose judgement I trust, that his only attempt at reform was frustrated.

It may be that he has no intention of keeping his promises. Perhaps he never had any intention of keeping them. Perhaps he has seen the scale of resistance to what he promised, and has given up. Or it may be that he is playing some clever game, and will, once more, come out unexpectedly triumphant. I think it will take a year to know the truth beyond reasonable doubt. For the moment, however, I will assume the former possibility. I first voted in a general election in 1979, and paid close attention, over the next decade, to a woman who, in breach of every actual or implied promise, made my country more regulated, more heavily taxed, more diverse, more subservient to foreign interests, and generally more enslaved than she found it. Ronald Reagan followed roughly the same course. It strikes me as more likely than not that Mr Trump is now doing the same.

If so, this would be a disappointment. But it is no cause for despair. 2017 is not the early 1980s. The differences go far beyond changes of fashion and an updating of lies. They are roughly as follows:

First, Mrs Thatcher and Mr Reagan took up the rhetoric of market liberalism. Many of us looked at the chapter headings, and assumed the promise was of radical deregulation and a general penumbra of changes that seemed to follow from this. We ignored the main text, or the alternative meanings that could be placed on words. I realised what was happening earlier than most. Even I took till after the 1983 general election to understand that the real agenda was one of corporatism and the beginnings of a police state. It took me longer still to see that this would be a politically correct police state.

The rhetoric that Donald Trump took up in his campaign was of populism – and a populism that took account of all that had been done to his country since about 1980 or before. There is no unread text in the promises he made. His words have no alternative meanings. He promised an end to foreign intervention, and an end to political correctness, and an end to domination by special interests. After a very short time – and, I grant again, that this short time may not yet be over – broken promises stand out as plainly as a wrong in arithmetic.

Second, in the 1980s, we faced a narrative constructed and maintained from the centre. There was a centralised media that allowed only certain issues to be discussed, and that ensured they were discussed only in certain ways. This is not to say that control of the media was monolithic. Debates were lively, and even acrimonious. But important facts were often withheld, and the public was encouraged to look at those facts that were published through various kinds of partisan lens that kept the truth from being perceived. Of equal and associated importance, the media in those days were organised to broadcast from the centre to the periphery. They did little to enable a conversation between the centre and the periphery, and conversations within the periphery were localised and compartmentalised. What has happened since then is too obvious to need describing. When Mr Trump ordered those missiles to be launched, Facebook and Twitter and the blogs began an unmanaged and unmanageable debate in which ordinary people could discuss in public whether and to what extent they had been lied to.

Third, and following from the above, Mr Trump’s supporters have the advantage of hindsight. I will boast again that I rumbled Mrs Thatcher earlier than most. Even so, it took years for it to dawn on me fully that she was fronting an elaborate fraud – or, at least, a mistake. Here, I speak from English experience, though I believe it was much the same in America. The Enemy she and her friends pointed us toward was a coalition of pro-Soviet union leaders and alleged degenerates. The remedy involved vast military spending, and an attack on the working class, and things like the prepublication censorship of video recordings. The actual enemy was a coalition of university graduates who wore suits, had at best a lingering taste for Marxism-Leninism, were not hostile to certain kinds of corporate enterprise, were out of love with the social liberalism of the 1960s, and whose own agenda can be summarised as political correctness plus the constable. Whether or not they noticed these people until it was too late, the Thatcherites did nothing to stop them, and tended to promote them. The rest of us were encouraged to laugh now and again at their linguistic tricks – and then go back to fretting over Arthur Scargill’s plan to make England into a copy of East Germany.

Nowadays, we know exactly who the Enemy is. These people run education and the media, and criminal justice and the administration, and most of big business. If they are not perfectly united, they stand together in a project to make the rest of us into denatured tax serf-consumers. Just because some of them work in the formally private sector does not make them into friends of private enterprise. Just because some of them want to make pornography illegal does not make them into social conservatives.

Fourth, and again following from the above, the Enemy is getting old. When I was a student, these people were in their thirties or my own age. They had a messianic belief in their own self-righteousness, and considerable networking abilities. Most of us, on the other hand, were old farts, pining for the 1950s, or semi-autistic libertarians, prepared to shun each other for taking a wrong view of the non-aggression principle. Those who were neither were chancers or shills. Hardly surprising if we were shoved aside or simply ignored.

The Enemy is now old and discredited. The successor generation is stuffed with mediocrities. The new generation of dissidents is young and not particularly bound by considerations of ideological purity. Open borders? Shut them! Socialised healthcare? If our own working classes want it, let it be! Trade policy? Whatever is politically useful! The managerial state? Shut down what we cannot take over; what we can take over use before we shut it down! Though I wrote one of its early texts, I am not sure if I qualify for membership of the Alternative Right. But I recognise quality when I see it. None of my old friends ever made the Enemy hysterical with fright. None of us ever reduced the Enemy to a laughing stock. I doubt if we ever did much, beyond voting for them, to help our clay-footed idols get elected.

The two big events of 2016 were the British Referendum and the election of Donald Trump. For a moment, it looked as if with a bound, we were free. We are now finding that not all may be as it then seemed. At the same time, those elections were won. They were won explicitly as rejections of the present order of things. Unlike in the 1980s, the correlation of forces is on our side. If Donald Trump sells out, that is unfortunate. But there will be other chances.

 

Recent Posts


Preview our 20 proposals to REPLACE Obamacare

downsizeDC

 

We think the politicians screwed up healthcare. We have 20 specific ways they can unscrew it. Retweet

Next week, we’ll start working to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something good. Here, as promised, is a preview of our proposals.

  • Proposal #1: Restore natural prices and make them visible to patients. This will enable consumer control, foster competition, increase supply, and reduce costs.
  • Proposal #2: Repeal Obamacare in its entirety before considering legislation to replace it.
  • Proposal #3: Politicians should make all sickness and wellness expenditures tax deductible, including insurance premiums and preventive measures, such as supplements and fitness clubs.
  • Proposal #4: Revive true health insurance (and make it affordable too) by removing all the expensive mandates imposed by Obamacare and the states.
  • Proposal #5: Outlaw monopolistic “certificates of need.”
  • Proposal #6: End punitive damages that enrich lawyers with no compensating health benefit.
  • Proposal #7: Make the FDA advisory, not dictatorial.
  • Proposal #8: Restrict the FDA to certifying safety only.
  • Proposal #9: End the FDA’s power to regulate generic drug factories.
  • Proposal #10: Limit pharmaceutical patent protection to the recovery of research costs.
  • Proposal #11: Remove redundant licensing requirements.
  • Proposal #12: Incentivize the frugal use of medical services by creating the equivalent of Medicaid and Medicare HSAs.
  • Proposal #13: Increase co-pays for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
  • Proposal #14: Reduce doctor visits by ending the need for prescriptions.
  • Proposal #15: The State should stop defining dietary guidelines.
  • Proposal #16: Create an exchange for pro-bono services and voluntary funding.
  • Proposal #17: Provide a 100% tax credit to anyone who pays for an indigent person’s healthcare expenses.
  • Proposal #18: Make Medicare a safety net rather than a dragnet.
  • Proposal #19: Make indigent access to the tax-funded safety net contingent on a history of personal responsibility.
  • Proposal #20: Create a schedule to devolve Medicare and Medicaid to the states or localities.

We’ll show you more details starting next week. If you have any feedback about this list of reforms, send it to Feedback at DownsizeDC.org or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

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Thank God and Greyhound You’re Gone by Robert Ringer

Ringer_head_image

 

Now I have yet another reason to dislike Megyn Kelly. Just as I was putting together some notes for an article in which I was going to predict she would leave Fox News for an exalted slot at one of the major networks, she broke the news to viewers that her last show with Fox would be January 6.

She proudly went on to say that she would be jumping into the Radical Left snake pit at NBC — a perfect choice for her. It’s only fitting that Kelly should go to the Dirty Dems’ leading PR firm, where she will be free to come out of the closet as a true-believing lefty.

Except for a rare segment here and there, I long ago stopped watching the angry, narcissistic, megalomaniac who’s cup runneth over with self-love. However, when I heard that January 6 would be her last show on Fox, I yielded to curiosity and tuned in. When the show mercifully ended, I had the same thought that I’m sure I’ll have on January 20th — a line right out of Roy Clark’s classic song, “Thank God and Greyhound You’re gone.”

But perhaps Kelly won’t completely abandon her ideological closet when she goes to work at NBC, because it might just be that one of the ways in which NBC hopes to recoup its huge investment in her is that it believes she can periodically lure Donald Trump into appearing on her show. And even if he’s smart enough to resist that temptation, she very possibly could taunt him into a Twitter war that would get her tons of publicity.

After all, Kelly, who would do anything to get ahead (heads up to her current stay-at-home husband), cleverly and successfully used Donald Trump, the world’s biggest news draw by light years, to further her own career. And she did it by employing her stock in trade — making herself part of the story rather than just reporting the news.

So it’s possible that she’ll try to use Trump’s Achilles Heel — his vulnerability to sycophantism — to lure him into coming on her new show, then brawling with him on a regular basis on Twitter. Kelly is a master at riding the coattails of important people, and Trump has the longest coattails in the world right now.

Advice to DT: Be prepared for Kelly’s attempts to get you to acknowledge her — and don’t take the bait. Ignore her requests for interviews and don’t lower yourself to even mention her name.

After Kelly’s announcement that she would be leaving Fox, the big question became, who will her replacement be? I had my own list prepared, but in a surprising and brilliant move, the Murdochs immediately shifted Tucker Carlson into the 9:00 pm slot.

Tucker’s ratings have been through the roof, so the likelihood is that he will be the permanent host at 9:00 pm. He thrives on having Radical Left guys on as guests, then annihilating them with his unmatched debating skills. His knowledge and verbal prowess are nothing short of amazing. I would not want to get him mad at me.

That said, since I had already started the article on Kelly’s replacement, I’ll use the material to pass along to you who my top female picks were for her job:

At the top of the list, based on brains, humor, a willingness to call out the bad guys, and unparalleled talent in making sarcastic and sardonic comments, is the legendary Laura Ingraham. Based on her history with Fox News to date, however, I doubted she would be the choice. Fox gave her the five o’clock hour some years ago, only to quickly replace her with Glenn Beck, who was a phenomenon for about a year before suddenly losing his mind.

After Laura Ingraham, my first choice would have been the incomparable Judge Jeanine Pirro, the sexiest 65-year-old woman ever to appear on television. She’s brilliant, fearless when it comes to using politically incorrect language (especially when it comes to referring to Obama and other high-profile radical leftists), and effusively entertaining.

However, I doubt Fox would have put a 65-year-old woman in its prime slot for fear she would grow old on them — despite the fact that right now she looks better than most women half her age. I love Judge Jeanine.

Third on my Female Fox Talent list would be Trish Regan — good looking, smart as a whip, a willingness to go after everyone from Obama on down, and hardcore pro-liberty. She has it all.

I would put Andrea Tantaros right up there with Regan, but since she had a falling out with Fox, it’s unlikely they would consider her for employment again. I hope I’m wrong about that.

Then there’s Lisa Boothe, who, like Barack Obama, seems to have appeared out of nowhere — though I doubt she’s from Kenya. Seriously, there is hardly any information about her business or personal life on the Internet. Nevertheless, she is super great.

Boothe just popped up one day on Fox News and immediately became a regular contributor on its biggest shows. She is extremely smart, knows the facts cold, and gets an A+ when it comes to expressing herself — and, of course, her good looks don’t hurt her.

Next is Shannon Bream, whom I adore. She’s the antithesis of Kelly — very likeable and always focused on the news rather than herself. Though she was a state beauty queen in both Florida and Virginia, she comes across as the girl next door — very sweet, very pleasant. In my opinion, she’s a very underutilized talent.

Sandra Smith would be my next pick. She substituted for Kelly many times, and was like a breath of fresh air when she did. She also co-hosts the terrific Fox News show, Outnumbered, at noon. Like Shannon Bream, Smith is not only smart and talented, but very likeable.

Kennedy (full name Lisa Kennedy Montgomery) is all-around great. She is both smart and humorous — and a libertarian to boot. She hosts her own show on Fox Business and is a frequent co-host of Outnumbered. I’d be happy to see her in any time slot.

Harris Faulkner is classy, smart, and strong, but probably a bit dull for a prime-time solo hosting job. She is, however, a sleeper, because I’ve watched her dramatically improve her skills over the past several years.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, also beautiful, smart, and the possessor of great verbal skills, has improved a lot since she lost her first show some years ago, but there’s something about her voice that’s a bit irritating. She’s been an excellent utility infielder, but stardom is likely beyond her reach at this point.

Two sleepers are Ainsley Earhardt, who is very likeable, and firebrand Tomi Lahren, the 24-year-old Glenn Beck discovery. Earhardt may be too likeable for a tough news show, and Lahren, though she’s making a huge splash, is probably a few years away from being ready for prime time.

There are a number of others at Fox who are very good, including Katie Pavlich, Eboni Williams, and Melissa Francis, to name a few, but right now I’ll stand by my list above. And, of course, it goes without saying that any of the women I’ve mentioned in this article tower over Megyn the Malevolent.

On the negative side, now that the greatest accident in TV history, Greta, has gone back to her ultra-liberal roots by signing with MSNBC, Dana Perino is deserving of her title as Most Unwatchable. Perino is Republican establishment to the core and has an air about her that suggests she envisions herself as the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary. She is one of two reasons (the other being moron Juan Williams) that I don’t watch The Five.

In any event, if Tucker Carlson keeps moving up in the ratings, he’s likely to still be in the 9:00 pm time slot when O’Reilly is in a nursing home. Good luck to you, Tucker. You’ve always been brilliant and bold, and you deserve all the success you can garner.

In the meantime, MK, we really do thank God and Greyhound you’re gone.

 

Original story appears here: http://robertringer.com/thank-god-and-greyhound-youre-gone/