Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hiroshima Atomic Bomb CGI Re-enactment


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Activist Assaulted by Cop at Lockheed Martin Protest

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Original Foreign Policy: Noninterventionism, by Ron Paul

Noninterventionism is not isolationism. Nonintervention simply means America does not interfere militarily, financially, or covertly in the internal affairs of other nations. It does not we that we isolate ourselves; on the contrary, our founders advocated open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations.

read more | digg story

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fallujah - The Hidden Massacre

How the United States government used chemical warfare indiscriminately in Iraq. (Warning: graphic content)

Monday, December 11, 2006

History of the Libertarian Party

Happy 35th Birthday, Libertarian Party!

Who's Responsible for US Foreign Policy? Congress - Not the President

The role of the president as Commander in Chief is to direct our armed forces in carrying out policies established by the American people through their representatives in Congress. He is not authorized to make those policies. He is an administrator, not a policy maker. Foreign policy, like all federal policy, must be made by Congress.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Brother of Philadelphia mayor indicted on fraud (Is the mayor next?)

The indictment was part of an investigation into municipal corruption in Philadelphia. The wide-ranging probe, which ensnared the former city treasurer and numerous businessmen, became public three years ago when an FBI listening device was discovered in the mayor's office.

read more | digg story

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Century of War: The 20th was the bloodiest in history

The most accurate description of the twentieth century is "The War and Welfare Century." This century was the bloodiest in all history. More than 170 million people were killed by governments with ten million being killed in World War I and fifty million killed in World War II. In regard to the fifty million killed in World War II, it is significant that nearly 70 percent were innocent civilians, mainly as a result of the bombing of cities by Great Britain and America.

read more | digg story

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Worshipping the State: Why They Die

Simple facts most soldiers do not understand: The government (state) is not our country; when you fight and die in undeclared wars, you do so for the State and not for our country or our freedoms; when you forsake the Constitution you swore to uphold and defend to follow unconstitutional orders, even from your commander-in-chief, you cross the line from defender of your country to the very real possibility of becoming a war criminal.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Education Debate We’re Not Having

Few dare speak of it, particularly in political circles, but an alternative to public schools does exist. Prior to the wholesale takeover of education by government, parents typically paid about half their kids’ tuitions directly. Education was mostly a private enterprise...Literacy levels were higher a century and a half ago than they are today.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Demographic Reality and the Entitlement State, by Ron Paul

Are ever-growing entitlement and military expenditures really consistent with a free country? Do these expenditures, and the resulting deficits, make us more free or less free? Should the government or the marketplace provide medical care? Should younger taxpayers be expected to provide retirement security and health care even for affluent retirees?

read more | digg story

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pennsylvania statewide ballot scrubbed of challengers

More than 165,000 Pennsylvania residents signed nominating petitions this year to place third-party and independent candidates on the Nov. 7 ballot. But you won't find most of those candidates on the ballot. This is Pennsylvania, where Democrats and Republicans don't want voters to have a choice other than one of their hand-picked candidates.

read more | digg story

Friday, November 03, 2006

Freedom, Morality & Pragmatism: Why Americans will return to libertarianism

Libertarianism, not socialism or interventionism, is the cornerstone of our nation
’s heritage of freedom. Libertarianism succeeds in producing rising standards of living, nurtures voluntary charity, & promotes harmonies among people. It is a philosophy grounded in the moral foundations of freedom. Libertarianism is the key to the future ......

read more | digg story

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Judge and Inspector of Elections resign calling Pennsylvania's Election process increasingly un-American

Richard Piotrowski
Ellen Blickman
3731-4 Allen St Allentown, PA 18104
email: rich@richpiotrowski.org
cell: 610 360-8394

News Release

Allentown Judge and Inspector of Elections resign calling Pennsylvania's Election process increasingly un-American

Allentown, PA - The Husband and Wife team that served this past election in Allentown's 17th ward 4 th district (located at the western edge of City of Allentown and serving a portion of the Parkland School District) as it's Judge of Ellection and Inspector of Elections, resigned in protest last week over what they have labeled an increasingly un-American election process.

Richard Piotrowski, who served as Judge of Elections, and who also ran in 2004 for Congress in the 10th district ,said he is extremely troubled over the unfair ballot requirements that were imposed this year on State-wide candidates in the Commonweath. "The final straw for me was the nearly $90,000 legal bill that the court has ordered Carl Romanelli to pay the Democratic Party for knocking him off of the ballot." Piotrowski said. Piotrowski is referring to the State Supreme Court's ruling keeping him off of the ballot, which also legally makes him responsible for the Democrat's legal fees. Piotrowski said this "adding insult to injury" move by the Court and the Democratic Party was a way of scaring off future attempts of challengers to the two-party hold on the political process.

Piotrowski's wife, Ellen Blickman, who served as an Inspector of Election, said she was initially excited to serve the position. 'I thought we could be part of the process, to help improve it." she said. Blickman added that she thought she could help reach out to younger voters and get them involved. "Although voter interest and turnout has been steadily declining over the years, I've never seen a level of disinterest that it's come to now,"she said. Blickman pointed out that these new potential voters have no trust in the system and, as they are much more tech savvy, many of them have read the some of the information that is available online on how the new Diebolt voter machines can be "hacked" and are not secure. Many of the web's most popular sites have featured articles about the Diebold machines and there are dozens of sites dedicated to this single issue..

Piotrowski and Blickman both say they will exercise their right to vote this year, and plan to do several write-in votes for candidates that were denied a place on the ballot. "We'll keep doing that until they take that ability away too," Blickman said.. "The truth is that four states have already taken the ability to do write-in away already." Piotrowski sadly added.
V for Vote

A great commercial from Jon Airheart of the Badnarik campaign.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

From the Phoenix: 157th Profile: Libertarian Jim Babb

Jim Babb's political bible is the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. "I intend to reacquaint the Pennsylvania legislature with the document," he says. The matter comes up regularly, as the issue that underlies all others. "I will oppose all spending not explicitly authorized by the Pennsylvania Constitution," he says.

read more | digg story

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Libertarian Debates Incumbent for Pennsylvania's 157th

Unedited audio and photos from the LWV debate on October 8th, 2006. (Broadband recommended)

read more | digg story

2006 Pennsylvania Libertarian Candidate Guide

Eight Libertarian Heros are on the Ballot!

read more | digg story

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Michael Berg at the CCOBH debate

Michael Berg is the Green Party candidate for Congress in Delaware. This is how a patriot behaves in 2006.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Enemy Combatant/RIP Habeas Corpus T-Shirt

Thanks to the "Military Commissions Act of 2006" anyone can be designated an "Enemy Combatant" and stripped of their rights. While pondering the extent of this dark stain on America, I put this shirt on Cafe Press, just to let off a little steam.


The front says "Enemy Combatant", the back features a tombstone that reads: "R.I.P. Habeas Corpus 1215 - 2006."

Why keep the feds wondering, let them know where you stand. When a dictator rules, we are all EC's.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

How Principles and Liberty (Not Regulations) Solve Environmental Problems

The British long ago learned how to stop pollution of their rivers. Fishing rights in British streams and rivers are a private good that can be bought and sold. For the last century, polluters have been routinely dragged into the courts by angry owners and forced to rectify any damage they may have caused.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Liberty Dollar Proponents say U.S. money is worth: "Zilch."

Is it sounder than a dollar?
Proponents of an alternative currency called Liberty Dollars say they know what U.S. money is worth: "Zilch."
By Michael Matza
Inquirer Staff Writer
CAMP HILL, Pa. - In a suburban house decorated with American flags and a pencil portrait of President Reagan, three men who call themselves patriots are waxing cranky about the United States.

Their anger begins with the Federal Reserve and its monopoly on America money.

"When the government owns the money, it controls the people. When the people own the money, they control the government," said Bert Olley, 84, a semiretired businessman whose basement office is a regional clearinghouse for the alternative currency called Liberty Dollars.

Privately minted in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and made of silver, Liberty Dollars are a hedge against inflation because they have intrinsic value, according to the Indiana organization NORFED - the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and Internal Revenue Code - which began distributing them eight years ago.

read more | digg story

Monday, October 09, 2006

Libertarian presents a real choice in 157th debate

Although all the quotes in the article seem to be paraphrased from the reporter's memory, I think some of my ideas came through in this Phoenixville News review of the 157th debate on October 8th.

Special thanks goes to the Chester County League of Women Voters for hosting this event.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Political variety / Candidates should face the same petition rules

White or with sauce? Super-size or personal pan? Frozen or fresh? Meat, veggie or plain? Yum, the endless alternatives! Wouldn't it be nice to have that many choices of candidates? Not a pizza's chance in a frat house of that happening, however, in Pennsylvania.

read more | digg story

Monday, October 02, 2006

Rubley Accepts Babb's Debate Challenge, Libertarian Eager to Confront Longtime Incumbent

Babb for Pennsylvania News Release: October 2, 2006

Chester & Montgomery Counties - Voters will witness a rare and unscripted exchange between Libertarian James Babb and longtime incumbent Carole Rubley in an open debate Sunday, October 8th.

"I'm grateful to the Chester County League of Women Voters for this opportunity" said Babb. "I requested this debate because the voters in the 157th district deserve answers to some key questions:

Why are property taxes through the roof?
Why is government spending out of control?
Why has Pennsylvania been ranked one of the 10 worst states for business?

Voters deserve answers. Voters deserve alternatives."

“I will share with voters my plan to eliminate property taxes, resurrect our dismal business climate and increase education choices."

District 157, State Rep. Debate
Sponsored by the Chester County League of Women Voters
Sunday, October 8, 2006, 2:00 pm.
Easttown Library, 720 First Avenue, Berwyn, PA 19312

More information about the campaign can be found at www.JamesBabb.com.

Ken Krawchuk, Babb for Pennsylvania Media Relations


James Babb
610-574-1222 (cell)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Public Schools Have Flunked Out

Public schools are brain dead and on life support...pull the plug on them, give them a decent funeral, and let better alternatives take root and flourish. Education is what we must save and regenerate, not an obsolete proven flop that has been in a persistent counterproductive condition for decades. The time has come to slaughter a sacred cow.

read more | digg story

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"The Decider" without limits

Jacob Hornberger’s Commentary Thursday, September 21, 2006

Amidst all the brouhaha in the UN regarding President Bush and Iran President Almadinejad, Americans should keep in mind a very important point: We now live in a country in which one person — the president — decides whether the United States will go to war against another nation.

When it comes to attacking another country and killing tens of thousands of foreigners in the process, no one can deny that President Bush — and he alone — is the decider. He — and he alone — has the power to make that determination, even though the Constitution requires him to secure a congressional declaration of war as a prerequisite.

Keep in mind also that the president, through the use of “signing statements,” also now wields the power to ignore laws enacted by Congress that purport to limit his powers as a military commander in chief.

Question 1: If the president has the power to flagrantly ignore one provision of the Constitution — and an extremely important one at that — why shouldn’t he feel that he has the power to ignore other restraints on power in the Constitution, such as those that require due process of law, right to counsel, the prohibition against unreasonable searches, bars against cruel and unusual punishments, and the right to keep and bear arms, especially if the American people don’t care?

Question 2: When the power to ignore constitutional restraints is combined with the power to ignore congressional restraints with “signing statements,” how exactly is the power that President Bush is now wielding different in principle from the type of dictatorial rule that characterizes the very countries that President Bush wants to “liberate” from dictatorial rule?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Four of PA's top five employers are the government!

This just in from the Center for Workforce Information & Analysis (CWIA):

Four of our top five employers are the government!


See the full list here: http://www.paworkstats.state.pa.us/reports/paagg_t50.pdf

Is it any wonder that Forbes ranked Pennsylvania one of the 10 worst states for business?

Let's turn things around!


Pa. Supreme Court Has Issued A Ruling Reinstating Judges' Pay Raises�

The state Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated pay raises for 1,200 elected judges and district judges in a decision adding new fuel to an issue that has roiled Pennsylvania politics for more than a year. (Who would ever think judges and politicians are self-serving?)

read more | digg story

Monday, September 11, 2006

U.S. Democracy and the Role of the Media, By James Bovard

In the United States, "pack journalism" predominates - and the pack rarely strays from the government reservation. There is almost never any liability for a journalist who peddles false information from the government - but they risk their careers if their criticisms of government turn out to be unsubstantiated.

read more | digg story

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Government: Where professional incompetence is now an acceptable resume heading.

An excellent evaluation of the current state of politics from school board to the presidency: "Worse yet, truly qualified, honest, administrators are NOT hired precisely because they are not seen as "controllable" by the power brokers. Real pros are not willing to do whatever a board or council asks so they can cash the big checks."

read more | digg story

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Rep Rubley & PSEA Agree: Parents Can't Be Trusted

Libertarian James Babb: Parents Ultimate Authority on Children’s Education
Teacher's Union Disagrees, Endorses Babb's Opponent in PA's 157th

September 8, 2006

Lower Providence, PA – James Babb, Libertarian candidate for PA House 157th district, was not surprised at the Pennsylvania State Education Association’s (PSEA) endorsement of his incumbent opponent, "She shares their agenda of increasing government power over parents.”

“While being interviewed by the PSEA board”, Babb explained, “I asked them to support my plan to remove roadblocks limiting parental choice in their children’s education and to eliminate compulsory attendance at Pennsylvania’s schools. This seemed to horrify the board. They expressed contempt over anyone, including parents, who would question state education policies.”

Babb continued, “To be perfectly clear, I asked them point blank who the ultimate authority is when it comes to my child’s education. They confirmed that the state is that authority because parents can’t be trusted. And they support criminal penalties for parents who refused to comply with government education policies.”

“This is worse than big brother,” observed Babb, “it’s big parent.”

Babb offered, “Voters in the 157th district need to know that the PSEA’s PAC endorsed candidate is incumbent Republican Carole Rubley, who best represents the teachers’ union special interests. Those interests are in direct conflict with the interests of parents and children.”

Taxpayers are also victims of the PSEA’s agenda. The union threatens teacher strikes to effectively coerce high salaries and expensive benefits from taxpayers, even in poor rural counties. On the PSEA website they boast: "The pace of life is slower, the communities less affluent and in most cases, the economy is stagnant. Yet, PSEA members who live in these counties enjoy very good salaries and low or no contributions to health care costs."

The Patriot-News recently reported that "Pennsylvania had more teacher strikes than the other 49 states combined in both of the last two years." According to StopTeacherStrikes.org. "The ‘strike threat’ is used by the union during contract negotiations in order to extract tax dollars via local school boards. Taxpayers, innocent children, and the surrounding business community are negatively impacted.”

Babb concluded, “The group that has embraced Carole Rubley is the same one that recently made an enormous $235,000 contribution to Democrat Ed Rendell’s campaign. It’s the same PSEA that routinely opposes merit based pay and shields teachers from accountability in spite of rising costs and falling test scores. As the Libertarian Party candidate, I stand apart from the two parties that sell out our childrens’ futures and spend the taxpayers’ money for special interests.”

More information about the campaign can be found at www.JamesBabb.com.

Ken Krawchuk, Babb for Pennsylvania Media Relations


James Babb

Friday, September 08, 2006

Education: Free and Compulsory, By Murray N. Rothbard

Individuality is suppressed by teaching all to adjust to the "group." All emphasis is on the "group," and the group votes, runs its affairs by majority rule, etc. As a result, the children are taught to look for truth in the opinion of the majority, rather than in their own independent inquiry, or in the intelligence of the best in the field. Children are prepared for democracy by being led to discuss current events without first learning the systematic subjects (politics, economics, history) which are necessary in order to discuss them. The Mole effect is to substitute slogans and superficial opinion for considered individual thought. And the opinion is that of the lowest common denominator of the group.

read more | digg story

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Anti-war Congressional Candidate Arrested in Pennsylvania Capitol!

John A. Murphy, an independent candidate for Congress in suburban Philadelphia, was issued the non-traffic citation from Capitol Police after the incident Tuesday morning inside a state-government office building in Harrisburg. Murphy, 60, said Wednesday he did use a barnyard epithet, slap his hand on a table and call another man "a fool,"�

read more | digg story

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Real Free Market Benefits Workers, by Sheldon Richman

There is only one test for whether an arrangement of wealth and income is fair or not: is it the result of voluntary transactions? If so, there is no role for public policy, because that would mean forcible interference with people
�s peaceful exchanges. If not, then the proper remedy is abolition of privilege.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Free Association: Missing the Boat -- Again

Free Association: Missing the Boat -- Again

"We live in a corporate state, not a free economy. What are we arguing about? Whether the corporte state treats workers better than the left says it does? Big deal! What does that do to advance the cause of liberty?"

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Conservative War on the War on Drugs

A red state like Nevada may not top your list of pot-friendly places, but that could soon change. A legalizing initiative is scheduled to appear on the ballot there this fall. If approved, the "tax and regulate" measure would make the sale of marijuana more like alcohol...

read more | digg story

How to rebuild New Orleans (kick out the government)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Jacob Hornberger’s Commentary
Leftist commentators are lamenting and criticizing the Bush administration’s failure to “rebuild” New Orleans and are even comparing the failure to its failure to “rebuild” Iraq.

It is truly amazing to see that no matter how many times socialism fails, socialists never lose their hope that just one time socialism will finally succeed. And no matter the failure, they always have faith that if only “their” plan — or some other central plan — had been tried, the scheme would have worked.

And that’s what they’re saying about New Orleans. If only Bush had appointed a more competent person to oversee the rebuilding, all would be well today. If only Bush had sent more federal money sooner, all would be well today. If only there was not so much bureaucratic red tape, all would be well today.

That’s precisely the mindset that has guided liberals (in the corrupted, big-government, socialist sense of the term) ever since the New Deal era. No matter which socialist failure — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schooling, etc. — it was all just a matter of having put the “wrong” people in charge and not throwing enough taxpayer money at the problem.

Attention, socialists: No matter how much taxpayer money had been spent in New Orleans, no matter which central plan had been adopted, no matter which bureaucrats had been put in charge, it still would have been a failure. Why? Because as we have learned all over the world, time and time again, socialism can never succeed because, as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek showed, socialism is inherently defective.

So, what would have been the best solution for New Orleans? The federal, state, and local governments should have adopted the following policies:

1. No government grants, subsidies, or loans.
2. Exempt all residents of New Orleans from federal, state, and local taxes.
3. Suspend all building regulations and permit requirements.
4. Suspend all controls on economic activity, including minimum-wage laws and occupational-licensure laws.

The implementation of those policies would have given rise to an immediate outburst of positive economic activity that would still be revitalizing New Orleans today. In fact, if those policies had been adopted, President Bush and other officials would not have to be begging people to move back to New Orleans because countless Americans would be rushing to move there.

But of course, liberals (and, well, for that matter, many conservatives) would hate that solution because it entails individual liberty, free markets, and limited government rather than collectivism, control and regulation, socialistic central planning, and omnipotent government.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Access denied, again (Challengers banned from PA ballot)

A three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld Pennsylvania's signature requirements for political parties and independent candidates that have the audacity to become part of the political process by being listed on the statewide ballot.

read more | digg story

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Democratic Dictatorship, by Jacob G. Hornberger

What is a dictator? A dictator is a ruler whose powers are omnipotent, that is, unconstrained by external or superior law. A dictator has the power to take whatever actions he wants without concerning himself about whether they are legal. Anything the dictator does is legal because he is the law.

read more | digg story

Thursday, August 24, 2006

No dole for anyone. True charity is private and voluntary.

Jacob Hornberger’s Commentary:
A controversy in Italy provides a valuable lesson for Americans. The Italian press is up in arms over a proposal to cut government subsidies to newspapers. Having become dependent on the dole, the newspapers say that there is no way they could ever survive without their dole.

It is just one more example of what happens when people become dependent on government monies — they lose their sense of self-reliance, independence, fortitude, and "can-do" spirit.

While Americans have not yet added newspapers to those receiving a dole from the U.S. government, many other sectors are on the dole — education, agriculture, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, import restrictions, etc.

Of course, the attitude of Americans on the dole in no different than that of the Italians: "Oh, if you take away our dole, we will die. Please do not take it away!"

Our ancestors had it right — no dole for anyone. True charity is private and voluntary. That is the key to a prosperous society.

Planet Clutter

Socialist Party candidate, Jeff Brindle (http://brindle2006.com) posted this timely commentary on the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition discussion list. It's too good not to share.

Today the International Astronomical Union voted to adopt a new definition of what constitutes a planet. Sadly, Pluto has been demoted along with many other bodies that were vying for planetary status.

I for one applaud this decision. Our solar system was suffering from "planetary clutter." 9 planets?? Seriously, that's just way too confusing. Think of the poor school children struggling to memorize their names. I've seen more than one reduced to tears trying to figure out what comes after Mars. That's just not right...

If you read the IAU's decision carefully though, they've also increased the moon threshold. Using Jupiter and Saturn (by far the biggest and therefore most representational of our diverse system) as the rule, all planets must have at least a dozen moons to qualify as a planet. Sadly this decision will result in Mercury, Venus, Mars, and our own Earth loosing their planetary status unless they manage to collect more moons before the next election, err I mean..eclipse.

The peoples of Earth have appealed this decision, but given the slow speed of interplanetary spacecraft our appeal will likely not be heard for at least 1.2 billion years. The little green men on Mars decided not to appeal this decision, but is attempting to meet the new moon requirement. Many of its moons though are being thrown out by the court as merely being large asteroids. So it looks like Mars will loose its planetary status as well.

- Jeff

Court upholds signature rules for Pa. candidates (0 = 67,070)

A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld Pennsylvania's signature requirements for minor-party and independent candidates seeking to get on the statewide ballot. Despite constitutionally required "free and equal" elections, challenger parties and independent candidates need 67K signatures to get on the fall ballot, Dems and Reps need zero.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Separation of Games & State?

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is brand new, but already riddled with corruption and cronyism. So, what are Pennsylvanian's going to do about it?

The current debate seems to be "government run gaming" (like Slots for Tots) vs "criminal run gaming" (gaming prohibition). What's the difference? In both cases a limited number of market participants use brute force to eliminate competition. The big loser of course, is the consumer who pays a higher price and has fewer options.

Why not a free market gaming industry in Pennsylvania? Imagine what that could do for tourism in Pennsylvania. The big losers will be the criminals and politicians who can no longer trade gaming monopolies for favors and payoffs.

Obviously, there is ZERO constitutional authority for Harrisburg to interfere with the gaming industry. So the repeal of all gaming laws is the correct approach. It's a perfect example of how reducing government power will not only increase our personal liberty, but allow job creation and increase prosperity in Pennsylvania.

Jim Babb

Iraqis Are Ingrates

Those darned ungrateful Iraqis. Don't they know that the brutal sanctions that U.S. officials employed against them for more than a decade was for their benefit? So what if they lost hundreds of thousands of their children? Can't they see that those deaths were "worth it" because U.S. officials were trying to oust their brutal dictator, Saddam…

read more | digg story

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Constitution Within

Sheldon Richman always nails it. "If the freedom philosophy is not inscribed in the actions of people, no constitution will help."

read more | digg story

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Restoring Free and Equal Elections

Babb for Pennsylvania Position:
Why are some candidates required to collect 67,070 signatures while others required to collect none?

Article 1, Section 5 of the Pennsylvania Constitution: Elections shall be free and equal; and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.

read more | digg story

Friday, August 18, 2006

Libertarian Certified for November Ballot

Lower Providence - The Pennsylvania Department of State has officially certified that James Babb has successfully met the requirements to appear on the fall ballot. Babb is the Libertarian Party's candidate for Representative in the General Assembly, for district 157 (parts of Chester and Montgomery counties).

Although the old parties are not required to submit any signatures to appear on the fall ballot, state law requires independent and established challenger party candidates to collect 466 valid signatures from district voters to appear on the ballot. On July 31, Babb submitted over 650 signatures of district voters who want a real choice on election day. The majority of the signatures were received in a single day at the polls during the old parties' primary, where registered Democrats and Republicans filled page after page with their signatures.

"Voters of all political persuasions are dissatisfied with the old status-quo parties. People like choices. They are eager to see candidates from challenger parties like the Libertarians on the ballot and most importantly, in office." said Babb at a recent press conference. "Clearly the Republicans have let down those interested in fiscal restraint and the Democrats have clearly failed to protect our civil liberties. Libertarian is the only choice for voters interested in protecting private property and individual freedom.

Babb asserts that he is the best candidate for his district because he is not a career politician. "Unlike my opponent, I work in the real world. When I wanted a raise, I had to increase my productivity. When that wasn't enough, I started my own business. My success or failure in business is determined on my ability to meet the needs of my customers. When government fails, it usually gets more funding (In government, nothing succeeds like failure.) The last time my opponent had a job in the private sector, cars had 8-track players."

"When I win, the special interests like the PSEA and the utility monopolies will have no power over me, because I haven't taken their money. Unlike the career politician incumbent, I will be free to uphold my oath of office and obey the Pennsylvania constitution without fear of retribution from lobbyist benefactors."

Babb's willingness to buck conventional wisdom and challenge special interest strongholds is earning him quite a reputation. His pro-freedom solutions are often seen as controversial by some, but rooted in common sense and the American tradition of limited government and personal responsibility. "I can say what needs to be said. I can speak the truth, because I don't work for special interests." Babb intends to improve education by eliminating its compulsory nature. He wants to wipe out drug gangs by ending the war on drugs and he will preserve the environment by protecting private property and ending pay-to-pollute government programs. He wants to withhold the Pennsylvania Guard from participation in undeclared foreign wars.

More information about the campaign can be found at www.JamesBabb.com. The Libertarian Party is the 3rd largest political party in Pennsylvania with over 34,000 registered voters and scores of locally elected office holders across the commonwealth.


Ken Krawchuk, Babb for Pennsylvania Media Relations


James Babb

Monday, August 14, 2006

Cops & Judges Say Legalize Drugs!

Philadelphia - LEAP Mini-Documentary to Premier in Philadelphia, Tues., Aug 15th.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) (www.leap.cc) has released a scathing critique of modern drug prohibition in the form of a 12 minute mini-documentary. Philadelphia will be treated to a free showing of this short video Tuesday, 10:00 pm at the Lounge at N. 3rd. (Directions: http://tinyurl.com/nebtg) Admission is free.

According to LEAP founder Jack Cole, "This is Not a War on Drugs - it's a War on People." Cole retired as a Detective Lieutenant after a 26-year career with the New Jersey State Police. For twelve of those years Cole worked as an undercover narcotics officer.

Libertarian candidate James Babb (www.JamesBabb.com) has sponsored the showing of the LEAP documentary as a way to educate the community about the drug war and the crime it creates. Recent violence in Philadelphia makes their message that much more urgent. "LEAP brings a lot of credibility to the growing re-legalization movement. These aren't your usual activists." said Babb. "These are cops and judges that have figured out that prohibition is as harmful today as it was during Al Capone's reign. Their insider's perspective is unique and their credentials can't be ignored."

Babb will be available to answer questions about his campaign and local re-legalization efforts.

About LEAP:
Founded on March 16, 2002, LEAP is made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who are speaking out about the failures of our existing drug policies.

On the group's website they state "Those policies have failed, and continue to fail, to effectively address the problems of drug abuse, especially the problems of juvenile drug use, the problems of addiction, and the problems of crime caused by the existence of a criminal black market in drugs. By continuing to fight the so-called "War on Drugs", the US government has worsened these problems of society instead of alleviating them. A system of regulation and control of these substances (by the government, replacing the current system of control by the black market) would be a less harmful, less costly, more ethical and more effective public policy."

Ken Krawchuk, Babb for Pennsylvania Media Relations


James Babb

Friday, June 23, 2006

My meeting with the PSEA

On Wednesday, I had a meeting with Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) Political Action Committee (www.psea.org). They invited me to be interviewed for a possible endorsement. I was hoping to record the interview for my podcast. Sadly, I made the mistake of asking if I could record the interview, and they said no. Maybe I should have not asked and recorded the interview secretly, but that seemed rather impolite, so I asked. I should have brought a reporter with me to help shine some light on these roaches. Although Libertarians would not be surprised by the interview, hearing their agenda from their own mouths was still disturbing. Here are some of my notes.

The PSEA has over 180,000 "members" in Pennsylvania. I use quotations because membership dues are not optional. Conscripts is probably a more accurate term. Government teachers, admins, support staff, school nurses etc are required to "join."

I let them know that in addition to answering their questions, I had some questions for them as well. I said "If you want my help when I'm elected, I'll need to know where you stand." Although about 10 of their board members were there, only one or two would respond to my questions.

I started by explaining my motives for running for office and detailed my personal pledge to strictly comply with the constitution, the Clean Sweep candidate declaration and the oath of office. This put the largest PSEA member to sleep, but the others seemed to understand what I was saying.

They asked me what I would like PSEA to do for me. I mentioned that I had heard that Ed Rendell had just received a sizable contribution ($235,000, his largest this reporting period) and that I would be happy to receive a similar contribution. I let them know that my commitment to improving education in Pennsylvania was at least as great as Ed's. They said state rep candidates usually receive $0 to $1,500 each.

After a few routine questions, they began to figure out that I was not going to help them expand their power, and that I was in fact, an ally of their worst enemy, the parents.

The ring leader took offense at the term "government school" preferring the term "public school." I explained that the Friends School is also open to the public. Funny that leaders of the STATE education association would take offense at the word government. I guess even whores prefer the term "lady of the evening."

I asked them to support my plan to remove the compulsory nature government schooling. This seamed to horrify them. The ring leader informed me that the Pennsylvania constitution guarantees a free (and presumably mandatory) education. When I read her the actual wording: (The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.), the ring leader got very defensive and ended any discussion of the constitution. I tried to bring it back up by asking "Don't state employees have an obligation to perform their duties within the confines of our highest law?"

They expressed their concern about accountability proposals. They reject ALL merit based pay proposals. When I mentioned how I have always been paid according to my production, one lady snapped "We don't make widgets!" Evidently, our saintly government school workers and their legislative lap-dogs are beyond reproach, but parents must be thoroughly scrutinized. They informed me that they are internally evaluated. I asked how much their salary would be reduced for an unsatisfactory evaluation. The answer was zero, of course.

Later, I asked them point blank: "Who is the ultimate authority when it comes to my child's education?" They confirmed that the state is the ultimate authority, as parents just can't be trusted. They confirmed that criminal penalties were appropriate for a parent who refused to comply with government education policy. They were all ready to tell me their horror stories of bad parenting. I sensed a strong loathing whenever the subject of parents was discussed.

They really creeped me out when the topic of nursery school came up. I noted how many high quality, choices of nursery schools were available in my area, many of which are very affordable. They informed me that now that Rendell has delivered full day government kindergarten, nursery school will be their next conquest.

I gave the attendees a copy of my campaign brochure and also a copy of Jacob G. Hornberger's essay "The Separation of Education and State" (http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0601aa.asp).

Before leaving, I asked them "Can I have your endorsement?"

I won't hold my breath.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Free Association: Cory Maye News

Protect your family and end up on death roe. Free Cory Maye!

Free Association: Cory Maye News

Friday, May 19, 2006

Libertarian Meets Signature Requirement for November Ballot in a Single Day

Lower Providence Twp. - In another aftershock of the anti-incumbent earthquake, PA Clean Sweeper James Babb, the endorsed Libertarian challenger for State Representative in district 157, has collected the necessary signatures to be on the ballot.

Pennsylvania election law requires third-party and independent candidates to collect 466 signatures from district voters to qualify for the ballot in district 157. Although 55% larger than the major party signature requirements for their primaries, Babb's requirement was easily met in a single day at the polls Tuesday. The Babb for Pennsylvania volunteer team completed the task months before the August 1st deadline. Registered Republicans and Democrats who showed up to vote in their primaries gladly filled page after page with their signatures.

"Now voters in our district will have a true choice in the fall." said Babb. "Many voters in our district are concerned about the never ending tax hikes and runaway spending authorized by incumbent Carole Rubley. I look forward to debating these issues at the earliest opportunity. I want to know why she keeps taking more and more of our hard-earned money."

Babb's platform includes a pledge to personally read all legislation that he votes for, and cite the exact clause in the Pennsylvania constitution that authorizes any new law he supports. He also pledges to pursue the repeal of all existing laws not explicitly authorized by the constitution. He advocates common sense, free-market solutions instead of expanded government power.

More information about the campaign can be found at www.JamesBabb.com.

Ken Krawchuk, Babb for Pennsylvania Media Relations


James Babb

Saturday, April 29, 2006

It’s not Marriage They Want to Protect

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPa)
3915 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

For Immediate Release:
Date: 04/28/2006

For more information contact:
Doug Leard (Media Relations) or Chuck Moulton (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS

Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment

It’s not Marriage They Want to Protect

Harrisburg, PA – Over 80 members of Pennsylvania’s House have co-sponsored a proposed constitutional amendment defining “marriage” as a union between one man and one woman in H.B. 2381, the Pennsylvania Constitutional Marriage Protection Amendment.

“Is marriage a basic human right, or a privilege defined and granted by government?” asked James Babb, Libertarian candidate for Representative in the General Assembly, District 157. “Evidently no part of our lives is immune from interference by the state legislature. What will be the next religious ceremony for government regulation? Baptisms? Bar Mitzvahs? Confirmations?”

“It’s not about protecting marriage, but protecting something else” offered Tom Martin, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate. “Lowering taxes and regulations help married couples, their families and their employers by letting them keep more of their money. Instead of simply reducing government spending and taxes, incumbent politicians both in Pennsylvania and Washington promote constitutional regulations on marriage. They want to protect something, but it’s not marriage. This amendment changes the subject to protect their do-nothing record of addressing high taxes and their outrageous spending programs.”

LPPa Media Relations Chair, Doug Leard made a final observation, “With so many co-sponsors, what common principle drives social conservatives toward bigger state government and liberals toward a church-state alliance? Political self-preservation. Incumbent politicians desperately want us to forget the pay-grab during this election season and are treacherously using marriage as a distraction. Don’t be fooled and don’t ever forget the pay-grab.”

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States with over 600 officials serving in office throughout the nation. Please visit www.LP.org or www.LPPA.org for more information on the Libertarian Party.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Separation of Charity and State

by Jacob G. Hornberger, Posted April 17, 2006

The primary function of the federal government these days is to help out others with federal welfare assistance. The assistance is dispensed in a variety of ways — directly, in the form of a money payment (Social Security); indirectly, by helping people with payments to third parties (Medicare and Medicaid); subsidies to government entities and private organizations (grants to public schools or corporate welfare); and in-kind benefits, such as housing or food. After the recent Hurricane Katrina disaster, federal officials even went so far as to disburse bank debit cards to hurricane victims.

Federal welfare assistance to Americans has become such an ingrained part of our lives that most Americans hardly give it a second thought. While “waste, fraud, and abuse” have become a standard part of the welfare-state lexicon, the answer for many is simply, “The system needs reform.”

Yet when recommended reforms are instituted, “waste, fraud, and abuse” inevitably rear their ugly heads again, which then generates the call for new reforms, perpetuating an endless cycle of problems and reforms.

All this fiddling avoids the central issue: Why not separate charity and the state, in the same manner our ancestors separated church and state? Why not get government totally out of the charity business? I’m suggesting that we do much more than simply repeal all welfare-state programs. I’m suggesting that we go further and elevate our vision to the same level as that of our American ancestors when they separated church and state. I’m suggesting the following amendment to the Constitution: “The federal government shall not provide any subsidy, grant, welfare, aid, loan, or other special privilege to anyone.”

Read the rest…

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Conservatism vs. Libertarianism

Conservatism vs. Libertarianism
by Jacob G. Hornberger, April 12, 2006

The Conservative:

I’m a conservative. I believe in individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government, except for:

1. Social Security;
2. Medicare;
3. Medicaid;
4. Welfare;
5. Drug laws;
6. Public schooling;
7. Federal grants;
8. Economic regulations;
9. Minimum-wage laws and price controls;
10. Federal Reserve System;
11. Paper money;
12. Income taxation and the IRS;
13. Trade restrictions;
14. Immigration controls;
15. Foreign aid;
16. Foreign wars of aggression;
17. Foreign occupations;
18. An overseas military empire;
19. A standing army and a military-industrial complex;
20. Infringements on civil liberties;
21. Military detentions and denial of due process and jury trials for citizens and non-citizens accused of crimes;
22. Torture and sex abuse of prisoners;
23. Secret kidnappings and “renditions” to brutal foreign regimes for purposes of torture;
24. Secret torture centers around the world;
25. Secret courts and secret judicial proceedings;
26. Warrantless wiretapping of citizens and non-citizens;
27. Violations of the Constitution and Bill of Rights for purposes of “national security”;
28. Out-of-control federal spending to pay for all this.

The Libertarian:

I’m a libertarian. I believe in individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government. Period. No exceptions.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. Send him email (jhornberger@fff.org).

Monday, April 10, 2006

Pennsylvania Libertarian Party denounces ruling on election law

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3863 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

For Immediate Release:
Date: 04/10/06

For more information contact:
Doug Leard (Media Relations) or Chuck Moulton (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS

Pennsylvania Libertarian Party denounces ruling on election law

Harrisburg, PA – The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPA) must vehemently disagree with the ruling of U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III upholding the unequal election laws of the Commonwealth. As a result of the denial of a request for a preliminary injunction, minor party and independent candidates for statewide office must collect at least 67,070 valid signatures for their names to appear on the November ballot.

Major party candidates need no more than 2,000 signatures to appear on the primary election ballot and winners need nothing further to appear on the ballot in the general election. Minor party and independent candidates are precluded by law from participating in the primary election process.

The most disturbing factor in this decision was the indication by the Judge that the current requirement reflects a legitimate interest of the Commonwealth. According to LPPA Western Vice-Chair Michael J. Robertson, "The legitimate function of the Commonwealth should be to secure the right of the citizens to choose their elected officials, not unfairly limit their choices."

Article I Section 5 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth clearly states that all elections shall be free and equal. The inequality of current election law was highlighted most succinctly by Libertarian candidate for United States Senate, Tom Martin, when he asked, "If there was a football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles, would it be considered fair if the Steelers needed 67 yards to get a first down and the Eagles only needed two yards?".

The LPPA holds the position that voters in the Commonwealth deserve choices on the ballot for their representatives in government. In recent elections, there have been many cases where only a single name appears on the ballot in the general election. There is a least one previous court case demonstrating that additional signatures are not needed for a qualified party's nominees. In reflecting on the decision, Richard Winger, publisher of Ballot Access News and a leading expert nationally on ballot access legal issues, noted "Judge Jones was not as thoughtful as he could have been."

If there are to be requirements for candidates’ names to appear on the ballot, then the laws must be more equitable. The LPPA asks Pennsylvanians to contact their representatives and demand that they reconsider current election laws and adopt the Voters' Choice Act, as written by the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition (www.paballotaccess.org). This will bring election laws in line with the constitutional requirement.

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States with over 600 officials serving in office throughout the nation. Please visit www.LP.org or www.LPPA.org for more information on the Libertarian Party.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Rendell should not hike taxes to gain control of our pre-kindergarten children

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3915 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

For Immediate Release:
Date: 03/13/2006

For more information contact:
Doug Leard (Media Relations) or Chuck Moulton (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPA) supports parent choice for pre-school

Rendell should not hike taxes to gain control of our pre-kindergarten children

Governor Rendell entered office promising to make early-childhood education his signature issue. Since then, he and the legislature have dramatically increased pre-school spending - $230 million last year.

Although promoting universal pre-school creates a wonderful photo opportunity for Rendell and Pennsylvania legislators, it is bad for Pennsylvania.

First, parents are doing a good job. According to David Salisury, director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, “throughout the 20th century, the scores of preschool age children on IQ and kindergarten readiness tests have climbed steadily upward.”

Second, most parents want responsibility. According to a report from the nonpartisan polling firm Public Agenda, more than 7 out of 10 parents with children aged five or under say they should be responsible for paying the costs of caring for their own children. Even a majority of parents earning less than $25,000 a year believe that they, not taxpayers, should be responsible for the costs of raising their children.

Third, the child-care market is healthy and heterogeneous with diverse choices for the parents and children it serves. Costs have remained steady in real terms since the late 1970s.

Fourth, giving control to government will cause drastic cost increases. Just look at primary education. According to the PA Department of Education, Rendell has increased spending by over $1.1 billion during his tenure. According to the Commonwealth Foundation, Pennsylvania ranks 3rd in the nation in per-pupil spending, when adjusted for the cost of living, with an average expenditure of nearly $11,000 per student. Also adjusting for the cost of living, our teachers have the highest average salaries in the country, exceeding $51,000 per educator. Yet, 25% of Pennsylvania teachers failed 2003 certification tests.

Finally, while costs spiral upwards, the government continues to struggle to provide quality results as an education provider. Of public 5th graders, just 57% score as proficient in math and 64% in reading on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams. Interestingly, scores decline the longer the children remain in government schools.

By extending control of education to pre-school, Rendell will increase our taxes placing additional burden on families, restricting their choices and damaging the effective pre-school system we have today. Instead, the LPPA recommends that government reduce the tax burden on families, providing parents with more funds and options for determining the best early education for their children.

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States with over 600 officials serving in office throughout the nation. Please visit www.LP.org or www.LPPA.org for more information on the Libertarian Party.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Harry Browne: 1933 - 2006

It is with deep sadness that I note the passing of Harry Browne. Harry was a 2x Libertarian candidate for president of the United States, author, radio talk show host and financial planner.

Until I saw Harry on C-SPAN, I had no idea that there was a political party that I agreed with. Now I'm running for office and I can only dream of matching his elegance when explaining the benefits of liberty. He will certainly be missed and never forgotten. He was an inspiration for me and countless others. He always said that life should be enjoyed, not endured. That rings true for me.

Rest in peace friend. We will continue the fight and we will endeavor to enjoy our short time on earth.

Below is one of my favorite Harry Browne compositions: "A Gift for My Daughter" from 1966. I hope I can teach this lesson to my daughters.


A Gift for My Daughter
by Harry Browne
December 25, 1966

(This article was originally published as a syndicated newspaper column, dedicated to my 9-year-old daughter.)

It’s Christmas and I have the usual problem of deciding what to give you. I know you might enjoy many things — books, games, clothes.

But I’m very selfish. I want to give you something that will stay with you for more than a few months or years. I want to give you a gift that might remind you of me every Christmas.

If I could give you just one thing, I’d want it to be a simple truth that took me many years to learn. If you learn it now, it may enrich your life in hundreds of ways. And it may prevent you from facing many problems that have hurt people who have never learned it.

The truth is simply this:

No one owes you anything.


How could such a simple statement be important? It may not seem so, but understanding it can bless your entire life.

No one owes you anything.

It means that no one else is living for you, my child. Because no one is you. Each person is living for himself; his own happiness is all he can ever personally feel.

When you realize that no one owes you happiness or anything else, you’ll be freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be.

It means no one has to love you. If someone loves you, it’s because there’s something special about you that gives him happiness. Find out what that something special is and try to make it stronger in you, so that you’ll be loved even more.

When people do things for you, it’s because they want to — because you, in some way, give them something meaningful that makes them want to please you, not because anyone owes you anything.

No one has to like you. If your friends want to be with you, it’s not out of duty. Find out what makes others happy so they’ll want to be near you.

No one has to respect you. Some people may even be unkind to you. But once you realize that people don’t have to be good to you, and may not be good to you, you’ll learn to avoid those who would harm you. For you don’t owe them anything either.

Living your Life

No one owes you anything.

You owe it to yourself to be the best person possible. Because if you are, others will want to be with you, want to provide you with the things you want in exchange for what you’re giving to them.

Some people will choose not to be with you for reasons that have nothing to do with you. When that happens, look elsewhere for the relationships you want. Don’t make someone else’s problem your problem.

Once you learn that you must earn the love and respect of others, you’ll never expect the impossible and you won’t be disappointed. Others don’t have to share their property with you, nor their feelings or thoughts.

If they do, it’s because you’ve earned these things. And you have every reason to be proud of the love you receive, your friends’ respect, the property you’ve earned. But don’t ever take them for granted. If you do, you could lose them. They’re not yours by right; you must always earn them.

My Experience

A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything. For so long as I’d thought there were things I was entitled to, I’d been wearing myself out — physically and emotionally — trying to collect them.

No one owes me moral conduct, respect, friendship, love, courtesy, or intelligence. And once I recognized that, all my relationships became far more satisfying. I’ve focused on being with people who want to do the things I want them to do.

That understanding has served me well with friends, business associates, lovers, sales prospects, and strangers. It constantly reminds me that I can get what I want only if I can enter the other person’s world. I must try to understand how he thinks, what he believes to be important, what he wants. Only then can I appeal to someone in ways that will bring me what I want.

And only then can I tell whether I really want to be involved with someone. And I can save the important relationships for those with whom I have the most in common.

It’s not easy to sum up in a few words what has taken me years to learn. But maybe if you re-read this gift each Christmas, the meaning will become a little clearer every year.

I hope so, for I want more than anything else for you to understand this simple truth that can set you free: no one owes you anything.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Carole Rubley: Spendell's Partner in Thievery

Carole Rubley: Spendell's Partner in Thievery

The revelation for many in this Commonwealth Foundation report, is the amount of debt being carried by the Pennsylvania taxpayers. How many Pennsylvanians know that they are paying a billion a year in interest? It's bad enough that our taxes our so high, but to stick our kids with this Visa bill is obscene.

It's easy to blame the Governor, but he couldn't do it without his partners in the legislature. With Republicans who can spend like Carole Rubley, who needs Democrats? Wouldn't it be nice is Rubley voted against a bloated budget for a change?

As if Rendell doesn't have enough borrowing plans, Carole Rubley was more than happy to come up with her own plans for our children's earnings Growing Greedier II.

The habits of our politicians are a direct attack on our children and grandchildren who will inherit this legacy of debt unless we act now to stop it.


The Rendell Budget: Would Your Family Spend Like This?
Nathan A. Benefield

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had a good tax year - that is, in government collection terms. General Fund revenues will exceed expectations this year by a projected $353 million. But instead of returning that money from where it came - the taxpayers - Governor Rendell wants to spend more money while promising "no new taxes" and an "affordable" budget.

"No new taxes" and "affordable" may sound like good news to taxpayers; however, the governor's budget is far from affordable or fiscally prudent. In fact, if any Pennsylvania family spent its money like this, it would find itself in dire financial straits very quickly.

Imagine that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is just a big family - the CoPA family. The CoPAs expect to earn $25,225 next year, yet they plan to spend $25,425 - $200 more than they will take in. How can the CoPAs spend more than they earn? Well, the CoPAs currently have $204 in their savings account, and they intend to spend all but $4 of it next year.

Sound financially wise? Of course it doesn't, yet this is exactly how Governor Rendell wants the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to budget its money. His proposed 2006-07 General Fund budget would spend $25.425 billion, yet state government will collect only $25.225 billion next year - $200 million less. While there will be a projected $204 million in surplus revenues at the end of June this year (i.e., "savings" that aren't even in the bank yet), Governor Rendell plans to spend almost all of it.

Let's look at the CoPAs again for a moment. Like most families, the CoPAs are in debt - to the tune of $7,200 to be exact, or more than 28% of their expected annual income. But instead of reducing what they owe, the CoPAs plan to pull out the credit card once again and plunge deeper and deeper into debt.

Governor Rendell is managing Pennsylvania's finances the exact same way. His 2006-07 General Fund budget proposes issuing another $1.1 billion in general obligation bonds, raising our total outstanding debt to $7.9 billion. Payment on interest for these bonds will be $853 million in 2006-07 and is expected to exceed $1.2 billion by 2010-2011 - when the total debt reaches $9.9 billion. But the borrowing doesn't stop there. Governor Rendell anticipates borrowing more than we pay off each of the next four years - just as we have done for the past six.

This is hardly a sustainable lifestyle. So what does Mr. CoPA do when he's pushed traditional modes of borrowing to their limits? He finds other, more creative ways to satisfy his spending habits. Instead of charging the "maxed out" family credit cards, he asks two of his buddies from the local bar for $250 dollars each, and he promises to pay them back with interest.

This is the governor's proposed "Jonas Salk Legacy Fund." The $250 million in bonds that would be issued next year to build laboratories and buy equipment for scientists is not a line item in the budget, but will nonetheless have to be repaid by future generations in addition to our state's official debt via the formal budget.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) similarly hides debt for state government. The CFA is authorized to issue $250 million in bonds each year, but is considered "independent," since its debt is not "tied to the credit of the state." However, the CFA bonds are paid from the General Fund through the Department of Community and Economic Development, which has an "agreement" with the CFA to provide enough money to pay their debt. The debt owed by the CFA is not listed in the General Fund budget, although the escalating debt payments will also be paid by future generations of taxpayers.

Finally, let us imagine that Mr. CoPA receives a promotion and a healthy raise at work. When a family's income grows, financially prudent households pay off debt or invest their money wisely. But families like the CoPAS don't, and Mr. CoPA decides instead to buy a second home and a new car. Instead of reducing his debt, he actually adds to it with his expected windfall.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has made a habit of doing the same. During the economic boom of the 1990s, when state tax revenues were higher than expected, Pennsylvania General Fund spending increased by 55 percent - 30 percent higher than the combined rates of inflation and population growth. When the 2001 recession hit, rather than reducing spending, the state raised taxes, increasing both the current and the future debt of Pennsylvania's real families.

Now, in 2006, when the economy is generating higher than expected tax revenues, a fiscally wise "head of household" would refund those surplus taxes, reduce the "family" debt, or save more money for a "rainy day." Unfortunately for Pennsylvanians, Governor Rendell's budget proposal will spend the savings, borrow more money, add more off-budget debt, and put both the CoPA family and our real families' finances on increasingly shaky ground.


Nathan A. Benefield is a policy analyst with the Commonwealth Foundation (www.CommonwealthFoundation.org), an independent, non-profit public policy research and educational institute located at the foot of the Capitol in Harrisburg.

Permission to reprint is hereby granted provided the author and affiliation are cited.

Commonwealth Foundation | 225 State Street, Ste. 302 | Harrisburg | PA | 17101

Friday, February 24, 2006

Minimum Wage Hike hurts Pennsylvania’s Poor

For Immediate Release from the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania:
Date: 02/24/2006

For more information contact:
Doug Leard (Media Relations) or David Jahn (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS

Minimum Wage Hike hurts Pennsylvania’s Poor

Study forecasts 10,000 more unemployed Pennsylvanians

A recent study concludes that proposed legislation to increase the minimum wage would “result in a loss of 10,000 jobs and impose a $350 million hit on the Pennsylvania economy.”

In the study, Dr. David Macpherson, an economist at Florida State University determined that the minimum wage increase would cost employers over $262.7 million. In addition, the increase would cost $86.7 million in lost income for the 10,000 employees who will loose their jobs when their employers can no longer afford their wages.

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania State Chair, David Jahn, stated “as this study indicates, a minimum wage increase hurts the poor by destroying jobs and providing workers with less employment options.”

MacPherson’s study also reveals that most minimum wage earners are not poor. Over half – 56.2% are under 24 and 45.9% still live with their parents. 65% are part time employees. Only 10% are the sole earners with children.

The study found that the average family income of minimum wage employees in Pennsylvania is just over $49,000 and that 80% of the benefits of the wage hike will go to families that aren’t poor.

Current bills before the state legislature propose to raise the minimum wage by January 1st 2007 to $7.15 per hour and then tie the wage to annual cost of living adjustments.

“The bureaucrats in Harrisburg continue to drive stake after stake into the heart of Pennsylvania’s economy,” stated Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania Media Relations Chair, Doug Leard. “Despite ample evidence that minimum wage increases hurt the economy and the poor, Harrisburg politicians pursue them as election-year talking points. After the fiasco of their pay raise, you would think the bureaucrats would understand that the days of politics as usual in Pennsylvania are over.”

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States with over 600 officials serving in office throughout the nation. Please visit www.LP.org or www.LPPA.org for more information on the Libertarian Party.

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3863 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Free Association: What To Do About the Ports

"The only good solution is to privatize the ports. This would not mean transferring them to well-connected corporate cronies, but rather, as Brad Spangler suggests, ceding control to the people who work and use the ports and who are not tainted by the corporate state. I'd prefer real profit-oriented ports with owners who risk their own capital to bureaucratic ports with politicized managers.

The other thing to do is to liquidate the empire in order to drastically reduce the odds that someone will want to do our society grave harm."

Free Association: What To Do About the Ports

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Pennsylvania Constitution does not need a makeover

Be careful what you wish for

By Dimitri Vassilaros
Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Pennsylvania Constitution does not need a makeover. The commonwealth does need new politicians -- governor, legislators and judges. A constitutional convention -- called for in the name of good government -- could be a catastrophe. Do Pennsylvanians really want to risk losing control of the convention to the same morally bankrupt politicians who were responsible for the pay-raise/pay-repeal fiasco?

There is a much better reason why the state's citizens should not be seduced by the temptation.

"What change in language would matter if the language is already clear?" said Bruce Ledewitz, a law professor at Duquesne University and an expert on the Pennsylvania charter. Mr. Ledewitz is co- director of the law school's state Constitution Web site (paconstitution.duq.edu/). It is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn about the text, history and meaning of the near-forgotten document.

The only thing wrong with the state Constitution is that so few Pennsylvanians know much about it. If they did, they would discover a magnificent document that, if adhered to by the politicians in Harrisburg, would be the definition of good government.

One of the arguments for a constitutional convention is that it would be a simple way to reduce the size of the 253-person Legislature, plus their bloated staffs.

"The irony is the Legislature's size was increased on purpose to prevent corruption," Ledewitz said about a series of good-government constitutional reforms in 1874. The thought was to have so many representatives that bribing a critical mass of them would be almost impossible.

My, my, how times have changed.

If Pennsylvanians want fair taxation -- the government not playing favorites with this special-interest group or that -- it's already codified in the Constitution.

"I say to my students that our whole tax system is in radical violation of the state Constitution," Ledewitz said. Article 8, Section 1, mandates that all taxes shall be uniform on the same class of subjects.

When Tom Murphy was mayor of Pittsburgh, he went to the Legislature on behalf of a financial services company that had threatened to leave the city, Ledewitz said. The state created an exemption to the Pittsburgh Business Privilege Tax for companies in the securities industry. "That is an obvious and complete violation of the uniformity clause," Ledewitz said.

The mischievous machinations that led to last summer's pay-jacking were another radical violation of the Constitution. Several actually.

The bill dealt with more than one subject. It was not considered for three days by each chamber of the General Assembly. And it authorized an unconstitutional pay raise -- labeled as an "unvouchered expense" - - for the legislators. To name a few of the violations.

Ledewitz can name more. Many, many more.

The more Pennsylvanians learn about their contract with the government, the more they will realize that no fix is needed for something that is not broken.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Local Tax Enabling Act is Invalid!

From: "Ken V. Krawchuk"
Date: Thu Feb 9, 2006 5:07 pm
Subject: Wage Taxes and the Pennsylvania Constitution


Speaking of wage taxes, did you know that the local, non-property taxes
in Pennsylvania (from little taxes like the nuisance $5 occupational
privilege taxes, to big taxes like the treasured 1% earned income tax that
school boards love to levy) are all based on Act 511 of 1965, colloquially
known as the Local Tax Enabling Act?

Did you also know that Article 3, Section 10 of the Pennsylvania
Constitution says, "All bills for raising of revenue shall originate in
the House of Representatives...", the identical wording as in the
Constitution for the United States of America?

And did you know that if you go to a law library and look at the
annotation near the very top of Act 511, it said "SB 425", as in "Senate
Bill 425"?

Unless the House has decided to refer to one of their bills as a "Senate
Bill", obviously the Local Tax Enabling Act did not originate in the
House. Legally speaking, it's "void ab initio" (meaning "bad from the
start") and not a valid law.

Our friends in the Supreme Court have upheld this unarguable violation of
our Constitution, saying (paraphrasing) that no one complained soon
enough. Got that? So if they passed a law against freedom of religion,
for example, and no one notices right away, it's law? Cut me a break!

This is only another piece of proof that there is not an ounce of
integrity left in Harrisburg, not in the legislature, the courts, or the
executive branch. The culture of corruption has permeated their every
action for decades. They may just have well printed our Constitution on
toilet paper and distributed the rolls to every bathroom throughout the
Commonwealth as a constant reminder. Pay raises and repeals, nuisance
taxes, red light cameras, etc. are only the symptoms. The disease is
their lack of integrity, and PaCleanSweep is the cure.

We can disagree over gay marriage, gambling, levels of school funding,
term limits, legislature size, etc., but one thing we should never lose
sight of is our integrity. The Constitution is our job description, love
it or hate it, and if our oaths of office mean anything, then our duty is
clear: We follow the constitution.

In his Farewell Address, George Washington warned about the very issue
Pennsylvania faces today: "If the Constitution be wrong in any particular,
let it be corrected by amendment in the way that the constitution
designates. But let there be no change through usurpation; for though
this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary
weapon by which free governments are destroyed."


- Ken

Ken Krawchuk
Libertarian for Pennsylvania Governor (1998, 2002)
Past Chair, Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (2002-04)

Krawchuk '02
c/o PO Box 260
Cheltenham, Penna. USPO 19012

(215) 881-9696 (voice)
(215) Krawchuk (fax)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Unholy alliance: politicians and judges

Does anyone really doubt that the Pennsylvania legislature and judiciary collude regularly to expand their power and stifle dissent?

Group alleges legislature, court colluded

By Mario F. Cattabiani and Angela Couloumbis
Inquirer Staff Writers

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania's leading watchdog group alleged in a lawsuit yesterday that the highest ranks of the legislature traded millions in state aid to the courts for favorable decisions dating to 1999 - and possibly culminating last summer in generous pay raises for more than 1,000 judges.

A state Supreme Court spokesman called the accusations "preposterous."

The allegations were laid out in a revised federal court challenge in Harrisburg to last summer's legislative pay raise, in which Common Cause of Pennsylvania contends that there has been political "back scratching" between top House and Senate members and the state Supreme Court for years.

At the heart of the new allegations is the contention that, seven years ago, legislative leaders negotiated with the high court to fund the state's judiciary, fearing that if they did not, the justices would rule against them on two suits involving constitutional challenges.

Given that history, Common Cause alleges it is more than likely that last summer's unpopular pay raises were the result of a similar deal between Chief Justice Ralph Cappy and legislative leaders.

"What we are telling the court is that this may not be a unique instance, that this may have been going on at various levels for quite a few years," said Barry Kauffman, executive director of Common Cause. "We are asking the [federal] court to get to the bottom of it. If it is going on, it needs to be stopped and the federal courts need to put the hammer down."

Speaking on behalf of Cappy, Tom Darr, deputy court administrator of Pennsylvania, said: "It is regrettable that an organization like Common Cause, which has always stood for the principles of good government, would file such a frivolous lawsuit."

He added: "A preliminary reading shows the allegations to be preposterous, baseless and reckless and the relief sought ridiculous."

The suit provides as evidence conversations held behind closed doors between Republican members of the House in June 1999.

During that internal caucus meeting, then-Majority Leader John M. Perzel (R., Phila.), now speaker of the House, allegedly told colleagues that they were moving ahead with the court funding because "we cannot afford to have the courts rule against us" on the two suits. One suit involved workers compensation, the other an increase in the state tax on gasoline for highway-improvement projects.

Perzel's comments came after members of the caucus complained that the legislature should not give in to "blackmail" by the court, the suit contends.

Former Rep. Ed Krebs, who was at the meeting, attested to the allegation in an affidavit filed with the amended suit. In it, he also alleges that then-Speaker Matt Ryan told fellow Republicans that another member, J. Scot Chadwick, had acted as a negotiator with the Supreme Court on the matter.

In an interview yesterday from his Lebanon County home, Krebs said, "To me, it meant that if we didn't give them the money for the courts, we would lose the cases. It was a quid pro quo."

Krebs retired from the House in 2002 after serving 12 years.

Chadwick, a former Republican representative from Bradford County, told the Associated Press that he did consult with court officials over the 1999 legislation, but that the meeting was informational, not a quid pro quo negotiation.

"I think that would be very wrong," he said. "I am an attorney by training and that would raise a red flag with me immediately."

The high court wound up ruling in favor of the legislature in both cases.

That wasn't the only instance of possible collusion, according to the suit.

Last summer, the suit alleges, Cappy lobbied the legislature hard to implement the pay raise, which increased legislative salaries as well as those for judges and other state officials. It was rescinded in November by a contrite legislature that had been whipped in public-opinion polls.

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to both the pay raise and the legislature's move to overturn it. Cappy has recused himself from hearing the case.

That lawsuit quotes an August e-mail about the pay raise that was allegedly written by Republican Senate employee Suzanne O'Berry to Matthew Brouillette, head of the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative think tank.

"I watched the formulation of all this up close with my 'special connections' to certain offices, and it was much more unsavory than a lot know," O'Berry wrote, according to the suit. "... I will say that family dining debate has become much more exciting."

O'Berry is married to Mike Long, a top aide to Senate President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer (R., Blair). Jubelirer is among the defendants named in Common Cause's suit.

O'Berry told the Associated Press that she does not recall the e-mail and had no other immediate comment.

Just last week, Perzel asked Cappy and the court for guidance in crafting a lobbying disclosure bill that would withstand legal scrutiny.

Attempts to reach Perzel and Jubelirer were unsuccessful yesterday.

The Common Cause lawsuit asks the federal court to declare unconstitutional private conversations between judges and members of the executive or legislative branches about legislation that might come before them.

Joining in the lawsuit with Common Cause are the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania and state Rep. Greg Vitali (D., Delaware) among others. The defendants include top legislative leaders of both parties in the House and Senate, as well as Gov. Rendell and state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Say NO to new lobbyist rules

Jacob Hornberger’s Commentary

Congressional leaders from both parties are rushing to enact new laws designed to prevent lobbyists from unduly influencing the members of Congress into selling their votes. Yawn! Wasn’t that what all those ethics rules were supposed to be all about? Wasn’t that what limits on campaign contributions were supposed to be all about? Wasn’t that what campaign reporting requirements were supposed to be all about?

Despite all the current hype over new lobbyist rules, nothing will change as long as the American people keep their massive income-tax funded welfare system in place. With billions of dollars headed into Washington every year, the incentive and opportunity for bribery, both legal and illegal, will be ever-present.

The solution to the corruption is not more rules and regulation or even the old bromide about getting “better people into public office.” The only solution is a complete paradigm shift away from the income-tax funded socialistic welfare state that revolutionized American life in the 20th century in favor of the free-market philosophy that once distinguished our nation from the rest of the world.

That would entail a restoration of a system that protects very person’s right to keep everything he earns (i.e., no more IRS and federal income tax) and that protects each person’s right to do whatever he wants with his own money (i.e., no more coerced government welfare). By depriving their esteemed members of Congress of all that federal income-tax money, the American people would simultaneously bring about the disappearance of lobbyists who live their lives wallowing in Washington, feeding at the public trough.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

First Tuesday Fraud at the Capitol

Under the Dome: First Tuesday Report
by Tim Potts & Russ Diamond
"The General Assembly ...shall meet at twelve o'clock noon on the first Tuesday of January each year..."
-- PA Constitution, Article II, Section 4

Inside the General Assembly, this Constitutional requirement is known simply as "First Tuesday." So at the appointed hour on January 3, Kathleen Daugherty and I as co-founders of Democracy Rising PA, along with Barry Kauffman of Common Cause/PA, convened in the visitors' gallery of the House of Representatives.

If you had tuned your television to the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN), you would have seen House Speaker John Perzel bang the gavel and bring the House to order. He immediately recognized "the gentleman from Washington County Mr. Daley" (Rep. Peter J. Daley II, D-Donora), who moved that the House adjourn the session day that had carried over the Christmas and New Year's break.

The Speaker intoned that the motion had passed on a voice vote, and then convened First Tuesday as required by the Constitution. The House recessed at 12:05 p.m. after recording 57 actions on 26 bills by voice vote.

That's what you were allowed to see because PCN can't control the cameras. What you didn't see was that Speaker Perzel was having visual and auditory hallucinations.

There was no Mr. Daley. In fact, not a single elected Representative other than the Speaker was in the chamber. So when the "ayes" out-polled the "nays," it was by the slimmest of margins - that is, zero. And by this same margin, other business occurred by voice vote without a single voice voting. The constitutionally required session was a fabrication and a fraud.

Our Representatives and Senators take an oath to "obey" the Constitution. The Constitution requires them to show up for work on exactly one day a year. Yet despite abundant work to do and an oath taken on a holy book to do it, only the Speaker among 203 Representatives was there.

If lawmakers can't exhibit integrity in the small things, why should we have confidence that they will exhibit integrity in the large things?

Tim Potts, Co-Founder, Democracy Rising PA


Across the rotunda there were actual Senators on the floor, but only a handful. By my count, less than one-third showed up for work on the one day the Constitution requires the General Assembly to convene.

After the Senate was brought to order at 12:10 p.m., a few House bills were logged and Majority Leader Brightbill was recognized. The purpose was to nominate the Senate Pro Tempore, Robert Jubelirer, for re-election to his post.

The nomination was peppered with accolades and seconded by Senators O'Pake and Wenger. There were no other nominations. Senator Jubelirer was unanimously re-elected and sworn in by his wife, a Commonwealth Court judge.

This was an occasion I shall never forget. Standing between enormous portraits of George Washington at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg in 1863 was Senator Jubelirer swearing to "support, obey and defend" our Constitution in 2006. In the wake of July 7, the moment was utterly surreal.

He then accepted the gavel from the Lt. Governor and proceeded to address the few Senators present. During his speech, he referred to First Tuesday as "ceremonial." And this is when I began to understand.

What I began to comprehend is that on a "ceremonial" day, when the General Assembly only superficially "convenes," it is perfectly logical to swear to "support, obey and defend" a document which for the rest of the year seems more like something to be poked, prodded and cajoled in search of loopholes and shortcuts to benefit those doing the cajoling.

Ironic, isn't it?

Our Constitution is not merely ceremonial. The mandates within shouldn't be only technically met. Supporting, obeying and defending the plain language of the document ought to be a year-round vigil. Our most fundamental law must be returned to its rightful place - shielding liberty from abuse by limiting the power of those who govern.

This is what Pennsylvania wants. This is what Pennsylvania needs. This is what Pennsylvania demands.

And in 2006, Pennsylvanians will settle for nothing less.

Russ Diamond, Founder and Chair, PACleanSweep.com

About PACleanSweep
PACleanSweep is a non-partisan effort dedicated to defeating incumbent elected officials in Pennsylvania and replacing them with true public servants. For more information, please visit www.PACleanSweep.com.