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December 31, 2007

Ron Paul Ad Not What I'm Donating For

I've donated a decent amount of money to Dr. Paul's campaign, but I have to say that this new ad is abysmal. Justin Raimondo over at largely echoes my own thoughts on the ad in a blog posting here.

For someone who states that "the collectivist mindset is at the heart of racism," Dr. Paul certainly lumps immigrants of all stripes together. Perhaps the problem is America's restrictionist immigration policy as opposed to people who want to come here for a better life? Also, while I disagree with Dr. Paul's complete restriction on visas from so-called "terrorist nations" (exactly what countries should be on that list?), I am okay with greater scrutiny of, not an outright ban on, those who choose to visit us from certain nations that have a history of producing terrorists.

Posted by PaulGessing at 07:51 PM | Comments (19)

Go Home, Ron Paul!

That's what Fox News is saying to the Ron Paul campaign regarding the planned debate on January 6th (two days before the New Hampshire primary). Only the top five candidates are invited, apparently. But who *are* the top five candidates?

Recent polls suggest there is great fluctuation in preference among early primary voters. Certainly, Ron Paul's recent fundraising (Can anyone say $19 million?) and his iconic message should earn him a seat among the anointed. Perhaps he has the wrong message?

To ensure fairness, CNN, or another major network could offer Ron Paul an hour to talk about the war and other issues on which he has major disagreements with the other candidates.

Surely, the FCC and FEC shouldn't have objection to an alternate station attempting to balance the field in the presidential race? Public policy should be geared toward helping the public be as well informed as it can be. Doesn't that make sense?


Posted by KevinRollins at 12:33 AM | Comments (32)

December 27, 2007

Digg Away!

As part of the ongoing efforts to renovate the Free Liberal site, I added Digg tags to the articles today. Please let me know if it works!


Posted by KevinRollins at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

Who Would Reagan Vote For?

The mantle of Ronald Reagan is such an important thing in conservative circles. The author of this article makes a convincing albeit brief case that Ronald Reagan himself would support Ron Paul in the Republican primary.

While it is of course impossible to determine what Reagan would think about the political climate today, it certainly seems hard to believe that the Gipper would have supported the neoconservative outlook given the fights he had with those folks when he was President.

Posted by PaulGessing at 11:36 AM | Comments (4)

December 26, 2007

Burying Hitler

It looks like war with Iran may be on the back burner for now -- even warmongers take Christmas off -- but they'll be back soon enough. Justin Logan over at Cato makes an excellent case for burying the Hitler analogy once and for all. After all, even if we don't go to war with Iran, some future leader will be compared to him as a means of ginning up a US military intervention.

Posted by PaulGessing at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2007

Blast from the Past

I was checking out traffic stats and links from another site where I write when this old New York Times article caught my eye. The article, which was published in 1987, was about Russell Means, who was Ron Paul's contender for the Libertarian Party nomination at the time.

Russell Means, who once led an American Indian group in armed rebellion at Wounded Knee, S.D., is now campaigning for the Libertarian Party's Presidential nomination.

Russell Means, who once led an American Indian group in armed rebellion at Wounded Knee, S.D., is now campaigning for the Libertarian Party's Presidential nomination.

''We will prove to every American that America is becoming one big Indian reservation,'' said Mr. Means, who contends that non-Indians face the same danger of losing their land and their rights that Indians have faced for centuries.

''I challenge every American to make a list of what they feel their individual rights are, and then, item by item, find out how much government is interfering with those rights,'' he said. ''I have been trying to throw off the yoke of government interference in our lives since I joined the American Indian Movement.''

Mr. Means reminds visitors to his log home on a hill overlooking the village of Porcupine that Lincoln also spent time in a log cabin before moving to the White House. ''That proves I'm of Presidential timber,'' he said.

Like Ron Paul, Means is currently in the news again. Currently, Means and other delegates representing at least some members of the Lakota confederation are currently seeking diplomatic recognition of a status somewhere between "annulled" and "legally divorced" from the United States of America.

Posted by StephenGordon at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2007


TFL publisher and founder Kevin Rollins recommended the TV show LOST to me a year or two ago. I’m not much for network programming, but I thought I’d give it a whirl. It’s easy enough to get on Netflix.

The show’s fantastic. For TFL readers, you’ll find the bonus is that many of the characters are named after philosophers and thinkers. Names like: John Locke, Edmund Burke, Rousseau, Hawking, Bakunin, and Hume are peppered throughout the show, to our delight. In Season 3, Sawyer – clearly the most selfish character in the ensemble – is intently reading Ayn Rand’s THE FOUNTAINHEAD on the beach.

Although the show has a nighttime soap structure, viewers will find a number of thought-provoking themes presented.

And, of course, LOST introduced the world to Evangeline Lilly.


Posted by RobertCapozzi at 06:56 AM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2007

Huckabee: The Last Whig

As reports of GOP hopeful Mike Huckabee's disturbing brand of populism become known, let's look on the bright side:

If Huckabee gets the nomination, could he become the Last Whig?


Posted by RobertCapozzi at 07:02 AM | Comments (2)

This is getting INTERESTING!

Reports from sources close to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggest that the multi-billionaire is set to make an independent run for US President. Bloomberg is a former D and a former R.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-CT, and former running mate in 2000 of Al Gore, has endorsed John McCain’s bid for the GOP nomination for president. Lieberman won re-election to the Senate as an independent, having lost in the D primaries to an anti-war businessman-turned-pol.

And, while Rep. Ron Paul all-but-denies that he’ll consider going third party should he not get the GOP nod for president, rumors swirl around the candidate, as his campaign has become a formidable fund-raising machine. His anti-Iraq-War, limited government message arguably has the most intense support in the R field, and possibly all of the major candidates.

It appears that “party discipline” is breaking down. Bloomberg is at this stage a true independent. Some suggest that McCain/Lieberman would make an ideal Unity08 ticket. Paul has already once quit the GOP to later run for President as a Libertarian.

Mathematically, the two-party “system” is the default position in American politics. Winner-take-all elections see to that. Yet, the system seems to be failing. Politicians like Paul, Lieberman, McCain, and Bloomberg sense that, and may step up to challenge the orthodoxy.

Free Liberals – with our transpartisan bias – should applaud these stirrings. Our politics have become so sclerotic that a new approach is desperately called for. Should any of these candidates go third-party, they should at minimum be in the presidential debates. Should two of these tickets be forthcoming, the case for more open debates gets stronger. All bets would be off.

Hold onto your hats. 2008 could be a watershed year.


Posted by RobertCapozzi at 06:22 AM | Comments (3)

December 17, 2007

Ron Paul Raises Record Cash

Ron Paul's campaign raised record money on Sunday, the 334th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Win or lose, it looks like Dr Paul's campaign will have money for the entire primary campaign. That is good for those of us who are embarrassed to try to explain US Foreign Policy.

Posted by PaulGessing at 08:03 PM | Comments (4)

December 15, 2007

Israel: NIE Report Could Spark War

No matter what US foreign policy agencies come up with, it seems like all signs point to war with Iran. Now, the Israeli public security minister is warning that the recent finding by the CIA that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program would cause war. More troubling, according to its director, Israeli intelligence "will work to change the American intelligence agencies' view of Iran." This means that next time, if Israel has anything to do with it, the CIA will come to the "correct" conclusion about Iran's ambitions.

Clearly the US intervenes in far too many internal decisions of foreign countries across the globe, why does it seem that Israel is the only country that is openly permitted to work to influence our own intelligence decisions?

Posted by PaulGessing at 08:05 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2007

Bottoms Up

Highly recommend this short blog over at Cato@Liberty.

It shows that the lowest fifth of US citizens pay an average effective tax rate of 4.3% and tht the top fifth pay 25.5%. This includes virtually ALL federal taxes, not just income taxes. I'd like to see this data including state and local taxes, too, but this seems to be a nice snapshot of tax distribution.

Right wingers might say: See, the "rich" pay more than their fair share. Left wingers might say: Nope, they reap the greatest benefit from the society, they should be paying A LOT more.

This Free Liberal says: Why are we taxing the poorest at all? Can't we all agree that that's the place to start?


Posted by RobertCapozzi at 07:56 AM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2007

Eric Dondero and The Free Liberal

Eric Dondero, commenting on Steve Gordon's recent post about Nancy Pelosi, objects to being attacked daily by this publication and points out that he was once an editor here. Let me try to clarify some of his remarks.

He writes:

Free Liberal published two of my articles back in 2003: The Rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger and on Gene Simmons of KISS being a Libertarian.
Funny, the "Editors" if you can call them that, at the Free Liberal rag, forget to mention that little fact when they're attacking me on a daily basis.

Yes, The Free Liberal did publish his articles and they both were big favorites in print and online. We thank Eric for his contribution and we are pleased he wrote for us. Although I consider that my relationship with Eric broke down over our disagreements on the Iraq war, in no way has this publication engaged in daily attacks on him. Eric, if you believe this to be the case, please show me the links to pages on our site. Everything we have written is still accessible. I believe that at most there has been an occasional blog entry which mentions his name.

Further, he claims:

Now, that I'm criticizing Paul you all change your tune. Now it's bash Dondero. Call Dondero every name in the book. Blacklist him. Bash him mercilessly.

The Free Liberal has always had a policy of allowing different writers to take opposing positions. To clarify, The Free Liberal does NOT endorse Congressman Ron Paul, although several of our bloggers are very positive on him. We welcome criticisms of Dr. Paul, as well as any other material which appears on our site. In fact, I have defended Mr. Giuliani in the past, whom Eric Dondero supports.

While I personally think Steve's post needlessly dragged Eric into a comparison with Nancy Pelosi, as Nancy Pelosi is a big story and Eric Dondero is not (outside of the libertarian movement), Eric has made a name for himself in going after those he disagrees with. I would argue that he has done so in a rather obnoxious manner and has earned a great deal of rancor from other libertarians. This is unfortunate, because Eric does have some very good points and he often provides valuable news through his Mainstream Libertarians website. But, being controversial and aggressive is certainly inviting retaliation from those he attacks.

He also claims:

Well, well, well. I went into my garage this morning, and found an old issue of The Free Liberal from 2003.

Not only did they have my articles, they listed me as a "Senior Editor." Funny, I don't remember agreeing to that. Oh well.

This piqued my interest, as the only people who have ever been "Senior Editors" are Carl Milsted, Michael Ostrolenk, Paul Gessing, and Bob Capozzi (before he took over as Editor in Chief). Carl Milsted and I dug into his old copies of TFL to verify/falsify Eric's claim. We found that he was listed as "Contributing Editor" which is a title we gave to any author who wrote articles that were exclusively for our use. Senior Editor is a title we reserved for those who made major contributions to the publication ideologically as well as operationally (writing, editing, funding, etc.) Eric Dondero did not play this role in The Free Liberal.

I hope that Eric can look past some of our differences and see the positive areas in which we could work together. That would be far better than see ourselves as dangerous adversaries. What a waste of everybody's time that would be.

Kevin D. Rollins
Publisher, The Free Liberal

Posted by KevinRollins at 02:28 PM | Comments (10)

Comments are Now Open

The Type Key login requirement has been turned off. Horray!
Time to debate and flame away!

Posted by CarlMilsted at 10:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 11, 2007

The Libertarian Party Gets on the Ron Paul Bandwagon

Over the weekend, the Libertarian National Committee made a bold move, breaking with party custom, to basically endorse the candidacy of Ron Paul and commit resources to help him in his Republican nomination fight.

LP executive director Shane Cory wrote in an email today:

We plan to use the Ballot Base to affect a Republican primary. To do so, we give up the following:
  • The use of a server that is not even moderately used during the political off-season.
  • An independent expenditure of $2,120 to purchase the New Hampshire voter files of registered Republicans.
  • Moderate use of staff time.
  • This appear to be a relatively small effort, but it is significant because it moves the LP closer to being a player in mainstream politics, much like the Conservative Party has done in New York for quite awhile.

    Whether or not this particular effort helps Ron Paul, the change of strategy should help the LP in the long run because the precedent has been set for endorsing candidates in other parties. The other parties now have a reason to care about what the LP is up to -- individual candidates in the major parties could court LP support. For LP members (and potential members) the party now offers another benefit -- the chance to influence the major parties.

    This setup, which looks somewhat like an interest group -- like the Sierra Club or National Rifle Association, could be the key for massive party growth in size and influence.

    Maybe the party IS worth fighting for?


    Posted by KevinRollins at 01:53 PM | Comments (9)

    December 10, 2007

    Nancy Pelosi: The Eric Dondero of the Democratic Party?

    Most people in the libertarian movement know who Eric Dondero is. Certainly anyone who has ever cruised the threads on any pro-Ron Paul or libertarian electronic forum or blog have run into his rather unusual definitions of libertarianism and even the meaning of freedom. He supports Rudy Giuliani for president, claiming that the pro-war, pro-torture and authoritarian former New York mayor is incredibly libertarian. Dondero has now taken to writing articles about African-American presidential candidates at FrontPage Magazine. In other words, most libertarians would claim that Dondero's beliefs are pretty much the antithesis of libertarianism.

    Likewise, Nancy Pelosi is well known to people on the left. Unlike Dondero, she's known by millions of real people around the real world -- not just geeks like me who spend way too much time on the Internet. Like they do with Dondero, people opposed to the Iraq War protest Pelosi's actions.

    Dondero defended the practice of waterboarding. Now it seems that Pelosi has known, since 2002, that the U.S. government has been engaging in this practice of torture. From WaPo:

    In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

    Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

    She knew about it, yet she did nothing about it.

    Most Democrats I know are rightfully opposed to torture. All libertarians I know are opposed to torture, as torture is clearly inconsistent with libertarianism. Because of his political views, Eric Dondero couldn't even be elected to the position of County Chairman in the Libertarian Party. Nancy Pelosi currently serves as Speaker of the House and has no Democratic opposition to her re-election bid.

    Unless Democrats actually favor torture and the building of the American Empire, this makes Nancy Pelosi the Eric Dondero of the left. The obvious question is why Democrats continue to put her in power.

    Posted by StephenGordon at 11:03 PM | Comments (4)

    December 08, 2007

    Rodney King: Call Your Office

    The Free Liberal’s “transpartisan” approach has many applications. Here’s one:

    Two wings of libertarian thought are going at it over an article in The Nation magazine. (The Nation is a long-running progressive, left-liberal publication.)

    Nation summarizes the dispute reasonably fairly and accurately this way:

    The division between paleolibertarians, centered around the Mises Institute, and cosmopolitan libertarians, centered around Cato, is also a case of "culture clash…."

    The article points out that the paleolibertarians have been whole-heartedly supporting Ron Paul’s insurgent run for the GOP presidential nomination. People associated with Cato, less so, or not at all. Again, a reasonably fair and accurate characterization.

    But then things get personal and hyperbolic.

    One DC-based libertarian--who asked not to be named because he "would like to avoid getting endless 2 am calls from nuts yelling at me for not agreeing with the gold standard"--told me he thinks [Lew] Rockwell [head of the Mises Institute] is "one of the most loathsome people ever to set foot on this continent."

    The response from Rockwell:

    To the other anti-Ron Cato VP who called me "one of the most loathsome people ever to set foot on this continent," I say: See you at the inauguration.

    A review of the original Nation article, however, does not say that the anonymous source was “anti-Ron” nor that he is a “Cato VP.” When political discussion becomes divorced from facts, all bets are off.

    Time for a Rodney King chill pill: “Can’t we all just get along?”


    Posted by RobertCapozzi at 07:09 AM | Comments (0)

    December 06, 2007

    Libertarianism at Watership Down

    See this hysterical video of Libertarian Party chairman Bill Redpath being interviewed by talking rabbits.

    My favorite rabbit line: “Libertarians are for hookers, duly noted.”

    And more seriously...Too bad Redpath didn't use the opportunity to point out how living in rabbit socialism (no worries about food) is correlated with the ability of the state to kill any rabbit at will.

    For those of you who haven't read Watership Down (you should!), there is a powerful tale of the rabbit warren which becomes beholden to a local farmer who keeps them semi-wild, but tends and harvests them like any other crop. The cultural and psychological bentness (edging on nihilism) which develops among these "moochers" is frightening and should serve as a warning to all who ask for a free lunch.


    Posted by KevinRollins at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)

    Ron Paul v. the Beltway Libertarians

    It figures that it would take a leftist publication like The Nation to cut through the crap, but the author of this story nails the issue when he talks about the lack of support for Ron Paul among the inside the Beltway so-called libertarian crowd. I have identified the problem in the past on this board and, while I don't agree with Ron Paul 100% of the time and I do think that Cato is a great organization with a lot of great people, the beltway libertarian groups are missing out if they don't support Ron Paul.

    More importantly, Brink Lindsey just comes off as a twit because libertarianism is a very difficult ideology to sell if you demand that potential converts "eat the whole cow" all at once. On the other hand, if you show a drug legalizer for example how taxes and foreign policy impact them, you have a chance of converting them over time.

    Posted by PaulGessing at 08:30 PM | Comments (3)

    December 05, 2007

    Bomb Iran, bomb, bomb, Iran

    One would think that US intelligence reports that Iran has not been working on nuclear weapons for several years now would be welcomed as great news and that the Bush Administration might cool the rhetoric and take some of the heat off....of course, that would be in a rational world, not Bush's. Of course, as Justin Raimondo points out, the neocons, many of whom are quite close to the Bush Administration and the Giuliani campaign oppose any effort to tone down the rhetoric.

    It would seem that no matter what Iran does, some will spin Iran's actions as a reason for sanctions and threats. The question for "mainstream libertarians" like Eric Dondero and other Iran hawks is whether the average American really would support war with Iran and exactly what such a move would achieve for their security.

    Posted by PaulGessing at 07:32 PM | Comments (2)

    The L Word

    Carl Milsted, responding to my previous blog, notes that the word "libertarian" is very much at the root of the Libertarian Party's internal battles. He suggest dropping it. I still call myself a "libertarian" as it is the only term close to my own position which others are likely to understand, e.g. facebook doesn't have a "free liberal" option. Alternatively, I like to tell people I'm a "Hayekian liberal."

    As F.A. Hayek said:

    In the United States, where it has become almost impossible to use "liberal" in the sense in which I have used it, the term "libertarian" has been used instead. It may be the answer; but for my part I find it singularly unattractive. For my taste it carries too much the flavor of a manufactured term and of a substitute. What I should want is a word which describes the party of life, the party that favors free growth and spontaneous evolution. But I have racked my brain unsuccessfully to find a descriptive term which commends itself.



    Posted by KevinRollins at 04:45 PM | Comments (2)

    Is the Libertarian Party worth the fight?

    Over at Third Party Watch, Steve Gordon anticipates the upcoming battle at the 2008 Libertarian Party convention. He argues it will happen in multiple dimensions with a mishmash of factions:

    But the showdown I’m talking about is the ongoing battle between the Reformers and the Radicals, the purists and the pragmatists, extremists and moderates, activists and hierarchists, those more interested in retail politics and those more interested in wholesale politics.

    **Full disclosure: I remain a member of the Libertarian Reform Caucus (I was one of the first to join) and I suppose I'm still technically a member of the LP, but I have given up party meetings because they were just too costly time-wise/stress-wise and didn't seem to to provide anywhere near the personal satisfaction that projects such as The Free Liberal delivered.**

    This contest is expected to express itself in the presidential nomination, the platform and bylaws debate, as well as the election of party officers. To the party's most hardcore, the control of the party's message and organization is a vital piece of real estate in the War for Liberty. Click your way through the big-L Libertarian blogosphere to witness the intensity which the debate attains. See this selection, "Teaching Pigs to Sing," from L. Neil Smith, who lambasts Libertarian Reform Caucus founder (and Free Liberal senior editor) Carl Milsted as a sell-out Keynesian:

    Milsted and his accomplices in destruction may not care about the future. "In the long run, we are all dead," as one of his intellectual ancestors put it. In my experience, short-range thinking of this nature is a consistent characteristic of those who label themselves "pragmatic".

    Later in the piece, he suggests that Milsted run into traffic (basically wishing death upon him -- which I think is sick.) Smith issues a threat, which I take as credible, that the attempts at reform would be met with sabotage at every step by those who feel the party should be radical.

    Start your own Whimpertarian Party instead of hijacking the one your betters built. See how far it gets you, competing with something real. Try holding onto the LP you've stolen and we'll embarrass you out, using nothing more than genuine libertarian ideas, positions and policies. Try explaining to the round-heeled media our insistence that a nine-year-old girl should be free to buy a machinegun, ammunition, and heroin at the general store without signing anything or presenting identification.

    Who wants to be the target of this kind of malice from other libertarians? Further, going to the Denver LP convention also means conducting the nastiness through a poorly designed set of bylaws -- debates devolve into discussions of minor points, while time runs out for the bigger questions. It is frustrating and unlikely to bridge the differences between the factions.

    Moreover, there's an ethical question for libertarians: What are you willing to do to people who are basically on the same side, in order to win? When I first joined the caucus, I began penning a piece which laid out an elaborate plan to take down the other side. I envisioned a real brass tacks ground operation: walkie-talkies, infiltration of the opposing side, procedural skullduggery, etc. As I wrote, I became more and more disillusioned with what amounted to fratricide via parliamentary procedure. It just isn't decent. It doesn't advance liberty. Our political values should arise from our personal values. When in conflict, the latter should win.

    What is the prize, anyways? The party's base has been dwindling for years and is now totally eclipsed by the success of the Ron Paul campaign. It occurs to me that the history of failure and burned out activists make the LP unlikely to undo its bad branding in the future. However, the combatants may not kill the party, whichever faction wins (or if none of them win). These sorts of climactic fights have happened before. In Justin Raimondo's biography of Murray Rothbard, the tale of the great walk-out at the 1983 convention is told. The cycle reminds me of the second Matrix movie where The Architect tells Neo that it is Neo's role to destroy Zion and take a small band of survivors to rebuild it elsewhere. But, as much as libertarians seem to overlap with sci-fi fans, this endless destruction and rebuilding seems unappealing as a strategy for liberty.


    Posted by KevinRollins at 12:52 PM | Comments (4)

    December 04, 2007

    Find out if you could be on Leno's "Jaywalking"

    By taking this test...

    The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has a nifty civics quiz (some economics too) here. (Hat tip: Jim Turbett)

    While some questions were very easy, others required head scratching and one-by-one elimination. I missed the one on "just war."

    My favorite:

    50) Free markets typically secure more economic prosperity than government’s centralized planning because:
    A. the price system utilizes more local knowledge of means and ends.
    B. markets rely upon coercion, whereas government relies upon voluntary compliance with the law.
    C. more tax revenue can be generated from free enterprise.
    D. property rights and contracts are best enforced by the market system.
    E. government planners are too cautious in spending taxpayers’ money.

    We could expect people who think government is the source of all wealth to pick answer C.

    I don't recall this kind of question ever coming up in high school civics class! I recommend all high school and college students read Hayek's Use of Knowledge in Society essay. Citizens can't understand economics if they don't understand the basics of price theory, afterall.

    Payoff from a GMU Economics education:

    You answered 59 out of 60 correctly — 98.33 % Average score for this quiz during December: 74.2% Average score since September 18, 2007: 74.2%

    I will definitely have to add this to my CV. ;-)


    Posted by KevinRollins at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

    December 02, 2007

    Why did libertarians support the war?

    This article provides about as good an explanation as I've seen for so-called libertarians who supported the Iraq War. While it is good that libertarianism has become "cool," (this is not a new phenomenon in my opinion), a lot of these recent converts don't really understand how limited government evolves and how war is antithetical to it.

    Posted by PaulGessing at 12:39 AM | Comments (2)

    Free-for-all (frfr-ôl) -- n. A disorderly fight, argument, or competition in which everyone present participates.