Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #95 “Recall The FDA”

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Last week’s edition of this column discussed the areas of water and air pollution, where we probably need the government’s involvement for the health and safety of the general public.  But there is another area where most people believe we need government involvement which actually could be much better addressed by the private sector.  This is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Taken from its website, its formal mandate is to be responsible for “protecting and promoting public health through the control and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices, cosmetics, animal foods & feed and veterinary products.”  But in so many ways the FDA actually works against the public’s health and safety.

It is generally agreed that it costs hundreds of millions of dollars for a company to receive an FDA certification for any new products, whether they be pharmaceutical, medical devices or otherwise.  That means that only products that will potentially generate large amounts of income will be pursued.  This in turn means that products that would be of large benefit to small numbers of people or small benefit to large numbers of people will likely be lost because they simply don’t pencil out.  In addition, the FDA’s involvement adds many years onto the certification process, which means that some people could die or needlessly suffer because of the delay.  Why does it cost so much and take so long?  Because the FDA is a vast bureaucracy in which there are multiple incentives for a bureaucrat not to make a decision.  For example, if an FDA official certifies ten products, and nine of them are successful in saving lives and alleviating pain, etc., but one of them causes upset stomachs or headaches, figuratively that person’s head will roll.  Instead, a private company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratories, could step in and both speed up the process, alleviate suffering and cost much less.  Why?  Because there would be competition among various private companies to do a timely and effective job.  And there still would be accountability, because if the company certified a product that did not perform as advertised, both that manufacturer and certifying company could be successfully sued.  Unlike with air and water pollution, it would be clear who the manufacturer and certifier were, so they could be held responsible for their products and representations.  So once again, in this area, as well as almost all others, Liberty results in better outcomes than Big Government.

 

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayoai, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Thursday, November 24, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #93 “There Must Be A Balance”

6a00d83451721569e2017c330a31db970b       For the past 92 editions this column has advocated the benefits of Liberty as opposed to Big Government.  But this does not mean that greater Liberty and a lessening of government always produce the best results.  The “reset button” should always favor Liberty, but sometimes there must also be a balance.  This point was reinforced again when a great friend of mine recently sent me the book Leaded: The Poisoning of Idaho’s Silver Valley by Michael C. Mix (Oregon State University Press, 2016).  In this book, Dr. Mix traces the history of mining in Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Valley from its beginning in the 1880s, when the area was truly pristine and even sublime, until the last large mining operations closed in December of 1981, after which the area was soon designated as one of the most polluted of the Superfund sites.

       Most harms inflicted by people, companies or even governments can be effectively addressed through our civil justice system.  Ideally, even with the pollution of rivers and streams, the injured downstream parties can successfully sue the upstream polluters.  But, as a practical matter, this sometimes is not a sufficient remedy because it can be hard to prove or even determine where the pollution like lead or sulfur dioxide actually came from, or how much came from where, or whether the pollution was the actual cause of the subject injuries.  And those problems can be compounded when it comes to air pollution.  Furthermore, it can be hard successfully to sue large polluting companies, which often have an abundance of influence and resources to use for their defense.  So sometimes we do need government statutes like the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Clean Water Act of 1972, as well as their accompanying regulations to implement and enforce them.  As has been stated in this column numerous times, Liberty demands responsibility, and sometimes it takes government regulations to achieve that end.  But the bureaucracy enforcing the regulations should be continually monitored to keep from getting too large or despotic, and it should be used only in those rare cases in which enforcing property rights is difficult and using things like effluent taxes don’t achieve the socially desired results.  So the balance almost always favors Liberty, but in some limited circumstances there can be a blend.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayoai, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #92 “Liberty in Voting”

untitled    Under our nation’s laws governing presidential elections, each state is empowered to choose how their citizens’ votes will count in the Electoral College.  Most states have chosen a “winner takes all” system.  The exceptions are Maine and Nebraska.  In those states, the winner of the popular vote receives two Electoral College votes, and the winners of the two individual congressional districts in Maine and three in Nebraska receive one vote each.  But there are other systems that would bring more Liberty in voting, so that people could both vote their consciences and also keep from “wasting their vote” by voting their consciences.  The most promising systems are “Instant Runoff Voting” and “Approval Voting.”

Instant Runoff allows people to vote for their favorite candidates, and also for their second choice at the same time.  Then if their first choice doesn’t win, and no other candidate received 50 percent of the votes plus one, there would be an immediate “runoff” between the top two remaining candidates in the race.  In the runoff the lowest candidates would be eliminated, and there would be a recount.  Voters who still had a candidate among the top two would have their votes counted.  In Approval Voting, people would vote for all candidates of whom they approved or accepted, but no one could vote more than once for any one candidate.  Then the votes would be tabulated, with the highest vote-getter winning the election.  Under that system if voters pretty much would be content with Candidate A or B, but really disapproved of Candidate C, their vote would count for Candidate C not to win the election.  In both of these systems, people could vote for the “best” candidate, but still have their choice for the “lesser of two evils” votes counted.  In that way, there would be much more Liberty in voting.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayoai, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #91 “Election Post-Mortum”

7357379_origHere are some observations and final thoughts about the 2016 presidential election:

  1. How could this have happened to us?  I have never seen a presidential election with so few bumperstickers .  To me that means that most voters were unenthusiastic about the candidates they voted for.
  2. Money still means much too much in elections, particularly national ones.  Arianna Huffington once jokingly said that we should do away with the elections, and simply give the job to the person who raises the most money.  Can this somehow be changed?
  3. Although most people decry negative campaigning, it is still often much more effective than discussing issues – especially this year!
  4. Campaign pros focus on the “3 M’s” of an election: Money, Momentum and Message.  This election added one more: Misery.
  5. Common decency still is not common.
  6. More “sunset laws” should be passed and enforced.  That would mean that all laws would have to be reviewed and re-passed every five or so years, or they would expire.  This would keep more people focused on issues and reduce crony capitalism, which is defined as laws that favor some special interests over others.
  7. It almost always feels better to vote in favor of a candidate than against one.  (So I feel good about my vote for Governor Gary Johnson!)
  8. Don’t be afraid!  We are a resilient people.  But concentrate on the Golden Rule, and remind others to do the same.
  9. The criteria used to invite candidates to participate in the three final presidential and one vice presidential debates must be changed.  Both the candidates for the Libertarian and Green Parties were on the ballots in enough states technically to win the presidency.  Had they been able to be in the debates, it would have changed the face and results of the election, where we reaped the results of an unworkable two-party system.

   The most achievable of these changes is that dealing with the presidential debates.  When the League of Women Voters oversaw those debates, the candidates of any political party that were on enough ballots technically to win the presidency were invited to participate.  But when the Republican and Democratic National Parties gained control of the Commission on Presidential Debates and changed that criterion the League left, saying publicly that it would not be a part of the “hoodwinking of America.”  At this moment, the Libertarian and Green Parties, as well as their 2012 presidential and vice presidential candidates, have a lawsuit against the Commission and the main two parties to change back to the way it was before.  If you would like to donate to this cause, please contact me and I will provide you with the necessary information.  In my view, this in many ways is the biggest investment anyone can make in our great country, and in Liberty!  And that will keep the 2020 election from a repeat of 2016.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayoai, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.

 




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Thursday, November 3, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #90 “The Importance of Your Vote for Liberty”

99a3f0e6e2ac09e2d96145fe3d41c7ef-350x196As I hope you have noticed, for the past 89 weeks this series has focused upon how Liberty in so many circumstances more positively and effectively addresses and resolves issues and problems in our world than Big Government.  And this has been shown to be true in many areas, including justice, the tax code, education, healthcare, security, immigration, international relations and many more.  In addition, I anticipate that you have noticed my assertions that Libertarian Gary Johnson is the only presidential candidate who would consistently employ Liberty in Washington, just as he did as the two-term governor of New Mexico.  In fact, this directly led to his campaign slogan “Good Government is Easy: Watch!”  Well, the presidential election is now upon us, but Governor Johnson will not win it outright. (He could still win if the election is sent to the House of Representatives under the 12th Amendment.)   Why won’t he win it outright?  Because even though he is on the ballots in all 50 states, he was not included in the presidential debates, which is the Super Bowl of presidential politics.  And he was not included because the debates are completely controlled by the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates which, in turn, is completely controlled by high-ranking Democrats and Republicans.

2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayoai, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Monday, October 24, 2016

Gov. Gary Johnson in New Video: Our Foreign Policy has been a series Of “Erratic Chess Moves”

In lieu of a 2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty this week, I am sending to you this 5 ½ minute video of Governor Gary Johnson discussing our nation’s foreign policy for the last how many years.  In this video you will see the Gary Johnson that I know, and I wanted you to know him too.  But time is short, so please pass this on to your social media world, because this is THE candidate who can both lead and unite our great country!

We get the government we deserve, and recently we have not been doing a particularly good job.  This can change with GGJ.

Thank you, and Life is Good!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)

 

Oct. 13, 2016, Salt Lake City, UT — In a new Internet video focused on foreign policy, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson says, “We need a chess player in the White House, and we need policies guided by principle, not politics.”

 

Citing the foreign policy of the past two Administrations, Johnson says, “We know that the erratic military interventions of the past 15 years have not made Americans safer. And it’s pretty difficult to see how we’ve  made anyone else safer either.

“Is Iraq better off today than it was before we invaded? Is Libya more stable or ‘safer’ since we helped topple its government?  15 years later, is Afghanistan any more democratic or safer than it was before we made it the subject in a nation-building experiment? And in Syria today, are our bombs actually stopping a massive human tragedy?

“And then, the most  important question is: Has any of this made America safer, freer or more secure? The answer, unfortunately, is NO.”

Outlining an approach focused on clear objectives, Johnson continues, “First, let’s be absolutely clear. The President’s first and most solemn responsibility is to keep us and our freedoms safe, especially from foreign attack. If the government does nothing else, it must do that.

“Keeping us safe means having a military capability that is unquestionably second to none. And if we stop asking our military to intervene in civil wars, build nations and replace the government of other nations, we can afford to defend ourselves without bankrupting ourselves.

“Our foreign policy must support America’s interests — the most important being our own security. That seems obvious, but for some time now, that hasn’t been the case.

“We must expect and demand that other nations shoulder the responsibility for their own defense and economic well-being. We are broke. We’ll honor our commitments to NATO and the agreements we have with allies, but we can’t keep picking up the tab for  the national defense and economies of other nations.

“We must not ask our military to engage in conflicts without a clear mission and clear authorization. In Afghanistan and Iraq, what were our objectives — and when could we possibly know when “mission accomplished” arrived?

“We have the finest military in the world, and the finest men and women serving in it. They deserve better than being sent on impossible missions with no clear purpose. They signed up to protect and defend America — not to risk their lives in civil wars without even knowing for sure which side they are fighting on.

“And when we send our military out to risk their lives, the least we can do is give them the support of constitutional authorization from Congress. As President, I will honor the Constitution and insist on congressional authorization if and when it comes time to send our troops into harm’s way.”

 

###

www.JohnsonWeld.com




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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #88 “Liberty And Some Forms Of Gambling”

judge-jim-gray-1024x686How/why can the government prohibit us from gambling?  Because gambling addictions can ruin people’s lives, or enrich some unsavory people?  Because often gambling proceeds are untaxed?  Because gambling is immoral?  Etc. and etc.  Okay, then how/why can government approve or at least allow some types of gambling for adults, such as horse or dog racing, state-run lotteries (note the irony?) and almost all forms of gambling in places like Las Vegas and at Indian casinos?  In fact, how is that gambling essentially different than “playing the stock market,” or even fishing?

Of course, gambling has been around since the beginning of civilization, to the degree that it is often known as the second-oldest profession.  And it certainly can have some bad results if it becomes an addiction.  But so can smoking cigarettes or even reading mystery novels.  And if legalized gambling is so harmful or immoral, why haven’t the residents of Nevada, Jersey City, Macau and Monaco all become destitute?  In truth, government’s prohibition of some selected forms of gambling represents the naked attempt by some powerful people to control the lives and life styles of less powerful people.  New York’s Mayor Bloomberg attempted to do the same thing in regulating the size of soft drinks people could buy.  Not only are these efforts almost never successful, they are also a violation of Liberty!  The government is not our mother – and it simply should not attempt to be.  Yes, it is fully appropriate for government to protect us from each other, but almost totally inappropriate (and mostly ineffective) to try to protect us from ourselves.  So in this way, and so many others, government simply should get out of our lives!  More limited government works better, and it is also a question of Liberty!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Monday, October 17, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #87 ”Do America A Big Favor”

James_P._Gray_Web_t479So we now have seen the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, which any neutral observer would define as much more of an entertainment spectacle than a substantive discussion of the issues.  Indeed, much of the entertainment consisted of a sophomoric exchange of falsehoods and panderings to various interest groups.  Instead of being presidential, it was more like watching a reality show or an episode of “House of Cards.”  So let’s all do America a Big Favor, and lobby, argue and advocate for a third candidate to be in the last two debates!

Gary Johnson, the former two-term Republican governor in the heavily Democrat state of New Mexico, should be invited to participate.  This Libertarian will be on the ballots in all 50 states, which in itself shows that he is truly a serious candidate.  His voice not only would be welcome, it must be heard.  Governor Johnson may not always be the most assertive or calculating politician, but he would ALWAYS be the best President!  And in addition to being the most meritorious, balanced and even-tempered candidate in the race, he also brings another major asset to the table: if elected he would install a coalition government.  Governor Johnson would seek out and appoint on their merits community-minded public servants who are not only Libertarians and Independents, but also Republicans and Democrats – as long as they agree with the Libertarian values of financial responsibility, social inclusiveness and Liberty.  Meritorious and diverse appointments, what a concept!  And what a way to overcome the deep polarization and gridlock that will surely continue to extremes in either a Clinton or Trump administration.  Governor Johnson formed and ran his own successful construction business and was also a successful two-term governor.  So he captures the best of the other candidates, but he doesn’t have their baggage.  He is not a bully, and throughout both his personal and public life there has not even been a hint of scandal.  As a result, we would be doing ourselves, our children, our country and even the world a big favor by doing our part to get him in the debates.  We get the government we deserve, and so far we have not been doing a particularly good job.  But that can, and must, be changed!

 Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice
President, along with Governor
Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #86 ”Liberty and Progress”

johnsongray-2012If the government controlled the development of goods and services do you believe technology would be anywhere close to where it is today – in anything?  Of course not, because government has far fewer incentives to take risks and be creative.  Actually the same thing is true regarding big established companies, as opposed to smaller or at least younger ones.  For example, let’s talk about the automobile.

                GM, Ford and Toyota have been much more risk-averse in the development of new automobile technology than the upstarts Google, Tesla and Uber.  But thanks to Liberty in the form of competition and free-entry into the marketplace, these new young companies have spearheaded the technology of cars that drive themselves.  And when this becomes pervasive (in about 10 to 15 years?), this could convert those tedious commutes into work, play or nap sessions, which could truly revolutionize our lives.  But this is not the only revolution, because soon we will probably be able to “summon” our cars from our garage or parking spaces, or even make the owning of a car obsolete with a system of car-sharing.  And if/when that happens, think of the garage and parking spaces that will be freed up for better uses, and the lowering of car insurance premiums.  Isn’t Liberty a wonderful thing?

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)                         

2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice

President, along with Governor 

Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And by the way, now I am on Facebook at Facebook at http://ift.tt/1KPuMEA, LinkedIn at http://ift.tt/1cAMtZD, and Twitter with username as @JudgeJimGrayOAI, or twitter.com/JudgeJimGrayOAI.  Please visit these sites, and pass them along to your social world.

 

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Friday, October 14, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #85 ”Liberty and Government Over-Regulation”

maxresdefaultCompanies and employers are constantly being regulated – by their customers, employees and competitors.  That means that if a company gets “bad marks” from its “regulators” it loses revenue, loses its employees to other businesses, or even goes out of business,.  Of course government does have a place in regulating the marketplace.  Sometimes some companies get such a market share that they can forcibly restrain trade, and some employers are predators that take unfair advantage of their workers.  But regulations should be used only when market forces and the criminal laws are ineffective.  So we need far less than regulation than we have today.  Not only is it a question of better results for more people, it is a question of Liberty! 

Shockingly, and as shown in the August/September issue of Reason Magazine, the number of pages in the Code of Federal Regulations has increased from 19,335 in 1949, to 134,261 in 2005 and 175,268 in 2014.  This has resulted in such high compliance costs that per capita income in our country would have been about four times higher in 2011 had the 1949-style of regulations still been in effect.  In other words, there has been a hidden tax of about $15,000 per year per household caused by government over-regulation.  The beneficiaries of these regulations are often the status quo vested interests (or crony capitalists) who use the regulatory system to block innovation and competition.  But the losers are the innovative entrepreneurs, as well as their customers – namely the rest of us – who could have purchased lower cost and higher quality goods and services.  One thing Libertarian candidate Governor Gary Johnson would do as president would be to institute a non-partisan commission to find laws and regulations that are duplicative, unnecessary and even harmful and push for their repeal.  Not only would this help all of us as customers, it would also be a strike for Liberty.  

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)                         

2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice

President, along with Governor 

Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

 

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And by the way, now I am on Facebook at Facebook at http://ift.tt/1KPuMEA, LinkedIn at http://ift.tt/1cAMtZD, and Twitter with username as @JudgeJimGrayOAI, or twitter.com/JudgeJimGrayOAI.  Please visit these sites, and pass them along to your social world.

 

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #84 “Threats to Groups that Thrive on Liberty”

GrayThe Democratic candidate for president is threatening to do damage to at least six groups that thrive on Liberty.  Why?  Because many of those groups are challenging vested interests to which she is beholden.  But the Libertarian candidates of Governors Johnson and Weld will support them.  These six groups are home-schoolers, charter school supporters, concealed-carry permit holders, fracking workers, users of e-cigarettes and vapor products, and Uber drivers and others in the “sharing” economy.  So everyone who is in or supportive of those groups should realize that their liberties are being threatened, and they should vote accordingly.

                The common denominator for each of these six groups is Liberty.  For example, since parents are in a much better position to decide where and how their children should be educated, society should not only allow but should encourage parents to be active in being involved in those decisions.  Thus home schooling and charter schools, where Liberty, choice and competition are pervasive, should be encouraged.  Although there certainly should be some restrictions upon people who have shown propensities for violence or mental illness, concealed-carry is a Liberty that should not be restricted for honest citizens.  Similarly, although the stopping of fracking has in many ways become a symbol for saving the environment, science has not proved this to be the case.  And fracking is a material source of energy independence, as well as 100s of thousands of jobs.  In addition, fracking in our country results in increased national security because it drives down the price of oil and gas, which materially reduces the ability of exporting regimes such as Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran to do mischief.  On a different but related subject, today more than 9 million Americans vape.  Maybe some of them do that instead of smoking cigarettes, or maybe some people start with vaping on the way up to smoking cigarettes.  But the government should focus upon getting honest information into the marketplace instead of adding vaping products to its long list of prohibited items.  And the future is Uber, Airbnb and other technologies that provide quality and low-priced goods and services to their consumers.  In other words, Liberty works in all of these diverse areas.  But Liberty is under attack.  Yes, the government has a part to play in requiring responsibility and setting up systems that place honest information into the marketplace.  But otherwise, decisions in these areas should be left to consumers instead of the government, which is so strongly influenced by vested interests.

 

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)                         

2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice

President, along with Governor 

Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #83 “The Liberty to Appreciate”

James-GrayRecently my good and thoughtful friend Judge Frank Firmat (Ret.) and I were talking about how blessed we are.  And all the more so because we appreciate our blessings.  For example, only one in 20 people in the world live in America, and often, as in my case, by a sheer “luck of the draw.”  Millions of people all around the world would give virtually anything to live where we live.  Furthermore, we are healthy, blessed with a moderate amount of intelligence, have good friends and family, have many interesting experiences and can be well paid for our time.

                But Frank’s approach takes us beyond even this appreciation.  We should literally “taste and relish” how good and special life is.  So, as he recommends it, we should take special care to “put a speed-bump” in our day – and affirmatively notice our blessings.  “Treat extraordinary moments extraordinarily!”  Hugs from family and friends, the companionship of animals, a hot dog at the ball game, the glory of a full moon, a moving painting or a sinful desert.  The list can go on and on, but Liberty puts us in charge of our lives, emotions and attitudes. Don’t forget to notice what we have, because Life is Good!  And all the more so if you give yourself the Liberty to appreciate it!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)                         

2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice

President, along with Governor 

Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

 

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And by the way, now I am on Facebook at Facebook at http://ift.tt/1KPuMEA, LinkedIn at http://ift.tt/1cAMtZD, and Twitter with username as @JudgeJimGrayOAI, or twitter.com/JudgeJimGrayOAI.  Please visit these sites, and pass them along to your social world.

 

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #82 “Are You Scared of Liberty?”

Judge-Jim-GraySince I am currently writing a musical about the Constitutional Convention, I am particularly aware of the debates by and feelings of the Founding Fathers as they struggled to create what would become the greatest document of the Age of Enlightenment.  And any inquiry will readily disclose that the Founding Fathers felt that the most important function of government was to protect individual liberties from government encroachment.  (The second most important function was to keep us safe from foreign nations and from each other.)  Furthermore, and to hammer the point home, the 9th Amendment to the Constitution says that enumerating some rights to the government does not deny other rights retained by the People, and the 10th Amendment mandates that all powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved for the States and the People.  In addition, pronouncements about the importance of Liberty are ubiquitous both from their times right up until the present.  For example, the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence addresses “Unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” the Preamble to the Constitution is designed to “Secure the Blessings of Liberty,” our Flag Salute ends “With Liberty and Justice for All,” and the word “LIBERTY” is written boldly on all of our coins.  So Liberty is in our genes.

                But today in so many ways we are only giving lip service to Liberty, and this would horrify the Founding Fathers.  Consider only how the federal government has taken control of our public education and healthcare systems.  You will search in vain for anything in the Constitution that delegates such power to the federal government, but we have allowed it to occur. There are two main reasons for this.  First, there is a natural tendency of government continually to increase its power, intrusion and funding.  Those increases in the federal government during the last several decades are unmistakable.  Second, many people are actually scared of Liberty, and the federal government promotes this fear.  For example, many people are conditioned to feel that they need the government to take care of them, i.e. they need the Nanny State.  Plus the government continues to harp upon such things as the dangers of terrorism, which can only be thwarted by us giving up a little bit more of our Liberties.  But the responses to each of those concerns are best set forth by the comments of Henry Ford, who said “Anyone who feels they can thrive by relying upon the government should talk to the American Indian,” and by Benjamin Franklin, who said “Any people who feel that they can gain a little more security by giving up a little more Liberty deserve neither.”  Of course, no system is perfect, but in deciding how to govern ourselves we should also listen to Milton Friedman who, in effect, said “If you feel that you can be protected by the so-called ‘Angels of Government,’ where have they been so far?  Why haven’t they yet come forward?”  In short, people generally act in their own self-interest, which basically means that we should trust ourselves more than we trust politicians.  So please consider this critically important situation.  If you do, I believe you will come to agree with the Founding Fathers, and stand up for Liberty!  And don’t be scared, because Liberty works!    

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)                         

2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice

President, along with Governor 

Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

 

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Monday, October 10, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #81 “Liberty Undermined by Institutional Corruption”

2012_2_15_EfpcI6at4Vw2alrHXjkl83Like the old saying goes, “Money Talks.”  And, on the issue of medical marijuana, money has resulted in the institutional corruption of the federal government.  This is a harsh charge, but demonstrably true.  How so?  Because the federal government, on the one hand, classifies the natural cannabis (marijuana) plant as a Schedule I Drug – which by definition means that it has no medical value whatsoever, joining heroin and LSD – at the same time it classifies Marinol, which is a synthetic marijuana, as a Schedule III drug, like Tylenol with Codeine.  Therefore marijuana cannot be prescribed by a medical doctor, but Marinol can be.  How could this inconsistency occur?  The answer is that a plant cannot be patented, but a synthetic substance can be.  So big pharmaceutical money has corrupted the federal government’s decisions by successfully lobbing for different treatment for marijuana and Marinol. 

                The federal government controls and mostly prohibits studies about the medical benefits of cannabis.  So even though many quality medical institutions like the University of California and the Centers for Disease Control have long requested to be granted the authority to conduct some studies, those requests have been denied.  But many studies in Israel and elsewhere have shown that cannabis is effective in the treatment of diseases and conditions like glaucoma, skin cancer, chronic pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, nerve pain and epilepsy.  (These findings were consistent with those found by DEA Administrative Judge Francis Young after taking months of testimony, who also found that marijuana is substantially less dangerous than alcohol.  But his findings were also ignored, and fairly soon after they were made public, Judge Young was no longer employed by the DEA.)  So now just a few weeks ago the federal government again declined to change its scheduling on natural marijuana.  Could that conclusion be spurred by the recent findings of the University of Georgia that in the 17 states studied where medical marijuana is now legal, prescriptions for painkillers and seizure medicines went down by $65 million?  If you agree that this is a corruption, one way to confront it is to stand up for Liberty and join me in voting in favor of California’s Proposition 64 this coming November, which would authorize the recreational use of marijuana for adults.  Passing that proposition would strongly tell both the federal government and big pharmaceutical companies that we disapprove of both their motives and their actions regarding medical and recreational marijuana.

 

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)                         

2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice

President, along with Governor 

Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

 

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And by the way, now I am on Facebook at Facebook at http://ift.tt/1KPuMEA, LinkedIn at http://ift.tt/1cAMtZD, and Twitter with username as @JudgeJimGrayOAI, or twitter.com/JudgeJimGrayOAI.  Please visit these sites, and pass them along to your social world.

 

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Sunday, October 9, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #80 “The Liberty to Fail”

e7c0fed16153ef4ecc056b30db844849b9bc46b9I have two friends whom I met while I was a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.  After they left that office, they formed law partnership, but their real passion was establishing a restaurant.  So as they went along they put their resources into a restaurant and tried to make it work.  But it didn’t.  So they continued to practice law, and tried again – with the same results.  Unfazed, they tried it a third time, and now they are the owners of California Pizza Kitchen.  (They don’t practice law anymore. . . .)

                My friends demonstrated the benefits of having the Liberty to Fail.  And they were able to develop the Grit eventually to succeed because no one stepped in to shield them from their prior failures.  Unfortunately so many of our children today, often with their “hovering” or “tractoring” parents, are being deprived of the benefit of developing that Grit.  Psychologist Angela Duckworth defines that Grit as “perseverance, plus the exclusive pursuit of a single passion.”  And if children, or anyone else, are deprived of the opportunity of experiencing setbacks, much less overcoming them, the odds of developing that Grit – that “spit in your eye” attitude – will be seriously diminished.  So struggling is often not a signal for alarm, because tackling problems that exceed one’s current skillset can be a good thing.  Yes, society should voluntarily implement a Safety Net below which no one should be allowed to fall.  But that should not be utilized to deprive our people – young and old – of the Liberty to Fail.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)                         

2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice

President, along with Governor 

Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And by the way, now I am on Facebook at Facebook at http://ift.tt/1KPuMEA, LinkedIn at http://ift.tt/1cAMtZD, and Twitter with username as @JudgeJimGrayOAI, or twitter.com/JudgeJimGrayOAI.  Please visit these sites, and pass them along to your social world.

 

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Saturday, October 8, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #79 “Liberty Means Choice in Education!”

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We as a nation must decide what the purpose is for our educational system: educating our children (What a concept!), or protecting below-average teachers.  Tragically we all know that for decades we have chosen the latter.  But it should be a fundamental liberty for parents to have the choice of where and how the government money will be spent to educate their children.  If they were to be so empowered, they would demand excellence and, if the results seen in 51 school choice programs around the country are to be believed, they would receive it!  How does that happen?  Ask yourself, how is it that today we have high quality computers, cell phones and automobiles on the market for a reasonable price?  The answer is, of course, that we have competition in those industries.  Education is no different. 

So parents should be empowered to choose the best schools to meet the needs of their children, whether the schools be public, private, military, religious or vocational, as long as fundamental educational standards are met for teaching “reading, writing and rithmetic,” etc.  But, you ask, wouldn’t that violate the doctrine of the Separation of Church and State?  Actually no.  This would be no different than Veterans choosing where their GI Bill benefits are to be spent, whether their colleges be UCLA, Notre Dame, Temple University or Holy Cross.  Why, because it is the Veteran who is choosing, not the government.  School Choice for K – 12 is no different.  Today more than 337,000 students are utilizing school choice programs in 24 states and Washington D.C. to access education that works for them.  In addition, there are almost an additional million families who are using individual tax credits and deductions for educational expenses that are achieving the same results.  So, once again, Liberty works, both from a philosophical standpoint as well as a practical one!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)                         

2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice

President, along with Governor 

Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And by the way, now I am on Facebook at Facebook at http://ift.tt/1KPuMEA, LinkedIn at http://ift.tt/1cAMtZD, and Twitter with username as @JudgeJimGrayOAI, or twitter.com/JudgeJimGrayOAI.  Please visit these sites, and pass them along to your social world.

 

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Friday, September 9, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #77 “America in Name Only?”

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                Although it is true that we suffer from the Original Sin of Slavery, since its creation America has in so many ways been the Hope of and Promise for a Better World.  Benjamin Franklin, often called the Sage of the Constitution, famously was heard to respond to the question: “Well Doctor, what kind of government have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” by saying: “Madam, it’s a Republic, if you can keep it.”  There are many trite phrases that Freedom is not Free, that it takes Courage to be Free, and Liberty takes Constant Vigilance – and they are all correct.  So now the mantle of keeping our Republic has been passed on to us.  But in many ways we are at risk of becoming America in name only!

                Today many people feel that we are besieged by terrorists and other threats to our safety.  And this climate of fear has resulted in a tangible loss of our personal freedoms and protections against government intrusions into our private lives – always done in the name of safety.  But Thomas Jefferson, that Great Libertarian, once stated that he would prefer to live in the dangerous world of freedom than in the safe world of slavery.  And Benjamin Franklin ratified that comment by saying that a people who give up a little freedom to have a little more safety deserve neither.  Do you agree with these two great men?  If so, please help us Libertarians protect our rights and liberties against this continual attack by our government.  Let’s Keep America the Land of the Free!  Our Founding Fathers are rooting for us!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)                         

2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice

President, along with Governor 

Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And by the way, now I am on Facebook at Facebook at http://ift.tt/1KPuMEA, LinkedIn at http://ift.tt/1cAMtZD, and Twitter with username as @JudgeJimGrayOAI, or twitter.com/JudgeJimGrayOAI.  Please visit these sites, and pass them along to your social world.

 

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #74 “Respect for the Symbol of Liberty”

iStock_000009330394_Full_RESIZED2Happy 4th of July!  But along with all of the hotdogs, fireworks and other festivities don’t forget to raise a salute to our Great Country – on its birthday!  And also don’t forget to fly the Stars and Stripes. This is not only the third-oldest standard of the world (only the Union Jack of Great Britain and the Tricolor of France have been used longer), it is also the symbol of Liberty.  So it should be respected!

                To provide as accurate information as I could about respecting our flag I consulted with a Veterans of Foreign Wars handout entitled “Etiquette of the Stars and Stripes.”  Here are some of the rules that it listed:

  1. The Flag should be displayed only from sunrise to sunset, unless it is properly illuminated during the hours of darkness;
  2. The Flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously;
  3. The Flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed;
  4. The Flag should be displayed on all special days;
  5. The Flag should never be dipped to any person or thing;
  6. The Flag should not be allowed to touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, floor, water or merchandise;
  7. The Flag should never be used as a table cover or receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying or delivering anything; and,
  8. The Flag should never be used for any advertising purposes whatsoever.

All of these rules are voluntary, so I do not recommend threatening your neighbors with sanctions if they forget to take their Flag down tonight as it gets dark.  But sometimes a quiet reminder to those neighbors might be a nice thing to do – for the respect of the symbol of everything we are as Americans, and everything we hope to be.




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