Archive for the ‘Libertarian’ Category

Ron Paul Was Right (The [Short] Movie!)

December 18, 2008

I ran across the following video on my homepage on YouTube earlier today.  It details some of the predictions that were made by Representative Ron Paul the Great (R-TX) and Peter Schiff (head of Euro Pacific Capital) about the economy:

Honestly, it amazes me how much Ron Paul has been right, yet people still dismiss him as some wacky libertarian politician.  Sure, SOME of his supporters may have been a little … weird, but for the most part, his supporters were normal, just like him.

And although I didn’t vote for him in the primary (he probably would’ve been my second or third pick), I at least have the common courtesy to say when he’s right, and when it comes to economic issues especially, that’s almost every time he speaks.  And I don’t think that it’s because Dr. Paul is some super-genius (although he is a VERY bright individual); I think it’s because he’s not afraid to call things as he sees them.  There’s no sugar coating with him.

He called things such as the trouble with adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), the problems with the Federal Reserve, and inflation years ago.

I give a lot of credit to Neil Cavuto the Great for acknowledging that Paul was right.

And honestly, I am ashamed of the Republican Party for the way that they tried to ostracize Representative Paul because he has a different stance on a few issues.

That video also had a clip from an interview with Representative Joe Knollenberg (R-MI)  (the one where he said, “It’s not your money”) that I did a blog post on.  When I hear that, it still appalls me that he could say that (and he’s one of my favorite representatives).

My only hope is that we will start listening to the things that Ron Paul is saying, especially when it comes to the economy.  With the situation that we’re in, how can we afford not to listen to somebody who has the great track record that Dr. Paul does when it comes to the future of our economy!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Ron Paul Endorses Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party Candidate) for President

September 22, 2008

OK, back on September 10th, I had meant to post Ron Paul’s  “endorsement” speech, but some crazy things happened in my life and I didn’t get to it.  Well, none of that really matters now.  The basics of his speech there (which I have just below) were that he’s endorsing all of the 3rd party candidates – basically don’t vote for McCain or Obama.

Here’s Paul’s speech to the National Press Club:

The coverage of the presidential election is designed to be a grand distraction. This is not new, but this year, it’s more so than ever.

Pretending that a true difference exists between the two major candidates is a charade of great proportion. Many who help to perpetuate this myth are frequently unaware of what they are doing and believe that significant differences actually do exist. Indeed, on small points there is the appearance of a difference. The real issues, however, are buried in a barrage of miscellaneous nonsense and endless pontifications by robotic pundits hired to perpetuate the myth of a campaign of substance.

The truth is that our two-party system offers no real choice. The real goal of the campaign is to distract people from considering the real issues.

Influential forces, the media, the government, the privileged corporations and moneyed interests see to it that both party’s candidates are acceptable, regardless of the outcome, since they will still be in charge. It’s been that way for a long time. George Wallace was not the first to recognize that there’s “not a dime’s worth of difference” between the two parties. There is, though, a difference between the two major candidates and the candidates on third-party tickets and those running as independents.

The two parties and their candidates have no real disagreements on foreign policy, monetary policy, privacy issues, or the welfare state. They both are willing to abuse the Rule of Law and ignore constitutional restraint on Executive Powers. Neither major party champions free markets and private-property ownership.

Those candidates who represent actual change or disagreement with the status quo are held in check by the two major parties in power, making it very difficult to compete in the pretend democratic process. This is done by making it difficult for third-party candidates to get on the ballots, enter into the debates, raise money, avoid being marginalized, or get fair or actual coverage. A rare celebrity or a wealthy individual can, to a degree, overcome these difficulties.

The system we have today allows a President to be elected by as little as 32% of the American people, with half of those merely voting for the “lesser of two evils”. Therefore, as little as 16% actually vote for a president. No wonder when things go wrong, anger explodes. A recent poll shows that 60% of the American people are not happy with the two major candidates this year.

This system is driven by the conviction that only a major party candidate can win. Voters become convinced that any other vote is a “wasted” vote. It’s time for that conclusion to be challenged and to recognize that the only way not to waste one’s vote is to reject the two establishment candidates and join the majority, once called silent, and allow the voices of the people to be heard.

We cannot expect withdrawal of troops from Iraq or the Middle East with either of the two major candidates. Expect continued involvement in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Georgia. Neither hints of a non-interventionist foreign policy. Do not expect to hear the rejection of the policy of supporting the American world empire. There will be no emphasis in protecting privacy and civil liberties and the constant surveillance of the American people. Do not expect any serious attempt to curtail the rapidly expanding national debt. And certainly, there will be no hint of addressing the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationship with big banks and international corporations and the politicians.

There is only one way that these issues can get the attention they deserve: the silent majority must become the vocal majority.

This message can be sent to our leaders by not participating in the Great Distraction—the quadrennial campaign and election of an American President without a choice. Just think of how much of an edge a Vice President has in this process, and he or she is picked by a single person—the party’s nominee. This was never intended by the Constitution.

Since a principled non-voter sends a message, we must count them and recognize the message they are sending as well. The non-voters need to hold their own “election” by starting a “League of Non-voters” and explain their principled reasons for opting out of this charade of the presidential elective process. They just might get a bigger membership than anyone would guess.

Write-in votes should not be discouraged, but the electoral officials must be held accountable and make sure the votes are counted. But one must not be naïve and believe that under today’s circumstances one has a chance of accomplishing much by a write-in campaign.

The strongest message can be sent by rejecting the two-party system, which in reality is a one-party system with no possible chance for the changes to occur which are necessary to solve our economic and foreign policy problems. This can be accomplished by voting for one of the non-establishment principled candidates—Baldwin, Barr, McKinney, Nader, and possibly others. (listed alphabetically)

Yes, these individuals do have strong philosophic disagreements on various issues, but they all stand for challenging the status quo—those special interest who control our federal government. And because of this, on the big issues of war, civil liberties, deficits, and the Federal Reserve they have much in common. People will waste their vote in voting for the lesser of two evils. That can’t be stopped overnight, but for us to have an impact we must maximize the total votes of those rejecting the two major candidates.

For me, though, my advice—for what it’s worth—is to vote! Reject the two candidates who demand perpetuation of the status quo and pick one of the alternatives that you have the greatest affinity to, based on the other issues.

A huge vote for those running on principle will be a lot more valuable by sending a message that we’ve had enough and want real change than wasting one’s vote on a supposed lesser of two evils.

Well, Bob Barr (Lib) didn’t like that too much, and he bugged Dr. Paul to endorse somebody, and today, Ron Paul did.  He endorsed Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate.  Here’s what Dr. Paul released today:

The press conference at the National Press Club had a precise purpose.  It was to expose, to as many people as possible, the gross deception of our presidential election process.  It is controlled by the powerful elite to make sure that neither candidate of the two major parties will challenge the status quo.  There is no real choice between the two major parties and their nominees, only the rhetoric varies.  The amazingly long campaign is designed to make sure the real issues are ignored.  The quotes I used at the press conference from insider Carroll Quigley and the League of Women voters strongly support this contention.

Calling together candidates from the liberal, conservative, libertarian and progressive constituencies, who are all opposed to this rigged process, was designed to alert the American people to the uselessness of continuing to support a process that a claims that one’s only choice is to choose the lesser of two evils and reject a principle vote that might challenge the status quo as a wasted vote.

In both political education and organization, coalitions are worthwhile and necessary to have an impact.  “Talking to the choir” alone achieves little.  I have always approached political and economic education with a “missionary” zeal by inviting any group in on issues we agree upon.

This opens the door to legitimate discourse with the hope of winning new converts to the cause of liberty.  This strategy led to the press conference with the four candidates agreeing to the four principles we believe are crucial in challenging the political system that has evolved over many years in this country.

This unique press conference, despite the surprising, late complication from the Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate, hopefully will prove to be historically significant.

This does not mean that I expect to get Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney to become libertarians, nor do they expect me to change my mind on the issues on which we disagree. In the meantime, why can’t we be friends, respectful of each other, and fight the corrupt process from which we suffer, and at the same time champion the four issues that we all agree upon which the two major candidates won’t address?

Many practical benefits can come from this unique alliance.  Our cause is liberty —freedom is popular and is the banner that brings people together. Since authoritarianism divides, we always have the edge in an intellectual fight.  Once it’s realized that the humanitarian goals of peace and prosperity are best achieved with our views, I’m convinced we win by working with others.  Those who don’t want to collaborate are insecure with their own beliefs.

In the past two years at the many rallies where I talked and shook hands with literally thousands of people, I frequently asked them what brought them to our campaign.  There were many answers: the Constitution, my consistency, views on the Federal Reserve, the war, and civil liberties.  The crowds were overwhelmingly made up of young people.

Oftentimes I welcomed the diverse groups that came, mentioning that the crowd was made up of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Liberals and Progressives with each group applauding.  Even jokingly, I recognized the “anarchists” and that, too, was met with some applause.  In conversations, many admitted to having been Democrats and members of the Green Party and supporters of Ralph Nader, yet they came to agree with us on all the issues once the entire philosophy was understood.  That’s progress.

Principled people are not shy in participating with others and will defend their beliefs on their merits. Liberals and progressives are willing to align themselves with us on the key issues of peace, civil liberties, debt and the Federal Reserve.  That’s exciting and very encouraging, and it means we are making progress.  The big challenge, however, is taking on the establishment, and the process that is so well entrenched.  But we can’t beat the entrenched elite without the alliance of all those who have been disenfranchised.

Ironically the most difficult group to recruit has been the evangelicals who supported McCain and his pro-war positions.  They have been convinced that they are obligated to initiate preventive war in the Middle East for theological reasons.  Fortunately, this is a minority of the Christian community, but our doors remain open to all despite this type of challenge.  The point is, new devotees to the freedom philosophy are more likely to come from the left than from those conservatives who have been convinced that God has instructed us to militarize the Middle East.

Although we were on the receiving end of ridicule in the reporting of the press conference, I personally was quite satisfied with the results. True revolutions are not won in a week, a month, or even a year.  They take time.  But we are making progress, and the momentum remains and is picking up.  The Campaign for Liberty is alive and well, and its growth and influence will continue.  Obviously the press conference could have been even more successful without the last-minute change of heart by the Libertarian Party candidate by not participating.  He stated that his support for the four points remains firm.  His real reason for not coming, nor letting me know until forty minutes before the press conference started, is unknown to me.  To say the least, I was shocked and disappointed.

Yet in the long run, this last-minute change in plans will prove to be of little importance.  I’m convinced that problems like this always seem bigger at the moment, yet things usually work out in the end.  Recovering from the mistakes and shortcomings of all that we do in this effort is not difficult if the message is right and our efforts are determined.  And I’m convinced they are.  That’s what will determine our long-term success, not the shortcomings of any one person.

The Libertarian Party Candidate admonished me for “remaining neutral” in the presidential race and not stating whom I will vote for in November.   It’s true; I have done exactly that due to my respect and friendship and support from both the Constitution and Libertarian Party members.  I remain a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and I’m a ten-term Republican Congressman.  It is not against the law to participate in more then one political party.  Chuck Baldwin has been a friend and was an active supporter in the presidential campaign.

I continue to wish the Libertarian and Constitution Parties well.  The more votes they get, the better.  I have attended Libertarian Party conventions frequently over the years.

In some states, one can be on the ballots of two parties, as they can in New York.  This is good and attacks the monopoly control of politics by Republicans and Democrats.  We need more states to permit this option.  This will be a good project for the Campaign for Liberty, along with the alliance we are building to change the process.

I’ve thought about the unsolicited advice from the Libertarian Party candidate, and he has convinced me to reject my neutral stance in the November election.  I’m supporting Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate.

Honestly, this is a detramental blow to Barr.  And it’s a huge sigh of relief for McCain.  Barr was on the ballot in 45/51 states (counting Washington, D.C. as a “state”), but Baldwin is only on 37.  He’s a write-in in Indiana, where Barr was on the ballot.  That greatly helps McCain.  In Montana, the Constitution Party rejected Baldwin and selected Ron Paul.  Who knows how this will effect that whole situation.  In North Carolina, Baldwin can’t even be a write-in, where Barr was on the ballot.  Again, this will help McCain in a state that could be close-ish.  In Pennsylvania, Baldwin will be a write-in; Barr is on the ballot.

Overall, this move helps McCain.  Baldwin will probably beat out Barr now, which will be pretty humiliating for Barr, considering that the Libertarian normally beats the Constitution candidate by 200%-300%.

I find it funny that Barr pushed Paul and Paul said, “Fine, it’s not you.”

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Ron Paul to Endorse a Presidential Candidate Tomorrow

September 9, 2008

Well, earlier today, Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty put out the following press release:

Ron Paul to Hold Major
Press Conference Wednesday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           CONTACT: Jesse Benton
September 8, 2008

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA – Congressman Ron Paul will hold a press conference in the Ball Room at the National Press Club on Wednesday, September 10th at 10:00 am. Dr. Paul will announce his intentions for the fall presidential election and will be accompanied by several special guests.

This event comes on the heels of Dr. Paul’s historic three-day Rally for the Republic in Minneapolis, Minnesota that drew over 12,000 supporters.

-30-

It has been rumored that any or several of the following Presidential candidates may be there: Bob Barr (Lib), Ralph Nader (I), Chuck Baldwin (Con), and Cynthia McKinney (Green) will be there.

Ron Paul’s spokesman apparently told reporters that Paul will give something of an endorsement [with] a real effect on this fall’s election.”

Unfortunately, I’m in class until 10:50, but I may bring my laptop with me to class (it’s a poli-sci class, so my professor wouldn’t mind).

As the press release said, thid DOES come after the Rally for the Republic, Paul’s non-RNC, in Minneapolis, MN.

I have talked with a few Paul supporters who are saying that tomorrow’s announcement may be a third party candidacy announcement, and some Paul supporters remain optimistic, but I don’t expect anything more than an endorsement of Bob Barr and  maybe Baldwin.  McKinney and Nader’s names were thrown in there for possible endorsements, but I HIGHLY doubt Paul would ever endorse either of them.

I’ll keep you updated.  If I don’t have anything up by 10:15 A.M. EDT tomorrow, expect something by 11:15.

Done Predicting,

Ranting Republican
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Ron Paul Will Be on the Ballot for President in Montana

September 9, 2008

A website called Ballot Access News has reported that Ron Paul will appear on the ballot for President in November.

The Constitution Party of Montana, which broke off from the national party back in 2006, decided not to stick with the national party’s nominee (Chuck Baldwin for President/Darrell Castle for VP), but rather nominate Ron Paul for President, and 2000 Constitution Party nominee, Michael Perutka, for Vice President.

Paul did not actively campaign for the nomination, but he also did not oppose it.  He has said that he will not object as long as he does not have to sign any declaration of candidacy and as long as he won’t actually have to do anything formal for the campaign.

Paul’s campaign manager in Montana, David Hart, told reporters, “Here in Montana, I think it’s pretty much sealed the deal that McCain will not win Montana.  If he doesn’t win, Ron Paul will probably be blamed for it.  They only need to look in the mirror and blame themselves for nominating someone who doesn’t represent true Republican values and causes like Paul. … [Paul may take some of Obama’s votes becaue Paul] is really unifying in terms of liberty and freedom and that goes across the party lines. … It’s an exciting development.  People will have an opportunity to not vote for the lesser of two evils.”

However, Montana Republican Party Chairman Erik Iverson isn’t so worried.  He told reporters, “I’ve got all the respect in the world for David Hart and Ron Paul.  But I think the only candidate in Montana that it hurts is Bob Barr.  Montana voters who would vote for him (Paul) on the Constitution Party ticket are folks who probably wouldn’t have voted for John McCain anyway and they certainly wouldn’t have voted for Barack Obama.”

Personally, I think that this is going to hurt McCain more than Obama, but I’m not ready to call the state one way or another yet.  I think this definitely puts the state into play, and this could be an election where 3 Electoral Votes makes the difference.  This state has been close in the polls lately; however, all of those were pre-Palin, and Palin is going to help McCain in Montana, so I’m really undecided as to how much of a hit McCain will take here (but if Paul wasn’t running, I’d definitely call it for McCain).  I do know that Bob Barr (Libertarian) will suffer here in Montana now though.  Some time soon I’ll be putting out my prediction for the general election (I may do a weekly prediction or something like that).

I’ll keep you updated with anything more that happens regarding Montana and Ron Paul.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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Jack Kevorkian Lives: the Obscure Congressional Candidate Has Started Campaigning

August 5, 2008

OK, so the title was a little cheesy.  Anyway, this is my next segement in my series on the Race for Michigan’s 9th Congressional District.  Dr. Jack “Death” Kevorkian had a town hall-type meeting with about 35 people in Birmingham last week.

He started off by saying, “Okay, so what do you want to know?”  He was asked questions about loss of freedoms.  He was asked about the bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mortgage companies.

Kevorkian replied to that with a fitting libertarian (although he’s running as an independent) response, “What bailout?  You’re kind of sheep-like.  You’ve all been conditioned to think and act like sheep.”

Another person “asked about a scientist who believes that four countries control the equipment that controls weather and climate” (Free Press).  What kind of people were at that meeting!

Kevorkian later went on to say, “I don’t want to be a congressman.  I only want to serve two years. I’m here to educate and inform the public. … You are enslaved, but you don’t know it.  You don’t want to admit it because you’re walking around free, eating good dinners.  As long as you’re comfortable, you’re controllable.”

Again, a very libertarian (although VERY extreme) stance overall.  I’m not sure why he didn’t run as a Libertarian, whether the party wouldn’t let him, or he just didn’t want any political party connection.

I’ll see if I can get a quote from the campaign on that.

Asked if he is fit to serve, Kevorkian had the following conversation with a FOX 2 reporter:

Reporter: In 2006, one of your petitions to be paroled was that you’re gravely ill.

Kevorkian: At the time I was.

Reporter: Are you fit to serve?

Kevorkian: Well, how do I look?

And here’s the full FOX 2 story:

So, there you have it.  Kevorkian is essentially running a libertarian/limited government involvement, independent campaign.

What effect will Kevorkian have on the general election?  That depends on what he emphasizes and how much money he spends.  He’s sure to get some Democrats who supported euthanasia.  He’s sure to get the libertarian vote, but will that come from Republicans who are sick of Joe Knollenberg, or former Republicans who would’ve voted for Gary Peters?  We’ll have to wait and see.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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Dennis Kucinich: To Impeach, or Not to Impeach? That Is the Question

July 30, 2008

Alright – here’s another one of my stories that I’m posting as a catch-up from vacation.

Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) testified before the House Judiciary Committee (chaired by John Conyers [D-MI]), saying, “The decision before us is whether to demand accountability for one of the gravest injustices imaginable.”

Conyers reminded everybody that House rules specifically prohibit “personal abuse, innuendo or ridicule of the president,” so no direct accusations at the president were really supposed to be made, but that was largely ignored.  In fact, the hearing wasn’t an impeachment hearing, but actually was entitled, “Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations.”

I’ll briefly sum up the witnesses:

  • Former Los Angeles County Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi (he tried Charles Manson), author of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, was obviously in favor of impeachment.
  • Bruce Fein, a Deputy Attorney General in the Reagan administration – one of the smartest men I’ve ever seen.  He’s a Constitutional Law attorney and was just BRILLIANT about anything legal or historic.  The man was like an encyclopedia.  He was also in favor of impeachment, but didn’t let that bias his testimony.  He seemed to be the fairest and the most unbiased of them all.
  • Former Representative Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY) – she was strongly for impeachment, but didn’t testify much.
  • Former Representative Bob Barr (R-GA), turned Libertarian.  Now their party’s Presidential nominee – for impeachment, but he had to leave early, and didn’t testify much.
  • Ross “Rocky” Anderson, founder of High Roads for Human Rights and former mayor of Salt Lake City – he, didn’t testify much, and had to leave early, also for impeachment.
  • Stephen Presser, from the the Northwestern University School of Law – very smart.  He said that if the allegations are true (that Bush lied to get us deliberately into a war), he should be impeached, but he says he doesn’t interpret the evidence the way that the pro-impeachment people do.  A VERY smart man, but I think his bias stood in the way some.  Overall, I probably agreed with him the most (a cross between him and Fein).
  • Jeremy Rabkin, from the George Mason University School of Law – you could tell he was VERY biased, but he shared the argument that Presser had, regarding the evidence.
  • Elliot Adams, President of Veterans for Peace – pro-impeachment.  I think he left early as well – I didn’t hear much from him. from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law – He also sat on the Church Committee, and was pro-impeachment, but not the the bias of Bugliosi.
  • Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr.,

Kucinich’s articles of impeachment have yet to reach the full House, but the impeachment is not expected to go anywhere, and would probably fail in the House.  I’m not sure if the Committee voted on it at all, or not.

Overall, it was a VERY interesting hearing (I saw most of it [about the last 4 hours] the first time, and then the beginning 2 hours when I watched the re-run).  Of course, my sister mocked me for watching C-SPAN on our vacation, but I loved it.  I even had my father watching it.

Here’s my opinion: I don’t think that Bush intentionally lied to get us into Iraq.  On that note, I can’t see us impeaching him.

One of the things that Fein brought up a lot was his refusal to obey Congress and send people to testify (which I think they SHOULD do, as I indicated about Karl Rove).  He brought up some of the wiretapping and surveillance stuff.  And honestly, those are the areas that I could see a real impeachment case come up, NOT over Iraq.

But here’s the problem – we’ve only got 6 more months of Bush in office.  The amount of time and money that would go into an investigation would not make it worth it, because the Republicans in Congress would never vote to impeach Bush.  The Democrats don’t have enough support (just like the Republicans didn’t with Clinton), and I don’t see this to be a wise decision.

If Congress wants to investigate Bush after he leaves office, I say, sure, go ahead!  But I just cannot justify an investigation when we know the outcome of the impeachment.  I’m not taking a side on the impeachment.  I think a LOT of what Bush has done has gone WAY over the limits of the Constitution, but many war-time Presidents have done the same.  I would not be opposed to an investigation into this Administration, but I see an impeachment more of a way to make the Republicans look bad in an election year, than an actual attempt to remove Bush from office.

I know I’m going to take some heat from Republicans for saying this stuff, but I’m tired of partisan wars.  If Bush has done nothing wrong, an investigation will show that, but I think that, considering the severity of the accusations, for the good of the country, we do need an investigation.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Michigan May (and Should) Add 10 Cent Deposit to Water and Juice Bottles

June 19, 2008

Yesterday, the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) announced a plan to extend Michigan’s 10 cent deposit law (the first in the nation) to also apply to water, tea, and juice bottles.

Here’s some statistics:

  • Michiganders return 97% of pop/beer bottles/cans.
  • Michiganders recycle only 20% of other bottles.

Executive Director of MUCC Dennis Muchmore told the Detroit Free Press, “Bottled water and sports drinks weren’t around when voters approved Michigan’s deposit law in 1976 [which MUCC pushed strongly for].  It’s time for Michigan to step back to the plate.”  His goal is to get the legislation passed before the legislature breaks for the Independence Day holiday.

But passing the law may not come as easily as Muchmore wants.  Ed Deeb, president of the Michigan Food and Beverage Association said, “We won’t stand for it.  We’ve had enough of the bottle deposit law.  Grocery stores should not be rubbish collectors or recycling centers.”

Linda Grobler, the president of the Michigan Grocers Association, argues that many people bring back filthy bottles which then have to be cleaned, and that some people illegally bring in out of state recyclables to get the deposit money.  Well, I know that the latter is not true.  My family takes vacations out of state every year, and every once in a while, we’ll accidentally bring a bottle or can back to Michigan that we bought in another state, not remembering it was from out of state, and when we take it back, the machine won’t accept it.  Mrs. Grobler, I don’t buy your lie, so find a new argument.

But Grobler and Deeb could have their way if the bill is amended.  Instead of going for conservationism, legislators may weaken the current bill.  Muchmore hopes to keep this from happening, saying, “If it’s going to be amended, we’re going to defend it, and even take an offensive posture [by adding water, juice, and tea bottles to the bill].”

So, who stands where?  A MUCC poll shows that 75% of Michiganders support it, but Andy Such, a lobbyist for the Michigan Bottled Water Council, said “Our concern is for the retailers,” but he doesn’t know how hard they’ll fight an amendment to the bill.

If the amendment doesn’t pass the legislature, where it would need 3/4 approval in both chambers, a ballot initiative could appear on a future ballot.  James Clift, policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council, told the Free Press, “I think it would pass easily.”

Here’s a press release from MUCC:

MUCC LAUNCHES INITIATIVE TO EXPAND STATE’S BOTTLE BILL

LANSING—The Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) today announced a major initiative to expand the state’s 32-year-old Bottle Bill to include water and other non-carbonated beverage containers.

The 50,000-member, non-profit MUCC seeks to duplicate the 1976 grassroots campaign that made Michigan the national poster child for recycling beer and soda pop containers. Eleven other states have current or pending legislation for container-deposit recycling, and a growing number include bottled water. Last week, for example, New York’s General Assembly voted to add non-carbonated containers to its required deposit list.

“It’s time for Michigan to step back to the plate,” said Dennis Muchmore, MUCC Executive Director. “Although our citizens now return 97 percent of the 5 and a half- billion bottles and cans for which they pay a deposit, they recycle only 20 percent of the bottled water containers because no deposit is required. Eighty percent of those empty containers end up in landfills or critical wildlife habitats. It’s a terrible waste.”

According to the Container Recycling Institute (CRI), in 2005 each Michigan resident bought an average of 338 bottles and cans of soda pop and 138 containers of water and other non-carbonated beverages. More than 1.1 billion of the latter were thrown away instead of being recycled.

National trend data from the CRI shows that within a few years, sales of non-carbonated drinks will exceed pop sales.

“We can, and must, do better,” Muchmore added. “Adding a ten-cent deposit to bottled water creates a win-win situation for everyone.”

How so? Recycling the containers reduces litter and saves money and energy while increasing the number of Michigan jobs. The annual energy savings alone for bottles and cans of pop and beer is equivalent to 450,000 barrels of oil, enough to fuel 150,000 cars for a month. There are economic advantages as well. According to the Michigan Recycling Coalition, annual sales of recycled commodities are nearly $2 billion. The industry employs more than 5,000 people who earn $137 million each year.

MUCC believes Michigan citizens are proud of their Bottle Bill and are ready to expand it. A 2003 survey revealed that 64 percent supported a deposit on water and other non-carbonated containers. Only 16 percent opposed expansion, and 19 percent were not sure.

“Voters” are even more supportive with 76 percent favoring the concept. Given such positive feedback, from Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike, why isn’t Michigan’s Bottle Bill all-inclusive now?

Muchmore says more than political will is involved. “Timing is everything,” he said, “and because legislation to change the current law is suddenly pending, it makes sense to include bottled water in any new bill heading to the Governor’s desk for signature.”

Bills introduced in both the state house and senate seek to reduce the amount of fraudulent returns to merchants. MUCC supports the proposed changes, which were initiated by a coalition of the Michigan Beer & Wine Association, the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, and the Michigan Grocers Association. But the state’s largest conservation organization of hunters and anglers wants to take a bigger step forward.

“We simply want to amend the pending legislation to include bottled water and other non-carbonated containers,” Muchmore explained. “Right now Michigan can reduce fraudulent deposit returns, increase recycling, supplement the economy with new jobs, and reduce litter in our lakes, streams and other critical wildlife habitats.”

Reducing the amount of litter has long been an important issue for Michigan taxpayers, who pay $5.5 million per year to clean up water bottles and other trash from the state’s roadways. The current Bottle Bill has shown that when containers carry a deposit, people pick them up for free.

“That’s why we’re asking Michigan citizens to contact their state senator and representative to make these changes now,” Muchmore said. “We only have two weeks.”

The legislation comes to a vote in late June. Changing the existing Bottle Bill requires a 75 percent super-majority in each chamber (29 of 38 senate votes, 83 of 110 house votes).

Muchmore said bottled water, sport drinks and other popular beverages weren’t around in 1976. “They’re here now and more are being consumed every year,” he said. “Michigan citizens have an opportunity to do what’s right, and time is of the essence.”

So, what do I think?

I like the idea, and here’s why:

  1. We need to recycle more.
    1. It’s just good for the environment, and although I’m not a “tree hugger,” being green sometimes doesn’t hurt.
    2. We’re running out of landfill space here in Wayne County.  We’re bringing in too much trash from Canada (including our current Governor) and throwing too much away.  If we could recycle more, it’d be cheaper for cities in the long run.
  2. My parents let me have the deposit money if I take the cans back, and like any good Republican/Libertarian, I like my money (or other people’s money in my pockets [only if it’s there legally of course]).  People give out free water bottles all the time – it’s an opportunity for me to make some more money.  It’s a purely selfish reason, but if it came up as an initiative, I’d sign the petition and vote for it.

I don’t know if this proposed amendment would apply to cans of juice (such as lemonade), which for the most part do not have deposits on them now (I know that Kroger’s lemonade cans do, but most don’t).

Alright – I’d like to hear your comments.  I only have one rule.  This is a Michigan blog, so I don’t want to hear the use of “soda” or “soda pop” – the proper term is just “pop.”  I’m a stubborn Michigander, I know.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Mike Gravel Endorses Green Party Candidate; Then He Becomes a Libertarian?

March 26, 2008

OK, so on March 11th, 2008, Mike Gravel (D, turned Libertarian?-AK) issued a statement endorsing Jesse Johnson (Green Party-WV).  Here’s a press release from Johnson’s campaign:

National Statesman and International Hero Senator Mike Gravel Supports Jesse Johnson’s Bid for President

In what has to be the most unprecedented cross party statement of support Democratic Party Candidate for President Mike Gravel announced that he has decided to support the campaign of Green Party Candidate Jesse Johnson running for the nomination on the Green Party Ticket.

After a meeting between the two in Washington DC Friday, Gravel stated, “My political party long ago walked away from taking the necessary steps that will safe guard our nation’s and our children’s futures. I worked dedicatedly throughout my career as a U.S. Senator to protect the precious resources our country had within it’s boundaries as well as to mitigate the negative impact our businesses and individuals were having on the planet. I have watched the ever important job of stewarding these gifts vanish from the political landscape and I hold the Democratic Party leadership responsible for giving up that fight.”

Why did Gravel choose Johnson from among the other candidates vying for the nomination in all the campaigns of all available political parties? Gravel explains, “I’m supporting Jesse because he began his political career with the determination that the environmental plundering must stop. He placed every other interest on hold to run for office, in his home state and now nationally, to challenge the corporations that destroy our national resources and then harvest from this practice a toxic energy source; coal. The mountain top mining practices devastate the landscape by blowing apart mountains and then carbon belching plants burn the coal creating a form of energy that serves as one of the major contributors for global climate change.”

Gravel continues, “We must have a voice in the political realm speaking earnestly and intelligently about all of our environmental needs. Johnson and the Green Party have that environmental credibility that we Democrats have lost.”

Senator Gravel intends to travel and campaign with Jesse Johnson as their schedule allows.

Jesse Johnson, former chair of the West Virginia Mountain Party and two time candidate for statewide office, said that this sort of cross party support “was just the kind of non-traditional, selfless act that we have come to know Senator Mike Gravel to make. When he read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional record, or filibustered to end the draft he had his eye – at all times – on the big picture and the needs of others. I am not surprised that a true patriot and advocate of the citizen as leader of our country would take such an unprecedented and bold stand. And I am honored and humbled that he has selected my campaign and the Green Party as his allies in this very important race to save our environment from the actions of humans.”

Gravel closed by saying, “We’ve seen the havoc the two parties can wreak, on a global scale, by locking out the voices of reason – by eliminating the third party voices. I want to amplify those voices to save our country from our own shortsighted and greedy actions. If we want to end the war in Iraq, provide health care to all citizens, educate our young people, we’re going to have to start not only working together with these alternate parties: but literally working to support them. That’s why I’m supporting Jesse Johnson’s campaign for President.”

So, he did that while he was STILL running for President.  Think that’s strange?

Just hours ago, Third Party Watch reported that Libertarian Party Executive Director Shane Cory confirmed that Mike Gravel has joined the Libertarian Party.

Here is a press release from the Libertarian Party (http://www.lp.org/media/article_572.shtml):

Former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel joins Libertarian Party ranksBelieves Democrats are out of touch with American citizens
Washington, D.C. – Mike Gravel, a former Alaskan Senator and Democratic candidate for president, has joined the Libertarian Party.“I’m joining the Libertarian Party because it is a party that combines a commitment to freedom and peace that can’t be found in the two major parties that control the government and politics of America,” says Gravel. “My libertarian views, as well as my strong stance against war, the military industrial complex and American imperialism, seem not to be tolerated by Democratic Party elites who are out of touch with the average American; elites that reject the empowerment of American citizens I offered to the Democratic Party at the beginning of this presidential campaign with the National Initiative for Democracy.”Gravel served in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1981. Most recently, Gravel was a Democratic presidential candidate, though forced out of national debates by Democratic Party leadership and the media. Gravel officially became a member of the Libertarian Party today.Gravel is the most recent former member of Congress to switch to the Libertarian Party. In 2006, former Republican Congressman Bob Barr joined the Libertarian Party.“It is a distinct honor to have another former member of Congress within the Libertarian Party,” says Barr. “Just as Senator Gravel believes Democrats have lost touch with the American public, I too concluded Republicans had lost their core principles, and could no longer associate myself with the GOP. While coming from opposite sides of the aisle, Senator Gravel and I definitely agree on the fundamental need for systemic change in our political system, and that the only way we have of effecting that change is by supporting and working in the Libertarian Party, which is the only political party in America that consistently works in word and deed to maximize individual liberty and minimize government power.”

“We’re honored to have a former member of the United States Senate join our ranks,” says Libertarian Party Executive Director Shane Cory. “Senator Gravel has a sincere dedication to empowering the American people and eliminating the corrupting influence of the two major parties. His switch from the Democratic Party, as well as former Congressman Barr’s abandonment of the GOP, shows that the Libertarian Party is truly a big tent organization moving firmly in the direction of Liberty.”

The Libertarian Party is America’s third largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting http://www.lp.org. The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.

For more information on this issue, or to arrange a media interview, please call Andrew Davis at (202) 333-0008 during normal business hours, or at (202) 731-0002 during any other time.

This has got to be one of the WEIRDEST campaigns I’ve ever seen: start off as a Democrat, endorse a Green (while still remaining a Democrat, and become a Libertarian – all while running for President.

This could make things interesting for the Democrats – if they have some ultraliberals leaving for the Green Party and moderates leaving for the Libertarian Party, it could cost them votes that they already desperately need.

Then again, Ron Paul could run as a Libertarian some say (although he’s confirmed that he won’t), which would pretty much guarantee a Democratic victory.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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Ron Paul Confirms that He Won’t Run as a 3rd Party Candidate

March 11, 2008

He just said it on FOX News – he has not entertained the thought, and does not planning on running as a 3rd party candidate.  He said that that would “not help the situation.”  I’m hoping a video might get posted somewhere – but it literally just happened.  I knew he wouldn’t do it – he IS a Republican at heart.  Libertarian-leaning – yes, but he’s at least keeping the party together.

Done Reporting,

Ranting Republican
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2008 Election: Presidential General Election

December 31, 2007

PART III: My 2008 Presidential General Election Prediction (from this site: http://uselectionatlas.org/PRED/PRESIDENT/2008/pred.php?action=indpred&id=1919) (note that the colors are opposite of what the media uses):

Edwards/??? (252), Romney/Huckabee (286).

At this point, I have a VERY close race in mind.  In fact, it’s the exact same amount of EVs as 2004.  If Edwards can win North Carolina, it’s by a margin of  only 3 votes that Romney wins.  I don’t anticipate a major 3rd party candidate, but if Giuliani gets the nomination, a religious right candidate might rise up and this prediction would be very different.  As well, I doubt that Ron Paul will run as a Libertarian (or other party for that matter), but a candidacy by him would change the whole outcome.

Let’s highlight some states:

New Hampshire and Iowas barely go to Romney.  Michigan, due to its continued economic depression will be tired of the Democrats.  In addition, Romney’s added name recognition will boost him into the winning spot here.  Missouri goes to Edwards because they’ll be really opposed to Romney’s Mormonism.  The only reason that Arkansas doesn’t follow suit is because of Huckabee as the VP candidate, who helps  Romney maintain the other deep Southern states.  New Mexico follows its trend toward the Democrats.  Wisconsin and Minnesota stay on the Democratic side and Florida stays on the Republican side.  Ohio goes Republican and Pennsylvania Democratic.

Tomorrow I will have my Republican endorsement!

Done Predicting,

Ranting Republican
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