Why John Phillips for VP

Why Am I running for Vice-President;

First and foremost because I have been friends with Kim for a long time, and I have long respected her positions on libertarian matters, so when she approached me I did not have to think twice before enthusiastically joining her team.

Now why am I personally running? Over the last few years as a member, and for more than a decade before as an outside independent, I have watched the internal politics and back biting needlessly divide the party over hair splitting details.  Over that time I have watched the message of individual liberty get unnecessarily muddled and watered down.  A strong message for liberty CAN be presented while maintaining decorum, politeness, and respectability.

I have also watched gains get thrown away by people unwilling to compromise on the details.  A strong message CAN be presented while accepting steps in the right direction.  This is not an all or nothing game.  This is not an “Oh I didn’t get everything I wanted so I’m going to take my toys and go home” game.  I CAN argue for legalization of all drugs, while accepting a deal that gets us marijuana legalization and reduced penalties on others.  Then continue pushing for legalization of the rest and taking the next gain when it comes, then pushing more.  I can argue for eliminating federal agencies, take a deal for reductions in power and budget, and then keep pushing for removing agencies.

I believe that a strong libertarian message can be presented while accepting that people don’t change overnight.  I believe that I can present these messages in a palatable way that will make gains. I understand how to grab hold of those gains and hold them.  I understand that one gain is not the end of the battle, but just the beginning, and that wars are won with long term strategies and efforts, not giving up and quitting just because you did not get every last thing you wanted.  I believe that I can present the end game strongly, firmly, and persuasively while accepting smaller gains if I have to.  I believe it because I have done it, and continue to do it every single day.

That is the job of the vice –president, more than anything else, presenting the vision and direction, and I can do that well.  Not just logically to win arguments, but emotionally as well.  It is not enough to convince just minds, hearts must be convinced as well, and I am good at both.

This is why I believe I am an excellent choice to be the Libertarian nominee for vice-president of the United States.

 

John Phillips

The Arrest of Julian Assange.

Today they arrested Julian Assange in Britain after Ecuador revoked his asylum of 7 years.  The official reason given was his behavior while living in their embassy.  The British arrested him for bail violation stemming from charges that have since been dropped – but a possibility exists that those charges may be refiled.  The US is already filing for extradition based on charges that are not completely known, though at least one is said to be conspiracy to commit to disclose classified information – information passed to Wikileaks by Chelsea Manning.  Not to mention speculation of further charges forth coming regarding the other stories published by Wikileaks.

Kim Ruff and I oppose any attempt to extradite Mr. Assange to the United States. We do not just oppose the extradition, but the very charges themselves. The US charges against him regarding classified data are against the bedrock principles of our country and libertarianism. The potential charges are also spurious since they are based on data released in which no charges were filed against Mrs. Clinton and others for mishandling of the same classification of data, and the existing charge for the many times that journalists around the world have received awards for exposing the misdeeds of governments – including here in the U.S.

Not only are the charges spurious for the reason of precedent, but they are based on actions that should be protected under whistle blower status. Not just Mr. Assange, but Mr. Snowden, Ms. Manning and others should not be criminalized for these actions, they should be hailed as heroes and given our admiration.  The willingness to risk everything, to make such a huge sacrifice in order to protect people from the machinations of an over-reaching, overpowered, and immoral government should be celebrated, as so many others have been in the past.  Pulitzers have been awarded, books have been written, movies have been made, and service medals given to people who have performed exactly the same deeds in the past.

We have much to fear from a government that will ignore the wrong doings of its members in order to prosecute those who bring light to their illicit actions.  In the last 2 decades we have seen example after example of this, ranging from the lowest ranked police officer to those in or running for our highest elected offices skating past justice with, at most, a slap on the wrist, while others without those connections are sentenced to years in prison for the same or lesser accusations.  Any student of history recognizes that as a sign of danger.  It is a sign that whichever government indulges in that behavior has become no longer benevolent, but an oppressor: oppressor such as Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Mugabe, Putin, Duvalier, and others in recent history alone. Then there are more examples reaching back throughout history such as the Inquisition, the English Star Chamber, Tamerlane, Robespierre, Caligula, and Qin Shi Huang.  Even today, we criticize the governments of mainland China, North Korea, and Myanmar for doing what our own government is doing right now.

The dangers ahead are plain to see by looking back.  Winston Churchill said “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it,” a paraphrasing of George Santayana before him.  We are watching the repeating of history before our eyes: let’s open them wide and take action before we have to take the same course our founding fathers did.  We, the people, must stand up, cry foul, and demand our officials – elected and otherwise – be held accountable to the citizens.  We must call loudly for those who had the courage to stand up to protect our rights by bringing forth the misdeeds of our government to be protected,  celebrated, and thanked for shining the light into darkness.

John Phillips

Trump’s Border Wall is Poor Policy

Let’s talk about why “The Wall” is poor policy, is nothing but a political placebo, a boondoggle of epic proportions.
It’s an expensive process that won’t cure the problems. Cost estimates of 5 billion dollars in the budget that is currently causing our government shutdown, but government accountants think that number is very low.  Estimates go up to 67 billion dollars and beyond in real costs. Even splitting the difference puts the cost at 36 billion of our extorted tax dollars, not Mexico’s. 36 billion dollars that does not include maintenance, administration, and other ongoing expenses in it’s total.

A lot of money to spend to “fix” only a small part of something that more than half of the country cannot even agree is a problem. 67% of new “illegal” immigrant arrivals come to the U.S. by visa overstay. Most drugs are brought here by plane, train, boat, tunnel, drone, car, or transport through ports of entry. Not through illegal entry points on the land border that would be affected by the wall. While the majority of smuggling attempts happen in the ports of entry, the biggest loads of drugs enter San Diego through tunnels. The ones equipped with rails can carry packages as big as 35 tons.

Our border currently has satellites, cameras and drones. We can very often see when someone or something is crossing. For instance, agents in the San Diego sector reported drone carrying drugs flying in November. They spotted two drones on Nov. 11 from 2:30 to 3 a.m. Another six were spotted a day later from 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Five more were reported on Nov. 18 from 10:30 to 11 p.m. All of them were reported by the Imperial Beach station, which is responsible for just 5.5 miles of the international border, covering the area from San Diego to Tijuana.

So to spend billions of dollars on a wall that current criminals have already had great success working under, over, around, and driving through doesn’t make sense.  Wiretaps and paid informants are among more effective tools for stopping the workings of drug-smuggling organizations than a wall.

Ending the War on Drugs and decriminalization would be even more efficient.  Not only would it save the money for the wall and address a large part of the inaccurate complaints, decriminalization would save all those expenses and other related enforcement costs. Not to mention greatly reducing opportunities for constant encroachment on our rights by the government, particularly the undeniable racial disparities in enforcement and sentencing. No knock raids, property seizures, vast networks of data collection, and continued erosion of restrictions on police activity just to name a few.

As for illegal immigration, Department of Homeland Security data shows that illegal immigration across the southern border is at historic lows – slightly more than 300,000 immigrants were caught crossing the border in 2017. That’s down from a high of 1.6 million in 2000, according to Border Patrol data.

More than 600,000 foreign travelers who legally entered the United States in 2017 overstayed their visas and remained in the country illegally.  Canadians made up the largest group of visa overstays, with more than 92,000 remaining in the United States in 2017 despite being expected to leave.  Mexicans made up the second-largest group of visa overstays, with more than 47,000. The report does not include people who cross via land borders, so those numbers would likely increase for both Canadians and Mexicans.

Of the 38 Visa Waiver Program countries, Portuguese citizens had the highest overstay rate (1.81 percent), followed by Hungarians (1.55 percent) and the Greek (1.25 percent).  British citizens had the highest actual number of visa overstays (25,694) followed by the French (16,456) and Spaniards (13,780).

All of whom statistically have crime rates no greater than U.S. citizens, and often actually lower. Not only that but actually contribute to the economy and taxes more than they cost.  So this outrageously expensive proposed wall is being built to keep out people who commit no more crime (often less) and contribute more than they cost. People the IRS, up to and including their director, actually looks the other way on in order to extort more money from.

So we see building this wall is an idea that would accomplish very little.  We see the wall is not just a poor idea for that reason, but fiscally unsound at multiple levels. See those things without even going into the abuses of eminent domain the wall would require, the open borders debate, the humanitarian issues involved, or discussing the racism at the base of the push for the wall.

Yet it is continually pushed as a political ploy by politicians who have knowledge of all this data.  One cannot help but wonder why they would continue to mislead the public to push poor policy. Are they pushing false fears simply to maintain their grip on power as has been done repeatedly? Is there monetary gain? What does keeping the citizenry locked in false dichotomies gain?

John Phillips

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/02/16/the-myth-of-the-criminal-immigrant?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=share-tools&utm_source=facebook&utm_content=post-top&fbclid=IwAR3aZvwKUPxzzx4aXSSeviQvxQMsQO7z_7GfnqVKoNnee6DX-MC1-1VotgY

 

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/02/16/the-myth-of-the-criminal-immigrant?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=share-tools&utm_source=facebook&utm_content=post-top&fbclid=IwAR3aZvwKUPxzzx4aXSSeviQvxQMsQO7z_7GfnqVKoNnee6DX-MC1-1VotgY
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/about-that-wall-trump-said-mexico-would-be-paying-for/2018/12/12/118ac778-fe27-11e8-a17e-162b712e8fc2_story.html?utm_term=.a46a54f3c044

https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/border-metrics-how-effectively-measure-border-security-and-immigration-control?gclid=Cj0KCQiAvKzhBRC1ARIsANEXdgw5ufB99WVo4fG3Cu2H6Ynq3Hby6IsFGCzWurZ4sSYqKimUL3gDzv0aAgyvEALw_wcB

https://fee.org/articles/by-the-numbers-do-immigrants-cause-crime/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAvKzhBRC1ARIsANEXdgx06GrtyLqCCIQYYIgCtGdArvCXF28f7-Qqqvp7X2fPzb-lIH9dy0QaAgGrEALw_wcB

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2016/04/13/irs-admits-it-encourages-illegals-to-steal-social-security-numbers-for-taxes/#3268fa644c04

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwi0qsu67M3fAhUo5YMKHZjhC6YQzPwBegQIARAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.vox.com%2F2018%2F4%2F13%2F17229018%2Fundocumented-immigrants-pay-taxes&psig=AOvVaw3SDWeoV-xGhPFikQcpnIqB&ust=1546475539159446

The Pentagon Fails Their First Audit

         The Pentagon failed their first ever audit.  Yes, you read that right, first ever, despite audits being required by law for all U.S. government agencies since 1990.  Again yes, 28 years to prepare for this audit and they still failed it.  A government agency whose budget was 700 Billion dollars for 2018 failed their audit.  The military failed to find 21 Trillion dollars missing over the years.  Not only failed, but expected to fail. “We failed the audit but we never expected to pass it,” said Deputy Secretary of State Shanahan.

Over 50% of the discretionary budget in the U.S. goes to the military.  It is the third largest expenditure in our overall budget, approaching 17% of all spending.  Yet the Pentagon cannot account for the money they spend, even allowing for spending $14,000 on 3d printed toilet seats, $1,280 on cups, or $436 on hammers (those numbers are PER ITEM).  Estimates place spending at 20 million dollars a day on bombing overseas, but our elected, appointed, and military officials are unable to account for how the Pentagon spends money.  Spends money on things that include the taking of thousands of innocent lives with sanctioned bombing of hospitals, weddings, and well let’s face it, just about everything since they drop a bomb about every 12 minutes 24 hours a day.  Numbers that do not even include our expenses for continued bombing Yemen.

How can “We the People of the United States” accept this? If the IRS comes to audit any one of us and finds even small discrepancies we get hit with fines, interest, and threats of jail time while our own government agencies and officials get away with this daily.  The government extorts our hard earned capital under threat of that same IRS and other alphabet agencies, then waste it so frivolously and carelessly that they cannot, nay WILL NOT account for how those funds are spent to the people who provide them, the people they are paid to represent. We say they “will not” because as the federal government spends $867.19 Million yearly on salaries for accountants, there is no conceivable legitimate way that every cent is not tracked.  If this is a system that provides taxation with representation, where exactly is our representation when that money goes unaccounted for?
When we are selected as your candidates for POTUS and VPOTUS we will continue to call for not just drastic reductions in this spending by ending overseas interventionism, illegal military actions, bombings, and funding the defense of other countries, but a thorough accounting of every dollar that is spent.  This continued bait and switch (e.g. the authorization of Yemeni bombing in the Farm bill of all places) followed by distraction and propaganda (such as a front page story on whether Trump’s bone spurs were fake 40 years ago), and the general con job perpetrated on the American people by the Democratic and Republican parties cannot be allowed to continue.

Were we to continue on and win, we will not just call for these policy changes we will demand it. Demand it loudly while ending these actions that are not just unconstitutional, but immoral and unconscionable. We will do so by exercising the constitutional authority as Commander in Chief to bring all our troops home.  Doing so will simultaneously immensely reduce the budget spent overseas (which will greatly reduce the opportunity to “lose” tax payer dollars), reducing physical and psychological harm to our people, military, and the people of the world.  This action will also truly end these illegal and immoral wars (unlike the claims of doing so made by the last 2 CiC’s).  We will demand that these not just be audits, but forensic audits in order to clean house of those intentionally misusing funds.  These actions by our government will no longer be accepted or allowed to stand.  This failure in accountability is the kind of government our founding fathers feared and fought against, not the government they envisioned.  Where government exists, it must be the kind of government they set out to create – of the people, by the people, and for the people, and our aim is to bring that concept back.
John Phillips
Candidate for the Libertarian Nomination for Vice President

 

Sources:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-pentagon-audit/pentagon-fails-its-first-ever-audit-official-says-idUSKCN1NK2MC

https://www.mintpressnews.com/search-for-missing-21-trillion-comes-up-empty-as-pentagon-fails-first-audit-in-71-year-history/253272/?fbclid=IwAR2Ga7NKgw0K7xSSfAkcW9ESe3vAPl4r6vAj37fVTGEg5qW4UwC7VfFJzlc

https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/aug/17/facebook-posts/pie-chart-federal-spending-circulating-internet-mi/

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/16/syria-airstrikes-cost-to-us-taxpayers.html

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/430420-121-bombs-per-day/

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/daughters-late-podiatrist-claim-diagnosed-donald-trump-bone-spurs-vietnam-war-favor-134618527.html

https://www.federalpay.org/employees/occupations/accounting

Experience.

The question we get asked the most is “Why should we support you with so little experience?”  Our answer is multipart, but starts with – isn’t that lack of experience in a corrupted system exactly what you do want?

Our founders envisioned a government comprised of the citizenry.  Government made up of normal people who worked normal jobs taking up the task of government for a only short time.  Instead our government has devolved into a “political class” consisting almost entirely of lawyers, top level businessmen, and the rich – most of whom are career politicians milking the system.  This has driven our country into a morass of over regulation, war mongering, and corruption.  Is this really the experience you want?

Or do you want experience that identifies with the people? With hard workers who know what it is like to sweat making ends meet? With parents who know the struggle of good schools vs a place they can afford to live or jobs vs home schooling? With taxpayers that watch large chunks of their paychecks disappear WITHOUT the ability to hide it in loopholes or simply raise prices to pass it on to consumers?  With families that struggle with unexpected medical bills and the ridiculously high costs imposed by government interference? With special needs children? With mixed race families? With the fact that every time someone says “Well the government needs to fix this” that government steps in and makes things WORSE!?

Do you want someone who has experience taking our liberty away in favor of government oppression and corporate profits? Or do you want people with real world experiences in building, working, customer service, real world job creation and training, and creating interpersonal peace that understand YOUR issues?

You want the kind of experience and people our founding fathers had in mind when they wrote a constitution designed to protect our rights and limit government.  Not the kind that ignores our natural rights to collect power and money, the kind of people we rebelled against in 1776, the kind that actually has that “government experience” you ask about.

Dear people pushing for more gun control/taking away guns,

 

I get it. I do. You are scared of bad/crazy people getting a gun and shooting people. You are heart sick for the victims and their families. Your feelings are motivating you.

I have the same feelings. I am scared of bad/crazy people killing people. I am heart sick for their families. We are having the same reaction.

Now let’s look at that a little further. Yes, these mass shootings are scary. Yes they are horrible. Individuals have done terrible things and killed many people throughout history. You are scared of individuals who do this. That is fair. However, groups of people have done far more and far worse historically. I am scared of groups doing it just as much, probably more. The largest and most extreme of these groups we call government.

These governments have killed MILLIONS more people in modern history than the sum total of all the individuals in mass shootings, maybe hundreds of millions, even if you include terrorist acts and bombs. Not to mention oppressed and tortured.

Don’t believe me? Go ask a Jewish person about Hitler (about 6 million killed). Check how many deaths Stalin was responsible for (estimates of 20 million).  Pol Pot was directly responsible for the death of 25% of Cambodia’s population. In China through Mao’s government oppression killed 45 million in 4 years. Ask a Native American how government worked out for them. Government has murdered and oppressed all the way back to ancient Rome and beyond, with a common thread of disarming those they were about to oppress.

Not recent enough? Have you been watching the situation in Venezuela?  The government banned guns in 2012, and is now running people over with tanks who are trying to fight back with rocks.  The government is killing people who are starving due to government mismanagement and oppression, killing them after taking away their ability to fight back.
How many killed by police right here every year? How many has our own government killed every year. Not just killed, but oppressed too. Internment camps, reservations, slavery, bombing civilians in other countries and our own, forced medical experiments, and stealing of property are just a few things the United States government does.

Yes, we are both scared of bad/crazy people killing other people.         I respect your feelings and fears. I will not say that mine are more important than yours, like many of you say to me. However, my fear is historically more likely for one of us to be a victim than yours. Yours statistically is like getting hit by lightning, mine is more akin to getting in a car accident. I will say that mine have far more victims, and in the long run are much scarier. Yours is the boogieman, mine is an army of boogiemen led by a nightmare.

Both of which have been proven to be able to claim fewer lives with more effort when their prey can fight back.  Our founding fathers knew this, it is the reason they codified the 2nd amendment.  The tyrants listed above also knew this; which is why they made sure to limit weapon ownership to their governments.  Those same bad/crazy people you worry about know it too; they work to pick the easy victims, the ones with less chance of fighting back, to prey on the defenseless.
Do you really want to align yourselves with the tyrants of history? With the predators? Is your goal really to make victimization easier, by government or individual?  I don’t think that is really your intent, but that is what you are creating.

My name is John Phillips, I am the new representative to the LNC from Region 6 that includes my home state of Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and as of this convention South Dakota.  I was encouraged to pursue this position by both our previous state chair, our current one, and several others in the party after I had asked about it and what it took.
I am excited to have been chosen by our region, and had a great opponent in the race, Tyler Danke, who I look forward to doing great things in the national party, as he already does in his state.  We ended up with an amazing alternate, Phil Andersen, who I might have had to vote for if he had run against me!
I absolutely love the officers and At-Large representatives that were elected. I supported and voted for every single one of them.  I have admired Mr. Sarwark for a long time, even if we do not always agree.  Mr. Merced and I have been friends since I formed my county chapter a few years back and his ideas and energy are contagious, while his principles are without question. Mrs. Harlos has always impressed me with her passion and drive, and after working on the platform committee this year I was even more so.  Mr. Hagan I did not know until this convention, but people I know and respect spoke very highly of him, and in the short time I have been on the LNC he has born that out multiple times.  The leadership looks great, and I am excited to be working with all of them.  The At-Large reps are a great mix of experience, principle, energy, and ideas, as are the other regional reps.  The potential in the group is amazing, and I look forward to the next two years learning, working, and expanding our party with them.
Going forward I do have some ideas I would love to work on.  First and foremost continue our big tent expansion.  We have the best ideas, and when phrased in the right manner appeal to a huge part of the population.  To accomplish this we need to push a few different directions.  The first direction is fund raising.  Our volunteers do absolutely amazing work, but for some things there is no substitute for money.  I have heard some great ideas from the LNC members already on this, and I have a bit of back ground in that, and very knowledgeable people on the subject close to me.  Candidate support is another big one for me, and another one where fundraising will be a big part of the backbone.  Again we have great volunteers, but sometimes cash is king as we all know.  In my region right now we currently have a governor candidate, Jake Porter of Iowa, trying to get in the debates.  The organizers have told him they base inclusion on fund raising, and set him a number that must be met by the end of July.  We need to be able to support these candidates.  We heard it over and over last election about getting people on the down ticket ballots, and the party listened.  We have great candidates running from school and county boards all the way up to governor and U.S. Senate, we need to be able to support them.  Including the battle for ballot access.  This is one of the toughest battles many of our candidates face with so many restrictive rules, and the deep pockets of our opposition to hire lawyers to sue and get people thrown off ballots, not just as happened in Arizona this year, but all over the country.
How do I plan to achieve these things? One step at a time.  I started with volunteering to serve on the Ballot Access Committee.  I have petitioned for that access across multiple states and campaigns, and been on both winning and losing sides, learning all along the way.  I excel at remembering what people are good at, reaching out to them for their expertise, and connecting them with the people that need those skills.  I have already started doing that with members of the LNC as well as people I know in my region and across the country.  My greatest asset in reaching these goals is my ability to see multiple sides of a discussion, and recognize their strengths.  I love the radicals and the pragmatists, the left and right libertarians, the audacious and the unobtrusive.  They all have strengths that we can build upon, they all have valid points, and I am good at finding where those strengths and points overlap and help us all keep moving towards freedom and liberty.

Marijuana Legalization in Illinois: Business opportunity or headache?

 

Marijuana legalization is spreading across the country, and is a hot issue in the 2018 Illinois elections. If it becomes legal in Illinois will this be a business opportunity? Will it be a financial windfall for a bankrupt state? Will it be a huge headache for businesses, creating more problems? Will our regulation happy state government make it so burdensome to have a store that it will accomplish nothing?

Over the following months we will examine these questions and more, with a focus on candidate and party proposed policies that will affect the outcome. What we will not be doing – this series will not be discussing the questions of morality regarding prohibition.  Those are already discussed at great length elsewhere.
Most of us know that in 2013 Illinois legalized marijuana for treating a limited number of medical conditions, becoming active in 2015.  What many do not know is that this list is the most restrictive list in the country regarding allowed medical conditions.  What is also is not as widely known is the rather expensive fee to acquire the card, and somewhat complicated application process.  On top of that the extremely limited number of dispensaries (53) licensed across the state means a lot of travel for time for patients to purchase their prescription.  In addition applying for your medical marijuana card can cost a patient their ability to have an F.O.I.D. Card (so to get their medicine they have to give up their 2nd amendment rights).  Despite all these handicaps legal medical marijuana sales have been between $120 and $150 million since the program started in 2015.  This is only the tip of the iceberg in the burdensome regulations placed on medical retailers, and fuels concerns regarding over regulation if legalization continues, particularly business growth and return on investment.

Colorado, while far from the only state to fully legalize recreational marijuana is perhaps the most well known. Legalization there has been so successful that the state actually had to give a much larger tax refund to residents the first year, due to state limitations on tax collection.  Colorado is currently pulling in more than $200 million a year from marijuana tax revenue, the majority of which funds schools, the rest addiction treatment programs. Recreational marijuana is taxed more aggressively than medical in Colorado. A specific sales tax of 2.9% for medical marijuana, then the state charges an additional excise tax of 15% and a special sales tax of 10%, plus license and application fees for recreational marijuana according to CNN Money.  This could potentially be a huge boon to not only state of Illinois finances, but local governments, and help shore up a struggling economy that is hitting both small and large businesses hard.   Especially when considering that according to the Washington Post marijuana legalization has created over 18,000 jobs.

Potential issues include an increase in insurance premiums, particularly auto insurance.  Colorado has seen such an increase, 50% increase since 2011 in fact. However, examination shows that the vast majority of that increase has been due to other causes, such as changing the state’s no fault accident rules, weather – largely hail storms, lower gas prices causing more travel, and a large influx of new population, and an increase in uninsured drivers according to the Denver Post. Despite this huge increase Colorado is still only ranked 18th in insurance premiums.  Marijuana has contributed yes, but a small smaller amount than opponents would have you believe.  It is still a potential impact for businesses and individuals in Illinois that will need to be taken into account. In addition legalization may change other insurance rates such as health coverage, workers comp, and liability.

Another affect on businesses are policies regarding drug testing, which could be a problematic change for some.  Luckily the courts have affirmed the right of the employer to hold a drug free work place policy, so businesses can still forbid even medical card holders from being under the influence at work.  Separating out the work from home use will be an issue until better testing is devised (potential business opportunity?).  If you are a federal contractor you still have to follow federal rules,which creates another level of complication.

All these potential benefits and issues will be greatly influenced by the policies that our state government enacts as both medical legalization and possible recreational legalization move forward.  Over the following months we will examine the thoughts and proposed policies of our gubernatorial candidates.  Current candidates include Bruce Rauner (Republican incumbent), J.B. Priztker (Democrat), Kash Jackson (Libertarian), Sam McCann (Conservative), William J Kelly (Constitution), and Dock Walls (Independent).  Petitioning is still going on for all but Rauner and Pritzker, so that list will likely change if some  candidates do not make the petitioning deadline at the end of June.

John Phillips Jr

End the Administrative Court

                The Libertarian Party of Macon County calls for the immediate cessation of any and all actions by the City of Decatur Administrative Court.  We find that the actions of this court are unconstitutional, illegal, unjust, and immoral.
The operations of this kangaroo court deny the citizens of Decatur their right to due process guaranteed under the constitution.  Notifications of “violations” do not get delivered in a timely manner to allow for correction.  This travesty of a “court” does not allow for proper defense, indeed often does not allow time to arrange any defense, or provide counsel to people in financial difficulty as required by law.  Indeed this court is guilty of de facto targeting of these same citizens of lower income.
The city excuses this desecration of citizen’s rights by claiming they are not “criminal offenses”.  Neither are traffic tickets, but you still have the right to a trial by jury and a court appointed defender for those. An option citizens are told is not available at this ridiculous institution.  Then, if they are not criminal offenses, how can citizens be jailed for not paying these unconstitutionally levied fines?  Since when are debtors prisons legal in the United States of America?  This might be excusable after a properly executed court, but not after the rights violation that occurs during these cases.
Indeed recently there have been at least 3 people jailed for this.  Most recently, less than a week ago at the time of writing this, an elderly woman jailed for a fine related to trash according to our sources in the law enforcement community. Arrested and taken to the county jail for a fine levied by a kangaroo court related to trash on her property?  We repeat, this is not just a violation of constitutionally guaranteed rights, this is completely immoral, and a gross abuse of city authority that even our law enforcement officers are having trouble stomaching.
Yet our city elected officials are guilty of defending this practice.  Our country was founded by a revolution that took exception to exactly these practices, but our elected officials and city government defend this practice?  Historically objection to these practices goes back to at least the Magna Carta, and some point back to the ancient Greeks, but somehow our city embraces it?

We are appalled at this callous, inhumane, and immoral treatment of citizens by our city government and call for, nay demand the immediate stop of this practice and restoration of the people’s basic rights guaranteed by our constitution, bought with the blood of our ancestors, and protected with the blood of our veterans.  We also appeal to the law enforcement community to remember that their duty is not to the city government, but the citizens of the city, and exercise their fully recognized discretionary powers to not enforce these unjust penalties.

John Phillips
Chair, Libertarian Party of Macon County
Region 6 Representative to the Libertarian National Committee

Dear debate hosts of all levels,

Too often, candidates are excluded from debate stages. This is not only harmful to the electability of the excluded candidates but it is also harmful to the American voters.  When you deny access and participation to candidates you deny people their voice. Most often the two excuses you give are polling percentages and amount of money raised. Let’s take a look at those.

Polling percentages first:

  1. You often ignore the methodology used in those polls. Polls are notoriously easy to sway.  There are entire fields of study based on this.  If you do not insist on fair methodology then using this criterion is at absolute best careless, and at worst intentional fraud. I have looked into it and the vast majority of you do not look at this AT ALL.  Polls are often used that do not include certain candidates anywhere.  Polls are used that just list them as “other” or “third party”.  Most often the polls that actually do include a name do not include that name as a top level option.  Then when you insist on choosing your different option the pollsters hang up or throw out your result.  They are frequently even distributed using questionable methods.  A Fox News poll and a MSNBC poll would reach very different groups for one example.  Pollsters often exclude cell phone numbers which excludes many younger respondents.  They knowingly get call lists from sources that are biased in one way or another.  These are methods that would cause your results to be thrown out in any scientific community.  Yet you treat them like gospel.

 

  1. All of you completely ignore the margin of error in these polls. Most polls very optimistically give themselves a margin of error between 3 and 5 percent.  I say optimistically because of how often polls turn out to be off far more than that, sometimes more than 10 percent.   For the sake of argument let’s just accept their numbers and use 4 percent.  If a candidate is polling at 6 percent that means the real number could be anywhere from 2 to 10 percent.   For the sake of the current buzzword “inclusivity” why would you not take the higher number and allow participation? Or is the adherence to that term merely lip service?

 

  1. At what percentage are people’s voices not worth listening to? (Figures are from the census bureau unless otherwise noted)

 

  • 0%? That is the percentage of the population that is Hispanic or Latino.
  • 6%? That is the percentage of the population that is over 65.
  • 4%? That is the percentage of the population that is black.
  • 2%? That is the percentage of the population that is foreign born.
  • 3%? That is the percentage of the population that is in poverty.
  • 6%? That is the percentage of the population that has some disability.
  • 8%? That is the percentage of the population that is Asian.
  • 5%? That is the percentage of the population that identifies as gay. (Gallup)
  • 7%? That is the percentage of the population that is mixed two or more races.
  • 3%? That is the percentage of the population that is American Indian and Alaskan Native.
  • 6%? That is the percentage of the population that identifies as transgender. (Gallup)
  • 2%? That is the percentage of the population that is Pacific Islander.

 

It becomes hypocritical when you think how much effort so many of your groups have spent arguing for minority groups.  Or is that also just lip service?

 

Is this really the thought process you want to convey?  That the Debate Commission, the League of Women Voters, NBC, CBS, ABC, their affiliates, etc. are all willing to disenfranchise minority groups of people based on arbitrary guidelines you set? You are saying exactly that.  That if it suited you, you would you go back to disregarding the voices of LGBT Americans, Asian Americans, poor Americans, Hispanic Americans, Black Americans, disabled Americans. Were you only pandering when it suited your needs?  The different percentages the various debate hosts use would disenfranchise all groups starting at 15% and down, which includes all these groups and more.

 

Now let’s discuss money raised as a qualifier.

  1. Is it really your intent to SELL elections? That is exactly what you are doing.

 

  1. Is it really your intent to ignore the voices of the poor? You will ignore 12.3% of our country as listed above.  The same group that so many of you claim to fight for.

 

  1. Is it really your intent to make elections controlled by the wealthy?

 

  1. After all the discussions you have hosted about how so much money in politics is corrupting the system are you really going to make money the deciding factor? You will support the buying and selling of our government?

On top of all that, you proved to the American public during the last republican and democratic primaries that hosting debates with more than 2 candidates is VERY doable.  It certainly is not a huge added expense or difficulty.

I wish we could believe that these actions were unintentional, but given the amount of times they have been called out and questioned that is no longer a believable answer.  You are guilty of electioneering, fraud, voter manipulation, and undeclared in kind campaign donations.  You have violated the spirit of the equal time rule repeatedly and unashamedly, despite the 1983 ruling that it does not apply to debates (which ruling is a travesty in and of itself). You let the politicians repeal the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, and followed like sheep, despite the fact that you could have maintained integrity by self-committing to it. You have not just violated journalistic integrity and ethics; you have taken those and defecated upon them.  You are no longer impartial bodies, you are political entities directly campaigning and contributing.  You have committed far more egregious voter manipulation than anything you complain about in your stories of election interference by other countries.

In conclusion your arbitrary requirements and your claimed reasoning behind them are completely spurious.  They are nothing more than controlling the people through control of information.  Using basic logic and easily available information your excuses are easily discredited.  Those excuses and the results of your actions go against the very ideals the founding fathers held dear and our country still professes to.  They go against the ideals of journalistic integrity and ethics that so many of you espouse, but then ignore. They go against the claimed impartiality of your organizations, as well as the ideals behind their founding.  You have forgotten the shame of yellow journalism.  You have forgotten that the books “1984”, “Animal Farm”, and “Fahrenheit 451” were written as warnings, not instruction manuals.  You have forgotten how for years you criticized other countries for political control of their media, and still do with China, while you allow the old parties to still dictate to you.  You should be ashamed and embarrassed by how far you have fallen.

Luckily you have opportunities to correct that fall.  In this day where the majority of voters do not feel represented by the two old parties, you can give them those options.  You can reclaim your impartiality, ethics, and integrity.  You can step back from becoming what you have so often spoken out against. Open the debates, all of them.  Any candidate that is on the ballot should be given a place on the same stage.  Give people their voices back.  Let people speak.  Do not hide them away at different times, locations, and these despicable, unconstitutional, and unconscionable “free speech zones”.  Bring free speech, exchange of information, and fair, honest reporting back to the public eye before you go too far down the road of merely being a propaganda machine.

John Phillips
Region 6 Representative to the Libertarian National Committee
Chair Libertarian Party of Macon County

Response to “Medicare for All” as a Libertarian Position

                The internet is abuzz with talk about an article by Matt Breunig which claims that even Libertarians recognize Medicare for all would save money, and includes some interpretations that it would be a good thing.

We have the following responses:

  • The article does not accurately or completely report the findings of the study it upon which it was based: https://www.mercatus.org/bridge/commentary/medicare-all-plan-would-cost-federal-government-32-trillion
  • The article fails to address this study, covered in Time magazine, that says medicare for all would cost $32.6 trillion, as calculated by the George Mason Center. That study also finds it would require historic tax hikes, and is far closer to the original Mercatus report than Mr. Bruenig’s article: http://amp.timeinc.net/time/5352950/medicare-trillions-bernie-sanders
  • The projected two trillion to which the article refers is scheduled over 10 years and doesn’t take into consideration any rise in price in healthcare services, which we know are certain once healthcare service providers start to receive even more “free” money.
  • The savings, as the article states, comes from overall healthcare payouts–Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance, and out of pocket payments – not current Medicare payouts. To implement this system we’d need to tack on an additional $3.26 trillion to our Federal budget, nearly doubling it.
  • The article also states that this system would provide Medicare to an additional 30 million people; hardly “Medicare for all.”
  • The article does not adequately cover what a complete mess the Medicare/Medicaid system is. It is horribly complex and often hard to get coverage or treatment.  Many physicians do not accept one or both, and more are dropping off the rolls every day due to slow payment and other issues.
  • The article does not begin to cover how our government ruins every idea it touches. The U.S. government is a model of inefficiency and failure.
  • IF one were to insist on some sort of government involvement in health care, there are far better systems than Medicare/Medicaid to base it on. Research Singapore’s system, for example.
  • Regardless of all that, this is an idea that requires FORCE to implement. As Libertarians, we are firmly against any idea that requires force.
  • Free market systems just plain work. They drive innovation and lower costs over time.  Government interference stifles innovation and raises costs over time, as has been shown repeatedly throughout history.

In short, we vehemently disagree with this poorly written and researched article.  We also disagree with characterizing the Mercatus Center as Libertarian. Being in favor of deregulation does not equal being libertarian.

Mr. Breunig’s article is here:

https://jacobinmag.com/2018/07/medicare-for-all-mercatus-center-report

Thinkprogress  Article here

https://thinkprogress.org/mercatis-medicare-for-all-study-0a8681353316/

Positions John Phillips Jr wants to stress

1.  Not just ending the war on drugs, but decriminalizing recreational use.  It is not the government’s job to legislate morality.  The war on drugs has proven to be a failure, just like the prohibition of alcohol before it.  The government has spent well over 1 trillion dollars on this failed war and has not changed the rate of addiction even ½ of 1 percent.  This war has dramatically affected our community for the worse, and cause the imprisonment of large portions of our population.  This imprisonment that costs us well over the amount that treatment of addiction would cost.

2.  I am a firm believer in the 2nd amendment for a variety of reasons.  First being history.  Historically the restriction of arms ownership by the citizenry has always led to oppression of the citizens.  This pattern has repeated throughout history for thousands of years, leading to the deaths of millions.   Hitler, Stalin, Mao recently, back through the middle ages and before.  Secondly the obvious, self-defense, we are constantly bombarded with the victims, but the media rarely covers the number of times firearms are used in self-defense, which is by all accounts far greater.  Not to mention all the other real statistics that support private firearm ownership.

3. We need to completely reform how we are dealing with victimless crimes.  Very simply, if it is ‘victimless’ it is not a crime.  No one should ever face jail or prison time over such.  This falls in with ending the war on drugs and decriminalization.    Non-violent crimes with victims should focus on restitution.  Why are we paying to take care of someone that already stole money from us as one example.

4.  We need to drastically reform our foreign relations.  Our policies of interventionism and regime change have invariably ended causing more harm than good.  This does not even mention our current policies of bombing multiple countries with no real declaration of war and creating more terrorists rather than solving that problem.  We also need to be interfering less financially; other countries need to be responsible for themselves without our propping them up militarily or monetarily.

5.  Immigration reform.  I am not a fully open borders person.  I am however for MUCH easier immigration, work permits, and border crossing.  Once we correct our current welfare system I would be willing to revisit and reconsider this position.

6. The federal government has many duplications of service that need to be eliminated.  We have multiple intelligence bodies, multiple law enforcement bodies, and ridiculous numbers of “swat” teams.  Start with consolidation of all these services and elimination of the duplication.

  1. Eliminate all federal action not constitutionally authorized, as a start. Yes I am fully aware the federal government takes actions that are constitutionally ok that are still not morally ok, but we have to start somewhere. Let’s take care of the ones that are already illegal first, then move on.

 Dear League of Women Voters,

After the showing on the NBC debate last night I would like to respectfully request that you include Kash Jackson for Governor in your debate.  He clearly showed he deserves to be in the debate with his readiness to answer questions, strong stances, and ability to be far more professional than any of the other candidates on that stage.  If you are already planning to include him, since several of your members already promised to include all candidates who made the ballot, feel free to skip the rest.

My understanding is that your requirement is 10% in the polls.  I have a few counter arguments for that.
1.  If he can not get coverage it is hard to poll; so you are placing a chicken and the egg requirement.
2. 3rd party candidates had to collect many times more petition signatures just to be on the ballot; shouldn’t that be enough?
3. It is impossible to score well in polls that do not include you as a main option.  I will happily provide you plenty of evidence to support the biased polling by most agencies if required.
4.  Most importantly: Limiting candidate access to debates is defacto electioneering and interfering with elections.  The consistency of this happening here in the United States far out weighs any possible “Russian interference”. It is indeed contrary to the very ideals of women’s fight to vote and run for office.  I am absolutely sure that this is NOT at all intentional on your organization’s part; however, that does not lessen the impact.

I implore you NOT to take people’s voices away from them.  Invite all candidates who will be on the ballot to be in your debate in this time when more and more voters are identifying as independent.  Women fighting for suffrage did not, and do not, want their voices taken from them.  I respectfully ask that you do not take other’s voice away from them.

John Phillips
Region 6 Representative to the Libertarian National Committee.

Voluntary Community Involvement

We recently had elections for mayor, city council, school board, and a variety of other things.  As we went through the election process I continually saw questions regarding what the people running for office were going to do for our community, or how were these people going to fix our community.  I saw it in the newspaper, on social media, television, and heard it on the radio.  People asked those questions when I was at lunch, at church, while standing in line to check out at a variety of stores.  It didn’t matter who you supported or not, everyone was asking those questions.

Then we had the election and it clearer than anything demonstrated the problem hinted at by those questions, again regardless of who you supported.  That problem is lack of community involvement.  We have a population in Decatur of about 70,000 people.  11,500 showed up to vote, even allowing for children that is a pretty poor turn out.  For the city council/mayoral debates we could not even fill the tiny auditorium at the civic center half way.  That does not even take into consideration the number of positions on the ballot that were uncontested.

People asked how these people were going to fix our community, but then couldn’t even be troubled to put the effort in to take part in the process and vote or run for office.  No matter who you supported they cannot fix our city by themselves, without our support, input, and action. Nor, as a Libertarian do I believe we should expect them to.

To fix what ails our city requires what is at the heart of Libertarianism, voluntary individual commitment and contribution.  That does not mean one or two people carry the load, it means each individual makes a commitment to do something, to the extent that they can.  Want to complain about the police department? Guess what, they are hiring right now, and having trouble filling their applicant pool with local people.  Don’t want to be, or can’t be an officer? There are lots of other opportunities for citizen input and involvement.  Hate the crime? Neighborhood groups are an easy way to help.  Want to complain about the school system? I am here to tell you they ALWAYS need more community involvement from top to bottom, starting with involvement right at home. Homework Hangout would love to have some more volunteers I am sure, give them a call.  Is domestic violence your issue? Hey my sister over at DOVE would love for you to help out.  Bored kids running around with nothing to do?  The park district would love for you to coach, teach a class, assist another class, or referee.  That is just a short list of things to start.  Add in adopt a street programs, the Good Sam, Salvation Army, community centers, etc.  Even the city government itself is always open to at least look at suggestions for city projects that can be done by volunteers, from cleaning up to decorating to maintaining.  You can even start your own if you see a need not being filled currently.

Go ahead, say you don’t have time.  How much TV did you watch last week? How much time Facebooking and tweeting? There are a few of out there that can’t – mostly because they already fill their spare time with involvement, but in reality most of us can spare at least 3-4 hours a week.  In a town of 70,000 if just half of those gave 3 hours a week we would have 105,000 hours of volunteering every week.  If every single person gave just 1 hour, then we would have 70,000 hours.  How much could we do to improve our city with that much? Taxes were a big issue, how much could we cut taxes and government involvement with that amount of volunteer effort?  If we got half the population involved in the election process, how much more involved would the elected officials have to be with the needs and desires of the community? Voluntary community involvement, both individually and collectively is the answer to the issues plaguing our community.

 

John Phillips Jr

Chair

Libertarian Party of Macon County

Dear League of Women Voters,

After the showing on the NBC debate last night I would like to respectfully request that you include Kash Jackson for Governor in your debate.  He clearly showed he deserves to be in the debate with his readiness to answer questions, strong stances, and ability to be far more professional than any of the other candidates on that stage.  If you are already planning to include him, since several of your members already promised to include all candidates who made the ballot, feel free to skip the rest.

My understanding is that your requirement is 10% in the polls.  I have a few counter arguments for that.
1.  If he can not get coverage it is hard to poll; so you are placing a chicken and the egg requirement.
2. 3rd party candidates had to collect many times more petition signatures just to be on the ballot; shouldn’t that be enough?
3. It is impossible to score well in polls that do not include you as a main option.  I will happily provide you plenty of evidence to support the biased polling by most agencies if required.
4.  Most importantly: Limiting candidate access to debates is defacto electioneering and interfering with elections.  The consistency of this happening here in the United States far out weighs any possible “Russian interference”. It is indeed contrary to the very ideals of women’s fight to vote and run for office.  I am absolutely sure that this is NOT at all intentional on your organization’s part; however, that does not lessen the impact.

I implore you NOT to take people’s voices away from them.  Invite all candidates who will be on the ballot to be in your debate in this time when more and more voters are identifying as independent.  Women fighting for suffrage did not, and do not, want their voices taken from them.  I respectfully ask that you do not take other’s voice away from them.

I also feel the need to point out a few more things.

These candidates turned in 10 times the signatures Rauner and Pritzker had to.  The signature requirements are not enough of an extra hurdle?Again do you not remember your history of the fight for women’s voices to be heard?  Do you really want to turn into what your movement and its predecessors fought so hard against?

Historically your percentage has not always been 10% I am old enough to remember when it was 5.  As mentioned above that is a purely arbitrary number set by YOU.  So it can just as easily be corrected by you.

Having had great respect for your organization and its reputation of impatiality for decades, I would like to believe this is just an oversight on your part.

I DO NOT want to believe that this great organization of yours has fallen into the blatant voter manipulation and silencing engaged in by much of the media and the two old parties.

I ask you again to maintain that great reputation and let these voices be heard rather than tarnishing it.

John Phillips
Libertarian National Committee Region 6 Representative
My Open Letter About the Events in Ferguson 
Dear people who see Michael Brown and Ferguson (and before that Trayvion Martin) as a rallying call to fight racial inequality,
Believe it or not I sympathize with you. I agree that are still large amounts of racial injustice present in our country, in the entire world for that matter. Having seen it happen first hand to people close to me my entire life I know that you are correct stating it is there, and in many ways I join you in your battle every day.
However, I have some advice for you that I hope will make this struggle more effective.First. Pick better examples to make a national spectacle There are plenty of actually innocent people that are harrassed, beaten, and killed every year. If we rally around one of them we will find much better results.
Here is a possible examplehttp://reason.com/blog/2014/11/26/police-shooting-of-pre-teen-in-clevelandInstead these usually just get short mentions in the media and you pick two examples in which two drug using thugs – proven by their own selfies btw- attack armed men, one of whom was a police officer. How absolutely counter productive is that? Setting up your cause to be written off is probably not a good start. Before you even try and argue provocation remember we are in a day and age of zero tolerance policies and teaching that there is no excuse for physical attacks. Policies mostly argued for by the same “progressives” throwing fits now.
**NOTE** I am completely aware of all the objections to the grand jury findings, and I can argue both sides of them. However, the bottom line on that is that those objections can be applied to how pretty much any police involved shooting is handled regardless of race. So that is a separate, if related, issue.Second. Avoid even any hint of suggesting that the riots are justified. Protests and movements are all fine. Looting is nothing more than thievery and burning nothing more than terrorism. On top of that they give all the bigots the feeling of “oh look we were right” which makes me ill. These riots do far, far more harm to the cause than any help that might have been garnered from the event.

Third. Pick better spokespeople. Al Sharpton? Come on. The man has zero credibility left with anyone who actually thinks. Jesse Jackson isn’t much better. Even Obama and Holder have ruined theirs.

Fourth. Quit blindly following the media. On both sides. Their job has become to attract viewers to drive ad sales. Sensationlism and yellow journalism are now the name of the game. Oh, and we complain about the discrepancies in how minorities are reported vs white people? Who do you think controls that? The same media you are letting mislead us with pictures of kids from 6 years before the event, and spoon feeding us misleading pieces of information that will keep us watching rather than the whole truth. As I mentioned above there are a lot worse stories than those two that the media glosses over and ignored. Young men and women harassed, beaten, and killed that truly did not do anything wrong, that truly were simply because of the color of their skin. Yet the media decides to not explode those into national news. Why? Simply because then they couldn’t get the whole country divided and begging for information from them in order to argue over it. A population united is a short news story for them, not weeks and weeks of coverage. Stand up, demand better from the modern media, especially the hypocritical yellow journalism of FOX, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC.

Fifth. Open your eyes and don’t be an unintentional hypocrite. Minorities treat each other far worse than the rest of the country treats them. You want to scream and yell about the number of minorities killed or maltreated by whites, and yes when this happens it is absolutely a problem, yet you want to completely ignore that the very large majority of minorities are victimized BY THE SAME MINORITY! So, and I really want to believe this is unintentional, you are saying that it is unforgivable if a white person kills a black person, but hey we don’t think it is that big a deal if a black person kills another black person -which is far more common. At the very least shouldn’t they be equal, if not even more despicable, not less? Also you need to quit ignoring the crimes committed that go the other way. 4 black kids kill a white kid while screaming racial epithets and no one cries about a hate crime or racism. Sorry, it is. Admit it and you will find support for your cause growing, rather than people going “hey, but what about …?”. Oh, and on that note, sorry “reverse discrimination” does exist. Though honestly it should just be called what it is, discrimination. ANY TIME that one group receives preferred treatment based on ethnicity, religion, economic status, or whatever it is discrimination. As you should well know, all discrimination does is anger the people discriminated against, which in thus case increases and extends racial tensions, not lessens them.

Sixth. You want people to stop believing stereotypes? STOP ENCOURAGING AND ENABLING THEM! Sorry guys, you don’t want to admit it but every stereotype starts with a kernel of truth. Stop excusing them when they live them out. Call them out on it as a few leaders of the minority communities are starting to do. Teach them that it is not ok to be a thug. Call them out when they are blaring music promoting drug use, denigration of women, cussing up a storm, and throwing out racial slurs like candy at a parade. Call them out when they are committing crimes, when they are ruining where they (and you) live. It is not racism to say “Hey quit selling drugs on our street corner you ass” or “You butthead, mugging your own neighbors is a crappy piece of work”. Quit excusing them because of their “hard lives” or “poor upbringing” or any one of the thousand excuses you offer. That is called enabling. Enabling does not help people change. Oh, and quit doing that for everyone, especially rich white kids like that idiot who got off with a slap on the wrist because “he was too rich to know right from wrong”, excuse me what? NO ENABLING!! As one smart gentleman, Frederick Wilson, said in his video blog “personal responsidamnbility” (watch it here http://youtu.be/gPUcA7yrErg ). He covers a lot of great points and is well worth the watch. He has posted a couple others also worth watching.

Seventh. Quit trying to lump all white people together. You don’t like it when we do it to you, kind of hypocritical to do it to us isn’t it? Most of us are not racist jerks, just like most minorities are not criminal thugs. On top of that, as mentioned in the above video, guess what? No one alive in this country was a slave OR owned one. Most of us never oppressed anyone, we are too busy trying to live our own lives to oppress anyone. Want to blame us for what others are doing? Ok, then is it ok if we blame you for what others of your ethnic group are doing? Hmmm thought not, see above about stereotypes and personal responsibility again.

Eighth. Lump all those things together and USE YOUR HEAD. Do not follow your emotions blindly, but rather use the brain you were given and look at the whole picture.

A large majority of us agree with you in general (if not always in specific cases like the ones mentioned at the beginning of my little diatribe). You know what though? It is hard for us to chime in and agree with you and help when you are doing any of these 8 things. If anything, doing those things angers people and hurts the cause, extending and worsening the problems, definitely not helping.

Eulogy for Robert J. Dudas – Posted because many people asked me for the full text since I had to cut it short at the funeral.

            For those of you who don’t know me, my name is John Phillips, or Ti to family and friends.  Bob has been my best friend for the last 27 years.  For those of you trying to do the math that means we met when we were 2 years old (cough/joke).

Bob was a man of many different aspects, and one of the best men I have ever known.  He was thoughtful, smart, determined, funny, goofy, talkative, and a bit irreverent sometimes.  So I am going to try and model this after him, and he would never forgive me if I did not poke a little fun during this.  Just a heads up, most of his friends did not call him Bob or Rob, but just Dudas, so I will probably slip back and forth a bit.

Ok, when I really first met Dudas was in 9th grade civics class.  One thing he never was was shy, and he showed it then by immediately walking up to the new kid (I’d changed schools midyear), introduced himself, and offered to show me around.  We quickly became inseperable.  Turned out we both new Carter, and when George joined us we immediately became like the musketeers.  Almost every story we could tell stars with some variation of “Dudas, George, Carter, and Ti went to …”.  To the point that even dates started that way, double, triple dates and Bob, boy did that frustrate the girls sometimes.

Dudas and I were so tight he was more than my best friend, he was my brother.  He called my mom mom.  Sometimes he lived at our house, even when I wasn’t there.  He never had to knock, just come on in – and that was probably a good thing because I’m not sure he knew how.  He was the only one of my friends that got my approval to date my sister, it didn’t’ work out, but he got it.

Bob loved to talk and discuss things.  As with any good frined you could talk to him about your problems.  Dudas would talk to you about anything, and I do mean ANYTHING.  We once had an in depth conversation about the difference between belly button lint and toe lint.  After all of us went to see the movie Time Cop he and Carter debated the theory and possibilities of time travel for over a month.   When it was serious, he was always there.  Often even before you had a chance to tell him something was wrong.  He had a way of listening, head cocked just a little, that let you know you had his full attention.  Then he would find some way of saying exactly the right thing.  It might be a very serious answer, or it might be something completely off the wall that would still help in some strange way.  If you didn’t talk to him for a while the next time you did he would pick it up right where you left off.  Sometimes he would talk so much people listening to the 4 of us might think his name was “Shut up Dudas”.

Of course anyone listening to us might not believe the 4 of us were friends, man we abused each other.  Said some of the meanest things, but we all knew it was just in fun – macho garbage.  Carter, George, and I were constantly harassing, Bob would save it up and then just crush you with one short sentence.  We were full auto small arms fire, he was a howitzer.

Dudas was determined, he truly did not know the meaning of the word quit, and for a man who owned as many dictionaries and thesauruses as he did that is an accomplishment.  A great trait to have, but interesting in Bob’s case. We would play pinball or hacky-sack for hours, he would often be the one to suggest them.  Yet then he would get so incredibly mad when he didn’t do well at them that I sometimes wondered if his blood pressure would make his head literally explode, but he wouldn’t quit.  Sometimes it would get so bad that the rest of us would quit just so he would calm down.  Often if the truth be told, because he wasn’t very good at either, but he sure wanted to play.

On the other hand his inability to quit served him, and many others, well.  His guitar playing is a good example.  Wow was he bad at first, but his love of playing and music would never let him quit.  He got pretty good at it really (though please, please no singing). His writing was the same.  Good, bad, or indifferent he would never quit. He loved writing and continued to improve, experiment with different styles, and love it even more.  We worked on writing a few things together, and he always wanted me to write more, wouldn’t ever let up on me about it.  I’m going to tell you brother that you didn’t have to go this far to get me to write something for you.

His never quit attitude served him well in the Navy.  Wow, most of us weren’t sure about that choice on his part, but he turned it into a career.  One he was good at, as seen by the ribbons on his chest and his rate. It took him a long time to get me to understand the difference between rank, rate, and rating.  Man he was proud when he got that last promotion.  I’d love to tell you more about his time in the navy, but he took his clearance seriously and the stuff he did in the Navy was one of the few things he would not talk to me about other than very generally.  I know that he was fascinated with Japan while he was there, and that he was very excited when he got the posting in England because of his music and writing.

His determination served him, and I, well in our friendship.  Bob always kept in touch, even when sometimes I didn’t.  At one point while going through some personal stuff I pretty much cut ties with everyone, but he would have none of it.  Dudas kept bugging me until I gave in.  A few years later he was the best man at my wedding – an honor that it was my turn to not quit on.  I gave him 0 choice in the matter, telling him that he was going to do it.  I even told my wife that if Bob could not make the date we picked then we would reschedule and wait for a day that he could make it.

Where his refusal to quit served him best, however, is his wife Angi.  I don’t know if you know this Angi, but when Bob met you back in ’94 he called me.  He told me then that he had met the one.  The only reason you did not meet me then was that was during that time when I was cutting everyone out.  He never gave up on you, and in his life the day you married him was only rivaled by the days you gave him your two beautiful children.  Before he met you he was always a little unhappy, but with you he was complete, and happier than I have ever known him.  If I had no other reason I would love you for the happiness you brought to my best friend, my brother.  He loved you, Liam, and Jennifer with no reservation.  Always talked of you three, so much that he quit bugging me so much about writing and art because it took time away from telling me what the latest thing you or the children (or all of you) had done.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that in a lot of ways I looked up to Dudas.  He kept us out of a lot of trouble.  Not just by being (in some ways) the sanest one of us, but also because I didn’t do many things I could have because I did not want him to be disappointed in me, or stop being my friend.  Considering that he was one of the kindest most forgiving men I have known that wasn’t likely, but I still thought about it.  I got started in drafting, and then art following Bob, funny that people always thought he was following me.

I honestly thought Carter or I would be the one lieing there and Bob would be speaking for us.  Either because my anger issues would get me killed, or Carter’s interesting luck with women.  Instead Dudas saved my life, not once, but twice.  More than that if you count how his friendship changed me and helped me straighten out a bit – sorry it took so long buddy.

Bob could also be incredibly funny, his jokes sometimes were awful, but often were like his insults – he saved up and hit you with the good ones.  When he did you laughed for hours, thought about it later and laughed some more.  When he was the best man at my wedding, Dudas of course had to do a toast.  So in front of almost 200 people he started speaking of our friendship and how hard he’d thought about doing this.  He then reached into his coat pocket.  Now knowing how much he loved to talk I am expecting him to pull out a sheaf of paper.  Instead he pulls out a piece of TOAST! (I pull out piece of toast here and show everyone).  I tell this story frequently and still laugh about it every time.  He loved to poke fun at me because I always wore my cowboy boots, to the point that I could only play hacky-sack while wearing them, if I tried to wear tennis shoes I couldn’t play.  He also loved the Looney Toons.  From when we were in high school and he would go up to women and poke them and make a sound like the Road Runner, to constantly imitating Marvin the Martian and collecting Marvin stuff.  So guess what buddy, for you I wore both my cowboy boots, and my Marvin the Martian boxers.

I mentioned Bob’s writing.  This of course came from his love of reading, which was one of the first things that he and I discovered we had in common.  This included enjoying the same types of books, as well as many of the same authors.  One time, I think our junior year, we were assigned an English paper that required us to analyze an older author’s influence on a newer author.  Both of us picked exactly the same topic, J.R.R. Tolkien’s influence on the writing of Terry Brooks, without discussing it with each other, we weren’t even in the same class.  The first we knew of it was when the teacher called us in for a meeting and explained to us that given how close we were, and the fact that we picked the same subject, how careful we would have to be to avoid cheating/plagiarism.  Bob was still trying to get a “Sword of Shannara” movie made.  I also helped Dudas get more into Ray Bradbury, and we spent hours and hours discussing “Farenheight 451”.   So I have here copies of both books, for you and the kids to read when you are ready Angi, something that will hopefully help all of you feel a little closer.  I thought a lot about finding some of Bob’s favorite passages to quote here, but instead I thought it better to close with some of his writing.  I would have liked to read Amphibian, but I could not find my copy of it.

 

Bottled Up Atonement  31 August 2010  By Robert J. Dudas

Summer’s end … And falling … To defend To begin … Rising up … To begin

My honor, my will, my own … Resolve … To atone

 

And I know … I am not alone And I know … You’re waiting on And I know … I am not alone And I know … I will atone

 

Summer’s end … And picking up … Up again To begin … Never letting up … To defend

My honor, my will, my own … Resolve … To a code

 

And I know … I am not alone And I know … You’re waiting on And I know … I am not alone And I know … I will atone

 

For me … To set this free

For me … What’s inside of me

Bottled up … Atone … Atonement of my soul

 

And I know … I am not alone And I know … You’re waiting on And I know … I am not alone And I know … I will atone

 

Bottled up … Inside … Is my life

Bottled up … Break out … From inside

Bottled up … To shatter … All this time

Bottled up … This anger … Deep down inside

 

You will not hold me in … You’ll not hold me down

You will not shut me in … I’ll not let you win this round

Breaking out … From the chains … That confine

Bottled up … I will break out … For what is mine

And this cork … Is broken … This wine is my time

And this cork … Explodin’ … This time is all mine

 

And I know … I am not alone And I know … You’re waiting on And I know … I am not alone And I know … I will atone

 

Over and Out  12 22 2011  by Robert J. Dudas -Important to note on this one that it is full of pictures of Angi, Liam, and Jennifer which you can see if you look at his notes.

Over a lifetime … Oh the things … I recall

The sound of your voices … the thoughts of your choices

Over a lifetime … Oh the things … we recall

The changing of faces … the thought’s replacement

And what do I recall

Every day … a little more

Signs point … to more to come

Every way … a little of

Over a lifetime … Oh the things …  I recall

The sounding of friendships … the thoughts at the endings

Over a lifetime … Oh the things … we recall

The shade of your blessings … the thoughts never-ending

 

 And what do I recall

Every day … a little more

Signs point … to more to come

Every way … a little of

And I don’t wish to replace … something old … with something new

And I yearn for the tastes … every friendships … renewed

And I wish for the space … something in … our long embrace

Embracing something new … as long as overdue … with all of you

And what do I recall

Every day … a little more

Signs point … to more to come

Every way … a little of

The jading of the places … the fading of graces

Reawake faces … expression chases

Down … every road … … Down … every hole

No chains hold you all … as I recall

No vices sustain a fall … rise above it all

Over a lifetime … over a lifetime … over a lifetime … over a lifetime!

 

Over and Out Bob Dudas, my best friend, my brother.  I feel like a piece of me has been cut off and I will miss you forever.

Today is Primary Election Day. A day I have very mixed feelings about.

I want everyone to exercise their right to vote.

Yet I find that the primaries give me several quandaries.

The first is that last presidential election proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the process is corrupt. The DNC TESTIFIED IN COURT that they are a private corporation with no obligation to be fair, AND THEY WON.

Secondly Illinois has closed primaries, which means I cannot vote for all the candidates I support. I support candidates from several different parties, but I can only chose to vote for 1 party in the primary.

Which leads to my 3rd thought, I can only chose between Democrat or Republican. Corrupt election laws have disenfranchised millions of people in the primaries. In a time when the largest % of voters identify as independent they are locked in to a party.

On top of that those corrupt laws are INTENTIONALLY designed to keep other parties out. So not only do we get locked in to one party, are choices are further limited. I can not choose Libertarian, Green, or Constitution party just to name a few. Those parties are just flat out not allowed on the primary ballot IN ADDITION to already oppressive rules to keep anyone not a D or R off the ballot in November.

All those lead in to a few questions. Given the corruption, the existence of the parties as separate corporate entities, the unconstitutional limitations on our rights to take part, the intentional disenfranchisement of voters;
WHY are we paying for it with tax dollars?
WHY are we paying for corporate entities to disregard our voices?
Why are we paying for our choices to be artificially limited?
Don’t we throw fits when other countries do these things?
How many revolutions have we supported AGAINST governments doing these things?
Isn’t the election board supposed to guarantee fair access and elections?

The list goes on.

So because of these many things, especially the inability to support all the candidates I would like to across all the parties, I will be declining to take part in the process today. It breaks my heart, but I can NOT bring myself to participate in this broken process that left me feeling dirty in my soul during the last election.

I wish candidates good luck. I will be hoping the ones I like win, but I can not support this broken mockery of democracy any longer.