Munger for NC Governor--2008!!

Recording the campaign activities, events, and happenings of the Munger for Governor campaign.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Michael Medved does the best he can to make a logical argument. But then, his best is none too good.

When Reagan won the Presidency in 1980, crushing the incumbent Jimmy Carter 51% to 41%, he not only overcame a third party vanity race by a former Republican Congressman named John Anderson (his “Independent” Party drew 6.6% of the vote), but he also triumphed over by far the strongest Libertarian Party candidate in Presidential history.
Amazingly enough, Ed Clark, the Libertarian standard bearer, won almost a million votes (921,188) for 1.06% of the total.
To rational observers, a national campaign that wins only 1% of the vote looks pointless and pathetic, but by Libertarian standards the Clark campaign represented a veritable juggernaut, and the party’s breathtaking summit of achievement. Clark’s performance more than doubled all subsequent Libertarian nominees, even though some of them (like two time loser Harry Browne) raised and spent far more money for their sad little races. In terms of their percentage of the popular vote, Libertarian presidential candidates since the high-water mark of 1980 have drawn between 0.24% (David Bergland in 1984) and 0.5 (Harry Browne in his first race of 1996). Most recently, that burning hunk of unstoppable charisma Michael Bednarik earned a paltry 0.3% of the popular vote – less than one-third the showing that Ed Clark managed 24 years earlier.
The point isn’t merely that the Loser-tarian Party has moved decisively in the wrong direction (you don’t build majorities by losing two-thirds of your voters), it’s that they happened to succeed best against the finest conservative candidate in recent history.
In other words, the Libertarians lie or at least delude themselves when they claim that they will win votes by drawing people who are disillusioned with both big government Democrats and me-too Republicans. They drew more votes when running against the unequivocally conservative Ronald Reagan than they did against the likes of Bob Dole, either President Bush, or Gerald Ford for that matter.
Thus, the argument that they are pushing the Republican Party in a more conservative direction by taking away votes of die-hard conservatives is, like so much else about the Libertarian Party, a complete fraud.

Three facts the inexplicable Medved might want to consider:

1. Reagan had for years taken a strong "Government isn't the solution, government is the PROBLEM" line. He was not unequivocally conservative. I myself worked in the Reagan administration, for the Federal Trade Commission, precisely because he had strong libertarian sentiments in regulation and tax policy. These came to little, I agree, but Reagan was more complex than GW Bush, who is "unequivocally conservative," all right. And you can HAVE Mr. Bush; I don't want him anymore.

2. Reagan was running against JIMMY CARTER. This was Carter after the rabbit attack, after the flaccid reaction to the storming of our embassy in Tehran and the taking of hostages. That's not exactly the Dems' first team. And the Carter monetary policy and regulatory policy (Remember Michael Pertschuk?) had a big role in expanding the Libertarian vote. So, the reasons Clark did well were (1) He was a pretty good candidate, and (2) he was running against Carter, a "Let's Mate with the State!" guy from way back. Carter sent folks running to Reagan if they were gullible, and to Clark if they saw things clearly. That there are more gullible people than clear-thinking ones is not exactly front-page news.

3. In a dozen ways, "Loser-tarians" have already won. The CATO Institute, REASON mag, and a lot of other libertarian perspective are given respect and credence in DC policy debates and in the state houses.

Our candidates, perhaps, have not been competitive in national races, but that is just Duverger's Law in action. It's not as if any OTHER third party has made any inroads, either. The state-sponsored parties don't make it very easy. Imagine that Coke and Pepsi go to write their own antitrust laws; there wouldn't be any 7-Up on the shelves. "Shelf crowding, confuses the customers!"

And it may be true that Libertarians wouldn't be very good in office if we got there. But if we can reduce the power, scope, and intrusiveness of government by making persuasive arguments, who cares if we actually serve in office? The law, and lots of regulations, have come a long way toward what libertarians advocate in the last 25 years.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tax, Spend, and Elect

Wow. About Henry M. Paulson...

"As Bush's third secretary of the Treasury, he has engaged in secret
bipartisan talks discussing an increase in the current $97,500 limit on
personal income subject to the Social Security payroll tax. That would spike
up the top marginal tax rate, demolishing supply-side tax principles that
Republican administrations have purportedly followed for 26 years...One
well-placed House Republican, asking that his name not be used, expressed
alarm that a financier who sold $485 million worth of Goldman Sachs stock in
order to be confirmed at the Treasury cannot appreciate how the payroll tax
ravages self-employed businessmen and farmers." -- Robert Novak


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Walter Williams: Windfall Profits Make the World Go Round

The hokey pokey is NOT what it is "all about."

But windfall profits are. Walter Williams shares the truth.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Podcast: In Which I Sing

A special bonus: I actually sing in this podcast.

A way of making money. If you don't pay....I'LL SING AGAIN!

The Unacoder Comes Out

An endorsement, of sorts, from the Unacoder, a fine American.

And, also from Unacoder, an extension of Kelo I had not seen coming.

Okay, I lied. You could see this coming. But Unacoder found it. Nicely done.

(For those for whom Kelo is a mystery....)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Price-gouging: Yes!

This won't actually go live on EconLib until Monday.

BUT, in a semi-exclusive for readers here at M4NCGOV, you can read it NOW!

Medical Marijuana

Interesting post (five days ago, but interesting!) from S.T. at PoliBlogger.

HAYWARD, CALIF. — Until federal drug agents arrested him last month, Shon Squier was one of Hayward's most successful and generous young businessmen.

Customers lined up outside his downtown storefront, particularly on Mondays, when he offered free samples to the first 50 visitors. Business was so good that Squier, a former construction worker, was able to donate more than $100,000 to local charities.

But Squier's success as a dynamic medical marijuana entrepreneur was also his downfall. Federal drug agents raided his home and business, arresting Squier and his store manager, freezing bank accounts containing $1.5 million and confiscating several expensive cars, motorcycles and $200,000 in cash.

Medical marijuana advocates claim the raid constitutes unfair, selective enforcement by the Drug Enforcement Administration of the estimated 170 medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, including 85 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Just down the street, another medical marijuana dispensary, not as big or as flashy as Squier's, was left untouched by the DEA agents in the Dec. 11 raid.

The federal drug agency, which does not recognize California laws legalizing the sale of marijuana to patients with doctor's prescriptions, contends the amount of money involved proves that the medical marijuana trade is nothing more than high-stakes drug dealing, complete with the same high-rolling lifestyles.

"These people will tell you they are just interested in the terminally ill," said Gordon Taylor, DEA special agent in charge of the California eastern federal district, "but what they are really interested in is lining their pockets with illegal drug money. When you pull the mask off, you see that they are nothing more than common dope dealers."

California's two medical marijuana laws, Proposition 215, approved by voters in 1996, and Senate Bill 420, passed in 2003, are not clear about how much money proprietors can take out of their businesses. One section of SB 420 states that medical marijuana caregivers should be allowed "reasonable compensation" for their services. Another section states that distribution should be done on a nonprofit basis.

"The legislation is about as clear as mud the way that they wrote it," said Joe Elford, lawyer for Americans for Safe Access, a pro-medical marijuana group. "The dispensaries are legal under state law because they are cooperatives and collectives. It is my best guess in terms of what the Legislature intended is that they shouldn't be operating to make a profit."

It always used to be fun to make Soviet Union comparisons, back when they were the "Evil Empire" and not the "Limp Willie" they were for a while. But now the old Russia is back, with selective enforcement. If some businessperson gets too successful, you take him/her down. Don't want those darned free enterprisers to get too uppity, would we?

Some Radley Love

Our man at REASON, Radley Balko, has a set of 2007 projections with a twist.

And no one is more twisted than Radley.

A sampling:

--In yet another case of government bureaucracy gone mad, some local health agency will insist that the churches and private homes where volunteers prepare food for homeless people pass rigorous, restaurant-standard health inspections or shut down operations.

The silly policy will be justified in the name of protecting the homeless when, in reality, it will really only lead to fewer homeless people getting fed.

--In a scenario straight out of George Orwell's "1984," several local governments will begin to encourage children to turn in their parents when the parents fail to abide by building and property code violations, such as mowing the grass, properly sorting recyclables, and similar mundanities.

--In an aptly striking display of the drug war's misplaced priorities, federal narcotics police will sit idly by while a government informant takes part in several drug-related murders. The reason for their inaction? It was more important to get information from the informant on drug dealing than preventing the killings.

--In other drug war news, when asked to explain how today's drug prohibition differs from the nation's failed attempt at alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, the nation's top drug cop will actually make the argument that alcohol prohibition was a success.

--A radio host in the nation's capital will play a hoax on his listeners, jokingly suggesting that all Muslims in America be identified with an armband or a tattoo. He will then express shock when a solid majority of callers to his show will express their agreement with the proposition.

(you will need to go to the original to get the links, here)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Setting the bar...

Several people sent emails asking if I wasn't being a bit unfair to the L party on our candidates.

Maybe I was....but there have been some highly publicized incidents. Check this one:

DFU listening to KABC in Los Angeles | 9-8-02 | Doug from Upland

The evening started innocently enough for Brian Whitman, Sunday evening talk show host on KABC in Los Angeles.

He had on his show four minor candidates running for governor of California. Three were on the phone and the fourth, Libertarian candidate Gary Copeland, was in studio.

The conversation eventually turned to illegal immigration. Copeland did not like Whitman's position and called him a racist. Although Whitman kept trying to answer, Copeland kept talking over him and would not let him speak.

Just as Whitman puts callers in "timeout" on his show when they won't let him have his say, he told the engineer to cut off Copeland's microphone. Copeland became incensed and started packing his things to leave the studio.

Then, in great FReeper tradition, Whitman told Copeland not to let the door hit his ass on the way out. He also called Copeland a lunatic.

Then the rain came. Copeland walked over to Whitman and spit in his face. Whitman couldn't believe it. Two others on the KABC staff couldn't believe it.

Whitman had the station call the police and is considering filing assault charges.

Poor Copeland. He may no longer be the Libertarian candidate for governor. An official high ranking representative of the party called in to Whitman and told him that Copeland would be receiving no more backing and they were going to see what they could do to take him off the ballot.

Now that was classic talk radio. The unbelievable happened. A candidate for governor actually showed himself to be a bigger jackass than Gray Davis. Davis has spit on the law but never on Whitman, at least not yet. Brian, get him in studio.

If It Ain't Barak, Don't....

Interesting point from Ed C....

So, should I begin to rip prospective opponents, as an entry deterrent?

Reminds of a conversation with a reporter the other day....

R: So, will there be opposition for the Libertarian nomination? Will there be a primary?

MM: No primary, because the state-sponsored parties denied us "party" status. We have to have a convention, like any other "new" party.

R: Oh....Well, will someone else run?

MM: I hope so, because otherwise none of the state-sponsored media, like you, will cover us.

R: (fairly long silence). Actually, that's right. I hadn't thought of that.

Does Cross-linking Produce Infinite Hits?

Let's see if cross-linking produces an infinite hit loop.

Thanks for the link from Blue-NC, and Anglico.

It is interesting that so many on the left have a number of strong libertarian sentiments. But I have to admit that even the most sympathetic worry about electability and ability to govern.

And until and unless we Libertarians dispel at least the second of those fears, we have an uphill battle.

A question that even a lot of REGISTERED libertarians would have trouble with: Would you really want our candidates to be elected? Michael Badnarik would have been an interesting member of Congress. But PRESIDENT?

I can make a "He'd be better than W" claim. But you know what I mean.

Problem with law-breakers....

...may be knowing if you are breaking the law!

I have a piece coming out on price-gouging law in NC. Sent the URL around to a few people for comments....(will post it here when embargo ends)

A friend from high school writes:

Another argument to explore would be that of the convenience store owner that has plenty of ice but refuses to sell it until he determines the maximum price the government will allow him to sell it for. Ah to have a libertarian convenience store owner that would shut down in a crisis and request the attorney general to come over and determine and price his inventory for him. Would it be illegal to refuse to sell your inventory in a crisis?

One of my assignments took me to Guam where we had a few typhoons, one of which had 180 mph winds. The island was smacked very hard, we lost power island-wide for nine days (and up to 40 in some areas), and the main fuel storage tanks on the island caught fire consuming all available gas that was not already in gas station tanks. Many people had back up generators at home, myself included, but it was interesting to see al the dynamics of the situation in action.