-The Free View-
December 20, 2000
410 weeks until election day
In This Issue:
-Articles and Links
-How to Unsubscribe/Subscribe
Who Can We Blame?
The effort has been made to place the blame for our spectacularly messy election...well, somewhere. Every level of the courts has been scorned and ridiculed, from county, to state, to circuit, to State Supreme, to U.S. Supreme. The voters, the media, the Constitution, the ballot makers, the county commissions, the state commissions, the secretary of state, the Governor- the blame has shifted from player to player...and now most people have rested upon blaming either one of these characters, or all of them. But those who are really at fault have, by and large, gotten out of this mess unscathed- the lawmakers.
It's the U.S. Congress which has the final say in Presidential elections, and who set the stage upon which this drama has played out- and their failure in this is very revealing. In over 200 years, our Congress has neglected to develop a reliable framework for the election of our President. Why is anyone's guess, but I'd propose that it is because they have simply been distracted.
Some might say that Congress has wanted to avoid interfering with the intent of the Constitution's electoral framework. That would indeed be a noble goal, but unfortunately it doesn't hold true- Congress has changed the presidential election rules a number of times in history.
In the early 1800's, Congress changed the process to accommodate a Two-Party structure, by requiring that president and vice president be voted for as a ticket, and having the winning "ticket" be rewarded with both offices. It used to be that the one who got the most votes was President, and the runner-up was Vice-President. That's a huge change, one which could be said to have shackled this country with a partisan system, which at least one founding father (notably, George Washington) specifically spoke out against.
In 1876, in order to settle a highly disputed presidential election, Congress drafted legislation to set up a one-time electoral commission, which ended up choosing the president (who suffered as many claims of illegitimacy as George W. Bush will). The dispute in the election was due to voter fraud in multiple states, and as a result, multiple sets of electors were sent to Congress by a few states- including Florida, which sent three separate sets of electors in. The Electoral Commission that was set up ended up giving the Presidency (or Fraudulency, as it was called) to Rutherford Hayes with 8 votes to 7.
After another disputed election, the Kennedy-Nixon race, had stirred voter unease, Congress drafted legislation which set some guidelines for states- the main one being that they could not change the rules for counting votes after the election. And in 1975, Congress set up the Federal election Commission, which was supposed to oversee and control the financing of campaigns (and boy, did that one (not) work!).
In each of these actions, Congress has taken it upon themselves to set election rules, guidelines and laws to govern the process. In each of these instances, Congress has taken some control away from the states and the voters, in order to establish more orderly elections. And our recent Congresses have shown the same intent, with more campaign finance reform being a hot issue for both Parties for the past few years.
Despite all these questionable and problematic elections, Congress has not bothered to implement a national voting system, one which would ensure the reliable and fair election of our President. And the result is what's now known as the "Florida debacle," where county officials and state judges were forced to try and do the job that Congress hadn't. As it turns out, they couldn't do it- they could not produce a reliable and accurate vote count. Whatever anyone says about this election, you will find few who will claim that the certified Florida totals are an exact reflection of the votes cast. Even the guy who created the voting machines admitted that they are not completely reliable. As it turns out, there has been knowledge that they are unreliable all along.
This article has been hard for me to write, because the natural conclusion of it is that I think that there should be a national election system. I am opposed to almost every federal government program there is. I simply feel that most activities are not inherently federal. But, and I'll go into this more next week, I think that the Presidential election is a unique exception. I think the failure of the U.S. Congress to ensure that indeed "every vote does count" should be considered one of their biggest failures- and I lay this blame on every Congress of the past two hundred years.
Think back for a minute, to the month of TV commentary we saw after the election. Think back to how many times you heard someone say "Well, there's irregularities in every election- there's nothing we can do about that." Do you buy that? Is that a proper statement for our leaders to be making? In effect, they're saying, "Oh, sure, we know every vote doesn't count- but that's just how it is. There's nothing you can do about it."
Next week, I'll talk about the reason why Congress has failed to protect our right to elect our leaders. As I mentioned earlier, I think it's because they've been distracted. By what?
Let me put it this way: We can put a man on the moon, but we can't add up 100 million votes properly? Hmmmmm....
New Lance Article Online- The Case Against Schools --------------------------------------------------
The reason this newsletter is a day late is because I got inspired to write a new article, and I wanted to finish it so I could share it with you. It's called "'Boston Public': The Case Against Schools", and you can read it right here: http://futuresolutions.org/futsols/freeschool/bp/
This article serves as a complement to my previous writings on The Free School on The Internet. I had already written why classrooms prevent ideal learning, and this new piece provides good examples why the school environment is a bad place for students to be, and not just for academic reasons.
Articles and Links
I'm taking the easy way out with this week's links; I'll try to make up for it with really good ones next week!
A Layman's Guide to the Supreme Court Decision in Bush vs. Gore
This is a biting commentary on the decision that elected our President.
Bush vs. Gore Supreme Court Opinion http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/supremecourt/00-949_dec12.fdf
U.S. Constitution Online
Thanks for reading. See you next week!
Be Well, Be Free,
Lance Brown Candidate for President - Year 2008
[This is a rather long article which I originally published as 7 separate pages-- I've culled it all together into one big entry, to fit the blog format and consolidate my articles into blog entries.]
This week, I decided to watch Fox's new show "Boston Public," a Monday night show about a public school in, well, Boston. I don't know if the show's producer (David E. Kelley of "Ally McBeal" fame) intended to make a strong political statement or not, but it looks to me like an abstract infomercial for homeschooling. The show's tempo is defined by a succession of situations guaranteed to make a parent think, "I wouldn't want my kid going there."
Certainly, a T.V. show isn't reality, but the scenes depicted were material we are all familiar with, from the news and from our own experiences:
* A sexy student doesn't wear a bra. The principal orders her to. When a female teacher questions him on his liberal application of the dress code, he responds: "Today, the policy is that Dana Poole wears a bra." Dana Poole files a complaint with the superintendent.
* A teacher refuses to continue teaching the "basement class"- the classic rough and unteachable class. She is absent, leaving only this message scrawled on the chalkboard: "I'm going to kill myself. Hope you're happy!" She appears a few times through the show, where her main purpose is to show how shattered and disillusioned a teacher can get. When the principal tells her she needs to be taking her medicine, she responds, "I can't feel anything when I take it. What's the point of teaching if you don't feel?" She is put on leave, and warned that if she doesn't straighten up she'll be fired.
* A black U.S. history student tells his teacher the textbook sucks, because it doesn't mention that the founding fathers owned slaves, and that Thomas Jefferson slept with his slaves. He says something to the effect of "my black ass ain't reading it." The elderly Jewish teacher responds that his class is intended to prepare students for a standardized test, and that Jefferson sleeping with his slaves isn't going to be on the test- so the student had better "learn the lies in this book, or your black ass will end up having to listen to my Jewish ass all next school year." Over the course of this, the teacher loses his cool, and this last part is screamed in the student's face at a distance of 3 inches or so.
* A football hero is failing two classes, and can no longer play on the team. Throughout the episode, the two teachers who failed him are pressured to change their grades, by the father (with an attorney), the coach, and the football star himself. Finally, one of the teachers changes the grade because a girl (braless Dana from above, in fact) threatens to expose their secret sex affair.
* A bully harasses a much smaller geek. The principal stops the geek in the hall to ask him who did it. The bully sees them talking, and later cracks the geek's head open because he thinks he told on him. He does this off school grounds, so, as he says to the principal, "it's not your problem." The principal says he's making it his problem, and repeatedly and roughly shoves the bully against the lockers, finishing with, "If [that boy] gets so much as a hangnail, I will take your head off." The bully files a complaint with the superintendent.
As they say, T.V. reflects society reflects T.V., and Boston Public may be truer than many fictional T.V. shows. These stories could be grabbed right out of the newspapers, and the problems are well-known. Since they are being aired once more, it's worth asking again what is causing the problems in our schools.
Who's to Blame?
Who does the show blame for this? It would seem that the students and the parents are the problem. Not one student was portrayed in a positive light. Besides the cast of characters in the examples above, there was an overly intelligent girl who runs a controversial student website, breeding gossip and mocking teachers with offensive cartoons. There is a clique of no-brained "cool" girls. There is the student who writes "BITCH" with spray paint on the chalkboard of one of the teachers who is failing the football star. Above all, there is the repeated message that "they don't want to learn."
The kids are products of parents who only care about their education when there's a problem, according to the show. The football star's dad says to the "BITCH" teacher, (paraphrase) "I'm aware of how I've failed with my child's education, but this time, it's you who is failing him," as he tries to pressure her to pass his son so he can get his football scholarship. The parents of the unteachable ruffians in the basement class fill the main office in mob fashion, after their new teacher fires a gun in class, in a last-ditch effort to get attention and respect. The principal shoos them away with "He will be dealt with," while refusing to answer when they ask "How?" (The gun-firing teacher, by the way, gets a verbal final warning from the vice-principal, and a warning from the principal that the next time, their friendship won't stop him from firing him.)
I don't necessarily agree or disagree with the producer's choice of villains and heroes- but no matter what David E. Kelley wanted me to think, I came away with this: School is no place for kids to be- particularly not if they want an education.
Over the past twenty years, the homeschooling movement has grown by leaps and bounds, and has reached a level of public acceptance where it's something every parent can consider embarking upon. And while there are still significant hurdles involved with homeschooling, "Boston Public" should give any parent reason to give it a more than a little thought.
All of the mini-nightmares depicted in the examples above are, I propose, a natural by-product of a school-based education. I think we as a nation sometimes fail to understand how unnatural our average school environment is. In many ways, schools are as unnatural an environment as prisons are. There are certain things that come about in certain settings, and there are some things that we can expect to happen in schools, no matter what we do. After all, whatever you think of prison riots, it's unlikely that you find them surprising.
Well, we don't have riots in schools (yet), but there are definitely things which we can expect to happen in just about every school, and "Boston Public" lays them out for all to see.
In middle and high school, sexual urges consume the thoughts of many students. And while sexual development and curiosity is natural, school amplifies, distorts, and confuses the issue for most students. The years of close contact with hundreds of their peers, the awkward situations, the pressure on appearance, and other factors commingle to send most kids on a 6-year emotional roller coaster from the onset of puberty until their graduation party. In this week's "Boston Public," this manifests itself with Dana Poole, a sexy, manipulative girl who fools around with her teacher, blackmails him, and doesn't wear a bra.
The thing you don't see is that 200 lonely guys at Boston Public ride an emotional roller coaster every day, and it's driven by Dana Poole and her friends. Force 200 lonely guys to spend 6 years squirming in their seats as they fantasize about their sexy female peers who they won't ever be with, and you will produce a certain percentage of rapists. It's an expectable reaction to an unnatural situation.
Of course, that's just one natural manifestation of the sexual politics of middle and high school, and there's a lot more damage done than just creating rapists. Just about everybody carries a heavy load of emotional baggage when they leave high school, and many people spend years readjusting and reassessing their self-image once they are liberated from school- whether it's echoes of "Fatty!" or "Four-Eyes!" ringing in their ears, or years of degradation from being called "Baldy" ever since having one's pants pulled down in 7th grade gym class. (Note: The "Baldy" thing is not a personal story. ;-))
When you put that many young people in a building together for years on end, and then crank up the hormones, it gets complicated real quick. And when all most students have for answers is their own 'peer grapevine,' it's an invitation to sexual and emotional dysfunction. Teen pregnancy, high divorce rates, date rapes, depression- these should be no surprise. In schools, we have created an environment where these things are sure to flourish.
The basement class of uncontrollable students is a classic entertainment stereotype, since the days of "The Blackboard Jungle" and "Welcome Back Kotter," and before. In movies and TV the tough teacher usually digs in and triumphs with some special gimmick. But in real life, more teachers lose that battle than win it, and "Boston Public" gives credence to this. BoPub's basement class sends one teacher home screaming, after previously having driven her to seek pharmaceutical assistance. The teacher sent to replace her, after first refusing the task, then avoiding it, finally shows up wearing a holstered gun- his "special gimmick" is firing blanks at the wall. I'll have to tune in next week to see if it straightened out the class and got him the respect he was looking for, but I think most people would question his method, regardless of its results.
The thing you don't see is how those "unteachable" students act when they are doing something they actually want to do, and how quickly they learn when it appeals to their interests- whether it be learning rap lyrics, memorizing sports statistics and figuring odds, researching black history, or rolling the perfect joint. What isn't said is that there will always be students who simply can't be appealed to with classroom methods. What isn't said is if you haven't gotten a student interested in school by 6th grade, chances are you never will- unless you try something truly different.
What isn't said is that people learn in very different ways- and schools teach in one way to everyone. Until you've reached a certain level, you don't really have much control over how you learn best. And if you aren't taught in a way that appeals to your learning style, you aren't likely to learn well. And if that's the case, you aren't likely to enjoy your classes very much. After 8 or 10 years of dissatisfied, frustrated attempts to "get it," is it surprising that many kids end up as unruly and "unteachable"?
The Sports Scholarship/"Move 'Em Up, and Ship 'Em Out" Plan
The stories of poor students being advanced or having grades fudged so they can stay on the team are legion, and last night's show highlighted the issue. In this case, it was sexy Dana's blackmail that turned the tide and kept the star on the team, but it doesn't always need to come to that. Oftentimes, it doesn't even have to be a sports scholarship hanging in the balance- educational statistics clearly show that tons of students get to grade 12 without having a grade 12 education.
It should be no surprise that this has become epidemic in schools. After all, what else is a teacher to do? Once they've tried their hardest to help the kid pass, what else is there? It wouldn't be fair to the other students to focus the needed amount of time teaching just one kid. And holding him back for another year will surely stunt his social growth and self-image, and he'll get even worse. When you have 20 or 30 students, there is only so much you can do for any one, and so you just move 'em up, or take the risk of making a bad problem even worse by holding them back or designating them "special" or "troubled." By 10th grade or so, the idea of denying a student the "right to a diploma" is mostly reserved for disciplinary problems. The educationally deficient students will, for the most part, graduate as long as they show up. After all, who would want to be responsible for sealing a young person's fate by denying them a high school diploma?
While many students can learn through a homogenized, group-based teaching method, a certain number can't. Whether it's peer fear, fluorescent lights, bad techniques, or any of a thousand other reasons, some kids just find it very hard to learn in a school setting. And unless they reach a certain learning plateau, they aren't likely to be able to overcome that difficulty. Since, in our culture, not graduating from high school is considered a critical failure, schools and teachers are understandably hesitant to shackle even the "dumbest" student with that noose. The result? A great number of 12th graders graduate with not even close to a 12th grade education level. This trend has a twin sister, which involves giving kids who have learned at least something good enough grades so that they can get into college. The result of that? Lots of kids starting college who can't read, or spell, or write complete sentences. Unfortunately, this is a trend in schools which is nearly impossible to avoid- as shown by the fact that it is getting worse, not better, despite long-standing efforts to employ "strict standards and accountability."
Bullies, Power Plays, and Cliques
Intimidation is a major interference with education- as the geek in "Boston Public" knows all too well. It's also another unavoidable by-product of school-based education. Students in schools have very little power. They have been stripped of most of the rights that adults enjoy, and their activities are strictly governed- by their teachers, by the school's rules and schedule, and by the peer code, among others.
To compensate for this compromising situation, students in schools try to exert power in whatever limited ways they can. Smart kids do so by running school newspapers and clubs, putting their hands up first, and ruining bell curves. Delinquent kids do so by cheating, breaking rules, and skipping school. And bullies...well, bullies bully.
The classic bully is not very smart by conventional measures, and has never been appreciated for anything, except perhaps his size. His power play is physical force and threats, and it involves draining those weaker than him- of lunch money, of happiness, of enjoyment. The more people fear and dislike him, the better he is doing his job, and the more power he feels. The bully in Boston Public clearly relishes being "tough," as is shown by a nearly endless staredown between him and the vice principal. He also quite clearly has nothing else to offer the school-- bullying is what he does. In the show, the way that this is "solved" is that the principal acts as an even bigger bully-- the geek's stand-in big brother-- who says "touch my brother again and I'll kill you." And in a touching moment near the end of the episode, the principal gives the geek tips on how to twist someone's arm back, saying "He needs to learn how to defend himself."
Of course, the bully, and other student power plays, are a symptom of the school environment, where students feel like they are being treated like herded animals, and they act as such. Demoralized by the confining structure, branded by their peers and graded by their teachers, students in schools have very little wiggle room in which to define themselves. The result is kids "acting out" and doing the bizarre things kids do to stand out, and repressing any unique interests or feelings that could brand them as "weird" or "queer".
Another natural outcropping of schools are cliques, or factions of students who band together for security. The preps, the nerds, the stoners, band people, drama people, jocks- all these are artificial constructs, which are mostly shed once high school ends. Of course, they are often replaced or revived by adults, with discrimination based on other factors, such as race, religion, and lifestyle- and there are even some "jock" adults who still resent "nerds," and "nerds" who resent "stoners," out here in the real world.
Most people, however, outgrow the habit of resenting people based on stereotypes sometime after leaving school- or at least they try to. Unfortunately, discrimination and stereotypes are no stranger to adults, and many social groups still band together because they feel threatened and powerless. While this is unfortunate, it shouldn't be a surprise. It's a natural outcome of 12 years in the school system, where cliques rule the school, and if you're not part of one, you don't count. Why wouldn't people try to apply the guidelines they learned in school, after they graduate?
Teaching to the Test & Ideological Conflict
Standardized education requires standardization, and the chances of that standard being the right fit for all students are slim to none. Race, religion, and other factors of culture and upbringing make for an astoundingly diverse set of perspectives, and homogenized education is certain to clash with each of them at some point, in the effort to appeal to all of them. What's more, "teaching to the test" has the inevitable effect of ignoring a great deal of subject matter. U.S. history can be approached from a variety of viewpoints and angles- but the school system as we know it requires that it be taught in the same way to everybody.
One glaring example of ideological conflict is the difference between whites and minorities in the view of U.S. history. In schools, as the student in Boston Public pointed out, most students are taught "white" U.S. History. But there are many ways to teach U.S. History, as can be witnessed by the fact that other countries tell a different story than we do. There is also Her-story, as feminists will rightly point out. Many believe that more focus should be on "regular people," and less on leaders and wars. Others believe our history lessons should take more of a world view, and less of an America-centric one. The way in which you learn your history helps determine how you will live your future, and many people feel that schools take a very narrow view in their teaching of history. And they are right- schools have to pick one lesson to teach, no matter who they are teaching it to.
Another ideological difference has already motivated over a million parents to remove their children from the school system. Religious faith and school teachings can come into conflict quite quickly, whether it's in the teaching of world history, or the origin of the universe, or the books selected for reading in English class. The result is that some students are forced to try to reconcile very opposing views on important issues, like moral principles, and the meaning of existence. It should be no surprise that religious belief is the main factor that drove the early homeschool movement.
Now the homeschool movement is growing, for reasons other than religious belief, and it should be obvious why. Boston Public clearly isn't a place you would want your kid to be. But don't blame the school- it can't help itself.
This idea, of the hopelessness of the school system, is perhaps best shown in a short exchange at the end of last night's episode. A teacher, and friend of the principal, is talking to him about his shoving fit with the bully:
"As a friend, Steven....you crossed the line."
"I know. Sometimes-"
So they agree. Sometimes- well, you know.
-The Free View-
December 12, 2000
411 weeks until election day
In This Issue:
-Part of the Plan: The List, cont.
-Campaign News: Interviews, Speaking Engagement
-What Do I Do?
-Articles and Links
-How to Unsubscribe/Subscribe
Defection 2000- more coming soon
I have been working on summarizing my thoughts on this
disgraceful election, and as I have, the article has grown, to
the point where it looks like it will probably end up being 2 or
3 articles. I have to do some more work to straighten it out,
and I didn't want to delay mailing this newsletter out...so,
look for those articles in upcoming issues. Maybe we'll even
have a winner by then. ;)
Part of the Plan: The List, cont.
I am also working on a couple new episodes of "Part of the
Plan," but this has not been the week to complete them. A new
topic will be touched upon in next week's campaign update.
In the meantime, here's another bit of food for thought about
If this list were to double each week, it would have 50,000
subscribers in 9 weeks! This means that if each person who gets
this newsletter can recruit one new subscriber each week, we
will soon have a HUGE community of freedom fighters who are
hearing about, and getting excited about, this campaign.
Now, don't think I'll just be using this momentum for my own
promotion- there's a lot we can do as a group of like-minded
people, and I will do my best to help subscribers obtain freedom
in their lives (and towns, and states), in the short term, as
well as, obviously, the long term. Together we can make a big
difference in the national conversation- and we don't have to
wait 8 years to do it. All we need to do is get together.
So bring your friends, your family members, your boss, your
buddy list...anyone you know who wants to join history's first
nonviolent political revolution. If we double each week, we'll
be unbeatable in 2008! (Literally, since to double over 400
times would make this list thousands of times larger than the
world's population! :)
Campaign News: Interviews and a Speaking Engagement
-->Interviews: My position as founder of StopCarnivore.org
( http://stopcarnivore.org ) has resulted in a small wave of
interviews in recent weeks.
First, I was interviewed by Karen Robb, who writes for Federal
Times ( http://www.federaltimes.com ), a publication that writes
on issues that confront Federal Agencies. I'll let you know when
that article comes out, and if I actually appear in it. (Update:
I checked with Karen yesterday, and she wrote back that not only
was I not in the article, but the article has been cancelled
anyway. Oh well. :( )
Next, I was interviewed by a college student, who I won't name
for his privacy's sake. He is writing a research paper on
Carnivore, which he says he will share with me when it is done.
I will let you know when that is available for reading.
And most recently, I spoke with Steve Tanner, from Silicon
Valley Biz Ink ( http://www.svbizink.com ), who is doing a story
on the effect of Carnivore on businesses. This article is
supposed to appear on this coming Friday the 13th, and I will
post a link to it next week. My talk with Steve was very
friendly, and I expect he will be a valuable media resource for
years to come.
Slowly but surely, my media presence (and address book of media
contacts) is going up. Obviously, this is one of the most
important part of the campaign, and I look forward to expanding
the amount of contact I have with the media about my various
projects. Look for more news coming soon!
-->Speaking Engagement: I received an invitation from Jeanie
Kennedy, Director of "Free Exchange," a San Francisco supper
club. They meet every two months to hear a featured speaker on a
freedom issue- and they want that speaker to be me! I am in the
process of designing a speech topic and short bio, and I need to
pick the date I want to speak, but it will probably be April 21
or June 16 of next year. I will let you know of further details
as they become available.
What Do I Do?
A lot of people wonder what I do for a living, and what my job
experience, or qualifications for President are. This week, I'm
going to talk about what I currently do with my time. Next
issue, I'll get into my job history and general qualifications.
I do a lot of things with my time right now- some people would
say too many. First, my "for pay" job is working as CEO of
PeoplesForum.com ( http://peoplesforum.com ), a web debate site.
I'm also co-founder and part owner of this company, which was
founded in April of 1998. PeoplesForum.com is quite small- we
have only 3 people working for us, including me- and so my job
as CEO involves a wide array of tasks. For the most part, I
function as webmaster, graphic designer, copywriter, editor,
marketing manager, and pretty much any other task that comes my
way. PeoplesForum.com has existed on a very small amount of
investment money (by Internet Company standards), and, due to
this, our staff has remained small, and so has our site and our
company. The upside of our smallness is that we have been able
to survive, while Internet giants have come and gone. It's hard
to say if or when PeoplesForum.com will become a big
money-maker, or a "famous name" on the Web, but whatever
happens, the experience has changed me forever, and has taught
me a lot about entrepreneurialism.
The two biggest changes are that I am now hooked on both
self-employment, and working at home. It is highly unlikely that
I will ever spend a substantial amount of time working for a
boss again, and equally unlikely that I will work a full-time
job that requires me to work at a conventional workplace again.
Fortunately, in my "dream job", President, my only "boss" is the
Constitution and the people of the U.S., and I don't mind
working for them. I do that every day anyway. :) Also, the
Presidency will allow me to continue to work out of my home,
which is important to me. No one would claim that the White
House is a conventional workplace.
In addition to working for PeoplesForum.com, I am also CIO of
Rent-a-Court/Dispute Solvers ( http://rent-a-court.com), a
company which provides online mediation services to disputing
parties. This company is a start-up which is currently a
subsidiary of PeoplesForum.com. Due to a number of
complications, Rent-a-Court has had a slow time getting off the
ground, but we do have a lot of the details in place to make
that happen. The staff (and funding) of Rent-a-Court is quite
tiny too, and as a result, I perform most of the same tasks I
listed for PeoplesForum.com, and whatever else comes my way as
That's what I do to pay the bills, so to speak. But that's
certainly not the only work I do. I say "work" a bit hesitantly
here, because my non-profit and freedom work is so satisfying
that it functions both as work and play for me. I spend almost
all of my "free time" pursuing my goals in the areas of freedom,
education, and activism. These days, I am spread pretty thin in
these pursuits, and I rotate through a long list of projects
that are in various stages of development. Here are the main
"non-pay" projects that fill my time:
-Freedom2008.com/Campaign for President-
Since the turn of the year 2000, I have had an acute sense of the
fact that it is time to pump up the volume on my Presidential
campaign. As a result, I have made efforts to regularly update
and add to the campaign site, and to further promotion of it.
This has gone very well, I think, and the site is getting more
thorough and professional with each revision. It's safe to say
that I have the most legitimate-looking "future presidential
campaign" site, and it could be said that my site would stack up
well against most political candidate sites out there. Just imagine
what it will be like after 8 more years of growth and development. :)
In 1995 I founded The Future- Media Solutions, my first effort
at sole proprietorship. It was intended to be a desktop
publishing, marketing, and public relations firm. In an effort
to develop a portfolio, I ended up doing a lot of "pro bono"
(free) work, for friends and others who I encountered. This work
ranged from writing press releases and résumés, to designing
business cards, posters, flyers, and web sites, to legal help,
business plan assistance, and more. After a while, I came to the
conclusion that my talents and qualifications were such that I
wasn't a "billable" professional in any particular area, but
more of a jack-of-all-trades type. Around that time, I shifted
my approach to where I had basically two roles: one was doing
contract work for odd jobs in the "media solutions" field, and
the other was developing several non-profit ventures that had
come to mind. I did contract work for a few projects, while I
held my last "regular" job, until I had the opportunity to start
PeoplesForum.com. Since then, Future Solutions has been devoted
exclusively to doing pro bono work for worthy projects, and
bringing to fruition my many ideas for social and political
So, it could be said that, aside from my two jobs and my campaign
for president, I work for Future Solutions
( http://www.futuresolutions.org), on the following projects:
-->StopCarnivore.org: This could probably be called my most
successful activist effort of the past few years, as it has
provided a vehicle of activism for a growing community of
people, and attracted media attention, as well as a fair bit of
fame and notoriety on the Internet. Many of you found out about
me through StopCarnivore.org, and that fuels my idea that I will
be able to gain credibility, and a "following," through my
online activist efforts. There will be a lot more projects like
this- at least in form, if not in substance. If you haven't seen
StopCarnivore.org, you can take a look at it here:
I have been spending a bit less time on StopCarnivore.org
lately, and I intend to try and recruit a crew of activists to
"take it over," in a sense- so I can put more time into
launching and developing my other projects.
-->The Free School on the Internet: I've said it before, and
I'll say it again: I consider the Free School on The Internet to
be my best idea ever. It has been taking shape, very slowly, for
almost 4 years now, and I have been making a serious effort to
devote a greater chunk of my time to it. I'm in the middle of
developing a semi-formal concept summary, which will then become
a grant proposal, which I hope to begin seeking funding for in
the first quarter of next year. You can look at what has been
done so far here:
http://futuresolutions.org/futsols/freeschool/. There's a lot
more to it than I've written so far, but you can start to get a
feel for it through what is done so far. I have been spending
more time on this in the past few months (after the idea lay
dormant for around two years), and I hope to continue to pick up
the pace on it. You will have plenty of chances to hear more
about The Free School in the future. :)
-->NoMoreDrugWar.com: I began NoMoreDrugWar.com a few months
ago, and have worked on it sporadically since then. It isn't
quite ready for prime time yet, but it is beginning to take
shape. I want to make sure it doesn't end up being just another
site against the drug war- there is, after all already a
StopTheDrugWar.com, run by a great group of folks (DRCNet) who
are doing a fine job. One of the focal points I want to develop
the site around is the Drug War Treaty. I'm still mulling over
exactly what this site is going to turn into, but I do a little
work on it here and there. It will probably be ready for the
general public within 2-4 months, or sooner if I get inspired or
particularly motivated on it. You can take a look at what is
done so far here: http://NoMoreDrugWar.com (beware, it's VERY
-->GreenLiberty.org- This is my newest project, and will be
taking a fair amount of my time in the coming weeks and months.
The intent of the project is to find the meeting point between
Green values and Libertarian principles. These two groups are
the largest "fringe" groups in politics today, and they are
currently on a course to end up in angry opposition to each
other. I don't think this is wise or appropriate, as I believe
that Libertarian principles are the best way to accomplish Green
goals. GreenLiberty.org will be centered around this idea, and
the idea of creating a community of green Libertarians and
libertarian Greens...whom I hope will eventually rally behind
the Libertarian Party, and perhaps bring some much-needed
"heart" to what many see as a cold, insensitive party- without
forcing the LP to change its very firm and worthy principles.
GreenLiberty.org is not online yet, though that will probably
change in the next few days. I hope that within two weeks it
will be up and ready for the public, in preview mode at least.
Believe it or not, there's a lot more I'm working on that fills
my time. I'll continue this in the next update.
Articles and Links
Playboy Interview with NM Governor Gary Johnson
Wow! I have liked Gary Johnson ever since I heard he came out
against the Drug War, but this interview still blew me away. It's
remarkable that such a plain-spoken man got elected to such a high
office. I don't know if this is the complete interview, but it's a
long excerpt for sure. You've got to read this interview with our country's highest-ranking elected official who has dared to take a
stand against the War on Drugs. Great stuff.
If You're Lucky
An excellent article about the impact (and the potential much
greater impact) of regulatory agencies on small businesses.
Here's a quote: "If regulatory agencies were actually able to
enforce all of their laws, the economy would come to a virtual
standstill." By Ryan McMaken.
Nature Good, Humans Bad?
A good philosophical analysis of the Green position that humans
are wrecking the world. Good food for thought.
Florida: Now you know how government operates
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/bluesky_browne/20001121_xchbr_florida_no.shtml (this URL may break into two pieces,
which you'll need to paste together into your browser's address window)
This article by Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate Harry Browne
is a fitting commentary.
O.K., that's enough out of me for this week. I've been holding
on to this too long, waiting to make it even longer than it
already is. Time to send it out. :)
Be Well, Be Free,
Candidate for President - Year 2008