Freedom Updates: October 11, 2002

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

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Freedom Updates: October 11, 2002

All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.


New Cure for Droughts
"Marijuana is a very drought-tolerant plant. It's a weed, and they grow anywhere." That's what DEA agent Bill Weinman told Deborah Frazier for her October 7 article for the Rocky Mountain News, "Drought has little effect on pot crops: Plants prove hearty, surpassing yields of state's other crops."

Obviously, then, marijuana would be an excellent substitute for other crops during years of drought. Marijuana can be cultivated for hemp, which makes excellent cloth, paper, and other products. (Industrial hemp, which is also illegal, does not even contain THC.) The "buds" of the plant could also be big money maker.

At one point, I heard marijuana was Colorado's #1 cash crop. I do not know if that statistic was true or if it remains true. Regardless, it's obvious Colorado farmers could profit from growing marijuana legally. Marijuana is easy on the soil, and it could help alleviate water shortages when snowpack is light.


Libertarians Invite Muslims
The Libertarian Party of El Paso County issued the following press release October 7:

In the aftermath of September 11, an intolerant arsonist threatened to torch the lone mosque in Colorado Springs, home of the Islamic Society of Colorado Springs. Members of the Libertarian Party of El Paso County, the Pikes Peak Interfaith Council, Earth Spirit Pagans, and Team Rainbow united to provide security for local Muslims during their prayer service after the Colorado Springs Police Department was reluctant to investigate the threat. The prayer service went on without any problems.

A year has passed. As promised then, the Islamic Society will be speaking at the October monthly meeting of the Libertarian Party of El Paso County, to discuss the local Islamic community and the year they have had since 9-11. The meeting will be held at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, October 23, at the East Library on North Union Boulevard in Colorado Springs. The public is invited to attend what should be a very interesting and informative meeting.

The Libertarian Party of El Paso County is dedicated to the proposition of religious freedom as put forth in the First Amendment, no matter the beliefs, and continually strives for religious respect among the varied religions within El Paso County and Colorado.


Three Terms, Baker Promises
In an October 7 release, Biff Baker accused his opponent, Joel Hefley, of waffling on term limits. Baker responded, "When elected by the honorable people of the 5th district, I will serve no more than three terms. I will not lie about that, and I will stand by that pledge. I'm not Tom Tancredo or Joel Hefley -- I was taught honor and service at West Point, and I was taught the integrity to stand by my word, and the courage to do so no matter what the circumstances. Hefley has been in politics for 25 years. It's far past time to get a fresh voice to actually represent the people of the 5th District. I am that person."


Philps Wins Suit Against Police
The October 10 Rocky Mountain News carries a story by Kevin Vaughan: "Pro-gun protester wins lawsuit." TRT member Duncan Philp "accused Jefferson County sheriff's deputies... of violating his constitutional rights protecting him from unreasonable search and seizure..." Philp's lawyer Vincent Todd also cited concerns about violations of free speech and assembly. A few TRT members held a candle-light vigil on December 14, 2001, in front of the home of Tom Mauser. Philp was awarded $20,000, though the department admitted no wrong-doing. Below are some of Philp's comments about the matter:

Tom Mauser [was] in fact one of [the] leading representatives of S.A.F.E. Colorado and the Million Mom March....

We were at Mauser home to protest his fascist agenda and the fact that he had recently been arrested for violating the property rights of the NRA i.e. criminal trespass. When we arrived at the agreed meeting place we notice a very large police presence. I counted well over ten police cars that were marked and maybe two unmarked police cars. We had arranged that all protesters would meet in a strip mall parking lot near to where Mauser lives and then walk over to his house and stand on the public sidewalk in front of his home. We agreed that when we conducted our protest of Mauser we would not use any bullhorns or yell. We would simply stand on the sidewalk and hold candles in memory of all the people who died in the battles of past wars defending the Bill of Rights. To remind Mauser that we shall resist any and all law that violate our rights as human beings and to never forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and that their deaths will not be in vain. The following morning of December 15th, was and still a national day of recognition for the Bill of Rights.

The appointed hour of the protest was coming and I had elected to drive over to the Mauser home to see if any of our people had arrived over there instead of coming to meet us at the parking lot. As I was about to exit the parking lot I noticed two cop cars right on my back side. I turned on my left-hand turn signal just to be safe, but alas it did me little good because upon entering a public through way the cop suddenly turned on his flashers and stopped me. I let him follow me all the way to Mauser's home where I stopped and then the cop, deputy Beulieu wrote me a ticket for failure to use a left hand turn signal, not having a seat belt on, no proof of insurance and having an invalid drivers license. The fact is I did use my turn signal, as seen by three witnesses. I am not required to have auto insurance and I did have a valid Drivers license. I was not wearing a seat belt, but one out of four ain't very good....

[Vincent Todd] points out that the use of a turn signal when exiting a private parking lot in not required. Vince shuts off his lap top and instruct me that he will be filing a motion to dismiss based on lack of probable cause and he did just that... Todd filed a lawsuit in Federal Court on my behalf suing both Estep and Beulieu for the violation of First and Fourth amendment rights...

September 24th, 2002 was the day for a settlement hearing in this case and it was in Federal Court. We agreed to a settlement and this traffic ticket cost these two cops $20,000... I fought the law and I won.

Congrats, Famm!
Families Against Mandatory Minimums sent out the following release on October 1:

Founder of FAMM honored with a Ford Foundation 2002 Leadership Award
Julie Stewart recognized for outstanding leadership in U.S. communities

New York, N.Y. - The Ford Foundation today announced the 2002 winners of the Leadership for a Changing World awards. Julie Stewart, founder and president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), is one of 20 awardees, selected from 34 finalists in a pool of more than 1400 nomination. These awardees represent individuals and leadership teams that are getting results tackling tough social problems in communities across the United States. Each will receive $100,000 to advance their work and an additional $30,000 for supporting activities over the next two years...

HD 29
Through mailers sent to my house, I've learned that the Republican (Bob Briggs) and the Democrat (Debbie Benefield) in House District 29 both support socialized education. They are both quite proud of it. That is one reason why I will be quite proud to vote for Libertarian Hans Romer for the position.


Brennan Covers Stanley
In a lapse of journalistic objectivity, Charlie Brennan referred to a "gun show loophole" several times in his October 11 story for the Rocky Mountain News (page 23A). But otherwise he did a pretty good job covering the Senate race with respect to firearms.

Brennan reports, "Strickland... does support closing the [mis-named] gun show loophole to the Brady Bill background [registration] check requirements at the federal level. Allard does, as well, but only if the measure closely mirrors Colorado's Amendment 22..." So again we are reminded that Allard has sold out gun owners.

But the interesting thing is that Brennan also quoted Rick Stanley, the controversial Libertarian in the race. Brennan refers to Stanley as the "most staunch opponent of gun regulations in the Senate race..." Stanley told Brennan, "The reason I've been doing acts of civil disobedience and getting arrested, once in Denver and once in Thornton, is that the government is trying to disarm America."

Brennan also quoted Stanley about guns for an October 10 story. "If you've got 100 armed, law-abiding Americans [on an airplane], and they draw down on that terrorist, that terrorist doesn't stand a chance." Libertarians argue airports and airlines should be completely freed from government intervention and allowed to set their own security measures. Thus, some airlines could well allow armed passengers, while others might prohibit them.

On October 9, Brennan wrote a story about the prescription-drug debate. Stanley said politicians "have protected high profits for the pharmaceutical companies, at the expense of Americans, by passing legislation that is favorable to the pharmaceutical companies." Unfortunately, this point was not discussed in detail. Most libertarians argue federal legislation has harmed drug companies by creating undue obstacles to the release of new drugs.

On October 8, Brennan covered "Social Security." Stanley told him, "How can we save Social Security? Privatizing it, 100 percent... It's a very simple thing. Anybody who is retired gets all their benefits until their death. For anyone who is not retired, I want the government to repay them every dime."

The plan I've proposed also guarantees current recipients their benefits. No new workers are put on the system. They pay no tax, and get no benefits. All current workers get to choose whether to opt out of the system -- pay no more taxes but get no benefits -- or stay in it. Their benefits would be paid by cutting other government programs and selling off government assets.


Paper Rips Wyoming Libertarian
Wyoming's Enterprise newspaper blasted the Libertarian candidate for governor there in an October 6 editorial. The article states, "We're surprised Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Dave Dawson wastes his time and the public's with his ridiculous campaign... Dawson has this year sunk to the level of [another] constant, kooky candidate... Dawson, who all but brags about not paying income tax or filing IRS returns for more than 20 years, has zero credibility when it comes to public policy issues... He should be ashamed of himself and grateful he's not in prison. In some respects, Dawson reminds us of the Montana Freemen... [and] all they really wanted to do was issue their own currency to avoid paying income tax. Of course, no one wants to pay income tax or enjoys it. But virtually all adults do. Why? Because it's the law, and it's the foundation of our government and society."

I do not know Dave Dawson, nor do I know anything about him. But I seriously doubt he wants anything other than to repeal the income tax for all American citizens. Hopefully, Dawson wants to return America to a 100% gold standard, not issue his own currency.

If the income tax is the "foundation of our government and society," then how did America survive until 1913, when the Sixteenth Amendment took effect? No, the income tax has destabilized both our government and our society.


Natural Libertarians?
The Natural Law Party is supporting the candidacy of Libertarian David Aitken for Secretary of State. (See http://www.natural-law-colorado.org/action/elections/elections.asp.) Natural Law is also supporting Doug Campbell for U.S. Senate. But the group is endorsing Ron Forthofer for governor! As far as I can tell, Natural Law Party members have some good ideas, but they seem to think the state is the best means to implement those ideas.


Media Notes

Rocky Publishes Bigoted Hate Speech-- The Rocky Mountain News published a bigoted, hateful "cartoon" October 11 by Ed Stein. Stein compares peaceable American gun owners to the D.C.-area murderer. Stein's cartoon is reprehensible, and so is the News' decision to publish it.

Gurley earns respect-- Libertarian candidate for Mesa County Sheriff John Gurley has earned respect in his community. An October 6 editorial by the Daily Sentinel endorses Republican Stan Hilkey but also praises Gurley. The Grand Junction paper argued Hilkey has more experience. "That said, Gurley is no third-party flake. He is a bright man who has obviously put considerable thought into issues related to the sheriff's department. One of his ideas is particularly compelling. Although Libertarians favor elimination of most drug laws, Gurley made clear he would enforce those laws on the books if he is elected. But, he said, it makes little sense for local drug authorities to stake out the bus station to catch people traveling through the area with narcotics. That only takes people away from other duties while doing nothing to reduce drugs in this valley." The Sentinel was less thrilled with Gurley's proposals to privatize prisoner transport and start night courts.

Owens' Treasurer Booted for 'Inappropriate' E-mail-- Lynn Bartels reported for the October 9 Rocky Mountain News Bill Owens' treasurer resigned after forwarding an offensive e-mail about Mexican immigrants. Owens' campaign manager said of the e-mail, "It was insensitive and inappropriate and showed a total lack of judgment." Nita Gonzales said the e-mail is "racist" and "discriminatory... It's stereotyping." Bartels reported that Libertarian Rick Stanley forwarded a similar e-mail earlier this year, though he "said he forwarded the poem solely for discussion purposes."

Denver Post Endorses Two Libertarians-- The Denver Post endorsed two Libertarian candidates October 6 for state house. The Post endorsed John Berntson over Republican Dave Schultheis, oddly because the Post doesn't like the Republican's relatively pro-freedom concealed-carry proposals. But Berntson endorses a Vermont-style carry law! The Post also endorsed Steve D'Ippolito, "whose campaign has spotlighted abuses of personal liberties under the guise of the war on drugs."

Airport Insecurity-- According to the October 10 Rocky Mountain News, a United Airlines baggage handler was charged with trying to get through security hiding a plastic knife. He "told the FBI that he bought the knife in March and was carrying it for self-protection..." He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Ironically, the baggage handler probably did more to enhance airport security by carrying his plastic knife than all the "security" guards combined.

Gateways-- Arizona voters face a ballot initiative on medical marijuana. The Republican and Democratic candidates for governor there joined forces to condemn it. Matt Salmon, the Republican, said, "We know that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to other drugs like cocaine" (Arizona Republic, October 10). That's ridiculous. Most marijuana users never take cocaine. Have many cocaine users smoked marijuana? Probably. And 100% of them have ingested water. But this is all irrelevant to medical marijuana. Sick people do not face the choice of taking marijuana or taking cocaine: some of them face the choice of taking marijuana or dying. We know that the politics of prohibition is a gateway that leads to needless death and agony.

Stanley on 7News-- Rand Fanshier reports: "Channel 7 KMGH 'The Denver Channel' aired a short piece regarding the Rick Stanley for U.S. Senate campaign 10pm Sunday Sept 29th. It included camera footage of Stanley speaking in a public park behind a black podium, in front of a low brick retaining wall. The emphasis of the piece was his two arrests for carrying firearms in protest of local ordinances."

Stanley Polls at 4%-- A poll conducted by News4 and the Rocky Mountain News shows Wayne Allard at 39%, Tom Strickland at 35%, and Rick Stanley at 4%. The poll was summarized in the October 11 News.

Shnelvar with Rivers-- Ralph Shnelvar appeared on KBDI Channel 12 Wednesday, October 2 with Reggie Rivers. Paul Tiger said on the "lpco-chat" list, "Reggie... put in his own thirty-second booster for Ralph in decrying the drug war as a complete failure." Shnelvar added, "I thought I was very forceful in making differences with all the other candidates [on] campaign finance reform, health care [and] tax policy... Yes, there was a great deal of agreement on the War in Iraq [and] the Drug War, but it was I who said "I will pardon all non-violent victims of the drug war..."

Rights Up In Smoke-- The October 10 Denver Post reports a Denver group wants harsh smoking bans like the ones implemented in Louisville. But why can't meddlers let property owners set their own smoking policies? If some establishments can make more money going smoke-free, they will do so. And people who don't like being around smoke have every right to avoid establishments that allow it. A centralized policy enacted by force is unnecessary and unjust.

GMF-- Ron Bain researched "genetically modified foods" for the September 26 edition of the Boulder Weekly. He quoted Ron Bailey of Reason Magazine: "There hasn't been so much as a sniffle from eating genetically modified foods, anywhere in the world, period. Biotech is something we don't want to not have."

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