It's not enough that the military is one of the most prominent and persistent advertisers on TV, relentlessly appealing to young people to pick up their basket of goodies for a term of service. It's not enough that the military was given access to the mailing lists of all the country's high schools for recruiting puposes.
Nope. Not enough. We've got to indoctrinate the teachers so they can help us recruit the kids.
Maybe that'll be enough. Or maybe we'll need to resort to the draft again.
(Or maybe we could abandon our quest for comprehensive military domination of the world.)
Goodbye, Mister Rogers. Thanks for being a friend, and a neighbor.
Mister Fred Rogers is a nearly perfect example of adding goodness to the world in one's time on the planet. And that kind of thing goes both ways...imagine how much he enjoyed his life, and how satisfied he must have felt with the product of his efforts.
Such a purely simple and good person that words don't really express it properly.
Nightline came pretty close tonight, and has a good effort on their site...and these places try their best too:
Sara Jeffries is a home-schooled sophomore. And if the merits of the arguments in her article in defense of homeschooling (and the competency of home educators) don't convince you, then her ability to put together such a well-written and reasoned piece in the first place should at least give you some pause. I can't begin to imagine something so well-written being done by a sophomore in the regular school system. I know I wasn't writing that well when I was her age. I'm still not. Go homeschoolers!
Mark Fiore, brilliant political satirist, uses the medium of Flash animation to ridicule popular trends and the powers that be. He has a couple good recent cartoons: "The Other War", about the War on Drugs, is the one that inspired this post; "Alive and Well", about the death penalty, would make a welcome addition to the galleries of the Museum of History's Great Satire. But then we'd have to build a museum, which is probably a lot of headaches. So how 'bout you just go watch it, and pass it around if you're so inclined. We'll do the museum thing later maybe.
I found another good nugget at the FreedomAds.org site -- a really funny satirical song called "We Like The Government". It's not only funny, but it's extremely catchy...I've found myself stuck with the chorus in my head for a few lengthy stretches in the past day.
Just for kicks, I'll transcribe the lyrics here, for those too lazy or connection-disabled to listen to the song themselves. It's got sort of a British flavor to it's lyrics and vocals, but it's about the U.S.. It's done very sing-song-ey, like a kids song, sorta, with acoustic guitar. I'm writing the choruses out, because I think that flows better than using "(chorus)" after the first one.
We Like The Government
by Sebastian Carter
We like the government lots, tots
We like the government lots
For rules and taxes and love, guv
We like the government lots
Take some more of our income
And tax the stuff that we buy
If you tax the stuff that we own, Joan
We'll be as happy as pie
Tell us just what we can do
Tell us what is taboo
And you tell us how to have sex, Rex
We'll be as happy as you
All together now!
We like the government lots, tots
We like the government lots
For rules, and taxes and love, guv
We like the government lots
Prohibition was neat, Pete
Bans in general are cool
Ah, People who drink kinda stink I think
They're nasty and brutish and cruel
Ah, People who smoke pot should rot a lot
People who sell drugs should fry
Please take their homes and their cars, Lars
And pray to God that they die
All together now
We like the government lots, tots
We like the government lots
For rules, and taxes and love, guv
We like the government lots
Please take away our tobacco
'Til then please increase the price
And use those cigarette taxes
To shiv us for loving this vice
Vote whenevr you can, Stan
Sign a petition each day
Ah, you know it's the best way to change things
And it gives you a right to complain
All together now
We like the government lots, tots
We like the government lots
For rules, and taxes and love, guv
We like the government
Like the government
Like the government lots
When the government's dead
We'll be sad
When it starts getting old
Until then we'll love Uncle Sammy
And bend over whenever we're told
All together now
We like the government lots, tots
We like the government lots
For rules, and taxes and love, guv
We like the government
Like the government
Like the government
Like the govern-
No, we LOVE the government lots!
You should still go listen to it if you haven't, but I'm glad I wrote the lyrics out anyway. It reads better than I thought it would.
Here's a wide-ranging collection of photos from anti-war protests around the world. It's just one photo from each location, but the sheer number and diversity of locations has a pretty powerful impact.
The hawks and conservatives can diss the pro-peace folks all they want, but I find it refreshing and reassuring to see that there is such a committed worldwide presence of folks willing to take to the streets to oppose a highly debatable war. I think it's like I said the other day....the world is just getting fed up with wars. I think there's a lot of people who really thought/think that since we've turned the corner on a new millenium, things are supposed to be different now. It's time to move on to new ways of settling conflicts, and time to be extremely reticent in the use of force. I don't think the world would necessarily feel the same about using force to stop a massacre situation, or an invasion, but using force against a country that is not acting in a war-like manner is, I think, taboo in the new millenium. It's a step in the right direction.
Ebay, which owns PayPal and Half.com, is enthusiastic -- almost gleeful -- about handing over all your account info to law enforcement authorities at the drop of a hat.
FreedomAds.org is a way cool site. Kudos to the Institute for Humane Studies for sponsoring it. They're holding a contest there for the best ads "encouraging people to think about and discuss FREEDOM". All sorts of ads-- print/images, film, animation, and audio. The entries are sifted through by judges, and then finalists are posted on the site for folks on the Web to vote on. There are lots of entries -- I've only just begin to check them out.
One good one (created by LibertyLovers.com) is "Drug War Hypocrisy". It mocks the recent "two talking guys" Drug War ads, using a talking, stuffed rhino and elephant. It's quirky and funny, while at the same time being a scathing indictment of the Drug War and the hypocritical propaganda in the ads it's mocking (the series being mocked includes the ads titled "Ploy", "Okay", "Not That Complicated", and "Moral Loophole on that propaganda page.)
I see that LibertyLovers.com appears to have made a few of these ads, now that I dig deeper... here's another one and another one. They call their "actors" the "stuffed freedom fighters". There's also a neat little video ad on their home page which is definitely worth the 15 seconds or so it takes to view it (though it might take a minute or two to load on dial-up...still worth it probably.) It's not based on the stuffed freedom fighters model-- just a cool, simple animated text ad with a dancetrack. I like the phrase it ends with-- "Freedom -- Love it or lose it."
Now, digging through their site, I find this other cool text ad with music, this one sort of a more advanced, more aggressive extension of the first one. I just watched it again and I really like it...I think I'll probably give it a permanent link somewhere in my growing assortment to the left and right of here. It's basically an affirmation of the importance and power of each of us to create a unique and defining existence coupled with an open-ended call to action. But that makes it sound much less than it is. You should really check it out yourself.
The sound makes a difference in both of them, so make sure you can listen while you watch, or it'll be less impactful.
Brandon L. at Brasslion chose to make this site the first (and currently the only) Political Link at his apparently-new blog. I'm honored. It'd be cool if it stayed the only link in the section. As it's currently set up, it appears that my site is The Political Link. :-)
He rips into me a little bit ("I wouldn't vote for this guy if he was the only one running"), and pledges to rip into me some more ("Read the Feb.14.2003 article, it is very interesting and when I gather alittle more information, I'll rip into it."). At the same time, he bears some praise, both earnest ("I do have to admit his weblog has alot of very intelligent information on it"), and lighthearted ("Well for all those in the Libertarian party I have found your new god...and his name is Lance M. Brown!").
He also questions my age, and I need to get a bio up here right quick. I'm working on it.
I'm considering using his "I wouldn't vote for this guy if he was the only one running" quote in my testimonials area.
I posted a list of tips for promoting a campus event (in this case, a Libertarian club wanting to promote a speaking appearance of LP presidential candidate Gary Nolan) on the LPCampusActivist e-mail list a couple days ago, and I figured it'd make a good entry for the new "Useful Lance" category.
This isn't everything you can do, but it's plenty. Keep in mind it's written to the leader of a Libertarian Party campus club. You may need to adapt parts of it if your organization leans a different way.
> Hi, Gary Nolan's going to visit Iowa State University next Friday. The
> local Libertarian group hasn't had much time to plan for his visit.
> Suggestions on how to promote his visit would be welcome.
> Thank you.
--Get him booked on any area talk radio stations, and the college radio station, and local & campus cable access stations
--make quarter or eighth-page flyers and hand them out at the beginning of poli-sci, history, communications, and other related classes
--Send a letter out to professors, touting the learning opportunity the event holds for their students and urging that they offer extra credit or assignment credit to students who attend; and/or offer to do a 10-15 min. presentation in their class on libertarianism or the LP on one of the days preceding the event
--set up tables in the campus center or main concourse, with a large, stand-up sign promoting the event
--hand out 1/8 page flyers in areas of heavy foot traffic, or, for extra credit, hand out "Libertarian Viewpoint"s with a flyer for the Nolan event stapled to the front corner, or inserted
--If he'll be there during the day and the event is at night, hold a short, low-maintenance rally (anti-war? pro-civil liberties? anti-Drug War?) during the day on the steps of the student union (or the place where such things occur on your campus). On the low end, you could probably do it with no amplification, or a handheld megaphone or amp system. Your school also probably has the means by which to secure a podium with mike and PA system. Have a couple students, a professor, a veteran (if it's an anti-war rally), a lawyer (if it's civil liberties or the drug war), and Gary Nolan each speak for 5-10 minutes. During the rally, hand out 1/8 pagers promoting the Nolan evening event, as well as mentioning it throughout the rally.
Make big signs on large posterboard or (better) white sheets for the walls or columns behind or beside the "stage" area. One with a libertarian slogan, and one promoting Gary's event, maybe. Plus your group's banner, if you have one.
--Meet with the editor, or editorial staff of the student paper (and local paper), and sell them on the significance of following the LP presidential race-- it looks like it will be a highly-contested race this time, with a few nationally noteworthy competitors. Gary is a nationally recognized figure to an extent-- they should do a pre-story about his appearance, as well as cover it.
--Meet with influential students and administrators-- the dean/chancellor, the heads of frats and sororities, heads of student government and dorm governments, RAs and dorm administrators, with uniquely crafted appeals on why attending the event (and urging the same to their circle of influence) is to their benefit. If any of them give an enthusiastic "Yes! I'll be there, and urge my
friends/colleagues," ask them if you can mention that in your press release, and offer their name to the school paper for a possible quote of support
--Particularly make sure to meet with the heads of any student organizations with close or remote interest in liberty: drug reform groups, college repubs ("economic freedom!"), dems ("civil liberties! No Bush!"), greens ("civil liberties! legalize! no war with Iraq! No Bush!"), economics or history clubs, and so on. Just go through the list of groups and if you see one that we agree with
on one or more points, emphasize that "Gary Nolan agrees with that!"
--Get interviews for you or other club leaders on any broadcast media show that will have you between now and then. Many political radio stations have 10 or more hosts/shows in a given week-- that's ten separate opportunities.
--Poster, poster, poster (with a large, provocative headline and large, clear date/location).
Spontaneous poster idea:
Then you'll love Gary Nolan.
(medium to regular text)
Come see him speak at -wherewhenwhywhat-
Who says Americans are a bunch of apathetic lame-o sheeple? I beg to differ. Hearty movements are engaging in efforts to displace the leader of the U.S., and that of the largest state in it.
If anything could be said to be the very opposite of voter apathy, a recall election is it. Gray Davis, the pathetic Governor of my home state of California, is looking down the barrel of that particular weapon of the people as we speak, and if he has a brain in his head, he's not liking what he sees. His approval rating is...wait for it...twenty-four percent!
Daily Standard: Total Recall
LA Times: Taking Gray Down
KCRA-TV, Sacramento: Group Mounting Davis Recall Effort
State Republican Party Steering Clear So Far
LP of California: Libertarians Resolve to Recall Davis
It's none too soon for me, I tell you what. I don't want to get too deep into it right now, because I don't really want to hurt Gray's feelings, but let's just say I have absolutely nothing good to say about him. I look to politicians to see what they do right, and how they do it, but whenever I look at Gray, I just feel a commanding urge to look away -- to avoid any possibility that I might accidentally emulate him in some way.
My biggest complaint with him is his abysmal "representation" of the will of the voters in respect to medical marijuana. Not only did he and Attorney General Bill Lockyer allow local authorities to enforce the law (or not) as they saw fit, which ended up being willy-nilly, but they've allowed the federal government -- mainly the DEA -- to just stomp all over clinics, patients, and growers left and right, arbitrarily and with impunity. It's spineless, pathetic, and wrong. A real Governor would protect his citizens from these violations. His handling of the budget and the energy crisis are deplorable too...oh, right, I wasn't going to get into a Bashing Gray fest. OK, no problem. Plenty of time for that as this recall effort moves forward.
One interesting tidbit I picked up from those stories that was of some interest to me was this:
Under state rules, voters would be asked at the same time to pick a replacement. The winner would be the candidate with the most votes, meaning someone could win with as little as eight or 10 percent of the vote.
It's almost enough to make a guy think about running for Governor. Winning Governor of California with 8 percent? How often does a chance like that come up?
The KCRA website's online poll shows 85% of respondents would support a recall of the Governor. No doubt it's spiked by frothing CA conservatives and Republicans, but it's still sitting there, pointing at Davis, on the website of one of his local TV stations.
It doesn't look good for Gray. Which is nice to hear. Can I vote him out tomorrow? Give me a ballot.
And of course a worldy, informed reader such as yourself has heard of the effort to impeach our fearless and deeply lost leader? The man in whose honor we've been covering up upsetting paintings and cancelling upsetting poetry symposiums? The man with the very scary plan? Squasher of evildoers? Emancipator of law enforcement? Friend to the environment? 43?
You know, I really truly have been trying to cut Bush some slack. I don't really know why, but I have. I did the same for Clinton too, actually. But after enough strikes, they're out, and I'm done with President Bush. The siege on civil liberties, the new foreign policy drive to dominate the globe indefinitely, the irrational push for war in Iraq (and all of the disturbing loops within that topic)...there's more to it, but by the time I get that far, I'm so nauseated that I can barely stand to keep looking for more.
I think it has finally come to the breaking point through my process of considering the impeachment effort, and whether to sign on in support of it. I take the signing of things very seriously, and this in particular is an item which could come up in the form of a question in the '08 campaign. "Lance, did you really sign on with that partisan effort to remove Bush from office in the midst of his epically righteous struggle to wipe out evildoers from the face of the earth? Are you anti-American?"
I mean, it's not like my signature will make the big difference or anything. If the impeachment goes forward, it's not going to depend on one measly name on the list. True, I could make a bigger difference if I actively promote it and work to help the campaign, but the risk, politically, is pretty big. If Bush somehow manages to come out of this looking good, or happens to actually rid the world of terrorism or something, then the people who supported the impeachment are going to look like lame whiny losers, and scaremongers to boot. Kinda like the people who supported Clinton's impeachment look, but much worse in a lot of ways, because of the "Anti-American" thing. Nobody really got too much into questioning people's patriotism over the Clinton impeachment, but with the Bush one (such as it is), it's already on the table, and will likely become the key wedge used by Bush supporters the whole way through (or however far it develops). Unless the case gets a chance to get shown, proven, and supported, a big chunk of America will probably consider the impeachment supporters to be, at least at some level, traitors. And even if it's successful and seen as generally justified by most, there will still be a smaller chunk of die-hard Republicans who will hold a grudge about it forever.
And yet I find myself wishing there was a way to stop Bush, because I think he's unduly endangering our country, both on a day-to-day level and in the abstract sense -- i.e., endangering the foundations of our country. And I certainly think he's abusing his power. And those sound a lot like "high crimes and misdeameanors" to me.
And I read the Articles of Impeachment proposed by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, and I find myself nodding-- a lot. In fact, I find myself almost completely in agreement with all of them.
I'm still thinking about it. I'll keep you updated.
I'm a few days late on my promise to talk more about The Free State Project.
The idea behind The Free State Project is deceptively simple. The plan is to amass 20,000 serious libertarians who are willing to move to an agreed-upon small-population state and, essentially, take it over.
Simple enough, and surprisingly feasible when you think about it. They're limiting their choices to states with a population of 1.5 million or less, and some quick math tells me that probably less than 500,000 people in even the biggest of those states actually vote. Which makes 20,000 like-minded voters a powerful swing vote. More importantly, these are serious libertarians, as I mentioned. They are going to be running for office in droves-- my guess is that there would be a Libertarian on the ballot for every single elected office in the state within a year or two, with the most promising campaigns enjoying the enthusiastic financial support of 20,000 free-staters. Their ability to get initiatives on the ballots, both statewide and locally, would be comprehensive. their ability to recruit and grow would be phenomenal. It's not at all unthinkable that they could turn a state libertarian within 10 years, during which time they would surely become a growing haven for emigrating libertarians from around the country.
When I first heard about The free State Project and checked out their web site, I had the same reaction a lot of people probably have: I chuckled, thought it was a funny and interesting idea, and probably a good one. But I didn't take it too seriously -- I filed it under "keep an eye on it and see where it goes".
At the California Libertarian Party Convention last week I met Jason Sorens, founder of The Free State Project. I'm pretty much sold. I'm certainly convinced that it will happen, and that it's a good idea. These folks aren't fooling around -- they're taking it very seriously, and strategically-- analyzing the various states in every way they can. The state is going to be chosen by mail ballot once 5,000 people have signed up, and then once it's chosen, people will start flowing there, with recruiting continuing until 20,000 have signed up (and probably continuing on informally for long after that). There are 2,700 or so signed up now, if I recall correctly. They anticipate reaching 5,000 this year I think. I'm starting to think about joining in, but I'm a little divided, partly because of the geographical considerations (it's probably going to be either Maryland, Delaware, New Hampshire, or something like Wyoming), partly because I'd like to remain a California resident through 'til the '08 election (for political reasons), and partly because I'm still absorbing the whole idea. It's pretty radical stuff.
I dunno...having been a California resident for 11 years would be a good thing to have on my resume in the '08 campaign. Without that, I'd basically be campaigning as being from wherever the Free State is, plus Massachusetts, where I grew up. California would just be somewhere I had lived for a few years...which doesn't carry much clout in comparison. Plus, I genuinely like California. I don't live here just for the Electoral College votes. :-) If I had to vote for my favorite state, California would win hands down.
I could always move to the Free State after the '08 election. One of my possible plans in preparing for Election 2016 (if I don't win in '08) is to win local and state-level elected offices between '08 and '16. In a Free State with 20,000 die-hard libertarians, and with the name recognition coming from the '08 race, it's possible I could move through the ranks pretty well in 8 years. Mayor or City Councilman after 2 or 3 years, state assembly or Governor after that term...something like that. All depending on terms of office and election years for the offices, of course. I may not go that route at all...if I don't win in '08, I plan to "fill in the blanks" in my candidacy over the next 8 years, in whatever way I think will make the greatest improvement in that time. I will probably get a law degree then, I will write books, will try to have a talk radio or TV show, and so on. Running for office may or may not fit in that mix. I won't know until the election's over probably. It's all heavy-duty conjecture at this point.
Carol Moore is a pedal-to-the-metal libertarian activist in Washington, D.C.. She's one of the founders (and the principal organizer) of Libertarians For Peace, she runs Secession.net and WhatWouldGandhiDo.net and others, she's involved with Aaron Biterman and the American University Libertarians...I could go on and on. She really is a full-blast activist-- my favorite kind of activist. ;-) She's what I'd call a Green Libertarian, which is basically a Libertarian who's not afraid to propose a specific, positive vision on how to solve our world's problems. Green Libertarians are my favorite kind of Libertarians...so Carol gets high marks in my book pretty much across the board.
More to the point of this post, she also has a massive selection of peace and political buttons for sale. There's probably almost 100 different designs, ranging from the mellow (peace flag, peace signs) to the aggressive ("DISARM USA - Rogue Nation!", Impeach Bush, F*ck This Stupid War), to the new agey ("All We Need Is Love" "Reincarnation Happens"), and so on. There's anti-war, anti-Bush, pro-peace, pro-freedom, feminist, anti-drug war...you name it. If it fits in both the left and libertarian quadrants, she's probably got a button for it. They're reasonably priced, and the money goes to support a 100% jammin' freedom activist. You can't beat that with a stick. There's even cool "What Would Gandhi Do?" buttons.
So, go to it: Buy some cool buttons. They make great conversation starters, and they're an easy way for shy or lazy activists to play a small part in the social dialogue. Feeling all lame and apathetic, like you can't make a difference? Start with a button. Hell, start selling buttons! Get off your butt, lazybones! ;-)
Just wanted to pass along this enjoyable article-- it's an on-the-ground report from the recent peace protest in NYC. It reads smoothly, and is well accented with lots of pictures. More importantly, it directly addresses the oft-repeated claim that the people at these rallies are all Maoist Communist Palestinian anarchist freaks.
It's funny, I've noticed people leaning more and more on that rationale in trying to dismiss the significance of the monster peace rallies that have been shaking the globe. The undertone, I suppose, is that the folks at the peace rallies aren't real Americans. I actually heard one talk radio host say that the Worker's World Party people are obviously paying people to show up-- seriously implying that the bulk of the crowds were only there because ANSWER paid them to be. Do real people think that? I mean, millions of people around the globe gathered in all these different countries, and every article I've seen has talked about how the crowds are made up of all these regular folks who just felt inspired to take a stand. Just think about the math. 100,000 people in NYC. Let's say that half were paid help. And let's say they work for a discount, 20 bucks for the day. That's 2 million dollars...plus however much putting the rally on itself costs, plus all those signs and decorations and stuff. OK, now London. Over a million people gathered there. By the same math, that's ten million dollars plus the cost of the rally and signs. Should I go on? This is the Worker's World Party that's supposedly buying all these activists. It may be just me, but the term "Worker's World Party" doesn't exactly evoke the image of tens of millions of dollars floating around to be spent hiring a small nation worth of protestors.
It's just silly talk, by people trying to pretend that proetsts of this magnitude don't mean what it seems like they mean -- that the world is not going to put up with this war.
Well, rationalizers, ignore them at your own risk. These are real Americans (and Brits, and Australians, and Germans, and Turks, etc.). The world is just sick of unnecessary war -- that's what I think.
These two stories are a couple weeks old, but they are so disgusting that I can't let them pass without mention. The Administration has stooped to a low that I guess shouldn't surprise me, but it still does. I have a pretty positive attitude generally, and I try to apply that to others. Which is to say, I try to think the best of others when I can. And that includes the Bush Administration. At this point, I've gone from trying to think they're generally well-meaning to trying to think they're not totally evil totalitarian warlords. Trying to think being the key phrase in that sentence. Because they don't make it easy.
"What the hell are you talking about, anyway, Lance?"
I'm glad you asked.
The synopses: The first story tells of how Laura Bush decided to cancel a sceduled poetry symposium at the White House, because of rumors that a bunch of poets were planning to bring anti-war poems to read. The second story tells about how a Picasso painting ('Guernica') at the U.N. depicting the graphic images of war was covered up for a press conference...about the war.
The problem: If they are so unsure about their war that they fear the consequences of poets reading anti-war poems, or the impact of people seeing a graphic depiction of war as they promote theirs, then perhaps they are a bit too unsure about their war.
I could really unload on a major rant here, but it would be coming from a place of anger, and I'm really trying to stick with the "if you can't something nice..." rule when it comes to our evil totalitarian warlord administration. Hmm...did I just say that?
Seriously, though -- how disturbing is it that the administration feels they have to go that far to protect the image of their precious war? These literature symposiums by Laura Bush have apparently been going on for a while. What makes this one so special? Simply the fact that the people who were invited wanted to speak out (via the works of celebrated poets) against the war. To add insult to injury, Mrs. Bush is a former librarian. Apparently she's one of those rare librarians that's afraid of words...one of the few, the proud, the censoring librarians. There aren't many of those...I guess we should be proud to have such a rare breed safeguarding our nation's house from all those dangerous, doubt-inspiring words of dissent.
I think the covering up of the war painting bothers me more...in fact, I know it does. I almost flipped my lid when I first read about it. Luckily, it only mostly flipped, and I was able to get it back in place. But I'm still furious -- my face immediately goes into a frown as soon as I think about this topic. It's just So. Damn. Cowardly. I don't know what else to say about it.
Here's another story that talks about it a little, in the context of a story about Bush's seemingly unstoppable march to war: The Lessons of Guernica
It's worth noting -- quite significant actually -- that these stories were reported in Britain and Canada, respectively. CNN covered the poetry story, but only later, as a part of a story about how the shunned poets are planning an antiwar poetry gathering (called "Poems Not Fit For the White House", hehe). Apparently The Weekly Standard covered it too, pretty extensively, two+ weeks after the fact.
More on the poetry thing:
The Poets vs. The First Lady (The Weekly Standard)
The funny thing is that more "damage" will be done by these shunned poets than would have been done if librarian Bush had just held her symposium. Fascists are the craziest peoples! Maybe they'll figure it out eventually...you can't hide the truth behind a blue curtain...you can't suppress those who are passionate about their ideas...and you can't effectively keep the opposition down by simply disinviting them. Not in America in 2003. That shit simply does not fly in America 2003.
Anyway, they'll figure it out eventually. Hopefully on Election Day 2004, at the latest.
One more thought: Do they think they can somehow cover all this up in the eyes of history? Like, do they think that if this turns into, as Nelson Mandela put it, a holocaust, that they can just pull a big blue curtain over it, like an uncomfortable Picasso painting?
The California LP Convention I just attended was a major booster shot for me. I'm all jazzed up. I didn't make nearly as much use of the convention as I could have-- I was more of a spectator than a participant in a lot of ways -- and I'm a little disappointed in myself on that count. But that's part of the booster shot effect as well...learning from my mistakes and failures is a specialty of mine. I don't know where I'd be without that skill. ;-) Realizing how much I didn't tap the potential there -- for advancing my campaign and my own skills, and for using my talents and knowledge to help my fellow Libertarians -- doesn't make me disappointed as much as it makes me excited about the potential I can tap into at future conventions. Also, this was my first state convention, so I suppose I can cut myself a little slack for not mastering all the possibilities this time around.
I met a lot of cool people at the convention...lots of Libertarians who are doing great things. There were many folks who had run for office-- and plenty who had won, which was really inspirational. I attended a number of helpful focus groups, such as "Campaign Lessons Learned", "Opportunities to Get Involved and Take Action" (run by a really jammin' Libertarian named Peymon), "Opportunity: Libertarians and Education", "Voting and Election Trends", and so on. I also got a chance to meet and talk with Jason Sorens, founder of the Free State Project, which is a very cool project. I'll talk more about it tomorrow...I'll be adding links to it and Peymon's Freedom Law School, among others, shortly. I think I might mave more to say about the convention, and the effects of the booster shot, tomorrow (or later today). For now, my bed awaits me.
Judge Jim Gray, a Superior Court judge, just joined the Libertarian Party, and is apparently considering seeking the party's nominaton for President.
Here's the scoop as it appeared in a recent e-mail on the LPCampusActivist e-mail list:
Jim Gray, a Superior Court Judge in Orange California, has joined the Libertarian Party, and in doing so has become one of the party's highest-ranking public officeholders. Gray has been an outspoken critic of our nation's drug policies, and is the author of the recent book "Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed, and What We Can Do About It – a Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs."
Gray made his decision to join shortly after reviewing the Libertarian
Party's Drug War Focus Strategic Plan, which focuses party efforts to end the Drug War at the federal level. "Drug Prohibition is the most critical issue facing the world today, and the LP is the only party addressing it," said Gray. "I felt compelled to join."
"Much of what I see as a Judge brings a tear to my eye," Gray continued, in a phone conversation with LP Political Director Ron Crickenberger. "The drug war is destroying the fabric of society. We are ripping parents away from their children, who end up in forced adoption before the parents get out from the long mandatory minimums."
Judge Gray will be speaking at the California LP State Convention on Sunday, February 16. He is considering seeking the Libertarian Party's nomination for president. "I want to do everything I can do to stop the needless tragedy resulting from our misplaced drug policies," said Gray.
Gray's website is www.judgejimgray.com
I didn't get to see him speak at the convention I was just at -- he spoke at a dinner Sunday night, and I had to leave at the end of the afternoon that day. I've heard of Judge Gray for a while now-- he's been an increasingly-prominent voice in the fight against the War on Drugs. He could have a pretty big impact if he ran for President focusing on ending the drug war. It'd be pretty hard for most people to disagree with a judge on a subject like that-- obviously a judge knows more than most folks about the impact of the War on Drugs. And judges aren't exactly known for reckless disregard for the law. If a judge is willing to actively oppose a bank of laws based on his experiences in the courtroom, how do you argue with that? Is he a lawless hippie? Is he ignorant, or just swept up in the movement? Does he just want to get high legally, or want more people to do drugs? All the common anti-legalizer canards I hear so often seem to fall pretty flat when applied to a working judge.
Go Judge Gray!
I discovered that my campaign was mentioned in a French online newspaper called Netpolitique last November. International press -- woo hoo! It's not the first time...nor will it be the last. :-) This one was in the luxurious "UNUSUAL" section of their publication.
I'm having a little trouble translating the little excerpt they wrote for the link. At first it was exacerbated by the fact that "Lance" means "throw, launch" in French, and "M." means "Mr." -- so until I figured that out, I was reading "Throw Mr. Brown" as the start of the text. It wasn't adding up.
So far, this is my guesstimate, with some help from reverso free translator:
Blogging for President?
Lance M. Brown, person of obscure repute and candidate for the American presidential election of made 2008 share his(her,its) newspaper of on-line campaign, in the form of a weblog. Simple and effective.
It's obviously not 100% correct yet, but you can get the general idea-- "Unknown guy is using a weblog in his campaign for president 2008. Simple and effective." Something like that.
If anyone with a working knowledge of French wants to upgrade this translation into actual full English, that would be really cool. You could just add it in a comment, or e-mail me. Here's the original French text:
Blogging for President ?
Lance M. Brown, illustre inconnu et candidat à l'élection présidentielle américaine de 2008 fait partager son journal de campagne en ligne, sous forme d'un weblog. Simple et efficace.
Here's the full Netpolitique newsletter where I was mentioned. My snippet is down a ways, in the "INSOLITE" section.
Here's a page of pictures of people demostrating for peace by "writing" words, phrases, and symbols with their bodies. They aren't all nude pictures, but most are. It's not pornographic nudity...it's artistic and tasteful, unless you're simply offended by the nude human form.
Update: I know two of the women who recently participated in one of these protests -- this one.
Regular readers have probably noticed a lag in my posts in the past couple days. It's because I've been getting ready for, going to, and attending the California Libertarian Party 2003 Convention. As the title of this post indicates, that's where I am right now as I write this. I'm in my hotel room at the Ontario (CA) Airport Marriott, typing on a laptop I borrowed for the trip. It's late at night after the first day of the convention.
Getting here ended up being a massive ordeal...all sorts of details and difficulties just kept cropping up and piling on top of each other. Considering that even the basic premise -- driving from Nevada City to San Francisco (3 hours) to drop off my dog, and then driving from San Fran to Ontario (7 hours+) -- is a decent haul by itself, having an array of extra little pains in the butt crop up at every turn made for quite a little endurance test. I finally got here at about 6:30 AM today (the 15th). After settling in, it was almost 7:30, and I had to crash for a few hours, else I would have been a zombie all day. So I missed the first few hours of the convention, which was lame, but I still got to soak up a lot of good stuff through the rest of the day.
(the next morning)
I was going to write some more, but it got late last night and I had to get to bed. Now I've got to get out of here and into day 2 of the convention...I'll have to write more when I get home, either late late tonight or tomorrow sometime.
NEWS FROM THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY
2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
World Wide Web: http://www.LP.org
For release: February 13, 2003
For additional information:
George Getz, Communications Director
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
Latest terror alert proves government has failed
at its most basic mission, Libertarians say
WASHINGTON, DC – The heightened terror alert is actually a "Government Incompetence Alert," Libertarians say, because the government is admitting that it cannot perform its most basic function: national defense.
"What's truly alarming is that a government that will confiscate $2.2 trillion from its citizens this year is powerless to protect them," said Libertarian Party Chair Geoffrey Neale. "And that should make Americans more angry than afraid."
As the directors of the CIA and FBI testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, they described new threats from al-Qaeda and elaborated on their decision to raise the terrorist threat level from yellow to orange.
Federal officials are urging that Americans to stockpile food and water, make arrangements for contacting family members during an emergency, and buy duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal homes in the event of a chemical or biological attack.
But Libertarians say all of these warnings would be unnecessary if the government were doing its job.
"Why are Americans who have been forced to fork over hundreds of billions of dollars for tanks, missiles and other high-tech weaponry now being told to defend themselves with duct tape and plastic sheets?" asked Neale. "Because the government has failed to perform one of its most basic – and least controversial – functions: defending the nation from armed aggression."
Like most government failures, this one is expensive, Neale noted.
"This year the Defense Department budget will be at least $365 billion," he said. "Shouldn't politicians explain why we aren't very well defended?
"The Department of Homeland Security will cost $36.2 billion. Shouldn't politicians explain why we aren't very secure?
"Taxpayers will also shell out an estimated $30 billion for the CIA; $4.3 billion for the FBI; and $3.5 billion for the National Security Agency.
"Yet after spending nearly a half-trillion a year on these defense agencies, the nation seems less secure than ever. Instead of cavalierly issuing more terror alerts, politicians should hang their heads in shame and apologize to the American people for this monumental failure to do their jobs."
Unfortunately, if another terror attack does occur, politicians will be tempted to respond by spending even more money and writing yet another 'anti-terrorism' bill, Neale predicted.
But that approach won't work.
"It is absolutely impossible for the government to protect 280 million individual Americans from terrorism or other random crimes," he said. "People who are willing to commit horrific acts of violence and even commit suicide in the process will always be able to kill scores of innocent people."
That's why the solution to terrorism must include adopting a 'Protect America First' foreign policy, Neale said, which calls for bringing all U.S. troops home, ending military intervention and foreign aid, and never launching a 'pre-emptive' military strike.
"A Swiss-style foreign policy of neutrality and non-intervention would make terrorist attacks less likely while still protecting our borders," he said.
"Until that decision is made, every terror alert will be a frightening reminder of our government's inability to protect us."
A campaign supporter suggested that I offer up info for people on their legal rights when dealing with law enforcement. Great idea!
I'm going to put out a disclaimer before we get to the nitty gritty. Here it is:
While there are certain rights, procedures, and protocols you can invoke if confronted by the police, keep two things in mind:
1. It will piss them off if you assert your rights. Now, you may not care about their feelings and emotions, but take a guess who a pissed-off cop is likely to take his or her anger out on. Some police officers may be all polite and accomodating if you assert your rights in a way that complicates their task, but many will deem you uncooperative, suspicious, and/or outright criminal. And asserting your rights does not mean the police will comply with your assertion. Sometimes it can have just the opposite result. I learned that the hard way, and bought myself a few hours in jail, a bunch of lawyer's bills, and a lot of cynicism. Terrence Bressi learned it the hard way too.
2. There are plenty of cops who will just violate your rights with impunity, especially if they feel certain they will find something. Once they find something, and you officially become a "perp", they know they will be able to whitewash the details in their report, and it's your word against theirs, you perp you. I learned that the hard way the same time I learned number one, when a state trooper went to great lengths to search me and my jacket, under no pretense whatsoever, until he at last discovered a burned out corncob pipe bowl that smelled like weed. At which point he exclaimed "Aha! Now that's probable cause!" and preceded to search my car and all my friends, resulting in the arrest of three of us. At one point, having grown frustrated with my frequent appeals to my "rights", he turned to me and said "Don't you get it? None of that matters. You're done." Or something to that effect. I won't even get into what a bogus joke the arrest report was.
Now, this disclaimer is not intended to dissuade you from asserting your rights in such situations, or to say it never works like it should. You should assert your rights as firmly as you feel you need to, and oftentimes it does work like it should. At the very least, most police who are aware that you are serious and informed about your rights are more likely to exercise caution in that respect. Just don't go into it all pie-eyed and naive, and maybe try to be diplomatic and calm rather than aggressive or confrontational, if possible. And be aware it could backfire. It's sad but utterly true.
Now that my Negative Nelly bit is out of the way, let's get to those rights of yours. I got lots of rights for you -- all free.
From the National Lawyers Guild:
Know Your Rights!
- What rights do I have?
- What should I do if agents come to question me?
- How should I respond to threatning letters or
- What if I suspect surveillance?
- What if I am not a citizen?
- Contact information
- The Right to Advocate for Change.
- The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of groups and individuals who advocate changes in laws, government practices, and even the form of government.
- The Right to Remain Silent.
- The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution provides that every person has the right to remain silent in the face of questions posed by any police officer or government agent.
- The Right to be Free from "Unreasonable Searches and Seizures."
- The Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect your privacy. Without a warrant, no government agent is allowed to search your home or office and you can refuse to let them in. Know, however, that it is easy for the government to monitor your telephone calls, conversations in your office, home, car, or meeting place, as well as mail. E-mail is particularly insecure. The government has already begun stepping up its monitoring of e-mails.
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS CANNOT BE SUSPENDED -- EVEN DURING A STATE OF EMERGENCY OR WARTIME.
- YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TALK TO THE POLICE, FBI, INS, OR ANY OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENT OR INVESTIGATOR. Other than providing your name and address to a police officer who is investigating a crime, you are not legally obligated to talk to anyone: on the street, at your home or office, if you've been arrested, or even if you're in jail. Only a judge has the legal authority to order you to answer questions.
- YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LET POLICE OR OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS INTO YOUR HOME OR OFFICE UNLESS THEY HAVE A SEARCH WARRANT OR ARREST WARRANT. Demand to see the warrant. The warrant must specifically describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized. If they have a warrant, you cannot stop them from entering and searching, but you should still tell them that you do not consent to a search.
This will limit them to the scope of the search authorized by the warrant.
- IF THEY DO PRESENT A WARRANT, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO MONITOR THEIR SEARCH AND ACTIVITIES. You have the right to observe what they do. You have the right to ask them for their names and titles. Take written notes including their names, badge numbers, and what agency they are from. Have your friends who are present act as witnesses. Give this information to your lawyer. A warrant does not give the government the right to question, nor does it obligate you to answer questions.
- IF THE POLICE OR FBI OR INS OR ANYONE ELSE TRIES TO QUESTION YOU OR TRIES TO ENTER YOUR HOME WITHOUT A WARRANT, JUST SAY NO!
Police and other law enforcement agents are very skilled at getting information from people. Many people are afraid that if they refuse to cooperate, it will appear as if they have something to hide. Don't be fooled. The police are allowed to (and do) lie to you. Although agents may seem nice and pretend to be on your side, they are likely to be intent on learning about the habits, opinions, and affiliations of people not suspected of wrongdoing, with the end goal of stopping political activity with which the government disagrees. Trying to answer agents' questions, or trying to "educate them" about your cause can be very dangerous. You can never tell how a seemingly harmless bit of information that you give them might be used and misconstrued to hurt you or someone else. And keep in mind that lying to a federal agent is a crime.
- IF YOU ARE STOPPED ON THE STREET, ASK IF YOU ARE FREE TO GO.
If you are stopped by the police, ask them why. If they do not have a good reason for stopping you, or if you find yourself chatting for more than about a minute, ask "Am I under arrest, or am I free to go." If they do not state that you are under arrest, tell them that you do not wish to continue speaking with them and that you are going to go about your business. Then do so.
- ANYTHING YOU SAY TO THE POLICE, FBI, INS, ETC. WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU AND OTHERS. Once you've been arrested, you cannot talk your way out of it! Don't try to engage the cops in dialogue or respond to their accusations.
- THE FBI MAY THREATEN YOU WITH A GRAND JURY SUBPOENA IF YOU DON'T TALK TO THEM. They may give you a subpoena anyway, so anything you tell them may permit them to ask you more detailed questions later. You may also have legal grounds to refuse to answer questions before a grand jury. If you are given a grand jury subpoena, you should call a lawyer immediately (see contact information at the end). Tell your friends and movement groups about the subpoena and discuss how to respond. Do not try to deal with this alone.
- IF YOU ARE NERVOUS ABOUT SIMPLY REFUSING TO TALK, TELL THEM TO CONTACT YOUR LAWYER. They should stop trying to question you once you announce your desire to consult a lawyer. You do not have to already have one. Remember to get the name, agency, and telephone number of any investigator who visits you, and contact the National Lawyers Guild for help getting a lawyer.
If your home or office is broken into, or threats have been made against you, your organization, or someone you work with, share this information with everyone affected. Take immediate steps to increase personal and office security. You should discuss with your organization and with a lawyer whether and how to report such incidents to the police and the advisability of taking other legal action. If you decide to make a report, do not do so without a lawyer present.
Prudence is the best course, no matter who you suspect, or what the basis of your suspicion. Do not hesitate to confront suspected agents politely, in public, with at least one other person present, and inquire about their business. If the suspect declines to answer, he or she at least now knows that you are aware of the surveillance.
If you suspect government agents are monitoring you, or are harassing you, report this to the National Lawyers Guild.
- YOU DO NOT HAVE TO REVEAL YOUR IMMIGRATION STATUS.
We cannot count on the police to honor local sanctuary ordinances, and the fact that the INS obtained your name in violation of a sanctuary ordinance will NOT prevent you from being deported.
- FOREIGN NATIONALS WHO ARE ARRESTED IN THE U.S. HAVE THE RIGHT TO CALL YOUR CONSULATE or to have the police inform your consulate of your arrest. The police must allow your consul to visit or speak with you. Your consul might assist you in finding a lawyer or offer other help, such as contacting your family. You also have the right to refuse help from your consulate.
- DO NOT TALK TO THE INS, EVEN ON THE PHONE, before talking to an immigration lawyer. Many INS officers view ;enforcement,"" meaning deporting people, as their primary job. They do not believe that explaining immigration options is part of their job, and most will readily admit this. (Noncitizens who are victims of domestic abuse should speak with an expert in both immigration law and domestic violence.) A noncitizen should always speak with an immigration law expert before speaking to the INS either in person or by telephone.
- KNOW AND ASSERT YOUR RIGHTS!
All noncitizens have the following rights, regardless of your immigration status:
- The right to speak to an attorney before answering any questions or signing any documents;
- The right to a hearing with an Immigration Judge;
- The right to have an attorney at that hearing and in any interview with INS (however you do not have the right to a free, government-paid lawyer); and
- The right to request release from detention, by paying a bond if necessary.
Noncitizens must assert these rights. If you do not demand these rights, you can be deported without seeing either an attorney or a judge. Leaving the U.S. in this way may have serious consequences for your ability to later enter or to gain legal immigration status in the U.S.
- TALK TO AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER BEFORE LEAVING THE U.S.
Anyone not a U.S. citizen may be barred from coming back to the U.S. if they fall into certain categories of people barred from entering. This includes some lawful permanent residents and applicants for green cards. Some noncitizens that have been in the U.S. without INS permission may be permanently barred from re-entering. In addition, some noncitizens that leave the US and return with INS permission may be swiftly removed from the U.S. if they end up in immigration proceedings.
(Many foreign-language versions and PDF posters of this info are available at the NLG website.)
What can you do if you are stopped? Civil rights attorneys advise the following:
1. Know your rights: you are not required to give permission to police officer to search your car. You can deny the request - but do so politely.
2. Don't argue: the police may try to intimidate you. Do not be confrontational and provoke an argument.
3. Get the names of the officers: be sure to get their badge numbers, squad car number, license plate number, and make a note of the location and time of day.
4. File a complaint if you feel you have been mis-treated: contact the ACLU or other civil rights organizations for legal advice.
Illionois Attorney Warren Breslin has a whole bunch of advice on his web site about your rights, including specific advice about interrogations, DUI situations and search and seizure, as well as this statement which he recommends carrying around with you to use when push comes to shove:
I KNOW MY RIGHTS
My lawyer has told me not to talk to anyone about what may be a case against me, not to answer questions and not to reply to accusations. I do not agree to perform any tests of any kind and do not give my consent for you to search me, my car, my house or any of my property. It is not that I am guilty or intend to obstruct a police investigation; I simply will not waive any of my constitutional rights without my lawyer present. Call him.
ImmigrationLinks.com has a Know Your Rights if You are Stopped for Immigration Questioning page from the National Lawyers Guild.
When you are stopped by the police or arrested, you have certain rights under the law. These rights are the same whether or not you have done anything wrong. Know these rights and use them during your encounter with the police.
Above all, do not do or say anything that would make your situation worse. What you say to the police is always important. What you say can be used against you, and it can give the police a chance to arrest you, especially if you bad-mouth a police officer.
Remember that you have the right to remain silent. Use that right!
Do not resist or try to run away. Keep your hands where the police can see them. Never touch a police officer. Stay calm and speak politely.
Insist on knowing why you have been stopped. Ask, "Officer, why did you stop me?" (Note: Your race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age or appearance alone are not valid reasons for the officer to stop you).
If you are stopped while you are driving, give the officer your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance if he or she asks for them. If you're given a ticket, you should sign it; otherwise you can be arrested. You can always fight the case later in court. If you're suspected of drunk driving (DWI) and refuse to take a blood, urine or breath test, your driver's license may be suspended.
If you are not driving (for example, if you are walking), you are not required to carry any type of identification. If you are asked for identification, you may give it to the officer if you want to, but you do not have to do this. You can't be arrested merely for refusing to identify yourself on the street.
Never give false information to a police officer.
Police may "pat down" your clothing if they suspect a concealed weapon. Don't physically resist, but make it clear that you don't consent to any further search.
Ask the officer, "Am I free to leave?" If the officer says "No," assume that you are under arrest. If the officer says "Yes," you can leave.
Remember that you have the right to remain silent. In most situations, do not say anything except to identify yourself or ask the officer why you have been stopped. Don't bad-mouth a police officer, even if you believe that what is happening is unreasonable. That could lead to your arrest.
Police may ask to search you, your car, or your home. Do not agree to such a search. Be polite, but make it clear that you are not consenting to a search. IMPORTANT: The police may have a right to search you anyhow, and they can do it without your consent. BUT if you give them consent, you may not be able to challenge an illegal search later in court.
It is not lawful for police to arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search. If the police say they have a search warrant, ask it see it.
If You Are Arrested
Do not resist arrest or try to run away. Keep your hands where the police can see them. Never touch a police officer. Stay calm and speak politely.
Ask for a lawyer immediately. Do not talk to the police without your lawyer.
Never lie to the police. Exercise your right to remain silent. Do not make any statements or answer any questions except to give your name and address and to ask why you have been arrested. Also, do not sign anything and do not agree to talk to the police.
You have the right to contact a lawyer, or to contact someone in your family who can ask for a lawyer for you.Tell the police that you do not wish to speak to anyone until you have a lawyer.
In Missouri, the police cannot hold a person for more than 20 hours without a judge setting bail. A judge will set bail at your first court appearance. The judge will also appoint an attorney to represent you if you cannot afford to hire an attorney.
The police may keep you in a jail cell. Do not talk with anyone about your case. This includes people who are in the cell with you. Talk about your case only with your lawyer.
In Your Home
If the police knock and ask to enter your home, you don't have to admit them unless they have a warrant signed by a judge.
However, in some emergency situations (like when a person is screaming for help inside, or when the police are chasing someone) officers are allowed to enter and search your home without a warrant.
If you are arrested, the police can search you and the area close by. If you are in a building, "close by" usually means just the room you are in.
This here appears to be the ACLU flyer from above, but in web page form. Lots of good stuff there.
And if you're still hungry for more, dig into Google's search results for ' "know your rights" when stopped by the police '.
And remember who pulled all this stuff together for you -- Lance Brown, Candidate for President in 2008. Spread the word!
Here's the thing: businesses just can't be trusted to figure out how to draw customers into their shops. No, wait...this is it: drivers and pedestrians can get confused and disoriented if they see too many foreign languages on storefronts. No...hold on...I got it: the English-language signpainting industry in Australia is tanking, and something simply must be done to bolster it. Or, maybe it's just the time-honored "them damn immigrants" phenomenon at work.
Confused? Me too. Except you're probably confused because of my cryptic and sarcastic comments. I'm confused because communities in Australia are working left and right to pass laws banning foreign-language signs on storefronts unless they are accompanied by an English translation. Or just mandating English signs and allowing foreign translations. Same difference really.
In one of the places working to pass a law like this, 65% of the residents speak a language other than English. I guess we can't have that, eh? Wouldn't want the poor Anglos to feel like a minority or anything. Just imagine the shame!
Did I mention I think these laws are stupid and wrong? Or did you at least catch that vibe? What's most amazing is not that they managed to wrap censorship, racism, and market interference into such a tight package...what's most amazing is how irrational, rude, and racist they are in their defense of this casual foray into fascism.
Fairfield City councillor Thang Ngo said he would push for a similar policy. "I think having signs in a range of languages is welcoming and inclusive," Cr Ngo said.
That's supposed to be a point in favor of mandating English-language signs. (?!?) Maybe you have to look at it in the mirror for it to make sense -- beats me.
"It makes sense, it avoids a lot of the backlash ... it will be better for the businesses."
That's Thang again. See, the thing is, Thang knows much better than business owners what will be good for them. Because those stupid (foreign-language) businesspeople don't know what's good for them.
Here's a challenge for you: find the place in this article where they say that these laws came about because businesspeople were concerned that their signs weren't working as well as they could. It's a trick, obviously, because the idea is absurd. "Legislators, could you help us please? We are but ignorant business owners...we're concerned that our storefronts are not up to par, and we can't figure out what to do. Please make a law telling us the best way to design our signs!" Uh-huh. Sure.
Or look at it another way: how many business owners do you think there were applauding Thang Ngo's courageous efforts to help them run their business?
"It will make business more attractive and encourage people from all backgrounds to come into them," a spokeswoman said.
Translation: "It will make business more attractive if I can read the signs, because foreign languages are ugly. It will encourage white people to go into foreign shops that previously made them feel threatened and confused."
"It tends to give the wrong impression," Mr Hassett said of the foreign-language signs.
Right, it tends to give the impression that a bunch of "minorities" have somehow become the majority presence. Wouldn't want people thinking that.
Mmmm...nothing like a little subtle racist fascism to clean up the marketplace.
Free-Market.net's Freedom News Daily used to be my favorite e-mail news source. They collected all the most important news and opinion pieces pertaining to freedom from around the world each day, and delivered it up in heaping servings.
Unfortunately, the Henry Hazlitt Foundation, parent to Free-Market.net, went bust a few months ago, and all their assets and services hung on the brink for a while. Fortunately, Tom Knapp, one of the Free-Market.net castaways, grabbed the Freedom News daily flag and kept it flying, via the Rational Review News Digest. It's basically the same thing. Hooray for Tom Knapp (as well as Mary Lou Seymour, Steve Triniward, and R. Lee Wrights, top-level freedom activists on and all) for keeping it alive, because it's easily the best daily political news resource I've encountered in my 6+ years on the web. If you know what's good for you, you'll subscribe to their e-mail updates, or at least bookmark that site and visit it frequently.
Have you heard about the new Patriot Act that's apparently in the works?
Justice Dept. Drafts Sweeping Expansion of Anti-Terrorism Act
Center Publishes Secret Draft of ‘Patriot II’ Legislation
I haven't had time to think about it or look into it since I first heard about it a few days ago, but from what I've heard it's even worse than the first "Patriot Act". More comments will be forthcoming soon. I have a really busy week going on, which I'll be posting about shortly. Lots of meetings and hooha.
Here's a link to the transcript of Sean Penn's appearance on Larry King from about a month ago. I found it to be pretty interesting...it's nothing life-changing or anything, but I admire Sean's effort to take on what he feels is his responsibility to take part in the public dialogue about the war. His view is that as a person in a position of privilege, he has a duty/responsibility to use his influence and exposure to urge debate and thoughtfulness in a process that he doesn't think has had enough of either.
Unfortunately, some of the bits of conversation read a little choppily, because it's a quick-draft transcript, but he still makes a lot of good points and provides useful insight. At the very least, Sean Penn's been to Iraq, so he has a perspective that most of us don't have.
Here's a collection of super-sarcastic and scathing political cartoons, collectively called "get your war on". If you get offended easily by foul language and aggressive sarcasm, you might want to take a pass on this one.
It's a funny design...it looks like they just use clip art humans-- sort of the classic line-art-style images of people standing on the phone or sitting at desks. Actually on the page I saw evereyone was on the phone in every strip. Page 18 (below) features some amusing simulated conversations with North Korea. I'd describe them here, but it wouldn't have the same zing seeing the real deal. Plus I don't want to deal with all the expletives on my home page. ;-)
I first landed at page 18, and didn't even realize there were more pages until I went to get the link for posting here. This is apparently a long-running comic strip...I'm going to have to check back a few times in order to get through it all now that I know.
I was checking my site's traffic logs, and I noticed a lot of people are coming here on a search for "pictures of the bill of rights" or "bill of rights pictures". I suspect they're finding this site because of my entry with pictures of the Funeral for the Bill of Rights, but I imagine they're ending up disappointed (while being pleasantly surprised to find such a promising young activist like myself ;-)).
So I figured I'd give the people what they want, and hunt down some pictures of the Bill of Rights. All you random surfers, just remember who's got your back. (It's me -- Lance Brown, candidate for president in 2008.)
This page from the Library of Congress' America's Story collection has a version which is nice and authentic-looking -- which means it's pretty grubby and time-worn. Nice for that rustic feeling, but not great for reading.
This image from the National Archives looks to be the same as the one above, but lightened up considerably. Less rustic, slightly more viewable. Still can't read the small text though. The image is linked to from this "December 15th: Today in History" page, from the American Memory collections of the Library of Congress. All those source sites are great resources for historical documents and stuff, which is why I bother mentioning them all.
Here's a small one, also from the National Archives:
There is a high resolution image, which is huge and very detailed, and actually readable (although only a tiny portion of it fits on a screen at one time). It's 8 megabytes, which I think is the biggest .JPG file I've ever heard of. It'll take you over an hour on dial-up I think. With that warning in mind, here's a direct link to the image. You should probably right-click and do "Save Target As..." or whatever comparable function you have, unless you have a super-fast connection and you want to just pull it up in a browser window. That image is from this page -- the high-resolution image page of the National Archives "Charters of Freedom" collection, which I mention only because that same page has high-res versions of the Constitution (page 1, 2, 3, 4) and Declaration of Independence as well. (All those links also go to huge 8-10 MB .JPG images.)
Then of course a Google image search for "Bill of Rights" has about a zillion more versions and styles of Bill of Rights pictures to choose from, including other authentic-style ones like the ones above.
In my Google search, I discovered this really creative Bill of Rights flag image from Bangpound. The words of the Bill are in red, creating the stripes of the flag. It's for sale as a poster at Bangpound for 10 bucks. Very cool.
I've been brewing up an idea for the past week or so. It's still just the beginnings of an idea really.
I think I should try to get a Super Bowl ad for the campaign. It's one sure-fire way to break through all the clutter and let America know that "Freedom is Still an Option". Not only is the Super Bowl watched by 500 million people (or so I've heard), but the ads during it are a news story unto themselves. There are features done about the Super Bowl ads for the week or more before the bowl, and a couple days afterward. I'm sure I don't really need to even explain this, because most everybody knows that the Super Bowl ads are basically the Holy Grail of ad spots. So I'll just share with you the few bits of ideas and notes I've got so far.
--One 30-second ad will probably cost about $2.5 million dollars next year. I'd guess that will be closer to $4 million by 2008...maybe not that much. I'm focusing on next year for now. I hope to raise the money for the ad through targeted donations-- people donating specifically to pay for the ad. I think if I can sweeten up my web presence here, and present a compelling offer, it could easily become one of those things that gets spread around the Internet, and a lot of people would support it just for the "sticking it to The Man" aspect of the idea. I'm not counting on just those folks, but I really think it could grab people's attention as a sweet opportunity to shake things up. Plus there might even be some folks who'd like to help this particular outsider presidential candidate break through the muck. ;-)
--It would take 100,000 people donating $25 to pay for the ad. Call me an optimist, but I think 100,000 people is a feasible number of folks to raise $25 from. Actually...really call me an optimist, because 100,000 seems like a pretty small number of people in the grand scheme of things. (Not that I won't value their support in a big way.)
--The ideal result would be to have a Super Bowl ad each year between now and the big election, which would make 5 consecutive years of ads there. With no other campaigning at all, that would probably be enough to get me name recognition in most American households, what with the media flurry that would precede and follow each year. Of course I won't be doing "no other campaigning at all." I'll be doing lots of other campaigning pretty much the whole time.
--It's entirely possible I might not be able to raise enough money to get an ad for next year. If not enough was raised the first time around, the pot would just keep growing until the next year, or until it's enough to buy an ad. In a worse (but not worst) case scenario, I ought to be able to at least raise the money by the 2008 Super Bowl. It could end up that I raise enough to do one every other year, or 2 out of the 5.
--Next year would really be a big one, though, because it would be just bare weeks before the 2004 primaries, and could pave the way to me being able to haunt the primary season really well. If, through an effective enough ad (and my own skills and presence), I can become a mini "media darling" of politics at the end of January 2004, I could probably get camera coverage along with the 2004 pack of candidates. Particularly if I outshine or upstage them whenever possible. If for no other reason than they wouldn't know quite what to do with me, or what to think. A carefully orchestrated "haunting" tour could get a lot of media coverage, and help seal my recognition as one of the candidates to watch in 2008. When Election '04 ends, and in the next week the pundits start going "So, who are we looking at for 2008?", I want to make sure they all include me on their list. Even if it's as an oddball candidate, or "that young guy", or "the Super Bowl Ad guy". It's very important that my name gets on the radar as soon as the radar is turned on, and stays there for the duration. It might not be vital, but it's pretty close to it. A Super Bowl ad in 2004 would almost guarantee that my name would be on the commentators' lips on November 3rd, and a lot of media would probably attend my campaign launch press conference that day. Add the primary haunting efforts in, and I could earn a presence in the 2008 polls as soon as they start (in 2004). I would, after all, have already raised almost $3 million dollars, which might even make me the leading fundraiser at that point. That would open some eyes for sure. With that kind of a kick start, I should be able to pretty well get media attention most places I go from there on out. Especially if I continue to follow up with subsequent Super Bowl ads in the subsequent years.
--The kicker: I'm going to try to convince the guys behind South Park to create the ad. They're both self-described libertarians, they're just about my age (i.e., peers), and they love to shake things up. If I can get them to believe in me, and I think I can, then maybe they'd do an ad for me. If they did do an ad, it would greatly enhance my ability to raise money for it.
That's a lot more notes and bits than I planned to lay out. Now I went and hyped it all up, and I haven't even checked on what might be the biggest hurdle -- the TV network. If you know someone with serious clout at CBS or Viacom, drop me a line, ok?
William Rivers Pitt, apparently a resident editorialist for TruthOut, has a good piece on the impact a war with Iraq will have on us here. He speaks of the little-mentioned backlash that will hit home here in America, no matter how well the war might go in Iraq. there's a lot of reasons not to go to war with Iraq, but that backlash might be the best one. If the wave of terrorist assaults on the U.S. doesn't kill us, the tyranny that follows might kill the country.
I'm converting some more old pre-blog blog posts into archived posts here, so if you're just tuning in and are seeing posts that seem to be from out of nowhere, that's why. I'll leave them up here for a little while and then backdate them to when they were written.
The US intends to shatter Iraq "physically, emotionally and psychologically" by raining down on its people as many as 800 cruise missiles in two days.
The Pentagon battle plan aims not only to crush Iraqi troops, but also wipe out power and water supplies in the capital, Baghdad.
It is based on a strategy known as "Shock and Awe", conceived at the National Defense University in Washington, in which between 300 and 400 cruise missiles would fall on Iraq each day for two consecutive days. It would be more than twice the number of missiles launched during the entire 40 days of the 1991 Gulf War.
"There will not be a safe place in Baghdad," a Pentagon official told America's CBS News after a briefing on the plan. "The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before."
There was an ad in the Wall Street Journal recently titled "A Republican Dissent on Iraq". Here it is as a PDF file.
It's pretty compelling stuff...I don't really find anything I can object to, and knowing it comes from Republicans to a Republican makes it all the more compelling. The only weird thing is when you go to the website the ad refers to. That'd be TrueMajority.com. TrueMajority.com was started by Ben ("& Jerry's") Cohen, who I've never considered to be particularly conservative. If I was asked to guess, I would guess he's a Green or a Democrat.
TrueMajority.com is endorsed by the following organizations:
Campus Greens -- Peace Action -- Co-op America -- Physicians for Social Responsibility -- Global Exchange -- Rainforest Action Network -- Greenpeace -- Rock the Vote -- Infact -- Service Employees International Union -- The Interfaith Alliance -- Sojourners -- National Council of La Raza -- United for a Fair Economy -- National Head Start Association -- Women's Action for New Directions
It's kinda surprising they were able to find the 30-or-so Republicans to sign onto that ad...that's not exactly a Republican-lookin' list of organizations.
I've got nothing against their effort to demostrate an in-party opposition to Bush's war plans, and I think the content of the ad itself is great, as I said. It just makes it seem kinda paper-thin when they send you to a website that loudly lists a clearly left-leaning list of endorsers.
You have to dig a little deeper on the site to find out about Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, which is the organization name that's on the WSJ ad, and which doesn't have any substantial presence on the site-- just this:
Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities
a group of 500 corporate leaders including the current or former Chairpersons or CEOs of Eastman Kodak, Goldman Sachs, Visa International, Phillips Van Heusen, Hasbro, Stride Rite, and Time Warner.
That ad would have had a much better impact if that Business Leaders group had a site of its own. I'm all for open disclosure, but you can be smart and tactful about it. Appealing to Republicans in an ad and then alienating them on the related website doesn't make much sense to me. I don't see any sign of the ad on their site, or even a mention of "A Republican Dissent on Iraq" -- never mind a focus area.
I just picture some on-the-fence Republican seeing the ad, and thinking "Oh, there are other Republicans who have doubts about the war...hmmm...that makes me feel more comfortable about having doubts myself. Oh! There's a website where I can find out more, and maybe join up with these folks. Let me check it out." And then he or she goes to TrueMajority.com, and is presented with a clearly left-leaning coalition site, with nary a Republican to be found. Sounds like a let-down to me.