1.3.2017 We Are Libertarians Required Daily Reading

 

Discrediting Fake News: Russian DNC Hack Edition

If you are someone that believes the Russians hacked the Democrat National Committee and the email account of Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Manager, John Podesta, allow me to Redpill you:

 

Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray

Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray

1) Ambassador Craig Murray, Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan:

“I know who leaked them, I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.

The source of these emails and leaks has nothing to do with Russia at all. I discovered what the source was when I attended the Sam Adam’s whistleblower award in Washington.

The source of these emails comes from within official circles in Washington DC. You should look to Washington not to Moscow.

WikiLeaks has never published any material received from the Russian government or from any proxy of the Russian government. It’s simply a completely untrue claim designed to divert attention from the content of the material.”

www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/10/cia-concludes-russia-interfered-to-help-trump-win-election-report?CMP=share_btn_tw

www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-11/former-uk-ambassador-blasts-cias-blatant-lies-shows-little-simple-logic-destroys-the

2) James Clapper, Director of the National Security Agency testifying before Congress:

“As far as the WikiLeaks connection, the evidence there is not as strong and we don’t have gopod insight into the sequencing of the releases or when the data may have been provided. We don’t have as good insight into that.”

3) William Binney, Former NSA Technical Director of World Geopolitical & Military Analysis:

“The email disclosures in question are the result of a leak, not a hack. Here’s the difference between leaking and hacking:

Leak: When someone physically takes data out of an organization and gives it to some other person or organization, as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning did.

Hack: When someone in a remote location electronically penetrates operating systems, firewalls or any other cyber-protection system and then extracts data.

All signs point to leaking, not hacking. If hacking were involved, the National Security Agency would know it – and know both sender and recipient.

In short, since leaking requires physically removing data – on a thumb drive, for example – the only way such data can be copied and removed, with no electronic trace of what has left the server, is via a physical storage device.”

www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-16/nsa-whistleblower-destroys-obamas-russia-narrative-hard-evidence-points-inside-leak-

4) Julian Assange, Wikileaks Founder and political refugee:

“Our source is not the Russian Government.”

“I would’ve had no problem releasing similar information on President-elect Donald Trump as Wikileaks did to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.”

Julian Assange Speaks to Hannity, Says That Russian Gov’t Was Not His Source

5) “Why The Evidence Russia Hacked the DNC is NOT ENOUGH” by The Intercept, the news organization started by Glenn Greenwald who broke Edward’s Snowden NSA story:

“One can’t be reminded enough that all of this evidence comes from private companies with a direct financial interest in making the internet seem as scary as possible, just as Lysol depends on making you believe your kitchen is crawling with E. Coli.”

theintercept.com/2016/12/14/heres-the-public-evidence-russia-hacked-the-dnc-its-not-enough/

 

Do your part in combatting “Fake News” by sharing this with your friends…

Lenz: The Life and Legacy of Joe Biden

Vice President Biden is one of the great men in American politics. He’s a man who avoided exploiting his position of power and influence for riches, in a way few would be able to resist.

He’s a man who actually liked the constituents he was elected to represent and nothing made him happier than getting to spend time with them.

He never lost his sense of conviction on the importance of public service being in the best interest of common men and women.

He is warm and jovial, oftentimes his demeanor was detrimental to the public ‘s perception about his level of seriousness. Make no mistake, Uncle Joe is as much of a statesman, as he is friendly and kind.

To be universally well liked and regarded after 30 years in politics is virtually impossible, especially within the most exclusive club in America: the United States Senate.

The elite of elite US legislators and global leaders, whom all refer to him simply as “Joe”, like and respect a man whose father was a used car salesman.

They universally respect the opinions of a man who graduated 506th out of 688 in his class at the University of Delaware, who finished 76 out of 85 students in his law school class at Syracuse, and who overcame a battle with stuttering which lasted into his early 20s by spending hours reciting poetry in the mirror.

His career began after several years unsuccessfully practicing law as a public defender and attorney. So unsuccessfully, he had to hold a second job as a property manager. Yet undeterred by a lack of experience or financial success, a 30 year old Joe Biden decided to run for Senate with no money and his sister as his campaign manager in 1972.

His campaign was comprised of handing out printed flyers listing his positions and talking to each and every voter who would lend him a sympathetic ear.

On November 7, 1972, Joe Biden shocked the political world by becoming the sixth youngest Senator in US history.

On Dec. 18, his wife Neilia, and 1 year old daughter Naomi, were killed in an automobile accident leaving the newly elected Biden to raise his two sons that survived the crash, Beau and Hunter.

Since Biden’s financial situation prevented him from moving his remaining family to DC, he took the Amtrak to his home in the suburbs of Wilmington, Delaware each night. A commute he continued making until becoming Vice President of the United States.

Vice President Biden spent a lifetime opposing war (Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq & Afghanistan), fighting for civil rights, a fight which dates all the way back to his high school days when he organized a sit in at a Wilmington theater, and crafting labor policies that offered stronger employee protections and short term financial/retraining assistance for middle class workers unprepared for the effects of globalization.

Joe feared no man or diplomatic situation. At the age of 31, as the lowest ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, he went on a trip to Moscow and was told to listen and not speak, in the private meeting with Russian officials. Unable to listen to another lie at the meeting, he pointed at a top Russian official and blurted,

“You can’t shit a shitter!”

Just as he feared no man, he never left behind an American willing to work. If someone wanted to work, Joe did everything he could to advocate for that person’s ability to provide for him or herself and their family.

Today was Vice President Biden’s final dayfulfilling his role presiding over the Senate as their Pro-Tempore. While his political days are likely over, his legacy will continue to live on.

A legacy of lessons much needed in our current political climate:

  • A person’s political views are never a reason for disliking that individual. Dislike the view, not the person.
  • Just because you hold a serious position, doesn’t mean you have to take yourself so seriously that you become self-deluded with importance. In the grand scheme of things, we’re all insignificant. A little self-depreciation goes a long way in building goodwill.
  • Even in a job which carries the burden of life and death consequences, never forget to enjoy life and fail to remember that your life spent on Earth is supposed to be fun.
  • Lastly, Joe’s most important lesson to us is that America is made up of friends, neighbors, and fellow countrymen first. Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians last. Our differences are far fewer than our commonalities, and it is only through the lens of politics we lose sight of that fact.

Vice President Biden, or Joe as you prefer to be called, your impact was vast and the lessons from your life never forgotten. You are an inspiration to many, and a friend to all that will have you.

Your career serves as proof that ambition and decency do not have to oppose one another.

However your life and legacy serve as the much needed reminder in an increasingly cynical America, that despite the coarsening tone of our discourse by leaders demonizing their opposition, there are well-intentioned, competent, and kind men and women on both sides of the political aisle.

If only by example, you committed a great act of public service. Your country thanks you.

Lenz: The Global Rejection of Academic Theory

fotor_148089828659925

If you want to understand the Italian referendum results, as well as the return of nationalism that appears to be a global phenomenon, all you need to know is that the governed have decided to stop giving a free pass to the failed ideas of those that govern.

People are tribal. That’s at the core of all of this.

People have grown tired of being told that beliefs they can’t articulate, but inherently know to be true, are stupid relics of days past: borders, religion, cultural differences, an instinctual cautiousness toward any type of difference, etc…

In Italy, a national referendum on constitutional reform that removed power from the central government and reassigned it to more local levels, is set to pass. Which will cause their Prime Minister to resign.

The hysteria over global financial ramifications are even less likely than the still yet to appear negative consequences from the Brexit.

The whole point of the EU was to keep France and Germany from ever going to war again. Since that isn’t a worry, then fallout from this is nil.

The truth is the EU was f*cked from the get go. It could only work in prosperous times.

They never created a mechanism to account for trade imbalances. By using a single currency, and not allowing fluid labor mobility between participants, the debt burdened underperformers could never rise up.

If they’d allowed all EU citizens the ability to move and get job’s in countries where opportunity existed, it would have been fine. But there wasn’t enough trust between countries.

The father of the European Union, Robert Mundell, warned about it from the start. The media outrage is little more than prissy elites that hate being held accountable for unrealistic ideas.

Liberals/progressives, libertarians too, have a profound disregard for history and it’s lessons. When an institution or custom no longer a seems relevant and stands in the way of their goals, they belittle it as absurd before stopping to consider why the best minds of the past created it and why.

Conservatism, and it’s focus and appreciation of history, as well as its aversion to rapid change, aren’t arbitrary principles plucked from the sky.

Its because they accept that humans don’t change much, and are only willing to do so in prosperous times. Introduce hard times and fear drives a return to a tribal nature where they put the best interests of themselves and those around them first.

The world has decided the smart people are delusional social planners. Their dreams of perfecting society are crumbling by the day.

We are living through a global shift away from untested academic sociological and economic theories, and a return to plain spoken and practical, yet anecdotal, common sense by the “uneducated masses”.

There’s a natural ebb and flow to this, and it’s rare to get to witness these shifts. We are a part of history and it’s utterly fascinating to experience…

Lenz: How Could Trump Create Global Free and Fair Trade?

china

Why is it such a big deal that President-elect Trump took a congratulatory phone call from the President of Taiwan?

Since 1978, the U.S. has followed a single China policy where Taiwan, rather than being formally recognized as a sovereign country, is considered a rogue Chinese province.

I think what Trump’s doing by taking the congratulatory call from Taiwan’s President and inviting President Duerte of the Philippines to the White House.

There are basically 3 world alliances:

  • US-Europe-Israel-Japan-India-Australia-Balkans
  • China-Russia-Shias-Pakistan-North Korea-North African countries
  • Anti-democratic Sunni regimes that finance terrorism like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other Sunni regimes that partner with non-Islamists intermittently and collaborate with an alliance including Russia, Syria, North Korea, China, Iran, and rogue communist Latin American dictators because they view the US led alliance as a common enemy.

The rise of political Islam, and terrorism being used against Russian proxies, presents a rare opportunity for US-Russian collaboration. Russia only cares about selling oil and natural gas, growing trade, and protecting Iran and Syria from regime change so their near monopoly on selling oil and natural gas to Europe remains intact.

China, in the short run, has forged an energy alliance with Russia in order to continue fueling its growth in order to attempt its plan of rebuilding the Silk Road by controlling trade routes. Most importantly, in the South China Sea and Africa. In the long run, China won’t be dependent on Russian oil, and will do the same thing they’ve done to the U.S. through a trade policy of taxing imports and subsidizing key industries that compete with Russian competitors in order to artificially lower the cost in a global marketplace.

The China-Russian alliance appears to be a short one in historical terms because for quite some time, the Chinese have been investing in oil rich African countries. Russian President Vladmir Putin, despite his authoritarian flaws, is very smart and an adept strategic planner. It would be highly unlikely he is not aware of the dwindling leverage he has in trade relations with China.

Trump, by accepting the call of the Taiwan President,  put a thumb in the eye to the Chinese and made a strategic move. One that can be ambiguously perceived as either naive, or a sign that he gravely serious on forcing China to renegotiate a trade agreement with the U.S.

However, inviting President Duerte to the White House is less ambiguous. The Philippines is crucial to China’s long term plans of controlling sea trade, and lucky for the United States, they are battling radical Islam and rampant drug issues in their country. The cultural fallout of radical Islam and drug use related crime created the perfect national climate for a strongman like Duerte to win.

President Duerte won’t be anyone’s puppet, he’s too proud. An intensely nationalistic leader like Duerte will not take kindly to an influx of Chinese corporations (really an extension of the Communist Party) coming in demanding concessions through the political process.

In addition, the looming threat of a war between Japan and China over the South China sea, would be less likely in the event the U.S. recognized Taiwan. The United States already sells billions in arms to Taiwan and should the Philippines become a new Japanese ally against China, the fear of war would be dramatically reduced because Japan would no longer be the last domino standing in the way of China’s monopoly on regional sea trade routes.

If the U.S. were able to peel away Russia and the Philippines from their current Chinese alliance, the world is going to look awfully lonely to the Communist Party. However, China is intensely proud country and culture, allowing them to save face is of the utmost importance in all diplomatic agreements. Failing to allow them to avoid shame will be taken as all the provocation necessary to justify a war. It is unlikely Trump is unaware of just how seriously the Chinese emphasize respect. I suspect President Trump would not have major contentions with China’s plan of recreating the Silk Road, so long as its not a mercantilist exploitation scheme in the long run, in order to create toll booths on global sea trade.

So why was the phone call such a big deal again?

I believe President-elect Trump is going to use the opportunity to partner with Russia, Iran, and the Philippines in defeating radical Islam, and as a result the Sunni regimes who finance terrorism, as leverage to force China to the negotiation table on trade. Trump’s primary goal in creating an equal, yet mutually beneficial, global trade environment that puts in place long term protections against China’s ability to exploit their long term sea trade plans.

If Trump can open up US trade to China by ending their tariff on US imports, stop their subsidization of labor intensive manufacturing (like steel), prevent their currency manipulation (which makes their goods less expensive in comparison to ours), and force China to respect intellectual property rights of US made goods, then he would go down as the greatest jobs creating US President in history.

How does this all end?

The United States acts as the arbitrator in finalizing an agreement where control over the South China Sea is conceded to China, the US agrees to remain committed to a single China policy (no formal recognition of Taiwan), and the US, Europe, and Japan enter into a new free and fair trade agreement with China and Russia.

 

This may all be wrong, but accepting the call of Taiwan’s President could not have been an oversight. It is impossibly such a call would be taken without warning given the folks he has around him right now.

In fact, I would imagine Trump and his advisers held a meeting where, whomever was tasked with reporting on his daily activities, was either coached to gloss over the phone call from Taiwan’s President, and then feign shock that it was such an issue, or he and his advisers kept that individual in the dark completely, so their reaction to the press’ shock would not appear rehearsed.

In the history of the United States, there has never been a President whose perceived lack of preparedness was as great as Trump’s. Overwhelmingly, his critics has considered the appearance of ignorance and naivete detrimental to his ability in being a successful President.

Given his track record of proving critics wrong, it is time everyone begin considering the possibility that a perception, or reality, of being over his head while appearing woefully naive, is a hell of an excuse to have in his back pocket. Trump’s “ignorance”, and the plausible deniability created by it, may very well end up being his greatest asset.

Dear Hoosiers, Why Libertarian Rex Bell For Governor?

governor_library

Dear Hoosiers,

As the days count down to November 8, the day we are tasked with casting our votes to decide who will be the next Governor of Indiana, I’d be remiss in not reminding you about the importance of your decision. We are a proud state.

Proud not in the traditional sense of boasting about how great our state is in comparison to those that surround us, but proud of the earned reputation of toleration, humbleness, and hospitality toward visitors.

You see, I’ve always believed that being a Hoosier carried with it a weight of responsibility. As a Hoosier, it is my responsibility to carry the torch of hospitality when welcoming guests to our state.

It is my responsibility to remain humble when speaking of our states’ incredible ability to reinvent itself in the face of devastating economic adversity forcing our transition from an industrial economy, to an information economy built upon the hard sciences and managing supply chains.

It is my responsibility to tolerate the views of others who hold beliefs differing from my own. As long as those differing beliefs neither inhibit my ability to earn a living nor my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it is my responsibility to tolerate differing beliefs.

I must remain hospitable toward those who hold them, and remain humble in knowing that my beliefs are not suitable to be forced upon another.

These are the shared ideals I have always believed that make one a Hoosier. That being said, our common ideals do not make us superior, just different. Hoosiers are different, and our response to a rapidly changing world serves as confirmation of our unique character.

Many of our neighboring states resisted change in the face of adversity. Rather than adapt to an unavoidable economic reality, they instead chose to cling to the final piece of the industrial economic pie while anxiously awaiting it’s resurgence. There’s nothing wrong with such a decision, but it is simply not the Hoosier way.

The Hoosier way is to accept the reality of unavoidable change and adapt to the circumstances, so we are setup to thrive far into the future. Which is why the decision you make on election day is of the upmost importance.

There are three choices on your ballot for Governor: Republican Eric Holcomb, Democrat John Gregg, and Libertarian Rex Bell.

Having had the luxury of getting to spend some time with each of the men vying to be our next Governor, I can say they are all honest competent men with differing views about the most effective way to lead our state into the future.

Mr. Holcomb is not a politician, which is probably why he has such low name recognition among voters and why he trails Mr. Gregg in the polls despite being the Republican nominee in an overwhelmingly Republican state. He’s spent a lifetime behind the scenes in Republican politics and is in every way a technician, rather than politician. That isn’t a bad thing for Hoosier voters, but what is bad, is the fact that should be win, he’d be beholden to his party rather than Hoosier voters since he’d owe his election to his party.

Anyone who remembers Governor Pence’s RFRA debacle will see why being indebted to your party is a terrible situation, one that invites a black eye on our reputation of hospitality and toleration.

Mr. Gregg is a politician’s politician. He is not a bad man, just someone whose spent a lifetime perfecting a folksy and relatable demeanor for the purposes of winning elections and obtaining power. His track record as Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives under Governor Evan Bayh was poor when judged by any benchmark of fiscal management or social and civil equality for homosexuals and minorities.

He claims to have evolved his positions on such issues, but the problem with trusting a polician’s politician, is that he will go wherever the wind blows. A Gregg administration would not represent leadership into the future, but revisiting the failures from his and our past.

Lastly, that brings me to the Libertarian candidate Rex Bell. I must admit that my opinions on Rex are partial since I’m lucky enough to be able to call him a friend. However, friend or not, there are certain things about Rex and his beliefs that are impermeable to partiality.

Rex Bell is a man of a different era. He’s a throwback to a time when terms like honor, civic duty, and selflessness were held up as aspirational virtues in our society, rather than comedic punchlines of the politically cynical and apathetic.

In an era of John Stewart and Bill Maher, Rex Bell is a Walter Kronkite or Edward R. Murrow. An honorable man pursuing higher office out of a sense of duty, rather than desire for personal gain.

In my opinion, he represents a modern day version of Plato’s philosopher-king, if only due to the fact he had little desire to run for governor, yet agreed to only after many others asked him to heed their call.

Rex Bell doesn’t seek power or control over your life, he simply wishes to protect your right to live your life in anyway you so choose, so long as it does not prevent or inhibit another Hoosier ‘s ability to do the same.

A Bell administration would be one where government would not be used as a tool to force policies on communities, but one where communities would be given the authority and support to address the issues they face on a daily basis.

Governor Bell would fulfill his constitutionally granted powers right up to the letter of the law, but no further. Hoosiers would never have to worry about a political party or special interest group coming between their rights under the law and the application of justice they would receive. Governor Bell, in every way, would seek to uphold and enforce blind justice for every Hoosier while limiting the government’s ability to intrude into Hoosier wallets, bedrooms, classrooms, and communities.

Governor Bell would limit government so that rather than being in the way of a rapidly changing economic and social reality, it would be readily adaptable to change. An effective government rather than an encumbersome one. A vote for Mr. Holcomb or Mr. Gregg and their respective parties, is a vote for the tried and tired policies of the past. A vote for Rex Bell is a vote for new solutions to our yet to be solved problems.

When you walk into the polls on November 8, remember that the primary difference between Libertarian Rex Bell and his opponents, is that they are pursuing office because they believe they know what is best for Hoosiers, while Rex readily admits he does not and nor will he allow government to tell you it does.

Rex may or may not win on election day, but if he does not, he’ll thank all his supporters for their efforts, drive right back to Hagerstown in his pick up truck, kiss his wife Susan (the Hagerstown Town Judge) goodnight, and get a good night’s sleep so that in the morning he can put on his boots and go right back to running Bell Contracting and continuing to fight for the liberty of his fellow Hoosiers.

That is who Rex Bell is, and that is what he does. He’s hospitable toward all that he meets, kindly tolerates all whom oppose him, and humbly goes on about his business while continuing to champion the liberties of each and every one of his Hoosier neighbors.

Libertarian candidate for Governor, Rex Bell, is a Hoosier through and through. He personifies that which is best in all of us and that, is why he is the right choice on election day.

 

Lenz: America’s Time For Choosing

Good evening,

Tonight a great many of you probably watched the third and final debate in the 2016 Presidential election between Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton. While some of you may have watched with a genuine interest in using the debate as a basis for which candidate to cast a vote in support of on election day, a vast majority of you tuned in for the purposes of trying to decide whether either of them are worthy of the time required to drive to the polling center and wait in line on election day.

Perhaps even more depressing is the fact an even smaller number of you undoubtedly watched with the intent of deciding who to vote against on November 8. Such is the state of the final chapter in American politics.

I say final chapter because one would certainly hope an election between tonight’s debate participants represents the last time my fellow countrymen are willing to swallow such an unpalatable choice in deciding our nation’s future. You see, America isn’t easy.

A federal democratic republic with the ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic diversity of ours is incredibly rare and perhaps beyond historical comparison. In more ways than one, we are an exception to the course of human history. American exceptionalism is an oft repeated, yet frequently misunderstood phrase in America politics.

An exception is a rare deviation from the rule. The rule in question that America deviates from, is the rule that man is unfit to rule his or herself. The rule of nations in human history has been the belief that laws, and their enforcement, are best entrusted to a governing class of elites claiming to know best.

This class of individuals, out of a well intended, yet perversely distorted sense of civic duty and public service, take it upon themselves to rule over the ignorant masses. If there were any question as to whether or not Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump represent the governing class who believe you and I are a part of the ignorant masses they feel compelled to rule over, look at their own words:

“I alone can fix it”-Donald J. Trump

“Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”-Hillary Clinton

Trump sees America and its citizens as something he, and he alone, can fix on our behalf. He remembers when America was great, and lucky for us, he possesses the ability to take us back there.

Hillary has such little respect for the Americans who, for no other reason than their preference for her opponent, are irredeemable. As if that were not enough of a disqualification, she feels entitled to decide which of us are and are not a part of America. Again, we should be so lucky she is here to save us from our deplorable neighbors…

Hillary, when asked why she wasn’t leading the polls by 50 points, was utterly baffled and in admitting so, exposed just how certain she is that she knows best for each one of us. Make no mistake, she could be leading by 50 points if she had only taken the time to listen to President Obama’s speech at her nominating convention when he said,

“We (Americans) don’t look to be ruled”

In my opinion those words, more so than any other spoken during this election, perfectly encapsulate what it means to be an American.

The desire to rule ourselves is the sentiment our 240 year old country was birthed in. When the brave American revolutionaries decided the right to rule themselves was a fight worthy of death, they forever imprinted self-rule upon the soul of each American born thereafter.

Which brings me back to the choice each of us face on November 8. I am a Libertarian and I say that without apology or a desire to influence your vote for President. Two term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is my party’s nominee and I will not lie to you about his chance of winning, he will not. I may disagree with how he presents libertarianism, his campaign’s strategy, and his message to an American electorate desperately searching for an alternative to Trump and Hillary, but I will tell you this, he is as honest and as accomplished of an individual as you will ever meet.

He is completely capable of handling the office of the President, and should you choose to support him with your vote, you will never have to worry that your vote was wasted or that somehow your refusal to vote against the two major party candidates allowed the other side to win.

A vote for Gary Johnson is a vote for the qualified executive with a track record of verifiable success and a governing philosophy that most closely resembles the shared American desire of the right to rule ourselves. In every sense, Gary Johnson is a great American and patriot. If only due to his unflinching belief that you are best suited to decide how to live your life, so long as it does not harm or prevent my right to live mine.

Even though your vote may not propel Gary Johnson to the Presidency, it will be a warning shot to those who believe they know best. That shot will be the necessary reminder that their days are numbered and America’s time for choosing is here. We do not look to be ruled, we are the rulers.

No longer will we tolerate the lesser of two evils and the tired policies they peddle which have lead us to this time for choosing. This election has lacked substance and vision. Trump’s vision is backwards and Hillary’s is a repeat of the last 8 years.

8 years of gridlock and kicking the can down the road to the next person. Part of what makes America so incredible is its ability to handle dire circumstances like economic depression and the rise evil ideologies like Hitler’s national socialism. We adapt and defeat, we do not ignore and avoid. We are a county of action that creates the future rather than accepting it.

If you want to see what Hillary’s vision is, look at Japan. Economic stagnation, debt, and the creeping realization in the mind of each citizen that their best days are behind them. Each of you reading that should be gagging at the thought of such a bleak future because as an American, the second most universally shared belief behind the right to rule ourselves, is the belief the future is ours for the making and while yet to be written, it is shining off in the horizon as we will it into creation.

My name is on no ballot, nor should it be. But in the absence of a compelling vision for our shared future by any candidate in this election, here is the one I believe each of us deserve.

When I look at America I see a people so thirsty for leadership, they’ll drink the sand from the mirage of Making America Great Again.

I see a people so tired of gridlock and unfulfilled promises, they’ve grown apathetic of their right to vote.

I see a people desperate for new answers to old problems, they are finally willing to support a third party candidate just enough that he nearly made the Presidential debates. THAT is why I’m a Libertarian and you should vote for one on election day. Your growing support for new answers gives me great hope that in our time for choosing, the choice will be ours and not the powers that be in the Democratic and Republican parties.

Libertarianism is an idea whose time has come and one most closely resembling our shared belief in the right to rule ourselves.

We can end the drug war and the devastating effect it has had on urban communities. We can heal the broken bond between citizens and law enforcement officers.

We can stop funding endless middle eastern wars where you and I enable the killing of innocent women and children whose only crime was being born into a Hellish situation.

We can stop propping up genocidal dictators with foreign aid who are favorable to our interests and start spending that money on our children here.

Would you rather kill an innocent Syrian 8 year old or put an iPad in your child’s hand with the most advanced educational software available?

Will we allow the slow descent into economic decline and adjust our expectations downward or will we reinvigorate our economy and grow ourselves out of the slavery of our debt burden?

Will we accept our fate or invent the one within our grasp?

This is America’s time for choosing. It is time to choose whether you wish to be ruled or rule yourself.

It is time to choose whether or not the lives of the brave men and women who came before us and offered the choice of self-rule, in the face of certain treasonous death, will be honored with your vote on election day.

Some reading this may not be ready to “switch sides” and vote for Gary Johnson, even though they have little stomach for Trump or Hillary.

That is okay. You may never become a Libertarian and that is fine as well.

But when you step in that election booth and hold your nose, or you complain to friends about having to decide between the two major party candidates, know that there are brave individuals out there still fighting for our foundational and universally shared belief that every American voter has the right to live their life in the manner they so choose.

I assure you, we will not quit regardless of your willingness to be ruled by Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. We are patriots.

We are THE great Americans.

We are the torch bearers of America’s founding ideals and because of that, will continue to uphold your right to life, liberty, and our shared pursuit of happiness.

We are the ones who have decided you are worth it, regardless of your willingness to say the same. No matter how dark the day, nor how insurmountable the opponent, we would rather die standing up, than live on our knees. Why?

THAT belief, is what America was founded upon and that is why at America’s time for choosing, we will choose Libertarian.

A choice, an idea, and a moment in our nation’s history whose time have come.

Lenz: Selfie Culture and The Devastating Effect of Narcissism on a Free Society

Donald Trump Narcissist

The 2016 Presidential Election, regardless of your disdain for Donald. J. Trump or Hillary Clinton, is a rare glimpse of unfettered access into the mind of the American voter.

When measured in the aggregate, the mind of the American voter becomes a complex and diverse representation of the collective American psyche. In considering that, the looming question one fears to ask after this front row seat inside the mind of American society is:

Are the leaders of a society a reflection of itself?

As an American voter, could such a mortifying discovery possibly be true?

While the question of whether or not a society’s leaders are a reflection of it, is critically important to understand, discerning whether or not such a question is true is of little importance. There are simply too many factors involved in order to accurately decide whether the nominees of the two major parties in the United States are a collective reflection of the voters they seek to lead.

However, what is true, and most uncomfortable to acknowledge, is the fact that their nominations are an accurate commentary on the current state of American culture and the growth of narcissism in society.

A reality television star as the Presidential nominee of a major US political party whose career and wealth were built upon a willingness to indiscriminately self-promote both successes and calamitous failure to a media he admittedly sought to manipulate for the intention of turning his last name into a luxury lifestyle brand, represents the stark realization that narcissism in American culture has arrived and it may be here to stay.

Donald J. Trump as the nominee of the Republican Party represents a sound metric for psychologists, sociologists and political scientists awaiting the effect on society where every millennial school child was told they too could become President. Is it a coincidence that childhood Presidential aspirations when combined with adolescent years where the widespread prevalence of internet access and social networks allowing the ability to curate a digital version of ideal self to all onlookers, lead to the rampant growth of narcissism in American culture?

When one considers it from that perspective, it seems rather inevitable Donald J. Trump would become the nominee of a major United States political party.

What is narcissism? 

“Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you’re not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.” (Mayo Clinic)

What are the traits of narcissism?

“If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.

At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection.

Many experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. This manual is also used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal and value yourself more than you value others.

When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may not want to think that anything could be wrong — doing so wouldn’t fit with your self-image of power and perfection. People with narcissistic personality disorder are most likely to seek treatment when they develop symptoms of depression — often because of perceived criticisms or rejections.” (Mayo Clinic)

The Continuum of Narcissism

narckey640-2_zpsc026258a

Undoubtedly, some may be reading this and begin to question if they are a narcissist. Do not worry, it is entirely healthy to feel the need for external validation. Acceptance and appreciation by others is a natural and necessary element of psychological development, so just because you may have read through the list of traits above and identified with several or many, it is highly unlikely you have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

If you want to be sure, just try and remember a time when you felt bad for someone in your personal life while they were going through a difficult situation or period of time. The ability to empathize with others is what differentiates between someone with narcissistic traits and a personality disorder. As long as you can “feel” another person’s “feels” you are completely normal and have nothing to worry about.

How Does Social Media Perpetuate Narcissism?

Social Media, like any other form of communication, is neither a good or bad thing for society as a whole. As with all tools, it is their use which determines the beneficial or detrimental effect. Admiration, praise, recognition, and appreciation have always been a part of the human experience. However, in pre-social media society, external validation was neither immediately accessible nor quantifiable through the measuring of likes, shares, or praise via a comment or status update of another user.

In a world without social media, praise was given on a personal basis through the written or spoken word, or in a public setting through awards, banquets, or publicly available sources of media communication (newspapers, television, or radio).

In the world as it exists today, public recognition and external validation are readily available at all times. The only deterrent in today’s society being Facebook’s upload speed on a user’s latest selfie.

An abundance of supply for those seeking external validation creates a near insatiable demand for those whose self-worth is dependent upon it. When a readily available supply of validation is combined with society’s voyeuristic tendencies, the collective effect results in an inevitable collective change in what a society deems worthy of praise.

In a world where external validation is limited to those who control the means of communication, recognition is limited to the few whose achievements are deemed worthy due to their uniqueness. In a pre-social media world, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin drew the highest ratings on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. In a post-social media world, Kim Kardashian and Donald J. Trump command the highest ratings.

Did social media cause this societal shift in taste? No, it simply accelerated the shift in a rapid fashion.

Social media’s ability to provide instantaneous external validation provided the perfect tool for altering our society’s preferences in the marketplace for attention.  Previously, we rewarded those who had achieved or accomplished a specific feat in their given field.

Today, we reward an individual’s ability to command the attention of others with our attention. Society at some point decided it preferred fame over field expertise and breakthrough. In doing so, it unknowingly created a self-perpetuating incentive/reward system where external validation is both the behavior and the reward.

What does such a stark realization mean for the future of society and what does this have to do with libertarianism and its growth?

The real danger of an increasingly narcissistic culture is the change in psychological composition of our society. When narcissists outnumber the empathetic, those who have an ability to bear the pain of others, and are willing sacrifice their own short-term self-interest in order to assist those they want to help, will simply reach a breaking point. At that breaking point the empathetic will cease helping in the absence of appreciation and validation

A society devoid of empathy and appreciation, is one entirely dependent on government. In the absence of charity, government administered entitlements will continue. When those in need become a mental abstraction, rather than a neighbor experiencing rough times, cynicism and resentment will result. The effects due to a lack of appreciation and validation for empathetic behavior, is already evident in our society.

Schadenfreude is the enjoyment of watching others experience pain. When a society begins enjoying the misery of others, its ability to deliver justice is compromised. Justice and revenge are inextricably linked in the mind of an individual. What makes that dangerous is the fact that we live in a democratic society where access to government, and its relatively unchecked power, are accessible to the wishes of the majority

As things stand right now, our society has yet to become vindictive or vengeful, but the tide is shifting in that direction. One merely needs to observe how revenge is replacing justice in the media. Media outlets endlessly search to expose false idols, regardless of whether or not revenge is warranted. Court rooms are being replaced with sensationalized 24 hour news cycles without a right to trial before a jury of peers.

When one stops to consider the amplifying effect herd behavior and a mob mentality have on otherwise rational individuals, it is disturbingly easy to imagine a situation where an angry mob of vengeful voters become the majority in control of administering a system of revenge, rather than justice. Justice requires empathy, where as revenge often lacks rationality or reason.

In such a disaster scenario, a government with increasingly unchecked power in virtually every area of an individual’s personal life becomes a fatal threat to any and all standing in opposition to a scorned majority thirsting for revenge and satiated by the pain of others.

Anyone familiar with the famous Stanford University “Prison Guard Experiment” or second set of Nuremberg trials will understand how rational individuals in an environment surrounded by those on “their side”, and in possession of the power and tools of enforcement, so readily abandon reason and tolerate atrocity.

The necessity of empathy during the process of determining and administering justice serves as the foundation of a free society. In a society where revenge replaces justice, a systemic collapse in institutional trust begins. It is in that exact moment that civil unrest starts. Chaos from unrest results in a society in search of security delivered by mandatory order. Individual freedoms are tossed to the wayside.

Will the selfie cause the collapse of a free society? No.

Societal values do not change overnight, and while the prevalence of narcissism is rising, those with the capacity to empathize for others still outnumber those who cannot. Will that always be the case?

One would certainly hope so, but the nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican nominee should serve as an alarming wake up call about the current state of American society and what it values.

Empathy is the foundation of humanity. Every time you reward a new selfie with an unearned like or public compliment, you are reinforcing a societal belief that vanity is preferable to substantive achievement.

You are reinforcing the idea that an individual’s ability to command attention is more valuable than their ability to empathize. As the ability to empathize becomes less and less desirable, narcissism will be the result. The result being a society of individuals with a grandiose sense of self and corresponding entitlement.

Should that collective sense of entitlement take hold, so too will an expectation of special treatment where rules and justice need not be applied. The narcissist cannot be expected to be held accountable to the rules. Rules are for the average, not the special.

Narcissism is growing in our society and we are witnessing its corrosive effect. For Libertarians, the spread of narcissism results in a world of ever growing unrighted wrongs. A world of fewer acts of compassion and kindness for those in need. A world where in the absence of empathy, the cold and impersonal hand of government will be turned to in pleas for help.

Empathy is to liberty, as narcissism is to government. The more it is demonstrated, the more it grows. The only thing standing in the way of narcissism’s accelerating appearance in society, is our society’s willingness to empathize with one another and reward it’s demonstration with the recognition it so rightly deserves.

Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, for Libertarians and society alike, our times demand, such, a state of mind.

10.02.2016 We Are Libertarians Daily News

The Daily Libertarian Header

Lenz: Gary Johnson In The Arena

“If you don’t vote that’s a vote for Trump. If you vote for a 3rd party candidate that’s a vote for Trump…”

-President Barack Obama to Steve Harvey, September 28, 2016

When historians, political scientists, and sociologists undertake their research into the 2016 Presidential election, September 28, 2016 will signify the beginning of a new era in American Politics. Academics will identify that day as the day the two-party system, dominated by Republicans and Democrats, for the first time felt threatened by the previously amusing third-party little guys…

The Libertarian Party and their Presidential candidate former two-term New Mexico, Governor Gary Johnson, as well as Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein, have crossed the threshold from benign threats, to political players with electoral currency. President Obama, in advising Americans against casting a vote for third-party candidates, unintentionally revealed the desperate hand of the two major parties. While so many third-party supporters justifiably rejoiced upon hearing the President’s words, any celebration should be short lived.

The dilemma with going from occasional nuisance to a legitimate threat by appealing to voters looking for a candidate either fiscally conservative or who is a committed environmentalist with a message of anti-corruption, is obstructing Hillary Clinton from her rightful claim to the divine right of kings.

It is one thing to steal votes from the Republican candidate, it is quite another to obstruct the anointment of her majesty. Such an outcome cannot be allowed, and therefore the media have turned from cordial yet dismissive inquisitors probing the beliefs of third party candidates, into attack dogs salivating at the opportunity to expose any threat as an unqualified radical with dangerous ideas.

Just as September 28, 2016 represents the beginning of a new era in American politics, it also signified the end of questions to Libertarian candidates about prostitution and marijuana…

Gone are the days when the press found Ron Paul to be a lovable, cranky political novelty. It was much easier for the press to laugh along with the audience when Paul would wave his hands in the air and lecture them about the crippling economic effects of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies. The press and two major parties used to laugh along without anxiety during Paul’s claims of libertarianism’s growth while emphatically declaring “It’s Happening!”

Yet, now that it actually is…their laughs fall silent.

The stakes have been raised and policy based “gotcha” questions are the new normal.

Third-party candidates are not ready for this type of media exposure and vetting. Gary Johnson’s “What is Aleppo?” moment, his inability to name a single potential cabinet member on 60 Minutes, and his failure to name a foreign leader he respects when asked by Chris Matthews, are evidence of the antagonistic environment awaiting third-party candidates.

As with all things, that is both good and bad. It is good in that it signifies the media is taking third-party candidates serious enough to apply the same (if not unfairly higher) vetting process.

It is bad in that every gaffe, incorrect pronunciation, or brain fart will be played on an endless loop in the media in order to brand that individual as a cheap parlor trick with some interesting ideas, yet wholly unqualified for the office of the Presidency.

Whether one loves such treatment, hates it, or complains about it, all that is left to do is embrace it.

All the calls for fair treatment will fall on deaf media ears. The instinct of those who support third-party candidates will be to protect their candidate by pointing out the deficiencies of candidates from the two-major parties. That is a losing strategy, and in time, one that will become monotonous and grating to the ears of voters who are disgusted with politics as usual.

These disgruntled voters want a hopeful dream filled with new answers. They want to hear inspirational rhetoric grounded in concrete plans promising a brighter future just beyond the horizon.

Third-party supporters must accept these higher standards. Failing to accept them will result in the evaporation of everything they have sacrificed and worked for through the years. Like it or not, the Office of the Presidency and its vetting process, is determined by a media class whose questions and concerns are poorly suited to a philosophical framework like libertarianism. Libertarians believe in non-intervention, so naturally foreign policy questions would be of less relevance to Governor Johnson than questions related to civil liberty issues. However, the majority of voters will never listen long enough to grasp such a nuance.

Johnson has to accept that as Commander-in-Chief, he will have to have an easy to understand foreign policy framework, supported by experts, and crafted through media class approved advisers. He must tell voters his foreign policy plan is to stop offering American soldiers up to terrorists as target practice. He will bring the troops home, he will end our financially exhausting forays into parts of the world where the U.S. has to decide between backing Al Qaeda or the Islamic State, like in Syria.

Third-party candidates can no longer afford to run as mesagging arms of their nominating parties. Criticizing the stupidity of the major parties is great for a sound bite, but it will do nothing to win votes and create a perception as a viable alternative to those looking for answers and an inspiring vision. As a visionary leader once said,

Third-party candidates, and their parties, have been waiting for their moment in the arena. On September 28, 2016, President Barack Obama formally extended an invitation to the Libertarian Party and Governor Johnson.

Johnson is now the man in the arena.

His ability to undergo the vetting process, with higher standards than his major party opponents, will determine the growth of third parties. More importantly, should he successfully navigate the process, it will forever change the perception of third-parties in the American psyche from “cute also rans” into “viable third options“.

This is THE moment, it is a time for choosing for Gary Johnson and his supporters. Will Governor Johnson and his supporters play the game as it is? Or complain about double standards and unfair treatment?

It remains to be seen, but his supporters have been anxiously awaiting this moment, and their tireless efforts deserve to be rewarded. The standard is not perfection, it is at a bare minimum, the assumption by Johnson that he is going to win.

If Gary Johnson, and third-party candidates alike, shift their mindset from exposure to success, they will start EARNING votes, rather receiving them from loyal supporters and by those cast in protest to the status quo. Johnson’s struggles are not due to a lack of competence, but rather a lack of preparation.

When Gary starts operating as if Jan. 20, 2017 is his first day on the job, a time when his political capital will be the highest offering him his best chance at putting into plan the set of legislative and regulatory reforms he ran on, his gaffes and perception of disinterest in the rest of the world would go away.

The moment he behaves as the inevitable president-elect, is the same moment voters will begin believing he possesses the knowledge and experience necessary to be Commander-in-Chief.

In that moment he will earn votes when he announces a cabinet full of credible experts.

In that moment he will earn votes when he presents an extensive plan for leading the country and reforming government in a way that closely resembles his libertarian philosophy, which he successfully communicated to the very voters responsible for propelling him into office.

On September 28, 2016 a new era of American politics was created when the President of the status quo formally recognized the “potential” threat third parties and their candidates pose. The question that remains is will “potential threats” transition into results?

It remains to be seen, and it entirely hinges upon the transition from being the critic to being criticized.

So rather than criticizing the unfair standards of the status quo, it is time to stand in the arena and skillfully defeat the litany of critics awaiting Governor Johnson. He is the man in the arena, and as such, he should be expected to prepare in such a fashion. How high are the stakes?

It will determine whether he, and the party he was nominated by, rejoin the audience of critics, or are pointed to by historians as the man who overthrew the status quo and lead America into a new era.