One of the things I’ve encountered occasionally while behind the Libertarian Party booth at the County Fairs the last two weeks is “I think Libertarians should just run as Republicans and Democrats and change the party from within.” Here are a list of reasons why this is a bad idea and ultimately doesn’t work:
-Libertarians are not Republicans and Democrats. This is the most obvious reason. I could simply end this blog here, but I won’t. Time and time again, the two major parties has constantly rejected actual free market ideals, even if Libertarian-leaning Republicans win their respective seat. Libertarian-leaning people in Congress and Senate are either out-voted by the establishment majority of their party, or even (like Rand Paul), outright support the establishment majority shortly after criticizing it. Elder Republicans come from the Reagan-era drug war days and others are salivating over another excuse to bomb (aka “liberate”) another country. And now, more Republicans than not have sided with Trump’s tarriffs, starting a trade war with China, and the white nationalists have embedded themselves too far inside to EVER accept the “open borders” or “Ellis Island” concept most small-l libertarians endorse. Democrats abhor the term “free market” like the plague and, despite any criticism toward Republicans over their foreign policy, still endorse military interventionism, they just want a different approach. If you are concerned with the military-industrial complex’s hold on America’s wargames, it won’t end with a Democrat in office.
-Running as part of the two-party system does not shine a light on the core problems and policies that created the two-party system in the first place. Example: The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association has a rule stating that any candidate to participate in their televised debates must have over $250,000 raised in their coffers to be considered. Not just to be in the debates, but just to be considered in their debates. This also applies to Senate candidates - which made this all too ironic when, in 2016, Libertarian candidate Phil Anderson wanted to debate Republican Ron Johnson and Democrat Russ Feingold - you know, the guy who co-authored the McCain/Feingold act, supposedly to “get money out of politics?” Strangely we didn’t hear a peep from the Feingold camp about this requirement. Can’t imagine why - the two-party system doesn’t want to give voters a choice. This is why some people call the two parties a “one party system.” Just like how big corporations will regulate smaller competitors out of business to line their pockets, so do Republicans and Democrats - all the while claiming they are looking out for your interests.
Some states like Ohio require signatures equal to 1 percent of the last presidential or gubernatorial vote - which equaled to about 56,000 votes in the 2012 general election - to win party recognition on the ballot. In Tennessee for example, independents only require 25 signatures for Governor, but third parties actually require over 33,000 signatures to be recognized. Republicans and Democrats, though? Far, far lower requirements for signatures - or maybe even none at all, depending on your state. Just about anyone running for office will tell you that collecting signatures is the hardest part of the campaign.
Running as a third party candidate will expose these problems so we may start putting either market pressure on media outlets, or petition the government to lower signature requirements - or perhaps increase the signature requirements for the two parties to even the playing field.
-If a small-l libertarian runs as a Republican and loses (like Austin Petersen in Missouri’s Senate primary), that candidate will not be on the ballot. That means less choice for you, the voter, unwittingly putting you further in a situation to possibly hold your nose and vote the lesser-of-two-evils, all over again - and then ironically complain about how bad our election system is.
People want choice. A very simple question I ask people in person at County Fairs is, “Do you feel the two party system is working for you?” And I get the immediate reply of “No.” I have encountered people who don’t vote because they feel their views are not properly represented by the candidates shown, and are brow-beat by the two major parties to think any effort to make a change by their single vote will mean nothing. As it’s been said, the strongest voices in America aren’t the ones who voted for the winning candidate - it is the ones who didn’t vote. The Silent Majority. We can curse them and say “You don’t have any right to complain then,” but that’s not going to solve the issue. What’s going to solve the issue is giving people opportunity to have their voice heard on the ballot. This means making it easier for third parties to have ballot access, this means putting pressure on media outlets to pay more attention to third parties, this also means abandoning the two-party system and being a part of something that accurately reflects your views better.
Looking at small-l libertarian Republicans who win a race here and there, and declaring that they are changing the two-party system from within, is much like spotting a plant that found its way through a crack in a cement parking lot and saying "See? We can still have a garden, it just takes time." Instead, we should crack the cement open, and plant our own seeds. If you’re a small-l libertarian but vote Republican or Democrat - the revolution starts with you. Come join us at the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin, say goodbye to a system that has done such a toxic disservice to your county time and time again. We need you now!
Brian Defferding is on the Winnebago County Board for District 6 in Wisconsin. He serves on the Planning and Zoning Committee.
"God grants liberty only to those who love it and are always ready to guard and defend it.” ~ Daniel Webster
Today we celebrate the Fourth of July, formerly known as "Independence Day." I say, “formerly known as" because July 4 may be a popular celebration but not so much for our "independence."
When the American colonies declared their independence and gained their freedom from one of the largest empires in the world, it was a momentous occasion. Ours was the first nation on the planet in which the individual was considered more important than a government. Furthermore, the government was restricted by a written constitution, so they couldn't make the rules up as they wished.
Today, we aren't as free as we once were or as we should be. More than ever, Wisconsinites love our country but fear our government.
The wisdom of our Founding Fathers was written down. The powers of the national government were designed to be limited and the ratifying states would not have approved the Constitution without a written Bill of Rights. Article Ten says quite clearly that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." What a gift that was! The problem is, we can't depend on politicians to honor it, even though they take an oath of office to do so.
If our state government is merely an administrative zone for Washington, what is the point? The Environmental Protection Agency is after Wisconsin power plants that burn economical coal fuels. (Where is the Office of Energy of our DNR?) This will increase energy costs for Wisconsin industry and other consumers. Wisconsin jobs and industries are threatened by trade policies imposed by Washington.
The Agriculture Department is issuing "guidelines" which may restrict cranberry juice drinks in our schools. Who should be issuing guidelines for our schools?Read more
“With another record year of opioid overdose deaths, Wisconsin eyes fixes” (Wisconsin State Journal headline, 5/9/2018) So, Wisconsin still needs a “fix” after all these years?
Does the State Journal (and other papers) simply re-write press releases put out by the Governor’s office or does a reporter actually have an opportunity to ask challenging questions so a news article provides some facts which might be useful for a reader to put the Governor’s words in perspective?
Governor Walker is, ironically, quite proud of his “Fight” on this government induced “health emergency.” His office has published lists of numerous bills he has signed, executive orders issued, and cites millions of dollars spent. There is a campaign television ad focusing on how he has fought opioids coming to a station near you.
Keep in mind that, last year there was only a 7% increase in fatal opioid overdoses over 2016 in Wisconsin. Emergency room visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased by only 109%, the greatest rise among sixteen states closely tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Wisconsin is #1!) Undeterred, the Walker Administration prescribes more of the same; more laws, more bans, more record keeping, more prisoners, and more spending.
Unfortunately, simply banning or restricting opioid prescriptions has had some unintended negative outcomes, namely increased use of heroin or other drugs with uncertified purity and potency. The Journal of Internal Medicine published two studies that conclude that medical marijuana (or medical cannabis) laws have the potential to reduce opioid prescriptions.
“Reducing the supply of legal prescriptions for opioids is pushing people into black market heroin/fentanyl abuse,” pointed out Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer, a Phoenix surgeon and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “The number one cause of drug deaths is drug prohibition. We need to change our focus to harm reduction. We need to change from a war on drugs to a war on drug deaths.”
Even though legislation was introduced in 2017 to permit Wisconsin doctors to prescribe safe, non-addicting medical cannabis, the bills never got out of committees. Wisconsin is almost surrounded by states where patients can get safe medical cannabis. “Wisconsin is open for business;” the pharmaceutical business.
Things in our state capitol are not always what they seem to be. April has been no exception.
A bill described by opponents as an assault on free speech, democracy, and on our constitutionally protected rights passed the Legislature, barring the state from contracting with companies that participate in an economic boycott of a repressive, apartheid government, Israel. Opponents argued at a public hearing that the bill was dangerous and anti-democratic. [Note: Norwegian MP Bjørnar Moxnes has nominated the international protest movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions for the Nobel Peace Prize!]
On the Easter weekend, following passage of the Wisconsin bill, a thousand unarmed Palestinian protesters were shot, injured, or killed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza. Where was the outrage?
There was no outrage. On the following Monday, Governor Walker signed legislation making it illegal for Wisconsin companies to participate in an economic boycott of what South Africa calls, “the only state in the world that can be called an apartheid state”
Further doubling down on the anti-democratic theme of the law, it also prohibits state agencies and local governments from establishing their own policies on boycotting Israel.
“As governor, I will restore local control to counties and municipalities.”
Gov. Scott Walker on the campaign trail.
In contrast to his campaign rhetoric, time and again, Governor Walker has signed legislation into law which has either restricted the authority of local elected officials or imposed burdensome mandates on local governments.
The right to organize boycotts, to marshal economic pressure to effect political change, is protected under the First Amendment,” explains the National Lawyers Guild.
The American Civil Liberties Union has argued that a similar Arizona law violates the First and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution by forcing contractors “to disavow their participation in political boycotts.” Wisconsin taxpayers must now be prepared to pay to defend restrictions on civil rights in Wisconsin!
Human Rights Watch reports that fifty years after Israel illegally occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, “it controls those areas through repression, institutionalized discrimination, and systematic abuses of the Palestinian population’s rights.”Read more
WAUSAU 4/8/2018 ~ Last week Governor Walker said he is willing to send OUR Wisconsin National Guard to the Mexican border. That is not what they signed up for. They are willing to be activated in cases of a state or national emergency, not political stunts.
Activating members of the Guard has many undesirable and disruptive consequences; on individuals, families, communities, and businesses, not to mention local Guard units themselves. Libertarians are concerned for the men and women members of the Wisconsin Guard being snatched away from classes, jobs or families to serve on the U.S. southern border.
Ed Thompson, former Libertarian candidate for governor once said, “The governor of Wisconsin has a responsibility to watch out for our citizens and the Guard members for which he is responsible.” In the interests of Wisconsin’s ‘homeland security’, Wisconsin Guard members belong in Wisconsin.
The use of the Armed Forces for law enforcement inside the United States would be legal only if authorized by Act of Congress or the President determines that the use of the Armed Forces is required to fulfill the President's obligations under the Constitution to respond promptly in time of war, insurrection, or other serious emergency."
If the President needs troops on America’s southern border, we remind him that there are thousands of Americans who remain stationed all over the planet as a result of past conflicts dating all the way back to the Spanish-American War. Bring them home.
Jim Maas, Chair
Marathon County Libertarians
I'm really tired of hearing about the Second Amendment! To be clear, that is because Wisconsin has a better constitutional amendment to protect our rights.
• Some critics of the Second Amendment bring up the unfortunate wording about a well organized militia. I don't want to be sidetracked to a debate about a militia. Wisconsin's amendment is short, clear and to the point. It is hard to misinterpret.
• Some critics note that the Second Amendment was written centuries ago and weapons were different then. Wisconsin's amendment was written in the 1990s. And, unlike the US Constitution, was approved, twice in statewide referenda!
Gun rights activists worked hard to pass our gun rights amendment then. Why don't they refer to it now?
Well, okay, Article I, Section 25 doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it? I still like the content.
"The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose."
If you agree, share.
On Oct. 26, President Donald Trump declared opioid abuse a public health emergency and promised to redirect federal resources to
the problem. In his speech announcing yet another war on drugs, Trump told a story about his brother Fred’s addiction to a completely legal substance: alcohol. We all know how disastrous alcohol prohibition was in the early 20th century, so could a
new government battle against opioids be any more successful?
“Of course not,” said Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark. “Drug wars have been failing for over 100 years. The role of government is to deal with people who hurt other people, steal from them, or violate agreements. That’s it. Futile attempts to prevent people from harming themselves with drugs don’t fall under that umbrella.”
According to drug abuse historian David Courtwright of the University of North Florida, there were an estimated 300,000 opioid addicts at the peak of addiction in the 19th century, representing an addiction rate of 0.48 percent of the population.
“This is a stunningly low percentage for a time when there were essentially no drug laws,” Sarwark said. “Morphine, opium, marijuana, cocaine, laudanum, and other currently illegal drugs were freely available, with or without prescription and in many unregulated patent medicines. Today, according to the rehabilitation specialists at Addictions.com, there are 12 million illegal users of opioids. That’s 3.9 percent of today’s population — an eightfold increase.”
Statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a small but stable correlation between opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths from any opioid, legal or illegal, between 2006 and 2010 — roughly one death per 13,000 prescriptions. In 2010, federal pressure caused a decrease in legal opioid prescriptions. The correlation between opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths turned sharply negative. Fewer legal prescriptions led to more overdose deaths.
“Reducing the supply of legal prescriptions for opioids is pushing people into black market heroin/fentanyl abuse,” pointed out Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer, a Phoenix surgeon and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “The no. 1 cause of drug deaths is drug prohibition. We need to change our focus to harm reduction. We need to change from a war on drugs to a war on drug deaths.”Read more
Libertarian candidate for governor says he offers a break from two-party bickering
by Lisa Speckhard, The Cap Times
There are a lot of declared Democratic contenders for governor of Wisconsin in 2018, but Republican Gov. Scott Walker thinks they’re all pretty much the same. "For me, it really doesn't matter who comes out of that primary; it’ll be more of the same," he said right before announcing his run for re-election.
Phil Anderson, the chair of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin and another gubernatorial candidate, agrees. But he thinks voters will get "more of the same" whether they vote for a Democrat or Walker.
“People know what the two-party system is. They resign themselves to it, but they know that it’s corrupt. They know that no matter who’s the governor, a Democrat or Republican, spending goes up and up and up and up,” he said. “More intrusion into our lives increases all the time. And they’re really, really tired of it.”
Anderson appeared on the Sunday political talk show “Capital City Sunday,” to talk about his bid for governor. As a libertarian, he advocated for small government, small spending and a big emphasis on local control. “We want to give the state of Wisconsin back to the people of Wisconsin,” he said.
It is all over the newspapers, magazines, and television; we have an Opioid Crisis!
According to Healthy Wisconsin, “Over the last ten years, opioid related hospital visits and deaths in Wisconsin have doubled, especially among young adults. Prescription opioids are the most common culprit, but using heroin—a strong, cheap and easily available alternative to prescription drugs—is also on the rise. In fact, three out of four heroin users started by abusing prescription painkillers.” (Not marijuana.)
Unfortunately, then this state agency, as well as our President, promote more government “solutions.” The real cause of this “crisis” goes back to many government policies which must be dismantled.
Why do we have an Opioid Crisis?
- Big Pharma (large pharmaceutical companies which have a powerful, negative influence.) has influenced doctors and government agencies to accept increased doses of prescription drugs. When addicted and their prescriptions run out, some patients then switch to black market drugs (more pills or heroin). Big Pharma also influences legislators to prohibit cannabis (marijuana) as a safe, natural, non-addictive alternative to the chemicals they sell. Recent bills in the Wisconsin Legislature to permit more adults to use licensed cannabis have been blocked.
- Drug Prohibition. Until the Harrison Act was passed in 1914, heroin and cocaine were both perfectly legal and easily obtainable over the counter. There was no opioid crisis because there was no war on drugs. With drug prohibition, the black market took over and the availability of the drug one wanted from a clean store in a specific strength in a safe, legal transaction disappeared. Thanks a lot, Washington. Why does this failed program continue? Follow the money.
Provisions tucked into a Republican bill relaxing Wisconsin's concealed carry would allow felons to possess antique firearms. Right now, felons in Wisconsin can't own firearms for the rest of their lives.
Wisconsin's constitution (Article I, Section 25) clearly states that “The people” have the right to bear arms for “any lawful purpose.” Do ex-felons stop being people for the rest of their lives?
Many people believe that most felons are violent. That simply is not true. With mandatory sentencing guidelines, most drug possession charges are felonies. So are check fraud charges, tax offenses, and other frauds. As a result, Wisconsin has a huge group of former felons today who were guilty of victimless crimes and the majority are entirely non-violent.
My favorite example of an ex-felon is Martha Stewart. In Wisconsin's system of perpetual punishment, she would be prohibited from lawfully exercising her constitutional right to bear arms because of a dispute with federal law enforcement. Who seriously considers her a danger to the community? Libertarians want former lawbreakers who have paid for their crimes to fully become productive and participating parts of our society once again.Read more