Saturday, May 5, 2012

Gary Johnson is the Libertarian Party's nominee for President of the United States !!

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson is the Libertarian Party's nominee for President of the United States !!

Once more, for the sake of Google searchers.    Who is the Libertarian candidate for President of the United States in 2012? 

Gary Johnson.  Former New Mexico Governor.  He was known as "Governor Veto". 

Delegates to the LP convention in Las Vegas made the final decision on May 5th. 

Here are some of Johnson's accomplishments, courtesy of his campaign website:

Left office with New Mexico as one of the only four states in the country with a balanced budget

Left New Mexico with a budget surplus

Used Line Item Veto thousands of times to trim the budget

Vetoed 750 bills during his time in office; more than all other governors combined

Cut over 1,200 government jobs without firing anyone

Created more than 20,000 new jobs  (This one is an embarrassment.  Johnson used to claim that he created zero jobs as governor.  Government isn't in charge of creating jobs, dammit.  Anyone in government claiming that he created jobs was either playing favorites, picking winners and losers, or creating make-work government programs.) 

First New Mexico Governor to challenge education status quo and propose statewide voucher program

Restored State General Fund reserves to more than $222 million from a low of $28.1 million

Limited annual state budget growth to 5.0% during eight years in office

Cut taxes 14 times while never raising them—a first for New Mexico

Vetoed 32% of the total number of bills submitted for his signature

Congratulations, Gary Johnson !  The United States voters now have a choice !!!

Hit the Gary Johnson label below to read more, and to read our interview with Gary when he was in town for the LP Presidential Debate. 

On the Democrat Party mindset

I went to a local Community College Thursday night to hear Hugh Chauvin participate in a candidate forum.  Hugh is running as a Libertarian for Congress in the Texas 6th District. 

Hugh did well, of course.  He's a Libertarian.  His Republican opponent, Joe Barton, was busy in D.C.  His Democrat party opponent wasn't able to stay for the entire forum and had to bail halfway through the event.

Then came the candidates for District 33. 


The Libertarians don't have a candidate running in this new, Gerrymandered district. 

The only Republican running is a pleasant enough chap, but he told the audience that the president he most admired was FDR.  (In the opinion of many, FDR got us through the Great Depression.  In the opinion of others, the best way to prolong a recession is to get the government involved in trying to end the recession.  See: Obama, B. or Carter, J. or Roosevelt, FD.) 

This was the first time for me to observe Democrat Party candidates in the wild, in their natural academic setting.  Their core beliefs, as stated Thursday night, are centered around the following key principles:

1) There is a war on women. 

2) If it weren't for the guiding hand of Dear Leader, the Teleprompter Jesus, none of us would survive. 

3) The best way to get money into the economy is for government to take it from the wealthy, take a cut off the top for themselves, then give some of the money to favored contributors and constituencies.  (There is a competing, less popular, Libertarian theory that says if the wealthy are allowed to keep more of their own money, they'll leave it in banks to earn something called "interest".  The only way the bank can pay this "interest" is to loan it to people who are working in the economy.  This method allows fewer opportunities for graft and cronyism, and therefore is unacceptable.) 

4) The Affordable Care Act will decrease the cost of healthcare, simply because that is the stated goal of the program. 

5) The best way to create jobs is through government programs. 

6) In a debate or forum setting, it's best not to mention government programs that are bankrupt, ineffective, or failures.  This limits the discussion to government programs that have not yet been implemented. 

7) Government seldom spends money.  Government invests. 

8) The solution to our energy woes is through sunshine and algae. 

In the late 1970's, I saw the original Alien movie on the big screen.  Ditto for Friday The 13th and Halloween.  None of those films were as scary as this political event. 

We don't have a Libertarian candidate in this race.  If I lived there, I'd probably go for Pastor Kyev Tatum (D).  I disagree with the guy on a lot of issues, but he had some good things to say about education. The only Republican seemed out of his depth, plus the last thing we need is Republicans who think that more government involvement is the best way to grow the economy. That's an ender.

Go here to visit Pastor Tatum's website.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Why we didn't open up a West Coast Warehouse in California

When my employer, Jukt Micronics, decided to open up a West Coast Warehouse, I was thinking somewhere near San Diego or Long Beach California. 

The owners wouldn't dream of it. 

You see, those places are regulatory hells.  Our west coast warehouse is in....Phoenix, Arizona.  A long, long way from the Pacific ocean. 

Here's something from Material Handling and Logistics Magazine on why logistics folks should avoid California.  (Sounds fascinating, I know.  Hey, it's my job !!!)  This editorial also covers why you should be politically involved, no matter what your profession. 

The silly season of a new presidential election year is upon us. Both parties will pump millions of dollars into campaign ads telling you why you shouldn’t hire the other guys. Next will come the debates where the candidates take on that task. The mix of half truths and total lies slung about will make reasonable people want to ignore politics altogether and focus on their own jobs.

You can do that IF your West Coast warehouse is in Phoenix. 

If your job is in logistics, ignoring politics right now would be a mistake. Amidst the potshots the warring factions are taking at each other, supply chain professionals across the country are likely to suffer some collateral damage from various regional battles over the environment. Two of those battles are taking place on opposite sides of the country.

On the West Coast, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California stopped the California Air Resources Board (CARB) from enforcing the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). But last week the Ninth Circuit Court granted CARB’s motion for a stay of the lower court’s injunction while it considers CARB’s appeal of the lower court’s decision.

That means CARB can resume enforcement of the LCFS standard, which CARB believes will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and thus “drive the investment and innovation that creates new jobs and provides the next generation of clean fuels to all Californians,” CARB stated.

Dammit, dammit, dammit, the point of "new jobs" is for people to be doing something productive, something that others will voluntarily pay money for.  Not bureaucratic make-work.   

The International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA) believes such enforcement will do the opposite. In a newly released statement, IWLA calls this decision “an attack on the jobs of blue-collar Californians.” It cited the findings of an independent economic study: The Impact of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Cap and Trade Programs on California Retail Diesel Prices, conducted by Stonebridge Associates for the California Trucking Association.

The study states that CARB will raise “California-only” diesel fuel wholesale prices by an additional $2.22 per gallon. This translates to a retail diesel price increase of 50 percent: $6.69 per gallon of diesel by 2020.

While this is a cost California companies would bear, there are supply chain implications affecting a broader population of logistics professionals. IWLA surmises that $7 a gallon diesel fuel could shut down the supply chains surrounding the ports of Oakland, Long Beach and Los Angeles and restart a statewide recession.

“While CARB designs a ‘one-state’ diesel-fuel emission policy that drives our members out of California, ports outside the state are more than happy and willing to take the business away,” said Joel Anderson, IWLA president and CEO. “In essence, CARB’s message to shippers in the Pacific Rim is to bypass California ports and change course to Seattle and Canada—or plan to use the Panama Canal when it widens in 2014.”

Or have everything unloaded in Phoenix, just to piss 'em off. 

And that takes us to the other side of the country, where a recent legal challenge to port expansion may prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) from dredging the Savannah River, which, in turn, would preclude the Port of Savannah from being able to accommodate the entry of Post-Panamax containerships that the Panama Canal expansion would allow.

According to Enan Stillman, an attorney with the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough who specializes in logistics matters, the outcome of this case could spur similar legal challenges in federal and state courts across the East and West Coast port corridors that may delay or prevent federal and state agencies from dredging and deepening river channels.

So you, dear logistics professional, whether you like it or not, are smack dab in the middle of politics. That means decisions politicians and lawmakers hash out in the next few months will have a direct impact on your job. As tempting as the prospect of burying your head in the sand is right now, what these factions are doing above ground could determine if your business gets buried too. Exhume your head and let your representatives know what you think.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

On Privatized Prisons

One of the few legitimate uses of government power is for initiating the use of force. 
The government is supposed to have a monopoly on police, military action, courts and prisons. 

So, of course, that's what the government has been trying to outsource. 

(They want to educate our kids, control our lightbulb purchases, correct our diets, takeover the medical field, subsidize their campaign contributors, dominate insurance, regulate oil drilling, protect manufacturers from overseas competitors, prohibit recreational drug use, prevent me from purchasing some awesome fireworks, monopolize college education, prevent gays from marrying, hamstring the auto industry, inflate the money supply, rape the economy, run up our debts, and shoehorn their way into hundreds of thousands of other situations where they are totally incompetent.) 

But prisons?  One of the few things that really is their job?  That's what they're willing outsource. 

One of my employees has been recommending a blog called Grits For Breakfast.  Mr. Grits specializes in the failures of our justice system, and Lord Have Mercy, outsourced prisons have been one of failures.  There really are good reasons why the government should have a monopoly on initiating force. 

Here's Mr. Grits on an outfit called GEO, which runs some prisons in Mississippi:

In Mississippi, "the state's corrections commissioner on Friday said that [the GEO Group] would no longer operate three [private prison] facilities in the state, which held 4,000 inmates," NPR reported recently. Regrettably, Mississippi is seeking another contractor instead of taking their management in-house or downsizing youth facilities, as Texas has done.

Now to be clear, a state that, in the 21st century, voted 2-1 to keep the Confederate battle logo as part of its state flag (you don't really see it flying much in any of the come-to-Mississippi tourism commercials, do you?) doesn't really care what us Texans, DOJ, or anybody else thinks about them. They ousted Geo out of their own self interest, so as another of GEO's customers, Texas should naturally consider why.

The decision comes in the wake of legal setbacks for the company in federal court involving abuse allegations at a juvenile facility, though GEO insisted their departure is unrelated and adamantly denied the charges. Even so, "the judge's [March settlement] order ... said an investigation by the plaintiff's counsel 'uncovered pervasive violations of state and federal civil and criminal law and a wholesale lack of accountability by prison officials. For example, staff of the [facility] and those responsible for overseeing and supervising the youth engaged in sexual relationships with the youth; they exploited them by selling drugs in the facility; and the youth, 'handcuffed and defenseless[,] have been kicked, punched, and beaten all over their bodies.''"

To make matters worse,"Staff at the center failed consistently to report and investigate claims about excessive use of force, even though they witnessed many of the acts, the judge wrote. 'Given that the facility employs correctional staffers affiliated with gangs, no more can be expected.'" Finally, "The judge also noted a Justice Department report, which confirmed many of the allegations and said the state of Mississippi was 'deliberately indifferent' to the constitutional rights of the young inmates."

Whatever proximate cause anyone wants to attribute it to, when federal judges start saying things  like that about your government contract, it's understandable one might decide it's time to pack up and leave town!

Texas has closed many of its juvenile facilities and may soon end up closing the rest of them, shifting juvenile supervision wholly to the counties and more aggressive community-based programming. It's too bad Mississippi looks like it will continue  contracting management of these facilities instead of taking the opportuntiy to pull them in-house or, better, downsize. I'm not sure  just finding another profit-driven management contractor will solve the problems the judge chastised them over.

Related posts: From Texas Prison Bidness, "GEO Group subject of lawsuit in prison death at Central Texas detention center." Also, "GEO guard indicted for contraband at Val Verde Correctional Center."

The cartoon of a contractor whispering in the Mississippi governor's ear came from here.  The cartoon of the Statue Of Non-Liberty came from here.   The chart showing the prison population increasing, partly because of lobbying on the part of the prison industry, came from here.  The cartoon of the vicious cycle came from here. 

Adrian Murray on losing our souls

I've recently had three frustrating conversations lately with three different friends about our overseas military adventures.  One friend is a Republican, one is a Democrat, and the other, as best I can tell, is indifferent. 

When the subject comes up, I try to point out that if the Chinese had military checkpoints between our homes and our jobs, we'd resent them.  Just a little bit.  Then I question how much we should continue to pay to defend South Korea, Japan, and Germany.  A few times I've offered to take donations for defending Germany's borders.  Nobody contributes.  Regular readers of this blog already are sick of me beating these dead horses with the same old sticks. 

There's also the old standby...."We've got 6% of the world's population, but we're responsible for 45% of the world's military spending."  My friends don't think this is odd or unnecessary, despite Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Japan and Germany having relatively small military forces and they seem to do just fine.  In fact, since they don't have to supply funding to an obscenely expensive army and Hillary Clinton's air miles, some of their manufacturers are doing great. 

These discussions with these three unrelated friends came down to one final point....But this is my job !! My job at Lockheed/Bell Helicopter/Carswell Air Force Base/Owen Oil Tools depends on a huge military.  Think of what it would do the economy if we were to reduce our military.  One of them even said "Whited, you realize this stuff you're doing in politics isn't a game, right?  There are hundreds of thousands of jobs at stake." 

Does it really come down to that?  Are we going to keep blowing up children just to ensure that unemployment doesn't go above 9% ???

My friend Adrian Murray is one of the bad guys that the Lamestream Media often warns us about.  Adrian has been associated with the Tea Party and Glenn Beck's 9-12 group.  He's also an evil capitalist of the worst sort, providing wiring harnesses for cars and trucks, and creating jobs for immigrants, all in exchange for a profit.  Adrian has apparently been thinking a lot about this topic.  Here's something he threw down on Facebook a few days ago: 

 Immediately following the attacks of September 11, 2001, pundits and others in the media said it was a day which would change America forever. We had lost our innocence, they told us. We had lost our sense of security. We had lost our trust of our fellow man.

But no one told us we would lose our soul.

For a brief moment after 9/11, Americans of all shapes and sizes, colors and ages and creeds, came together as one. For that brief moment, forever now lost in the narrow corridors of memory, we were kind to one another. The America that we always sensed, always believed in, was there for that brief shining moment. It is gone now. Gone forever, perhaps.

What happened to us that we find ourselves where we are today, tearing ourselves apart in fits of anger and fear and boiling rage? We are a nation being pulled asunder, a nation on the precipice of losing not just our country, but our entire identity as well. We had better understand what is happening to us if we are ever to find ourselves again.

We all have differing memories, different experiences and not all of us came to the same place by the same route at the same time. For me, the unease began in June 2002, when President Bush delivered a speech to the graduating class at West Point:

“Yet the war on terror will not be won on the defensive. We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge. In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act……And our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives.”

We had just completed (or so we thought) a successful military campaign in Afghanistan where we had routed the Taliban and established a seventh century version of a Democratic government in a country permanently locked in the middle ages. We still bore the wounds of 9/11 and while we vowed never to forget, we were beginning to heal.

I remember the unease I felt when I heard those words above. Preemptive action? Were we about to attack somebody? Someday someone may astutely observe that that was the moment America began her slow slide into chaos.

Wars are alternately galvanizing and divisive events. One, of course, wants the home team to do well, to fight with honor and to come home safely. To do that, other people must die, many of them innocents. Many, sadly, are children. But they’re not our children so our grief is not long lasting. We move on to other things - celebrity weddings and all of that.

It became popular during the Iraq war to show one’s support for the troops with yellow ribbon stickers on trunk lids and rear windows. It was, we felt, fitting to show our support for the soldiers while not tacitly endorsing what was being done in our name and on our behalf.

No one at the time believed we would be supporting those troops in Iraq for nearly a decade. The Pentagon went in thinking they’d be out in six months. As 2003 turned into 2004 and 2005 turned into 2006 and the brutality and horror of what was happening in Iraq was too shocking for most Americans to behold. Major news networks, in order to protect American sensibilities, shielded us from the true nature of the carnage, showing just enough to provide a hint that there indeed was carnage, but never going so far as to actually show the beatings, the tortures, the slaughter of children and women, the destruction of homes and property, the random, senseless killing. We knew it was there, we all did, yet many turned away or changed the channel. America is a shining light in the world and we can do no wrong.

The slaughters then in Iraq and Afghanistan and now in Pakistan and Yemen, are remote to us. They come to u in thirty second bites on the evening news or as crawls at the bottom of the screen. We talk about bombings and air strikes and killing as casually as we discuss the weather, as if what is being done in our name is of no consequence to us, as if other life has no meaning. We weep for the baby in a well but close our eyes to the babies in hell.

I watched a video the other day, one that in one moment I wish I hadn’t watched and then in another I am glad I did. It was raw footage, purportedly from Libya , but I have no way of knowing, of bombs dropping near villages, bombs with huge fire and mushroom clouds hundreds of feet in the air, footage of screaming, terrified children in the streets, running in search of shelter or loving arms, footage of living children with their jaws blown off, shrapnel wounds the size of grapefruit in the back or limbs, dead children by the roadside, blown apart and I thought to myself, my dear God, what have we become?

My God, what if they were our children?

I don’t mean to be harsh towards those I do not know and they are many, I am sure, who came to this revelation long ago. But, America, out of our horror and our sadness and our anger from the events of 9/11, we have become a cold and a brutal people, content to inflict misery on others in order to prevent it from being inflicted upon us. We are like the citizens in the Capitol of Panem , cheering on children killing each other in order to be spared some personal discomfort. That may be fine for now and it may buy us some time and some leisure, but one day we are going to have to answer for all this, in this world or in the next.

Have we lost our soul?

Today it was reported by the Washington Post that President Obama has authorized the CIA and the military to expand the drone bombing campaign in Yemen. There was a time I would have read that and not given it a second thought. So what? I would have thought. Doesn’t impact me. Kill the bastards.

But then I thought of who we were and what we have become. The article in the Post contains this statement: “The expanded authority will allow the CIA and JSOC to fire on targets based solely on their intelligence ‘signatures’ — patterns of behavior that are detected through signals intercepts, human sources and aerial surveillance, and that indicate the presence of an important operative or a plot against U.S. interests. Until now, the administration had allowed strikes only against known terrorist leaders who appear on secret CIA and JSOC target lists and whose location can be confirmed.”

So now, just because we can, we kill people without discrimination or identification based on patterns of behavior. Just who authorized this in Yemeni government, or is the only sovereignty we respect our own?

The image of young military personnel lined up at computer screens deep in a mountain side in Colorado, joystick in hand, dropping bombs on people they don’t even know and can’t really even see thousands of miles away on the other side of the world based on “patterns of behavior” is not my image of America. It is not what I conjure up when I think of the home of the brave. It is most definitely not what John Winthrop envisioned when he told his fellow settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.”

The eyes of all people are indeed upon us, but they no longer see that shining beacon of light and liberty. They see a nation fearful of liberty. They see a nation seeking the security of bondage. They see a nation that has lost its soul.

For our own sake and for the sake of our children and for the sake of children halfway around the world living in ramshackle villages sewers flowing in the streets, we must regain our sense of who we are or at least of who we were before we became who we are. We need to rediscover ourselves - and quickly. The time is running out. The choices before us are stark. We can either continue closing our eyes to the horrors around us, continue sinning the sins of the weak and the fearful, or we can shed the shackles of fear and restore America to her ideals.

There’s only one man left running for President who understands that. It took me much longer to come to that conclusion that it should have. If you’re on the edge, get off it. It’s an exhilarating discovery to realize Ron Paul has been there all along. Take the plunge.

It’s for America’s soul. 
Great essay, there, Mr. Murray. 
And just in case Ron Paul drops out of the race or doesn't get anywhere at the Republican convention, there's going to be a Libertarian candidate on the ballot who believes in the exact...same...things. 
Go Gary Johnson !  Or Lee Wrights !  Or anybody but one of the Obamneys !!! 

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Great Leap Forward

During my China travels (5 different trips of 4-5 weeks each) I had the honor of meeting people who survived Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution and The Great Leap Forward.  I have an intense admiration for those good folks.  They don't like to talk about their experience.  It was horrible.   

For reasons that I'll never, ever understand, the Socialists/Communists get a free pass on their murders of around 100 million people.  Perhaps it is because The Sheeple see their intentions as so pure and noble.  They were compassionate, right?  Spreading equality?  Reducing income gaps?  Eliminating the boom and bust of the business cycle?   

It makes me freakin' sick. 

Here's some info (and horrific propaganda art) about The Great Leap Forward.  This if from the History, Wars, and Weapons site:

The Great Leap Forward was a state-directed economic policy applied in China by Mao Tse-tung between 1958 and 1963. The purpose of this communist plan was to deeply transform the country’s traditional economic and social structure from an agrarian economy into a modern communist society through the process of agriculturalization, industrialization, and collectivization. The Great Leap Forward had no regard for individual interprises no matter how small they were as the Marxist state directed every aspect of the economy and society.

I have a freind in China who once said the words "Mao Tse-Tung " with the worst bitterness I've ever seen exhibited by a human.  (My friend's parents were undesirables who were sent to the countryside to be "re-educated" during this Commie bastard's reign of terror.) 

Based on the Theory of Productive Forces, which were a widely-used concept in communism, the Great Leap Forward was personally led by Mao Tse-tung, who intensified it after being informed of the impending disaster from grain shortages. The period during which the Great Leap Forward economic and social plan was conducted was a period of economic regress or stagnation. The growth of national income for the entire 1958-63 period was less than half of the 1966-78 period, and it took almost twice the level of investment to produce a given increase in output in the former period as in the latter. In short, the Great Leap was a very expensive disaster which cause the greatest famine of the 20th century.

I repeat what this dude just said....  The Great Leap Foward caused the greatest famine of the 20th century. 

Communist China’s firs attempt of economic and technological development was initiated with about 150 development projects planned, financed and staffed by the Soviet Union ruled by Stalin. Nevertheless, political and ideological differences between Nikita Khrushchev (the new Soviet premier) and Mao Tse-tung led to what is known as the Sino-Soviet Split. As a result, approximately 15,000 Soviet engineers and staff that had been working on several development projects in the People’s Republic of China were withdrawn and the blueprints for future projects destroyed. China did not have the technological and financial resources to complete these projects on its own and Mao Tse-tung was made conscious of how vulnerable China was in depending upon outside aid, even from communist regimes.

 Mao decided to undertake the technological development and industrialization of China on its own. Mao Tse-tung knew that the first attempt to create a socialist economy was brought to a halt in the Soviet Union in 1921 when peasants had reacted to confiscation of their grain harvest by declining to plant and produce as much grain.

You mean, increased taxation lowers output?  Incentives matter? 

Mao also had to bear in mind that when Stalin began his five-year plans he collectivized agriculture in order to have control over what was planted and produced. Mao should have also been aware, although perhaps he was not, that the collectivization program in the Soviet Union was a great failure in terms of production and that a severe famine occured in the Ukraine afterwards.

In order to carry out his Great Leap Forward, peasants were organized into cooperatives of 20 to 40 families at the village level. Next the cooperatives were replaced by county-wide collectives involving hundreds of thousands of people. In addition to calling for the creation of communes, Mao Tse-tung urged the peasants to build backyard blast furnaces to make iron and steel for tools. The unskilled peasants were supposed to melt down scrap metal to make useful items such as tools and utensils.

In practice the program worked backwards since peasants melted down useful items to produce unusable masses of metal. This was the result an authoritarian State that constantly demanded and ordered the peasants to increase production from the backyard blast furnaces and when they ran out of scrap they started melting down anything they could find, including the useless tools and utensils they had already made. Some of this destruction of useful objects to increase the production from the backyard blastfurnaces might be attributed to enthusiasm but probably more of it was due to there being quotas of production from the furnaces that had to be met.

The direct consequence of the backyard blastfurnaces and other nonagricultural projects of the Great Leap Forward was that they took labor away from food production and led to a shortage of food. China had always been on the edge of subsistence and any decrease in food production meant starvation. To make matters worse the centralized control resulted in no one with the authority to change things being informed of the decline in food production. The commune leaders were under pressure to exceed past production and when production declined they did report it. They, in fact, reported what the higher authorities wanted to hear. This caused the food shortage to continue beyond the point where no one could do anything about them. The central government made things even worse for the peasants by taking a share based upon the falsified production figures and thus leaving the peasants too little to survive on.

Aside from the steep decrease in food production due to the diversion of effort away from agriculture, there was losses in food production because of the erroneous policies carried out by the State. One of these idiocies was close planting. If two plants are set too close to each other there is not enough nutrients in the soil to feed both and both die. The State promoted close planting of grain to increase productivity.

The direct result of communist China's Great Leap Forward was a leap into starvation and death. Famine struck everywhere in China and was particularly more severe in some areas. The people in these areas were forbidden to leave their area and so were doomed to starvation. Approximately 30 million people died in this communism-induced famine, which was caused by the shortfall in food production but as a result of bad policies and centralization of power in the central government.

It was made worse by the refusal to admit the problem. During the time peasants were starving in the country side the government was shipping to grain to the Soviet Union to repay loans. Some grain also rotted in warehouses in the cities where it was taken from the communes.

That's The Great Leap Forward in a nutshell.  Easily the worst thing to ever happen to a nation. 

Here's Obama's new campaign slogan.  I think it's time to retire the Irony Trophy,especially since a sizable percentage of the country already thinks that Obama is a closet Marxist.  Good lord in heaven, what a horrible, tone-deaf idea. 

Seriously.  Somebody should have caught this one.  If you've read this blog more than once, you know that I have zero love for Barack Obama, but this is a freakin' embarrassment. 

Hell, was "The Final Solution" already taken???? 

On Objective Journalism

“So much for Objective Journalism. Don't bother to look for it here--not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.” - Hunter S. Thompson

Go here for additional proof.  It's pretty funny. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Liberty Speaker Series - FRIENDS OF JUSTICE, DFW/NORML and LEAP !!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012, 7:00 PM

Hampton Inn and Suites, 2700 Green Oaks Road (Interstate 30 and Green Oaks Road), Fort Worth, TX

This is going to be incredible.  An eye-opener. 

The Tarrant County Libertarian Party is kicking off its Liberty Speaker Series with a discussion of The New Jim Crow Laws - speakers will include Dr. Alan Bean of Friends Of Justice, Shaun McAlister of DFW NORML, and Larry S. Talley of LEAP.

As the United States celebrates its “triumph over race” with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of black men in major urban areas are under correctional control or saddled with criminal records for life. Jim Crow laws were wiped off the books decades ago, but today an extraordinary percentage of the African American community is warehoused in prisons or trapped in a parallel social universe, denied basic civil and human rights— including the right to vote, the right to serve on juries, and the right to be free of legal discrimination in employment, housing, access to education and public benefits.

Today, it is no longer socially permissible to use race explicitly as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal scholar Michelle Alexander has demonstrated, it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways in which it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once labeled a felon, even for a minor drug crime, the old forms of discrimination are suddenly legal again. In her words, “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”

Dr. Alan Bean is the Executive Director of Friends of Justice, a criminal justice reform organization that specializes in narrative intervention. Dr. Bean was serving a Methodist church as an interim pastor when 46 people were arrested in Tulia, Texas on the uncorroborated word of a corrupt undercover officer. Dr. Bean’s articulate public protest transformed him into an advocate for criminal justice reform. In 2006, Dr. Bean’s work led to the exoneration of a Louisiana family convicted of running a crack cocaine ring on the perjured testimony of convicted drug dealers. Dr. Bean researched the story of six juvenile defendants in Jena LA, bringing public scrutiny to Jena and creating the biggest civil rights protest since the March on Washington. He is now working on a murder case in Mississippi that has gone to trial six times.

Shaun McAlister is the Executive Director of DFW NORML (National Organization For Reform Of Marijuana Laws). He is a graduate of the Art Institute of Dallas, and has worked in web design since 2004. Now employed by a full-service marketing firm, doing video and web design work, he enjoys applying that marketing skill set to his volunteer work with NORML. Mr. McAlister notes that his most difficult but satisfactory achievement has been to persuade businesses and corporations to openly support NORML and its mission.

Larry S. Talley is a member of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), a group of current and former members of law enforcement who believe the existing drug policies have failed in their intended goals of addressing the problems of crime, drug abuse, addiction, juvenile drug use, stopping the flow of illegal drugs into this country and the internal sale and use of illegal drugs. Mr. Talley served in the United States Navy from 1987-2007 as an intelligence specialist and was stationed at Naval Special Warfare Unit Eight in the Republic of Panama from 1991-1996. While stationed in Panama, he deployed frequently to various locations in Central and South America in support of counterdrug operations, where he formulated and implemented eradication strategy in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Agency and with many countries in the region. As a result of these experiences, Mr. Talley joined Law Enforcement Against Prohibition shortly after leaving military service.

Dr. Bean, our keynote speaker, will open our event with a description of the infamous Tulia, Texas drug raid, his role in the aftermath, and the formation of Friends Of Justice. Shaun and Larry will then speak about their organizations, their goals, and how individuals can make a difference. Allen Patterson, Tarrant County Libertarian Party Chair, will moderate a brief panel discussion, followed by questions from you.

If you've ever wondered why the U.S. has spent more than one trillion dollars on the Drug War, with nothing to show but increased drug use, then you don't want to miss this event.

If you think it's strange that we have only 6% of the world's population and 25% of its prisoners, you need to come listen to Dr. Alan Bean.

If you are distubed to know that more African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began, and you want to do something about it, this is the event for you.

Thursday night, May 17th, 7:00, Hampton Inn, Interstate-30 and Green Oaks.

I thought about cropping out the tag line on this poster, the blurb about "It is your chance - Vote the Straight Democratic Ticket".  Decided not to.  It doesn't matter who is in charge, Democrats or Republicans, the War On Drugs continues to kill more people than drugs.