Freedom Updates: October 19, 2002

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

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com

Freedom Updates: October 19, 2002

All Freedom Updates by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.


Open Wide
A mailer about the Democratic candidate for HD 29 states, "As our state representative, Debbie Benefield will stand up to corporate health insurance companies and force them to provide access to quality, affordable health care."

The mailer, sent out by the Colorado Democratic Party, complains that medical service keeps getting more expensive, even as "corporate HMO bureaucrats" try to "deny access to basic health services for working families." But never fear! "Benefield will work tirelessly to lower the cost of prescription drugs for anyone who needs medicine..."

The whole reason HMO's even exist is that government started meddling in health care. Politicians forced businesses to provide benefits, they forced insurance programs to cover all kinds of routine maintenance, they forcibly restricted the supply of doctors and saddled them with onerous regulations, they erected barriers to the development and sale of new drugs, and so on.

Had the market been allowed to develop, individuals would mostly buy catastrophic plans and pay much lower fees for regular visits and prescriptions. People could choose their doctors, and there would be plenty of reasonably-priced doctors to go around.

But no. Busy-body politicians had to FORCE people to do things the way politicians thought best, with no view to the economic consequences.

According to the Rocky Mountain News candidate survey, Benefield is an accountant, not a doctor or nurse. So she can do absolutely nothing to improve health service in Colorado. All she can attempt to do is FORCE health care professionals to do her bidding.

By what right? The beliefs attributed to Benefield imply that politicians may rightly control the property of business owners. But Benefield's fascism, in addition to being repugnant to individual rights and the voluntary market, will only make the health industry worse. Force is fundamentally incompatible with productivity. People die precisely because politicians have prevented them from making voluntary agreements on the health market.

In her survey, Benefield refers to "our democratic society." A society that uses physical FORCE to punish people who don't follow the commands of the politicians. "I have devoted my life's energy to public service," Benefield writes. Apparently she means this in the same sense that a bull "services" a cow. The front cover of the four-page mailer reads, "Open Wide." It should have said, "Bend Over."


No On Everything
The LP Boulder web page has an easy answer to voting on the ballot issues this year: vote 'no' on everything! See http://www.lpboulder.org/issues/.

Amendments 27-30 would damage third parties, make the money in politics even more difficult to follow, and open the door (wider) to voting fraud. The fear about Amendment 31 -- "English Language Education" -- is that it would cost more tax dollars.

Ref. A would remove term limits for District Attorneys. Ref. B would create more government interference in the health industry.

I'm not convinced it's such a bad thing to vote "yes" on Referendum D, however, to "repeal obsolete Constitutional provisions." This is just language that's no longer in effect, so it makes little difference either way. Also, Colorado's only Libertarian coroner, Robert Dempsey, has said supportive things about Referendum C, creating qualifications for coroners. Again, the outcome hardly matters one way or the other. Ref. E would create a state holiday for Cesar Chavez, another non-issue.

Still, "Vote No" is a great rule-of-thumb.

Also, Tom Parker, the guy who maintains the Boulder LP page, really does a fantastic job. Not only did he create a comprehensive listing of Libertarian candidates in Colorado, he also made many of the web pages for individual candidates.


Shnelvar Takes Off Gloves
Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Ralph Shnelvar ran a provocative radio ad on KNZZ in Grand Junction and KHNC north of the metro area. Listener interest on KHNC (1360 AM) was so great that the station scheduled him to call in for an hour on October 21 starting at 1:00 pm. The text follows.

On April 12, 1928, the German Weimar Republic, a good, tolerant, democratic government, passed a law to register all guns. As a result, those guns were later confiscated when Hitler came to power, only five years later. 13 million defenseless people died in Nazi death camps.

In 2000, the current governor of Colorado stabbed gun owners in the back. He cynically added more de facto gun registration, by being the first to sign the ballot initiative for Amendment 22.

Vote for Ralph Shnelvar. He knows that when governments register guns, the changes are very good that a lot of innocent and defenseless people will die...

I'm Ralph Shnelvar, Libertarian. My parents barely survived the Nazi atrocities. I won't let those atrocities happen here. I'll preserve your gun rights.

BetteRose Smith Urges Support for Gurley, Baker
Former state LP chair BetteRose Smith sent out the following message via e-mail.

We have waited a long time for campaigns that have a chance of making a big win in this state. Sooo, want to help some candidates who not only are working hard to win their race but might just have a chance?

Consider John Gurley, running for sheriff in Mesa County. He treasury is within 6K of his opponent's treasury. He, while not being endorsed, was well represented by the local paper. He has a manager and staff and lots of volunteers. And he only needs a few hundred dollars to finish running radio ads. He has already generated a ton of support. If you can, please send him $50 or $100. (I have sent him money, VICN has sent him some money.) If you can't send that much, anything, I'm sure will help.

www.westernslopelp.org or redtail08@hotmail.com

Committee to Elect John Gurley for Sheriff
PO Box 60325
Grand Junction, CO 81506-0325

And the other candidate is Biff Baker [at http://www.biff1.org/]. Please consider helping this candidate by passing out flyers and knocking on doors. I'm sure he can also use some donations but we need to get the word out about his campaign, too.

He has received a ton of press and is looking very good in this three way race. It is more than likely he will end up ahead of the democrat by a large margin and may be able to pull off a win with some activist support. Please do whatever you can to help this candidate.

Libertarian Youth
I spoke at Colorado's Finest Alternative High School October 9 to a combined group of elections and economics students. I reviewed some of the major libertarian intellectual leaders, discussed the history of the LP, and described the libertarian position on a range of issues. On the whole, the students seemed interested and they asked sensible questions. I gave them the Nolan quiz and a strong majority of them showed up in the libertarian quadrant. The teacher also wanted to bring in a Democrat and a Republican, but I'm confident they won't be able to trample the libertarian vision. I donated two books to the class: Drug War Addiction by Sheriff Masters and The Law by Bastiat. One student kept me after class to ask more questions. I felt better about the future after visiting with the class.


Plylar Expresses Views in Paper
Mike Plylar, the Libertarian candidate for HD 57, wrote an article for the October 11 Summit Daily News. Sections of it are reproduced below.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Benjamin Franklin's immortal words ring truer with each and every passing day.

As our finite liberties undergo a daily assault from a government grown out of control, it's long past time for every American to question where this path will inevitably lead.

We are faced with citizen spies, intrusions into our private communications; unwarranted, secret searches; budget crushing "Homeland Security" bureaucracies; and endless attempts by government, at all levels, to prevent law-abiding citizens from defending themselves...

During these troubled times, as government requires us to surrender our rights, supposedly, in order to defend them, it's time we revisit our legacy as a free people.

Vance Contemplates Resignation
Michael McKinzie sent an angry note to the "lpco-chat" list October 15 blasting Ralph Shnelvar, Bo Shaffer, James Vance, and other members of the state LP board.

The next day, Vance said, "I have no clue where this is coming from." (Shnelvar also denied McKinzie's accusations.) Vance said he has developed a theory: "YOU PEOPLE (the vast majority of the LPCO membership) LOVE TO BITCH, and you seem to be looking for an excuse to bitch about something." Vance defended the actions of the board and wrote, "The party is represented by the board in a number of different functions, through 9 different people. Come next May, you can choose to change those representatives if you feel they haven't done what you asked them to do."

Vance said he wouldn't necessarily mind "if the membership chooses to relieve me of my duties as Publications Director. Point-in-fact I may beat you to the punch and resign from my post." He said he's tired of complaints, a lack of support for his campaign, and "even threats."

Vance predicted that some LP members will continue to "bitch" and blame the board when candidates don't win in November. The actual reason candidates may fail to win is because they face incumbents and "lack [the] understanding or ability to properly market themselves," he said.


'Opt Out' of Socialized Insecurity
What kind of "liberal" taxes the poorest workers in America and hands over the money to millionaires? The kind who continues to support the fraudulent Ponzi scheme laughably called "Social Security." Those motivated by a concern for poor elderly people would have proposed a limited program to help the poor.

At least conservative Jon Caldara has the courage to speak out about the program's looming disaster ("It's social...", Daily Camera, October 13). Yet he writes as if the only alternative to the current "Social Security" fiasco were mandatory accounts regulated by federal politicians.

There is another solution that does not force workers to spend their income the way politicians think best. First, everybody now taking benefits is guaranteed to keep getting the same benefits. Second, no new workers are forced into the system. They are free to spend or invest their incomes as they see fit. Third, current workers are given the option of staying in the Social Security system or opting out. If they opt out, they pay no more Social Security tax and get no benefits. Any shortfall must be covered by cuts in other government programs.

This "opt out" solution is far better than the "privatization" solution touted by Caldara and other Republicans.

* * *

The October 17 Denver Post printed a letter by Phil Stahl that warned against making Social Security funds "totally variable and contingent on the day-to-day gyrations of already compromised stock funds." Stahl claims Social Security is "assured income," yet he points out the system is destined for bankruptcy unless the tax is raised dramatically, benefits are cut, or the retirement age is increased! I.e., Stahl prefers making his money totally variable and contingent on the day-to-day gyrations of an already compromised political system. But of course these are false alternatives: the government should not direct people how to spend their money at all, either on mandatory accounts or on a Ponzi scheme.


ABATE the State
Rand Fanshier sent the following report to the "lpco-chat" list October 15.

ABATE (A Brotherhood Active Towards Education) District 17 met 7:30-8:30 Tues Oct 15 at Fione's on County Line Rd at Holly. We were there, and Ralph Shnelvar and Mark Holden spoke.

Bryan "Torch" Barr is the district representative, and also a dues-paying Libertarian. He wanted to know why he hadn't got any newsletters lately.

This club is associated with another group called BIKEPAC which rates the political candidates regarding motorcycle liberties. We didn't get in their list this time; maybe next time, since we now know about it.

Mark Holden is running for Colorado House District 38 -- according to BIKEPAC neither Republican nor Democrat (a line holder) got the nod. So the membership had an open ear for Mark, whose District is within ABATE district 17. Mark had a great speech, but got a little sidelined during the question-answer period by Ralph. I think Mark makes a very, very credible candidate, and look forward to doing more campaigning with him in Littleton.

Ralph Shnelvar also was well-received, because neither Owens nor Heath got the nod from BIKEPAC. Here is Ralph speaking in Centennial to 30-40 members of ABATE. This was the best speaking engagement I've seen him do. He conveyed emotion, and was articulate, and really focused on people and their questions. Ralph would make a good Governor.

Nothing 'Odd' About Attractive Libertarians
BetteRose Smith helped produce a "Ladies of Liberty" calendar (http://www.freecolorado.com/2002/07/ladies.html). A group in North Carolina followed suit and even got attention on national TV.

What's odd is that the Rocky Mountain News put this story in its "Odd Files," which its web page describes as a "home for the weird and wacky."

The News links to an AP article from September 19 that begins, "A Libertarian candidate for the state House of Representatives has put together a pin-up calendar featuring herself and 11 other Libertarian women, including five other candidates. The candidates plan to sell the calendar to raise money for their campaigns."


Free State Project Earns Attention
Earlier this year, Elizabeth McKinstry spoke at the state LP convention to describe the Free State Project (http://www.freestateproject.org/l) and urge people to join. The idea is to get 20,000 libertarians to move to a single state and create a libertarian haven.

Lara Azar wrote a story about the project for the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle titled "Liberty-minded activist group has eyes on Wyoming." (Other states are also being considered.) Jason Sorens, founder of the group, told Azar, "We think government is too large, too distant, and we also think that we need to get back a bit more to our constitutional principles and start to take the Constitution seriously."

Jon Dougherty wrote an article October 14 for World Net Daily: "A new political movement is afoot in the U.S. that calls for 20,000 activists to move to one state and peacefully take over its governments before systematically restoring various personal liberties organizers say have been eroding in this nation for several decades..."

Dougherty quotes Colorado's own Joseph Swyers, the Leadville city council member who quit the LP: "Our free country is broken because Americans have increasingly become a culture of ever more dependence on government and of using government power against one's neighbors for nearly any issue great or small." Swyer's essay on the matter is reproduced at http://www.freestateproject.org/local.htm.


Media Notes

Grading on the Curve-- The October 18 Rocky Mountain News reports Mike Feeley supports more national disarmament laws -- including one to expand gun registration to private sales at gun shows -- whereas his Republican opponent Bob Beauprez favors expanding gun registration on a state-by-state basis. Beauprez supported Amendment 22, which expanded the federal Brady gun-owner registration program. For this, he was awarded with a "B+" rating from the NRA. CSSA President Tony Fabian said Beauprez is a "solid supporter of the Second Amendment..." What a joke.

Pre-Emptive Force-- Valeria Damiao pointed out the hypocrisy of leftists who oppose the war against Iraq on the basis that pre-emptive strikes are wrong, but call for the pre-emptive use of force in domestic policy. "If [a previous letter writer] believes that use of force against not actual, but potential, harm is morally wrong, then to be morally consistent, he must also oppose all legislation against victimless crimes, such as victim disarmament (otherwise known as gun control) and drug prohibition laws."

North Korea-- So Iraq might get nukes, but North Korea is actively building them. So should the U.S. attack North Korea first, then Iraq? Bush doesn't seem to think that's such a good idea. What made me sick, though, was to hear Bush talk about how he wants to "liberate" the people of Iraq. First, bombing the hell out of them is not a good first step toward that goal, and second, as most of the world's population needs "liberation," Bush's comments are obviously not serious. Let's liberate ourselves, first.

NRA Gives Tancredo Money-- M.E. Sprengelmeyer wrote a story for the October 17 Rocky raising questions about Tancredo taking money from the NRA. But the real question is, why would the NRA give money to Tancredo after he screwed over gun owners? The article is titled, "Tancredo takes NRA money." But that ignores the interesting issue!

Gays with Guns-- Matt Rosenberg wrote a great article for the October 16 Seattle Times titled, "Pistol-packing proponents of gun-owner tolerance." It begins, "Call them gays, gals and geeks with guns. These 'double-affinity' gun-rights supporters are changing the political landscape nationally, and in the Northwest."

Well-Deserved Honor-- "A 74-year-old woman was given the Citizen Distinction Award at the police department's 17th annual Medal of Valor Ceremony. Two years ago, Jean Zamarripa, who lived alone, shot a man three times who bolted through her door. The man was later identified as Anthony Peralez, a serial rapist who targeted older women." Three cheers: one for the police department for recognizing this heroic act, one for the Rocky Mountain News for reporting the story October 17, and of course one for Jean Zamarripa for stopping this thug from striking again!

Drug War Victims-- The October 18 Rocky Mountain News includes a New York Times story by Jeffrey Gettleman sub-titled, "Arsonist kills mom, 5 kids for crusading against drug dealers." The perpetrator is morally culpable and should be brought to justice. At the same time, these murders would not have occurred but for the failed policy of drug prohibition.

Zogby-- Rand Fanshier noted an October 9-11 poll conducted by MSNBC/Zogby showed the following results, with a 4.5% margin of error: Wayne Allard (Republican) 40; Tom Strickland (Democrat) 41; Rick Stanley (Libertarian) 5; Not sure 13. The October 17 Rocky Mountain News showed the results of its poll showing David Aitken at 4% for Secretary of State, Greenie Alison Maynard at 3% for attorney general with Libertarian Dwight Harding at 1%, and Gaar Potter at 2% for state treasurer.

Vernon Smith-- David Meleney wrote a very nice letter for the October 17 Rocky Mountain News: "You might share the vision of our Founding Fathers that good government needs to be small; that it should be limited by the plain words of the Constitution which enables it... Fortunately, the Nobel Prize in economics has... been awarded [to]... Vernon Smith... who believes, as our Founding Fathers did, that small government is usually better."

Citizens for Honest Elections-- The October 17 Rocky reports a new group organized by Jon Caldara seeks to defeat Amendments 27, 28, 29, and 30.

ACLU-- The AP reports the ACLU "launched a $3.5 million advertising and lobbying campaign... that accuses the Bush administration of eroding freedom in the name of fighting terrorism." And that's just one more reason why I'm proud to be a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

Come Back, Barry!-- Barry Arrington is representing the city of Aurora in its persecution of Las Vegas Video Palace. Arrington told the October 16 Denver Post, "The city's stance is that this is a zoning case, not a case about free speech." It's a case about property rights, Barry, and you're fighting for the wrong side.

No Sense-- An October 16 editorial in the Rocky states, "Indeed the Libertarian candidate [for the Fifth Congressional], Biff Baker, is making more noise, if not more sense, than [the Democrat]." Unfortunately, the News didn't bother to explain that inexplicable comment. The always-affable Baker sent the News a letter that was printed October 19: "I want to thank the Rocky Mountain News for publishing its Voter Guide 2002. This is the first unbiased guide I have seen in all of Colorado -- I applaud the News for its journalistic integrity!"

Third Party Votes-- An ad on the back page of Trunkline, Jeffco's Republican elections paper, states, "Third Party Votes Elect Democrats!" But usually sell-out Republicans elect Democrats. Just a couple inches above the ad is another ad for Bob Briggs, a Republican who wants more socialized transportation and land use.

Post Blasts Katz-- The Denver Post called Libertarian Adam Katz a "conspiracy theorist" in an October 19 editorial. Katz' web page states, "[O]ur government has no interest in winning this war [on terrorism]. If they did, they would stop financing the same terrorist networks that they are purportedly waging war upon." But I think Katz' point is simply that the U.S. government has sent a lot of money and military equipment to the Middle East -- an undeniable truth -- and some of those resources have eventually found their way into terrorist hands. This isn't necessarily a conspiracy theory, but instead a theory of unintended consequences. But Katz' message does seem a little ambiguous, and his tone is overwrought.

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com