Washington Libertarian Review

Political commentary from the State of Washington with a libertarian perspective.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Libertarian candidate for Mayor in San Diego generating buzz

Today's San Diego Union (the major city paper) has a long article regarding erstwhile California Libertarian Senatorial candidate Richard Rider entitled The contrarian candidate.

While the story opens on a distinctly negative tone--i.e.: "For years, folks around San Diego City Hall have called Richard Rider an obstructionist, a gadfly, a crank."--the paper devoted considerable space to Rider's agenda and strategy for election as mayor, which is to place second in a field of 6 candidates and then martial support from the losers. According to the Union, Rider admits "the odds are against me, but not long odds. I think there's a shot at this."

While the article is distinctly negative it is still cause for celebration. All candidates know they get ignored until they become a threat; then they get attacked. So, I think it fair to conclude that Rider is seen as a genuine threat to the San Diego establishment.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

National ID? Its coming unless YOU do something about it.

The ONLY Washington congressional delegate to vote against the REAL ID bill, precursor to a national ID card, which was imbedded deeply within the more or less innocuous sounding Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005 H.R. 1268 was Jim McDermott. Remember that when your congressperson is up for reelection.

ROLL CALL on the Flag and the First Amendment

Here is how Washington's congressional delegation voted on H. J. RES. 10, involving a constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration.

Voting yes: Baird, Hastings, McMorris, Reichert, Smith.
Voting no: Inslee, Larsen, Dicks, McDermott.

The final vote tally was 286-130. If ratified, the measure would mark the first time the Bill of Rights has been amended.

Also interesting is the vote on this proposed substitute resolution from Rep. Watt of North Carolina:

"Not inconsistent with the first article of amendment to this Constitution, the Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."

This version was rejected, 129-279. A yes vote was to adopt the substitute.

Voting yes: Inslee, Larsen, Baird, Dicks, McDermott.
Voting no: Hastings, McMorris, Reichert, Smith.

Of particular interest is that Baird voted yes both times.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

U.S. Supreme Court smothers liberty

Well, some had speculated in the wake of the gay rights decision a few years ago (Lawrence v Texas) that the Supreme Court had developed "libertarian" sympathies. Some even worried that elevating Justice Thomas to Chief Justice on Rehnquist's retirement would exascerbate the drift toward liberty.

By now, as reported by the New York Times, it should be quite clear that it was all but a dream. The court decided today that private property can be taken by the government for private economic development purposes regardless whether the property, or the owner, is causing any harm within the community. According to Justice John Paul Stevens, "Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted governmental function, and there is no principled way of distinguishing it from the other public purposes the court has recognized." So now, as Justice O'Conner put it, "Nothing is to prevent the state from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory."

As with the historic misuse of the Commerce Clause, the U.S. Supreme Court has demonstrated, once again, that "the fix is in" and there are no sacred state's or individual's rights any more.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Democrats release major report on the 2004 presidential election in Ohio...major administrative problems but no fraud

After a six month investigation the National Democratic Party has released its 204 page "Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio." Although the investigation revealed no significant evidence of fraud, there were numerous instances of bureaucratic screw ups. Major points in the executive summary include:
A. Substantial numbers of voters experienced problems in voting and these problems varied significantly by race, geography and type of voting machine and tabulation system that was used.
B. Scarcity of voting equipment caused long lines and deterred people from voting. These problems varied significantly by race and type of voting machine.
C. Provisional ballots were vastly overused in Ohio and the types of voters forced to vote provisionally varied significantly by registration status, residential mobility and race. Anecdotal evidence suggests these problems were due to extremely faulty election administration.
D. Identification requirements were illegally administered and the effects varied significantly by race and age.
E. There were significant problems in processing new registrations and these problems varied by race and county.
F. Many voters experienced intimidation and this experience varied significantly by race.
G Voters were less likely to have their votes counted in counties using punchcard machines and optical scan machines that were centrally tabulated.
H. The study findings and independent analysis indicate that the use of DRE (touchscreen) machines is highly problematic and the use of precinct-tabulated optical scan systems is vastly preferable if accessibility issues can be successfully addressed.
I. The statistical study of precinct-level data does not suggest the occurrence of widespread fraud that systematically misallocated votes from Kerry to Bush.

Monday, June 13, 2005

"Open Borders" - Another reason the Libertarian Party is going nowhere

Blogger McQ takes two California Libertarian candidates to task for advocating open borders.

Regardless of the theoretical purity of the "open borders" argument, it is certainly not a popular idea among the public. I simply can not see how "open borders" can work unless and until all countries are free and (more or less) democratic.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Supreme Court misreads the Commerce Clause

This past Monday (6/6/05) the U.S Supreme Court held in Gonzales v. Raich that the commerce powers granted to Congress by the U.S. Constitution trump the historical police powers reserved to the states. As Justice Thomas said in dissent, "If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything—and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers."

If there is any surprise here, it is that Thomas actually thought the federal government had limited powers. At least now the cat is out of the bag.

Friday, June 10, 2005

"F DUBYA" too hot for state officials

Following a spate of complaints, the Washington State Department of Licensing revoked a controversial license plate that said "F DUBYA." Undaunted, owner Dan Kaiser put one of the two plates up for auction on eBay.

According to Kaiser, "I had this plate on my car for 4 months before receiving a letter from the DOL informing me that they determined my plate to be 'Offensive to good taste and decency.' This plate has changed my life. I receive comments all day long while driving around town. Usually it's either a middle finger or a thumbs up. (My own personal 'up or down' vote). I feel like KRAMER driving around with his ASSMAN plates. I've had people wanting their pictures taken beside the plate, had interesting conversations at gas stations, many waves and horn toots. It's been a blast."

As of this post, bidding for the plate had reached $1,526.00, with 2 days to go. Never underestimate American ingenuity.

UPDATE: 6/11/05

Now it appears the plate was too hot for ebay as well. The site now says: "This listing (3978277794) has been removed by eBay or is no longer available." Ten cents says the bidding will continue off line.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Jefferson County Democrats squabble over candidate nomination rules.

In a move that is certain to bolster the State's defense of its need to regulate partisan candidate nominating proceedures Jefferson County Democrats have splintered over an allegedly nonbinding vote by the county democratic party executive committee to endorse a recently appointed county clerk for reelection. State party rules provide for nominating conventions, but the issue of pre-convention endorsements is hotly contested, and 6 members of the county executive committee have resigned over the matter.