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09/2005

 

Time For a Change
Marc Solomon

Here's why you need to vote for something else in November. Why you need to take it personally.

It may be your last chance.

Bush has requested and signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, a bill that eliminates the right of habeas corpus . This means that 9 out of 10 items in the bill of rights are now null and void. Let's back up. First, the "law" gives His Majesty the right to imprison you, yes YOU, for any reason he wants. Ostensibly to protect us from the evils of terror. But that sounds like terror to me, Soviet-Union, Nazi Germany style terror. Then since there is no habeas corpus, you can be held without knowing why or have the right to ask in court the same question. You are in a dictatorship. And if you support our troops, or have loved ones in the military, Bush can reject whatever parts of the Geneva Convention that bothers him, and protects them in times of war. So that means the CIA thugs can legally continue to torture, and our military is now subject to the same treatment. A particularly disgusting technique, "water-boarding" was used during World War II. We prosecuted the people who did this as war criminals. Bush says it's OK now. Hope you don't get on his bad side.

This is not a theoretical or theatrical argument. Your president and congress have betrayed the Constitution and violated their oaths of office. It is true that many presidents have done it before, and they were judged by history. President Adams used the Alien and Sedition acts to imprison newspaper editors. Lincoln did the same thing (yeah, that's hard to hear). Woodrow Wilson prosecuted over 2000 peace advocates, merely for speaking. We still have living evidence of Roosevelt's illegal imprisonment and financial ruination of 110,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II. We survived those terrible times, but how many chances do we get? After all, there were protestors against the internment camps. Who is protesting Guantanamo?

Not to mention those precious few remaining holocaust survivors who remind us of the ultimate end of any dictatorship. Power. Death. Torture.

It will be used on you first, my liberal siblings. They won't come after us Libertarians yet, but that will happen soon enough, because we support the right to bear arms. The abuse of power at the highest level got started a few years ago, perhaps as a test of our resolve. As some of you may recall, there was the matter of an illegal presidential election in 2004. That race may be been considered close, so the illegality may have slipped past the moral outrage threshold that we should have had. I know many Democrats screamed, but only the Libertarian and Green parties took the cretins to court. It may puzzle you to note that Kerry's people never looked at the data. Why did he give up so soon? Where was your moral outrage? With the confidence of power, Bush now destroys what ever freedom is left. George Orwell would have edited this part out of 1984 for being too far-fetched. Stranger than fiction.

But things will get worse. There will be arrests, first of the darker-skinned folks who sort of look middle-eastern. Then Moslems in general. Then will come the college professors, and then finally the suburbanites who contribute to perhaps MoveOn.org and other subversive groups. That will be because you are aiding people who may aid people who may aid people who might know terrorists.

This isn't about Democrat-Republican games. This is America versus Tyranny. Right here.

Vote this time. You'll probably vote democratic, I'm not sure I've converted all of you yet. But I beg you, make whoever you vote for promise to repeal this outrage and the obscene USAPATRIOT Act. The fight will not be over, even if the Democrats have congress and the presidency. Governments do not willingly give up power once gotten.

On the Libertarian front, we are pushing hard, and may have a couple of thorns to stick in Caesar's ass.

Two amazing national races could change the face of American politics forever. Surprisingly enough in Texas. Our 2004 presidential candidate, Michael Badnarik, dusted himself off from that hard campaign and focused his attention on his home district 10, which includes Austin. This district was formed by a gerrymandering retailion against the unbendable Congressman Ron Paul, who just happened to be the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate in 1988. This redistricting took many - but not enough to unseat him - of his votes and placed them in Michael's. Hopefully Texans remember offronts to liberty. Michael and his supporters have raised over $350,000, and will make an impressive run this year. Michael asked the Democrat, Ted Ankrum, not to run, so that freedom-loving voters could concentrate efforts. Since this district has been designed Republican, Ted is getting little support for his campaign. Sadly, Ted didn't go for it.

Read this list of some of Michael's positions, and tell me, my liberal friends, that you couldn't vote Libertarian:

  • End the war in Iraq and terminate American economic and military foreign adventurism and interventionism. No draft.
  • End Prohibition and its disastrous "War on Drugs"
  • End censorship of books, music and films
  • Separate church and state, get government out of the marriage business
  • Equal treatment of all people under the law
  • Oppose racism in any form for any reason
  • Repeal all federal regulations that effectively prevent minorities from starting their own businesses
  • End federal control over abortion
  • Repeal of all federal mandates and controls over schools
  • Let the ill use medical marijuana

You like?

So can Mr. Badnarik win this? Ted Ankrum almost proved it without knowing. His own polls showed that 60% of voters are looking for something other than "business-as-usual" politics and are willing to consider a third-party candidate. He thought they were talking about a Democrat. Not quite. Other research confirms that 40% will never change their stance. Makes sense. A poll of name recognition shows Michael with 2.5 times that of the Democrat. It also shows the scary Republican incumbent McCaul stands at 4.5 times that of Badnarik. He hasn't bothered to fundraise much, since he feels the election is a lock. But he has voted right along with Bush (I didn't say "goose stepping"), and also ones a great deal of favors to the oil, gas and healthcare industries, along with DeLay's PAC. Those are some serious liabilities.

Michael Badnarik has also done something the other two have not. He signed a legally binding Candidate's Employment Contract. This means that if he is elected, and reneges on any of his stated positions, he will be stripped of the right to run for re-election. Know anyone in the two majors parties that could pass that test?

There is even more interesting news. The Washington Times noted in August that something is afoot in District 22. That was Tom Delay's seat. He smashed his opponents in the primaries, but had the bad form to resign because he's a criminal. After some legal wrangling, and a successful suit by the Democrats, the Republicans were left with no one on the ballot. Only the Democrat, Nick Lampson and the Libertarian, Bob Smither will appear. You may think this would be a good Democratic opportunity, but this district is strongly conservative. Delay got 55% in 2004 and 63% in 2002. Now the strange thing about Libertarians is that we look a lot like one party or the other, depending on what your hot buttons are. As we are fiscally tight-fisted, as in we don't believe in deficit spending, this is a hot button in Texas. A popular Representative in the area, Ron Paul has voted "No" on every bill that increased taxes or the size of government. He has yielded to pressure some times. He jokes that sometimes he votes "Present". So we may have the right candidate for this district as well.

In a similar move to Badnarik, Bob Smither appealed to the Republicans to support him. In return, he would vote for a Republican Speaker of the House. They declined, even though they may not have a chance. Go figure. Their backroom-chosen write-in candidate, Shelly Sekula-Gibbs, is known for being clueless, and has a name with a hyphen in it. Follow me on this. Texas uses a "click wheel" style electronic voting machine. Each voter would have to spell her very long name correctly to have the vote count. The more intriguing (and comic) aspect is that these machines don't have a "hyphen". It's a nail-biter. Fact: Texas has never elected a write-in candidate.

Bob Smither is a well-known businessman in the south Houston area because of his work on behalf of missing children. Tragically, his 12-year-old daughter, Laura, was abducted and killed in 1997, leading Bob and his wife to found a nonprofit organization, the Laura Recovery Center for missing children. Bob is a sane, reasonable alternative to "business-as-usual" politics. He may surprise us all.

There are other races this time of note, Dick Clark in Alabama, Bruce Guthrie in Washington, and Art Olivier in California. Each one, and the hundreds of other Libertarians running are trying to make a point. A vote is a sacred thing, not a lottery ticket, or a bet in a horse race. You don't make any money by backing the winner. And the winner will never know who you are. It cannot be wasted, lest it be cast for any other reason than what is truly in your heart.

Tell your friends. Don't take no for an answer. This may be our last chance: Democrats, Libertarians, and freedom-loving Republicans too.