Sunday, May 13, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #159 “Liberty And The Free Market”

                [To our “2 Paragraphs” team: the idea of this series is to promote discussions.  So if you feel it to be appropriate, please forward these columns on to your social media contacts, either with or without your comments.  We need more honest discussion in our country, and you can help in this effort!]

image                There is a store in Westminster, California that provides really good hour-long massages for $25.  But for many years I have purchased from them a book of coupons for ten massages for the price of nine.  Here, of course, the buyer and seller have the Liberty to make this deal or not.  So let’s ask some questions about why both of us would benefit from this deal in which I am paying and they are receiving $2.50 less for each massage.

Here are the questions :
* Why would I want to continue to make this deal?
* Lower price for each massage; and I’m getting a deal so I will probably get to enjoy more massages.
* Why would the store want to continue this deal?
* They receive my money up front, so they will have the use of my money earlier;
* They will most likely sell more massages, thus generating greater revenue;
* Logically some coupons will never be redeemed, thus providing them free money; and it is likely that this deal will generate more favorable “word of mouth” advertising.
* How do we know that this deal is working for all involved? Because if it didn’t work, the parties would exercise their Liberty to discontinue the practice.
* Do you believe that your children and grandchildren understand this fundamental lesson in Free Market consensual transactions? If they don’t, are you going to fix the problem?

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

** Here is a quote from the late actress Zsa Zsa Gabon in regards to the question:
“What is your profession?” to which she replied “Housekeeper. I have been married and divorced seven times, and after each time I have kept the house.”

 

And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, 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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2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #158 “Discover And Live in New Worlds”

jimg                Among the most broadening things a person can do is to read and to travel.  Reading allows the reader to be anyone, experience anything, and go anywhere at any time – past, present or future.  Traveling shows that everywhere is not planned like the City of Irvine but, nevertheless, people can be happy in other places.  And, conversely, it can make the travelers appreciate the places that they live much more.  But why stop there?  We can learn about and even visit totally different and exciting places, such as the world underwater, crystals and microscopic life and astronomy.  The list of exciting subjects is endless.  So don’t sit back and wait until you “have the money” or “have the time,” do it now!  And show this by example to your children and grandchildren – or, better yet, take them with you!

Of course, it is true that one of the biggest revolutions in history is the creation of the Internet, and we can explore and learn a great deal from it.  In fact, one of my favorite cartoons shows a 1 year-old boy in diapers and in explosive tears while on the telephone saying “No Grandma, you push F8!”  But often the electronic gadgets are being vastly overdone by our younger generations – and they don’t have the intimacy of reading or traveling.  All of us have the Liberty to choose what we do in our spare time, but my vote is reading and traveling.  And family trips and explorations can be life events and engender a great deal of bonding and fun along the way.

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

 

** Here is my favorite quote from that great philosopher Yogi Berra, which is:
“We’re lost, but we’re making good time.”

 

And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, 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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2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #157 “Hire For Ability, Fire For Attitude”

ec58c5_c832d34cd58b4004a202d97f51715f74                Liberty means that we have choices.  In fact, in our great country it is enshrined in our Declaration of Independence that we have the ability to pursue happiness but, as Benjamin Franklin famously said, we have to catch it on our own.  And this same reality exists regarding one’s belief in fate, which can lead to feelings of entitlement and defeat, as opposed to choices, hard work and sacrifice, which can lead to gratification and victory.  (Remember that Hitler lost a “gimmie” of European domination because he believed he was fated to set up a Thousand-Year Reich, whereas Churchill saved the world with his positive attitude of Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat – and Victory!)

This outcome is true at many levels of our own individual lives as well.  A positive attitude often triumphs, where a belief in fate often turns into despair, victimization and failure.  For example, many employers will tell anyone who cares that they hire people based upon their ability, but fire them for their attitude.   A person who is a team player, reliable and has a can-do attitude will almost always outperform and outlast others who possess greater abilities but lack those traits.   Our attitude is our choice.  And life goes the same way.  Fate certainly can deal us all some bad blows, many beyond our control.  But we have the Liberty to choose how to respond to those adversities, and we thus can become victims or victors.

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

 

**Here is an additional thought for the week from Dr. Milton Friedman:
“We should judge programs by their results instead of their good intentions.”

And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, 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, March 21, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #156 “Choices In Friends”

Judge-Jim-Gray            In my county we implemented what we call Peer Courts, which submit real juvenile delinquency cases to local high school jurors.  The jurors question the subject and also his or her parents about the offense and the overall situation, retire to deliberate, and then recommend a sentence to a real judge who then imposes it.  (Often the judges make some modifications, because frequently these jurors can be pretty tough.)  But the beauty of this program is that, if the subject completes the imposed sentence within the next four months, the underlying charges are then dismissed and the subject will have no criminal record (this is what we call a “diversion” program).

When I preside over these sessions I frequently ask the subjects to close their eyes and think of three of young people that they “hang out” with.  Then, once they have those three in mind, I ask them if they believe that ten years from now their associates will be successful in their lives.  Most often the answer is no.  Of course, the underlying message is that the odds are good that if their associates do things like ditching school, smoking marijuana and being disrespectful of their teachers and parents, this will strongly contribute to their lack of success.  But, conversely, young people who are serious students, respectful of others and maximize their opportunities will probably be a success.  And it is almost certain that the subjects will turn out the same way – one way or the other.  So we have the Liberty of choice of our friends, but we will be held accountable for the choices we make.  Then I finish this thought by looking the subjects in the eye and saying: “You show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.  You might want to adjust accordingly.”  And I am proud to say that, over the years, this approach has been effective.  (Try this approach with your children, or grandchildren.  I think you will like the results.)

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

 

** Here is an additional thought that holds true in our family:
“I work hard so my dog can have a better life.”

 

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, March 20, 2018

Longer than 2 Paragraphs

judgejimgray_portrait2       Okay, I agree that this is longer than 2 Paragraphs, but enclosed is an article that I published Friday, January 12, 2018 in the Orange County Register about reforming our nation’s tax and welfare systems, and instituting a Safety Net.

 

It is fully consistent with Liberty for us to choose to provide a Safety Net, not because anyone is entitled to it, because they’re not, but because since we are innately a compassionate people, we believe there is a level in our great country below which no one who is here legally should be allowed to fall.

 

As always, this is meant to promote a discussion on these important issues, and all feedback is appreciated.

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

01.12.18_Orange County Register Article – Hon. James P. Gray

 

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Saturday, March 3, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #154 “The Worldwide War on Drugs Disaster”

maxresdefault               Our nation has been fighting the so-called War on Drugs for decades.  And what do we have to show for it?  At least $1 trillion spent; we lead the world in the incarceration of our people; a major loss of our civil liberties; all illicit drugs being plentifully available both for us and our children (and we can’t even keep them out of our prisons!); juvenile street gangs not only prospering by selling illicit drugs, but also using their sales as a recruiting tool; large numbers of mentally ill people being jailed for self-medicating to stave off their demons; and the loss of more money from our shores than for any other reason except oil.  And now our present Attorney General wants to “double down” on everything that has been shown not to work.  The answer to that attempt must be No!

And what has happened in other countries like Mexico, Colombia, Thailand, Afghanistan and many others is far worse!  For example, since Mexico’s former President Felipe Calderon started emulating our War on Drugs in 2006, that country has seen a material spike in crime and corruption, to the extent that more than 200,000 people have been killed, including some being beheaded and others being killed in barrels of acid!   Furthermore, virtually every terrorist organization in the world gets most of its financing from selling illegal drugs.  And it may also well be that a large part of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program was financed by the sale of illicit methamphetamines.  The list goes on and on.  But none of these disasters really have anything to do with the drugs themselves – they are all caused by drug money!  Fortunately we are starting to come back to our senses and repealing this disaster, at least with marijuana – and the rest of the world is beginning to follow our lead.  And once that occurs, we will probably start medicalizing the other drugs.  So who knows, after the evils of Drug Prohibition are finally behind us, we might even be able to reclaim some of our lost Liberties.

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

 

** Here is an additional quote for the week, seen on a sign for sale in a store:
“Retirement: twice the husband for half the money.”

 

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, February 14, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #153 “The Police, Pillars For Liberty?”

judgejim                When I was a small child my parents continually drummed into my head: “Jimmy, if you get lost what will you do?”  Answer: “I will find a policeman, he’s my friend.”  Tragically that probably isn’t taught much anymore.  Nevertheless, being a police officer is a noble calling – in fact, the police should be seen as the epitome of public servants.  But we should insist that, just as surgery is the last option for a medical doctor, an arrest should be the last option used by the police.  Why?  Because bringing someone into the criminal justice system is really easy, but getting them out is often truly difficult.  And that involvement can leave lasting and often unnecessary damage to a person’s ability to get a job and otherwise lead to further involvement in crime.  So we should have an environment in which we trust and partner with the police as they protect and serve us!  In that atmosphere, the police will protect both our safety and our freedoms, and thus be pillars for Liberty.

But that is mostly not what we have today – and we should all work to change that!  How has this tragedy evolved?  Many reasons, like the War on Drugs, which has caused many minority communities to see the police as an “occupying force;” so-called Civil Asset Forfeiture laws, which are often known as “Policing for Profit;” and the traffic law system, which is used far too frequently as a government revenue-gathering resource instead of a means to keep us safe on our roads.  We as citizens and voters must stress that the most critical job of the police, just like with all prosecutors, is to do the right thing for the right reason – every time!  Having a badge and a gun gives them enormous power over all of the rest of us.  So they must be taught and mandated to stay within the law and reasonably use their discretion, and supported and appreciated when they do so.  But they also should face consequences when they do not.  Because we need the police to be pillars for our Liberty!

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

 

** Here is an additional quote for the week:
“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
– Winston Churchill

 

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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2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #152 “George Orwell’s Nightmare — Cubed”

jimg            Talk about an emerging and present threat to Liberty?  Today the city of Guiyang, China has state of the art artificial intelligence facial recognition cameras in its surveillance system city wide.  So with that technology they can, combined with photographs of every person in the city in their database, track the movements of everyone virtually anywhere in their city.  And they can store the information in their memory banks for a week!  Enclosed is a video of a reporter from the BBC showing us how that system works.  As you can see, with the reporter’s photograph in the system, it took only seven minutes for the police to detect and detain him.

            Like most other totalitarian states, the authorities in Guiyang defend their system by saying that “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”  So this is George Orwell’s nightmare – cubed – and it is still alive and well, at least in China.  But can the United States be far behind?  Or are we already there?  This should scare you as much as it does me!  Technology has always been far ahead of both public awareness and our Justice System, with transponders that can be surreptitiously placed upon vehicles and even people, tiny audio and visual surveillance cameras, surveillance drones and much more.  Today our various governments, as well as private individuals and entities, have incredible technology at their disposal to snoop on us all.  So how can we who are concerned and protective of Liberty do anything about this situation?  We can help by being aware, and by reacting and voting accordingly.  This is truly a daunting task, but we have no other choice.  Because in this situation, like in every other, it is our government – and if it isn’t working, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

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

 

** Here is an additional quote for the week:
“Racism is endemic to the human condition – just as stupidity is.”
– Shelby Steele of the Hoover Institute

 

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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Sunday, January 28, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #151 “Bonhoeffer”

image            I have just finished reading “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” by Eric Metaxas.  The book is superb.  It is about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was a pastor of the “Church of Luther” during the rise and reign of Hitler’s Nazi Germany.  This man of Christ conducted a principled fight against what Hitler and the corrupted Church of Germany were doing, and eventually was imprisoned and executed for his efforts and beliefs.  But he was unafraid, because he was doing what knew his God wanted him to do.  Regardless of our religious faith or beliefs, how many of us can genuinely say that we are standing up for our principles and Liberty for ourselves and others anywhere near to this degree?  This is an inspirational book, and I strongly recommend it to anyone.

Many insightful comments permeate the book, which all people who treasure Liberty should be aware of – today and every day. Here are some of them:

  • For Hitler, ruthlessness was a great virtue, and mercy, a great sin.  This was Christianity’s chief difficulty, that it advocated meekness.  (Meekness has its place but, as stated in the musical Camelot: “I find humility means to be hurt.  It’s not the earth the meek inherit, it’s the dirt.”)
  • Bonhoeffer believed it was the role of the church to “speak for those who could not speak.”  (Thus he saw Jesus Christ as a “man for others.”)
  • One of Bonhoeffer’s thoughts was “Absolute seriousness is never without a dash of humor.“  (We should never lose the ability to laugh at ourselves.)
  • The Nazi regime always cast their aggressions as defensive responses to actions against them and the German people.  (Virtually always the justification for war.)
  • Bonhoeffer was the principal point of connection between his new “Confessing Church” and the Ecumenical movement, seeing the best and the worst in both.  But each saw the best in itself and the worst in the other.  (Is this not how the various politically “warring groups” see themselves and others in our country today?)
  • Bonhoeffer was quite clear in his convictions, he saw the truth and spoke it out with absolute freedom and without fear.  (Bless him, his memory and his legacy!)
  • He knew his classics in art, music, literature before he criticized; he knew how to read and listen before voicing his opinion.  (Don’t we all wish that all people were more like this?)

It is not always easy to stand up for Liberty for ourselves and others.  But Dietrich Bonhoeffer provides great inspiration for doing just that!

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

 

** Here is an additional comment for the week: “Let us speak courteously, deal fairly and keep ourselves armed.”  Teddy Roosevelt

 

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 help spread the word about Liberty!



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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #150 “Words Mean Something”

image                News flash: We Think in Words.  So if people do not understand the difference between (or among) different words, they do not understand many nuances or even concepts.  For example, there are many dialects in the languages of the world that do not make a distinction between the word “stranger” and the word “enemy.”  So if some unknown person were to stumble into a small village of people who did not understand that distinction, the stranger would automatically be their enemy.  Imagine how much needless violence, or at least how many lost opportunities, has been caused simply by that reality.  Over the years, I have found similar problems for people saying they advocate “legalizing” marijuana.  I don’t favor that, because if you think of a legalized drug, think aspirin.  Your 12 year-old daughter could buy a case of it at any pharmacy if she so chose.  No restrictions on advertising, price, licensing or age of the buyer.  So the connotation of legalizing a substance is that you don’t care if my children get hooked.  But if you were to ask the question, “Would you like to strictly regulate and control for adults marijuana like wine?” the answer is increasingly Yes.  It’s all in the nuances of the words, and it is also more accurate.

So when we are fighting for and supporting Liberty, and otherwise living our lives, remember that your choice of words frequently matters.  For example, once as a student when I had a summer job copying drawings and plans for a civil engineering company (We called ourselves “Reproduction Engineers.”), I asked my counterpart if we should use the “old” paper for a particular job for an engineer who was standing right there with us.  At that point the engineer got upset with me, saying this was an important project for a big client, and we should not use old paper.  My counterpart quickly assured him that I was just asking if we should continue our practice of rotating our stock by using the paper we received last week instead of today.  So the engineer was mollified, and I learned a lesson.  In a similar vein, many current politicians have learned that instead of seeking a “compromise” with other politicians, which people interpret to mean not standing up for their values, they try to “find common ground” instead.  The intentions and results are the same, but they won’t get criticized for trying to work things out.  Final example: I was raised that when I did something nice for someone else and they thanked me for it, I simply was to say “You’re welcome.”  But today many of our young people instead say “No problem,” which implies that if it had been a problem they wouldn’t have done it.  Of course, I understand that in Spanish the phrase is “de nada,” which literally means “It was nothing.”  But please join our budding movement to bring back “you’re welcome” into our young people’s vernacular.  Why?  Because words mean something.

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

** Here’s another of the daily posts from the gasoline station in Gauteng, South Africa: “When you forgive, you heal. When you let go, you grow.”

 

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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Saturday, January 20, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #149 “War Is Not Glorious”

99a3f0e6e2ac09e2d96145fe3d41c7ef-350x196         War is not glorious!  And with war, of course, comes coldly arbitrary destruction, deaths and serious injuries which, in turn, exact a lasting cost not only for combatants who sustain both visible and non-visible wounds, but also to many of the people who have been left behind.   So war is devoutly to be avoided, if at all possible.  Nevertheless, and even with those understandings firmly in mind, there are some values that must constantly be fought for.  And foremost among those are our national safety and protecting our national interests, which vitally includes Liberty!  But tragically – and realistically – there are and have always been people in power around the world who see a reluctance in others to go to war as a sign of weakness.  And almost never can those people be appeased!  So sometimes the threat of war, or even war itself, is necessary.  But it is the sacred obligation of our national leaders only to pursue war when our core issues are truly involved.

So under what circumstances can war be pursued?  The Founders of our Great Country yet again showed their brilliance in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, which requires a Declaration of War to be publicly presented, debated and voted upon by Congress before war can legally be declared.  “Resolutions” and other delegations of Congress’ responsibility are not enough!  A Declaration of War almost certainly means that the country or people against whom we are declaring war and the threats they are making against us will have to be identified.  Then this will invariably mean that we would be able to state what our goals are and know when they had been attained, and thus when peace can once again be restored.  Regretfully, Congress has abrogated that critically important responsibility for all of our police or other military engagements since World War II: Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and more.  Army General Raymond Thomas, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, said that, just in May of 2017, about 8,000 U.S. special forces were deployed in 80 countries!  And in the year of 2016, we sent special forces to 138 countries!  And all without declarations of war!  This is virtually treasonous to the Constitution!  All Americans who love and embrace Liberty should stand together to keep this ever from happening!  No war unless Congress has formally declared it!

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

 

** Here’s another of the daily posts from the gasoline station in Gauteng, South Africa: “When you make a commitment you build hope. When you keep it you build trust.”

 

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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Sunday, January 14, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #148 “Merry Christmas!”

James-Gray             In my view, the most important thing in life is Gratification.  Not power, prestige, money or even love.  We can get gratification from all of those things.  But I define gratification as people inwardly knowing that the world is a better place for their having been here.  Of course, Gratification can come from many sources, such as having raised wonderful children, helping to defeat cancer or saving the Whales or the Redwoods.  It can also come simply from having been patient, considerate and kind in every facet of your life, including socially, politically and religiously.  So when I am on my deathbed looking back over my life, Gratification is what I hope to feel.

Carrying that thought deeper on this Christmas Day, Muslims, Jews and Christians share the same God of Abraham.  The Christmas Spirit dictates to me that each of us should try to do more to spread that historical fact, so that the felt differences among people of those religions are narrowed, if not erased.  I believe that our God desires this, for all of us.  The vast majority of people in the world simply want to live in peace, have a better life for themselves and their children, and live their lives free from the wrongful interference of others.  Of course, that is not completely obtainable in the real world, but each of us can do our part to get closer to that result.  And what gratification that would bring!  So with those thoughts, Merry Christmas, and I hope that in this and every year to come, you will give yourself the most precious gift of Gratification.

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

 

** Here’s another of the daily posts from the gasoline station in Gauteng, South Africa: “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”

 

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration and to further the discussion. 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, January 8, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #147 “Liberty Corrupted By Congress”

99a3f0e6e2ac09e2d96145fe3d41c7ef-350x196                It is fundamental in a democracy that the laws must be enforced equally as to all people.  But did you know that back in 1995, Congress created a slush fund of our tax money that is used to settle claims against members of Congress for the sexual harassment of others, and then to require the victims to be secret about it? Since that time, more than $17 million has been spent for this purpose!  I hope that you agree with me: The answer is No!  This cannot be sustained!  Not on our watch!

Fortunately, there is presently a bill entitled “The Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act” that is pending in Congress that would both require public disclosure of all sexual harassment settlements and ban public funds from being used for that purpose.  We should all take the time to contact our members of Congress and demand support for this bill.  Liberty demands that the Rule of Law must apply to everyone, and that includes members of Congress!  That means that everyone, including members of Congress, should be publicly held accountable for their misdeeds, and that they should make restitution for them with their own money!

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

 

** Here’s another of the daily posts from the gasoline station in Gauteng, South Africa: “If you have to choose between drinking wine every day or being skinny, which would you choose? Red or white?”

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration and to further the discussion, and also be sure to visit http://ift.tt/2yi4Ldx to read more about my book on judging. 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, December 19, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #146 “Liberty Fights Back”

James-P.-Gray          Thomas Jefferson famously said “The natural progress of things is for Liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”  And that is what has been happening – for decades – with federal and state governments in too many areas.  There are many areas of infringements, but here are a random few. One is civil asset forfeiture, where governments take/forfeit people’s property when their agents “have a reasonable belief” that the property was either used for or gained from illegal activity.  And then it is the obligation of the person from whom the property was taken to file a law suit and prove that the property was not so used or gained – which turns our system of justice on its head.  Another is to require business licenses before someone can work at such occupations as hair braiding, tree trimming or roofing (and frequently people who have been convicted of felonies are precluded even from applying).  And many too many colleges today are putting limits on free speech and open discourse by enforcing so-called “trigger warnings” and free speech zones so their students can be free from being placed in “uncomfortable” circumstances.

But, fortunately, groups like the Institute for Justice, Mercatus Center and Reason are fighting back – for all of us.  They are fighting by filing lawsuits that would require the government to hold hearings promptly to address and decide about people’s seized assets, educating the media and citizenry about the importance of free minds and free markets, and bringing political pressure to cut back numbers of intrusive laws and executive over-reachings.   So we can also stand up for Liberty by supporting these and other similar organizations.  For further information, please visit www.IJ.org, www.mercatus.org or www.reason.com .

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

 

**Here’s another of the daily posts from the gasoline station in Gauteng, South Africa: “Don’t do something permanently stupid because you’re temporarily upset.”

 

 

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration and to further the discussion. 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, December 12, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #145 “Let Children Again Have The Liberty To Fail”

7357379_orig           Only supervised activities for our children; safely drive them to school; don’t let them go out on Halloween by themselves, etc., etc.  As aptly stated in the December 2017 edition of Reason Magazine, “Play is training for adulthood.”  And today not only aren’t our children playing much on their own, they’re not doing much of anything on their own.  But only when children fall down and skin their knees in some “resilience moments” without parental guidance will they learn from their mistakes.  And this is virtually the only way that they can effectively grow into adulthood.

Our kids are tougher than we give them credit for.  And we should actually want them to be insulted that we feel they are too shallow and sensitive to be able to take care of themselves on their own – because that is how they learn to be careful.  Or to be unsupervised in their playtime – because that is the way they learn to be creative.  Or to take calculated risks, and sometimes fail in those efforts – because that is how they learn entrepreneurship.  Or to hear conflicting viewpoints – because that is how they learn skepticism.  Or to be devoid of “safe spaces” – because that is not the way the real world operates.  In large part we, their parents, were afforded these liberties, and not only did we “live to tell about it,” most of us learned from those situations and thrived.  So we should let children again have the Liberty to fail.  It is how we have prospered and how we have made our great country successful!

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

 

** Here’s another of the daily posts from the gasoline station in Gauteng, South Africa: “In a world where you can be anything you want, be kind.”

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration and to further the discussion, and also be sure to visit http://ift.tt/2yi4Ldx to read more about him and his book on judging. 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, December 6, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #144 “How Could This Be?”

Judge-Gray        Recently some militants set off a bomb in a crowded mosque in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt during Friday services, killing many people, and then machine-gunned many others as they attempted to flee.  How could this be?  Who could claim that any god would countenance, much less demand, such barbarous acts?  The only answer I can fathom is that these militants had been callously inculcated with narrow, radical and warped views, while continually being cut off from other viewpoints for a long time.

And what is the antidote?  To the degree there is one, it is to be able freely to travel, read, compare and contrast, think, dream, question, criticize and explain.  So the antidote is Liberty, which includes an education exposing people to alternative points of view and a Justice System that holds people responsible for their actions.  Of course, all societies will always have demented people like Charles Manson to lead others astray, but the best way to keep them from infecting others is to break into the cocoon of hate by encouraging Liberty.  In addition, understanding the two old sayings that “The most dangerous people in the world are those without hope,” and “There can be no Peace in a Land without Justice,” the antidote also is a system of Justice and Equal Opportunity for All, which means jobs and a way for people to better themselves – particularly the young.  These are long-range remedies, so obviously civilized society must take some short term steps for protection against such barbarity.  But we must also not lose sight of the big picture, and continue to pursue the cause of Liberty.

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

 

** Recently, I read about a particular gasoline station in Gauteng, South Africa that posts signs daily on a blackboard visible from the street.  And they are so interesting that many people drive out of their way just to see them each day.  So for the next few editions, some of those sayings will appear in these editions of “2 Paragraphs.”  Here is the first one:  “Be the person you needed when you were young.”

 

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration and to further the discussion. 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, December 5, 2017

Our Current Drug Policy Is Not Working | TEDx Talks

judgejimHi everyone!

Just thought some of you might be interested in a Ted Talk that I recorded in Bakersfield recently about Drug Policy Reform.  As always, feedback is always appreciated.

Here is the link:

 

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 to further the discussion. And by the way, previous talks and 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 of 2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty!

 




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Monday, December 4, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #143 “The Deprivation Of Liberty”

judgejimgray_onthebench          Many years ago when I was a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles I found myself waiting at a red light while walking over to the Federal Building Cafeteria for lunch when a judge widely known for his harsh sentencing came up beside me.  When I greeted him and asked how his day was going, he surprised me by saying “Jim, Mondays are always hard because they are sentencing days.”  Without pausing at all to reflect on who I was or who he was, I responded “In many ways, Your Honor, when it stops being hard you will be in the wrong job.”  What followed thereafter was an awkward silence.

But to this day I stand by that comment.  To deprive people of their Liberty should always hurt – and mostly be done as a last resort.  Yes, we certainly need jails and prisons, and short periods of confinement are useful in getting people’s attention and enforcing responsibility.   But in too many ways, and for too many decades, we have become a mindlessly punitive society.  Of course, some people like Sirhan Sirhan and Charles Manson should never get out of prison due to their crimes.  And, regretfully, some people who see the rest of us as their natural prey should be removed from society.  But a large number of people are in prison today who simply should not be there.  Geriatrics who couldn’t throw their walkers at us, even if  they tried.  Many non-violent offenders who deserved to be deprived of their Liberty for five years or maybe even ten who are now model prisoners serving sentences of 20 or even 30 years.  (Close your eyes and imagine serving even one year in prison, much less five or more!)  In imposing those mindlessly draconian sentences we have made victims not only of the offenders, but also their families – and the taxpayers!  In fact, mostly the only people winning from these decisions are the members of the prison guards unions!  No, Your Honor, depriving people of their Liberty should never be done lightly.  And it should always hurt!

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 to further the discussion. 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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Sunday, December 3, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #142 “Liberty On The Front Porch”

01.david.judgegray.0141711.av       During the past year my wife and I have devoted more special time in the evenings to sitting on our front porch, sometimes with a Manhattan or wine, sometimes not, but always with our dog.  What have we found?  Lots of things and all of them good.  Neighbors walk by and we chat, joke and laugh with them.  We notice things that had escaped us before because we were too busy: a hummingbird (we call him “Dart”) that always rests on the same twig; and not only sunsets and moon risings, but also the sense of the breeze and the seasons – and we also utilize the casual opportunity to explore each other.

But overall what we have really noticed the most is that life has slowed down, and that we are enjoying it – and each other – more.  The trite way of saying it is that “Life is what happens while we are busy making other plans.”  But we have much more than we need, or even want.  The real gift is to slow down, focus on the positive more than the negative, and savor our lives out on the porch with friends and each other.  Liberty gives this opportunity to all of us, no matter what our station.  We have only to accept the gift.  Try it, because it is a wonderful thing!

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

**  We just returned from our two-week trip to Morocco, which explains the gap in these editions. But if you haven’t been to Morocco, I truly recommend a visit.

 

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration and to further the discussion. 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 15, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #141 “We’re All In This Together”

0            It is truly a rare occurrence for anyone in either the legislative or executive branches of government not to have favorite constituents to whom they give public money and other favors.  For example, the City of Anaheim gives great tax advantages to Disneyland, Governor Brown and officials from many other states and cities are offering hundreds of millions of dollars in public incentives to Amazon, and most liberal governments ensure lots of extra tax money goes to public and private union workers.  And that is not to mention the numerous “humanitarian” and “environmental” laws that directly feather the nests of some plaintiffs’ attorneys.  In other words, we need to elect Libertarians, because all of this Crony Capitalism is totally against their philosophy!

We are (or should be) all in this together!  Yes, companies respond to tax incentives, but to signal out one as opposed to the rest is simply wrong!  What is offered to one business or group of people should be offered to everyone in the same situation.  Otherwise not only is this unfair, it directly lends itself to increased lobbying, cronyism and political polarization.  Certainly it is a plum for Anaheim to have a strong Disneyland to attract tourist dollars, and it will be a plum for whoever lands the second Amazon headquarters.  But small businesses bring economic advantages as well, and just because they aren’t individually strong enough to hire lobbyists or to provide thousands of jobs does not mean that they should be shortchanged.  Tax and regulatory advantages are a great idea, and they work.  So let’s all join together and influence our governmental representatives to provide them to everyone!

**  With apologies to nobody, I will be traveling for the next two weeks, so the next edition will be three weeks from now.

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 to further the discussion. 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, November 6, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #140 “The Liberty To Laugh At Ourselves”

Judge-Jim-Gray         As you may have heard, recently the long-time sports television broadcaster Al Michaels said while doing the play by play in the third quarter of a football game between the New York Giants and Denver Broncos that the Giants were coming off a worse week than Harvey Weinstein, which was an obvious reference to the disgraced movie mogul.  But the response on social media was so immediate and harsh that Michaels was forced to apologize by the fourth quarter.  Of course, everyone certainly agrees that a comparison between the allegations against Weinstein, which are serious, and a football game is quite different.  And, of course, there are some things that can never be funny, like death camps, slavery or the recent Las Vegas massacre.  But come on, we simply must not as a country lose our sense of humor.  All of this sensitivity is simply driving us further apart from each other, and most often unnecessarily so.  Furthermore, all psychiatrists will tell us that it is mentally helpful for human beings to laugh at themselves, and that must be true for countries as well.

So what is the better approach?  Since criticisms regarding alleged racism, undue police violence, attacks on women and other grievances in many regards are understandably and appropriately closely held, the best response is for the involved government officials to hold community forums where there can be open and honest discussions with all members of the community about these issues.  But causing virtually everyone in public appearances to be so careful in choosing their words that they are afraid to say anything for fear of offending their audience simply must stop.  For my part, my friends know that I never tease about things that I take seriously.  (In fact, to tease somebody is almost a universal sign of intimacy and friendship.)  So if I make a joke about someone, or something, they know I am not serious.  And most other people like, I expect, Al Michaels, are the same way.  So let’s all try to keep some perspective and regain our humor.  But at the same time we should encourage formal and informal community gatherings at which good people can honestly discuss and address their feelings, and thereby together find resolutions for these problems.  That would be called 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 to further the discussion. 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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Saturday, November 4, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #139 “Media: Show Some Responsibility!”

05.david.judgegray.0141711.av             How many of these sick people who wantonly and arbitrarily kill crowds of people with bombs, guns or their cars are acting as copycats of prior similarly demented acts by other people?  Of course, we may never know.  But every time these demented folks have killed people in places like Aurora, San Bernardino, Charlottesville and Las Vegas the media have prominently published their names and even their pictures.  Don’t you think that this has an effect?  The media can call them losers, shooters, terrorists or the social dropouts that they are, and even publish information about them such as their backgrounds and affiliations.  But don’t EVER publish their names or pictures!  Don’t glamorize them so that later copycats can have their turn having fame as well!

My Libertarian values don’t permit me to argue that the media should be censored in this area.  But if one news outlet were to pledge publicly that it would stop this practice, not only would it be the responsible thing to do, many people like me in the marketplace would both applaud and turn to that outlet for news coverage.  So this, in turn, would encourage other media to make the same pledge, allowing everyone to win.  But there are other areas or irresponsibility as well.  I still remember seeing a picture in the newspaper of then President Jimmy Carter putting on a bulletproof vest.  Message to potential assassins: Shoot him in the head!  Media, please give your reporting some thought and act in the public interest!  So I am going to write a letter to several media outlets on this subject, and I am asking you to do the same!  If we spread this message, we have a good chance of saving numbers of innocent lives.

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 to further the discussion. 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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Saturday, October 21, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #138 “Liberty And Gambling”

image                Should we regulate and control gambling, or should we continue with most of it being illegal?   Today the federal Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act prohibits any states – except Nevada – from regulating or controlling gambling.  Maybe the federal law was passed with good intentions, because the government was logically concerned by the prospect of athletic competitors being bribed to “throw” their matches.  But the law of unintended consequences once again prevails because not only has this law ushered in an enormous Black Market, it actually has made it more difficult to detect and prosecute corruption.  How so?  Because illegal betting makes it much more difficult to detect betting patterns, which increases the ability to fix athletic contests.  And now eSports gambling is upon us, where people bet on online video game competitions, and already one player has been found to have made large amounts of money by betting against himself and then throwing his match.  As of now it is estimated that this business garners about $700 million in profits, which is predicted to explode to $1.5 billion by 2020.  The facts are that people have always gambled – always have and always will!  So the only practical question is: shall gambling be controlled under the law, or by people outside of the law?

Going back to our roots, there is simply nothing in our Constitution that allows the federal government to pre-empt any state from governing gambling within its own boundaries.  (As has been asked before in this series – show of hands – how many of you believe that the federal government has all of the answers?)  In addition, all studies, as well as common sense, show that fans who bet on a sports event are more engaged if they have placed a bet on the outcome.  As a result, betting is rampant and normal virtually everywhere, and illegal betting has pushed tens of billions of dollars into the shadow economy – all of which is uncontrolled and untaxed.  So bringing gambling back under the law would take away lots of money from the criminal element, provide tax money for local governments, and allow investigators the heightened ability to detect fraud in sports.  Thus Liberty in allowing adults to engage in legal gambling would once again provide greater benefits to society at large than government restrictions and prohibitions.

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 to further the discussion. 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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Saturday, October 14, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #137 “Safety Net vs. Welfare System”

Judge-Jim-Gray        Recently, I received the following information from a recipient of these weekly 2 Paragraphs. She had, in turn, received the information from www.UrbanCure.org., which is a religious-based, free market news organization for the black community.  From my standpoint, this information is probably accurate, but even if it isn’t, it describes the pitfalls, unfairness and extremely expensive nature of our nation’s welfare system.  Here is what we received:

For a guy and his girlfriend with two kids all you have to do is follow these proven steps:

1. Don’t marry her!
2. Always use your mom’s address to get your mail.
3. The guy buys a house.
4. The guy rents out the house to his girlfriend with his 2 kids.
5. Section 8 will pay the girlfriend $900 a month for a 3 bedroom home.
6. Girlfriend signs up for Obamacare so guy doesn’t have to pay for family health insurance.
7. Girlfriend gets to go to college for free being a single mother.
8. Girlfriend gets $600 a month for food stamps.
9  Girlfriend gets a free cell phone.
10. Girlfriend gets free utilities.
11. Guy moves into home, but continues to use mom’s address for his mail.
12. Girlfriend claims one kid and guy claims the other kid on their tax forms.  Now both get to claim head of household for a $1800 credit.
13. Girlfriend gets $1,800 a month disability for being “crazy” or having a “bad back,” etc., and never has to work again.

This plan is perfectly legal and is being executed now by millions of people.  On the other hand, an honest married couple with a stay-at-home mom yields $0 dollars.  But an unmarried couple with stay-at-home mom using this approach each year nets $21,600 disability + $10,800 free housing + $6,000 free Obamacare + $6,000 free food + $4,800 free utilities + $6,000 Pell Grant money to spend + $12,000 a year in college tuition free from Pell Grant + $8,800 tax benefit for being a single mother, which equals $75,000 a year in benefits!

Fully as harmfully, there are no incentives for recipients to get a job or otherwise improve their lives.  And that is why welfare has been a trap for people for generations!  Instead, adopting the changes to the income tax system proposed several times in this 2 Paragraphs in combination with the Safety Net would both encourage honesty and always provide incentives for people to earn the extra dollar.  That would be beneficial for everyone, and would completely replace all other welfare programs – as long as allowances were made for those with special needs. Under this approach, no one would pay any income tax on their first $30,000 per year. But there would be a stipend of $15,000 per year for everyone in our country who is over 18, here legally and earns no money – probably broken into monthly payments of $1,250.  But, all importantly, the recipients would lose 50 cents from the stipend for every dollar earned up to $30,000 per year, so they would always have an incentive to earn the extra dollar.   (By the way, this would also materially reduce the homeless problem, because the free market would quickly provide inexpensive room and board facilities which could be paid from that stipend.)  So what do you think?  How does the Safety Net approach compare with the Welfare programs?

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 to further the discussion. 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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