A Better Voting Method



Our election system has a major problem.  Many of us are tired of the two party system, yet we wind up voting for a major party because we feel that a Libertarian candidate can’t win, or we feel that a vote for A is “really” a vote for B.  We have, at least at statewide and federal elections a system of voting called “first past the post”, in other words whoever gets the most votes wins.  This voting system in and of itself has structural flaws.

Continue reading “A Better Voting Method”

Why true conservatives should favor marijuana legalization


As a Libertarian, I will agree with the conservative movement on 90% of all issues.  I agree that we need a smaller government, lower taxes, more secure borders, strong stance against terrorism.  I also feel that the First & Second Amendments are under attack.  Christianity and gun laws are, in my opinion, being unfairly targeted.  Additionally I consider education to be an issue for the states and I will forever stand up against Common Core and top-down government interference into our lives.  However, I feel that if we’re going to be for liberty and individual freedom, there is no good reason why these freedoms should not extend to the bedroom and to the medicine cabinet.  This is why I support same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana.  I’m all for lower taxes and smaller government, but if we’re going to be for those principles, we have to go all the way with that thought – we cannot cherry pick which natural rights to uphold and wish to banish based on some code of morality.
I will attempt to lay out the case that favoring an end to drug prohibition is the right thing to do BECAUSE of Conservative principles, NOT in spite of them.  I not suggesting that we should abandon our principles in order to oppose drug prohibition.  Quite the opposite – I think that the principles that we were founded on, and the principles of conservatism that we fight for every day should in actuality COMPEL us to OPPOSE drug prohibition.  Supporting the legalization of marijuana, an end to the War On Drugs, abolishing of the DEA and repeal of the Controlled Substances Act is entirely consistent with conservative principles, and is something we should champion.  If a liberal opposed drug legalization, then while I wouldn’t agree with it, at least they’d be consistent, since the left likes top-down government regulation and nanny state laws.  We’re supposed to be better than that!
I feel that if you are for states’ rights, liberty and personal freedom, and are not willing to extend those rights to people who want to marry the one they love, and give patients the right to choose medical treatments  without Federal government interference, this is to me an inconsistent position.  It’s one thing to sit on the sideline.  There are many who, while they don’t support full legalization, do respect states’ rights and are at the very least willing to consider medical legalization.  That’s something that I can simply “agree to disagree” with.  But many conservative groups are openly attacking any type of legalization.  I find this to be a very disturbing stance.  What draws me and many Libertarians to the Conservative cause is our common goal for a free society, less government regulation and more personal freedom.  That’s something that Libertarians and Conservatives have in common.  Legalizing drugs is a natural progression for our principles if we follow them all the way through.  I want to be on the right side, I want to stand up to defeat Progressivism. But the reason many Libertarians like myself can’t get fully on board is, pardon my saying so, this stubborn and moral high-horse insistence on preserving antiquated and draconian laws that have no place in a free society. 

So with that said, I will outline what I feel are the biggest anti-marijuana arguments (and my rebuttals), and follow up with my own list of reasons (entirely from a conservative and constitutional point of view) why we should legalize.
ANTI-LEGALIZATION ARGUMENTS
#1: “Marijuana has no currently accepted medical use.”
Accepted by whom?  The government?  This is at best a vague statement.  It doesn’t say that the government or even physicians have to accept medical use (though many thousands of doctors do).  There are enough case studies to, if nothing else, show that there is plausibly a benefit.  How can we claim that marijuana has no medical benefit and should remain on Schedule I, while such scheduling prohibits exactly the type of research that is required to SHOW medical benefit in the first place?  Meanwhile other drugs like alcohol have even less benefit, yet these are widely available in every supermarket.  How is this logical? 
#2: “But it’s dangerous and addictive…”
Guns can be dangerous, alcohol can be dangerous and addictive, yet as conservatives we don’t bat an eye at them.  I am not anti-second Amendment or for alcohol prohibition.  Dangerous, addictive, potential for abuse – these are subjective terms.  Drinking a six-pack can be addictive.  Doing so and getting behind the wheel of a car is dangerous.  Alcohol is a drug.  It has no medical benefits, has a high potential for addiction and abuse, can be dangerous, and should be kept away from kids.  Yet it’s perfectly legal and (correctly) no one in their right mind would attack alcohol the way that our society attacks marijuana.  A pure double-standard.
#3: “But we need to keep it out of the hands of children…” 
I agree, but again, just like alcohol, we CAN do that without total prohibition.  In states where pot has been legalized, buying it is very much like buying liquor – you get carded to make sure you’re 21 before you’re allowed on the sales floor.  Yet children DO get hold of alcohol now.  How about we let parents handle this?  How about we have parents teaching their children about the facts of marijuana use, in the same way we teach them now about responsible gun use and being responsible with alcohol?  Yes marijuana SHOULD be kept away from children except under strict medical supervision.  It can impair thinking, slow the brain.  Driving with it is dangerous.  It is subject to abuse and can ruin people’s lives if done so.  All that is true about liquor as well, yet we tried banning alcohol in the 1920s.  How did that work out?  Have we as freedom-loving Americans learned NOTHING from prohibition?  I really thought it was the progressive left who wanted to leave parenting to top-down government agencies.  We’re supposed to be better than that!  It seems to me that this argument justifies banning a substance entirely just to keep it out of the hands of a few.  Liquor, guns, prescription drugs – we’ve all found ways to work with these, we have reasonable precautions in place to make sure that the wrong people don’t get hold of them.  None of these are guaranteed, but if we truly wanted a completely safe society, we’d have to ban alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, cars, airplanes, and any type of industry.  Sometimes you play the cost-benefit analysis and realize that we’re simply overreacting.   Of course recreational marijuana should be kept from children, I’m fully on board with that.  It can stunt mental growth and cause harm, and I don’t think that kids should get it unless it’s a last-resort medical treatment, but a blanket ban on a drug just so a segment of the population doesn’t get it?  That’s what the left says about the Second Amendment.  There are plenty of other things that we need to prevent kids from acquiring and we manage those just fine.  Of course they’re not perfect, but at what point to we put on our big-boy pants and realize that we just can’t protect the entire world from itself without taking away freedom?  If we’re so concerned with the example that we’re setting for our children, I would turn that around and say that what example is prohibition setting?  Kids are smart, they know that marijuana will not turn them into some zombie terrorist with one puff.  They see right through that.  All we’re teaching them is that we claim to stand for freedom… as long as we agree with those freedoms.  There’s no difference between that and the left wanting to quash free speech that THEY disagree with. 
#4: “Drugs lead to crime and dangerous drug trafficking and cartels.” 
This is in my opinion an illogical statement and a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The reason that drug cartels exist is BECAUSE it’s illegality creates a black market.  Drug trafficking exists BECAUSE of prohibition – we don’t have problem with bootlegging and moonshining anymore because since liquor is legal.  If a drug was legalized and/or decriminalized, the black market would dry up overnight because trafficking and smuggling would no longer be profitable.
PRO-LEGALIZATION ARGUMENTS
#1: It’s a Constitution and states’ rights issue.
At the very least, federal drug scheduling is, in my admittedly non-professional opinion, a violation of the Tenth Amendment.  There is simply nothing in the Constitution that gives the Federal government the authority to regulate non-violent personal habits.  The very existence of the Controlled Substances Act is a direct overreach of Federal authority.  Nowhere is this power enumerated to the Federal government in the U.S. Constitution.  At most, deciding whether to legalize or criminalize any substance should be on the state level. To quote Congressman Ron Paul, “According to the Constitution, legislation regarding drug use and abuse is a State level issue. The issue is not addressed specifically in the text of the U.S. Constitution, so it falls under the broad umbrella of powers that our Founders “left to the States and the people” in the 10th Amendment.”  Five of the top ten conservative U.S. Senators (according to the Conservative Review) rate C or B on the norml.org Congressional scorecard – while they may not personally be comfortable with legalization, they’re at the very least willing to consider medical use, decriminalization, or simply watching what happens in WA, AK, OR, and CO and letting the states decide for themselves.
#2: It’s a personal freedom issue
Our nation was founded on liberty and freedom and the right to pursue happiness.  Drug laws, just like education, are in my opinion the sole purview of the states under the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment.  We conservatives are supposed to value freedom, not take it away. I’m not a fan of cannabis, I will stipulate that it can do harm to people who consume it, but shouldn’t responsible adults be able to choose for themselves?  Why is it any of the government’s business what consenting adults put in their own body?  To me the argument should end right there. Staunch opponents claim that marijuana is somehow bad for society.  Can we be a tad more specific?   That sounds like high-horse moralism to me.  Yes it’s fine for us to have our beer and our guns but we have decided that you should be denied your own vices! I think we as a nation have had enough of “Reefer Madness.”  Again I would completely understand if conservatives in this country don’t actively advocate for drug legalization.  But when you openly attack it that is not something I can reconcile with my beliefs.  What happened to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, that we have freedoms as long as we own up to the possible consequences.  The top down control that is the DEA scheduling laws, the nanny state intrusion of the government – this is stuff I would expect to hear from the Progressive left, not from patriots who claim to be for freedom!  Why do we oppose Obamacare?  Because (among other reasons) we don’t think that the government should have anything to do with medical decisions – yet when you oppose legalization on the grounds of harmful effects, you are saying just that – we can tell you not to take something because it’s bad for you.  Though I obviously can’t know this for sure, I would be willing to bet that the Founding Fathers would not have approved of laws like the Controlled Substances Act.  My #1 President of all time was Thomas Jefferson, and I can almost guarantee he is turning in his grave to see such a blatant overreach of centralized power.
#3: What exactly does “accepted medical use” mean anyway?
Shouldn’t parents have the right to choose a medical treatment for their children, done under close clinical supervision?  The tide is turning in America.  What are the FDA and DEA but large overpowering federal bureaucracies?  Why should we reduce or remove the IRS, the EPA, or the DOE, and tell Americans that they can have guns but they can’t marry who they want and consume what they want?  This is cherry-picking, wanting to preserve rights that you like, and quash rights for things you don’t like.  When I see conservative organizations advocate for drug scheduling, I see a desire for top-down government control, of nanny state regulation.  That is not what conservatism is about for me.
#4: True fiscal conservatism demands it.
We claim to be in favor of smaller government, and reduced spending.  We don’t like it when Federal bureaucracies overreach into the private lives of Americans.  What are the FDA and DEA but Federal bureaucracies?  How can we justify spending billions per year on a futile and unnecessary “war on drugs?” How can we claim to be fiscally conservative, yet fine with wasting billions per year chasing, arresting, prosecuting, and jailing otherwise law-abiding citizens for nothing more that possessing a natural plant?  To support the War on Drugs is to support top-down big government spending and control.  Again, this is an argument I’d expect to hear from the Progressive left, not patriots like us.

#5: Free-market capitalism

We claim to be in favor of a free market and job creation, yet we would stifle growth in an area where it’s been shown (ironically it can’t be scientifically proven only because studies can’t be done while on Schedule I) that this drug very possibly does have medical benefit for cancer patients, epileptics, depression and anxiety.  Marijuana is a billion-dollar market that creates jobs, revenue, and tax revenue.  In Colorado in 2015, license fees and taxes alone generated $135 million in public revenue.  Washington raised over $1 billion over the past four years.  $250 million per year.  Multiply that by 50 and you have $12.5 billion in tax revenue alone!  In 2010 alone, the U.S. Government spent $15 billion in drug enforcement.  That would be a net difference of $27.5 billion, and since the black market has dried up, I would argue that America would be SAFER (and richer) than before.

#6: The American people want it.
Americans, particularly younger voters, are getting sick and tired of the War on Drugs.  A 2015 Gallup Poll shows that 58% of Americans back legal marijuana use. This includes 71% of 18-34 year olds, and 65% of those 35-49.  These are not fringe groups – we’re getting tired of useless prohibition.  Opposing full legalization and decriminalization is like trying to hold back a boulder rolling downhill.  
Unelected federal bureaucrats in Washington deciding whether or not citizens can be “allowed” to choose what they put in their own body?  How much more draconian can you get?  This sounds like a leftist top-down government nanny-state point of view, not something coming from people who value liberty and freedom.

Confession Time

Part of being a blogger and commentator is admitting when you’re wrong.  The fact that this mistake was made 12 years ago makes no difference.  You see, I was once a Democrat.  But so was Ronald Reagan.  And I feel the same way that he must have felt when he said that “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party – The Democratic Party left me.”  For a long time I felt a deep hatred toward Reagan, I cheered the day GHW Bush was voted out of office, got angry at Florida for allegedly costing Al Gore the White House, blamed GW Bush for causing 911 and voted for Barack Obama.  Now I have Reagan ranked #4 on my best Presidents of all time (up to you to guess #1-3). I feel that while GW Bush was not a great President and he had is flaws, he is not nearly the monster or idiot that Michael Moore painted him as.  He was a simple-spoken person but a patriot who would not put up with the bullshit that ISIS presents us with.  I believe that Al Gore is a hypocrite, preaching to us about global warming while living in a large house with a huge electric bill and flying around in his private jet.  This would be an awful place if he had won in 2000, and like it or not, GW Bush did win fair and square.  I distanced myself from Barack Obama and voted against him in 2012.   Somewhere along the line during Obama’s first term, I finally saw the light.  Now that I’ve confessed my sins, I must reflect on why I committed them in the first place.

As I type this, I’m watching a documentary called “Farenhype 911” a response to Michael Moore’s 2004 “documentary” Fahrenheit 911.  I watched that movie in the theaters, even applauded at the end.  As the years went on I realized how much of a fraud Mr. Moore, and most of the Democrat establishment, is.  I am now making fun of a movie that just 12 years ago I was giving rave reviews on. 

So what happened?  Why the sudden change?
That’s a bit more complicated.  I’m the same person I always was.  My political turnaround is due to two factors.  Some of my beliefs have changed as I learned that what I thought was the truth wasn’t really so.  In other cases the beliefs themselves were re-labeled; things I believed all along but realized that these are not Democrat principles to begin with. But I was a Democrat because I had fallen under the spell that they were the “party of the people.”  So I haven’t changed in that I’m still “for the people” but I realize that the solutions I was presented with were either based on lies, or not well-thought through.  The Democrats have always been liberal but these days they’ve gone off the deep end.  Giving money and aid to Iran is more important than better VA Hospitals for our nation’s heroes.  Christian organizations have come under attack while we won’t attack terrorists out of fear of hurting the feelings of Muslim Americans.  Feelings and artificial social constructs have taken the place of logic, facts, and science.  If I could sum up very quickly why Mitt Romney lost in 2012, it would be this:  Romney told us what we needed to hear, Obama told us what we wanted to hear.

There was no moment but the turning point was in 2009 when I was watching the “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno.  Glenn Beck was a guest that night.  Obama had just come into office.  I made myself listen to the interview and a strange thing happened:  I started to think, “Hey, you know this guy actually is saying some of the things I’ve been thinking.  This makes sense.”  I had that moment that Columbus’s detractors must have felt when they found out that the earth was, indeed, round after all.
The door that had been ajar for a few years had now opened wide.  I started to accept that I’ve been taught a very narrow range of viewpoints.  Seen the world only from a limited view.  Assumed that Democrats were for the good guys and Republicans were just for greedy rich people, because that was what I was told growing up.  I start to realize, that’s wrong.  I made my decisions based on either false or misconstrued evidence, but although there were Conservatives around me in school, I wrote them off as cold, heartless, and party-poopers.  I had no reason to feel this way.  I had no evidence, because I just assumed the liberal news media and my teachers were right I blindly followed Dukakis, then Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama.  Then as Obama’s first term went by I realized, hey he’s not doing what he promised.  He’s promised “hope and change” but things are getting worse, not better.  I trusted this guy and what has he done for us?

Why do I do this blog?  Because if a dyed-in-the-wool liberal like I was 8 years ago could make this level of transformation then I believe anyone else can if presented with actual information and research.  I want to help others do the same thing. Stay informed, follow the stories, ask questions.  I want to enlighten others as I’ve been enlightened.  I don’t think that Democrats are stupid (well the ones in power are).  Most Americans are good honest people who just want to have a good life, raise their families, work hard at an honest job and keep food on the table.  They hear Democrats talk about economic equality and free college and say, “Yep, sounds good.”  Then they hear Republicans talk about Federal deficit and terrorist groups 10,000 miles away and it doesn’t resonate.  Why does this work? How can Clinton get into office despite holding on to failed policies, and a 24 year history of lies, scandals, and criminal activity?  Because at the end of the day people look at her and look at Trump and figure, “She’s the sane one.”  They don’t look at ideology at the end of the day.  I understand this feeling.  I suffered from it myself for almost 30 years.  But when I actually started digging in and looking for the truth, and actually learned about what was happening, listened to intelligent well-informed people instead of NBC News and CNN, I began to see that I had been a conservative all along.  I think that’s what America needs.  Nobody should ever vote or not vote for a person strictly on the say-so of anyone.  Not me, not the media, certainly not celebrities, not even media that you trust.  We have to look at the candidates, find who best represents us, and vote for that person.  Don’t worry about “wasted” votes, or “he/she can’t win.”  Go out there and choose your conscience.  I’m not trying to convert anyone’s political views here, I’m merely pointing out that we all owe it to ourselves to not just form our opinions from 140-character sound bytes.  I’m trying to give people the information and get people interested in researching for themselves.  The liberal news media can put up their Hillary posters all they want, but we are Americans with two eyes, two ears and a brain.  I am confident that when ordinary Americans are presented with the truth, we will choose freedom, and thus Libertarianism, or at least Conservatism as a backup.  They can see that we’ve been lied to, that Liberty is the best way forward.  And if they don’t and vote for Hillary Clinton anyway, then while I disagree with their decision, at least it will be an informed one.

So  watch the news, do the research, find the facts, ask ourselves who’s giving these opinions and who’s biased for what reason?  If someone claims a law is unconstitutional, then take out a Constitution and read it.  See for yourself.  Constitution is not a dirty word, it’s the document that this nation was founded on.  It’s the law of the land, yet politicians these days are perfectly fine ignoring the Constitution out of political correctness or expedience.  If someone proposes a law that looks good “raising the minimum wage”, “expand Obamacare”, don’t just take the headline for its word.  Ask yourself where the money comes from.  Don’t you think your taxes are high enough?  The only things that count here are facts, logic, truth, and what’s truly good for you and this country.  I’ve laid out the reasons many times why I believe that Hillary Clinton is not only the wrong person ideologically, but is an evil and dangerous person who can’t be trusted.  Bottom line – When Donald Trump makes a mistake, some people get offended.  When Hillary Clinton makes a mistake, people get killed (sometimes unintentionally).  While I will not vote for either one of them, I will say that despite Donald Trump’s personality flaws, that he truly loves America.  I honestly cannot say that about Hillary Clinton. This my opinion and mine alone.  Now go and form yours.

I find it difficult to believe that I’m lampooning a movie I thought was gospel not 12 years ago.  It was a long process, but once I learned to look for the truth, I could not go back.  I hope that by writing this blog I can encourage others to seek the truth as well.  The truth will set us free, though it will royally piss us off first.

Why you SHOULD vote Libertarian!

 

Johnson & Weld, Libertarians for President 2016

http://www.johnsonweld.com

Many Americans are thinking the following right now: “We can’t elect Hillary Clinton because she’s too untrustworthy, but I don’t think Trump is conservative enough.  I hate that the two party system is so broken, I mean how can these be our top two choices?  I know there are a few other choices but I don’t think they can win.”

Ok, time out, stop right there!  Do NOT be this person! I hear the naysayers all the time expressing doubt at third party candidates. Spoilers.  Waste of vote.  I’ve heard them all.  Every two years we have a chance of breaking the two party stranglehold that gave us Trump and Clinton, and every time we conservatives complain about the two party system, then we go to the polls and say “umm, no thanks we like the way it is.”  If you dismiss a real viable option because you think they can’t win, then shame on you!  What kind of attitude is that?  You have now become part of the very thing you claim to be against.  If you do this then you have no business coming back and complaining about the two party system.  You had your chance but caved in to same-old-same-old, hoping in vain that this year things will be different.  The Democrats will come in and fight for working people, the Republicans will come in and lower taxes.  And EACH AND EVERY time we get shafted.  We’ve become so beaten down, become so used to politics as usual that I don’t think we know what true freedom is anymore! I get it we want to vote for the winner but this attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  We don’t believe in they can win, so we don’t vote for them, so they don’t win, so there’s no traction next time, and on and on we go, and the Washington political machine is all too happy to eat up the fruits of our discontent.  The only person who can stop a third party candidate from winning is you.

If Johnson and Weld can  get on the debate stages anything is possible.  They need to get to 15% in the polling so please when the pollsters call, just say “Johnson.” :).  It’s just a poll, and wouldn’t the debates be much more watchable with these guys on the stage?  I think so.

I get that the Democrats want their social programs and conservatives might not like Johnson’s stances on religious liberty and border control.  I understand that.  But Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz are not in the race.  But I’ve followed them for several months now, I’ve seen every Libertarian debate and town hall.  Say what you want, both of them are former Republican governors who were re-elected by large margins in blue states (New Mexico for Johnson and Massachusetts for running mate William Weld.  They have a great chemistry with each other, they’re good people, well-spoken, fiscally responsible, intelligent, knowledgeable about the issues, have no “agenda” and are willing to listen.  Just as importantly, they pass the “beer test.”  They’re people we can trust, people who can talk to us.  Can you say that about any other candidates?  Does Hillary Clinton give you the warm-and-fuzzies? When you get in that voting booth, can you be reasonably sure that this time we will make a difference? We don’t have to agree on everything but we do have to agree that this is the time for change, and it’s about time that as a people we put our money where our mouths are.

Finally, this is about more than one election cycle.  There isn’t a candidate out there at any level who could fix our problems single-handedly so we have to hold the long view.  Even if Johnson & Weld don’t win (don’t listen to the naysayers.  You know you like these two so just act on it.), say they get 20% of the vote, or even win a state.  That starts the momentum.  In 2018 we get some Libertarians in Congress.  In 2020 the Libertarian ticket gets 40%, in 2024 60% and the Presidency.  Can it happen?  Absolutely!  It took 100 years of progressive politics – Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Obama – to get where we are, we won’t take it down overnight.  Every four years since 1988 The GOP had their chances to put a true Conservative in the White House and stop the Progressives.  They have blown it time and time and time again.  Year after year  it’s either a RINO or someone who don’t know how to manage a campaign.  Isn’t it time to give the Johnson/Weld ticket a try?  I would 100% trust Johnson & Weld with our ship of state, knowing that with them we at least have a fighting chance, a chance to begin a very special movement toward true freedom and liberty.  A government that is fiscally responsible like the conservatives with the personal freedom of liberals.  It is literally the best of both worlds.

So please America, this is your chance.  Do the research.  Watch the Town Hall, visit their website, and you’ll see that they really do speak to us, that their values are our values, that all of us are Libertarians at heart.  It is NOT too late to save our country, but if we don’t make the right choices very soon, it very well may be.