It was good to see a Presidential debate with four candidates!

This evening Free & Equal hosted a third-party debate. It was hosted by Larry King (currently the host of Larry King Now on Ora.TV) and broadcast by various media companies and on Cable TV by C-SPAN. This debate included the following 4 third-party candidates:

Overall the debate was great. There were a couple of logistics issues in the beginning  but I’m sure they will have them worked out for the final debate next Tuesday. Free and Equal will use online voting from the results of this debate and the two winning third-party candidates will debate in Washington DC next week.

It was also refreshing to see the audience being allowed to clap/boo. Believe it or not this was not disruptive and made the debate feel more ‘alive’.

I will also say that Larry King has been the best moderator of all Presidential debates. He kept the candidates under control and was respectful. He also had a great line where he said “We’re on drugs”. I hope he does future debate moderation!

Instead of analyzing each question I will look at my impression of how well I think each candidate did. These are brief as they are just some highlights from my notes (tweets). And they are written with my bias, I’m not even going to pretend to not be biased.

Rocky Anderson – Justice Party

I honestly did not like Rocky at all. He lost me right away by stating that money is the root of all evil. No Rocky, money is just a tool used by people. He also went on for a while about how the US has the worse mortality rates in the industrialized world. I’m not quite sure about that. And Rocky said he basically agrees with Stein on all issues? Rocky was however the first to state (rightly) that only Congress has the right to decide when to go to war. After that it went back downhill for Rocky.

Virgil Goode – Constitution Party

Virgil is the candidate you would think a Libertarian would like, but he is completely wrong on a couple of issues. First he would stop all green cards and immigration until unemployment was ‘under control’. I just don’t see that as good immigration policy. Plus he supports continuing the prohibition of drugs. He would de-fund the war on drugs but expect states to pick up the slack. He got booed for this position! After that he have very little of relevance to say, it was mostly standard conservative stuff.

Jill Stein – Green Party

I liked Stein in the earlier IVN debate, but this time she didn’t really seem to show up. In fact she went blank during her opening remarks (I’m not faulting her for it, it’s a nightmare situation that can happen to anyone).  Talking about wars she kept stating “wars for oil”. I though we had moved beyond that oil=war thing, it really didn’t work for her. She also lost me when she wanted to give all levels of education to everyone for free. The final place she really lost me was stating she would create and amendment stating that money is not speech and that corporations are not people. That was so far out there I really didn’t give her much attention after that.

Gary Johnson – Libertarian Party

Gary started strong by saying he has been pro-choice for everything. Plus he started out by referring to Obama and Romney as Tweedledee and Tweedledum. That was a definite crowd-pleaser! Gary also stated there has to be 100% transparency for candidates and politicians. Add to this an early attack on drone usage and Gary clearly won the opening remarks of the debate. Gary tackled the war on drugs well by stating drugs is a family issue and not a government issue. Gary Johnson also did well highlighting how our current foreign policies have a lot of unintended consequences. He also reminded everyone that after 9/11 the people of Iran held large demonstration in support of the US. Gary made a very good case that government subsidized higher education has driven the cost of that education too high. His rebuttal to Stein that “free has a cost” was spot on!  And finally he stated wasting your vote is voting for someone you don’t believe in. That was completely spot on!

I also want to highlight that Gary Johnson gave a shout out to Ron Paul as his hero. This was a smart move on his part and showed respect the RNC never did to Ron Paul.

Another letter from the City of Aberdeen offering Water Line Warranty

I just received a letter from the City of Aberdeen on behalf of the National League of Cities (NLC). This letter is trying to sell the Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA). I’m still not happy from the first letter I got this spring. I had no idea it was MY responsibility for CITY pipes under the road. But I’ll digress on that for this post.

Looking at the contents they are selling buried sewer line warranty for $12.50 a month, or $143.oo if paying a whole year. That’s a lot of revenue the NLC takes in for this warranty program. Especially since the payout is capped at $4000 per incident (plus $4000 if the street has to be cut). That seems like a good return, however what is the actual average cost of such repairs? I don’t know since this has never been an issue for me.

I do know that $12.50 a month is a lot of money for many Aberdeen residents at this time.

I guess I have no actual purpose in this post other than to remind myself to look deeper at this issue in the future. I know I’ve talked to a few people here in Aberdeen about this and most seem to understand the program differently (if they understand it at all).

Free Speech Week 2012: How George Carlin Opened My Eyes

It is still Free Speech Week! Today for free speech week I want to mention a man who has helped open the minds of many Americans: the late great George Carlin. He is often touted as a great comedian. While I agree he was a great comedian  I would say he was even more of an advocate for open minds!

George Carlin was always on the front lines in the battle against political correctness and the misuse of language. This ranges from his take on the seven dirty words (shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits) to pointing out the dangers of euphemisms. It is his take on euphemisms that more than anything has always stuck with me. In particular this recurring bit on the transformation of the word “shell-shock” and what it has cost American Combat Veterans:

Before I had always thought political correctness and euphemisms were silly and something to laugh at. But George Carlin was able to find examples like shellshock that probably have caused a lot of harm. I bet anyone who sits and thinks about it can find other ways the dumbing down of language has caused harm.

For opening my eyes on this and many other topics I salute you as a hero of free speech George Carlin!


Bonus video. I don’t think this one was actually created by George Carlin, but falls within his domain. Watch this video to see which word is truly the most versatile in the English language.

My brief thoughts on the final Obama/Romney debate

From a libertarian point of view this was a bad debate. Looking at my notes (tweets) one comment sticks out: “I lost track, which of these two is the war-hawk?” It was clear neither was a candidate of peace. But I do think in the end Obama came off as a bigger war-hawk.

Other than that both candidates kept bringing the foreign policy debate back to domestic issues. I won’t even review my tweets on this one. Simply put this debate was a disaster for anyone that believe is liberty and peace. My final tweet sums it up best “I for one am glad I should never have to see Obama or Romney debate again!”

Told ya, brief! I’m too disgusted to say more.

Russell Means, The Libertarian Movement Will Miss You! RIP

Today is another sad day for South Dakota as Russell Means has passed away at the age of 72. You will always be remembered for the large parts you played in the American Indian Movement and overall libertarian causes. I never had the pleasure of meeting you, but respect all you have done for liberty.

Instead of writing a post that could never do you justice; I will post this 90 minute interview with you that everyone should take the time to watch!


And because its my custom I will play Seasons in the Sun on your behalf.


Free Speech Week 2012: A Look Back At The PMRC and 3 Free Speech Heroes

It is Free Speech Week! This year free speech week runs from October 22 – October 28. To kick off this first day of free speech week I thought it would be good to look at something I remember as a teen growing up in the 80’s: the Parent Music Resource Center (PMRC). The PMRC was actually started by four Washington wives that apparently had too much time on their hands. Being the ring leader Tipper Gore (wife of senator and future pretentious environmentalists ex-vice-president Al Gore) will always be seen as a villain in my eyes.

Tipper and the other Washington wenches proceeded to create a list of the “filthy fifteen” songs that were going to destroy Americas youth. Here is a list of those 15 songs and links to hear/watch them on the Internet:

  1. Prince – Darling Nikki – Sex/Masturbation
  2. Sheena Easton – Sugar Walls – Sex
  3. Judas Priest – Eat Me Alive – Sex
  4. Vanity – Strap on Robbie Baby – Sex
  5. Mötley Crüe – Bastard – Violence
  6. AC/DC – Let Me Put My Love Into You – Sex
  7. Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It – Violence
  8. Madonna – Dress You Up – Sex
  9. W.A.S.P. – Animal (Fuck Like A Beast) – Sex/Language
  10. Def Leppard – High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night) – Drug & alcohol Use
  11. Mercyful Fate – Into the Coven – Occult
  12. Black Sabbath – Trashed – Drug & alcohol Use
  13. Mary Jane Girls – In My House – Sex
  14. Venom – Possessed – Occult
  15. Cyndi Lauper – She Bop – Sex/Masturbation

The PMRC lobbied the recording industry to self-regulate. And when that didn’t happen as quickly as the Washington wives wanted they started the infamous Senate Hearing. This is where we get to the heroes part of this memory. Three musicians stepped forward to represent the music industry: Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Frank Zappa, and John Denver. I don’t think you could have planned such an odd pairing.  Below is the hearings for all three artists. In total they are just over an hour, but well worth the listen!

Dee Snider Testimony – 30 Mins

This is actually my favorite part of the PMRC hearing. The Senate had no idea that Dee actually had a mind. He started out acting like a cliché rock star, then hit the committee with his intelligence! I have always been a fan of your Dee, but for this you will always be a HERO! Dee also happens to be the only of the 3 that is still alive.

Frank Zappa Testimony – 33 Mins

I was always a fan of Zappa’s musical genius, but this hearing made Frank my HERO! His opening with the first amendment was great! Sadly Frank is no longer with us; yet he will live on forever!

John Denver Testimony – 7 Mins

I think this inclusion was genius. A clean-cut country boy who makes movies about God! You rock Denver! I may not have been a fan, but I do like some of your songs. More importantly you will always be remembered as a hero this fan of the first amendment!

What I think really threw the Senators off in this hearing was the intelligence of all three musicians. Apparently politicians don’t realize that clichés are not reality.

All I will add to this post is the fact the musicians and fans got the final laugh in this whole PMRC vs music madness. Yes its true the PMRC “won” and parental advisory warning labels were placed on music that was considered obscene from that time on. However that parental advisory increased sales of those albums. Hell, I can remember being a kid buying albums simply because there was a warning!

One last thing. Danzig had a song called Mother that was directed straight at Tipper Gore and the PMRC. Here is the YouTube video with lyrics:

Oh wait, on more last thing. FUCK YOU TIPPER!

Current and Future Politicians Should Look at McGovern’s Legacy

This morning the former Senator from South Dakota George McGovern died at the age of 90. I am a little too young to remember his failed presidential run or his three terms as Senator for South Dakota. But I do know enough about him to respect his legacy and in fact agree with many stances he had taken over the years.

Politicians of today could learn a lot by looking at his foreign policy. He was proud to be against the Vietnam war and wanted to bring the troops home. McGovern wanted to keep an “even handed” approach in dealing with the Middle-East. Years ago I was at a political lecture that focused around the even-handed approach of McGovern. I was quite surprised to find that I agreed with McGovern. Being a veteran of WWII McGovern understood first hand the impact being sent to war has upon the eligible youth. Hopefully many will look at his foreign policy and reflect how it applies in the current age of military internationalism.

Of even more interest is McGovern’s continual aversion to a regulatory state. His own business venture is well documented and shows the folly of arbitrary regulations. That does not mean he was against regulation. However regulation with no basis upon reality do nothing but stifle businesses, especially new businesses. Even though he is often credited as empowering the Democratic Party, they chose not to learn this lesson. And even more sadly the Republican Party has not either.

While there was much about McGovern I disagreed with, I will always remember and respect him for taking a stance (no matter what the stance was) and staying connected with the electorate. Hopefully many current and future politicians will look at what he did (right or wrong) and learn how to stay connected with the voters they serve.

South Dakota 2012 Ballot: Why I Will Vote NO to the Supreme Court Retention of Severson

In reviewing the ballot issues in South Dakota I finally decided to look at the SD Supreme Court retention of Justice Glen A. Severson representing the Second Supreme Court District. I will definitely vote NO on this retention and ask others to do the same. Why would I vote no? Simply because of one key case the SD Supreme Court decided to overrule the circuit court: Wipf v Hutterville Hutterian Brethren, Inc (PDF).

I won’t go into the very long story and facts behind this case. However the Supreme Court chose to accept and hide behind “freedom of religion” in a corporate case that has nothing to do with religion. This nut-less move by the justices has left many good people in a very bad position. Many good men and women waited patiently (even while still being persecuted) for justice to be served. Sadly this never happened. The SD Supreme Court decided persecution of people is OK if done in the name of religion, even if corporate laws are being broke.

I’ll stop there. I could keep going, but honestly it would take me a whole book to discuss this issue at the level it deserves. So, in summary I will vote no to the retention of Justice Glen A. Severson because of this final line in Wipf v Hutterville Hutterian Brethren, Inc:

[¶29.] GILBERTSON, Chief Justice, and ZINTER, SEVERSON, and WILBUR, Justices, concur.

A Stark Look at All 3 Presidential Candidates

The Libertarian Party has provided the following table to compare all three Presidential Candidates:

I really think this is worth looking at for anyone tired of both Obama and Romney. I won’t add much because I think the table speaks for itself.

My Thoughts of the Online Presidential Debate

This last Thursday the Independent Voter Network (IVN) hosted a presidential debate. You can still watch thin online at the IVN website. Overall I thought it was a great debate. Of course it only had Gary Johnson from the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein from the Green Party. Of course neither Democratic or Republican candidate would take place in a debate where they didn’t have control.

The main thing I took from this debate was two very clear messages. Often when watching Romney and Obama debate it is hard to find the actual differences. There were a lot of differences in this debate between Johnson and Stein. There was also a mutual respect. Neither candidate attacked each other or fell to name calling (supporters on twitter may have, but that’s OK, that is part of the process).  After this debate I gained a lot of respect for both candidates, including Jill Stein (who I disagree with on most everything). I really think having these two in the “BIG” debates would have opened a lot of voters eyes.

Here I am going to do like I did with the other two Presidential candidates and list the tweets I found relevant and explain them (#indyvote was the hashtag used for this):

  • What, Jill Stein wants to the “Organizer in Chief?”… thats not leadership Jill! #indyvote – This one actually makes me smile. Jill appears to think a Martha Stewart touch is needed in DC. I disagree completely. In fact I would rather see someone who does a lot of cutting, re-organizing will not help anything.
  • Does #GaryJohnson have a stunt double helping? #IndyVote – This  comment came from the constant technical difficulties that plagued the debate. Technology has come a long way, but holy cow it still has a long way to go!
  • Education costs are high for the same reason as high medical costs: Government intervention! #IndyVote – This was one very BIG different between Johnson and Stein. Guaranteed loans have driven education costs higher. Stein would increase the use of government money to pay for higher ed.
  • #GaryJohnson “we need free market approaches to energy”. Yes, if people want cleaner energy it will happen! #IndyVote – I live in a town where 70 people recently lost their jobs because of a ‘clean energy’ rebate ending. This artificial support of the clean energy industry has consequences!
  • Dirty energy? #JillStein almost sounded like she was talking about a porn. #IndyVote – No more comment on this. Just thought it was funny.
  • As much as #JillStein annoys me, I love this debate, we get to see true differences! #GaryJohnson #IndyVote – It really was good to see DIFFERENT viewpoints!
  • I have to agree with #JillStein on that one, big business IS in the White House. #IndyVote – Crony capitalism is alive and well in DC.
  • Foreign military action is a great topic to bring 3rd parties together!#kumbuya #IndyVote – I don’t think there was a tweet disagreeing with Johnson or Stein on reducing foreign action. The ‘audience’ went crazy here!
  • Its sad, I’m #libertarian, and even I admit #JillStein makes more sense than #Romney and #Obama. But not more than #GaryJohnson!#IndyVote – Self-explanatory.
  • #GaryJohnson says drone strikes “make us the villian” and “we’ve become the bully”. TRUE! #IndyVote – I really wish drones would become a true issue on the national stage.
  • Yes Jill, get rid of “No Child Left Behind” mentality! You lost me after that though. #IndyVote – Stein was beginning to make sense, then went off in a weird direction for my taste.
  • On education #GaryJohnson say we need to get rid of the “Washington knows best” policies. #IndyVote – Johnson stated it much better.
  • Yes, the biggest think #GaryJohnson has to say: Balance the budget NOW! #IndyVote – ’nuff said.
  • I agree Jill, diversification in the political debate creates a WIN!#IndyVote – This best sums up the whole process.

Overall I thought it was a great debate (minus some technical difficulties). I would really have loved to see these two debate alongside Romney and Obama.

South Dakota political blogging from a libertarian-leaning individual

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