Saturday, October 23, 2010

Vote Libertarian in Iowa in November! -2010

Here's a video produced by local Libertarian activist Brandon Echols urging everyone to vote Libertarian this year.  It features appearances from such Iowa Libertarian notables as Eric Cooper, Kevin Litten, Rob Petsche, Gary Sicard, Dustin Krutsinger, Dr.Christopher Peters, and even a mercifully short appearance by myself.  I hope you enjoy Brandon's video.  And please, no autographs!

Register Article on Constitutional Convention

Today's had one of the better articles about the Iowa constitutional convention vote that I've read. 
A nonprofit group called Call the Convention is working to shoot down commonly held worries about a convention.

"Any amendment would have to pass the people of Iowa," said Bill Gustoff, a Des Moines lawyer who is on the steering committee for Call the Convention. "Iowans need not fear the constitutional convention process unless they fear the people. I think clearly public sentiment is in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act."

Social conservatives are listening and trying to decide whether a convention would be the best option to ban gay marriage.

"If you had asked me a year ago, I would have been adamantly opposed to it," said Steve Scheffler, the head of the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, formerly called the Iowa Christian Alliance. "Now I'm considering it, but I have mixed feelings about it."

Even if a convention is called, delegates don't have to propose amendments. And if amendments are proposed, they would not necessarily be adopted. Each amendment proposed by the convention would go in a separate ballot question for voters' final approval.
If you go to the Register article, be sure to read the sidebar items on the right, they're very informative.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Done Voting!

Thanks to the miracle of the absentee ballot, my wife and I are done voting.  I'll tell you who I voted for and why.  I won't call these my "endorsements" because I don't think that any of these candidates probably need or even want the endorsement of some nutty blogger banging away on a keyboard in his pajamas.

Iowa Governor:  I voted for Eric Cooper (Libertarian).  No, he's not going to win the governorship, that's Terry Branstad's job... for some reason.  Cooper and his Lieutenant, Nick Weltha (and the rest of us Iowa Libertarians), will define victory as getting at least 2% of the vote.  If we achieve that benchmark in a statewide race we will achieve "major party" status under Iowa law.  Then, it is hoped, we can become a big enough fly in the ointment for the two major parties that they will adopt many of our policies just to get rid of us.  To see the plan, go to Cooper's website and read the section titled, "We need 2%."

Secretary of State: My vote went to Jake Porter (Libertarian). Although he's only 22, Porter is already a heavy-lifter in the Iowa Libertarian Party. He and a handful of others do all the work while the rest of us sit back and watch (or blog about it as the case may be). In addition to his work for the party, Porter works full-time in retail, is working on his degree in Business Administration, and owns the Des Moines Free Press. I wish I had his energy!  The Secretary of State, among other things, oversees Iowa's elections.  It would be nice to have an impartial third-party referee in elections between the Republicans and Democrats. 
US Senator:  I voted for John Heiderscheit (Libertarian).  I used to like Chuck Grassley but the guy is bragging about being the one who wrote the Medicare Part D (prescription drugs) bill.  Social security and medicare are going to bankrupt the country and the Bush-era Republicans poured gasoline on that fire when they were in charge.  Now they're criticizing Obamacare?  The difference between Medicare Part D and Obamacare is a matter of degrees not principle.

US House of Representatives, District 1:  Although there's a Ben Lange sign in front of my house, I voted for Rob Petsche (Libertarian).  (Certain others in my house may have voted for Lange however, hence the sign.)  I like Petsche and agree with him on the issues, unfortunately, as a third party candidate he lacks the political big guns to unseat incumbent commie Bruce Braley, only Republican challenger Ben Lange has any chance.  So I voted for Petsche just out of quixotic principle, but secretly I hope that Lange kicks Braley's butt.

Attorney General:  I voted for Brenna Findley.  Although I voted for a few Republicans for Secretary of this or that and for some of the county-level dog catcher-type positions out of a lack of options, Findley was one Republican that I was actually excited to vote for.  Findley was one of the few Iowans who thought highly enough of the Second Amendment to show up at the Second Amendment March in Des Moines in April and spoke at the event.  Although numerous other states have signed onto a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, our current AG has refused.  If elected, Findley says she'll get Iowa in on the legal action against this unconstitutional federal usurpation.  You go girl!

Iowa House, District 31:  I voted for Lee Hein.  I'll admit I don't know much about the guy.  I heard him speak once at an event.  He didn't rattle the rafters with some Pattonesque speech like I crave, but he seemed like a common, competent farmer running for office, and that's fine with me.  Although it wasn't the determining factor, the incumbent Ray Zirkelbach's comments equating the Tea Party movement to the KKK didn't help earn my vote.

Retention of 3 Supreme Court Justices:  Since I'm not opposed to gay marriage, it might surprise some that I voted against all three judges.  Incumbents in the legislative and executive branches are taking hits in what hopefully will be "The Great Voter Revolt of 2010," so why not the judicial?  The message is simple:  If you're in a position of governmental authority, be afraid, be very afraid.

Iowa Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund Amendment:  I voted no.  According to, "If the measure is approved by a simple majority of Iowa voters, the next time the Iowa Legislature approves a sales tax increase, the measure would allow 3/8ths of one cent to be used in support of the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. This would establish permanent revenue for natural resources and outdoor recreational programs in the state."  If the state legislature raises the sales tax to fund some urgent need, a certain percent will automatically be syphoned away to the DNR, whether they need it or not.  That doesn't make sense.  As we've seen at the federal level with Social Security and Medicare, putting programs on budgetary "autopilot" is not a good idea.

Iowa Constitutional Convention Question:  The question is simple: "Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution, and propose amendment or amendments to same?"  My vote was, "Yes."  I explained why here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dr. Cooper: Introducing Libertarianism

Here Libertarian candidate for Iowa governor Eric Cooper gives a presentation called "Libertarianism: An Introduction" at University of Northern Iowa on October 14th.  (Two parts)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tea Party Supporters Protest Representative’s Comments

From Iowa Freedom Report:

Two women with ties to the Iowa Tea Party movement have mounted a letter-writing campaign recalling a state representative’s offensive comments earlier in the year. State Representative Ray Zirkelbach (D-Monticello) referred to the Tea Party movement as the "Tea (Bagger) Party" and the "KKK out of their costumes." Jenn Jones of Anamosa and Liz Strang formerly of Monticello, but now residing in Ohio, have had letters published in several Northeast Iowa newspapers speaking out against Zirkelbach’s remarks. Jones is active in the Jones County 9.12 Project.

Zirkelbach’s comments were posted on his Facebook page in April. In one he refers to the movement as the "Tea (Bagger) Party" and points out the supposed hypocrisy of criticizing government spending while still utilizing public roads, schools, and snow removal. At that time, Strang posted a reply prudently pointing out that the Tea Party movement stands for "limited government," not necessarily "no government." After parrying several more online replies from Tea Party supporters, Zirkelbach declared, "I believe the Tea Party is the KKK out of their costumes!”

Read the full story at Iowa Freedom Report.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Braley Bytes: "Debt for Clunkers" Edition

Besides helping to nearly double the national debt, Iowa First District Representative Bruce Braley's biggest achievement in Congress is his co-sponsorship of the 2009 "Debt for Clunkers" program. (This program is sometimes erroneously called "Cash for Clunkers" under the mistaken assumption that an organization that's $13 trillion in debt and hemorrhaging $1 trillion more than it's taking in each year actually has "cash" to hand out.)

Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, a free market think tank, wrote a good summary of the program shortly after it ended in 2009. Forgoing the usual academic niceties, Edwards dubbed Debt for Clunkers as "the dumbest government program ever." Here's Edwards' rundown of the program's dubious achievements:
  • "A few billion dollars worth of wealth was destroyed. About 750,000 cars, many of which could have provided consumer value for many years, were thrown in the trash. Suppose each clunker was worth $3,000 at a guess, that would mean that the government destroyed $2.25 billion of value.
  • "Low-income families, who tend to buy used cars, were harmed because the clunkers program will push up used car prices.
  • "Taxpayers were ripped off $3 billion. The government took my money to give to people who will buy new cars that are much nicer than mine!
  • "The federal bureaucracy has added 1,100 people to handle all the clunker administration. Again, taxpayers are the losers.
  • "The environment was not helped. See here and here.
  • "The auto industry received a short-term “sugar high” at the expense of lower future sales when the program is over. The program apparently boosted sales by about 750,000 cars this year, but that probably means that sales over the next few years will be about 750,000 lower. The program probably further damaged the longer-term prospects of auto dealers and automakers by diverting their attention from market fundamentals in the scramble for federal cash." 
Edwards' last point is vividly illustrated in the following graph from John Stossel's website. Although there's a temporary "blip" when the $3 billion in borrowed money is injected into the automobile market, as soon as that is removed auto sales drop right back to where they were. The only lasting effect of "Debt for Clunkers" was to put America's children $3 billion further in debt to the Red Chinese.

If the "dumbest government program ever" is his crowning achievement, it's easy to see that Bruce Braley is a real lemon. If 1st District voters are willing to push, pull or drag Braley out of office in November, there are a couple of newer and better models just waiting to be driven off the lot.

How about a 1979 Republican Ben Lange?  The Lange features lower taxes, lower spending and higher integrity than our current clunker.  If you really want to save some bucks we also have the economy model, a vintage Libertarian Rob Petsche.  The Libertarian has many of the same fine features as the Republican model, but with much lower imperial maintenance costs.  Either one would be fine for us to park in DC for a few years.

So, now what can I do to set you up with a new representative today?

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