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The piece sent "over the transom" taking a shot at Governor Johnson's possible motives for running as a Libertarian contains some interesting theories.

However, it also contains some disturbing claimed facts, and one thing I did do before publishing that piece was check them.

Unfortunately the facts cited are correct and Gary is being less-than-honest.

This is what his campaign web site claims on his record:

  • Left office with New Mexico as one of the only four states in the country with a balanced budget
  • Left New Mexico with a budget surplus
  • Used Line Item Veto thousands of times to trim the budget
  • Vetoed 750 bills during his time in office; more than all other governors combined
  • Cut over 1,200 government jobs without firing anyone
  • Created more than 20,000 new jobs
  • First New Mexico Governor to challenge education status quo and propose statewide voucher program
  • Restored State General Fund reserves to more than $222 million from a low of $28.1 million
  • Limited annual state budget growth to 5.0% during eight years in office
  • Cut taxes 14 times while never raising them—a first for New Mexico
  • Vetoed 32% of the total number of bills submitted for his signature

This all sounds good, right?

Well, no.  Yes, the budget rose 5% per year during his time in office.  Unfortunately that's a roughly 50% increase in the size of the State Government during those eight years.

That might be ok if the rate of increase was less than the rate of inflation.  So let's check the rate of inflation and see if Governor Johnson was telling the truth or if he's being less-than-honest with the public.

In 1995 the CPI index stood at 150.3.  In 2003 when Johnson left office it stood at 181.7.  That's a 20.9% increase over the same eight years.

In other words Gary Johnson increased spending in New Mexico at approximately 240% the rate of inflation -- or about double and a half as fast as prices rose.

Do you define that as "fiscally conservative" or "responsible"?  I do not.  Further, can you find any part of spending in this chart that he actually cut during his time in office or did every single one of these bars get bigger?

 by genesis 

Credit: Usgovernmentspending.com

Then there's the claim of a "balanced budget".   That's a nice claim.  Unfortunately it was achieved by lying, just as it has been in the other states, because the amount of debt the State Government had outstanding nearly doubled during those very same years.

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1995_2003NMb_13s1li111mcn_H0s

 by genesis

That's a gross $2.78 billion increase in debt during those years.  The population of the state was (as of 2003) 1.87 million, so Governor Johnson added about $1,500 in debt to the financial responsibility of every man, woman and child in New Mexico during his administration and that's only for the state itself -- municipal governments added another billion, so the total was well over $2,000 per person.

Is that "fiscally conservative"?

Ron Paul has often been called "Dr. No" for his refusal to accede to more spending and bigger deficits.  While he's one man in Congress, you can rarely if ever find a bill that he has approved which increases spending and public debt. 

Gary Johnson, on the other hand, was the man with the pen who signed the spending bills in the end analysis.  He is the one who was responsible for approval of the budget and the actual spending and borrowing profile of the State.  And he has repeatedly claimed, and claims today, a huge number of vetoes.

It's true that Governor Johnson vetoed a huge number of bills.  But the implication he wishes you to believe, that he shrunk the size of government in New Mexico and thus that he also shrunk residents' responsibility, both directly in current government spending and in the debt that was left for both residents who voted for various policies and the children and unborn unable to vote for or against those policies is simply false.

Governor, you have some explaining to do if you expect me to support or vote for you, as I believe you have actively and intentionally misled not only myself personally but the Libertarian Party in general on the actual facts when it comes to your spending and debt record as Governor.

Nobody should vote for this man believing he will cut their debt load or actually shrink one single line item in the Federal Budget, as his history shows that over eight years as Governor of a small state he saddled every single resident with more than $1,500 worth of additional debt, sanctioned municipal and local governments adding roughly $1,000 more, and in fact added to State Spending in all of the categories he claims he will "control" or "cut" including pensions, health care and education. 

Not one of those areas was cut in size during his time in office.

And that, my friends, is a fact.

Ps: Before someone pipes up and tries to claim that population increases were responsible for this, the population of New Mexico in 1995 was ~1.7 million.   In 2003 it was 1.9 million, or 12% higher, an approximately 1.4% annual expansion.  It is thus immaterial to the expansion of the State budget and debt, and one cannot lay off these expansions on "growing population"; any such attempted claim is a futher lie.

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Last night I offered two motions for consideration during the regular bi-weekly meeting of the Florida Libertarian Party's Executive Committee. 

I want to go over them and challenge people who are, or might be Libertarian, to think about these issues and then contact members of the Florida EC with your opinions.

The first dealt with financial fraud.  As I'm sure everyone is aware I have long held that until financial fraud is punished as the crime that it is we will never have a strong economy -- or a level economic playing field.  Yet fraud has become a business model for our financial sector, and the average person has been the victim of that fraud -- serially and outrageously for the last two decades.

As a result I offered the following motion:

Whereas the manipulation of LIBOR for several years surrounding the 2007/2008, both before and after the crisis, is increasingly being shown to have been an organized activity by major financial institutions;

Whereas this manipulation appears to have taken place with the knowledge of both the banks involved and Central Banks, including The Federal Reserve;

Whereas this manipulation has been documented as taking place for the purpose of making "profits" within the banks involved in a multi-hundred-trillion dollar interest rate derivative market;

Whereas derivatives, by their inherent mathematical nature, have an equal loser for each winner;

Whereas there is now evidence emerging that the average family with a $100,000 mortgage may have been damaged to the tune of between $50-100 per month during the time in question;

Whereas such manipulation, if proved, would be the largest theft of money in the history of the planet from not only the citizens of the United States but indeed on a world-wide basis, in fact being a theft totaling in excess of $100 billion annually in the United States alone;

Therefore be it resolved that:

1. The Libertarian Party of Florida hereby calls on all political candidates to demand a full and public investigation of the alleged manipulation of LIBOR, and that all parties found to be involved in willful and intentional manipulation of the LIBOR rate be fully exposed to both civil and criminal penalty, and that 100% restitution to all persons so harmed be made from both corporate and personal resources of each and every person or institution so-involved.

2. Any Libertarian candidate running in a race in which Florida voters may cast ballots who fails to so demand within 30 (thirty) days of the passage of this motion, or who fails to carry through to the fullest extent of the powers of office should he or she be elected, shall have his affiliate and/or parent party, as well as his campaign, brought before the membership at the next annual business meeting per the Standing Rules (Article VII, Section 5 and 6) for a vote to permanently disavow all further support of the party and/or candidate who so refuses for cause as a willful violator of the Party Non-Aggression Principle.

During debate on the motion a hostile amendment was offered to strike clause (2), thereby eviscerating any penalty from the resolution.  In other words, the EC decided, by majority and recorded vote, that the resolution would turn from something with potential for enforcement by formal removal of support to one that is simply a "we don't like this" sort of feel-goodism.

Please note that Party Standing Rules prohibit the EC (or its committees) from disavowing a national candidate, the national party itself or its platform other than at the Annual Business Meeting by vote of the membership.  This clause is proper and I support it; a decision of that sort is serious and potentially explosive in the political realm, and should not be undertaken for light, transient causes nor upon the caprice of just a few people.  Rather, it is properly reserved to the general membership where it can be noticed in advance of the meeting and properly debated.

Nonetheless the removal of the penalty clause, after which the motion passed, renders the motion nothing more than a "love note" for national candidates and races.  (It does, I note, remain "active" for state and federal races specifically under State Party auspices, as the EC could revoke vetting and/or endorsement without a full vote of the membership, although again without a penalty clause there's little to fear from the resolution itself.)

I fully expect Governor Johnson (and, likely, other candidates -- with the probable exception of Calen Fretts) to ignore it.

The second motion dealt with the same sort of problem within the party's position on immigration.  The Florida Party platform is silent on the issue.  However, the State Platform incorporates the national platform by reference and in its entirety.  A recent DHS report, which I Tickered, provided evidence that legal immigrants are to a large degree at least eligible for various welfare and other social spending programs -- and are using them.

The problem here is that the National Libertarian Platform also calls for an end to these social welfare programs.  That's all well and fine, but everyone knows that this is not the world we live in -- and may not be the world we ever live in.  The reality of political action is that one also never gets everything you want, nor is it realistic to expect such an outcome.  As such when you state a political plank that in some way intertwines with another issue or principle, you must include the conditionality that is required to prevent abuse or you will simply get the abuse.

As such I offered the following motion:

Whereas the LPF platform includes under Section XIII the National Libertarian Platform;

Whereas The National Platform, Section 3.4, states: "We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.  However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.";

Whereas open borders, as defined above, have led to on a documented basis in the last year, 76% of all immigrants granted permanent residency having no documented occupation and, excluding children, fully half of those granted permanent residence status are adults and a net drain on the social fabric of our society;  (ref: http://www.dhs.gov/files/statistics/publications/LPR11.shtm);

Whereas the free flow of persons to where government handouts are available has a documented record by the government's own statistics of depressing employment and wages in our nation, and in fact those adults granted green cards are unemployed at a rate four times that of the general population;

Whereas the forced transfer of funds from one person to another via these social programs is in fact theft and thus a direct violation of the Non-Aggression Principle;

Therefore, be it resolved that:

1. The LPF shall upon passage of this motion send a letter of condemnation recommending to the National Party insisting that it modify its statement on open borders such that open borders are a goal to be enacted only if and when all social support programs that effect forced transfers of funds in the form of entitlements and welfare are first removed, citing the government statistics above, and that until this change takes place immigration controls designed to prohibit the exploitation of taxpayer-funded entitlements and welfare by immigrants are unfortunately both appropriate and necessary;

and

2. Should the National Party refuse to modify its position on open borders on or prior to the next annual business meeting a motion shall be heard on the calendar at that meeting to disavow the Immigration Plank of the National Platform under Standing Rules Article VII, Section 6.

This turned out to be considerably more-contentious.  After friendly amendments the language was lightly modified to read as above (changes as highlighted in blue), which I had no quarrel with.

Then a motion was raised to suspend the motion until the next meeting, which passed, ending consideration until two weeks from last night.

Now here's the problem that our Party has, and which I argue it must resolve.

We refuse to take on the tough linkages and issues that we have in our positions as a party, and as a consequence we're not taken seriously.

For example (and this is not an exhaustive list):

  • It's great to support the free flow of labor.  However, as things stand today (1) other nations don't agree and will not allow free migration of our labor to their nation and (2) our social "safety net" is a drawing card for people who are poorer than the level of support it can provide in other countries, making it explicitly profitable for those people to come here seeking handouts.  It is perfectly fine to support the free flow of labor conditioned on both the removal of those safety nets and other nations' equal behavior, but to fail to condition the proposal is identical to demanding that Americans leave their bank accounts and homes open to be pillaged by anyone from Mexico or elsewhere who chooses to do so.  This is flatly unacceptable to nearly everyone in America.  Worse, it's utter hypocrisy in the context of the Libertarian Non-Aggression Principle -- theft is theft, and the worst sort of theft is that enabled and countenanced by governments as you have no recourse before the law when the government steals from you.

  • So-called "Free Trade" boils down to the same issue.  Free and open borders for the passage of goods and services are fine and well between nations that (1) do not manipulate their currencies to obtain an unfair advantage, (2) do not steal intellectual and physical property as a means of gaining advantage and (3) do not use environmental destruction or effective enslavement of their labor force as a means of gaining advantage.  The Constitution provides a nice lawful means of addressing 1-3 above called "tariffs."  It is regrettable that such a mechanism is necessary, but unfortunately it is because other nations do not share our way of life, or values or our sense of fairness -- and under a Libertarian government that won't change.  The intentional refusal to place a predicate on the Libertarian Platform's "Free Trade" admonition tying the free and un-tariffed flow of goods and services to intellectual and physical property rights, the rule of law, free and unfettered exchange rates and the lack of environmental destruction and enslavement as competitive weapons is untenable.  Again the Party must choose -- are we a bunch of hypocrites or do we mean it?  If the Non-Aggression Principle is real then it must apply to all conduct, including that which takes place "over there", and therefore conditionality must be applied to "free trade."

  • Governor Johnson has made a big deal out of "gay marriage."  A big part of the reason gay people want "marriage equality" is for its economic benefits, specifically, tax benefits.  The problem is that Governor Johnson also supports The Fair Tax, which if enacted would remove all marriage penalties and benefits from the tax code in the first place, rendering that argument moot.  In addition it is a poor argument to make that one should consider the solution to Statist intrusion into straight couples' lives the addition of that same intrusion into gay couples' lives!  Anyone who has gone through a nasty divorce knows exactly what I'm talking about in this regard.  An actual Libertarian position is that it's none of the Federal Government's damn business who you live with; if you want to be married go see a Priest in the Church of your choice.  The government's proper role is simply to adjudicate contract disputes; you and your Church are free to form whatever contract you wish and the courts should be there to adjudicate all such agreements without fear or favor.

  • Governor Johnson also puts forward a balanced budget -- a 43% cut in all federal spending.  However, he fails to link it to the root cause of the federal spending explosion in the first place -- the ridiculous growth rate of medical spending.  This medical spending expansion has occurred in the economy as a whole (including the Government) specifically due to the passage of laws that make monopoly and cost-shifting behavior possible, including EMTALA, prohibitions on drug reimportation, laws permitting gouging where people are billed after the fact (with no ability to negotiate or object) 2, 5, 10 or even 100 times what someone else pays for the same procedure or device, differentiated only by how they pay and more.  Without conditionality -- that is, a removal of those laws so that the market can force the collapse of medical costs -- not only will this offered budget fail but parts of his alleged program such as "block granting" Medicare and Medicaid en-masse will force the collapse of state budgets as well!  State Medicaid spending this year is expected to grow at 20%.  That's a double every 3.6 years and simply cannot be sustained.

The Libertarian Party has the opportunity to offer a true alternative to the present two-party system.  It has a message which can be powerful and which can win elections

But much of that power and empowerment is lost when the party ducks issues such as fraud and felony in the financial system, a major cause of the recession we have been in since 2007. 

It's even worse when necessary conditionality is ignored and simple-minded policy pronouncements are made without regard for how we got into the mess we're in today. 

We cannot continue down the path we are on -- economically or socially.  For the Libertarian Party to take the lead on policy where it both can and should it must insist on the conditionality of policy that respects the party Non-Aggression Principle without fear, favor, or exception.

After all, it's the "exceptions" that have led to the manipulation of interest rate indices and what is arguably the largest theft in the history of mankind, the loss of over 2 million homes in the United States, two serial stock market crashes in a decade and ridiculous debasement of American purchasing power.

I call upon Libertarians everywhere to contact the Florida Libertarian Party Executive Committee members and urge it to pass Motion LP 120712-50, suspended until the Executive Committee meeting of 7/29, and to take up upon motion re-instatement of the penalty clause in the "Motion In Support of Honest Markets" that was struck during Executive Committee debate on 7/15.

Karl Denninger is an at-large Executive Committee member of the Florida Libertarian Party.  The opinions expressed are his own.

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Folks, cut this crap out.

Really.

Here are the facts:

  • Rubio was born to two parents who were not citizens at the time of his birth.  They were here in the country and he was born here, but his parents were not citizens at the time of his birth.

  • At a later date his parents became citizens of the United States.

Marco Rubio is ineligible to be President of the United States under the natural born citizen requirement.  He is a citizen but will never be a natural born citizen as he was not at birth due to the Cuban citizenship of his parents and you cannot retroactively acquire natural born citizenship status.

He therefore must not be nominated as VP, since the primary qualification for that office is the ability to stand as President if something happens to the President while he is in office.

The Constitution's 12th Amendment specifically says:

But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

I know there are people who think the Constitution shouldn't read this way on natural born citizenship as a requirement for this office, but it does read this way AND IS WHAT IT IS.

If you want to change this the proper thing to do is to amend The Constitution before you run someone who is currently ineligible.  Circumventing it as was done with Obama is wrong, no matter which party does it.

We've had enough lawlessness in this country at the top and we are way past the point where we should be tolerating it in any fashion, irrespective of whether you happen to like someone or not.

THE RULE OF LAW MUST STAND ABOVE THE "DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS" OR THIS NATION IS NO LONGER A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC.

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There's only one problem with being pissed off about it -- they are, for the most part, right.

Hear Dr. Paul on the subject of the 9/11 terror attacks—an event, he assures his audiences, that took place only because of U.S. aggression and military actions. True, we've heard the assertions before. But rarely have we heard in any American political figure such exclusive concern for, and appreciation of, the motives of those who attacked us—and so resounding a silence about the suffering of those thousands that the perpetrators of 9/11 set out so deliberately to kill.

There is among some supporters now drawn to Dr. Paul a tendency to look away from the candidate's reflexive way of assigning the blame for evil—the evil, in particular, of terrorism—to the United States.

There is nothing wrong with a belief that our military "reach" is too wide, too broad, and broadly unsupportable.  But you have to be either intentionally obtuse or outright dishonest to believe that the United States' enemies are only our enemies because we're a bunch of jackbooted jackasses who step on the necks of people worldwide and "generate" our own terrorists.

That's revisionist bullshit, to be blunt.

Before running such crap anyone with a hint of intellectual honesty would have to note the several hundred year long Jihadi nightmare unleashed upon people worldwide by those seeking to establish their Caliphate -- long before there was a United States, and continuing on since.  One would have to note that Muslim piracy and terrorism was commonplace on the high seas in the time of the Revolutionary War, and had exactly nothing to do with the United States "projection of power" (since we had just formed this nation!)  One would have to note the examples of nations (and there's lots of them) that have had as their only offense being majority Christian and thus "praying the wrong way."  And finally, one would have to look at the record of appeasement and its results in the mirror of history, including the millions killed as a consequence in WWII.

When it comes to Iran there's a curious problem with Ron Paul's narrative that his supporters simply ignore.  Paul says that Iran is just "misunderstood" and doesn't really want to wipe Israel off the map.  Ok, let's assume I accept that "bad translations" are responsible for that "misunderstanding."  What am I supposed to make of their repeated, vehement, and "in English" denial of the Holocaust?  That's much harder to argue over, isn't it?

Curiously, where the Journal misses the point in their attack on Ron Paul is where I drive my stake home through those who support him along with the rest of the Republican field: His utter lack of understanding of the essential link between our economic reality today and our current military posture.

That's energy, of course.

I happen to support a widespread retrenchment of our military projection.  The reason is simple: We've never managed to have that work out the way we intend.  How many times have we installed some guy here or there and had it go sideways on us?  Mubarak anyone?  The Shah?  How about the mess in Central America -- pick one there, they all sucked.  The problem with supporting jackasses as "our jackass" is that it doesn't work -- they're just all jackasses and eventually they turn on their own people, and then they turn on us.

But denial over the reason we've put the current system together is foolish, and here Ron Paul does the same thing that all the other "mainstream" candidates do: He intentionally looks the other way while participating in the government systems that make our current posture mandatory.

America can be isolationist.  We have the ability.  Most nations do not, but we do.  We can afford it.  We have the resources.  We have the people.  We have the smarts and we have the industry.  In short, we don't have to run a trade deficit and we shouldn't; we have the luxury of indulging only in fair trade and that which generates trade surplus.

But it is the cover of our federal budget deficit that gives life to trade deficits, to offshoring our jobs and ultimately our energy dependency and military power exercises.  Absolutely none of that is workable without government overspending.  It's a deadly embrace and Ron Paul is not only in the institution that's responsible for it, he fails to make the essential link and then speak against the actual cause, identifying not just the "what" but the "why".

So The Journal gets their criticism mostly right, but they do it for the wrong reasons.  It's not hard to understand their blindness -- if they actually looked at the picture from 30,000 feet The Journal would have to go after all of the Republican field and Obama, and that would leave them with the uncomfortable position of having to look beyond the "establishment" candidates.

I'd say that half a loaf is better than none at all, but in this case half a loaf is none, because without addressing the true issues we'll never make progress and when, not if, our excessive spending becomes unsustainable the harm that will come to this nation will be dramatically worse than it needs to be.

In that failure The Journal, in the fullness of history, will be judged complicit.

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STOP IT folks.

I'm tired of the partisan crap.

Rubio is ineligible for the office of President.  That's how it is.  I don't care if you like it or not, that's how it is.  It is because his parents held allegiance to a foreign nation at the time of his birth and therefore so did he.

There's no way to cure this other than through Constitutional Amendment.

If you don't like this fix it the right way.  All this BS, strum and furor doesn't change facts - Rubio was born to two foreign nationals; neither was a citizen at the time he was born.  And he was not the child of two people "fleeing Castro" either - his parents came to the United States before Castro took power in Cuba.

In addition to being ineligible he's a damned liar.

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