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You are invited – What is ballot access and why does it matter?

You are invited to
a special conference call on
Ballot Access:
What is it and why does it matter?
with
LNC Representative
William Redpath
&
LP Candidate & Affiliate Support Specialist
Bob Johnston

Wednesday
February 15

 

1 PM Pacific

2 PM Mountain

3 PM Central

4 PM Eastern

Ballot access is one of the most

important issues for the Libertarian Party.

 

Both Bill and Bob have many years of experience

working on ballot access on our behalf.

 

Come hear from these two experts

about what ballot access entails and why it matters so much.

 

Whether this is a new topic for you or something

you are well experienced with yourself,

join us for this conference call

and ask questions of these two experts.

 

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

    

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

2017 Session: Week 3

 

2017 Session: Week 3

 

Week 2 of the NH Legislative Session is in the books, and Liberty Lobby LLC was at the statehouse and Legislative Office Building (LOB) testifying for pro-freedom legislation and against anti-freedom legislation.

On Tuesday (Jan 24), CEO Darryl W. Perry testified on:

 

HB379 relative to political advertising in rights-of-way. support (with reservation)
HB384 establishing a committee to study ballot access in New Hampshire. support
HB240 relative to state party conventions. oppose
HB497 relative to delegates to national party conventions. oppose
HB533 relative to political advocacy organizations. oppose
HB477 relative to free speech on campuses in the university system and the community college system. support

On Wednesday (Jan 25), Perry testified on:

HB389 relative to voters with physical disabilities. oppose
HB390 relative to parties on certain election forms and ballots and relative to the voter registration form used on the day of the general election. support
HB464 relative to voter identification requirements when obtaining a ballot. oppose
HB447 relative to allocating electoral college electors based on the national popular vote. oppose
HB436 exempting persons using virtual currency from registering as money transmitters. support

Video will soon be available for several of these hearings on the Liberty Lobby LLC YouTube channel. As we prepare for Week 4, we are also tracking the committee recommendations of bills we have targeted.

CACR1 Relating to the general court. Providing that the general court shall hold sessions biennially. ITL’d via voice vote on Jan 26 Liberty Lobby LLC recommended adoption
HB153 Requiring a manslaughter charge for heroin and fentanyl dealers when the user dies. ITL’d via voice vote on Jan 26 Liberty Lobby LLC recommended the bill be defeated
HB253 relative to campaign materials at the polling place. Committee Recommendation: ITL Floor date: Feb 2 Liberty Lobby LLC recommends adoption
HB83 prohibiting family members from serving on the same town, city, or school district board or committee. Committee Recommendation: ITL Floor date: Feb 2 Liberty Lobby LLC recommends the bill be defeated

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

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

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.

 

 


Nouriel Roubini? The Golden Doves Are More Powerful Than The Golden Hawks

Nov 26, 2016 @ 05:00 PM

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2016/11/26/nouriel-roubini-the-golden-doves-are-more-powerful-than-the-golden-hawks/#55674ea16ff6

Ralph Benko

In Project Syndicate Prof. Nouriel Roubini writes about Trump’s Monetary Conundrum:

During his campaign, Trump threatened the US Federal Reserve’s independence, and heaped criticism on Fed Chair Janet Yellen. But Trump is a real-estate mogul, so we cannot immediately assume that he is a true monetary-policy hawk, and not a closet dove. His campaign rhetoric may have been directed at the Republican Party base, which is full of Fed-bashing gold bugs.

Roubini therein makes several unforced errors, two of them serious.

The more important error is that of portraying Chair Yellen, and the Federal Reserve, as dovish. That likely derives from a tyro error of fixating on the discount rate, at best a very weak factor — mainly symbolic — in the relative ease or tightness of monetary policy. >snip<

The dollar is at a 14 year high against the currencies of our trading partners. Bonds are being whipsawed. Many commodities are in an excruciating trough. Calling the current Fed dovish because of its forbearance on the discount rate implies that Roubini is missing the forest for the tress. Monetary policy is excruciatingly tight and possibly recessionary.

A second and less egregious error is his ascription of independence to the Fed. This is a polite fiction to which those in the know give lip service and virtually nobody believes. >snip<

The last error is Roubini’s neglect of the fact that there are two camps within the gold “bugs.” There are “Fed-bashing hawks,” represented by the critics of its Zero-Interest-Rate-Policy. And there are also Fed-respecting “doves.” Both are golden.

The Golden Hawks are louder. The Golden Doves have more influence on policy.

Roubini only knows what he hears. Yet it behooves him to conduct better diligence before he writes. The Golden Doves — those gold standard advocates who believe that the Fed is being much too tight — are the more persuasive, and thus policy influential, while less publicly vocal.

The Golden Doves are exemplified, by, among others, Lewis E. Lehrman, the Dean of modern gold standard proponents whose eponymous Institute I once professionally served, and by Steve Forbes, CEO of Forbes Media. Trump advisor Larry Kudlow — who would make a superb Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors — has also demonstrated dovish monetary tendencies.

Count me as a minor member of the Order of the Golden Dove. Whether one is hawkish or dovish at the right moment is of consummate importance to making America great again.

In 1925, Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churchill was at the center of a tug of war between the dovish Keynes and the hawkish Governor of the Bank of England, Montagu Norman. That tug of war had to do with the parity price at which Churchill would define the pound sterling upon resuming the gold standard.

The hawks then won. It ended very badly in what Churchill considered the worst blunder of his political career.

As noted in a blog at the Lehrman Institute’s thegoldstandardnow.org:

>snip<

In July, Keynes’s pamphlet, The Economic Consequences of Mr. Churchill, ferociously opposed a return to gold as a fixed exchange-rate system because of its effects on unemployment and the balance of payments. It was not directed at Churchill personally: WSC, he said, had made the decision ‘partly because he has no intuitive judgment, partly because of the clamourous voices of conventional finance, and, worst of all, because he was gravely misled by the experts.’

One hopes that President Trump will not allow himself to be “gravely misled by the experts.” In 1934, FDR ignored his experts and revalued the dollar from $20.67/oz to $35/oz. He thereby caused the Great Depression to begin to lift, dramatically so. As I here wrote:

As Rueff observed in The Monetary Sins of the West (The Macmillan Company, New York, New York, 1972, p. 101):

‘Let us not forget either the tremendous disaster of the Great Depression, carrying in its wake countless sufferings and wide-spread ruin, a catastrophe that was brought under control only in 1934, when President Roosevelt, after a complex mix of remedies had proved unavailing, raised the price of gold from $20 to $35 an ounce.’

>snip<

The point is that the gold standard is neither inherently hawkish nor dovish. Getting the parity point right — how many grains of gold define, and are legally exchangeable into, a dollar — is the key.

>snip<

In determining the correct parity price, one must equitably balance the interests of creditors and debtors. Optimally one will marginally privilege debtors, leaning slightly dovish. The classical gold standard, properly done, must reach and maintain a “Goldilocks” balance in monetary policy: not too tight, not too loose, just right.

>snip<

It is to be hoped that Prof. Roubini will dial back his grotesque caricature of gold standard proponents. He would be wise to discount the loudly screeching Golden Hawks and attune himself to the quieter cooing of the Golden Doves.

A properly reconstituted Gold Standard — formulated under the Jack Kemp Gold Standard Act of 1984 of which Lehrman was a silent architect — would give Donald Trump the optimal balance for America’s monetary policy. That is a crucial element of restoring equitable prosperity between labor and capital, thus restoring the American Dream.

President Trump? Field a team of Golden Doves to make America great again.

To read the full column click here.


Historical Preservation Committee

 

Please Apply by February 13, 2017

 

The Libertarian National Committee is seeking volunteers to serve on its recently created ad hoc Historical Preservation Committee. The duties of this Committee will include the organization and oversight of the preservation of Party historical records with a goal to make them widely and publicly available as well as the administration of LPedia.org (a wiki-style historical site) to facilitate this dissemination.

 

This Committee will comprise LNC-appointed Committee Chair Caryn Ann Harlos and up to four (4) additional members to be appointed by the Committee Chair. Additional volunteers are solicited to assist this Committee in the discharge of its duties, so all willing persons are encouraged to apply.

 

Specific required qualifications include:

  • willingness to attend frequent online meetings and to independently carry out duties;
  • ability to fundraise for Committee projects;
  • keen interest in Party history;
  • organizational skills;
  • volunteer coordination.

Helpful qualifications include:

  • Wikimedia software administration;
  • IT/website/archival experience;
  • proximity to Alexandra, VA;
  • past Party experience, including on the National level;
  • experience with historical or artifact conservation.

The Committee will meet and do most work electronically. There may be a rare physical meeting.

 

When you apply, please provide the following:

  • A resume or summary of your experience;
  • A brief note about how your skills match Committee needs;
  • A description of any work you’ve done for the Libertarian Party.

Please provide this relevant information and upload a resume, if available, preferably in a single PDF here.

 

Members interested in serving on the actual Committee are asked to please apply by 2/13/17. Members simply interested in volunteering to assist this Committee, please apply at any time or email caryn.ann.harlos@LP.org.

 

Any persons who simply wish to contribute to the costs needed for this effort can contribute here.

 

    

Paid for by the LIBERTARIAN
National Committee, Inc. (LNC)
1444 Duke St.,
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Content not authorized by any
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Film and the Roman Empire: How to Do It Well

LibertarianAlliance.mvc

 

Film and the Roman Empire: How to do it well
Richard Blake

Note: Steven Saylor has produced a rather different list of his favourite Roman films. You can see this here.

My purpose in this essay is to describe and compare and judge ten films set in the Roman Empire. I will apply two criteria. The first, and most obvious, is how these films stand as works of art in their own right – narrative structure, acting, general production values and so forth. The second, and for me almost equally important, is how well they show that the Ancients lived in a moral universe fundamentally different from our own.

Now, for the avoidance of doubt, I will say at once that I have no time for any of the neo-Marxist claims about Antiquity. Karl Polanyi and Moses Finlay were wrong in their belief that the laws of supply and demand have only operated since the eighteenth century. Michel Foucault was more than usually wrong when he denied that the Ancients had any notion of the individual. In all times and places, human nature is the same. All people are motivated by some combination of sex, money, status, power and the fear of death. The laws of Economics apply just as well in Ancient Rome as they do in Modern England.

What I do mean, however, is that these basic motivations showed themselves in often radically different ways. The Ancients were not Christians. They were not universalists. They had no concept of human equality. The establishment of chattel slavery among them normalised attitudes and behaviour that would have been thought outrageous in Ancien Régime Europe, and that every religious denomination would have been mobilised to denounce in the ante bellum American South.

The Ancients lacked technologies and scientific and moral concepts that we have taken for granted for five or six or even eight centuries. A modern secularist has more in common with a twelfth century theologian than with a Greek rationalist. He probably has more in common with a sixth century Bishop than with a pagan philosopher.

One of the main, though seldom noticed, differences between virtually everyone in the past and us is that they lived under the continual shadow of death. I have reached the age of fifty five. I might fall dead tomorrow, but the insurance tables tell me I have a long way yet to go before I need to start thinking hard about the inevitable end of things. I put off begetting children until I was in my forties. I only took up a serious study of the piano last year. Catullus was dead at thirty, Horace and Vergil in their fifties. Constantine the Great was an old and dying man when he was younger than I am now. Shorter time horizons must have an effect on almost every approach to life.

Any fictional recreation must show these differences, and show them without vexing readers or viewers with endless asides. I try to show them in my series of thrillers set in seventh century Byzantium. Without more elaboration, let me see how well they are shown in the ten films I have selected.

1. Julius Caesar (1953) – dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz; Marlon Brando, James Mason, John Geilgud.

I mention this film largely to make up the ten. Shakespeare had his own view of the Ancients, and this may be as alien to us as it misrepresents the Ancients. But I have always thought Julius Caesar his best play. He keeps his tendency to rhetorical excess under control, and his platting lacks the chaos of loose ends that you see in Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth. The film version is about as good as anyone could make it. Marlon Brando astonishes as Mark Antony. James Mason is on top form as Brutus. If all else were to vanish in a puff of burning celluloid, the debate in the Forum alone would show the greatness of Hollywood at its best.

2. Quo Vadis (1951) – dir, Mervyn LeRoy; Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Peter Ustinov.

This is a dreadful film, made watchable only by Peter Ustinov’s performance as Nero. Anyone who says the Hollywood studios have no regard for the Christian Faith should be chained in front of a video player for three hours with his eyes propped open. The film does everything short of giving a list of nearby churches in its closing credits. Its main problem, though, is that it shows the Ancients as Moderns in fancy dress. Peter Ustinov is a fine pantomime villain. But there is no sense that the Roman Empire was a very alien place.

3. Ben Hur (1959) – dir. William Wyler; Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins et al.

I have never watched this all the way through. But I must have seen it all many times in overlapping half hour tastings. I could write an essay on its historical inaccuracies – the raising of a freed galley slave to the nobility, for example, or his then being permitted to take part in a chariot race, and so on and so forth. But it is a good drama. Charlton Heston’s performance is one of his best. John Le Mesurier acts well in a bit part wildly out of character. Gore Vidal worked on the script. The chariot race is undoubtedly spectacular. The film seems to work in its own terms, though, as with Quo Vadis and most other sword and sandal films, it eliminates most sense of the Roman Empire as foreign in more than the sense you get of other countries from a holiday documentary.

4. Cleopatra (1963) – dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz; Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Roddy McDowall, and Martin Landau

Another one I have never seen all the way through – though I believe it was so cut about before release that hardly anyone else has either. What I most dislike about any film involving Cleopatra is that she is always shown as an Egyptian. But Alexandria was founded as a Greek city by Alexander the Great, and was the seat of a Macedonian-Greek dynasty that never went native. Cleopatra and her brother spoke Egyptian, and found it useful to show themselves outside the capital as traditional Pharaohs. Even so, she was an Oriental Greek in her language and assumptions.

Aside from this, Elisabeth Taylor puts in a weak performance, as does Richard Burton. They never stop winking at the audience and telling us about their private lives. Even radically cut, the film is vastly overlong. Also, it never breaks free of Shakespeare, without incorporating his undoubted excellence as a writer.

All the same, I liked Roddy McDowell as Octavian. The main focus should have been on his rise to power. Otherwise, Carry on Cleo is a better artistic effort, and says no less about the period.

5. Spartacus (1960) – dir. Stanley Kubrick; Kirk Douglas, Jean Simmons, Laurence Olivier, Tony Curtis, Peter Ustinov

If you want an overview of the Third Servile War and the decay of the Republic, this film is almost as bad a place to start as the Khachaturian ballet. Take, for example, the scene, restored in 1991, where Crassus is trying to seduce his slave Antoninus with a lecture about how fine it is to like eating both oysters and snails. The gay lobby was strong enough to bring on a storm of applause. But the scene is absurd. Slaves were as much the property of their masters as horses and tunics. If a nobleman fancied one of his boy slaves, it was a matter of telling him to strip naked and waiting for someone to loosen his own clothing.

This is what I mean by the different moral universe of the Ancients. Not only had they no prejudice against all-male sex, they had no special word for it. They had words for buggery, fellatio, cunnilingus, and every conceivable act. But they had no concept of The Homosexual as a different kind of person. Let this do for the film’s unspoken assumption that Ancient Rome was much the same as Modern America, but with funny clothes and a somewhat bloodier taste in entertainments.

This being said, the film is based on a solid, if politically eccentric, novel by Howard Fast, and the acting is good. Tony Curtis turns in a surprisingly heavyweight performance. Peter Ustinov shines again – though his Batiatus is much more nuanced than his Nero. Charles Laughton almost steals the film as Gracchus – and he manages to look very like Cicero in old age. If you can accept it as a leftist commentary on America in the early days of the Civil Rights Movement, this is a film eminently worth watching and rewatching.

6. Gladiator (2000) – dir. Ridley Scott; Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Oliver Reed

This film has its good points. The sets are impressively realistic. One of the leading roles is taken by Derek Jacobi, who had the kindness to review my Conspiracies of Rome. But it is, on the whole, another failure of the usual kind. Commodus is shown as a rather a nasty piece of work, but nothing like the beast in human form who slept with his own sister and routinely fought in the arena with gladiators who had been given weapons made of lead. Rather than a pack of terrified sycophants, the Senate is shown as something like the unreformed House of Lords. The film even ends with a restoration of the Republic. Boring!

7. The Passion of the Christ (2004) – dir. Mel Gibson; Jim Caviezel, Hristo Shopov

Here, we reach an entirely superior film. The plot is familiar. The Gospels are closely followed. But there is a deliberate attempt to set the action at a distance from its viewers. Instead of having Christ played with a broad American accent and casting a British actor as Pilate, the entire script is in Latin and Hebrew and Aramaic. First century Judaea is reconstructed with a fair attempt at authenticity.

My main objection is slightly pedantic. Pilate speaks Latin and Aramaic. The Sanhedrin shows a knowledge of Latin. In fact, the working language of Roman rule in the East was Greek. Both Pilate and Caiphas would have been fluent in the language, and no one but the Roman troops and administrators would have known Latin. Also, Pilate would never have bothered to learn any of the vernacular languages. If required, he would have addressed the local vulgus in Greek through an interpreter. On the other hand, I believe Latin was chosen because it sounded so obviously different from the Semitic languages used, and the Latin used by the Sanhedrin officials is often defective, to show their unfamiliarity with it.

My only other objection is that the scale and nature of the violence becomes wearisome long before Christ is nailed to the cross. This may sound an odd objection from me – one of the reviewers said he felt ill for days after reading the torture passages in Blood of Alexandria. But, if theologically necessary, the brutality is an artistic mistake. A better Mel Gibson film is Apocalypto, where the violence, though perhaps more extreme, is not so relentless, and where the sacrificial scenes work to greater effect to show the different moral universe of pre-Columbian South America.

8. Sebastiane (1976) – dir. Derek Jarman

I first watched this in 1983 at an all-night showing of gay films in London. I went along to give moral support to a slightly closeted friend. It was third in a bill that started with the German comedy Taxi zum Klo, and a tedious documentary called Army of Lovers. I fell asleep during the last film, Querelle, and do not think, from the few extracts I have watched since, that I missed anything.

In its conception, Sebastiane is an ambitious film. Its script is entirely in Latin, and it shows a homoerotic version of the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian. Also in its favour, its showing on Channel Four nearly gave Mary Whitehouse a stroke. I am told she spent hours skimming back and forth through the video recording she made of it, looking for the parts that most offended her.

I cannot say anything else in its favour. I grant there is no accounting for taste, but the actors really should have kept their clothes on. The Latin is grotesque. Worse, there is nothing Ancient about its moral universe. The characters are all rather camp 1970s gays. Roman men preferred boys to having sex with each other – or did so unless there was a clear difference of social status, when the social superior would take the active role. They certainly did not mince about on a beach. In its plotting, the film shows hardly more invention than something from the Bel Ami studio in Bratislava, and anyone of the relevant preference will miss the charm and the athletics of Dolph and Roger Lambert.

9. Caligula (1979) – dir. Tinto Brass; Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, Peter O’Toole, John Gielgud

Here, at last, is a film that meets both of my stated criteria. Its making was one long scandal. Gore Vidal disowned his script. The Director walked away before it was finished. Its release was attended by legal and commercial difficulties. I think the version I have on DVD contains unsimulated sex. The shorter version I saw in the cinema was disrupted by a continuous drift of the audience for the exit.

But this is undeniably a film that shows the Ancient World as it was. It begins with a brother and sister from the higher classes who have just had sex with each other, and who are quite indifferent to the slaves who can see them. The slaves themselves are indifferent to how their betters behave. This is as it ought to be: slaves in the Ancient World had as much right to judge or be considered as we give to our household pets.

Peter O’Toole as Tiberius is masterly. That is the cultured menace you find in Tacitus. It is the sordid desperation you find in Suetonius. Caligula’s descent into madness is horribly convincing. So too the scared sycophancy of everyone about him. You see absolute and unaccountable power throughout – absolute and unaccountable power with a starkness you never saw in Stalin’s Russia, and that has never been known in Europe since the establishment of the Christian Faith. There is, in the world of Caligula, nowhere to run, and no one with sufficient moral and popular authority to stand up and demand at least a public regard for the civilised decencies.

Caligula may not be a film you will ever see uncut on television. But it is certainly worth hunting out on DVD.

10 Satyricon (1969) – dir. Federico Fellini; Martin Potter, Hiram Keller, Max Born

A masterpiece – an unapproachably perfect masterpiece, the continual inspiration of all my historical fiction, probably too of Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. I first saw the film at another all-night showing in 1983, this time with a different friend. I thought little enough of the other Fellini films on the bill. But I watched Satyricon with total astonishment. I reeled from the cinema at about 4:00am, and may never have been quite the same since.

The film is based on the surviving fragments of the novel said to have been written by Petronius, a friend of Nero. The novel is very fragmentary, and any reader has at best a limited idea of its narrative structure. What we have deals with the wandering through Southern Italy of two young scholars, Encolpius and Ascyltus, and the people they know or meet. Because what we have is too short for a film, Fellini adds material, either from other ancient novels or from his own imagination. The effect is to make the narrative even more opaque and discontinuous. We jump from an earthquake, to an art gallery, to the Feast of Trimalchio, to a slave ship, to a revolution, and so on, without warning or explanation.

There is a purpose in the lack of coherence. There is a similar purpose in the out-of-sync dubbing of English-speaking actors into Italian, and in the untranslated snatches of Latin, Greek, German, Turkish and other languages. In every frame, we are told: “You have been set down in a radically foreign country – perhaps on an alien planet. Nothing here makes complete sense to you, nor is anyone interested in helping you to make sense of it. You may even be invisible to the inhabitants. They go about their business indifferent to whether you are watching or to what you may think.” Why is there a revolution half way through the film? Why is an army marching along a road lines with rotting crucified bodies? Why has the general had the word vocula (little voice) inscribed on one of his banners? You decide.

Some things make sense – though you need a deep knowledge of the Ancient World to uncover them. Take the theatrical play near the beginning of the film. The plot requires someone to have his right hand cut off and then rejoined in some miracle worked by the Divine Emperor. So a slave is dragged in and mutilated before a bored audience. There are descriptions of worse than this in the Epigrams of Martial. As said, slaves were property. They could usually be treated worse than we are allowed to treat wild animals. But the manager has committed no crime. He only gets into trouble when Encolpius turns up and accuses him of having bought the free catamite Giton as a slave. That is a crime – false enslavement was a serious offence. However, the official present in the audience does not threaten an investigation or any process of law. He insists that they boy should be released at once, or he will burn the theatre down. Roman civil law was an impressive construct. The criminal law was at best a matter of local crime control.

Or there are endless touches of authenticity throughout. There is a lack of the white porticos or the lavish sets you see in other films. What you have instead is a more fundamental authenticity. Trimalchio, for example, boasts that one of his slave boys can read a book on sight and multiply by ten. These are minimal achievements for a modern schoolboy. But, in a world without punctuation or word-spacing, and without positional notation, they were notable achievements. All the wealthy men are loaded with elaborate jewellery and face paint. There is the unexplained scene where a wealthy couple commit suicide to avoid condemnation by the new Emperor. The man frees his slaves, assuring them he is at liberty to do so until the condemnation decree arrives the following day.

Or there is the reconstructed authenticity based on Fellini’s own imagination. What we know of the Ancient World is rather like the text of Satyricon. We know a lot about some aspects of Ancient life. But what we have is fragmentary, based on texts that have survived largely at random. Understanding that vanished world is like facing a brick wall that has had holes punched here and there. We can see clearly enough what lies immediately beyond any of the holes. With much squinting, we can see a little to the sides. To see what is wholly out of sight, and to join up the fragments of what we can see, has so far taken centuries of informed guesswork, and we still know hardly anything.

And so Fellini adds. But he adds in way that are still incomprehensible. Why the bald women? Who is the Hermaphrodite? Why the al fresco bathing surrounded by huge candles? What is the meaning of the gestures that Giton uses to offer himself for sex? Why does everyone look so miserable? But this question may answer itself. Fellini’s Ancient World is an awful place. No wonder there are so many blank, despairing faces staring into the camera.

It may be that a Roman brought forward and shown Satyricon would be as puzzled as we often are. I suspect, though, that he would be more at home with Fellini’s vision than with anything you see in Quo Vadis or Gladiator.

Have I any complaints? I have. I think there is too much all-male sex. This is not because I find any consensual sexual act disgusting, but on the grounds of authenticity. I have said the Ancients lacked our sexual categories, and it was seen as normal that a man would enjoy sex with a variety of partners. On the other hand, it strikes me as common sense that men would more often prefer to have sex with women than with boys or other men. Let me give this analogy. There is nothing wrong with very dark chocolate. Anyone who claims to be disgusted by its lack of sugar, or who wants laws against its sale and consumption, probably has something wrong with him. At the same time, the average human taste buds are more likely most of the time to be pleased by Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. I think Fellini overdoes the all-male sex.

But this is a minor objection. If you have never seen this film, take it from me that you have so far led an artistically impoverished life, and that you must go out and find the best digital transfer available. I recommend the Criterion transfer.

Here, then, is my listing of ten roman films, and my opinion of which ones are the best.

Richard Blake is the author of: Conspiracies of Rome, Terror of Constantinople, Blood of Alexandria, Sword of Damascus, Ghosts of Athens, Curse of Babylon, Game of Empires, How I Write Historical Fiction

 

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Has Draining the Swamp Already Won? by Robert Ringer

Ringer_head_image

 

I’m back again after a month of reflection, and, not surprisingly, nothing much has changed in the world of politics. I feel as though someone left the projector running while I took a break, and when I returned, the same movie was still playing. Which was not surprising, because many years ago I shut politics out of my life for fifteen years and had the exact same experience when I decided to step back into the arena and see what was going on in the Washington world of sleaze.

My conclusion was, and still is, that government is an inherently evil enterprise, used as a mechanism for a small group of people to gain ever more power over, and steal from, the general populace. So how do you fix evil? Unfortunately, you can’t. The primary purpose of government is to control people, while the primary objective of classical liberalism is liberty. It is therefore self-evident that the two cannot coexist.

While classical liberalism used to put up a pretty good fight against tyranny, it became clear more than a hundred years ago that it could not stand up to the avariciousness of human beings with bad intentions. Or even human beings who are not inherently bad but simply cannot resist the temptation of money and power.

Today, we are no longer a nation of laws, because the government ignores the law with impunity. And while government has been tyrannizing everyday citizens at an accelerating rate since its inception, Barack Obama must be given credit for having the chutzpah to take things beyond the tyranny tipping point. In fact, looked at from the perspective of accomplishing his chief goal — the fundamental change of America — he is arguably the most successful president in U.S. history.

Now, along comes the Face of Evil, the first woman ever to run for president on a major-party ticket. Hillary is a real-life version of Rhoda, the pig-tailed little girl doted on by her parents in the classic 1956 film The Bad Seed. In other words, she can’t help herself; she came into the world as a bad seed.

So for her, it goes beyond money and power. Larceny is deeply ingrained in her gray matter. Hillary is one of those rare people who, given a choice between accomplishing her goals honestly or dishonestly, will always choose the latter. It’s in her DNA.

Further, I believe that Schadenfreude, taking delight in the misfortune of others, is ensconced in her rotted neurons. As her many hot-mic comments suggest, the self-proclaimed champion of “It takes a village” does not discriminate. She genuinely hates all people.

So why am I bringing all this up now, given that these things are already known to a majority of Americans? Simply to make the point that the real problem with elections is that a majority of people take the candidates seriously and thus legitimize those elections. People (including so-called conservative media commentators) who clearly recognize that Hillary’s criminal acts are deserving of a thousand years in prison insist on talking about her as though she were a legitimate candidate.

That’s precisely what has bothered me about Barack Obama from the time he first appeared on the scene back in 2007 as the mysterious candidate from afar with no discernable accomplishments and no provable past. But he had one thing going for him that none of his competitors had: He was black (sort of), and he was (and is) a master at using that fact to prey upon America’s collective case of white guilt. And, of course, he possessed the all-important ability to lie with a straight face.

That he is still taken seriously after spending eight years lying to the American people and taking blatant anti-American actions day in and day out, is hard for a rational mind to fathom. He, like Hillary, should be in prison for life, but the Congress refuses to even attempt to impeach him let alone try to get him indicted for his crimes.

Which leads me to my prediction that Hillary Clinton would never be president of the United States. In a sane world, it would have been a perfectly reasonable prediction. My thinking was that even if she got the Democratic nomination, the FBI would take her down and Obama would happily put Joe Biden in to carry out his third term.

But, as embarrassing as it is to admit, it never occurred to me that FBI Director James Comey would sell out. Former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova put it bluntly when he said, on The Laura Ingraham Show, that “Comey’s a dirty cop.”

Even so, I felt that once people heard Comey read the list of crimes the Face of Evil had committed, only the radical left (probably about 30-35 percent of the population) would vote for her. I was wrong, because I was thinking rationally, which is a dangerous habit in an irrational world. That’s why, even though most voters realize that Hillary is a hard-core criminal, they are so used to the entrenched system of corruption that they accept her as a legitimate candidate.

And that, dear reader, gets to the very heart of the issue. Taking any candidate, and the government in general, seriously is the underlying cause of America’s demise. It’s always a mistake to legitimize criminal behavior, as such liberty giants of the past like Lysander Spooner and Frederic Bastiat warned us.

As to the election, though the odds are against him, it’s still possible for Trump to win. But even if he did, what then? Even if he has good intentions, do you really believe he could bring about liberty-inducing legislation with a criminal Congress that hates him? Both houses of Congress, with Never Trump Republicans leading the way, would try to stifle every aspect of his agenda.

In fact, if Trump were to actually beat the Face of Evil, I’d look for an early attempt to impeach him. So, regardless of who wins on November 8, every American should be prepared for the worst.

One final thought: Ironically, liberty probably has a better chance of being resurrected if Hillary wins rather than Trump. Why? Because Trump has done something quite different from any other candidate in my lifetime: He’s started a genuine movement. Not a movement based on his own ideas, but, rather, based on the frustration and anger of the average informed voter toward the entire system. Most Trump supporters don’t want to see change within the system; they want to put an end to the system itself.

That’s why, if the Face of Evil were to take the White House on behalf of her master, Barack Hussein Obama, millions of people might soon be literally up in arms. Which, in turn, is why total gun control would be a top priority in a third Obama term.

I don’t believe that the radical left or establishment Republicans realize what the Trump phenomenon is all about. I don’t think even Trump understood it at first, but somewhere along the line he started to get it. The movement is not about him; it’s about draining the swamp, as he now puts it.

Like Obama’s success in pushing the ball inches from the tyranny goal line, Trump has given hope to those who want to dismantle the entire system. He has emboldened liberty minded folks in a way that Ronald Reagan never dreamed of. Truly, this election is about draining the swamp — which scares the hell out of everyone who benefits from the Washington Crime Syndicate’s activities.

So if Hillary wins, it may be too late for Obama to stop liberty-minded folks from continuing to revolt, something the Tea Party did not do after a couple of years of semi-effective noise-making. From the point of view of those who are intelligent enough to think philosophically about the ultimate destiny of Western civilization, if the Face of Evil wins, it’s going to be quite interesting to see if the public forcefully continues to insist that the swamp be drained.

If so, then the genie is out of the bottle and draining the swamp has already won the election.

 

original article appears here: http://robertringer.com/has-draining-the-swamp-already-won/


Can we do for vinpocetine what we did for kratom?

downsizeDC

 

Tell the FDA to leave vinpocetine alone! Retweet

By Jim Babka & Perry Willis

Remember kratom? It’s the non-opioid painkiller with no side effects, no addiction risk, and no reports of adverse reactions. So naturally the DEA wanted to outlaw it. Please remember that we opposed this. And the DEA backed down! Now we need to apply the same pressure with…

Vinpocetine

This substance, extracted from Periwinkle, has been used as a dietary supplement for decades. It improves blood circulation in the brain. If you’re not taking it you probably should be. Alas…

The FDA wants to take if off the supplement market. Why? Well, it seems like some pharmaceutical company wants to turn it into a drug, thereby placing in under patent. The patent would allow said company to charge monopoly prices for what now costs mere pennies.

Can we stop this from happening?

We think we can, just like we did with kratom. And the reason we think so may surprise you.

Unelected bureaucrats are often more responsive to public pressure than Congress is.

Members of Congress have to take votes on things. Bureaucrats don’t. They can just make rulings, and those ruling will often bow to public resistance. In fact…

Remember our new Engage software we’re working on?

It will help us pressure the bureaucracy. We can’t do that with our current system. We expect this new capacity to result in more victories once we have it in place early next year. But we don’t have to wait to take action on vinpocetine.

Our attorneys have written a powerful, well-documented letter to the FDA showing that they really don’t have the power to remove vinpocetine from the supplement market.

This letter shows that the FDA is prohibited from regulating supplements that are extracts of botanicals, which vinpocetine surely is. The letter also makes several other powerful arguments.

Can you help us pay the bill for this letter? We’ll send a copy of the letter to anyone who contributes for this purpose.

Thank you for being an ACTIVE DC Downsizer!

Jim Babka & Perry Willis

P.S. In our October “Action Item” we observed, “Vinpocetine has been safely used by millions of Americans since the 1980s. Over 600 studies available through… pubmed .gov [which] show that it has tremendous neurological benefits. There are no reported negative side effects. Even the FDA has presented evidence that vinpocetine can be protective against stroke and Alzheimer’s.”

We’ve already agreed to help pay for this professional letter to the regulators at the FDA. We hope you’ll contribute to this additional, leveraged action. Let’s win this one, just like we did with kratom.

 

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Libertarians support individual right not States’ Rights

FreePressPublication

Libertarian Party Chairman Nicholas Sarwark recently received some criticism for a statement he made on the Lions of Liberty podcast. When asked about Ron Paul, Sarwark responded, “He had policy prescriptions that were straight-up wrong and anti-libertarian… None of us should be given a pass on having to have actual libertarian positions… State’s rights is not a libertarian position, and it’s something Ron Paul had pushed for a long time.”

Some people are claiming that Libertarians should embrace States’ Rights because it helps ensure a localized check on federal tyranny, and anyone opposed to this is a “libertarian centralizer” – whatever that means. However the people making this claim often forget that States’ Rights can also be used as a form of localized tyranny, and they will oppose federal efforts to protect individual rights as a violation of States’ Rights. Frankly, they are making a constitutional argument instead of a philosophical libertarian argument.

To understand whether or not States’ Rights is supported by the Libertarian Party, one needs only look at the Party Platform. The LP’s Platform begins with a Statement of Principles that reads:
“We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.
We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.”
The SoP also states, “We… hold that where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual.”

Additionally, going back to the first LP Platform in 1972, whenever rights are mentioned, it is always in the context of individual rights, not rights of any government. Further advocates of States’ Rights often forget what rights actually mean.

Those who truly support liberty believe:
Everyone has the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not cause unjust harm to another.
Everyone has the same rights as everyone else.
People don’t have more rights, or fewer rights, because of their place of birth.
No person can delegate a right they don’t possess to another person.
No person or group has more rights than any other person or group.
No group can claim a right not possessed by any member of the group.
Since no group of people can have more rights than any individual member of the group, no group can revoke the rights of any other person or group.
No law, regulation, statute, or other dictate can rightly infringe on the rights of any person.

This is the essence of individual rights, and any attempt to grant rights to a State or any other other level of government not also granted to the individual is invalid.


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.
Darryl is the CEO of Liberty Lobby LLC.

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


Articles From Foundation For Economic Education

The Alt-Right Origins of Progressive Economics

by Alex Tabarrok

From regulating marriage and reproduction to preventing Chinese immigration, Richard Ely and his American Economic Association had a range of solutions to promote “race purity.”

READ NOW

 

How to Get Progressive Students to Understand the Minimum Wage

by Emily Skarbek

Let the progressive “heroes” behind the minimum wage be judged by their own disgusting sentiments: “Of all ways of dealing with these unfortunate parasites, the most ruinous to the community is to allow them to unrestrainedly compete as wage earners.” – Sydney Webb

READ NOW

 

Progressives Must Confront Their Racist Roots

by Virginia Postrel

Against the perceived conflict, and wastefulness of free markets, early progressives advocated social control by well-educated elites who would not only serve the common good, but identify it. And the early 20th-century definition of the common good was thoroughly infused with scientific racism.

READ NOW

 

5 Ways to Think Like a State

by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Do you notice a pattern when dealing with any aspect of the government at nearly any level? You can’t be surprised by the daily frustrations and annoyances imposed by regulations, bureaucrats, and politicians. The State has a personality disorder, born of its monopoly status and its coercive tactics. But you probably recognize at least some of these traits in people you know. You might even recognize them in yourself.

READ NOW

 

You Try to Provide Shelter for the Homeless and You Get Fined $12,000

by Brittany Hunter

By creating criminals out of do-gooders, and then sending those in need back to into the state’s arms, we are not doing anything to strengthen our communities.

READ NOW

 

Are We Really Worse Off Than Our Parents?

by Steven Horwitz

Ask yourself this: even if you make less than your parents, would you go back in time to the world they lived in at your current age even with their higher real money income? My guess is no, and that’s the most powerful evidence that whatever your income, you perceive yourself as better off today than they were then.

READ NOW

 

 


TAKE ACTION: Tell Rick Scott to Stop His Plans on Corporate Welfare

LibertyFirstNetwork

 

Governor Rick Scott has announced a recently commissioned poll to try to show support for his failing economic incentive programs. The term “economic incentives” is misleading, economists refer to “economic incentive programs” as “corporate welfare”. Corporate Welfare is the policy of granting special privileges to selected hand-picked companies, which gives them an advantage over their competitors and creates an uneven playing field.

“THEY’RE INHERENTLY UNFAIR. SOME OF YOUR CONSTITUENTS HAVE BEEN WORKING REALLY HARD BUILDING THEIR BUSINESSES AND YOU’RE DANGLING CARROTS FOR NEW BUSINESSES WHO’LL GRAB THE GOLDEN RING AT THE LAST MINUTE WHILE YOUR CONSTITUENTS ARE PAYING THE BILL”.

Professor Shawn Kantor, an economist at Florida State University

Many of these subsidized businesses never create the jobs they promised and many have gone bankrupt. Here is a headline from the Bradenton Herald on January 13:

State economist says 70 percent of Florida’s incentive programs are losing money

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/news/business/article126340919.html#storylink=cpy

Despite the documented failures of picking winners and losers, Governor Scott wants to increase this huge waste of taxpayer dollars.

The good news is that House Speaker Richard Corcoran has pledged to protect the taxpayers’ money by not funding these failed programs.

To revive the failed incentive programs, Governor Scott paid a Washington DC polling company to conduct this poll. The survey used a sample size of 1,000 likely Florida voters.

Read more here: http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/rick-scott-pac-using-poll-to-drum-up-support-for-job-incentives/2310657

If we learned anything from the 2016 Presidential election, it is that polling companies often are wrong and we should not make major policy decisions on tricky techniques used by polling companies.

Polling companies often utilize the “push-poll” method. The push poll is a technique where the polling company attempts to manipulate or alter prospective voters’ views by asking a question in a way that leads to an answer the polling company wants. I am sure the voters contacted in this poll were not told of the numerous studies showing how many companies went out of business or failed to produce the jobs promised and taxpayer dollars lost.

We need Governor Scott to hear from real, hard-working Floridians who are tired of the multi-million dollar companies with a team of lobbyist getting sweet-heart deals at the expense of our local businesses. the Florida legislature should look to minimize government influence in the marketplace, by reducing taxes, regulations, business and professional fees and permits for all businesses, big and small.

TAKE ACTION

1. Call and E-mail Governor Rick Scott and tell him to stop trying to use taxpayers money for his failed corporate welfare policy.

Phone (850) 488-7146 / E-mail: GovernorRick.Scott@eog.myflorida.com

2. Call and E-mail Speaker Richard Corcoran and let him know that you support his actions in leading the charge to stop corporate welfare in the Florida. 

Phone: (850) 717-5037 / E-mail: richard.corcoran@myfloridahouse.gov

3. Contact your State House Representative and State Senator and let them know that you want to see an end to corporate welfare in the Sunshine State. CLICK HERE to find your State House Representative  and CLICK HERE to find your State Senator and let them know where you stand.
Liberty First Network

http://www.LibertyFirstFl.org

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


LP to GOP lawmakers: End Obamacare’s individual mandate NOW

Libertarian Party banner with torch logo, slogan "Shrinking Big Government - Advancing Liberty," and address 1444 Duke St. Alexandria, VA 22314, phone 1-800-elect-us, web address www.LP.org (graphic image)

 

For immediate release
January 19, 2017

LP to GOP lawmakers: End Obamacare’s individual mandate NOW

Sen. Jeff Sessions headshot (color photo)

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

If the GOP is to actually keep its promise to repeal Obamacare, it needs to immediately end the law’s mandate to buy medical insurance, and immediately end any associated tax penalties.

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan proposes voting for repeal today but not ending the mandate for three years, conveniently after the next election for U.S. House seats.

Under the Republican plan, taxpayers are compelled to keep paying the tax penalty for not buying insurance — even though the penalty is “repealed.”

The Republican plan would impose a dilemma on taxpayers: Either pay for three years of health insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles they can’t afford, or pay a tax penalty for three years and get no insurance.

American taxpayers need relief from this financial hardship now.

The mandate needs to end immediately before Obamacare further tightens its grip on American healthcare.

The mandate needs to end now, not in three years during which Republican politicians may find endless excuses to betray Americans and keep the mandate in place.

Libertarians challenge the assumption that everyone always wants or needs medical insurance. Many people “need” medical insurance only because federal and state laws drive up the cost of healthcare dramatically – to about ten times as high as it should be. Keeping costs high keeps insurance premiums high and deters people from getting the care they truly need, even when they have insurance.

Profiteers in the medical industry – including insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, and medical cartels — want to maintain the status quo. They donated over $1 billion to political campaigns and PACs in 2016 – for both Democrats and Republicans – in the hope that little will change. They want the $2 trillion medical gravy train to keep flowing.

The key question is: Will today’s lawmakers continue to line the pockets of these medical special interests, or will they protect the financial and physical well-being of every American by ending the Obamacare mandate – now?

 

Please donate to the Libertarian Party today.

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


2017 Session: Week 2

 

2017 Session: Week 2

 

Week 2 of the NH Legislative Session is in the books, and Liberty Lobby LLC was at the statehouse and Legislative Office Building (LOB) testifying for pro-freedom legislation and against anti-freedom legislation.

On Tuesday (Jan 17), CEO Darryl W. Perry testified on:

 

HB83 prohibiting family members from serving on the same town, city, or school district board or committee. oppose
HB108 relative to municipal record retention and conversion. support
HB118 relative to appropriations in petitioned warrant articles. support
HB161 relative to beverage sales at farmers’ markets. oppose
HB140 relative to sales and samples provided by wine manufacturers. support

On Wednesday (Jan 18), Perry testified on:

SB19 relative to warrant articles that have been submitted to the department of revenue administration. support
HB309 relative to valid student identification cards for voting purposes. oppose as written
HB217 relative to placing names on the ballot. support
HB223 prohibiting recipients of county or municipal funds from using such funds for lobbying. support

Video is available for several of these hearings on the Liberty Lobby LLC YouTube channel. And, of course, we are preparing for Week 3 with hearings on political advertising, method of calling for state party conventions, method of choosing delegates to national party convention, free speech on campus, beer taxes, and more.

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, Bitcoin, or Dash.

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.

 

 


Trump’s Plan To Create A Coalition That Will ‘Govern For 50 Years’

Nov 20, 2016 @ 08:00 AM

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2016/11/20/trumps-plan-to-create-a-coalition-that-will-govern-for-50-years/#77d28bf12ec8

I recently, here at Forbes.com, wrote:

Trump may talk like an ‘Archie Bunker galoot at times but he’s no bigot. Don’t be surprised if he [President Trump] next reaches out to enroll the ethnic left. If he does so and succeeds, as I expect he will, it will bring about a generational realignment.

It was just a hunch.

It turns out that it was pretty well founded.

The Hollywood Reporter recently published a spectacularly smart piece on Steve Bannon, chief White House strategist, by Michael Wolff, one of the most astute journalists writing today, Ringside With Steve Bannon at Trump Tower as the President-Elect’s Strategist Plots “An Entirely New Political Movement” (Exclusive).  It presents Bannon in an entirely different light than the McCarthyesque vilification now being visited upon him by most of the (clueless) mainstream media.

He absolutely — mockingly — rejects the idea that this is a racial line. “I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist,” he tells me. “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over. If we deliver” — by “we” he means the Trump White House — “we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years. That’s what the Democrats missed. They were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It’s not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about.”

My only quibble is that Bannon is not being quite ambitious enough. There is no strategic reason why he can’t have 60% of the black and Hispanic votes.

>snip<

Wolff on Bannon:

What he seems to have carried from a boyhood in a blue-collar, union and Democratic family in Norfolk, Va., and through his tour of the American establishment, is an unreconstructed sense of class awareness, or bitterness — or betrayal. The Democratic Party betrayed its working-man roots, just as Hillary Clinton betrayed the longtime Clinton connection — Bill Clinton’s connection — to the working man. “The Clinton strength,” he says, “was to play to people without a college education. High school people. That’s how you win elections.” And, likewise, the Republican party would come to betray its working-man constituency forged under Reagan. In sum, the working man was betrayed by the establishment, or what he dismisses as the “donor class.”

To say that he sees this donor class — which in his telling is also “ascendant America,” e.g. the elites, as well as “the metrosexual bubble” that encompasses cosmopolitan sensibilities to be found as far and wide as Shanghai, London’s Chelsea, Hollywood and the Upper West Side — as a world apart, is an understatement. In his view, there’s hardly a connection between this world and its opposite — fly-over America, left-behind America, downwardly mobile America — hardly a common language. This is partly why he regards the liberal characterization of himself as socially vile, as the politically incorrect devil incarnate, as laughable — and why he is stoutly unapologetic. They — liberals and media — don’t understand what he is saying, or why, or to whom.

In addition to reigniting job growth and economic opportunity for workers, as my previous column also noted:

The Trump Supreme Court will likely honor the First Amendment’s guarantees of free exercise of religion, of freedom of speech, press, and assembly, and the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances. His court will secure the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms. It might even revive the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that the right to life will not be deprived without due process of law.

The elitist left finds certain expressions of these rights anathema and is not shy to express its views. These are civil rights to which the labor left and the ethic left are predominantly sympathetic.

Indeed, Bannon is right.  “They — liberals and media — don’t understand what he is saying, or why, or to whom.”

Bannon has even more with which to enroll our ethnics in his coalition. As I have here previously written at Forbes.com:

The Republican Party was founded by Lincoln as the party of unity, to preserve the Union, and of human dignity, to abolish slavery. In its DNA the Grand Old Party also is the party of peace and equitable prosperity. The GOP should be, and easily could be made, the preferred home for Latinos whether of Mexican, Central, South American or Caribbean origin.

>snip<

There is yet another, if somewhat offbeat, asset.

Polling shows that both blue collars and blacks are naturally enthusiastic about the gold standard. Trump has shown a firm grasp of and smart enthusiasm for the gold standard.

As Candidate Trump said:

“We used to have a very, very solid country because it was based on a gold standard,” he told WMUR television in New Hampshire in March last year. But he said it would be tough to bring it back because “we don’t have the gold. Other places have the gold.”

One also well might take note of Trump’s comment to GQ:

“Bringing back the gold standard would be very hard to do, but boy, would it be wonderful. We’d have a standard on which to base our money.”

The politics are clear. The gold standard commands enthusiasm among the labor and ethnic left.

The economics are even clearer.  The data are unequivocal that the crushing of median income wage growth correlates precisely with Nixon’s shutting down the international gold standard, crucifying workers upon a cross of paper.

>snip<

The enactment of Jack Kemp’s Gold Standard Act of 1984 (something which Speaker Ryan, a Kemp acolyte, surely would readily accommodate) would be a powerful instrumentality in achieving the generational realignment which Bannon seeks. It’s a perfect piece of legislation just waiting to be revived.

>snip<

It would be a mistake to dismiss Bannon’s moves as a mere power play. It is a power play, but not merely.

Bannon takes a deeply moral stand, much to the consternation of a condescending elitist left that wishes to be judged by its motives rather than its results. There is nothing wrong with power and everything right with Bannon’s move to gain power by raising the fortunes, and dignity, of workers by classical liberal free market means.

>snip<

Consider Steve Bannon — “I am,” he says, with relish, “Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors,” — a moral man.

As I concluded my prior column:

America needs the liberal, labor, and ethnic left to step up and take operational control of the mission to advance social justice. President Donald Trump needs a resonant liberal left, sometimes in partnership and sometimes as a loyal opposition, to succeed in making America great again.

Do not be shocked if Team Trump offers and the humanitarian populist left takes a prominent place inside the new Trump coalition. Cementing in the ethnic and the labor left, and even the classical liberals of the elite left, would create a coalition that will govern for the next 50 years.

To read the full column, click here.


Be the change

We are all waiting to see what our new president does. No doubt he’ll do a few things Libertarians like. No doubt he’ll do other things we strongly dislike.

 

But did you know that we are more than 10% of the way to Election Day 2018?

 

That we are more than 5% of the way to Election Day 2020?

 

And don’t forget that there are countless local elections across America this spring and a statewide election in Virginia this fall!

 

Time is ticking!

 

We have so much work to do.

 

So today, I ask you to be the change you want to see in the world.

 

That can take many forms.

 

If you want to run for office and have questions, contact our Candidate Support Specialist, Bob Johnson, or our Political Director, Carla Howell.

 

If you want to build up your local or state Libertarian Party, contact our Affiliate Support Specialist, Andy Burns and check out our useful resources online.

 

If you want to join or renew your sustaining membership in the Libertarian Party, click here.

 

If you want to support our work to ensure that Libertarian candidates are on ballots in every state in America again in 2018, click here.

 

If you want to order Libertarian brochures and other supplies to help promote the Party near you, click here.

 

You have endless options for how you can change the world and make it a more Libertarian place.

 

Some people love running for office. Others love being activists. Others love contributing financially.

 

Decide what brings you the most satisfaction and go for it!

 

Election Days come around on a regular basis and they sneak up on us quickly.

 

Get active today and be the change you want to see in the world.

 

We are here to help.

 

 

 

Wes Benedict

Executive Director

 

 

     

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

On Writing Crime Fiction

LibertarianAlliance.mvc

 

Crime Fiction within the Academy:
The Creative and Critical Possibilities
Seminar Presentation Given at the University of East Anglia
on the 25th February 2016
by Richard Blake

In trying to make sense of any subject, definitions must come at the beginning, and must be both clear and consistently applied. I therefore define crime fiction as any piece of imaginative writing in which a crime against life or property occurs, and in which there is some chance that the perpetrator will be brought to some kind of justice.

Using this definition, I say that crime fiction does not begin, as some of the standard histories claim, with Edgar Allen Poe and Wilkie Collins, but is as old as the literature of any people whose works I can read, and probably as old as literature itself. I think, for example, of the story in Herodotus, Book II, of King Rhampsinitus and the Treasury Thieves. Here, we have an initial crime, followed by an attempted capture, which is evaded by a cover up involving at least two further crimes. We then have a more determined investigation by the authorities. There is no punishment at the end this story. But the moral order is reasserted, if only by a compromise, and thereby restored. Since there is no Pharaoh in the native Egyptian chronicles who corresponds with Rhampsinitus, and since the whole story partakes of the incredible, and since Herodotus himself is aware of the distinction between probable facts and things inherently unlikely, the story can be taken as an early example of crime fiction.

If I were to expand the definition just given, I might bring in The State Trials, an endlessly entertaining set of trial transcripts mostly from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They often read like plays. Indeed, they were ably pastiched by M.R. James in one of his horror stories. But if I did that, I would have to allow newspaper reports. It is enough to assert that crime fiction, as defined above, is of universal interest – universal in both space and time.

This brings me to its creative and critical possibilities within the academy. I suggest that these can be arranged under three headings: relative ease of composition; critical depth; a perception of the creative process.

I begin with the first, relative ease of composition. Students of creative writing are often required, as part of their course, to write at least a novella. Fiction of any kind is not always easy to write, and is hardly ever easy the first time round. You sit, staring back at an impatiently blinking cursor, or at a sheet of lined paper. Either your mind is suddenly empty, or the ideas you thought were there are like a mass of unspun yarn. Or you will write a first sentence – perhaps a very good sentence. But the nature of the second is as great a mystery as the first was. If you are an experienced writer, you will have developed strategies to let you plunge in and keep going. If you are a beginner, and you do not find yourself in the grip of a burning inspiration, your best strategy is to find an existing model that you can imitate.

A problem here is that the literary fiction that finds its way onto academic reading lists is not easily imitated by the beginner. You cannot break established conventions if you have not already worked in them. Complex and layered narratives need experience that, of necessity, has not been acquired. Even with apparently accessible classics – Lark Rise to Candleford, for example, for many years a set text for A Level English – the underlying structure will be hard to perceive.

Crime fiction, on the other hand, provides an ideal template. Consider this as both example and mild parody

Marcel Pomfrit looked about the hushed drawing room. “I was at first confused by the location of Lord Ebbsfleet’s body. He had twenty seven verrucas on his left foot. Even with a walking frame, he could not go five paces without limping and having to sit down. Yet he appeared to have walked, in a pair of riding boots a size too small for him, two miles across Egdon Heath to meet his killer.

“Yes, it confused even my godlike intellect! And then I recalled Miss Tipplewell’s statement that, on the night of the murder, the dinner gong sounded five minutes early….”

For the avoidance of doubt, I greatly admire Agatha Christie. If nothing she wrote after 1945 is better than pedestrian, she did, before then, produce at least a dozen masterpieces in the genre she did much to establish. What is important, however, is that the classic detective mystery provides a template that is easily understood, and not especially hard to use. You need half a dozen characters, each of them – and only them – under suspicion of a murder that takes place about a quarter into the narrative. You must avoid supernatural aid or unnatural coincidence. Instead, you must make every clue available to the reader that is given to the detective. Finding the murderer involves identifying and arranging these clues into the right pattern. There is no requirement to draw the characters in any detail, and the background can be as sketchy and idealised as you see in the novels that have survived from the Ancient World.

As said, much of Agatha Christie’s output is pedestrian. But the vastness of that output – her output and that of most of her competitors in the genre – shows that a classic detective mystery is fairly easy to write.

Or take Leon Garfield’s young adult novel Smith, a work of much greater complexity and psychological depth. The hero is a young pickpocket, circa 1760, who operates in the warren of streets about Saint Paul’s Cathedral. In the first chapter, he latches onto a country gentleman who appears to be lost. He follows him along an alley, and picks his pocket. As he is getting ready to disappear, two other men appear. They murder the country gentlemen. They go through his pockets, swearing that there is nothing to take. Someone with a fine voice urges them on from out of sight. He is desperate to have what they cannot find. The men argue, before going off. Smith runs away. When he stops, he looks at what he has stolen. It is a document. Unfortunate for him, he cannot read. Worse, someone has seen him….

After that first chapter, the rest does not write itself. I used a similar structure last year, and working out the opening themes to a natural conclusion was a hard grind. But the plot of Smith goes off like a rocket in the first chapter. Working out who the killers were, and what the document says, and how Smith can stay alive long enough to solve the mystery, all provide a clear trajectory. No need for long soliloquies, nor extended flashback, certainly not for the “cut and fold” methods of someone like William S. Burroughs – what the writer needs to do is tell us who did it, and why.

Or take two notable American writers, the historical novelist Steven Saylor and the science fiction writer L. Neil Smith. Both of their first novels were crime thrillers. Roman Blood is a fictional reworking of Cicero’s speech Pro Roscio. The Probability Broach involves a doorway to an alternative universe in which the American Revolution led to an anarchist utopia. I might ask why each of them why they wrote first in that genre. Their aims and methods are radically different. Yet both, I believe, would give the same answer: in part they like writing crime fiction; but, in part, they were not sure, when they started, that they could finish a novel, and felt in need of a template that would guide their steps.

It was the same with my own first novel, Then the Bird was Still. It was the same with my first success, Conspiracies of Rome. Indeed, all my novels involve a mystery of one kind or another. One of them even involves a murder in an apparently locked room. I like the format. I deviate all over the place from the classic rules, and that is if I try to follow them. But I like to write quickly, and there is nothing like an apparently insoluble crime to keep me hurrying along.

I come to my second heading, which is critical depth. It may seem ths far that I am denigrating the various genres of crime fiction – that I am comparing them to “real literature” in the same way as I might compare a Gothic cathedral to a post-War prefab. If that is the impression I have given, I readily apologise. Crime fiction, of whatever kind, is capable of the greatest sophistication. It enables multiple and conflicting analyses.

Read Micky Spillane, and you find yourself in a world almost without moral standards. Raymond Chandler gives us a world in which there is a moral order but an order covered over and often blotted out by layer after layer of corruption and other species of turpitude. Or I might suggest my own fiction. This shows the world as a pretty awful place, made bearable only by the occasional stroke of good luck or of freely-chosen kindness. And even Agatha Christie has her depths. She preaches the existence of an orderly and stable world, in which crime is an occasional and an easily-erased blemish.

I go further. Fiction, in rough proportion to how much it is read, gives a peculiar tone to the age in which it is written. I believe that Agatha Christie, together with Dorothy L. Sayers and John Dickson Carr, did more to arrest the progress of socialism in twentieth century England than any of the heavier critiques of Lord Chief Justice Hewart and Friedrich von Hayek. Equally, J.B. Priestly – for example in his An Inspector Calls, which is formally a piece of crime fiction – did more to bring about the socialist consensus of the 1940s than the collected works of Harold Lasky.

But I digress. I return to Steven Saylor. Roman Blood is, as said, a crime thriller. An elderly nobleman has been murdered. His son is accused of the murder. Cicero, a young and so far unknown lawyer, has been retained to manage the defence. He hires Gordianus, a private detective, to tease out the facts that will go into the defence speech.

The overall movement of the plot is determined by the need to find the relevant facts. But what we also have is a perfect recreation of Rome just as its Republic has turned unstable. The reactionary and brutal purge lately carried out by Sulla is still uppermost in the public mind. People are coming to terms with the realisation that political disputes in Rome no longer involve occasional street violence, but can grow into civil wars that take in the whole of the Mediterranean world. I say in particular that Saylor gives full and integrated discussion to the horrors of ancient slavery. Roman Blood is a compelling crime thriller. It is also a first rate historical novel. I am an expert in the period, and I would feel no hesitation in giving the book to any student who wanted an introduction to the Fall of the Roman Republic.

Now to L. Neil Smith. The Probability Broach begins as almost a standard crime thriller. Edward Bear is an American police officer assigned to investigate the murder of a physicist. The initial difference between this and standard crime fiction is that the slightly futuristic America described has become a disgusting, semi-totalitarian slum where nothing works, and in which even air conditioning has been made illegal. The major difference is that, in the course of his investigation, Bear discovers that a breach has been made in the space-time continuum, and his own world is brought into contact with an alternative universe – one, as said, in which the American Revolution proceeded to an effectively anarchist society. Without any slowing of pace, the format of crime thriller becomes a means of discussing the nature of political authority and the benefits of free association between adults. This is not a crime thriller dressed up as a novel of ideas. It is a perfect blending of both genres. It is probably the most influential political novel of the past forty years.

Coming back to the mainstream, so far as one can be said still to exist, crime fiction has evolved, since the 1950s, into a bewildering mass of sub-genres. It has become a standard literary device for exploring issues of duty and guilt and sexuality and the various modes of oppression. There is often nothing in Dostoyevsky that you will not find distilled or made more digestible in a good modern crime thriller.

Now to my final heading, which is a perception of the creative process. Unless you have yourself created, or tried to create, you may be unaware of the chaotic origins of many finished texts. These are seldom born exactly as they are shown to the world. The text before you did not need to be the one you see. It could have gone in many alternative directions. It may be, so far as the author is concerned, a provisional compromise. The plot may have emerged only in the process of writing. Characters may have been merged or created, or parachuted in at the last moment. Like a set of sedimentary layers, any text will have many layers, and these may have been compressed and buckled in ways that formed no part of the author’s intention at the outset.

To give an example of this – and I discuss my own work here only because it is an example of which I have nearly perfect knowledge – I began Curse of Babylon with no idea what it was about. I wrote in hope that a plot would eventually emerge. I reached chapter 26, which is page 169 in the paperback edition, before I realised that I should change the sex of one of the characters, and make her into the love interest. This seemed to work, and I set to work on revising everything I had already written. But the sex change did not really work in itself. Then, one day while queuing in a supermarket, I had my epiphany. I gave my transgendered woman a massive rise in social status. I made her daughter of the Emperor’s cousin, who was slumming it to avoid an arranged marriage to one of my villains. That sent me into a burn of inspiration, and I completed the next two thirds of the novel in six weeks. Along the way, I introduced a maniac King of Persia and a giant battle, neither of these having been remotely among my first intentions, such as I can say what they were. Then I went back to the beginning and, in one day and a night without sleep, added eight new chapters.

The final product is intended to be a smooth and sophisticated narrative that puts readers at the end where they started. That is not how it appears to me when I look at random pages. What I see is sentences that I wrote in a railway station coffee bar running into other sentences that I wrote in Slovakia. I return you to my image of the buckled sedimentary layers. I can see this. Other writers may be able to spot something – the varying average length of sentences, perhaps, or the use and disuse of certain grammatical constructions. I hope ordinary readers cannot.

You can, of course, develop the purely critical faculty to see these things. But you write fiction of your own, and they will come almost instinctively to you. Even if you do not proceed to an actual writing career, your understanding of any piece of fiction will have been permanently deepened.

This observation, I grant, applies to any creative writing course. But, so far as it may be easier to write than other forms, a course in writing crime fiction is a very good introduction to looking behind a copy-edited and published text to what I repeat is the often chaotic process by which it was brought into being.

I say, then, coming to the end of this brief overview, that the critical and creative possibilities of crime fiction within the academy have no visible limit. I think you for the attention you have given me, and will try to answer such questions as you may feel inclined to ask.

 

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Six things left-statists get wrong about Walmart

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An initiative of the Downsize DC Foundation

Do left-statists actually dislike people who can only afford to shop at Walmart? Retweet

Costco vs. Walmart
By Perry Willis 

In this article…

  • Should Walmart be like Costco?
  • Six ways that Walmart and Costco are different
  • How Walmart and Costco serve different social functions
  • How demanding that Walmart be like Costco is like saying “Let them eat cake!”
  • The best way to test your ideas about how companies should operate
  • How the Zero Aggression Principle can protect you from being a jerk

Subtlety doesn’t work at Christmas parties.

At a recent Christmas party, the subject of wages, jobs, and, inevitably, the evils of Walmart came up. I observed that I knew nothing about Walmart. This expression of humility was intended as an example worthy of emulation, but I don’t think the message got across. What I really meant was…

Walmart isn’t my business. I have my own business to tend. I no more believe I could better run Walmart than Walmart’s managers could viably run my organization. Sure, there are some overlapping skills, but different talents are required for each enterprise. Alas…

Many left-statists are very certain they do know better.

You’ve heard it often. Left-statists believe Walmart should be run like Costco. Specifically, they assert that….

Walmart’s wage structure should match Costco’s.

Excuse my bluntness, but that’s mind-numbingly stupid. The people who make this claim are completely unqualified to evaluate business models. It should be obvious to any moderately skillful observer that Walmart and Costco are not doing the same thing or serving the same customers.

Yes, they are both retail stores that sell mostly food and products for the home. Yes, they both offer low unit prices (with unit being the key word, as I will demonstrate). The similarities end there. The variances are far more significant. Let’s count the ways that…

Walmart and Costco are different.

One. The differences start at the front door. Costco requires a membership card. Walmart doesn’t.

Two. The differences continue inside the door. Costco displays most of its products on pallets. Walmart uses smaller shelves.

Three. The differences continue at the level of the products themselves. Costco sells big packages that generally contain a large quantity of the product. Walmart sells small packages that contain a proportionally smaller amount of each item.

Four. Costco employees don’t need to breakdown their large unit packages for arrangement on shelves. They just roll out the pallets and walk away. This means that one employee can put a large amount of product on display with very little effort. But visit Walmart late at night and you’ll see pallets there too. They’re clogging the aisles while swarms of employees move each little item from the pallet to its designated spot on a shelf. This is a labor-intensive task compared to the Costco approach, but it serves an actual social need, as I will demonstrate.

Five. Lower-income people generally lack the cash-flow to buy large quantity packages. They must instead return to the store more often to buy smaller packages, as needed. Costco and Walmart unit prices are, in my experience, similar. But a package of ten items that goes for $20 takes a bigger bite out of a tight, weekly budget than does a single unit package that costs $2. You can see this difference manifested in the customers you see in each store…

Costco customers look more affluent than Walmart customers.

In other words…

  • Costco makes its living by selling relatively large volume packages to more affluent customers.
  • Walmart makes its living selling smaller packages more often to lower income customers.
  • Both are offering discounts based on volume. Costco achieves high volume with each package sold, while Walmart achieves high volume by selling an increased number of small units over time. All of this means that…

Six. Costco functions with fewer employees that it compensates more highly, while Walmart needs many more employees that it has to compensate less.

This difference is readily apparent. You see few employees on the floor in Costco, while Walmart is swarming with them. I wouldn’t be surprised if their payrolls were actually similar in size, but Walmart employs more people. This difference is because of the different social function each company serves.

Wait, there’s a social function to these business models?

Yes. Costco’s social function is to help high-income people save time on shopping. And the nature of its clientele also allows it to charge slight premiums for a select number of higher quality goods. Walmart can do neither thing. Instead, Walmart’s social function is to help low-income people manage their tight budgets. Saying that Walmart should be like Costco is like saying…

Let them eat cake!

Do left-statists actually dislike people who can only afford to shop at Walmart?

You do not improve the world by forcing people who can only afford bread, to buy cake instead. But that’s exactly what you would be doing if you forced Walmart to become Costco. Walmart cannot become Costco. Each performs a different social service. That’s why there are at least six major differences in how each company operates. There are probably even more. I don’t know because it’s not my business.

If you really want to compare apples to apples, then you should probably compare Costco with Sam’s Club, which is largely a Costco clone run by the Walmart company. I bet there are nothing like six differences between Sam’s Club and Costco.

Conclusion

It’s natural to have ideas about how other people should conduct their business. But it’s arrogant to think that those ideas should be forced on people through law or regulation (or often, even though boycotting behavior).

The truth is that you really don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s not your business. You have no direct experience with it. Your desire to mind other people’s business has no more validity than your neighbor’s attempt to mind yours. So…

Drop the arrogance. Stop trying to get The State to impose your schemes and preferences on others. Be less impressed by your own good intentions. Resolve to only use good means to achieve your good ends. Simply put, obey the Zero Aggression Principle – Don’t aggress against others, personally or politically. And if you still feel the need to “DO something,” then…

Go into competition with the offending company. Show the world that your idea really is better, and not mere bloviation. Put your own money where your loud mouth is. You may counter that starting a business is hard. Yes, it is hard. That’s the freaking point. It’s easy to have ideas about what other people should do when you don’t have to do the work involved.

Voting to impose things on companies is much easier than actually starting and running one. That crucial difference between mere opinion and real responsibility ‘s why your allegedly wonderful impositions shouldn’t be allowed.

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Eminent Domain and Donald Trump by Robert Ringer

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One of a handful issues I have with Donald Trump is his appetite for eminent domain. Whenever you watch a tear-jerking eminent-domain story on television, it serves as a grim reminder that we are not, by any stretch of the imagination, totally free. So now that an eminent domain practitioner is about to become president of the United States, it’s a good time for all of us to go back and review the fundamentals of liberty.

When it comes to the question of eminent domain, we must always remind ourselves that there are only three possible ways to view property:

  1. Anyone has a right to interfere with or take anyone else’s property whenever he pleases.
  2. Some people have a right to interfere with or take the property of other people whenever they please.
  3. No one has a right to interfere with or take anyone else’s property — at any time — without his permission.

In number one, I’m talking about lawlessness and the absence of a generally accepted code of conduct. In virtually all countries of the world, governments at least make a pretense of trying to prevent blatant lawlessness.

Obviously, some governments do a better job at this than others. Your property is a lot safer in, say, Australia than it is in Kenya. But regardless of the geographic location, it is the government’s primary job, at least in theory, to protect the lives and property of its citizens. In fact, many would argue that this is the government’s only legitimate function.

Number two is where eminent domain comes in. For example, politically well-connected real estate developers are often able to get the government to use force to take people’s property. The government then unilaterally decides how much to pay the owner of the property for the involuntary sale.

Likewise, all redistribution-of-the-wealth schemes are examples of taking one person’s property and giving it to another without the property owner’s permission. Given that this is, on its face, an uncivilized action, it would be fair to say that all countries today are, to one extent or another, uncivilized.

Finally, we get to number three: No one has a right to interfere with or take anyone else’s property — at any time — without his permission. While this is unlikely to become a reality anytime soon, anywhere on this planet, it is the standard that all civilized people of goodwill should use as a guide to their actions.

Put another way, the most fundamental rule of liberty is that no one has any right to interfere with or take anyone else’s property at any time — which includes his body and everything he owns — regardless of the rationale used. The usual excuse given for taking someone’s property by force is that it’s for “the overall good” of the community or society. The reality, however, is that it’s usually in the best interest of some real estate developer (who makes money by building on the poached property) and the government (which makes money from the property’s increased tax base).

People inflicted with that serious mental disorder known as “socialism” would have you believe that freedom and property rights are two different issues, but don’t allow yourself to buy into this warped argument. Property rights are just a subcategory of freedom.

It is morally self-evident that every person has a right to enjoy all of the fruits of his labor without interference from anyone else. When a person’s property rights are violated, his freedom is violated. Period. Compassion for one’s fellow man — which is a noble emotion — is a totally separate subject that should not be allowed to obscure the liberty axiom that property rights are sacred.

Plain and simple, Natural Law requires that liberty must be given a higher priority than all other objectives. Once we get that little issue squared away, we can do a much better job of helping those who are truly in need and truly unable to help themselves. First things first — and liberty always comes first. Eminent domain is tyranny, not liberty.

C’mon, Donald, if you’re smart enough to figure out that Barack Obama was born in the United States (cough, cough … no comment), you’re smart enough to figure out that eminent domain is anti-freedom.

 

original article appears here: http://robertringer.com/eminent-domain-and-donald-trump/


Did Teddy Roosevelt co-found the Japanese Empire?

downsizeDC

 

How Teddy Roosevelt started the chain of events that led to Pearl Harbor. Retweet

By Perry Willis

Teddy Roosevelt was a monster. His shadow over the 20th Century looms large. He’s a poster-child for American imperialism and the forefather of today’s “Big Stick” interventionists. Like modern aggressive militarists, he did incredible harm. Even today, we live with his foreign policy failures.

My previous article reviewed the major foreign wars of the 19th Century — the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, and the Philippines War. My verdict was harshly negative. Those wars did not defend the country or freedom. They were wars of conquest.

Now we’ll move into the 20th Century, starting with a little-known episode that justifies asking the following question…

Did Teddy Roosevelt co-found the Japanese Empire?

Related to this question is another — Did Teddy Roosevelt (TR) plant the seeds that eventually led to Pearl Harbor, North Korea, and Mao’s China? The evidence says yes.The story is told in several different books…

Jim Powell gives a good overview of Teddy’s career as a military gangster in Chapter 2 of his book “Bully Boy.” Powell shows that TR…

  • Loved war (until his own son died in one)
  • Conspired to spark the Spanish-American War to build a U.S. empire
  • Waged a war of conquest in the Philippines where torture, rape, and murder were used as “military tactics” to subdue the populace

The same ground is covered in more depth by Gregg Jones in “Honor in the Dust” and Evan Thomas in “The War Lovers.” But James Bradley takes the case against Teddy even further in his book “The Imperial Cruise.” Bradley uses primary sources to show that TR…

  • Subscribed to the same racist Aryan theory that would later animate the Nazis
  • Believed that it was the right and duty of Aryans to conquer darker people
  • Foreshadowed Hitler by adopting the Japanese as honorary Aryans (Bradley, chapter 6).
  • Proposed a Japanese Monroe Doctrine for the Western Pacific and encouraged Japan to conquer an empire in that area (Bradley chapter 8).

But Teddy went one crucial step further. He offered up Korea as Japan’s first imperial victim (Bradley, chapter 12). On November 28, 1905, TR closed the U.S. embassy in Korea and turned it over to Japan (page 313). Japan then invaded and conquered Korea.

You should remember November 28, 1905 the way you remember December 7th, 1941 — both are days of infamy, and one leads to the other.

Let’s make the connections and count the costs…

  • TR’s murderous conquest of the Philippines gave the Japanese an imperial model to emulate. This also robbed the U.S. of the moral high ground to oppose empire building.
  • TR’s proposal of a Japanese Monroe Doctrine for the Western Pacific morphed into what the Japanese later called their Greater Asia Co-prosperity Sphere. That was Japan’s euphemistic name for their blood-drenched conquests.
  • The way U.S. politicians then fought World War 2 caused the creation of North Korea and Red China, leading to millions of deaths.

Do I blame TR for all the calamities above? Not at all. Japanese politicians were far more to blame. But TR made a huge negative contribution. Sadly…

Many will try to excuse TR on the grounds that most people back then were racist and militarist. But in fact…

250,000 Americans*, like Mark Twain and former President Grover Cleveland, joined together in the Anti-imperialist League to fight against TR’s crimes. This shows that many people from that era could tell the difference between right and wrong. If they could, then Teddy could too. He simply chose to do evil instead.

The verdict is clear. Teddy Roosevelt’s wars and interventions did not defend America or freedom. They did not make the world a better place. They made the world profoundly worse, setting in motion events that would slaughter millions of people. Now…

Imagine a world where…

  • U.S. politicians set a good example for the Japanese by not conquering an empire
  • Teddy Roosevelt did not encourage Japan to create an empire
  • Teddy Roosevelt did encourage Japan to be peaceful
  • Teddy Roosevelt did not betray Korea
  • The Japanese did not conquer Korea or invade China
  • There was no Pearl Harbor attack, and no North Korea or Red China

Would you rather live in that world, or the world Teddy Roosevelt helped create in our reality?

Thank you for being an ACTIVE DC Downsizer.

Perry Willis
Co-founder, Downsize DC
Co-creator, Zero Aggression Project

P.S. The next article in this series will review U.S. involvement in World War 1. Here again is the list of books we’ve consulted so far in this series. If you buy these books using the links below, we’ll get credit we can use to expand our research library. Thank you for your interest and support.

NOTE: The figure of 250,000 members of the Anti-imperialist League comes from Johnson, Robert David. “Anti-Imperialism.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History. 2015-10-05. Oxford University Press.

 

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New Year, new laws

FreePressPublication

 

January 1 is more than just the date that marks the start of a new year, and the time that many people make resolutions about how their life is going to change. January 1 also marks the date that hundreds of new laws and regulations take effect across the country.

Laws mandating the minimum allowed hourly pay rate, which also affect many union contracts, are taking affect in 20 states, with some increases being as small as 5 cents per hour – in Alaska, Florida, Missouri, and Ohio – with the largest increase of $1.95 per hour being implemented in Arizona. The minimum pay rate will be increased by $1 per hour to $11 in Massachusetts and Washington state. The Wall Street Journal reports, “A 2014 study from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would reduce job creation by 500,000 over two years. At the same time, the report estimated that the increase in the federal minimum wage would raise the pay of 16.5 million workers who kept their jobs.”

Not letting pesky facts about economics get in the way of good intentions, “many states are in the process of multiyear increases to the minimum wage,” according to NBC Atlanta. “Arizona’s move is just the first in a series that will push the wage to $12 per hour by 2020. California has even more ambitious plans, with annual increases of $0.50 next year [2018] to be followed by $1 per hour raises in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022, bringing the state to the $15 mark. New York State’s $0.70 per hour move is just the first in a series of five hikes that will lift minimum wages there to $12.50 per hour.”

Along with the higher wages in some states, there are also higher taxes. Fox News reports, “the [Portland, Oregon] city council passed a so-called CEO tax, a first-in-the-nation ordinance to put a tax surcharge on publicly traded companies whose CEOs earn 100 times more than the median wage of other company employees. According to the National Law Review, a surcharge of 10 percent of the base tax liability would be imposed on those companies beginning on Jan. 1.” Meanwhile residents of Utah will be hit with a 4.7 percent sales tax when shopping online.

Gun ownership will also be affected in some states with Missouri & Ohio implementing “Constitutional Carry,” Nevada expanding background checks for private transfers of firearms, New Jersey making it more difficult to get a carry permit, Tennessee reducing the fee for a permit & California implementing a bevy of new gun regulations.

Despite making gun transfers more difficult, recreational cannabis laws took effect in Nevada on January 1, with similar laws soon to be implemented in Maine, and criminal penalties for most cannabis possession having already been revoked in California & Massachusetts.

Many other laws were added to the books across the country on January 1, including laws related to right-to-know, hunting, fishing and much more. Here’s hoping that 2017 will see the beginning of legislative repeal of some of these burdensome regulations with more freedom in 2018 and beyond!


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.
Darryl is the CEO of Liberty Lobby LLC.

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

 

 


Commission on Presidential Debates

 

Last week, Wes shared with you some information on court cases we are pursuing in various states in order to improve ballot access laws that unfairly restrict us.

 

Let me now fill you in on our work to challenge the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). As you know, the CPD, though it claims to be non-partisan, is in fact run and controlled by the Rs and Ds. The CPD has ridiculously arbitrary rules that allow them to cherry pick which polls they want to use to determine whether a candidate is eligible for inclusion in the critical televised presidential debates.

 

Worse yet, they require candidates to forgo their opportunities to participate in other presidential debates, thus giving them a real stranglehold on the process.

 

In 2016, we all saw so clearly how ridiculous and biased the CPD was in their treatment of our Presidential Nominee.

 

We in the Libertarian Party don’t want special treatment. We just want a fair playing field for our candidates. And the CPD is one of the biggest obstacles to that.

 

So, we are currently pursuing two legal cases on this front.

 

One is an antitrust case against the CPD. It was dismissed at summary judgment but we are appealing that right now.

 

The other case is against the FEC, asking them to enforce the law that prohibits the CPD from favoring political parties or political candidates.

 

You’ll be pleased to know that in a recent hearing, the judge had some tough questions for the FEC.

 

But these things take time. Legal cases are slow and that can be frustrating.

 

Know that we are fighting the good fight here, doing what must be done to give our future candidates a more level playing field. No matter what happens with these specific cases, we’ll keep strategizing and mobilizing on this until we get the problem fixed.

 

As always, thank you for your support!

 

Sincerely,
Nicholas Sarwark
Chair, Libertarian National Committee

    

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

TAKE ACTION: Repealing Red Light Cameras starts this week!

LibertyFirstNetwork

 

HB 6007 which will repeal Red Light Cameras will be heard in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 at 1:00 PM.

On average, intersections in Florida using Red Light Cameras are more dangerous! A 2016 report by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows intersections using the cameras reported:

• Total crashes UP 10.14%
• Angle crashes UP 6.72%
• Rear-end crashes UP 11.41%
• Serious injury crashes UP 26.80%
• Fatal crashes UP 100%

Studies have shown a significant reduction of crashes by just increasing the yellow light timing. But, lengthening yellow lights does not make money for the state and local governments. In fact, a House Committee report stated that increasing yellow light timing would cause a reduction in revenue, because there would be less red light infractions. I THOUGHT THAT WAS THE GOAL! Apparently not, it is all about the money.

The fact is RLCs are big money. They have pulled in millions into state coffers. It’s nearly free money for the state, as the vendor pays to install them, and local cities and counties pay to oversee them- even to the point of losing money. The state gets 52.5% of fine money for very little outlay.

2017 is the year we end the use of these unconstitutional devices in Florida but we need your help to make that happen.

TAKE ACTION

HB 6007 will be heard in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 at 1:00 PM.

Please call and e-mail the members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee and tell them to support HB 6007.

CLICK HERE TO EMAIL THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE

Last Name Phone Number E-Mail
Drake, Brad (850) 717-5005 brad.drake@myfloridahouse.gov
Ingram, Clay (850) 717-5001 clay.ingram@myfloridahouse.gov
Watson, Barbara (850) 717-5107 barbara.watson@myfloridahouse.gov
Daniels, Kimberly (850) 717-5014 kimberly.daniels@myfloridahouse.gov
Grant, Michael (850) 717-5075 michael.grant@myfloridahouse.gov
Jacobs, Kristin Diane (850) 717-5096 kristin.jacobs@myfloridahouse.gov
Mariano, Amber (850) 717-5036 amber.mariano@myfloridahouse.gov
Massullo, MD, Ralph E. (850) 717-5034 ralph.massullo@myfloridahouse.gov
Miller, Mike (850) 717-5047 mike.miller@myfloridahouse.gov
Newton, Sr., Wengay M. “Newt” (850) 717-5070 newt.newton@myfloridahouse.gov
Payne, Bobby (850) 717-5019 bobby.payne@myfloridahouse.gov
Toledo, Jackie (850) 717-5060 jackie.toledo@myfloridahouse.gov
Willhite, Matt (850) 717-5086 matt.willhite@myfloridahouse.gov
Williamson, Jayer (850) 717-5003 jayer.williamson@myfloridahouse.gov
Yarborough, Clay (850) 717-5012 clay.yarborough@myfloridahouse.gov

 

CLICK HERE TO EMAIL THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE

Alex with the Liberty First Network
http://www.floridaactionalerts.com/

 

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


The Libertarian Party Thanks You

 

 

Dear Fellow Gary Johnson supporter,

Election 2016 is over, and Donald Trump is our newest President of the United States. The Trump Administration is unlikely to promote personal liberty or economic freedom; in fact, it will likely do grave harm to both. But of course you and I didn’t support Trump or Hillary Clinton. We supported the only sane, decent, honest, and rational candidate in the race – Gov. Gary Johnson.

We can thank all of the California voters who supported the Johnson/Weld ticket: 478,500 voters to be precise, or 3.4% of the total. This is slightly over the national percentage of 3.29%.

There is some good news and a lot of bad news in California. Our state appears to be the most Democratic state in the country now. That unfortunate designation carries with it the likelihood of an ever-increasing economic stranglehold and more nanny-state, busybody regulations. Even so, we now have a record number of registered Libertarian voters in California: 139,805 at last count.

During the campaign, thousands of people like yourself contacted the Johnson/Weld campaign, the national Libertarian Party, and the Libertarian Party of California to seek information about the Libertarian alternative. We need to keep up the momentum of our best electoral showing in party history. We need freedom-minded individuals like yourself to fight against assaults on our liberties in Washington and Sacramento and your local county courthouse and your local city hall.

http://ca.lp.org/membership/

We can make our voice known by becoming a bigger, stronger organization that can mobilize libertarians to lobby legislators, write letters to the editor, promote liberty on social media, recruit candidates for upcoming elections, and be known as the true alternative to politics as usual in California. The Republican Party in California is no longer a credible opposing party to the dominant Democrats. While voters in most states seem to love the Republicans, Californians have rejected that brand name and so many of that tired old party’s views, especially on social issues. Libertarians are the true alternative – with our belief in personal freedom, economic liberty, and a non-interventionist foreign policy.

Will you join us as a due-paying party member? I hope you will, since that is a great way to become involved in party activities and help us to grow to become the type of freedom-loving political force that California needs. The minimum cost to join is only $25.00, but we would be very happy for you to join at a higher level to support party activities.

What do you get for your membership? You will be kept informed of Libertarian activities in California, and our local party activists will contact you to help out with those activities. We have an online newsletter, “The California Libertarian Activist,” that you will receive as a member. You also may be contacted about being a Libertarian candidate or helping on a Libertarian campaign.

http://ca.lp.org/membership/

Some exciting party events are coming up soon. On Saturday, February 25, the Southern California Regional Conference will be held at Geezer’s Restaurant, 12120 Telegraph Road, in Santa Fe Springs (Los Angeles County). For $35.00 you can have lunch and hear some great speakers. More information will follow about this event.

And our 2017 State Convention is coming up on April 28 to 30 at the Santa Clara Marriott near the San Jose Airport. This is a great opportunity to meet other Libertarians and to hear liberty-minded speakers on a variety of topics. If you are interested in party business, it will include election of officers and Executive Committee members, as well as discussion of the party bylaws and platform. To serve as a convention delegate, you need to be a dues-paying party member, so I recommend joining up ASAP to be eligible.

http://lpcevent.com/

If you have any questions about the Libertarian Party and our party activities, please contact me, and I will be glad to answer them. Remember, the Libertarian Party needs you – now more than ever. The pro-government, anti-liberty people will be out in full force. We need to counter them. Will you join me? I sure hope you will.

For liberty,

Ted Brown

Chair, Libertarian Party of California

tbrown@ca.lp.org

 

 


Thursday: Can you make “Southeast Libertarian mixer/supper club”?

Thursday
Greater Los Angeles Libertarian Party Meetup Group
Thursday, February 2, 2017
7:30 PM
Mimi’s Cafe
8455 Firestone Blvd.
Downey, CA
We discuss current events and plans for the future and make new friends, in a convivial and welcoming setting.
Learn more

2017 Legislative Session: Week 1

2017 Session: Week 1

 

The first week of the NH Legislative Session is in the books, and Liberty Lobby LLC was at the statehouse and Legislative Office Building (LOB) testifying for pro-freedom legislation and against anti-freedom legislation.

On Tuesday (Jan 10), CEO Darryl W. Perry testified on:

CACR1 Relating to the general court. Providing that the general court shall hold sessions biennially. support
HB110 Requiring members of the press corps covering the proceedings of the general court to wear a name tag. oppose
HCR2 Supporting efforts to ensure that students from New Hampshire have access to debt-free higher education at public colleges and universities. oppose
HB249 Relative to showing a ballot. support
HB218 Relative to activities at polling places. oppose
HB253 Relative to campaign materials at the polling place. support
CACR4 Relating to the attorney general. Providing that the attorney general shall be elected every 2 years. nominal support

Additionally, Perry crafted a proposed amendment for the sponsor of HB253 to combine the intent of HB253 with the clarification sought by HB218. This amendment will likely be considered by the Election Law Committee at the upcoming Executive Session.

On Wednesday (Jan 11), Perry testified on:

HB170 Relative to posting notice and minutes of public meetings on the public body’s website. support
HB178 Establishing a commission to study processes to resolve right-to-know complaints. support
HB153 Requiring a manslaughter charge for heroin and fentanyl dealers when the user dies. oppose

Perry also observed several other hearings, and had productive conversations with lawmakers on several topics.

Video is available for several of these hearings on the Liberty Lobby LLC YouTube channel. And, of course, we are preparing for Week 2 with hearings on warrant articles (local ballot initiatives), tax-payer funding of lobbyists, assisting federal agents with warrantless searches, industrial hemp, and more.

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, or Bitcoin.

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.

 

 

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