Justice

10/15/2010 Leave a comment

“Justice postponed is justice denied.” -William E. Gladstone

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Categories: General

The Next Minnesota Governor

10/15/2010 4 comments

I must say, I am not excited about our choices for governor here in Minnesota. I have spent the past few months viewing and reviewing candidate web sites in attempts to find an eligible candidate worth a vote. It has been interesting, if not boring. Instead of writing an article that would simply aggregate debate material (being that Minnesota Public Radio has already done that for us), I decided to write why I’m voting for Tom Horner.

I should mention now that I considered a write-in for none of the above (NOTA), but concluded that Mr. Horner is the only candidate present that could move the state at least a few steps toward constitutional freedom; more than all other candidates combined. I could not ignore that statement, even if I do not agree with Mr. Horner on other issues. I should also state that Mr. Horner has a shot at winning the election. I would never vote for a candidate just because he is not the other, or in this case others. I know that my conclusion will not fit everyone, but thought I should give account here for anyone still on the fence.

Mark Dayton is wrong.

  1. He views the income tax as the government’s personal slush fund. He has talked about raising income taxes and increasing teacher pay. This tells me two things:  income taxes will increase across the board and Mr. Dayton would be giving the teacher’s union de facto control of income tax levels by extension.
  2. He would play host to government-run health care.
  3. He would vote amnesty for illegal immigrants.
  4. Mr. Dayton is wrong for Minnesota for more reasons than these three.

Tom Emmer is wrong.

  1. Most of my GOP friends have stated that Emmer is a picayune candidate. He simply appears uninterested in creating real world solutions. I have to agree. He is a party parrot.
  2. He would vote to abuse our U.S. Constitution by advancing a ban on same-sex marriage. I hold that no form of government should have the authority to define, license or restrict an individual’s personal relationships. Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no effect on the rights of individuals.
  3. He would fight to remove the rights of women to have an abortion. As sad and horrible as abortion is, when all the political smoke clears, it still remains a woman’s reproductive decision. No system of government should be allowed abilities to pass legislation that would instruct its citizens how to manage and operate their own bodies.
  4. Mr. Emmer is wrong for Minnesota.

Tom Horner is wrong.

  1. He would continue to support the public funding for abortions. I don’t want to pay for abortions and don’t think you should either.
  2. He has discussed using public funds to build a state-run racino. This is not an answer to our deficit. It’s a penalty tax for gambling.
  3. Coupled with his plan to ensure $25 million to combat homelessness, the racino could serve to further the welfare-state.
  4. Furthermore, it is my opinion that an increase in the public jobs created by the racino is not an answer to job loss in the private sector.

However, I read that apparently there were already enough votes to approve a state-run gambling facility in the last legislative session. Any one of the major candidates elected have stated they would either approve, or seriously consider approving such a bill if it were presented to them. Regardless my opposition, the racino is a moot point this election. Mr. Horner also stated that he would like to find ways to reduce the number of abortions occurring in the state, which puts him on even ground in my opinion. Therefore, Horner is right…for now.

Tom Horner is better set to work with all political frequencies to stop government spending. He is decisive on rewarding preventative care and good health habits. He supports gay rights. He believes in paying teachers on a competitive level with the private sector. He wants to lift the moratorium on building new nuclear power plants, while streamlining environmental oversight to make it quicker, more predictable and more consistent. He may not wholly represent me in all areas, but I think he is worth my vote.

I ask you to educate yourself on every vote. Do not vote because of party. Do not vote for a name. Do not vote for your friends or family. Read what you can about every candidate in your local area. Find information about every state candidate that represents you. Do your part in creating a better America, and you will be rewarded in kind.

Thanks for reading,

-RJP

First Congressional District Debate – 10/13/10

10/14/2010 Leave a comment

NOTE:  If you would rather watch this debate than read about it here, it will be aired on KAAL, the ABC affiliate in Rochester, Minnesota, on Sunday, October 17 at noon.

There have been multiple debates over the past several months among the District 1 Representative Candidates, but this was the first I was able to attend in person. There were oration winners, issue losers, and a crowd of supporters behind each. There were ten questions total, each candidate given respective time to answer, and then 90 seconds for rebuttal. The candidates, and a few highlights are given below in alphabetical order.

Randy Demmer (R):  Minnesota Rep. Demmer spent more time picking a fight with U.S. Rep. Walz than discussing valid answers to issues. When Demmer did manage to answer a question, it was always conditional and seemed a simple, glossy sound bite with no reasonable force behind it. In short, they fell flat. I do not think this reflects the whole of the man, but if I were to judge Demmer on his web site and that debate alone, he would hardly get a vote.

  • Social Security:  Demmer’s points all pointed toward a privatization of Social Security, but when pressed by Walz for a response on Demmer’s plans for SS privatization, Demmer said he would do whatever is best.
  • Education:  Should be localized. Should focus on early childhood education. “Our schools need stability” and not simple reformatting or killing, restructuring and then the re-institution of No Child Left Behind.
  • Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – The repeal or further enforcement of DADT would depend upon a military study, heretofore unknown.
  • Cap and Trade:  Against.
  • Closing:  It’s not about us. It’s about vision and representation.

Lars Johnson (No Party Affiliation):  Mr. Johnson began and ended with the same idea, if it’s not a federal issue, the government should return that power back to the state. He was the only candidate who mentioned the Constitution and provided the ideas to match. He was the only candidate that followed wholesale forum requests by the moderator. He also used the phrase “gee whiz;” not once, but twice. Overall, the soft-spoken Johnson could have been more bullish in making his point on issues, but perhaps it just seemed that way due to the level of Walz-Demmer brouhaha.

  • Jobs:  Individuals need less obstacles in their way so they can create jobs. The government does not know what a company should be doing to be successful in their respective market, nor do they know the wages they should be paying.
  • Iraq/Afghan Wars:  End them now and bring the troops home.
  • Education:  “What is more important, public education or an educated public?” This is not a federal issue. The money that’s being funneled into the Federal Department of Education could be better used if it stayed within Minnesota’s borders.
  • Job as Representative:  “I do not answer to a party. I do not answer to the President. I answer to the people of the first district.”
  • Every decision made as a representative would be first held to the standard, “is this a federal [Constitutional] issue?” Everything not within that realm, Johnson says, should be given back to the states.

Tim Walz (DFL):  Rep. Walz won the oration award hands down. He was polished, his timing was impeccable, and he was ever-ready with a rebuttal when handling Demmer’s assault; he never hesitated. While his oration skill was impressive and he sounded well-intentioned, Walz’s answers always seemed to spell out more government control and higher taxes. He agreed with Candidate Wilson too often, and at one point jokingly offered him a job. Still, he stole the show overall. I’m sure that will win him some votes.

  • Social Security:  This is a safety net that requires no change, but can be repaired as needed. Congress must act to save this program.
  • Health Care:  We should pay up front when care is cheapest, rather than on an as-needed basis, when it’s most expensive.
  • Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:  Yes, it should be repealed.
  • Supports Cap and Trade.
  • Closing Statement:  Work to export things – not jobs.

Steven Wilson (Independence Party):  Mr. Wilson was not short on facts, not lacking in answers, and mentioned often how he is a nice guy. He had his web site PDFs at the ready for anyone who had questions about his positions. He was quick to jump in the fray amongst Walz and Demmer to offer his view, though his hand holding with Walz on most issues only further muddled his Independence from the DFL. Perhaps he should take Walz’s job offer. Did I mention he’s a nice guy?

  • When ranking the importance of what he would tackle day one, given these three choices, he chose the following order:  deficit, jobs, and Social Security.
  • Education:  Create an endowment fund for public schools that would create “a third option” for needed monies.
  • Against Cap and Trade.
  • Called Social Security a self-funded system.
  • Against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
  • Closing Statement:  I’m a nice guy.

I knew going to this debate would solidify my vote. I decided years ago that my representation in Washington D.C. should be one that answers the needs of my district, and not party politics, special interests, nor career politicians. There is little doubt that Lars Johnson will get my vote on November 2, and I think you should give him an honest review before you wholly decide. I would highly encourage everyone to watch the broadcast of the debate on Sunday, review the candidates websites, and educate yourself on the issues before you vote.

Thanks for reading,

-RJP

Should We End World Hunger?

10/11/2010 4 comments

Americans are overwhelmed with the “natural” and “organic” food lifestyle. It’s been a double digit growth area since the National Organic Program began keeping count in 2002. While there are no regulations on usage of the term “natural” outside of meat and poultry, reading all the qualifications regarding what can be considered, marketed and sold as “organic” might cause temporary blindness. Most Americans have become so obsessed about what we eat, how it’s produced, where it is produced, and where it is sold, that they battle and berate anyone who disagrees with their methodology and warn against a continuance of such a blasé approach to what has become food culture. The rest of us either care less and purchase by cost, keep a lid on our food purchasing stratagem, or a combination of the two. I won’t mention that Walmart seems to play a key factor regardless of which group you belong.

Regardless the foodie phenom in the United States, there are still multiple individuals who go to bed hungry once a week if not every single day. I have heard that there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, however, if this were true, I’m not sure where that food is stored nor how it is ultimately used. Key causes of hunger are “natural disasters, conflict, poverty, poor agricultural infrastructure, and over-exploitation of the environment” according to the World Food Programme, which is managed by the United Nations; if the “e” on Programme didn’t give it away already.

If we truly do not have enough food to feed the world, where does that leave us? Are we simply not producing enough food? Do we lack the agricultural infrastructure in America to tackle national hunger? What about the use of GMOs?

I was listening to NPR on Saturday and they had a segment about genetically modified organisms, GMO. The host was interviewing several people on both sides of the discussion about using GMO in the global market; specifically related to ending world hunger. One individual stated that it is our duty as human beings to end world hunger and saw GMO as the perfect solution. The dissenting individual relatively stated that GMOs are unnatural and provide volatile results that cannot be trusted.

My question to you boffins is the following:  if a genetically modified food stuff can be effectively reproduced, should we mass produce these GMOs to end world hunger? I will reserve my answer for the comments.

Thanks for reading,

Categories: Consider This

Suggested Reading

10/01/2010 Leave a comment

Reading not only expands the vocabulary and increases knowledge, it could possibly save sanity. This prompts me to proffer a few items you might consider reading today:

Within Reach? – Which hand do you use to reach for objects? What is your motivation? (LiveScience)

The Milgram Experiment – Are we truly sheeple? This test may change your mind. (Mises)

Enjoy the day,

Categories: Suggested Reading

A Vote for the “Lesser”

09/29/2010 Leave a comment

The midterm elections are at hand. In less than 40 days, we will be voting again. My how time does fly.

I’ve been reading a bit about our candidates here in Minnesota and must say, I’m not impressed. There is a state auditor and perhaps even a representative in my area worth voting into office. The rest seem to be the same prosaic politicians belching ballyhoo to boondoggle the body. Man, I love a good thesaurus.

I hope to find electable candidates in my research to cover all offices, but the pickings are slim to none. It may require toning down my liberty-minded ideals a jot just to vote in a few, while still being able to look people in the eye after the elected inevitably let me down, but I will not vote on a “lesser of two evils” purpose just in order to cast a vote. There I draw the line.

Daryl Luna, writing for The Humble Libertarian, said it best this week.

Too often we are told to choose the lesser of two evils and support one of the major party candidates even if neither represent the values we desire in a candidate, but this urging is misguided and down right foolish. All we do when supporting the “lesser of two evils” is reward political parties for running “evil” candidates, create a continued cycle of “evil” candidates in each election, and place “evil” people in office.

The lie that one party is better than the other is revealed every time a poor candidate is rewarded with victory; they govern in a way not unlike their opponents and we wonder why things never change. It is philosophy, not party, that truly distinguishes candidates.

If we truly seek to advance liberty we must stop blindly supporting major party candidates if they are not worthy of our support. While we will never find someone we agree with 100% of the time, we must be careful not to quickly compromise our principles. Much of the poor situation we find ourselves in can be linked back to similar compromises in past elections.

Whether it be in primaries or general elections… if no one is worthy of our support, let’s withhold it.

Post Commentary

This election year, if no electable candidate is present, I will be writing in “NOTA” or “NONE OF THE ABOVE.” If your ballot allows for a write-in or if you can request such a ballot, join me in drawing that line. Here we stand on our values and principles. We will go no further to accommodate any level of evil.

Thanks for reading,

Categories: Consider This

Suggested Reading

09/23/2010 Leave a comment

We just don’t read enough. Reading not only expands the vocabulary and increases knowledge, it could possibly save sanity. This drives me to offer a few items you should consider reading this week:

These links are provided for your contemplation, not conversion. I pour over multiple sites through my RSS aggregate and select the few articles that are worth the time it takes to read them. So let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading,

Categories: General, Suggested Reading
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