Sunday, August 28, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #68 “Liberty and Incentives”

grayOf course, to make decisions freely, people must have Liberty.   But it is also a universal truth that people respond to incentives.  For example, when we were traveling in Egypt we noticed that many people were living on the first and second floors of four-story houses, where the third and fourth floors were still only outlined in rebar.  And the reason?  Owners are not required to pay property taxes on unfinished houses.  So there is an incentive never to finish construction.  Similarly, when we were recently traveling in Italy we noticed that, instead of having real windows, many houses simply had windows painted on the outside of them.  And what was the reason for that?  Property taxes are computed by the number of actual windows on a house.  So painted windows maintain the outside symmetry of the house, but taxes are reduced.

                All of this means that government – and everybody else – should always be aware of the incentives they are creating.  If we reward laziness and victimization, there will be more of that.  And if we penalize success and hard work, we will have less of that.  That is why we Libertarians advocate so strongly for keeping the government out of the marketplace.  Honest competition and customer choice with computers, cell phones, automobiles and toothpaste have resulted in higher quality and lower-priced products.  The same would be true with schools, medicine and even highway maintenance.  So the “default setting” on most laws, taxes, regulations and programs should be upon less influence by government in the choices to be made.  Why?  Because people are much more flexible than governments, and if there is a way to beat the system, most often they will find it.  In other words, incentives matter!

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, August 27, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #67 “Where are Those Heroes in Government?”

280x157-z71Milton Friedman once posed the question that if people believe that government will come forward and bring prosperity for all, why have we not yet seen those heroes in government produce those wonderful results?  The answer basically is seen in the words of Thomas Sowell, who said “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”  Of course, this simply emphasizes the fact that there is an enormous difference between a government of good stated intentions, and a government that actually produces positive results. 

                Obviously, if someone in the business world makes a stupid decision there is a price to be paid. But it is a commonly understood maxim in politics that reality is irrelevant – the only thing that matters is the voters’ perception of reality.  Consequently, and as one of my best friends puts it, to get a good decision we should impose the costs of a bad decision upon the decision-maker.   This can be done most effectively by having more decisions made under the rigors of the Liberty and responsibility of the marketplace, which would have fewer decisions made by those in government.  Examples of this are seen in the areas of education, healthcare and even the leasing of grazing lands.  In all of these areas the government and its bureaucrats promise good results, but pay no price for bad decisions.  Only We the People can change this.

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, August 26, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #66 “No Liberty Without Justice for All”

0 (4)   One of the most timeless Libertarian statements was made by Thomas Jefferson, who said “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.  It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”  Thus, in large part, the Jefferson and Libertarian’s political philosophy is to Live and Let Live.  But that philosophy doesn’t function without a strong system of justice, which serves at least four important functions.  First, it must protect us from each other (You can’t wrongly break my leg); second, it must protect our property (or pick my pocket); third, it must enforce our voluntary legal promises (i.e. contracts) and warranties; and fourth, it must enforce reasonable regulations that truly promote and protect the general health, safety and welfare.

                So Liberty is not at all a system of Anything Goes – far from it!  We must have reasonable laws and regulations – and not only must they be enforced, people must believe they will be enforced.  That means there must be consequences for those who wrongly infringe upon other people’s health, safety or property.  And an economic system will collapse if voluntary legal contracts and warranties are not enforced, because they bring a healthy foreseeability and stability to the business world.  And, given the complexity and scarcities in today’s world, we must also have some reasonable regulations for the general welfare.  But within that framework, Liberty and prosperity for all can be maximized.  So when considering or forming your own political philosophy, be sure to include a provision for a fair, neutral and enforceable justice system.  Liberty and prosperity for all will thrive!

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, August 25, 2016

Dual Purpose of 2 Paragraphs

563554051

Hi respected recipient of my weekly “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty,”

Candidly the dual purpose of sending out these weekly editions is both to promote honest discussions about Liberty, and to promote the candidacy of Governor Gary Johnson as the 2016 Libertarian candidate for President.  I have told Governor Johnson that if he asks me to be his running mate again in 2016, it would be my honor to do so.  Why?  Because he is the most qualified person to be president that I know of! 

In case you are not aware of his background, he started his own handyman company from his garage when he was in college, and turned it into one of the largest construction companies in New Mexico.  He had 1,000 employees, made payroll, and worked well with everyone.  Then, without ever having run for political office before, he ran for, and won, the election for Governor of New Mexico as a Republican.  And as a two-term Governor, he not only worked well with the legislature in a Democratic state, as best we can determine, he vetoed more excessive spending measures than all other 49 governors combined.  This left the state with a billion-dollar surplus when he left office.  And this came at the expense of political cronies who normally feast upon  government revenues.

So, in an effort for you to better get to know Governor Johnson, I ask you to do two things.  First, please look at the enclosed information.  And, second, please go to www.ISideWith.com, take the short test, and see which present presidential candidate you side with most closely on the issues.  I took it and I sided with Governor Johnson 94 percent of the time.  But, after I excluded the Libertarians on the quiz, the candidate I sided most closely with was Bernie Sanders.  Why?  Because, after excluding financial issues where we simply and fundamentally disagree with each other, we agree on most social, military, and Liberty issues. 

This election between the anticipated Republican and Democratic candidates is frustrating and even scary to me and to most voters.  But we have a choice: one that is enormously experienced and qualified, and who will be on the ballots in all 50 states.  Governor Gary Johnson.  Please look into who he is, what he believes and, most importantly, what he has done.  I believe that this will both give you hope, and also make you proud.  And please forward this message on to your social media friends.   I anticipate that they could use some encouragement too!

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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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #65 “Liberty bequeathed by John Adams”

Judge1To state the obvious, our Constitution did not fall from the sky.  This greatest product of the Enlightenment was the result of a need, a gathering of caring and educated people, and compromise.  The Founding Fathers not only had to draft a document that would work, they had to draft one that the states would ratify – so that meant they had to compromise, even on sine important things.  But the main issue in our experiment in Self-Government was the concern that one person, or group of people, would become too powerful and thus control our government and diminish our Liberty.  So, using guidance from the philosophical and practical of the writings of John Adams, who was hugely instrumental in the writing of the Massachusetts Constitution, our United States Constitution was created.

                As any threshold reading of the Constitution shows, it attempts to balance power.  Thus each of the three branches of government was designed to have a meaningful check upon the others.  Unfortunately, we have gotten away from that approach.  So here are three recommendations that I am sure John Adams would pass along to us today if he were here:  1) We should emphasize to each member of Congress that Compromise not only is not a dirty word, it is in our nation’s heritage;  2) We should remind our presidential candidates that they are not running for King or Queen, just to be the head of the Executive Branch; and  3) We should strongly resist ALL efforts to politicize our Judiciary.  As citizens of the greatest country in the history of the world, we have a duty to protect and maintain the liberties and form of government bequeathed to us by John Adams and the other Founding Fathers.  To put it more directly, we deserve the government we get, and if it isn’t working, we have no one to blame but ourselves.  Jean-Jacques Rousseau once said that “I prefer Liberty with danger to peace with slavery.”  As a People, do we stand with him?  And also with John Adams?

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, August 23, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #64 “Liberty and the Two Political Parties”

JudgeJimGray_W141In effect we have only two viable political parties in the United States today: the Democrats and Republicans, on the one hand, and the Libertarians on the other.  How can I say that the Ds and Rs are really only one party?  Because inherently they agree with each other on virtually ALL of the important issues facing our country today.  Certainly individual candidates in those two parties have legitimate fights with each other, but innately the two parties themselves do not.  Here is just a partial list:

  • Military intervention and nation building.
  • Corporate Welfare: They often have different cronies that receive huge amounts of government money, but the approach is the same.  (Crop supports?  I cannot raise corn with the best of them.  So why not pay me money for not raising corn?)
  • The War on Drugs.
  • Over incarceration, and mostly people of color.
  • Continuing government surveillance of our bank accounts, emails, telephone calls and who knows what else without judicial warrants based upon sworn declarations of probable cause.
  • Asset forfeiture laws, which allow seizure of people’s property without being convicted of any criminal charge, much less charged with one.
  • Maintaining complicated tax systems that favor their political constituents.
  • Below-average teachers are supported at the tragic expense of too many children.
  • Gerrymandering the voting districts.
  • A system of immigration that is ineffective and harms literally millions of people.  It is not hard to change, but the Rs and Ds simply don’t want to.  And that is easily proved, because if they wanted to, they would have changed it decades ago.
  • And always the continuing increases in the size, cost and power of the federal government, along with its consistent overspending!

The Libertarian Party alone represents a change away from those conditions.  Thus it stands for responsibility at all levels of society: individual, group, corporate and governmental.  In addition, Libertarians understand and put into force the eternal truth that “We get more of what we subsidize, and less of what we tax.”  So today we get more victimization and laziness, because those are subsidized, and less entrepreneurship and success, because those are taxed.  As a result, most Libertarians would generally address the above issues as follows:

  • Have a strong military, but only use it when our national security or interests are threatened, and only then with a specific statement of goals to be attained.
  • No corporate welfare or bailouts for banks, auto manufacturers, corn or other farmers, or anyone else.
  • Use the criminal justice system to control the actions of adults, instead of what they put into their bodies.
  • Abolish mandatory minimum sentences, and allow judges the discretion to sentence convicted people based upon the individual offenses, the circumstances and the actual harm done to the victims.
  • Repeal the so-called “Patriot Act,” and other intrusions into our lives without judicial warrants, and re-vitalize our nation’s soul, which is its Freedoms and Liberties.
  • Abolish Civil Asset forfeiture, which is an institutional corruption that allows police departments to share in the plunder without even bringing criminal charges against the property owners.
  • Greatly simplify our federal tax system, making it much more fair and comprehensible.
  • Empower parents to choose where their government money is to be spent to educate their children.  As shown in Milwaukee and elsewhere, the parents will insist upon, and receive, excellence.
  • Draw legislative districts based upon population instead of political voting interests.
  • Employ an immigration policy with worker’s visas being issued liberally after, of course, a thorough background check concerning mental health, criminal justice and terrorist issues.  But no welfare programs for people here without citizenship or a Green Card.
  • Pass “Sunset Laws” requiring each federal agency individually to come before Congress on a programed basis and show what it has accomplished in that past period and at what expense, and then require each agency to justify its budget for the next period in the same fashion.  This will reduce overlapping bureaucracies, and shine a light upon what government we actually need, and what we do not.  Libertarians say that the so-called “Debt Ceiling” is a false issue: just don’t spend the money!

So the fundamental political question is: How much government do you want?  In that regard, go to the website www.ISideWith.com, take the 25-question test, submit your answers, and see which of the current presidential candidates you agree with the most.  You will find the results to be really interesting.

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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Monday, August 22, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #63 “Choosing to Have a Safety Net”

judgejimgray_ocregisterI was in the Peace Corps: I care about people.  So I believe we should have a Safety Net for our people.  Not because we have to, because we don’t – we have no legal obligation to support anybody!  But we will because we choose to – because that is who we are.  What do I believe the Safety Net should look like?  (Sorry, this will take more than two paragraphs.)  It should combine a Federal Graduated Flat Tax with the Negative Income Tax proposed by Milton Friedman.

                The flat tax means, with the numbers provided only for purposes of illustration, that no one will pay any federal income taxes on their first $30,000 of earnings: not you, me or Bill Gates – and all differentiations between earned and interest income and capital gains would be dissolved.  Then for every dollar earned between $30,000 and $100,000, each person would pay 11 cents to the government.  No deductions!  For those fortunate to earn between $100,001 and $500,000 in a year, they would pay 19 cents, and those blessed like Kobe Bryant would pay 29 cents for every dollar they earned above $500,000.

                So now what about the poor?  Everyone in our country who is 18 years of age or older and is either a citizen or has a green card who earns no money would receive a stipend from the federal government of $15,000 per year – probably broken into monthly payments of $1,250.  It would not matter if they had lost their jobs, were students or were just plain lazy.  Then for every dollar they earned they would lose 50 cents of that stipend.  This means they would always have an incentive to earn the extra dollar.  (And, as we know, Incentives Matter!)  Thus $30,000 would be the break-even point where people would receive no money but pay no taxes.  Then we eliminate all other forms of welfare – but with the understanding that life can be complicated and some extra provisions would be made for people with truly special needs.

                Although certainly not perfect, this proposed system would be much more efficient, fair and transparent.  It would not only make the amount of taxes we pay abundantly clear, it would also make it clear when politicians were raising (or, imagine that, lowering) our taxes.  Plus it would come close to resolving the homeless problem, because those people would have resources to spend – and the free market responds well in those circumstances.  Yes, to some degree this would be a “Nanny State” program, but it would reflect our values and be far far better than what we are doing now!  So what do you think?

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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2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #62 “The Poison of Something for Nothing”

hqdefaultMargaret Thatcher once famously observed that “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”  But unfortunately the situation is worse than that.  Because, although most political polls show that people are fed up with Washington, they still seem to be flocking to the side of politicians who promise them “something for nothing.”  So now even though we have a $19 trillion public debt, politicians are still promising the voters something for nothing.  This simply must stop, because it is a poison – for everybody!

                And what are the politicians promising?  Things like government-managed retirements, otherwise known as Social Security.  This program takes people’s before-tax revenue, and then eventually dribbles it back to them later in small amounts – and even then requires the recipients to pay income taxes on those payments.  [Imagine how much more those same private investments would have yielded instead!]  And public education.  This almost always costs much more than private schooling, which is competitive and thus almost universally better.  And government-managed healthcare.   It costs more to run that system, and it also costs people more for what they receive – after one considers taxes, premiums, deductibles and co-pays.  [In fact, P. J. O’Rourke had it right when he said “If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it’s free.”]  So this entire approach of reliance upon government has failed us all.  Instead we should get the government out of these areas, trust the free market, and address the problems of poverty straightforwardly by a system of negative income tax.  What would this system be like?  Stay tuned for next week’s column. 

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, August 20, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #61 “One of Liberty’s Forgotten Protectors”

0 (1)History is a curious and fickle thing.  There are many people who actually displayed little fiber or courage and actually accomplished little who are acclaimed in history books, while others who demonstrated great fiber and courage and did a great deal of good are often ignored.  One of the latter who stood resolutely for the sanctity of the Fourth Amendment’s protections against illegal warrantless wiretapping was a man named James Lawrence Fly.  Although barely recognized today, he was the chair of the Federal Communications Commission and the Defense Communications Board from 1940 through the end of World War II. 

                As highlighted in an article in the April 2016 edition of Reason Magazine, Larry Fly was requested by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to provide access to FCC equipment so the FBI could secretly wiretap the telephone communications of large numbers of American people within our country’s borders.  But Fly, knowing that a warrantless wiretap was illegal, flatly turned him down.  Hoover never forgot it, and turned this refusal into a lifelong crusade to punish Fly.  But a free society needs people of principle like Larry Fly because, as we have recently seen by the disclosures by John Snowden, there are always pressures to expand the surveillance state and infringe upon the Liberty of its people.  As stated by Paul Starr, lack of popular trust in the privacy of communications is the benchmark of closed or restrictive regimes.  But it takes vigilance, dedication and often courage to fight for Liberty.  So we are indebted to heroes like Larry Fly, and our history books should reflect – if not tout – just that fact.  And all of us should be inspired and challenged both when we vote and also in our daily actions by this strong protector 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, 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, August 16, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #58 “Partisanships Threat to the Processes of Government”

judge-jim-grey2Last time I looked, Barack Obama is the current President of the United States.  Candidly, I am not a fan of President Obama, and I certainly never voted for him.  But it is the task – if not the Constitutional duty – of a president to submit nominations to the U.S. Senate for federal judicial vacancies.  And it is the Senate’s Constitutional duty to receive and vote upon them based upon merit judicial temperament and judicial philosophy.  I agree that it is not expressly written that the Senate must hold hearings and vote in a timely fashion, but I feel strongly that this can and should be inferred by the express duties that are set forth.  Thus for the “leaders” in the Senate to say in advance that they will not even consider any of the President’s nominees for the vacancy left by the death of Justice Scalia – without even knowing who that nominee will be – is a direct abdication of the Senate’s duty!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)                         

2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice

President, along with Governor 

Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

                Without question, under these political circumstances it is hugely important to our country’s future who will fill that vacancy.  But we have government processes provided by the Constitution, and refusing to follow them – or simply ignoring them – is a direct and fundamental threat to our basic form of government.  Thus Liberty and Responsible Government demand that those processes be honored – even if that might result in some political reversals for some points of view.

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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Monday, August 15, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #57 “Personal Political Presidential Observations”

rsz_judgegrayThree paragraphs for this edition: one for the presidential candidates for each viable political party in the upcoming election!

Of the five remaining Republican candidates only Ohio Governor John Kasich would be an effective candidate and president.  He has practical administrative experience, is a successful governor and works well with people of different political views.  His big downside for me is that he is still a Neanderthal on the issue of drug policy.  The most thoughtful candidate is Dr. Ben Carson, but he is far too laid back ever to win the nomination or even be president.  Mr. Donald Trump deserves credit for bringing focus to numbers of political issues, and he certainly has entertainment value.  But he would be a terrible and unendingly divisive president, and his authoritarian and bullying style would continually bring out divisiveness and rancor.  Fortunately, we will never find out how terrible he would be because he will never win the presidency.  Senator Ted Cruz is simply unelectable because he is so far out of the political mainstream, if only due to his position on abortion.  And Senator Marco Rubio is basically a very nice young man.

Of the two remaining Democratic candidates, I truly admire Senator Bernie Sanders.  He has intelligence, passion and integrity – and he tells the truth as he sees it, which is truly refreshing.  But taking our great country (further) down the road to socialism simply is transparently not in our interests.  Why?  Because it doesn’t work!  (Ask Cuba, Venezuela, the former Soviet Union and East Germany!)  Secretary Hillary Clinton has amazing credentials as a former 8-year resident of the White House, Senator from New York and Secretary of State.  But she also probably has more baggage than any other viable presidential candidate in our history.  It will be interesting to see if the Obama Justice Department has the courage to seek an indictment against her for the alleged breaches of security regarding her emails.  Remember Scooter Libby who was convicted for taking Top Secret documents home on the weekends and making false statements about them?  He was (rightfully) sentenced to serve 30 months in prison, but had his sentence commuted by President George W. Bush.  Libby’s offenses are not nearly as serious as the allegations against Secretary Clinton.  So this brings up a possible scenario that Secretary Clinton’s first act as President would be to pardon herself.  Not a good situation for the country.

And then there is the Libertarian presidential candidate, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.  I hope by now you know his story.  He started his own handyman company in his garage while in college, and turned it into the largest construction company in New Mexico.  He had about 1,000 employees, made payroll, and no employees lost their jobs when he eventually sold the company.  His first political venture was to run as a Republican for governor in 1995, and he won!  Then he was so successful and worked so effectively with people of all political beliefs that he was re-elected by even a larger margin.  After his eight years in office he left his state with a $1billion surplus.  Furthermore, there has never even been a hint of scandal throughout his life, and he has always stood for Liberty!  You may or may not agree with the position he took in 1999 as a sitting governor that our nation’s drug policy is not working, although more and more people now are beginning to agree with him.  But don’t you want a president who will stand up – even with no political constituency lobbying for the position – and act upon his beliefs?  That is the leadership we need and can trust!  In my view there have always been people like Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meier, and even Nelson Mandela in our society, but they don’t get elected.  Governor Gary Johnson is the man for our times.  Look into who he is, and also not just what he says but what he has actually done, and I am confident that you will agree.  And please spread this message on to your social media world.  Our country’s and our children’s future are at stake!  GGJ will give us a Government of Good Results instead of Good Intentions, so he is the right leader for a Better America!!

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, August 13, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #56 “Liberty and Today’s Egypt”

Judge-GrayWe just returned from a vacation to Egypt, and I must say that it was a staggering experience to see the historical places that I had heard and had read about all my life.  For example, I stood about three feet away from the exposed face and feet of the mummified body of Ramses II at the Cairo Museum.  Just imagine, this famous and highly successful pharaoh reigned over 3300 years ago – and he himself was Right Here!  And, although our tour included an armed guard on our bus and often a police escort, we never felt that this security was actually necessary.  Our comfort was increased by numerous Egyptians who thanked us for being there, and fervently made me promise to pass along the word that Egypt is a wonderful and safe place to visit.  (I am fulfilling my promise in part by writing this column.)

But Egypt is also a bundle of contradictions, as their people are literally living in two separate and diverse worlds.  For example, it is quite common to see men wearing their native galabia, which is like a long men’s nightgown, along with Nike shoes and caps.  In addition, many of the decorations on the windows in the mosques contain Stars of David.  Of course, in many ways this is logical because Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship the same God of Abraham.  And, in that regard, I feel compelled to pass along my conclusion that the vast majority of Muslims are among the biggest victims of the terrorist acts being perpetrated around the world by, as the Egyptians call them, “the crazy ones.”

Finally, and regretfully, Egypt is an example of a country that is not yet ready for democracy.  Many people I spoke with told me that after the 2011 revolution threw out the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi was elected as a direct result of the blatant monetary bribing of large numbers of poor voters.  But once the Muslim Brotherhood was in power it was not at all prepared to govern.  And this threw the country into such chaos that the military ousted Morsi and set up new but controlled elections in which Abdel Fallah el-Sisi, the former chief of the Egyptian armed forces, was elected president.  And all people I spoke with, including tour guides, hotel staff, waitresses, merchants and farmers, said they were grateful for that change.  So some Liberty can be found in today’s Egypt, but at least it is much safer there than most people realize.  I recommend a visit.

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, August 12, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #55 “Liberty and Our Founding Fathers”

ec58c5_c832d34cd58b4004a202d97f51715f74It was not just a word, or just a slogan!  To our Founding Fathers, Liberty was something for which they risked their treasure and even their lives.  Thomas Jefferson often stated his concern that there is a natural progress of government to gain ground and Liberty to yield it.  Benjamin Franklin famously warned that anyone who would trade a little less Liberty for a little more security deserves neither.  And Thomas Paine notoriously cried out to give him Liberty or give him death!  And there are similar striking quotes from Madison, Adams, Washington, Hamilton, Morris and all the others.

Big Government trades on keeping us in fear as a justification for encroaching upon our Liberty.  Be truthful with yourself: did it really have an impact on you when Snowden revealed that our government routinely was accessing our bank account and cell phone information?  What would our Founding Fathers say about those encroachments on our Liberty – or about us for tolerating them?  Of course there are bad people in our world who desire to do bad things to good people.  But federal judges are not wimps!  They also are concerned about our security, and if presented with a sworn declaration that is even close to providing probable cause in a serious situation they will surely sign a search warrant.  But that procedure is critical in keeping government’s intrusions under proper control.  Do you believe that requiring us to show a driver’s license before entering a large office building or taking our shoes off before getting on an airplane actually makes us safer? Will these things really stop any bad guys?  Actually, for the most part they are only intended to make us think we are safer.  What do the presidential candidates you are supporting feel about these issues?  Those are important questions to ask!  And important answers to consider!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)                         

2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice

President, along with Governor 

Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

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Friday, March 25, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #54 “Gratitude for Liberty—And Each Other”

99a3f0e6e2ac09e2d96145fe3d41c7ef-350x196I am elated to tell you that there is a budding movement that will be spreading the country called the Grat Network.  This is an internet connection where anyone can register a “gratitude vote” for someone else who has beneficially affected that person.  Watch for it – soon.  It is an increasingly proven fact that people who feel and express gratitude to others for kindnesses, leadership, friendship, etc. are much happier, and even live longer.  In fact, in that regard, please watch this clip:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHv6vTKD6lg .  I think they are right!  Here is the specific Grat message: “We are a new kind of a media platform company, launching our inaugural product in early 2016. When we say “new” we really mean “new”. Never before has there been a media company that exclusively connects people, places, things and ideas through gratitude. We have a feeling that gratitude will connect every single one of us, seven billion plus and growing, in a more mutually positive, meaningful way. Thank you for tuning in. We #grät you!”

But advantages for the person showing gratitude are really not the reason for the act.  The reward is received in the expression of gratitude itself.  Feel it – often.  Of course, Liberty means free choice, so no one forces us to express gratitude to others.  But adopting an attitude of gratitude is a reward in itself.  We are all so blessed to have had such a support system and to have received assistance from so many different and varied sources throughout our lives.  Have you expressed gratitude to those who have helped you?  Loved you?  Supported you?  Don’t be embarrassed to show gratitude!  We even have a dance that expresses it.  What is that dance?  Right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeLbrGspigg .  Oh the Blessings of Liberty!  Life is Good!

 

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.

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, March 20, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #53 “Liberty and the Practice of Law”

180px-James_P_GrayA recent 2 Paragraphs column discussed government protectionism by requiring people to be licensed before they may engage in such practices as teeth-whitening, hair braiding, selling of coffins or child care.  The result of this protectionism is to restrain people, mostly those newly entering the work force, from competing with more established interests, such as licensed dentists, barbers, morticians and child-care centers.  Then the column went on to state that the more appropriate system is to allow anyone to enter those fields, as long as they are privately bonded.  These bonding/insurance companies would enforce minimum standards and competency levels, and insure that resources would be available in the event of malpractice.  Of course, the more established interests would be free to advertise about their “superior training and abilities,” etc., but this approach would leave the customer to choose whose services to engage, and what price to pay.

But probably the biggest protectionism for me and my fellow attorneys: the State Bar of California.  Realistically there are many areas in the practice of law that could be performed by people who have not graduated from law school, or passed the bar examination.  Some examples are preparing forms for or giving advice about simple wills, small claims court actions, immigration laws, taxes, worker’s compensation benefits, divorces and many more.  The secret is for those providers to “know when they don’t know” an issue. And that is where the private bonding companies could assist.  Candidly, when I graduated from law school and passed the bar examination, in many ways I was far less competent to practice law than many journeymen who had developed expertise in various specialized areas.  So requiring that all legal practitioners be insured would in many ways increase the quality of the practice of law, drastically reduce the price, and make legal assistance much more available to everyone.  As such, this would be yet another example of the general benefits of Liberty in Action!

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, February 21, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #52 “Our One-Year Anniversary”

 

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This marks the 52nd edition of our “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty” weekly series.  I will share with you unabashedly that the purpose of this column has been to pose and discuss how Liberty works and Big Government does not in facing and resolving so many varied problem areas.  So I hope not only that you have thought about and considered these critically important realizations throughout the past year, but that you have also forwarded these columns and thoughts on to your social media friends so that these ideas may become more wide-spread and accepted.

With those thoughts in mind, and since I deeply believe that our country is going in the wrong direction, my intent is also to show you how Governor Gary Johnson is the only candidate running for President who actually will employ these concepts of Liberty to put our great country back on the right track.  But not only does he talk a good game, he actually put Liberty into effect during the eight years he was the governor of New Mexico.  And the results show it!  After his two terms he left the state with a $ billion surplus, all the while working well with both Republicans AND Democrats on financial and social issues.  Recently Governor Johnson announced his candidacy for the 2016 Libertarian nomination for President.  Please look into this man, what he has done, who he is, and what he would do as President for our country.  Governor Gary Johnson is the most qualified person to be President I know of, and if you look into it yourself, I truly believe you will come to the same conclusion!  So Big Time Help is on the Way!

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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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #50 “Liberty Freely to Publish”

Jim-Gray_Waterwark-11-600x600Recently my wife and I saw two movies: “Spotlight” and “Concussion.”  Both are hard-hitting movies that focus upon perceived large-scale damages being perpetrated upon many people by two large and powerful institutions: the Catholic Church and the National Football League.  Whether the facts depicted in these movies are true, recklessly false or true-but-exaggerated I leave to your conclusions and our various laws covering libel and defamation.  But the ability for movie makers – or any of us – freely to publish arguments like these is fundamental to Liberty.

As you probably know, the first of these movies alleges a wide-ranging cover-up by the Catholic Church in Boston of its priests’ sexual molestations of children.  The second alleges a cover-up by the NFL of the fact that repeated head-to-head collisions by its football players cause brain trauma resulting in predictably bazaar behavior, homelessness and suicide.  And it speaks well for our society that even these two powerful and even cherished institutions were not able to smother or curtail these exposes.  Liberty means being able to place minority and even disfavored views and claims into the open marketplace so that they can be heard and scrutinized by the voting and consuming public.  To which freedom-minded people everywhere should shout: Hear!  Hear!

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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