Thursday, February 23, 2012

10 Presidential Candidates you have likely never heard of

There are important facts about the 2012 presidential race that you likely do not know. President Obama has challengers for the Democratic nomination. There are Republican presidential candidates that were not allowed to participate in the televised debates. There are experienced politicians seeking to run third party campaigns. And of course there are also third party candidates with unique and interesting positions. Without further ado, here are 10 presidential candidates you have probably never heard of.

John Wolfe

John Wolfe is running for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. He supports a 0.75% tax on derivatives, which are financial instruments used by Wall Street Banks. He also supports an alternative federal reserve that would give direct loans to small businesses, community banks, and credit worthy individuals. Wolfe says that creating an alternative federal reserve would “just” cost one trillion dollars. It is unclear whether that would be printed money or money than is allocated by congress. On foreign policy he wants to end US military aid to Israel and end the US support of the military dictatorships in Egypt and Bahrain. He also would call on Israel to withdraw to its 1967 borders in exchange for a US defense guarantee.

Darcy Richardson

Darcy Richardson is running for the nomination of the Democratic Party. He believes in bringing back the separation of investment and savings banks that existed under the Glass-Steagall Act. He opposes the war in Afghanistan as well as the Panamanian and South Korean free trade deals. He supports a capital levy on wealth, a stimulus 5 or 6 times larger than President Obama’s proposed 447 billion dollar jobs act, a new Works Progress Administration, and a 33 to 50 percent reduction in military spending. He has criticized Obama’s decision to not nominate Elizabeth Warren to head the consumer protection bureau. He also supports a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.

Rocky Anderson

Rocky Anderson is the presidential candidate of the Justice Party. Formerly a major of Salt Lake City, he called for the impeachment of George W. Bush. He supports a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision in order to achieve campaign finance reform and reduce the corrupting influence of money in politics. As a result, his campaign is only accepting donations of 100 dollars or less. He opposes all on-going wars and telecom immunity. He supports universal health care, treating substance abuse as a public health issue, and US leadership on climate change. He also supports the prosecution of government officials and politicians responsible for authorizing and performing warrantless wiretapping and torture as well as Wall Street executives whose decisions helped create the financial collapse of 2007-2008.

Buddy Roemer

Buddy Roemer’s resume includes being a former governor of Lousiana and a four term congressman. Despite his extensive previous political experience, he was not allowed to participate in even one of the 20 Republican presidential debates. On February 22, he ended his attempts to become the Republican nominee for president. He is now seeking the nomination of Americans Elect and the Reform Party. Campaign finance reform is his primary goal. Thus, he is not accepting any donations larger than 100 dollars and refuses to accept money from political action committees. He also believes that the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill is far too weak.

Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson is running for the nomination of the Libertarian Party. A former governor of New Mexico, he originally sought the nomination of the Republican Primary before dropping out in December. He was only allowed to attend two of the Republican presidential debates. Johnson supports immediately balancing the budget, block granting Medicare and Medicaid to the states, implementing a flat tax, and ending all foreign aid. Johnson also wants to end the war in Afghanistan, repeal the PATRIOT act, and legalize marijuana.

Fred Karger

Fred Karger is the first openly gay candidate to run for the nomination of the Republican Party. He supports gay marriage, legalizing and taxing marijuana, and ending the war in Afghanistan. He would also support a constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 16 or 17. Fred Karger claimed that if Mitt Romney were president and he received a call from the leader of the Mormon Church telling him to take a position on an issue, he would have no choice but to obey. Politifact game the claim a Pants on Fire rating after consulting three experts on the Mormon religion. That prejudiced statement mirrored the equally closed-minded claims that if John F Kennedy were elected president he would have to answer to the pope.

Randall Terry

Randall Terry is an anti-abortion activist who is running for the nomination of the Democratic Party. He founded the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. He unsuccessfully attempted to use his candidacy to air commercials during the super bowl showing graphic video of aborted fetuses. 

Jack Fellure

Jack Fellure is the presidential candidate for the Prohibition Party. As the name implies, the Prohibition Party is in favor of outlawing the sale of alcohol. Fellure also supports the recriminalization of homosexuality, abortion, and pornography. In 1996 he blamed America’s problems on, “Atheists, Marxists, liberals, queers, liars, draft-dodgers, flag-burners, dope addicts, sex perverts and anti-Christians.”

Andy Martin

Andy Martin is running for the nomination of the Republican Party. Martin was the original source, in 2004, of the false rumor that Barack Obama is a secrete Muslim. He now is pushing the false rumor that Barack Obama’s father was not Barack Obama Sr. but instead Frank Lloyd Davis.  He sued Hawaii to try to get the state to reveal Obama’s long form birth certificate, even though the Obama campaign had already released the legally required short form birth certificate. In 2008 Andy Martin was featured as an expert on Barack Obama’s past on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show.

Peta Lindsay

Peta Lindsay is the presidential nominee of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. She is currently seeking a master’s degree in education at the University of Southern California. She has been an active anti-war activist since 2001. Her biography at her party’s website states that, “Lindsay traveled to Cuba in 2002 with Pastors for Peace and witnessed first-hand the accomplishments of a society that is organized to meet human needs, not the profit motive of a few greedy bankers and corporate owners.” Lindsay also was the youngest delegate at the World Meeting of Artists and Intellectuals in Defense of Humanity that was hosted by Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan government.

Factoids of Interest

According to The Green Papers, Barack Obama finished 10th in the New Hampshire Republican primary with 285 votes. In the New Hampshire Democratic primary Ron Paul finished second with 2,289 votes, 3.77% of the total. Mitt Romney finished third in the New Hampshire Democratic primary with 1,814 votes, 2.99% of the total. Jon Huntsman finished fourth in the New Hampshire Democratic primary with 1,238 votes, 2.04% of the vote. Here are more notable results from that same primary: Randall Terry (442), Rick Santorum (302), Newt Gingrich (276), Darcy Richardson (264), John Wolfe (245), Buddy Roemer (29), Fred Karger (26), Rick Perry (17), Gary Johnson (4), Michele Bachman (2), Herman Cain (1).

According to The Green Papers, these are the largest vote totals from all contests combined for the Democratic presidential nomination at the time of the publication of this article.

Barack Obama        122,267        85.82%
Randall Terry                2,458          1.73%
Ron Paul                        2,289          1.61%
Mitt Romney                1,814          1.27%
John Wolfe                    1,267          0.89%
Jon Huntsman              1,238          0.87%
Darcy Richardson        1,156          0.81%

According to the Green Papers, here are the largest vote totals for the Republican presidential nomination at the time of the publication of this article.

Mitt Romney           1,185,522    38.84%
Newt Gingrich             838,882    27.49%
Rick Santorum            570,834    18.70%
Ron Paul                       338,564    11.09%
Jon Huntsman               51,171       1.68%
Rick Perry                       26,145       0.86%
Michele Bachmann      12,572       0.41%
Herman Cain                 12,361       0.41%
Gary Johnson                  2,142        0.07%
Buddy Roemer                   967         0.03%

For whatever reason, the results for Fred Karger do not appear in green papers’ list of total Republican results even though their page for the NH Republican primary shows him receiving 345 votes in that contest. In the Republican race, Condoleezza Rice has received 2 votes and Ralph Nader has received one vote even though neither is running for president.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Young Americans for Liberty

Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is likely the only club at Kansas State University that has had an in depth discussion on the pros and cons of the increase in the purchasing power of money known as deflation.

Young Americans for Liberty is a libertarian political organization. YAL often hosts a table in the K-State Student Union during lunchtime to spread information on libertarianism and Ron Paul to interested students and faculty.

Ian Huyett is the president of Young Americans for Liberty.

I am a full spectrum libertarian; I don’t discriminate in my indignation. I support the right of communities to manage their own internal affairs independently of overarching states and I support the right of individuals to control their own lives and bodies and to meet the consequences of their decisions, good or bad, and I apply that thinking to any issue, that means not inundating your citizenry with taxes, that means not babysitting the entire planet at their expense.

Ron Paul was asked at a Republican debate who should pay the medical costs for a healthy 30-year-old man who decided not to buy health insurance, goes into a coma and requires intensive care. Part of Ron Paul’s response was, “that is what freedom is all about, taking your own risks,” implying that the man should face the consequences of his actions. You can watch the full exchange here.  Ian Huyett defended Paul’s answer.

I agree with Ron Paul, I agree that he hit the nail on the head when he said that in order to have liberty you have to have responsibility. We are not free if we are only free to make good decisions; we have to be free to make bad decisions also. Ron Paul as a doctor treated many patients for free and strongly supports private charities, Ron Paul simply wouldn’t want to fix that man’s problem and save him from the consequences of his mistakes by putting a gun to someone else’s head and making them pay for it. That’s essentially when you do anything with taxes, you are using force because taxes have to be ultimately enforced through some sort of violence and that is something that has to be considered whenever we are doing something through taxation.

Taylor McFall shared a concern that was widespread among the members of YAL, the prospect of the United States going to war with Iran and Syria.

I’ve got a lot of issues that I am interested in. One of the main ones is the bad habit that our Presidents have of getting us into foreign entanglements, specifically wars and other armed conflicts. I was particularly upset about Libya because we went to an international body rather than our own Congress for permission for that one. When I was younger I was not as much against the wars and I actually supported Afghanistan and Iraq, but I was very young at the time. Now I’m upset about how we went into those and what the reasons were, especially Iraq, the reasons we went into there not turning out to be true. I’m especially concerned because I see us doing the same thing with Iran again. Syria is more similar to Libya probably, but Iran is going to be more similar to Iraq. We have basically taken these same arguments saying ‘oh they have weapons of mass destruction’ but we are not using the same term, now we are saying ‘we need to take them out.’

McFall also believes that many taxes and regulations are harmful to small businesses.

I am also concerned about the economy, taxes, regulations. As a person who works for a small business, I see regulations as harming small businesses because it is much more difficult for a small business to conform to regulations than it is for a corporation that has huge amount of money. They just have to pay someone and they can meet all of the regulatory standards. Small businesses can’t pay anyone, they have to figure it out themselves or pay off a larger portion. So I see regulations as really hurting small businesses and medium sized businesses, and helping corporations.

Jamie Michel supports the legalization of marijuana and is concerned about the wider drug war.

That’s what really got me into wanting to be an activist. We started trying to get together a NORML group here in Manhattan, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, of course. Just realizing that I didn’t really actually have the freedom to live the lifestyle I wanted, just doing all the research, seeing that we are allowed to partake in alcohol and all the horrible things that does.  Learning about cannabis, both recreationally and for medical uses, and just realizing that there are a lot of people who are pro-cannabis who just stick to the medical side, but since I adapted more libertarian views, I mean we get to drink alcohol recreationally, why can’t we do this recreationally? I just basically realized that I didn’t have the freedom to choose that lifestyle if I wanted to.

Michel also supports the legalization of other drugs like cocaine and heroin. “When they get into a situation where they get addicted, I think we need to treat it not as a crime but as a health issue. They are somebody that needs help, not somebody who is going to change by throwing them in jail.” Michel also said, “I personally do not recommend that you do heroin or cocaine or whatever, but if you choose to do so, who am I to tell you what you can put in your body.”

Michel criticized President Obama’s dismissiveness on the issue of Marijuana legalization.

A lot of people bring up the issue. Even President Obama in the last interview thing he did where you can ask questions on YouTube, the most questions were about cannabis and he just kind of laughed and was like, ‘that tells you something about people on the internet.’ It makes me angry that people don’t take the issue seriously; they just don’t realize how serious it is. If anyone today were to bring up alcohol prohibition again everyone would freak out about it and I just wish people would see it from that point of view.

YAL widely supports the candidacy of Ron Paul. Christine Varjabedian expressed one of the reasons for his appeal, his consistency.

I think that the biggest thing for me is that he is very consistent in his opinion and his beliefs and he holds to them. He is not a flip-flopper. He isn’t going to change under pressure. I think that is probably the most important thing to me that someone is consistent and willing to hold onto their potentially unpopular beliefs.

Cameron Nedland, the vice president of YAL, also supports Ron Paul because of his uncanny predictions of two of the most important tragedies of our time: a terrorist attack that was partially caused by US foreign policy, 9/11, and the housing bubble that burst in 2007-2008 that was a major cause of the resulting economic collapse.

He doesn’t only say the things that I agree with, but if you look back at his voting record back to the 80s, he has not only talked the talk, he has walked the walk. He warned about a potential terrorist attack, due to our foreign policy, to the letter, in the year 2000. In 2003, he said ‘this housing bubble is crazy, it can’t last’ and he was right. Everyone laughed at him and mocked him and said he was some kind of economic illiterate but he knows what he is talking about and he seems by far the most honest and consistent man running for president. I don’t want to idolize him, but he seems like the best choice by a clear margin.

Michael Thomas is the only member of YAL who told me he did not plan to vote for Ron Paul, not because he doesn’t support Ron Paul, but because he’s an anarchist.

I do support Ron Paul in that I support what he espouses, his philosophy. Personally speaking, as an anarchist I will not vote in the election so I will not be supporting his presidential campaign. Mostly for the reason, although you will see me with a Ron Paul button on my backpack because I will point people toward Ron Paul because he says everything I… he is my spokesman. But if Ron Paul were to be elected, he would immediately be the face of what I consider evil, he will be the representative of the American government, of course I don’t defend anything the US government does. I like the guy to much, I don’t want to put him into that situation, so I will not be willing to do that.

Young Americans for Liberty meets every Monday at 7 PM in room 207 of the K-State Student Union.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kansas Republican Presidential Caucus Information

For those of you who wish to participate in the Kansas Republican Presidential Caucus, you must register as a Republican by February 17th. I received the following e-mail from the head of the Riley County Republican Party, Barbara Van Slyke.

"The Riley County Republican Party has announced plans to participate in the Kansas Republican Party Presidential Caucus on Saturday, March 10, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. The caucus will be held at Susan B. Anthony Middle School, 2501 Browning. Participants are asked to please park and enter at the rear of the school. Doors will open for check-in at 8:30 a.m. and the caucus voting process will begin at 10:00 a.m. Voters should plan to arrive prior to 10:00 to allow time for the credentialing.

In order to participate in the caucus, voters must be registered as a Republican by February 17, 2012, and provide a photo ID at the caucus location. The caucus process is free, fast, and simple.

After checking-in, voters will hear short presentations by representatives of each candidate and then receive a ballot to vote.

The Caucus gives all registered Republicans the opportunity to cast their ballot for the Republican Presidential nominee of their choice and help determine which candidate receives the votes of Kansas’ 40 delegates at the Republican National Convention, which will be held in Tampa Bay, FL in August.

For more questions concerning the Riley County caucus, please email:

For more information on the entire caucus process, see the state Republican Party website:"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

American Hypocrisy in the Middle East

We proclaim ourselves as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom wherever it continues to exist in the world.

--Edward R. Murrow in his famous confrontation with Senator McCarthy on his CBS program See it Now

Wherever tyrants deny the legitimate demands of their own people, we need to work together to send them a clear message: you cannot hold back the future at the point of a gun.

--Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the ongoing massacre in Syria

Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other nations. The United States of America is different. Wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States.

--President Barack Obama explaining US involvement in the war in Libya

Bahrain is a tiny island nation in the Persian Gulf. The entire country is only 3 ½ times larger than Washington D.C. and is home to 1.2 million people.

On February 14, 2011, inspired by the successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, Bahrainis rallied in the streets to call for democracy and for the king to step down from power. Bahraini police fired live ammunition on the crowd, killing several protestors who were merely demonstrating for their rights. Plain clothed members of Bahrain’s Interior Ministry formed pro-regime rallies and violently attacked pro-democracy demonstrators. Bahrain state TV blamed the violence on the pro-democracy demonstrators, claiming that they were traitorous agents of Iran who sought to murder Sunnis.

On March 14, Saudi troops entered the country to repress the pro-democracy movement. Phones, mobile and landline alike, were rendered inoperable. The Bahraini police and military then occupied Salmoniyya Hospital on the false premise that the hospital was holding Sunnis hostage. No new patients were allowed in. Patients who were already there and a nurse were beaten by police.

The Bahraini government then went on a campaign to destroy Shia mosques. They arrested doctors, lawyers, opposition members of parliament, and pro-democracy activists. According to Human Rights Watch over 1,600 people were arrested because of their real or perceived support of the demonstrations. 250 of them have been sentenced.

The US Navy’s 5th fleet is stationed in Bahrain. It is this fleet that makes sure that Iran cannot block the Strait of Hormuz, where much of the world’s oil passes through. The king of Saudi Arabia doesn’t want to have Bahrain’s uprising inspire one in his country as well. Saudi Arabia has been an ally of the US since the end of World War II and the US demand for oil has kept it that way. As a result of these two motivations, Iran and Saudi Arabia, the US never denounced the crackdown in Bahrain as vigorously as it did in Libya and Syria. In September, the department of defense formally notified congress of a possible military sale of 53 million dollars of equipment and weapons to Bahrain along with 15 million dollars of Foreign Military Financing. That deal was put on hold until a Bahraini commission on the crackdown was completed.

On November 23, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry released its results. It found that the police had used excessive force, that torture was endemic, and discredited the government’s claim that Iran was responsible for the demonstrations. Electric shock was used on multiple detainees and 5 people died as a result of torture. 13 civilians were killed by security forces in other ways.

In late January, the State department decided to go ahead with the sale of weapons to Bahrain, despite the commission’s findings. The administration told several congressional offices about the deal, but did not to formally notify the public or post the details of the sale on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency website. So much for the most transparent government in history. Those types of disclosures are only necessary for arms sales over 1 million dollars. If you split a large military sale into several military sales each less than 1 million dollars, then such disclosures are not legally required.

For the past 100 years the United States has proclaimed itself the defender of freedom and democracy around the world. It is an fundamental part of the American character; it is how we define our role in the world. Often we have lived up to that mission. Sometimes we have not. Our leaders morally and courageously criticize the horrors of the Assad regime. At the same time we denounce the Chinese and Russians for standing in the way of progress by vetoing a resolution calling for Assad to step down. We reel in disgust that the Russians are selling weapons to a dictator that is killing his people; while we do the same.

The people of Bahrain also yearn for freedom. It is time we side with them. All military sales to Bahrain must be stopped, and we must publicly denounce the human rights violations of the Khalifa regime. The Obama administration deserves be shamed for siding with a dictator over the democratic aspirations of the Bahraini people.

P. S. The revolution in Bahrain has been almost completely ignored by the American media. NPR, Democracy Now!, and Al Jazeera English have covered it, along with print publications. The recent decision by the State department to go ahead with the military sale to Bahrain has only been covered by Democracy Now! and a handful of print publications. Mainstream television news has daily stories about the uprising in Syria as well as Israeli and American tensions with Iran, both clearly important stories, but completely ignores the revolution in Bahrain and our government's opposition to it. Sad to say, but mainstream television news is once again covering up the misdeeds of the US government abroad.

Al Jazeera English has done a great job covering the revolution in Bahrain, their documentary, "Bahrain: Shouting in the dark" is an example of journalism at its finest. I highly recomend it. However, Mona Elthaway made an impassioned case that Al Jazeera Arabic denied its listeners such knowledge because they decided, "some peoples' freedom and dignity are more important than others."