Wednesday, June 22, 2016

TV Party Tonight! (June 22) See Gary Johnson on CNN!

Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, the Libertarian President and Vice President candidates are featured on CNN's Libertarian Town Hall tonight, Wednesday, July 22, at 9pm ET.
http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/15/politics/gary-johnson-bill-weld-cnn-town-hall-libertarian/index.html
All are invited to join us in a TV party at 8pm for free dinner, then watch the show at 9pm.
Location: Jeannette Jaquish's house, 1423 Louisedale Dr., Fort Wayne, IN 46808.  260 484-5946.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

If you are alive to read this, Memorial Day isn't meant to honor you in particular. This is the day meant to honor those who died while serving the military. These men and women never got their discharge papers. They will never collect VA benefits. They will never see the movie that Kathryn Bigelow, Oliver Stone, or Steven Spielberg made about their war. And they won't read this blog post.

Each year, Memorial Day honors more and more people. Let's hope for a time when the number of people honored on the last Monday in May no longer rises.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Public bathrooms

Expelling bodily wastes shouldn't have to be a cultural or political act. I feel like I shouldn't have to talk about this subject on this blog, but here goes some of my thoughts on the matter.
1) Using the proper bathroom shouldn't be a matter of law, but a matter of common courtesy. Most of us are uncomfortable using the bathroom in front of strangers of the opposite sex. We use the bathroom that is most comfortable to us, and we try to avoid making other people uncomfortable. Bathroom have stalls so we don't have to see each other's genitals. If a person who looks like a man but has a vagina uses the men's room, I shouldn't feel uncomfortable because I shouldn't be aware at all of his vagina. He wouldn't share this info with me unless we were good friends.

I understand that there are safety concerns. People seem to be worried that sexual predators would proclaim their gender to that of their preferred victim, march right into the public bathroom, and assault somebody. But a man who claims to be a woman would stand out like a sore thumb. What makes predators so dangerous is that they do their best to blend in. Few people had any idea that Bill Cosby, Jared Fogle, or Dennis Hastert were monsters until we heard about it on the news.

We don't need state laws that tell us what bathroom to use. Will these laws be enforced by bouncers carding everyone who has to pee? Or can we just agree that if someone reasonably looks male or female, then we don't need them to prove it?

Ultimately, who pees where should be decided by building management and not the state or the federal government. Sometimes one bathroom is packed full or out of order, so people end up using the bathroom that they normally wouldn't use. Management should have the discretion to allow this. On the other hand, if a man decides to make an ass of himself by proclaiming his "femininity" and following women into the bathroom, management should have the option of having him removed.

Even with schools, it's best to leave restroom policy to the school boards. Schools have a vested interest in keeping adolescents with penises from impregnating adolescents with vaginas on school property, so boys and girls have been historically kept separate. If a school decides that a transgirl does not post a threat to the other girls, and the other girls are comfortable with this, then I'm not going to lose sleep over the matter.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Trump will be the GOP nominee. Now what?

I actually feel bad for the Republican Party right now. I wish that every political party would nominate their very best candidate for President. The race should be competitive so that whoever wins works hard to keep the job.

Trump doesn't seem to care if he wins. He wants to run his mouth. He says things that sound great to the GOP base but make everybody else mad. Name recognition and wealth were enough to carry him through the primaries. But it's way more fun to run for President than actually be President. Do you know all the pressure you feel in a job interview? Trump feels none of that, because this is a game to him. No matter what happens, this will all work out for him. A billionaire who wants to be President is absurd as a millionaire who wants to work at Wal-Mart.

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have high unfavorability ratings. In past years people have talked about "wasted votes" and what not. But this year, the only reason NOT to vote Libertarian is if you actually DON'T want a Libertarian in the White House and you actually would prefer Hillary or Donald to Gary Johnson.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Arena proponents should be honest about why they want an arena.

You want a new arena. It's okay, just say it. It's okay to want things. It's okay to want a bigger house or a nicer car. It's okay to want a newer computer or a bigger TV. It's okay to want a boat even though you don't live near the water or a flood plain.

Or maybe you expect to benefit directly financially. It's fine to admit that or even brag about it.

But can you really credibly say with a straight face that the entertainment industry is the best use of your tax dollars? There are so many things that are more important but are less exciting: roads, sewers, fire departments, etc. If you want an arena so badly that it influences the way that you vote, fine. But to insist that you support a project because of its economic impact is disingenuous. All civic projects have both economic benefits and consequences. People are hired to build the project and people are taxed to pay for it. Traffic patterns change, Commute times are increased for some and reduced for others. Retailers can gain or lose business because of these traffic patterns.

I'm especially suspicious of businesses that support new downtown construction projects after moving all their operations to the outskirts. It's like slapping a Greenpeace bumper sticker on your own Hummer.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Annual Convention Details Finalized

It is that time once again when the Libertarian Party of Allen County, Indiana will be hosting its Annual Convention at Richards Restaurants, on Washington Center Road at Interstate 69, between Lima Road (Exit 311) and Coldwater Roads (Exit 312) on April Fools Day 2016 from 6-9 pm.

Prices for Dinner average $10 per person maximum

There will be a brief Business Meeting which will then transition into our Nominating Convention where we will begin to discern candidates to run for office on the November General Election Ballot. Our goal is to provide VOTERS with a better option, a more sound choice. This year in Allen County there are 17 Positions available for Voters to change the way Government operates in Cities and Towns across the Hoosier State:

COUNTY OFFICES:

County Treasurer, County Coroner, County Surveyor
County Commissioner - District 1, County Council at Large

STATE OFFICES
State Senate: Districts 14, 15, 16
State Representative: Districts 50, 52, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85

Nominations will be accepted at this time during the Convention.

Are you tired of the way County Government spends your tax dollars? Are you frustrated with the General Assembly passing political pork instead of passing on a positive future for all of Indiana This is the year that you can make that difference by running under the Libertarian banner and finally offering Voters something better than the lesser of two evils. Send a PM to LPAC Chair Robert Enders for more details and to throw your hat into our ring come November's General Election.

Please RSVP via LPAC's FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE Thank you.

You must become a member of the local Party (which is free) at a minimum to vote and may do so during the Convention. You are encouraged to join the State or National Party for $25 annually and forms will also be available for your convenience. Per the most recent revision in our ByLaws there will be no Officers elected at this meeting slated unless an immeadate circumstance arises.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Apple of My Eye

First of all, let's concede that the FBI has every right to look into Syad Farook's iPhone. Farook is a notorious dead terrorist and he may have spoken to terrorists who are still alive and unknown. The iPhone in question is the property of San Bernardino County, who has eagerly consented to the search of the phone. Not even innocent people have a reasonable expectation of privacy when using a phone issued by their employer.

Apple has their own reasons for refusing the FBI's request. If this iPhone can be cracked into, then all iPhones can be cracked. This makes the iPhone a less desirable product.

But are lives really at stake here? Farook intentionally destroyed his own personal cell phone. A competent terrorist would have NOT used his government-issue phone to contact other terrorists. This is probably why he didn't bother to destroy the iPhone.

It would seem that governments on all levels have a new dilemma when it comes to encryption. On the one hand, they need the ability to monitor their own employees. On the other hand, they need to keep sensitive information out of the wrong hands. But most people already know better than to use hardware that the IT department can monitor when they are up to no good. So we should be grateful that this iPhone is difficult to spy on, for now.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Should women be required to register for the draft?

No. Nobody should have to register for the draft.

First of all, even if you still feel that the draft might be necessary, why should the government bother with Selective Service? If you go to public school, the government already has your address and vital data before you even turn 18. If you've never been to public school, you either come from a rich family and they will find a way to keep you stateside or you're Amish and you have contentious objector status. And there are many other ways in this day and age for the government to track you down, unless you are a fugitive or living off the grid. If you are a fugitive, the military wouldn't want you. If you are successfully living off the grid then they should make you a better offer than simply threatening to charge you with draft evasion.

Second of all, would the draft even matter in a age of drones and nuclear weapons? Only suicidal terrorists want to attack the US. Yet foreign terrorists only manage to kill fewer Americans than domestic street gangs. And has anyone bothered to check if these street gang members are registered with Selective Service? Technically, even felons have to register.

Which brings us to another point about the draft: it creates perverse incentives. If healthy people are required to fight, that makes a lot of people want to be unhealthy. Of course the military tests for drugs, so people will tell you to smoke so much dope that your piss turns olive drab. The military has weight limits for recruits, so many young people might put off that diet until their 26th birthday.

Was the draft ever necessary? During the war of 1812, when British troops were setting fire to the White House, America didn't bother with a draft. After the attack on Pearl Harbor and 9/11, recruiting centers were so packed that many men were told to come back later. When America is under attack, American are eager to fight. It's when our government wants to get involved in other countries' squabbles that the military finds itself short of volunteers.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

My take on the FBI's video of the shooting of LaVoy Finicum



This is what I see when I watch this low quality footage. Other people might see different things. Feel free to comment.
1:09: Suspect vehicle (white Dodge pickup with crew cab and camper) stops in the middle of the road. Police have guns drawn
8:10: Suspect vehicle takes off again and flees at high speed. This is a felony.
9:15: Suspect vehicle encounters the police vehicles blocking the road. The suspect vehicle veers to the left. An officer lunges toward the suspect vehicle which is still moving. I don′t know why he would do this. It is dangerous and you can′t stop a truck with your body.

9:20 The driver of the Dodge pickup gets out. He has his hands up as if he wants to surrender. He is staggering though the deep snow. Then he puts his arms down. It looks like he′s flailing as if he lost his balance. Or maybe he is reaching for his gun. But his arms are clearly down, so the police shoot and kill the driver.

Normally, if you are armed and you need to surrender to someone else who is armed, you keep your hands up to show that you cannot fire at them. You keep your arms up until they tell you to put them down. The police knew he was armed. If they believed he was reaching for a weapon, then they were justified in shooting him. This doesn′t look like a murder from the video.

Monday, January 04, 2016

My take on the Oregon protests

This story starts in 2001, when Dwight Hammond and Steven Hammond set fires on federal land that burned 127 acres. They were convicted of arson, and a judge gave Dwight a three month sentence and Steven a one year sentence. The defendants claim that this was to control an invasive species, the prosecutors claim that it was to cover up illegal poaching.

Even if the Hammonds were telling the truth, I can't really condone setting fires on federal land as a form of pest control. In my opinion, arson is worse than bank robbery. Most bank robbers just slide a note over the counter, the tellers follow their training, and the FDIC reimburses the bank for any cash that isn't recovered. Arsonists are more reckless and destructive, causing more property damage and risk to human life than bank robbers. But the mandatory minimum sentence for arson is 5 years, while the minimum sentence for bank robbery is 10 years.

The Hammonds received less than minimum sentences and served their time. But an appeals court ruled that they should have received longer sentences, and that they should go back to prison. While I would agree that they should have received 5 year sentences in the first place, I also feel that if you are charged, convicted, and serve the original sentence, the government should leave you alone unless you commit another crime.  I think that the law should err on the side of the defendant throughout the entire process. But that isn't what the law requires. The law requires that the Hammonds go back to prison.

People do have a right to protest prison sentences if they feel that the sentences are unfair. But they don't have a right to take over a government building. I would much prefer that this standoff end with no bloodshed. But if these protesters use lethal force to resist arrest, then the moral responsibility for what happens next falls on them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The War on Terror is over (If you want it)

With all of America's wars, there will always be sore losers who think the wrong side won. Seventy years after World War 2, there are still people who wear swastikas. One and a half centuries after the Civil War, there are still people who support Southern independence. Cecil Rhodes wanted to undo the American Revolution by having the US rejoin the British Empire. We can't win every heart and mind. We can't kill everybody who doesn't like us. Victory involves setting an objective and accomplishing that objective. Usually that objective involves getting someone important on the other side to sign a piece of paper,

I propose that there just isn't anybody important in ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or any other group. There will always be someone who says that they are loyal to one of those group. Just because some lunatic shoots some people and says he's part of a bunch of other lunatics isn't sufficient cause to send troops and bombs halfway around the world. Attacking ISIS because of the San Bernadino shooters would be like burning Atlanta to the ground again because some racist punk murdered some people in a black church.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Keep pseudoephedrine over-the-counter

It might seem trivial to compare the inconvenience of a doctor's appointment to the tragedy of meth addiction. But a law that requires a prescription for pseudoephedrine is going to have health consequences for innocent Hoosiers while doing very little or nothing to stop people from using meth.

Even with health insurance, very few people are actually going to go to a doctor to get cold meds. First of all, all Hoosiers live within 70 miles of the state line. So going to another state will be less of a hassle than going to a doctor. Some Hoosiers might stock up on cold meds as well. And some people will choose the worst possible option: going to work or school without controlling the symptoms and placing coworkers and classmates at risk of catching a cold.

If your sole objective is to stop meth, it would make for sense to lobby the federal government to reclassify pseudoephedrine as a Schedule II drug like Adderal or oxycotin. A state law in this case is a pathetic half-measure. On the other, if not even Congress can be persuaded to outlaw a drug, then that should be an indicator of how silly the whole idea is.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Trump proposes banning Muslims from entering the US

Trump is running a campaign that seems like it's more designed to embarrass the GOP than actually win an election. Most of the time he sounds more like Stephen Colbert than a serious statesman.

On the off chance that he is serious about spending 4 to 8 years in a job more difficult and dangerous than any job he has ever had, let's look at his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the US. Would this policy actually prevent a terrorist attack?

Let's start by asking how do you tell if someone if Muslim? In most cases, it is hard to tell just by looking. Islam is not a race or a skin color. There are black Muslims in Kenya and Somalia, there are Asian Muslims in Indonesia and the Phillipines, and there are Muslims with blonde hair and blue eyes in Bosnia.

The best way to know is to simply ask. Most Muslims are pretty open about their beliefs, just as most Christians and Jews are. And I would imagine most of them would begrudgingly comply with an order to stay out of the US. But Muslims who would obey US law aren't the ones you should be worried about. An actual terrorist who wanted to get into this country would likely lie about what his religion is.

So any law barring Muslims from entering this country will do nothing to keep us safer. The only reason anyone supports this idea is because they just don't like Muslims.