Tag Archives: liberty

Liberalism, Liberty, Life and Love

The first interview I ever did on my radio show with Jeffrey Tucker was so compelling and, for want of a better word, important, that he and I immediately decided we would have to do a second, to expand on the themes discussed. I couldn’t have expected that the second interview could have been better than the first – but I think it was. The evidence is below, in the transcript of my second interview with Jeffrey Tucker.

ROBIN KOERNER: … The largest audience figures that Blue Republican Radio has had so far … was when I interviewed the awesome Jeffrey Tucker. We finished that interview excited about the possibility of continuing on some of the themes that we discussed. I think it’s fair to say—and I will invite Jeffrey to disagree with me if I’m wrong there—that he and I see much of what we need to do in the Liberty Movement in the same way, so I’m delighted to say he is back to carry on where we left off last time, a month ago. Jeffrey, welcome back and thank you.

JEFFREY: It’s a pleasure, Robin, thank you so much. You know what? It’s interesting that you say that we see things in a similar way because—I’m not sure if I’m right about this but—I tend to think of you as more of a more traditional-classical liberal and I’m an anarchist. However, I don’t really see these views—and I hope you agree with me—as antagonistic. I think the difference is a matter of application and probably you’re not entirely convinced of the viability of a stateless society where I am. That probably sort of defines the differences, but the spirit of the views I represent, which the core order of society sort of grows out of our associations with each other, that perspective is rooted in the history of liberalism itself. I don’t see it as a radical departure, but a kind of organic and gradual outgrowth of that tradition. I don’t think it should be severed, if you know what I mean.

ROBIN: Absolutely. Well, I agree obviously with everything you said there. The reason I said I think that we see what we need to be doing in the Liberty Movement in the same way is because underlying, perhaps, our different political positions—my classical liberalism versus your anarchism—we have the same concerns about how to approach our philosophy, how to come to a good philosophy, and what indeed a good and effective philosophy is. Epistemologically then, I think perhaps we’re cut from the same cloth.

JEFFREY: Yeah, I think so. It’s interesting for me to read in the history of classical liberalism and see the themes that animate my perspective on the world. What was the key insight of liberalism as it grew up in the late middle ages, renaissance, and enlightenment? To me the theme is that there is a sort of self-ordering dynamic to society. That order is not something imposed by a leviathan but rather sort of extends out of our associations and trade—that’s the expression “laissez-faire,” right? If you let it alone, then everything will work itself out for the common good. I think that is a good way of summarizing the essential liberal insight.

ROBIN: Absolutely. Now, you ended the show last time, raising a question that sounded a little over-dramatic, but then you pointed out that it certainly wasn’t: that it was actually a question that, as a practical matter, we need to answer, which is: “Do we in the Liberty Movement want to improve society or destroy it?”

JEFFREY: [LAUGHS]

ROBIN: And this came out of an hour of discussing the self-falsifying brutalist approach to Libertarianism that you so eloquently conveyed in both the interview that we did and that article that prompted these interviews. Let’s just go from there.

JEFFREY: I’m trying to think of a kind of a good way to approach this topic from a fresh perspective, and I keep going back to a beautiful book—I wonder if you’ve read it. It’s 1927 by Ludwig von Mises called Liberalism.

ROBIN: I’m glad you raised it because you mentioned it last time, and I wanted to talk about that again.

JEFFREY: He has this really—and I probably mentioned this last time too—but this last chapter. It’s really interesting. He’s looking at ways in which the sort of modern leviathan state has distorted society and distorted our outlook on life: how leviathan has created social divisions and made us all annoyed with each other. He actually has a phrase for it; he says that the leviathan has encouraged warfare sociology—I’m going somewhere with this. Here’s the deal: because there is so much at stake like imploding outcomes, there’s despotism—it lives parasitically off the rest of the social order, turning against each other in a Hunger Games sort of way. What effect does this have on liberalism? Mises answers it this way in the last chapter, he says there’s a tendency on the part of public communion in general and even in liberalism to regard itself as a particular party, as a kind of an interest group that favors its interests over somebody else’s interests. And he says that this is very wrong. This is a wrong turn for liberalism. In other words, classical liberalism or my more radical Libertarianism shouldn’t regard itself as a special interest with a particular slate of demands that come at the expense of somebody else’s demands. He says that liberalism has no party; it has no songs or uniforms, no sort of list of demands that it wants for itself, that liberalism is the only political outlook that actually seeks the general good of everyone. It seeks the common wellbeing of all peoples and all places.

ROBIN: Now surely though, my friends on the left would say that they’re trying to do that, but they’re trying to use the state as a tool in so doing, were they not?

JEFFREY: Yeah, so this is the problem with the left, right? It’s not so much that their ideals are wrong—although they often are—what’s really wrong about the left is the means that they use to achieve their ideals, and their means are violent. They always have to resort to the state, meaning aggression on people’s lives and property. They never really want to talk about this, or recognize it, or even admit it. But if you’re going to the state to ask them—the state apparatus—to achieve your ideals, you’re essentially favoring rapping up the use of violence in society and coercion and regimentation. I was just reading this recently – some late nineteenth century classical liberal was talking about the socialists at the time—not the radical Marxists but sort of the more civilized socialists of the U.S. and England—that the problem wasn’t especially with the ideals but the means by which they sought to achieve them. I would say that this is the core problem with the left more than anything else. There is a tremendous confusion that bled into the left space at some point in the nineteenth century – I’m not sure entirely when this happened—it came full flower in the progressive era and the New Deal. But just a kind of nonchalant willingness to resort to that political machinery in order to sort of make society conform.

ROBIN: Now, we’re going in to a break in just about, I don’t know, 20 seconds, so I want to just throw out this question that we can answer in the next segment: Are we in some way not forced to form ourselves into things like parties, a kind of broad interest group, just by virtue of the fact that those who oppose our approach are so formed, and they are so in a democracy?

JEFFERY: That is a brilliant question, Robin – thank you.

ROBIN: We’ll go into the break and we’ll discuss when we come back.

[BREAK]

ROBIN: Welcome back to Blue Republican Radio. When we went into the break, I was asking Jeffrey a question. Even though liberalism—classical liberalism—doesn’t seek to operate through a party or to form an interest group that fights against other interest groups, are we not—just as a practical matter—in some way forced to do so? Because we operate in a context where such groups do move the political dial and we need to move the political dial, so there’s a kind of tension between the fact—and I actually talk about this when I introduce classical liberalism to some of my student groups. For me, what’s compelling about classical liberalism is that it actually isn’t a political philosophy. It’s almost an apolitical philosophy, or a meta-political philosophy. You kind of don’t actually have to believe in anything except your immediate experience of liberty – and that can inform your approach to politics in a completely general sense. It doesn’t in any way cause you to want to hold tight to an institutionalized party with a certain name, but here we are – pragmatically. There’s obviously some benefit to identifying oneself into political groupings and operating with the benefits of so doing in a democracy – when it is a democracy we’re trying to influence. What do you think about that, Jeffrey?

JEFFREY: I think that it is inevitable. Of course, it’s never going to go away. I would say that there are two big problems with political activism. One is that tends to not be as practical as advertised. Quite often it just doesn’t work; it hasn’t really worked for a better part of a hundred years. We saw how it worked in the eighteenth century and nineteenth century to some extent, but it’s been a long while since it truly worked well for the liberal cause. There are some exceptions that I can name—maybe the repeal of prohibition, some other issues that have led to the liberalization from the top-down through politics, but it’s pretty rare. The other problem I really have with it—and this worries me very much—is it quite often leads to despair. People get really, really excited about politics; back their man; throw themselves into it; give money; become passionate about it, almost with a level of religious fervor. And then they find that their man loses, or their man gets elected and betrays them or something happens to demoralize them and then they think, “This whole political thing is just a complete waste of my life;” and they go away through despair. That worries me more than anything. I would say that if you’re going to get in to politics, then do so with your eyes wide open to the realities you’re confronting—without naivety, really. I think it is actually extremely important, with a real wisdom, that you certainly aren’t going to win the whole thing—you might not win anything at all. In fact, the most you might be able to hope from political activity is to prevent the system from becoming worse than it is as fast as it might otherwise have, which is pretty slim pickings as far as victories go.

ROBIN: Okay, but that’s not to deny that historically we have seen—going back a thousand years—a trend in the right direction, let’s say, in the Anglo tradition.

JEFFREY: Yeah, I know. There was a gigantic liberal revolution at some point that sort of swept the world, and as many books as I’ve read about this topic, it’s still the cause-and-effect that is unclear. If we could repeat that experience, it’d be a lovely thing. I don’t think it’s repeatable though; I think we have to find new and creative ways. To me, the most freeing thing that we can do for the world right now is be creative and innovative from a technological point of view. That doesn’t mean reforming the system from the top, but rather sort of building it from within and out, making new institutions. I just reread Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, and I think everyone should just reread this every few years. If you haven’t read it, it’s just absolutely brilliant, but he talks about how the Americans claimed their liberty. It wasn’t through revolution, it wasn’t as if there was despotism, then there was a violent revolution and then we got liberty. That wasn’t it at all. He talks about the building of liberty all throughout the colonial period. That it sort of already existed. Very robustly, it was embedded in the culture, embedded in the institutions. It was everywhere! It was part of the practical reality of people’s lives. Then, the Declaration of Independence and the subsequent Revolution of the United States comes about because of an intolerance towards impositions. So people were claiming and securing what they already believed that they had and that they had a right to. That’s a different kind of conception of how liberty is obtained.

ROBIN: Jeffrey, this is music to my ears! This is what I go around saying to my American friends! I come from Britain. I come from where the history comes from: I come from where the liberty comes from! It’s really important to understand, I think, that the so-called American Revolution as you’ve just said—you’ve explicitly said—they didn’t think that they were being revolutionaries. In a sense they were conservative – they were conserving their birthright. It was already in the culture.

JEFFREY: That’s it!

ROBIN: Which goes back to your earlier point, I think. You said that political activism can be so very disappointing, but I think that’s because if that’s where you—as it were—exert your force, you’re exerting your force on the tail rather than the dog. The dog is in the culture, and that wags the political tail. The politics always follows what is mainstreamed, normalized in the culture.

JEFFREY: That’s a very important insight. That’s gigantic! If we think that politics is the first front that we should face—the thing that we should primarily and even exclusively dedicated to through some sort of ramped up hysteria—I think we’re going to fail.

ROBIN: Absolutely. I think history shows that quite clearly.

JEFFREY: It does. Again, if we go back to Tocqueville here – he describes in such detail the way liberty was embedded in institutions and in peoples. It’s very interesting. He talks even about—because I guess in his nineteenth century world there was an impression that the American Puritans were an intolerant, sort of Taliban-ish force (in modern terms)—but he actually marshals a tremendous amount of evidence from the sermons that you hear, even from the most severe Puritan ministers that were basically Lockean in their outlook. It was a beautiful thing that the love of liberty was so pervasive that it took many different forms all throughout American society, and there’s a beautiful quote he has somewhere in Democracy in America where he says something like, “I would completely oppose the imposition of only one form of liberty all over the world.”

ROBIN: There you go, and that’s what the brutalists…

JEFFREY: There should be many, many different expressions of liberty based on time, culture, and people. He’s a very interesting guy because he’s sort of an aristocratic libertarian in a way, and not an anarchist in any sense, but we have so much to learn from him. There’s not an imperialistic liberalism about him at all, or an imperialistic libertarianism, or a top-down central plan—a “we know what’s right for society” kind of approach. He really believes that liberty grows out of the embedded experience and belief structure of a people and a particular time and place. Anyway, I think all of this matters for us now. This is not just a history lesson. It really matters for what we’re doing today.

ROBIN: Yes. You talked about these ideas, pre-revolution for example, being pervasive in the culture. We can cause these ideas to become pervasive in an incremental way, such that when tyranny strikes (as it kind of is now in this moment of American history), what is in the culture will inform the reaction. It can make the reaction against tyranny one from liberty. I think that is how liberty has stepped up throughout history: political overreach into the culture occurs; there’s something good already in the culture; people sense that something they already have is being taken away by tyranny, and then they react.

JEFFREY: That’s right. The culture builds real institutions, real relationships and communities.

ROBIN: We’ll talk about that when we come back from the break, Jeffrey.

[BREAK]

ROBIN: So when we went into the break there, Jeffrey, you made the point—a very important point—that culture builds real institutions and communities, things that—if I can use your word [from our earlier interview] again—brutalist Libertarians don’t spend any time talking about. I think that may indeed make us, as a group of Libertarians, appear alien to those who are just living in mainstream culture.

JEFFREY: It is certainly right. Here’s the thing: what I described as “brutalistic Libertarianism” is a form of Libertarianism, and I don’t want to take that away from them. My real hope is not so much to condemn but to elevate, you know? And to draw attention that it really is about more than just your rights to do what you want. It’s about more than just the freedom to have no social graces—which I certainly would argue for. That’s okay.

ROBIN: Do you actually mean that literally, Jeffrey? Do actual mean that Libertarianism is about more than those things, or do you mean that life is about more than those things?

JEFFREY: Here’s the thing—and I don’t want to get caught up in definitions like “what is Libertarianism?”—I mean liberty and life. Libertarianism is not much good to us unless it can point to a larger, more beautiful result of a flourishing human life under conditions of liberty. I think we need to broaden our minds and look at that possibility. One reason I think that brutalism exists is because don’t believe that liberty can exist anymore. People are despairing as a result of the leviathan state: they think, “I’m never going to be able to exercise my rights really; we’re never going to get a free society, so I might as well just take what I can get right now.” I think that is a kind of unidealistic way to look at it. It’s inconsistent with the dreams and the longings of the old liberal tradition, which really sought the best not just for oneself, but for one’s community and for the whole world.

ROBIN: Here’s a question, then, that this raises for me: does the liberal tradition itself—or indeed Libertarianism as we currently understand it— provide the means, the metrics, the paradigm to actually determine what is the good life, what is more beautiful, what is better? Or is that a completely different project that falls outside whatever it is that we do as liberals politically—classical liberals politically? That we’re going to do not because our philosophy necessitates it, but if we don’t, we’re just not going to get anybody else to like us? Which of those is it?

JEFFREY: I like to go back to Hayek on this. Hayek thought the most important agenda was to create to a space of choice, human volition, and freedom for institutions to develop, and develop the tolerance for a wide diversity of those institutions. That was the essence of the liberal project more than anything else. It wasn’t to achieve certain designed and rationalistic ends; it was to create a space and a template—a sort of civilizational template—to allow the full, multifarious flourishing of the best of human life in every way you can imagine that. In Law, Legislation, and Liberty, he actually uses the words, “the good society,” which was an interesting phrase for him to use because he’s writing—probably at this point—8 to 10 years after Lyndon Johnson imposed what he called the good society, which was just a bunch of welfare programs actually. Hayek sought to take back that term for the liberal cause. A good society is not something you impose through legislation, transfer programs, and redistributions. It is something that emerges out of the decentralized choices of individuals where they are in their time and in their place, doing what is in the best interest of themselves and others in a cooperative way. That’s what builds a good society. I just think that is a beautiful image.

ROBIN: Definitely. Some pure Libertarians would say, though, that our responsibility as Libertarians is just to make sure that politically that’s allowed, and that we don’t have to care too much about what society then does with that freedom. But I think you would say—and correct me again if I’m wrong—that some institutions, some choices taken with freedom are better than others, and make for better lives. Is it important that we, as classical liberals or Libertarians—even anarchists—have anything to say about that even as a political matter?

JEFFREY: I would say that there is a really interesting give-and-take relationship between freedom and the longing for the higher angels of our nature. There’s an inter-relationship between these two things: the larger the state grows, the worse we become as people; and then the worse we become as people, the larger the state grows. I think the reverse relationship works there too. It’s like, if we can get busy building our own forms of freedom that are based in benevolence, cooperation, creativity, and love, we will become less dependent on centralized forms of impositions and leviathan state control.

ROBIN: Thank you for using the word, “love.” I’ve been trying to introduce the word, “love,” into politics since I started on this. One of the ways I understand liberty is that it is the political realization of love because love says “as you wish.” To your loved one you say, “As you wish;” you want for him or her what he or she wants for him or herself. A liberal politics does the same thing politically.

JEFFREY: I think that’s right. Robin, all beautiful things in the world extend from love. For me, love is the great creative force; it is the thing that gives birth to new life. It’s a creative force in the sense that it takes the existing substance that’s around us, merges it and mixes it together and creates something new, surprising, beautiful, exhilarating – and it is the reason we wake up. It is the reason we have hope. It’s the reason we look forward to tomorrow, so we can discover new, wonderful things—all of which extend out of love. Without love, all of history is just data: it’s boring; it’s not creative. A civilization of love is a prosperous, flourishing place. I think it’s a beautiful word. I agree that there’s a political economy of love.

ROBIN: “Political economy of love.” Yeah, wow! Here’s a thought then, which speaks to your brutalism idea and my purism or orthodoxy idea. I don’t think anybody would ever make, or has made—I might be wrong—a serious attempt to systematize love. To actually write it down what it entails—whatever the axioms of love are and then consequences. Love is necessarily more fluid, more amorphous. I can’t remember who said it, but I am reminded of that line: “If the soul speaks, then alas, it is not the soul that speaks.” It can’t be what’s ultimate. Ultimate reality can’t be spoken. If that’s true—if love is the bottom line—then isn’t that the denial of all attempts to dogmatize, or even, frankly, at the bottom line, systematize liberty? Define it even?

JEFFREY: I think that once you feel like you’ve understood the whole of it, you probably haven’t understood its most important thing. It’s a mystery. Why do we say the word, “love,” with such tenderness? Why do we always have a sense of awe when we just say that word? I think the reason is that—there are several reasons—it’s ultimately mysterious, we really can’t take it apart, we can’t fully understand it. Another reason, too, is that it’s very fragile. When it appears before us, when we possess it, when we hold it, when we feel it – we should treasure it, guard it, and protect it because it can shatter so quickly, and in so many ways, I would say that the state (in the 20th century in particular) has shattered our capacity to love. The death, the violence, the imposition, the regimentation, marching around in lockstep to the dictators and the plan…

ROBIN: And by, indeed, taking over most of those human transactions that come out of love – that we, out of love, perform for and on each other. The state has taken them over and eliminated our space to actually realize our love – to be loving towards each other.

JEFFREY: That’s true and really gets us back to the core reason that we wanted to speak, that has to do with this issue of brutalism versus humanitarianism as I conceive it. I really think that it’s extremely important for classical liberals, libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, left libertarians—I don’t care what you call us—people who favor the cause of human liberty—to not just hate. There’s a just hate that we have for terrible things in the world, but that doesn’t get us all the way. I would like to find ways for us to fall in love with the idea of human liberty, and for that to be our animating driving force. That’s not to say that we have a particular agenda that “I know the answers,” and, “Here’s what we should do;” but I do think that if you’re driven by a love for liberty—really—then you start to get creative. Then you can have a benevolent spirit; then we can have civil discussions; then we can have lively, robust, lasting institutions that can build the kind of society that we all long for.

ROBIN: Perhaps we can even go one step further—it’s not just about falling in love with liberty, it’s about using liberty to fall in love with each other, isn’t it?

JEFFREY: That is such a lovely way to put it. I agree with that. In any case, it’s a pre-condition. It’s something that we shouldn’t forget about. We’re not just about fists up in the air—that’s not enough. Sometimes that’s necessary, right? These days there are so many horrors in the world, but you can’t go to bed every day with hate in your heart. That’s just not going to get us from here to there.

ROBIN: Even for the statists.

JEFFREY: Even for the state.

ROBIN: For those who would use force.

JEFFREY: It’s fine to have a passion for justice—I think we all feel that. But the question is: what’s the next step? What are the ideals that we’re seeking? What are we being called to achieve—not just to oppose but to build? I think it’s good for everyone who is liberty-minded to do an examination of conscience in that sense. Like in my case—gosh, Robin, it’s a little bit autobiographical but—I fell in love with the idea of innovation, creativity, cooperation, and exchange. Just the magic that’s associated with the capacity of human beings to get along and work out their problems for themselves. When this started happening to me, it gave me a really different outlook on life. It is very fun now for me to enter into social spaces and observe what’s going on. I’m thrilled; I’m thrilled by so many things that I’m part of. Just the other day—I was getting off the plane—I kind of watched very carefully at the process of deplaning, how people get out and get their luggage from the luggage racks, move in front of each other, defer to those who are disabled, let those who have connecting flights get ahead of them, look down upon those who cut in line. It lasted only 10-15 minutes, and I’m sitting there in my chair, watching this extremely complicated social structure emerge out of this microcosm in just a matter of minutes. I found it just magical and marvelous to observe the capacity of human beings to organize themselves imperfectly but beautifully—even in the absence of stated rules or statutory rules. The rules emerged out of etiquette and manners, and there was like a court in operation at the same time out of a complete diversity of people from everywhere, who had never met each other before. It all happened in the course of minutes, it took place over 10-15 minutes, and then it was over. If you can look at a scene like that and say, “This is beautiful. This is magic. This is lovely. This is how liberty can work.” I think that’s a great way to look at our project, really. We want a world which that level of spontaneity and informal organization of humanity takes place with compassion, love, and mutual understanding.

ROBIN: Liberty as a means to allow people and to encourage people to express their higher selves. Higher selves that, by the way, they can access without having any political ideas at all— just by virtue of their humanity.

JEFFREY: That’s exactly it, Robin. Don’t you think…? I’ve begun to realize recently that we have a slightly exaggerated attachment to this idea that there should be some sort of universal political ideology held by everybody that which so happens to be ours. I don’t actually believe that really. If we have the right kind of institutions, it shouldn’t be necessary to “convert” everyone to every aspect of our belief system.

ROBIN: What we’re arguing for here, I think, is essentially a very optimistic—and I would say, true and spiritually accurate— understanding of what a human being is. In a way, if you’re Christian, you might say we’re made in God’s image. I would probably prefer to say that we all participate in the divine, we all manifest the divine—whatever way you want to put it. It is a very positive view of humanity that has been borne out by what people do when they are given the kind of liberty we’re talking about. I see now, Jeffrey, that we’re going in to another break, so we will carry on when we come back.

[BREAK]

ROBIN: This has been a very moving hour for me in discussion with Jeffrey Tucker. Jeffrey, in the interview we did before—the first one we did—you said the “purpose of liberty is to serve real people in their real lives.” The brutalist paradigm had a very different purpose—if any at all—right?

JEFFREY: I didn’t understand when I wrote my first article; I just assumed that brutalism was made up like any other theory, like, “Oh, to hell with beauty, to hell with accoutrements, to hell with loveliness.” Brutalists go, “Here’s your damn building.” That’s not actually true. What happened to the brutalist school of architecture grew out immediately of the World War II experience, which was shocking to all of the artists and creators in the world. So you’ve got the bombing of Dresden; London’s being aerial bombed; you’ve got Nagasaki and Hiroshima; you’ve got governments’ destroying major monuments of civilization all over the world, so one school of architecture said, “You know what? To hell with it.” If you think that civilization and beauty are that dispensable that you just push a button from the air to smash it up to smithereens, we’re not going to build it—as kind of a protest. “Here’s your damn building. It’s not beautiful; it’s ghastly. It’s just purely functional – destroy it if you want. No great loss.” Do you see? In other words, the brutalist architecture school represented a kind of nihilism or absence of hope completely. It was a despairing worldview that they adopted, and I think the ideological brutalism is in the same sort of cap. It’s a tendency to look around the world and say, “There’s no hope; there’s no chance for beauty; there’s no chance we’re doing anything good at all, so let’s just grab the minimum-most that we can, run with it, assert it, and shove it down the world’s throat.” There’s an analogy there. What this story, to me, about the origin of brutalism does: it makes you slightly, a little more sympathetic. This grows out of world experience, grows out of a historical experience that was ghastly. The brutalist architectural school was in a way the victims; this is what emerged.

ROBIN: Jeffrey, this is the end of the show. We’re going to have to carry on in a third, I think.

JEFFREY: I’d like to do that very much.

[END]

Breaking: Rand Paul Wins RLC Convention Straw Poll

Rand Paul has won the 2015 RLC Straw Poll held at the RLC National Convention spanning the weekend of October 8th-11th in Nashua, New Hampshire. The sold out event, with 750 attendees, saw an active presence from multiple campaigns.

Paul garnered 445 votes compared to his nearest competitor Ted Cruz with 399 votes followed by Ben Carson (139), Carly Fiorina (79), Marco Rubio (75), Donald Trump (54) and Bobby Jindal (51).

RLC Chair Matt Nye had this to say about the straw poll results: “This outcome is not surprising, Rand has topped our polls for some time and enjoys some of the support of his father’s activists. Cruz’s strong showing must come as good news to his camp. It’s a great time to be part of the liberty Republican movement. In the past we’ve had only one candidate to choose from, and this cycle we have two solid liberty candidates, both of whom are committed to defending liberty and the constitution.”

National Advisor to Rand Paul, Mike Biundo, put the win in these terms: “This is a great victory for the Paul campaign. A liberty straw poll win like this requires both the strength of the candidate’s message and the candidate’s strength of the ground game. We are very happy to have both.”

For more on the RLC National Convention:
https://rlc.org/civicrm/event/info

UPDATE:
To see how “Approval Voting” facilitates vote totals being greater than physical attendance:
http://www.electology.org/#!IVN-Shows-Why-Approval-Polls-Matter/c17jj/560bfd780cf2a7bb74bf550e

What Do You Love? Politics Is Spirituality Demonstrated

I have had the honor of speaking to many extraordinary guests on my radio show.

Perhaps none has touched as many lives as Neale Donald Walsch.

My work as a political commentator draws significantly on his, and in many respects, I trace my belief that Love can and must be put at the center of our politics to his ideas, with which I first engaged while at college.

With that said, this extraordinary, elevating and thought-provoking interview speaks for itself.

Neale Donald Walsch

ROBIN KOERNER: Welcome to Blue Republican Radio. My guest today is a certain Neale Donald Walsch, who is probably one of the best-selling authors of our time. He is the author of Conversations with God series of books, which I discovered about twenty years ago, and he’s been prolific: ten million copies of his books have been sold. He’s been translated into thirty-seven different languages and – this may surprise some of my listeners – but this gentleman has probably had more of an intellectual impact on me, and even my political work and writing, than perhaps anyone else. Certainly more so than anyone else I have spoken to on this show.

First of all, I would like to start by thanking you, Neale, on air, for the impact you’ve had on me, many of the people I know, and the millions of lives that you’ve touched through your writing.

NEALE DONALD WALSCH: Well, that’s very generous of you, Robin. Thank you very much for those kind words.

ROBIN: Well, thank you too. Let me just explain why I wanted to put you on a show where we normally talk about politics and economics. You wrote that, “your politics is your spirituality demonstrated, so too economics”. When it is said like that, I guess it’s obvious, but I think most of us don’t actually approach our politics – our trying to make our society better – with that in the front of our mind. Would you say that’s fair?

NEALE: Yes, I do think that’s fair. I think it’s more than fair – it is also the problem. The major problem facing the world today, in my observation and in my view, is that there appears to be a huge disconnect between people’s most basic fundamental beliefs about life, about themselves, and about this thing called “God”…if anyone even has a belief in this thing called “God.” Even those who don’t have a belief in God – those beliefs as well – impact their positionality with regard to economics, politics, and just about everything else in life. So when I say politics are your spirituality demonstrated, I mean exactly that. That politics is just a means by which we put into action, either by voting or in some even larger way in the democratic societies of the world, our most deeply held, most profound, most sacred-if you please- belief. If that’s not what politics is, if politics are not that, then politics are bankrupt.

ROBIN: Yes, that’s a good word and well used. You wrote, Neale, that all the following words are synonyms: “Think of them as the same thing: God, life, love, unlimited, eternal, and free. Anything which is not one of these things is not any of these things.” People who follow my work, listen to the show know that the slogan I work around in politics – specifically in politics – is, “liberty with Love.” … which, by the way, you might say almost doesn’t make sense: if love is freedom, liberty with love is almost a tautology – I suppose! I’m trying to put love into politics; love as maybe the bedrock. I think most of us get caught up in our own paradigms, in our own orthodoxies. We get a little righteous about what we believe, and it becomes a little more about being right than doing what is right.

NEALE: I think I’m going to disagree with you a tiny bit in terms of the semantical approach. I believe that all politics is love demonstrated as well. I think people do use politics to demonstrate their love, but it’s a question of what they’re loving. Every act is an act of love, I’ve been told and advised. Every single act, including every political act, is an act of love, so in fact I think people do use politics with full awareness that their political expression is an expression of what they love. So the issue is not that there is a disconnect between love and politics. The issue is: what are they loving? What does a person love? Do they love power; are they loving themselves more than the next person? Are they loving gold and diamonds, earrings, positions? Or are they loving other people? Are they loving the poor? Are they loving a particular philosophy? So your politics will demonstrate in fact exactly what you are loving. So politics in my experience, as I observe the world, in fact is the biggest demonstration of love. The question is not whether politics demonstrates what you love. The question is “what do you love?” Sometimes we think that if a person is not, let’s say, taking political actions, making political choices and decisions that affect the poor, the neglected, the undernourished and so forth of the world in a positive way, if they’re just looking out for themselves – then we say that they’re not acting in a loving way, but in fact they are! They’re acting in a very loving way: they’re simply loving themselves more than they are loving other people, or more than they are loving the poor and the downtrodden and the disadvantaged. But everybody is loving something. I think we need to really be clear about that. It’s an extraordinary point of view that has been given to me by some very high sources. Everybody loves something. Every act, therefore, is an act of love. Even the act of terrorism- even the act of cruelty- is an act of love. If people did not love something, they would not act cruel toward another person with regard to something else. If people didn’t love something, they would never act in a way that strikes terror in the hearts of other people. So it’s a question of not whether you’re loving enough, but what you’re loving and why. And that’s what people don’t understand. They think we need to teach people how to love. We don’t need to teach people how to love – all people know how to love. We need to teach people what to love, if they want to change their lives and change the world.

ROBIN: So that begs a great question: what would you have people love and how should we be teaching what to love?

NEALE: I would have people love first the highest source of energy in the universe, which I call “life” or “God” or – if you please – “freedom,” or “un-limitedness.” I would invite people to love that which has loved us so much that it has given us complete freedom to make the choices and decisions we wish to make in our lives, or at least the opportunity to express that freedom should we choose to do so. Or at least that’s the plan. A lot of people – millions of people – do not have that freedom. They live in societies and in situations where they don’t have the freedom to make the choices they want to make but the idea – the plan – was that they would. I would have people decide to chase their priorities in life. The fact is that 98% of the world’s people are spending 98% of their time on things that don’t matter. The fact is that we have our priorities wrong. There’s something that we do not fully understand here about life (the understanding of which would change everything). What we don’t understand is that we’ve got our priorities mixed up. We’re simply loving – if you please – and yearning for the wrong things. Wrong not in the sense of being morally wrong, wrong in the sense of being unworkable, dysfunctional, so we notice – with the most casual observation – that the way in which society operates (that is, the things that people prioritize) are simply creating a horrible, horrible mess in this world. We live in a world right now where 5% of the world’s people hold 95% of the world’s wealth and resources, and where 1% of the world holds 50% of the world’s wealth and resources and don’t seem to care very much, or show very much concern, for the fact that what I just said is true. We live on a planet, Robin, where as you and I are talking today, 2.6 billion people do not have indoor sanitation. 2.6 billion people don’t have toilets in their house! One and a half billion people do not have access to clean water, 637 children are dying every hour on this planet of starvation. We’ve all heard these statistics before from a variety of sources, and we all go, “tsk, tsk…that’s really a shame” and we mean it, we really mean it. It is really a shame, but we don’t think we can do anything about it. That’s where the disconnect is. Actually there is quite a bit we could do about it, and it’s just a matter of having the will to do so. What would create that will? Ahh, choosing to love something else other than ourselves, something else other than our priorities. I grew up, Robin, with the following priorities: get the girl, get the car, get the job, get the house, get the spouse, get the kids, get the grandkids, get the better car, get the better job, get the better house, get the better spouse, get more kids, get the grandkids, and finally at the end, get the office in the corner, get the sign on the door, get the retirement watch, get the cruise tickets, get the illness, and get out. That was basically my set of priorities. What’s been made clear to me in my conversations with God is: “wow, what a wrong set of priorities.” From start to finish, the wrong set of priorities.

ROBIN: Neale, you know what? We’re coming to the end of this first segment, and I think that’s a good place to end. We’ll be back in a few minutes. Thank you, thank you.

[Break]

ROBIN: I am Robin Koerner. I am speaking to the best-selling author of the Conversations with God series of books, Neale Donald Walsch. I have got this gentleman, who has been a big spiritual teacher in my life, talking a little bit about something that you all know that I am most interested in, which is making our world better – we hope – through politics. And we started a little bit by talking about love, and, Neale, your point is very well taken, but I would like to return to this word, “love.” I actually wrote an article recently where I did something that I quite often do, which is that I steal from you. I opened an article with the notion that made a profound impact on me when I read it in Conversations with God that the true three words – the three-worded sentiment of love – is not “I love you” but “as you wish.” “As you wish” seems to capture for me the idea of both what love is (inasmuch is it’s not about elevating yourself above the beloved but the opposite) and also encompasses this idea of freedom (what you love you want to be free or make free). Thinking of love in that way – is it possible to put that conception of love into our politics? Maybe on a national level or a global level. How do we do that and how do we deal with this balance, or tradeoff, or compromise between – which we often have in politics – compassion, and the use of force to deliver what we think is compassionate? There’s often this kind of tradeoff between helping and the reduction of freedom to be able to help, if that makes sense. Maybe through the state or some institution. How do we deal with that?

NEALE: If what we’re doing through the state is the reflection of the combined will or the highest thought of those people that the government serves, then it’s not really a reduction of freedom – it is an expression of freedom. That is, that is the basis upon which the United States government, and governments elsewhere in the world as well, are intended to operate. Where we get into a challenging situation and sometimes great difficulty is when the governance constructions of the state – the laws, the legislation, the rules, regulations, and so forth – do not serve us. For instance, to give you a simple if not a striking example, nobody argues with the red light at the corner. I don’t care what country you’re in, I don’t care where in the world you are – nobody has a problem with the fact that on street corners, the light turns red, then it turns green, then it turns red again. It’s the law, and we know that if we violate the law and somebody catches us, we’re going to be given a ticket and so on and so forth because we have broken the law. But nobody has a problem with that law because everybody in the world agrees. Why? Because we see that our survival is at stake. It’s very clear to us: we’re not going to violate the law. The red light is there for our own good. If it’s a question of governance taking place, if we’re pressured to follow the law, again, I announce, if we do not stop at the red light, we will be fined and we might even be put into jail if we do it consistently enough because we will be called a scofflaw. Guess what? We’re totally happy to have laws govern the human society so long as we agree with the laws themselves and the laws serve us, and many laws do. Let’s be fair, many laws do serve us, but there are some laws that do not. And increasing number, those are laws that take away our freedoms to the degree that what we intended (when we gave power to our government to assist us, to collectively move through our lives) has been ignored, or avoided, in fact – in some cases, violated.

You’re right; there is this extraordinary dichotomy right now where governments around the world, including the United States, now seem to be taking away freedoms as a means of guaranteeing our freedom. Striking that delicate balance is no small feat. It’s what creates political divisions, political differences between people. In the United States, the major difference is between the Democratic and Republican Parties, between Libertarians and others in the United States’ political structure who have enormous, not small but enormous, disagreements around this. I’m kind of a Libertarian at heart – I’ve gotta tell you I’m fairly conservative in my political views – surprisingly enough. Most people expect me to be liberal, but I’m socially liberal but fiscally, I’m fairly conservative in my political views. I’m most conservative when I believe that, if I had my way, there would be no government at all. No laws. No legislation. No governance whatsoever. Anyone would be totally free to do whatever they wanted to do, but I’m willing to acknowledge that our society as a culture, humanity as a cultural collective is not sufficiently evolved to live that way. Unless we see that our survival is directly at stake.

Let me make one little analogy here: I do a lot of visiting around the world. One of my favorite places is Paris, and one of my favorite places in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe. It’s a favorite place because it illustrates for me a dynamic that I observe throughout human life. If you’ve ever driven around the circle at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, you would understand why I call it “suicide circle.” That’s because thousands and thousands cars drive through that circle every hour from one side to the other. There are no lane markings, there are no traffic police, there are no signs, there are no lights, and a matter of fact, there is no control whatsoever. You literally take your life into your own hands—a “suicide circle” as I call it—around the Arc de Triomphe. Yet, there are fewer traffic accidents and far fewer traffic fatalities in that circle than there are 100 yards away at the Champs-Élysées. Well, they’ve all got traffic lanes, markings on the road, signs, lights, and even policeman in the busiest places, and there are far fewer accidents and fatalities around the circle. What does that tell us? It tells us that when there is no regulation whatsoever, people look out for themselves and for each other when they are clear that their combined best interest—in this case survival—are at stake; i.e., the fundamental instinct of humanity is to look out for the self and for the other when we all agree on what it is we’re trying to do. We all agree what we’re trying to do around the Arc de Triomphe is to get across the circle alive, or without killing ourselves or anybody else. I noticed then that lack of governance, lack of control can work famously and wondrously so long as everyone agrees on the desired outcome.

The problem is: in unevolved societies, we can’t even agree on where we’re trying to go collectively as humanity. We can’t even agree, for instance (to use another striking example), we can’t even agree on whether it’s okay for gays to marry each other. It’s taken us hundreds of years to come to even a semblance of agreement in certain states in the United States that it’s okay to spend your life with another person in a married situation regardless of what their gender is. What a huge deal that’s been because we have misunderstood what God wants. We’ve actually created legislation, in the years past, that we imagine reflect the desires of our maker. In many cases, we’ve said it’s against the law of God—“it’s right there in the Bible, Neale, read the Bible”—and so we allow ourselves to create laws that change what have determined and defined to be the collectively desired outcome of an entire society. History is about the long struggle of human beings to agree with each other on where we’re trying to go, how we can best survive, and how we can best express who we really are. That’s the social, economic, political, and spiritual struggle challenge that is facing humanity and never more profoundly than on this very day.

ROBIN: Yes, yes. This is interesting. We’re coming to the end of the segment, but I love listening to you, Neale. You talk about the state and the laws that we have, some of which serve us and some of which do not, and it occurs to me—and I think I’ve written as much—that we are seeing now an increasing number of laws that seem to come out of fear. In the next segment, I want to talk a little bit about this because—you might disagree with me here—but I have written (it’s kind of short-hand) that it’s almost as if we’re living through an age of the politics of fear right now, especially since 9/11. There’s this sense in which there’s this kind of contracting, almost kind of reactionary, protective use of the state and law. It seems in that sense to be the opposite of loving use of the state and law. I’m giving you that as we go into the break, and you can come back and agree or disagree in the next segment. Thank you, Neale Donald Walsch.

[Break]

ROBIN: Welcome back to Blue Republican Radio. This is Robin Koerner speaking to Neale Donald Walsch, which is a personal privilege to me because he’s had a huge influence on my life through his books for the last twenty years. I want to talk to him in this segment about this idea of being driven by fear as opposed to love, and whether that is what is going on in our politics right now. Now, I understand… I take your point of what you said earlier, Neale, that in a way, our politics demonstrates what we love; it’s always demonstrating our love. Maybe, then, what I mean by “fear” is a love of something that we are concerned is being lost, and that we have to bring to bear legislation, the state, and all kinds of things, to save. Are we in that age? Am I right about that?

NEALE: There’s no question about it. Fear is a demonstration of love. Of course, if you didn’t love something, you’d be afraid of nothing. If you didn’t love something, you’d be afraid of losing nothing or afraid of not having something. I would say it’s all motivated by love, but you’re perfectly right, of course. The fearful aspect of demonstration of love is exactly what’s being demonstrated now. Not only in politics in the United States, but for that matter around the world. We live in a fearful society right now, and how could we not given how love is being demonstrated so dysfunctionally and so violently and so cruelly around the world? When people walk into a magazine office in Paris, kill the editors, and execute them by name because of cartoons that they drew that were offensive in some way to another person. Offensiveness is probably not a good idea, but do we kill people as a result of it? I mean, do we actually murder people because we’ve been offended by a cartoon that they drew or a statement they made? For that matter, do we behead people because they belong to our religious persuasion or are not living their lives the way we think they should, and then put pictures of the beheading up on the internet so that everyone can see and become scared about that? Of course we live in a society that’s fear-driven. How could we not? The question is not whether we are living in a society that’s driven by fear, the question is: what, if anything, can turn it around? Or are we going to slowly, in fact, disassemble ourselves or disassemble everything we’ve put together? In some ways, we probably should but not violently and not cruelly. Here’s the nature of what’s going on the planet right now: the fact of the matter is, what we’re discovering, human beings are now observing—and by the way, the human race is rapidly losing patience with itself—we’re able to see that nothing is working. That is, nothing—NONE—of the systems we’ve put in place on the planet are working to produce the outcomes for which we designed them. The political system that we put into place on the earth among the very societies of the planet was designed to create, if nothing else, at least a minimum of safety, security, and stability between nations. It’s produced, in fact, exactly the opposite. The economic system that we designed on this planet, which was produced nominally, to create at least, if nothing else if not equality, equal opportunity for people to achieve and to experience a minimal level of financial abundance and financial security. It has produced, in fact, exactly the opposite. The social systems we put into place on the planet, which were designed to create harmony, joviality, joy, companionship between people, and closeness between people, frankly, have produced exactly the opposite. Saddest of all, the spiritual systems that we have put into place, which were designed to bring us closer to God, and therefore, closer to each other, have produced exactly the opposite. In fact, not a single system we put into place has produced the outcomes for which it was designed. In fact, it has produced exactly the opposite. Humanity’s construction has therefore resulted in abject failure for the largest number of people. In fact, for all but 1% of people on the planet. Our challenge right now is to civilize civilization. Are we living in a fearful society? Of course we are because we can see that –read my lips—nothing is working.

ROBIN: I just want to get the perspective right here. What about the fact that now, as a human being living in this century, you’re less likely than a human being in history to die a violent death? You’re going to have a longer life expectancy. On average, we have more material comforts and people around the world are being pulled out of abject poverty and have access to some of the basic comforts that we’ve had in the West for a couple of generations.

NEALE: People like to use those statistics to prove that we somehow improved. In the 21st century—in 2015— have we made sufficient progress to brag? No one is suggesting (and I’m the last one to suggest) that we haven’t made some improvement. My god – in 500 years, we ought to have at least created a society where fewer people are subject to death and the lifespans are a bit longer. Hello! Is our present situation something to brag about simply because it’s better than it was 500 years ago, or 300 years ago? Is this where an advanced civilization ought to be? Where one and a half billion people go to bed hungry tonight. Is that what we’re talking about? That 2 out of 10 people go to bed hungry tonight? That 2.6 billion people have to go to the bathroom outside? I don’t want to hear about bragging about how it’s better than it used to be. Excuse me, if we could put a man on the moon; if we can cure polio and bring an end to major diseases; if we can make the extraordinary advances we have made, when can we create a life of dignity and create a civilized civilization for all but 1% of the world or 5% in a stretch of the world’s people? Are we satisfied in saying that 80-85% of the world’s people are living in abject poverty and say, “well, you know it’s better than it was – the poverty isn’t as bad as the poverty used to be.” Excuse me, that’s not good enough for me. I don’t want to hear statistics that prove: “hey, more of us are living now than lived before; more of us have washing machines and vacuum cleaners.” Really? Really?

ROBIN: Thank you for clarifying. Absolutely. I get you, which really preempts another question that I want to ask you: how do you feel we can change our political discourse so that we can reorient to really address some of the general and fundamental issues? I am asking that holding in mind another quotation of yours which captures a thought I try and share in my work, which is the following: “No one gets righteousness,” you said, “not even those you’re trying to help.” And I think there are a lot of us who see what you’re now describing and we all have our pet solutions whether it’s the Democratic Party or the Libertarian or the Republican, whatever it may be. We take our righteousness out to the world, and we try to convince: “we have the answer, if only you follow my way.” A lot of us have been doing that quite well-intended, and yet still here we are in the world you’ve just described me. How do we change that?

NEALE: By altering our fundamental beliefs. The problem is then that we insist on trying to change the world at the level of behavior, rather than at the level of beliefs. So we pass laws, we write up legislations, we give sermons, we give speeches, we write articles. We do all that we can to try to convince the world to change its behaviors, but we abjectly refuse to say very much about changing the beliefs that sponsor those behaviors. We are loathed to question the prior assumption when it comes to our beliefs. Let me explain something to be real clear here. The one thing that we are loathed to do in the area of our behaviors that we are not loathed to do anywhere else. In science, we question the prior assumption immediately. As soon as we have a discovery we’ve made scientifically, we put it to the test: we question the prior assumption. Is there possibly more to know on this subject? This is something we do in technology. We do the same thing in medicine. For instance, if you’ve come up with a medical discovery or a cure, the first thing we do is put it to the test. We are skeptics – we question the prior assumption. But in our most fundamental beliefs, our beliefs about who we are, about our relationship to each other, about the purpose of all of life, and about the thing that some of us call “God,” “Allah,” “Brahman,” “Yahweh,” “Jehovah,” or whatever word it pleases us to use to refer to that ineffable essence we call the divine – in that hat particular area of our life, which happens to be ironically the most important area of all, we refuse to question the prior assumption. As soon as anyone gets up and says, “Is it possible that this particular spiritual teaching might be wrong? This teaching about God, about us, about who we are, about our relationship to each other. Or at least, if not wrong, at least incomplete not fully accurate… Is it possible that there’s something we don’t know here, that we don’t fully understand, the understanding of which could change everything?” As soon as anybody gets up and even raises that question, they are accused of “blasphemy,” “apostasy,” “heresy.” We put them down because, in the area of our beliefs, we’re not supposed to question the prior assumption. And here’s the prior assumption (there are two that we are loathed to question): 1) the assumption that we are separate from God and from each other. We live in a world of separation that says that we are separate from deity, if there even is a God, and separate from each other whether there is or is not a God. This is what I call a separation theology. You know what, Robin, there is nothing wrong with that if that’s your belief system. Fair enough if it begins and ends there. But the problem is, it doesn’t end there because it’s a global separation theology, and that’s what we’re talking about here. All of the world’s religions – not a few of them— all—every one– of the world’s great religions insists that we are separate from God. That separation theology produces separation cosmology; i.e., a cosmological way of looking at life that says, “Everything is separate from everything else.” Which in turn produces a separation psychology; i.e., individual psychological profiles that allow us to feel alone in a crowd. That separation psychology produces separation sociology, that is entire societies that have understood themselves to be “other than” and “separate from” other societies. And ultimately, that separation sociology produces separation pathology, pathological behaviors of self-destruction, observable everywhere we turn on this planet today. That’s what we have to do today—to answer your question—change not our behaviors but beliefs that generate those behaviors and support them. The beliefs from which those behaviors emerge, chiefly among them – our belief in separation, that we are separate from each other, separate in a sense from all of life on the planet—in the sense that we are observing it but have no control over it, and separate from the thing that some of us call God, divinity, or whatever word we want to use to refer to that ineffable essence that is the divine.

Now, if we changed our mind about separation, we would then change our behavior automatically because we would not allow our right hand to slap our left. We would not do to others what we would not want done to us. But since we think there is such a thing called “another,” we can go ahead and do things to others that we would never do to ourselves. If the things that ISIS right now is doing to others were done to them, they would call it “abject cruelty,” and they’d become furious, but they’re now doing it to others in the name of righteousness. This is not true just of that particular phenomenon, but it is the truth throughout human history. It’s merely the latest example of the same. The second belief—there are two major beliefs that we have to change—the second belief is our belief, as I mentioned earlier, that we are even after the appropriate outcomes individually and collectively, when in fact it’s just the opposite. We’re spending 98% of our time on things that don’t matter. But don’t tell anybody that! Let them go out there to get the guy, get the girl, get the car, get the job, get the house, get the office on the corner, get the promotion, get the bigger car, get the bigger house, get the stuff, get the stuff, get the stuff. We live in an extraordinarily materialistic society, and you can’t talk humanity out of it. It feels that they have to somehow get these things in order to feel secure, ignoring completely the teaching of every great spiritual master that has walked the planet. ALL of them have said—each in their own way—“seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all these things will be added onto you.”

ROBIN: It’s interesting, Neale—I have so many thoughts here. You actually brought up the word, “libertarian,” earlier, saying you have libertarian instincts. Thinking about libertarians—I know many and I work with many: on the one hand, there’s a celebration of individualism, but there’s also a celebration of voluntarism, of acting freely. It occurs to me that—if we could celebrate individualism while understanding that we are all part of the whole, part of the One – celebrating the individual but not the separation of the individual – then perhaps then we would find that we would need less force of the state; we would need less force in our society.

NEALE: You’d need no force. There’s no force that comes into your home on Thanksgiving Day and makes sure that everybody gets a piece of the apple pie. There’s no force used there. It’s even more obvious. If Uncle Charlie shows up at the front door: “Hey, I just got back into town, I’ve been gone for a couple years. I heard that this is your Thanksgiving Day – mind if I come in?” “Come on in! There’s enough food for all of us!” We find a way to even invite people who weren’t originally invited to sit down at the table, and you know why? There’s no force used for heaven’s sake. The better angels of our nature make it very clear to us what the appropriate response is to family. However, when we think it’s not family, when it’s the person across the street who comes to the door, rings the doorbell, and says, “Would you have a little extra for me?” We say, “Sorry because you’re not part of our family. Take care of yourself” We have misunderstood what voluntarism will produce. I agree with voluntarism – we should have a society with no laws whatsoever, but if we change our beliefs about who we are, we would in fact voluntarily make sure that everybody gets enough. We would never allow, if we were a civilized society, 623 children to die every hour of starvation. We would simply not allow it.

ROBIN: Beautiful. Thank you, Neale. We’re coming up to the end of the third segment, the long segment. We will back for just 2 ½ minutes in a little bit to close the show. Thank you so much for being with me, Neale, and I look forward to just hearing from you about what you’re working on now.

[Break]

ROBIN: I’ve had a very exciting hour with Neale Donald Walsch. I don’t really go in for heroes, but Neale has been one of the biggest influences on my life as I’ve said. And those who know his work and know mine will perhaps now, if you listen to this show, see more of his thought in my work than perhaps you realized was there. I would like to just close the show by asking you to share with my listeners what you’re working on now. I believe you do have a new book coming out? Tell us a little bit about that.

NEALE: Well, I’m working on two things: first of all, the advancing of my latest book into the world. The book is called God’s Message to the World: You’ve Got Me All Wrong. It talks about seventeen statements that human beings routinely make about God that are in fact false. There’s a true and false quiz in the book and we invite people to answer “true” or “false”: “God is to be feared? True or false? “God demands obedience? True or False; “God’s love is vengeful and God’s love can turn to wrath? True or false? And other statements as well. The book explores those statements and explains why our thought—the thought of many people—that those statements are true is what has created the dysfunction in humanity’s experience of itself. The second project I’m involved in is called the “Evolution Revolution.” On March 12th, we are going to stage an evolution revolution on the earth in cities, towns, and villages across the planet in which we place on the church house doors all over the world, as Martin Luther did in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1570. We’re going to echo his action and place on the church house doors all over the world –on the doors of synagogues, mosques, temples, and houses of worship everywhere—one thousand words that would change the world. And 10,000 people are going to be doing that on March 12th. If anyone wants more information on how to become a spiritual activist in that regard, they just have to go to evolutionrevolution.net. The name of the book again – God’s Message to the World: You’ve Got Me All Wrong. Thank you very much, Robin, for the opportunity to share my latest projects with anyone who might have a modicum of interest.

ROBIN: Thank you, Neale. You mentioned spiritual activists. I just want to say to those who hold themselves to be political activists—many of whom listen to this show—that your politics is your spirituality demonstrated. So if you’re a political activist who is not a spiritual activist, you’re not a political activist. Thank you again, Neale. Thank you for taking this time, thank you for sharing your wisdom. It’s been a real pleasure to speak with you. Please visit BlueRepublican.org, and please check out Neale Donald Walsch’s work.

(Many thanks to Hema Gorzinski for transcribing.)

United We Stand Music/Activism Festival Returns to L.A. for Second Year

This September the Free and Equal Elections Foundation’s United We Stand festival returns to Los Angeles to present a wide range of socially-conscious musicians, speakers, authors, and other cultural leaders to discuss and celebrate the political process.

Originally launched in May 2014, the second annual United We Stand Festival will take place at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles on September 19 from 5-10 pm PST. The 2014 event was seen as a success, bringing together musicians Immortal Technique, Cappadonna & U-God of Wu-Tang Clan, comedian Lee Camp, activists Sean Stone, Jill Stein, Foster Gamble (Thrive), Nick Bernabe (March Against Monsanto), Richard Gage (Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth), journalists Abby Martin, Ben Swann, Amber Lyon, Maytha Alhassen, Luke Rudkowski, Mnar Muhawesh and many more.

The 2015 event will kickoff a series of open presidential debates for 2016 presented by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation. The festival will be broadcast worldwide by freeandequal.org

Free and Equal hopes that the event’s momentum will help inspire people to run for office targeting the Congressional races in 2016. Free & Equal Elections will also launch an open source “Election Assistant” Database. This “Election Assistant” Database will be accessible to all and provide information on every candidate.

The organization aims to bring together a range of speakers on topics including fighting against the Patriot Act, NDAA, NSA, endless warfare, the war on drugs, pollution, election fraud, drones, GMOs, police brutality, and the attack on net neutrality.

“By creating an event that combines the most socially-conscious elements of activism, music, and journalism we are allowing concerned citizens to be a part of a much needed conversation about the failures of our political process and, most importantly, possible solutions,” Free and Equal founder Christina Tobin tells TruthInMedia. Tobin says she hopes the event can contribute to the broad awakening taking place around the United States.

The UWSF 2015 will feature Civil Rights leader Amelia Boynton Robinson as the keynote speaker, as well as Professor Griff from Public Enemy, conscious reggae artist Spragga Benz, journalists Amber Lyon, Luke Rudkowski (We Are Change), and Mnar Muhawesh (MintPress News), radio show host Tony Stiles, Alexander McCobin, Co-Founder and President of Students for Liberty, author Daniel Pinchbeck, former Judge and Vice Presidential candidate Jim Gray, and a host of other musicians, artists, activists and thinkers from around the country. (Full Disclosure: I will be speaking at the event as well)

Tickets for the festival became available online Tuesday, but organizers are expecting tickets to the event to sell out quickly.

TUCKER: Lower The Drinking Age!

By Jeffrey A. Tucker

It’s rush time for fraternities and sororities on college campuses right now. That means dressing up, networking, socializing, attending parties, and staying up late nights. It also means, whether parents know it (or like it) or not, astonishing amounts of drinking of very potent liquor. One of the most famous “drinks” is called “jungle juice”: trash barrels filled with random spirits and mixtures, consumed one red cup at a time.

Many of these kids are away from home for the first time, able to drink to their heart’s content. A huge culture as grown up around this practice, including a full vocabulary, games, and rituals. Mostly it is just fun, but it can also lead to serious trouble for everyone involved. Let’s not be squeamish: it leads to very un-adult-like amounts of personal abuse and, often, the abuse of others.

Most of these kids have never been socialized in what it means to drink responsibly. They are living for the thrill that comes with defiance. The combination of new freedom, liquor, and sexual opportunity leads to potentially damaged lives.

How do these kids get away with this? In fraternities and sororities, it all happens on private property, not public and commercial spaces, and so campus police can look the other way. Most everyone does.

Indeed, being able to drink with friends, and unhampered by authority, is a major appeal of the Greek system on campus. It’s a way to get around the preposterously high drinking age. Getting around this law will consume a major part of the energy and creativity of these kids for the next three years.

As for everyone else who cannot afford to join, it’s all about a life of sneaking around, getting to know older friends, lying and hiding, pregaming before parties just in case there is no liquor there, and generally adopting a life of bingeing and purging, blackouts and hangovers, rising and repeating. And so on it goes for years until finally the dawn of what the state considers adulthood.

For an entire class of people, it’s the Roaring Twenties all over again.

It’s all part of Prohibition’s legacy and a reflection of this country’s strange attitudes toward drinking in general. The drinking age in the United States (21), adopted in 1984, is one of the highest in the world. Countries that compare in severity are only a few, including Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Cameroon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan.

Most of the rest of the world has settled on 18 for liquor and 16 for beer and wine. In practice, most European countries have very low enforcement of even that. Somehow it works just fine for them.

Country Drinking Age

The consequences of this draconian law have been terrible for American society. Teenage drinking is a gigantic part of American life, all done surreptitiously and mostly without responsible oversight. The market for fake IDs is ubiquitous and diffuse. Everyone in the United States has a story of kids and their abusive habits, their strategizing, their hidden flasks and risky games, their constant maneuvering to do what they know they are not supposed to do.

The drinking-age law would surely be a winner in a competition for the least obeyed law. The notion that this law is accomplishing anything to actually stop or even curb teen drinking is preposterous. Instead, we see all the unintended effects of Prohibition: over-indulgence, anti-social behavior, disrespect for the law, secrecy and sneaking, and a massive diversion of human energy.

People speak of a rape crisis on campus, and whatever the scope of the problem, the fact that women under 21 must retreat to dorm rooms and frat houses to drink puts them all in a vulnerable situation. It’s hard to imagine that consent is really there when people are falling down, passing out, and feeling mortified the next day about what happened. In fact, the law represents a true danger to women in particular because it prohibits legal access to safe public places to drink responsibly, and go home to a safe environment afterward.

There is an organization of college administrators who are fed up. It is called the Amethyst Initiative. Currently, 135 colleges have signed support for a lower drinking age. Their goal is not to encourage more drinking but to recognize the unreality of the current law, and how it has led to perverse consequences on campus.

You know the situation has to be extremely serious to get this risk-averse crowd on board. Their statement reads:

 

[quote_box_center]A culture of dangerous, clandestine “binge-drinking” — often conducted off-campus — has developed. Alcohol education that mandates abstinence as the only legal option has not resulted in significant constructive behavioral change among our students.

Adults under 21 are deemed capable of voting, signing contracts, serving on juries and enlisting in the military, but are told they are not mature enough to have a beer. By choosing to use fake IDs, students make ethical compromises that erode respect for the law.[/quote_box_center]

It’s not just about campus. It’s about teens and drinking in general. The law requires them to hide in private places. Such clandestine meetings can lead to compromising and dangerous situations without reliable public oversight.

It’s also about business. Convenience stores and bars, in particular, have been put in a strange position. They have been enlisted to become the enforcement arm of an unenforceable policy, which has meant haranguing customers, inventing new systems for ferreting out violators, turning the servers into cops, confiscating IDs, and creating an environment of snooping and threats in a place that should be about service and fun.

Why isn’t something done to change this? Those who are most affected have the least political power. By the time they figure out the ropes in American political life, they are turning 21 and so no longer have to deal with the problem. In practice, this means that there is no real constituency pushing for reform of these laws. That’s why they have persisted for 30 years without serious pressure to change, despite the obvious failure they have been.

There is some movement at the state level. In Missouri, longtime state representative Rep. Phyllis Kahn has worked for a lowering of the drinking age in her state. She has an interesting take on whether this would mean that the state would have to give up 10% of federal highway funds (the threat that the feds used to force states to raise their drinking ages). In 2012, a Supreme Court ruling on Medicaid clearly stated that the federal government could not coerce states by withdrawing funding to force legislative action at the state level.

Other activists have said that even if the federal highway funding is cut, the increase in revenue from alcohol sales (and decline in enforcement costs) could make up a lot of the difference.

Regardless of the financing issues, current drinking-age law is unenforceable and destructive. The reality is that kids are going to drink. Denying that and imposing ever more draconian punishments doesn’t fix the real problems with alcohol.

What we need is a normal environment of parental and community supervision so that such drinking can occur in a responsible way. Yes, kids will probably drink more often, and yes, more kids will probably try alcohol, but they can do so in an environment of safety and responsibility.

Bringing it into the light, rather than driving it underground, is the best way to solve binging and abuse. Doubling down on a bad rule, rooted in the idea that laws can change human desire, is not a workable solution.

The choice between virtue and vice is a human choice. Relying on the government to make this choice for us disables the social order’s internal mechanisms for bringing about and rewarding responsible behavior. It seems like a paradox, but it is true: The only path toward restoring sanity in teenage drinking is greater liberty.

 

 

 

Reprinted from FEE with permission under Creative Commons Attribution License

LibertyONE.tv Prepares To Change Liberty-Minded Media

 

Even though the site isn’t launching until fall, Jason Stapleton’s LibertyONE.tv is piquing the interests of the liberty-minded.

The network’s mission is to promote and advance the idea of individual liberty and free market economics.

Stapleton, in an exclusive interview with Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook, said that he wants the network to be the go-to for video and education. He said he’d like the network to be, “The video arm of the liberty movement, and eventually a news outlet.”

“It’s going to start out small at first, but my plan is for it to grow into something very, very large,” he explained. “My long term goal is to have something that rivals RT America and eventually Fox News. One of the downsides of RT America is, while they do some good work, they’re Russian-subsidized media, and they’re never going to have the credibility of an independent news organization would have that’s promoting a lot of the same things.”

Stapleton said the site would have site-generated content, as well as curated items from other organizations.

“We’re going to produce some of our own content. We’re going to produce some of our own investigative stuff, hopefully in cooperation with guys like Truth In Media. Then we’re also going to be assembling really great content from around the Internet and around the world,” he said.

Stapleton also said that there would be a place for the opposition, as well.

“I don’t mind having discussions and debates with socialists, as long as we can meet on an even playing field,” he said. “What I hate is when it degrades into this shouting match online where a bunch of people who have nameless, faceless voices end up yelling and screaming and cursing at each other.”

Once the site is launched, the content won’t be subscription based. The revenue from the site will come from advertising and distribution.

Stapleton said he didn’t want to force people to pay to see content, or pay to learn about something.

“This is NOT What Democracy Looks Like”- Sights and Sounds from Baltimore

With our heavy coverage of Baltimore and the riots, protests, activists and policing, TruthinMedia.com along with the crews at RT America have been covering the unrest in Baltimore since the very beginning.

RT America photojournalists have complied these sights and sounds from protests in Baltimore and New York City which gives a clear look at to what protestors are demanding.

North Korea fires missiles into the sea as drills begin

As South Korea and the United States were about to begin their annual military exercises in the area, North Korea protested the drills, once again, by firing two missiles into the sea on Monday.

According to Reuters, the two missiles were fired from a military base on the western coast of North Korea near Nampo City. The missiles reportedly traveled about 305 miles to the east, landing in the Sea of Japan.

The missiles were fired hours before the joint U.S. and South Korean military drills, known as Foal Eagle and Key Reserve according to CNN, were set to begin. North Korea has always been angered by the drills, saying they are nothing but a “smokescreen” used by the U.S. and South Korea so the two countries can invade their country.

North Korea’s state-run news outlet, KCNA, said, “The situation on the Korean peninsula is again inching close to the brink of a war.” They also noted how the North Korean military will not remain “passive” forever.

However, as many people know, this is not the first time North Korea has fired missiles in protest to the U.S. and South Korean military exercises.

The 2013 drills, in particular, led to the North Korean government threatening nuclear strikes over the drills, according to the BBC. The drills went on as planned and no retaliatory strikes were ever carried out by North Korea.

Kim Min-seok, the South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson, said at a briefing Monday, “North Korea in the past did fire (projectiles) in a very similar manner… On several occasions, they fired (projectiles) from the west coast to sea off east of the Korean Peninsula.” Kim also said the drills were simply a warning against any “reckless” or “provocative” act the North Korean military may carry out.

KCNA however, said these drills are acts of “aggression” and they will be met with “merciless strikes.”

The South Korean Defense Ministry believes the missiles were either Scud-C or Scud-D missiles.

CPAC Straw Poll Winner Rand Paul Battles The Bush Machine—Goldwater Style

WASHINGTON, February 28, 2015—As the winner of the past three Conservative Political Action Committee’s (CPAC) Straw Polls, Senator Rand Paul excels at generating meaningful political and economic discussions among college students and young professionals. The same generation that is known for speaking in bewildering acronyms continues to gather in force to ask and to answer difficult questions that are essential to the life and liberty of all Americans. Their answers will ultimately determine the future of the nation.

The Senator’s most recent economic stand will endear him to anyone who has ever interfaced with the Internal Revenue Service. He promised to introduce the largest tax cut in American history. In his speech to attendees of CPAC, he mentioned that he is poised to propose a tax plan “that would get the IRS out of our lives.” He indicated his intention to cut taxes “for everyone from the richest to the poorest.”

“It’s time for a new way predicated on opportunity and freedom!” said Paul to a wildly supportive crowd. The Senator attacked America’s indiscriminate foreign aid policies, especially the large sums of money sent without the permission of taxpayers to countries that consider The United States an enemy. “Not one penny more to these haters of America!” said Paul.

His speech had the tenor of a well-run, focused campaign and was eerily similar to comments made by Senator Barry Goldwater exactly 50 years ago on the campaign trail leading up to his landmark GOP presidential nomination. “You cannot stop a man who has vowed to bury you by handing him a shovel,” said Goldwater, “By feeding and clothing his friends, while denying your friends the means to help protect you!” Goldwater believed that removing foreign aid would ultimately prevent wars.

Several members of the Young Jewish Conservatives attending CPAC this year specifically mentioned the foreign aid issue as a driving force behind their support for Rand Paul for president. Paul’s straight talk appeals to countless concerned Americans who are fed up with politics as usual, feel betrayed by the Party Machine, and fear that the United States is on an irreversible course similar to that of the Titanic—or Greece.

Two weeks prior to CPAC, the Students for Liberty (SFL) held its national conference in Washington, D.C. More than 1,700 students from across the world attended. The group was largely inspired by the ideas presented to them by Senator Paul’s father, Congressman Ron Paul. Now it is the fastest-growing political group on college campuses globally, and is surpassing both the College Democrats and College Republicans groups on American campuses.

Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is another group inspired by the Paul family’s articulation of limited government principles. Many YAL members were active in the GOP for years before they understood the liberty message, realized how well it resonates, and committed to passionately fight to preserve it. The large presence of both SFL and YAL at CPAC is telling, and has seemingly eliminated the establishment hostilities doled out to them by fellow attendees when they were the minority at previous conferences. The young libertarians gladly swap testimonies of political enlightenment with a fervor nostalgic of a tent revival meeting. They are also getting elected to offices across the land, a clear sign that they are not going away anytime soon.

Freedom is popular, it seems, and the Bill of Rights is back en vogue with a new generation of American rebels. This energy threatens to change the go-along-to-get-along, aging Republican establishment, which is why the party profiteers are so quick to strike back at the resurgence of old school conservatism.

The same Rockefeller Republicans who sandbagged Goldwater after he won the GOP nomination from the floor are currently working financial and legal channels on behalf of Jeb Bush. The 2016 Republican nomination is seemingly fixed for the top fundraiser and his delegate-donors, a complete violation of the nominating process. Sources say Jeb Bush bussed hundreds of people to CPAC from their Washington offices just to fill seats during his speech and to presumably raise his standing in the straw poll. This effort did not succeed in preventing him from being handily booed every time his name was mentioned, including while he addressed the attendees who remained after a protest/walkout. His temporary seat-filling strategy was met with disdain by attendees who saved and spent their own money to attend the duration of the event and cast their ballots.

One of Paul’s leading critics is fellow Senator and former GOP nominee John McCain, a man who praises Goldwater with his lips while shunning everything he stood for by his actions.  Just two years ago, the 80-year-old McCain called Senators Paul and Cruz, as well as Congressman Justin Amash, “wacko birds.” He called their supporters, the Under 40 crowd that supports Paul’s limited government principles, “impressionable libertarian kids.”

Yet, the vibrant, liberty-leaning younger crowd that has wrestled its way into the GOP is the only fresh blood coursing through the Party’s very old veins. Perhaps the current Republican Party leadership is not the right body from which to expect kind words of “big tent” gratitude. The crowds who now stand with Rand don’t seem to care. Their vision is clear, and they know they will eventually outlive the generation that got the country into this mess in the first place. They seem to be ready to get to work.

FCC reclassifies the internet, approves net neutrality rules

The Federal Communications Commission has just approved their plan for net neutrality, which also reclassifies broadband Internet as a public utility.

Under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, the reclassification of the internet as a public utility allows the FCC to place regulations on Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast and Verizon. These regulations would mandate these service providers to transmit all Internet content at the same speed, regardless of what interests are involved, according to Newsweek.

According to engadget, the FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, said, “It [the internet] is our printing press; it is our town square; it is our individual soap box and our shared platform for opportunity… That is why open internet policies matter. That is why I support network neutrality.”

Net neutrality, also known as open Internet, is an idea which says all Internet networks and content are equally available to all legal content generators, according to USA Today. Therefore, a practice called “paid prioritization” which results in ISPs showing preference towards companies who pay more for higher transmission speed of content, would be illegal.

The new reclassification also affects wireless data providers. The new plan places similar regulations on phone companies as those placed on other ISPs.

However, some people have spoken out against the new net neutrality plan.

Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive vice president-external and legislative affairs, said, “What doesn’t make sense, and has never made sense, is to take a regulatory framework developed for Ma Bell in the 1930s and make her great grandchildren, with technologies and options undreamed of eighty years ago, live under it.”

Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai said, according to FOX News, the plan represents a shift of power to allow the government to control the internet. Pai also warned the new plan would result in intended and unintended consequences, such as rate regulations. “The order explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes… Read my lips: More new taxes are coming. It’s just a matter of when.”

The FCC has said the new regulations will be posted online soon and will be published in the Federal Register. The new regulations will also go into affect 60 days after their publication.

UPDATE: CNN Lied About “Right-Wing” Extremism Threat Greater Than ISIS

Despite a widely circulated article from CNN, the latest DHS report on extremism does not state that Right-Wing Extremism is more dangerous than ISIS.

Last week we reported on the newly released  intelligence report produced by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigations which called attention to an apparent domestic terror threat from ” right-wing sovereign citizen extremists.”

The report claimed that there have been 24 sovereign citizen attacks in the United States since 2010. According to the report these “extremists” believe they are not bound by the law and will assert their rights on a regular basis when confronted by police. This could be a traffic stop or refusing to obey court orders.

Now Reason.com has obtained the actual report – CNN failed to show a copy of  the report – and it offers stark contrasts from what was originally reported. Despite CNN claiming that the threat from sovereign citizens was greater than ISIS or included “right-wing” extremists, the report does not state that at all. In fact, the entire report does not even use the term “right-wing” or even mention the Islamic State. Statements on the alleged danger of right-wing extremists came from a separate report and quotes from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Not the actual report itself.

Some key points CNN failed to mention include the fact that the majority of individuals who identify as sovereign citizens are nonviolent. Instead the report focuses on  “sovereign citizen extremists,” or SCEs. The report finds that violence from these individuals is at best sporadic and expected to stay “at the same sporadic level” in the coming year. The violence in these cases is rarely planned in advance, the report concluded. This can include plotting a murder or sending threatening letters, however they tend to be traffic stops gone wrong. Twenty-four cases of violence connected to this apparent movement have been documented since 2010. Only 2 of those 24 cases involved SCEs successfully killing anyone. Hardly the growing threat CNN wants you to believe.

As I wrote last week, when governments criminalize innocent actions of free people there will be resistance. When governments propagandize the people to mistrust those who assert their rights, there will be division. Ultimately it is up to each of us to communicate with our neighbors and family members so they understand the difference between those pursuing violence and those attempting to live free. A full list of the incidents from the DHS report appears below.

One last thing to remember as you look at these 24 incidents: At least one of them (Schaeffer Cox) was arrested after being encouraged and essentially entrapped by federal authorities. Knowing the FBI’s history with creating or encouraging terror attacks using confidential informants, it is important to take the information provided by the DHS with a grain of salt.

Click here for an interactive map of the incidents.

• March 2010: Brody James Whitaker shoots at the Florida State Highway Patrol after a traffic stop.

• April 2010: Walter Fitzpatrick plans a “citizens’ arrest” of a Knoxville jury foreman who refused to indict President Barack Obama.

• May 2010: Jerry and Joseph Kane get into a shootout with the police after a traffic stop. They kill two officers and are themselves killed.

• June 2010: A sovereign citizen begins a multi-year series of written and verbal threats against law enforcement officials in Sweetgrass, Montana.

• September 2010: Victor Dwayne White of West Odessa, Texas, shoots and wounds two sheriff’s deputies and a utility worker who came onto his property to access an oil well. A 22-hour standoff ensues.

• January 2011: David Russell Myrland is arrested after threatening to use “deadly force” if necessary to “arrest” the mayor of Kirkland, Washington, and other officials.

• March 2011: Francis Shaeffer Cox conspires with confederates to kill a judge and an IRS officer in Anchorage, Alaska.

• June 2011: A domestic disturbance call brings police to the home of William Foust in Page, Arizona; Foust is shot and killed in the ensuing altercation.

• July 2011: James Tesi of Colleyville, Texas, fires on police after an attempted traffic stop.

• November 2011: A property dispute brings the authorites to Rodney Brossart’s home in Lakota, South Dakota. He threatens to shoot the officers, and a stand-off follows.

• February 2012: Vahe Ohanian visits a California Highway Patrol station and a sheriff’s station in Santa Clarita, California, threatening to “snipe” officers. (*)

• February 2012: Matthew O’Neill pleads guilty to sending an envelope containing white powder to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

• August 2012: In LaPlace, Louisiana, a traffic stop leads to two shootouts with members of a small sovereign-citizen group headed by Terry Lyn Smith, one at the vehicle and the second at a trailer park. Two police officers are killed and three wounded.

• September 2012: Phillip Monroe Ballard attempts to solicit the murder of the judge presiding over his tax trial. • March 2013: Jeffrey Allen Wright of Navarre, Florida, threatens officers with a gun when they try to serve a warrant. He is shot and killed.

• June 2013: In Snellville, Georgia, a man sends police a letter threatening death if they interfere with members of a sovereign-citizen group called the “Embassy of Granville.”

• June 2013: Lewis Pollard points a gun at officers at his Fruita, Colorado, residence. He is shot and killed.

• July 2013: Eric Stanberry Jr. pulls a gun on a security guard outside a Nashville strip club, identifying himself as a “sovereign peace officer.” Police tase him.

• July 2013: An incarcerated sovereign citizen plans to kill a federal agent and a witness.

• July 2013: David John McCormick refuses to let the Coast Guard board his boat. After lunging at one of the crew, he is arrested for assaulting a federal officer.

• August 2013: David Allen Brutsche and Devon Campbell Newman are arrested for allegedly planning to “arrest,” “try,” and “execute” police officers.

• March 2014: Israel Rondon of Middleburg Heights, Ohio, fires at deputies serving a warrant. He is killed.

• June 2014: When deputies try to serve an eviction notice on Earl Carlson Harris of Ashland, Oregon, he threatens them with a rifle and is killed.

• June 2014: On federal land in Nevada County, California, Brent Douglas Cole allegedly fires at employees of the Bureau of Land Management and the California Highway Patrol as they attempt to tow vehicles from Cole’s unsanctioned campground.

‘Right to Try’ bill in Oklahoma moves forward

Legislation has been approved by the Oklahoma House committee which would allow terminally ill patients to have access to experimental medications which are not yet available to the public.

Rep. Richard Morrissette (D) is the author of the Oklahoma version of the Right to Try bill. Morrissette has said, according to the AP, this bill can give new hope to terminally ill patients “that one of these experimental drugs will hit the mark.”

The House Public Health Committee voted 10-0 on Tuesday in favor of pushing the bill forward for consideration by the full House. A number of other states, such as Arizona, Colorado, and Louisiana already have similar bills in place.

The Daily Journal reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration already allows terminally ill patients to seek to undergo experimental medications. However, it usually takes hundreds of hours to complete the paperwork and for the paperwork to make its way through the proper government channels before it is approved. Many terminally ill patients die while waiting to receive government approval to undergo these new medical treatments.

Christina Sandefur is an attorney for the Goldwater Institute, a conservative public policy group, and she said, “These are people whose days, hours, even minutes may be numbered.”

There would be some requirements when it comes to receiving the experimental medications even if the bill were to pass.

One requirement is a terminally ill patients doctor must approve of the usage of the medication before moving forward. The patient in question would also have to acknowledge the medication they would be receiving poses potential risks o their health and well-being. The company who develops the drug must also be willing to make the medication available to the patient.

The bill would also allow pharmaceutical companies to deploy experimental treatment devices in the same manner as the experimental medications.

The full bill can be read here.

ISIS burns and destroys over 8,000 books in Mosul

Militant members of ISIS have reportedly broken their way into the Mosul public library, where they burned an estimated 8,000 books, some of which were rare and historical manuscripts.

A bearded militant, according to CBS DC, told residents living near the library, “These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah. So they will be burned.”

Ghanim al-Ta’an, the director of the public library, said the militants used an improvised explosive devices against the library with the hopes of destroying it, but when these efforts failed, the militants looted the books instead.

According to the Fiscal Times, the library housed many historical items and texts such as manuscripts written in the eighteenth century, books from the Ottoman era, and books printed in the nineteenth century in the first Iraqi printing house.

Militants are known to regularly burn books and manuscripts and destroy tombs and shrines of the cities and areas they have claimed as part of their caliphate. The militants also destroyed the church of Mary the Virgin and the Mosul University Theater on the same day, according to Breitbart.

A history professor at the University of Mosul spoke with the Lebanon Daily Star and said militants had started to destroy other public libraries in the area last month. Archives in a Sunni Muslim library, a library belonging to a 265-year-old Latin Church and Monastery of the Dominican Fathers, and works in the Mosul Museum Library were destroyed. Some of the works which were destroyed dated back to 5,000 B.C.

Rayan al-Hadidi, an activist and blogger in Mosul said, after the burning of the books from the library in Mosul, “900 years ago, the books of the Arab philosopher Averroes were collected before his eyes…and burned. One of his students started crying while witnessing the burning. Averroes told him… the ideas have wings…but I cry today over our situation.”

News agency reports they have obtained ‘Spy Cables’

Al Jazeera, a news broadcasting agency owned by the government of Qatar, has reported they have obtained hundreds of confidential and hidden documents, which the agency are calling the “Spy Cables.”

The report from Al Jazeera announcing the cables says the documents offer “an unprecedented insight into operational dealings of the shadowy and highly politicised realm of global espionage.” Al Jazeera also says they will release the documents over the next couple of days alongside the newspaper the Guardian.

The leaked documents, according to the Business Insider, come from many government agencies around the world, including Russia’s FSB, South Africa’s SSA, Britain’s MI6, and others. Documents from any American intelligence agencies though seem to be absent from the Spy Cables.

Even though documents from American intelligence agencies are not included, some of the documents point to the CIA working in correspondence with South Africa’s SSA agency. The documents also allegedly say the CIA had attempted to contact the group HAMAS, even though the U.S. government has labeled the group a terrorist organization.

Other documents say MI6 had attempted to recruit a spy in North Korea with the help of the South African government. MI6 reportedly met with a North Korean man and offered him an “undisclosed amount of money” for the man’s cooperation in a “long term clandestine operation.”

Another document claims Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu had exaggerated Iran’s nuclear production levels in a 2012 declaration made in front of the UN. A secret Mossad document released in the leak, however, says Iran was not at the time “performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.”

Al Jazeera writes they will only publish documents which they believe serve the public interest. They also write, “We believe it is important to achieve greater transparency in the field of intelligence…. Publishing these documents, including operational and tradecraft details, is a necessary contribution to a greater public scrutiny of their activities.”

More leaked documents will be released in the next few days on Al Jazeera and the Guardian.

Missouri bill proposes banning availability of police captured footage

A bill has been proposed by Missouri lawmakers which would exempt any footage recorded on a police operated camera from being viewed by the public.

Senate Bill No. 331 reads, “Any recording captured by a camera, which is capable of recording video or audio…shall not be a public record… [and] shall not be disclosed by a law enforcement agency except upon order of a court in the course of a criminal  investigation or prosecution or civil litigation.” Footage captured on any police camera attached to a piece of police equipment, car, aircraft, or police person, would therefore be protected by this bill.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Doug Libla (R), and Missouri’s attorney general, Chris Koster (D), has voiced his support of barring the public from access to these videos.

Koster said, according to St. Louis Today, the footage would be considered closed records and therefore unavailable under Missouri’s Sunshine Law. The footage would be available, however, to people investigating an incident resulting in a civil lawsuit, or by a court order to others.

Missouri Rep. Galen Higdon has called for similar legislature, saying, according to the River Front Times, “Capturing a crime on video, whether it was perpetrated by an officer or perpetrated by a perp, the chain of evidence needs to be protected.” Higdon also said if the footage is available to the public before a trial, the jury pool could potentially be tainted and this may slow the trial down.

Sarah Rossi, the director of advocacy and policy for the Missouri’s American Civil Liberties Union, has said the proposed legislature is just an “end run around Missouri’s Sunshine Law.” Current Sunshine Laws, said Rossi, already allow law enforcement officers to restrict the public from viewing evidence which is involved in active police investigations.

Libla’s bill also proposes police departments shall not be required by the state to provide their officers with body cameras, and no department shall require an officer to wear a body camera.

To fight obesity, scientists suggest a tax on sugary foods

While obesity continues to threaten the lives of many Americans, a government advisory committee has suggested placing a tax on sugary food items to drive people away from the foods in order to fight the heath threat.

The Dietary Guideline Advisory, which consists of fourteen health experts according to CBS Boston, released a report saying the health and well-being of Americans would benefit from a tax on sugary foods and drinks. The committee recognizes though, they do not make any policies concerning the public, rather they simply make suggestions.

The report reads, “Taxation on higher sugar-and sodium-containing foods may encourage consumers to reduce consumption and revenues generated could support health promotion efforts… Alternatively, price incentives on vegetables and fruits could be used to promote consumption and public health benefits.”

Economic and social costs were also considered in the report, with the committee saying, as time goes on and people continue to neglect their physical wellness, the costs would be irreversible as people would require more healthcare in order to live.

“What we’re calling for in the report in terms of innovation and bold new action in health care, in public health, at the community level, is what it’s going to take to try and make a dent on the epidemic of obesity,” said committee chairwoman Barbara Millen according to Bloomberg Business

CNBC also reports the committee suggested nutrition programs should be made available at the federal, state, and local levels in order to promote a healthier lifestyle for all citizens.

The report made other suggestions for living a healthier lifestyle as well. Namely, the report suggests eating less red and processed meats, and eating more farm-raised fish instead.

Judge orders man to pay $30K in child support for someone else’s child

A Detroit judge has ruled a man, who was unaware he was a “father,” must pay approximately $30,000 in child support after the man neglected to do so for close to twenty-five years.

In the early 1990’s, Carnell Alexander was pulled over by a police officer and this officer informed Alexander he was under arrest for being a deadbeat father. Alexander, however, was taken aback when he heard he was a deadbeat father, according to WXYZ.

What had happened was an ex-girlfriend of Alexander gave birth to a child in the late eighties, and in order to qualify for welfare assistance to raise the child, she needed to name a father on the appropriate paperwork. Even though the woman was aware Alexander was not the father, according to KFOR, she decided to put his name down anyways.

Usually, when a man is named the father of a child on such paperwork, the state sends a notice to the person via mail. However, Alexander was incarcerated, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections, so he would not have received the notice.

On Tuesday, Alexander went in front of the Third Judicial Circuit Court where Judge Kathleen McCarthy said she was outraged Alexander had failed to take this matter seriously. According to FOX 2 Now, McCarthy said Alexander should have filed a motion long ago to dispute his parentage of the child.

“That motion must be filed within 3 years after the child’s birth, or within one year after the order of filiation is entered,” said McCarthy. “The defendant has failed to to timely file this motion setting aside the acknowledgment of parentage.” It is here the court ruled Alexander must pay the $30,000 in child support for the child, who is now an adult.

According to CBS Detroit, Alexander took a paternity test in 2013 after he had tried to find the mother of the child for many years. The test proved he was not father of the child, but even though this evidence was provided to the courts in the past, they held to their decision to make Alexander pay for the child support. The court also said it would not help his case if he presented the mother of the child for the case.

Alexander acknowledges he may owe the money according to the fine print of the law, but he will not believe the fine print of the law is right. “The law is not going to fit into everybody’s situation,” said Alexander. “Why don’t they use common sense?”

CORRECTION: Ammunition ban would be on 5.56mm green tip bullets

A previous report stated .223 ammunition rounds were to be considered armor piercing by the ATF, however, this was not totally true. Rather, .223 rounds would not be considered armor piercing rounds, but the 5.56mm green tip bullets used in both SS109 and M855 cartridges could be placed in the category of armor piercing rounds.

Upon further reading on the subject, these 5.56mm rounds were exempt from classification in the amendment to the GCA made in 1986, because handguns which could handle this type of ammunition were not commercially available. These rounds are commonly used in AR-style rifles as well as AR-style handguns, of which the handguns have become more widely available in recent years.

The ATF recognizes this ammo type can be used for “sporting purposes” such as for target shooting or hunting, as it is generally more accurate. The main concern lies with handguns which can consecutively fire more than one round without reloading, such as revolvers and semi-automatic handguns. The ATF concludes the types of handguns which use this type of ammunition are not primarily used for sporting purposes, and the ban would be on ammunition which would be able to be fired from these types of handguns.

However, any cartridges, 5.56mm or not, which are meant to be fired from a single-shot handgun, a handgun which can “break-open” or is a “bolt action handgun,” will continue to be exempt from armor piercing status as they are recognized as being used for sporting purposes. Handguns which do not accept a single cartridge manually and accept in its place a magazine or other ammunition feeding device will not be recognized as for use in sporting purposes either.

Finally, the ATF writes, “ammunition that was previously exempted as ‘primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes,’ specifically 5.56mm constituent projectiles of SS109 and M855 cartridges, will again be regulated as “‘armor piercing ammunition.'”

As a writer for Truth in Media, I apologize for the previous article on this subject where I stated AR-style rifles would be “rendered obsolete.” This in incorrect and I take full responsibility for my mistake. I will continue to strive for the truth behind stories from around the world. Again, I apologize for my mistake.

ATF could ban .223 ammunition by reclassification

This article has a correction. Please click HERE to read.

 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has released a plan which would reclassify the popular .223 (M855) round as an armor piercing round.

This particular ammo type is most commonly used in all AR-15 style rifles, and if the ammo were to be reclassified, these firearms would be rendered obsolete without the proper ammo.

Reclassification of the .223 round as an armor piercing round would effectively ban sales of the round to all civilians under the Gun Control Act of 1968. The GCA says any ammo “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes,” is the only ammo allowed to be sold to the general public. The ATF defines armor piercing rounds, though, as any ammo which is meant to penetrate body armor and was manufactured for military or police use.

However, the GCA was amended in 1986 to allow exceptions in the original Act. The amended Act, therefore, allows armor piercing rounds to be sold to”government agencies,” as well as “for testing or experimentation authorized by the Attorney General.” 

The NRA Institute for Legislative Action though, is calling the new ban a “continuation of Obama’s use of his executive authority to impose gun control restrictions and bypass Congress.”

The NRA-ILA also said by definition, the .223 (M855) round cannot be classified as armor piercing because the law lists a number of metals, such as tungsten alloy, steel, or even depleted uranium, which are used in the cores of armor piercing rounds. The .223 (M855) round however has a traditional lead core with a steel tip, and “therefore should never be considered ‘armor piercing,'” according to the NRA-ILA.

The ATF has said they will accept comments on the new framework for 30 days, and the comments will be taken into consideration for the final draft of the framework.

 

This article has a correction. Please click HERE to read.

President Obama signs cyber-security executive order

While visiting Stanford University on Friday, President Obama announced he was signing an executive order meant to encourage the sharing of information, regarding cyberthreats, between private sector companies and the government.

The order was signed at the first summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, which focused on consumer protection and private-public partnerships against cyberthreats.

While at the summit, the president likened the internet to the “Wild West,” and said the public are looking to the government for protection against cyber attacks. President Obama also called these cyber attacks one of the greatest threats to national security, safety, and economic issues.

“Everybody is online, and everybody is vulnerable,” said President Obama, according to NBC News. “The business leaders here want their privacy and their children protected, just like the consumer and privacy advocates here want America to keep leading the world in technology and be safe from attacks.”

However, groups in Silicon Valley are not jumping on board with the president’s push for new digital securities.

Ben Desjardins, the director of security solutions with the cyber-security firm Radware, said, “The new proposals face significant headwinds, both legislatively from Congress and cooperatively from heavyweights in the tech sector.”  Desjardins also said many companies in Silicon Valley already feel “burned” by the government after the companies learned of the various government surveillance programs through the Snowden leaks.

Scott Algeier, the executive director of the nonprofit organization Information Sharing and Analysis Center, also said this new executive order sounds like a federal takeover of information sharing among people and companies in the private-sector.

The White House has said the executive order is only a framework, and with it the White House aims to allow private companies access to otherwise classified cyber-threat information and ensure information sharing is strongly secure, all while protecting the civil liberties of citizens.

The text of the executive order can be found here for more details.