The Freeman's Burden:

To defend the principles of human liberty; to educate; to be vigilant against the ever expanding power of the state.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina: To Little, To Late?

As the Southeastern United States continues to reel in the wake of the worst natural disaster of my lifetime, the President has just spoken to the nation about preparations that the Feds are making to coordinate rescue and recovery in the affected areas.

However, these efforts have been lackluster at best and criminally negligent at worst. The president has the power to commandeer every helicopter within miles of the region to help get people out, to send military ships into the region and to use national military forces to secure the region, none of these things have happened.

The governments of the various affected states and the feds have had literally 30 years to prepare for this senario, yet two days after the storm officials seem to be stumbling aimlessly to coordinate the response. In the meantime, 1000's continue to suffer and hundreds have died.

People that never should have been there or, at least, should have had access to transportation staged and ready to move in quickly right as the storm began to wane. It is obvious that the lack of planning that has led to the clusterf**k in Iraq also dogs this administration on the domestic front.

I encourage everyone to show the compassion of the American people and take the lead where our governments have not and give generously to help the residents of these states survive and rebuild their lives in the wake of this biblical devastation. Please visit the Red Cross website and show your support. Make up a donations jar and put it in your place of business. We the people may not have aircraft carriers, but we have the resources and compassion to help our brothers and sisters in their time of need.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Canvassing Basics

Canvassing Basics

The neighborhood canvass is one of the most tried and tested forms of political outreach available to a campaign. The following overview should give the reader a basic understanding of the goals, functions and mechanics of administering a successful canvassing program.


· To raise awareness of campaign; and election event

· To provide information about the candidate

· To identify supporters and likely voters

· To provide a record of supporters for future outreach/GOTV efforts

· To identify opportunities to activate supporters on behalf of the campaign

· To identify opportunities to place yard signs/bumper stickers with supporters


· Materials

o Clip Board

o Canvassing forms

o Mechanical Pencils

o Literature

o Door Hanging Packets

o Bumper Stickers

o Backpack

o Precinct Map

· Dress Code – Wear your campaign shirts, buttons, hats, etc. Make yourselves easily identifiable.

· Divide into two person teams

o Person 1 – Speaker (Door knock, Talk to voter, Answer questions, provide literature)

o Person 2 – Secretary (Fill out forms, Door Hang)

· Use precinct map to identify target area.

· Communicate between teams to ensure that efforts aren’t duplicated.

· Target areas that are “voter rich” for your candidate/issue.

o Plan issue focus consistent with the concerns, culture of the local area

· Plan to canvass during “high opportunity” times, i.e. between noon and dusk; and on weekends.


· Google “XXX county precinct map” or check state election site.

· Print and disperse maps to canvassing teams

· Prepare door hanging packets, canvass forms and literature

· Disperse teams to assigned precincts

· Meet up at an assigned time and location

o Collect forms to give to campaign representative

o Report progress

§ Determine yard sign placement schedule

§ Activate new volunteers

§ Plan for the next days canvass

Iowa GOP Leadership

Iowa GOP Leadership

Position Location/Address Name email second email phone
Chairman Sioux City Ray Hoffmann
Co-Chairman Waterloo Leon Mosley 319-269-1857
Executive Director Des Moines Chuck Laudner
Political Director Craig Robinson
Communications Director Mary Tiffany
Organization Director Kristen Fuzer
National Committeeman Des Moines Steve Roberts
National Committeewoman Charles City Phyllis Kelly
Republican Women, President Cedar Rapids Kathy Pearson
College Republicans, Chairman Ben Johnson

1st CD Cedar Falls Karl Gilbertson 319-277-1816
1st CD Dubuque Dan Nicholson 563-556-5797
1st CD Bettendorf John Ortega 563-332-7179
2nd CD (Secretary?) Ottumwa Lisa Smith 641-684-9207
2nd CD Wilton Mark Lucas 563-732-3729
2nd CD Cedar Rapids Bill Vernon 319-364-4420
3rd CD West Des Moines Steve Scheffler 515-971-7363
3rd CD Norway Loras Schulte 319-227-6300
3rd CD Clive Ted Sporer 515-225-3580
4th CD Ames David Jamison 515-232-1125
4th CD Boone Bonnie Hall 515-298-0250
4th CD Truro Larry Smith 641-765-4555
5th CD Sioux City Bill Anderson 712-898-2505
5th CD (Treasurer?) Treynor Reid Houser 402-210-8330
5th CD Hospers Dave Raak 712-752-8181

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Constitution Constipation

The link below leads to an English translation of the Iraqi draft Constitution. The final document looks a lot more like the French social democracy then the American federal republic. It enshrines universal healthcare and a robust role for government in many facets of Iraqi life. It also establishes Islam as the state religion and as the primary source of law.

That said, it also is very unambiguous in its guarantees of equality before the law, women's rights and minority rights. Whether this Constitution will ever be the law of the land is another question entirely as voters in the four Sunni dominated provinces race to register to vote. Only three provinces must reject the Constitution in order to throw the whole process into the trash and force the dissolution of the assembly and new elections. As I look at the power structures and dynamics in place, I have a difficult time imagining how this document can possibly be approved.

Failure to approve this Constitution would create a serious crisis and likely end any hope for the aversion of a wider civil war. Things are likely going to go from bad to worse for the Bush Administration and for the Iraqi people.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A personal note from the PML

I'm very grateful that you are interested about what's going on within the ML. Many U.S. Libertarians have been misled into thinking that, by adopting a "pragmatic" approach, the ML has sold out. That's far from being true. You could help us a great deal in letting U.S.Libertarians to know that we are as committed to liberty and limited government as we have always been. Best regards,
Juan Carlos Hidalgo
Movimiento Libertario

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Costa Rican Liberty

I recently received a post regarding the shake-up with the PML in Costa Rica suggesting that the party had been irreparably compromised by non-libertarians. Upon further investigation, I learned that this was in reference to the dismissals of several staffers and the resignations of several others. While I was aware of the turmoil, at no point did I feel that the party was being compromised, to the contrary the party is becoming a political party.

These growing pains have been painted by the more rigid objectivists and anarchists who invested themselves in the party's early success as the collapse of libertarianism in CR when, in fact, it is simply a re-alignment to the political realities on the ground. That many of these libertarians have chosen to leave the party or withdraw their support purely based on this re-alignment is unfortunate, but if only the most rigidly ideological are "real" libertarians, then 1/2 of one percent is the best the LP will ever do in the States for sure, and not much better in CR. I find it deeply unfortunate that those of you who are the most passionate, articulate and versed in the principles of liberty are also the first to run from a fight.

I continue to believe that a successful libertarian party must be incremental and moderate, working towards gradual increase in liberty just as the creep of statism has been a gradual erosion of liberty. Politics is the art of compromise and, unwilling to accept this fact, the rigid objectivists relegate themselves to the political wilderness forever impotent to affect change and move our nation, or Costa Rica, towards a day when human liberty is again the rule, and not the exception.

I encourage everyone to continue to support the PML and Costa Rican liberty. While I am deeply sympathetic to the ends, and indeed the philosophy, of my more absolutist friends and deeply appreciative of all of their efforts on behalf of liberty in our times, I remain convinced that only by working within the framework of existing power structures, regardless of the risk that that entails, will we see a vibrant and effective libertarian majority emerge. I urge those stalwart defenders of liberty to rethink their abandonment of the PML and the reformist movement within the American LP. As we say in Texas, ya gotta dance with the girl that brung ya!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Quote of the Day

"Every day in Iraq is the same. It starts out bad....and then gets worse." Baghdad Police Officer

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bush's New Socialism

I have always felt that it is important to call a spade a spade. History is replete with examples of debates that are won and lost, not on there merits, but on terminology.

In our own history, James Madison realized the power of words. When he arrived in Philadelphia to begin debating the Constitution, he quickly dubbed his supporters "the federalists" even though their policies were decidedly anti-federalist. Jefferson and his cadre were quickly slimed by the media with the "Anti-federalist" label. In spite of Jefferson's best efforts to reframe the debate, the dye was cast and to this day, Madison was a federalist.

George Bush and his party could never have gotten a moratorium on the estate tax, but the "death" tax was far easier to wound (and soon kill).

Republicanism is a philosophy based on the premises of federalism (Jefferson's version, not Madison's) that stresses individual initiative, limited government, low taxes, delineated power, states' rights and property rights.

Do any of those philosophical principles sound anything like the governance of G.W. Bush? Yea, I didn't think so either which begs the question, "If Republicans aren't republicans, then what are they?

Well, let's take a closer look at HOW Bush and the "Republicans" have governed to find some guidance.

I could keep going, but I think I have made the point. This administration has massively expanded the size, scope and power of the federal government and used that power to advance an agenda of new federal programs, agencies and religious establishment.

I must, therefore, conclude that a far more honest and representative name for this administration's (and its spineless co-conspirators in Congress) philosophy is Christian Socialism.

By this I mean that, based on their actions, I must conclude that this President believes fundamentally in using the power of the state (coercive redistribution) to create social outcomes that are consistent with his Christian activist base.

(Note: I'm tired of doing links, if you want more info on any of the specific issues discussed here, there is a Pico search bar down and to the left by the archives. Cheers - F2S)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Lighting the Flames of Liberty

Click on image to enlarge

The Freeman's Burden would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our (The University of Washington Libertarians) own media darling, Morgan Catha. Morgan followed up his appearance on the Advocates for Self-Government website by getting himself (and our organization) mentioned in the National LP News. Great job Morgan! Morgan is also running for the King County (Seattle area) Council. I encourage everyone to visit his campaign website (and bring your Visa card, freedom ain't free ya' know!) located here.

Costa Rica!

As some of you may know, I am traveling to Costa Rica for three months beginning in January. I will be taking a couple of classes in Heredia and working in San Jose with the Movemiento Libertario as they go into the home stretch of their national election in Febuary. The objective: Help PML candidates expand on the wild success the movement has already enjoyed. I have been studying up in preparation for my trip and I figured I would share (over the next few months) some of the more interesting things I learn. Today, the birth of the PML. Enjoy.

We libertarians think that Costa Rica has been stagnating for years in an economic and moral crisis. Traditional politicians drive up the cost of living, dig us deeper into debt, impose taxes without our consent, and cause the poverty, unemployment, privileges and corruption that choke us. They reward the lazy, the inept, and those who steal, and punish the capable and honest worker. The traditional political parties DO NOT have the moral authority to lead this country. (Sound familiar?)

This is what gave birth to the Movimiento Libertario (Libertarian Movement), a political party determined to bring about a moral revolution to avoid an impending national catastrophe. Our aim is to attain the highest levels of material and spiritual well being for all Costa Ricans.

On May 25, 1994 three persons, Otto Guevara, Rigoberto Stewart, and former Florida Libertarian Party chair Raúl Costales, decided to form the Movimiento Libertario. They were alarmed by the economic and moral crisis caused by a bipartisan system which alternates in public office. They were also aware that the crisis had reached levels that endanger the country's stability, and recognized that the main reason for this deterioration is the usurpation by traditional politicians of each individual's decision making.

Worried about their families' future, the founders of the Movimiento Libertario knew that it wasn't enough to complain about politicians or institutions that don't work; that nothing is achieved by abstaining from voting, that things CAN be changed; that resignation is NOT the only option.

For over 200 years, great thinkers in the fields of philosophy, ethics, psychology, politics, law, and economics, have developed the libertarian philosophy. They include intellectual giants like Frederic Bastiat, Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand. In many countries people are now identifying the problems affecting them and the common denominator behind those problems: the curtailment of individual liberties and the consequential increase in illegitimate functions assumed by the State. Thus, entrenched small cliques in high circles of political power increasingly violate our individual rights. We are part of a movement encompassing individuals from all over the world who share a commitment with certain ethical and political ideas regarding freedom.

The libertarian philosophy is based on a deep respect for each human being and her/his rights. We believe that this orientation, focused on freedom with responsibility, is the only way to bring about peace and prosperity, both material as well as spiritual. Ours is a true moral revolution.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

LNC votes to eliminate dues

In a smart and long overdue move, the Libertarian National Committee voted to end all dues associated with membership into the party. The long standing $25 annual fee will be dumped beginning January 1, 2006.

I believe this is a positive move for the LNC to take and puts the LP on more even footing with the Republicans and the Democrats.

Group theory teaches that a larger organization with lower barriers to entry will draw more people then a small, exclusive group; the situation today with the LP. The trade off is that if people are not personally invested in an organization and the organization will either achieve or fail in its objectives regardless of any participation by one individual, then any given individual will have the incentive to free ride, contribute little or nothing yet share fully in the rewards of success.

That said, no political party has ever succeeded as a small, exclusive group. The LP must grow in order to put the boots on the ground to get our voters to the polls, our message to the voters and our candidates the support they need in order to run successful campaigns. Achieving freedom, peace and prosperity in our times is a tall order by any measure, only a large, pragmatic and inclusive Libertarian Party can help bring about those ends and lower barriers to participation is an important step in moving the party, and the nation, in the right direction.

Read the LP press release here.


The sacred Charter cat is among the holy health care pigeons

By: Rex Murphy

The sacred Charter cat is among the holy health care pigeons. The Supreme Court has just done something as radical in this country as any court here has done any time. It has more than nudged the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a document most dear to this country, towards a collision with the one social policy that many think defines this country, universal medicare. No private health care.

On a political front, the Quebec decision may have more impact than the various provincial court decisions on same-sex marriage. Expect the Liberals to leap to the defence of medicare as we know it with the eagerness of the nearly doomed reaching for the life raft. At last, something other than Gomery and Grewal.

It's also an interesting decision because this decision, if it's an example of the dreaded judicial activism, always a problematic term, is activism towards the right side of the spectrum. All of those who saw the enlightenment of court leadership on same-sex may have to limber up to find the flexibility to dam the reactionary impulse of this one. But it's what the court has said and what this decision implicitly acknowledges that is the real bundle of explosive here.

That the system that Canadians treasure, that has become our litmus and brand as a society, which cares for its members, the health care system has become, in practice, a turmoil, a frustration, and a disappointment on a daily basis for a very long time for just too many Canadians.

It has also said that leaving it alone to preserve the purity of it as an idea is not worth the cost of all the inconvenience, anxiety, and sometimes even danger that waiting lists and stretched out appointments and insensitivity to the particular suffering patient or family is not an option.

The decision has also called the bluff of the governments that have stalled real reform, done their endless commissions and reports, kept promising from at least Mulroney to Martin to fix what isn't in experience really working and exposed a fair bit of hypocrisy too.

That in Quebec already there is so-called private care. That those who can't afford for their health to wait are already being driven to go out of the country, and that the really well off and sometimes the well connected find a way around the lines and the waiting lists. That's not in the decision itself, but it is the open secret of our so much self-lauded system, that it is already broken, worked around or in emergency bypassed.

Finally, the initial response from the government that this is just Quebec and that the health care system across Canada is safe is platitude and poppycock. One decision, remember, in Ontario begat same-sex decisions in seven other provinces. The Charter is a bigger idea than the ideology of health care, and the Charter will trump whenever it is raised. This court decision may do what a million royal commissions haven't: force a real fix on the system as it is or open the system up to some mix that will deliver true health care to those people who need it when they need it. I can hear that sacred cat purring.

Monday, August 01, 2005

What is a Conservative to do?

Alberta's legislature will vote this week on a plan to use the"not withstanding clause" of that country's Constitution to protect public officials from performing same-sex marriage against their will. The legislation will also protect churches from legal liability if they refuse to marry or recognize the marriages of gay couples. Read more about this story here and here. Even though I personally believe that governments should get out of the business of regulating relationships, neither should any individual be coerced to perform services which contradict their personal beliefs. The efforts made by Alberta to strike a balance reflects why it is better for states (or in this case, provinces) to set their own social policies rather than have a national policy imposed on them that does not reflect the values of the community. In the United States, the 10th Amendment was included in the US Constitution because it created an environment where 13 states could be 13 experiments in liberty. However, over the years, the Federal Government has consolidated many of the powers the Constitution left specifically to the States. As a result, we enjoy far less choice and far less liberty.