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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Thursday, October 5, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #136 “Who Says Life Is Fair”

7357379_orig          As I said in the first sentence of the introduction of my book on judging*, “the best decision I ever made in my life was choosing my parents.”  And, of course, I have been the beneficiary of that so-called choice ever since.  Obviously, I could have been born to a single mother with AIDS in Nigeria.  But I believe that my good fortune has given me the moral obligation to help those people who did not “choose” quite so well.  So all of this gets me around to one of my favorite reminders, which is “Who says life is fair?”  My children were raised on that saying (just ask them!).  Socrates was forced to drink hemlock.  Tchaikovsky was forced to commit suicide when it was discovered publicly that he was gay.  Many more innocent men, women and children are also randomly killed and otherwise harmed by terrorists, hurricanes, earthquakes or diseases.  Sometimes a baseball player hits a sharp line drive that is caught for an out, and other times he duffs one that falls for a double.  No, life simply is not always fair.

Nevertheless, even taking these external forces into account, each one of us is in charge of our responses to those forces, how we think and act, and the choices we make.  In other words, falling back on the lament that we are victims of whatever has befallen us is a losing proposition.  But one of the things that does work is Liberty, because how we respond to what befalls us is up to us.  People who live their lives holding grudges, claiming they are victims, or adopting any other approaches centered around the concept of “Woe is Me,” are self-defeating.  Of course, most good people often help others when they are in need, and that is a good thing.  But those who play and rely upon victimization involve themselves in a losing proposition.  Instead, we are the captains of our own ships, and it is only we who bear the consequences for the life we lead, the choices we make and the attitude we take.  And, if you think about it, we shouldn’t want it any other 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 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!

Wearing the Robe: The Art and Responsibilities of Judging in Today’s Courts (Square One Press, 2009)




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2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #134 “Liberty And The Minimum Wage”

Gray                The whole issue of the minimum wage brings in a conundrum: we see people working for wages that would not provide enough revenue to pay for an apartment, and think it wrong.  But we also see that the more laws we pass to rectify that situation, the deeper the problems become.  So what’s to be done?  The answer is to listen to Dr. Milton Friedman, who said that we should judge programs by their results instead of their intentions.  In that regard, the fact is that when the government mandates that workers’ wages be increased, it obviously makes that labor more expensive.  And the result of that is for many employers to lay off some employees and replace them by automation (think self check-out machines at stores like Home Depot and self-ordering kiosks at fast food stores like McDonald’s).  For example, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that nationally increasing the minimum wages even to the level of $10.10 per hour would cause 500,000 workers to lose their jobs.  And for the employees that remain, employers will also try to reduce their number of hours of work – particularly for overtime.  As a result, minimum wage laws actually result in victories for robots and defeats for most employees.  (Sorry, the callous fact is that in today’s world some workers are simply not worth $10.10 per hour.)  And these are only just some of the problems that result.  Thus, almost literally, the only good thing that results from minimum wage laws is that legislators get to feel better about themselves.

So what is a better approach?  Liberty.  Let the free market control the process by allowing employers and employees to negotiate their employment contracts – of course with allowances for safety in the workplace and for the courts to enforce the agreements reached.  That will result in increased employment, which will overall be beneficial because it is healthier for society to have, for example, 100 people working for $10 per hour than 65 people working for $15 per hour.  Then if society concludes that there should be a Safety Net of minimum income that everyone legally in our country over 18 years of age should be receiving, let government establish one.  Again as Dr. Friedman said, the difference between the wealthy and the poor is that the wealthy have more money.  So give the poor some money – up to a basic amount (with allowances made for those with special needs).  This would probably be revenue neutral, because we could repeal all other welfare programs, along with the enormously expensive bureaucracy needed to administer them.  But, critically, there should always be an incentive for people to earn the extra dollar.  This would result in better situations all around: greater employment, greater flexibility, less complexity, an enormous reduction in homelessness (because the free market would quickly create low-cost room and board facilities for the homeless who received their monthly stipends), lower government expenses, and incentives for people to improve themselves – which is not at all true for today’s welfare recipients.  So, yet again, Liberty works!!

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, September 24, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #135 “Liberty Requires A Balance Of Powers”

images          Regretfully, but not surprisingly, most people are outcome-oriented in both their thinking and their voting.  This means that, regardless of the process used, if they like the outcome on an issue they are for it, and if they don’t like it they are against it.  An important and timely example of that is the present controversy about the issue of the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” or DACA.  Virtually everyone agrees that these “Dreamers,” who were brought into this country illegally by their parents before they turned 16 years of age, are blameless, and that it would in so many ways be an unfair tragedy to deport them.  Accordingly, upon balance, the outcome that almost everyone favors is to work out a situation in which those who have been studying and working hard, and have stayed on the right side of the law, can remain in this country, and often even have a pathway to citizenship.

So what is the problem?  The first thing that must be done is to fix the immigration system itself, and the best way to do that is to provide work visas rather liberally after a background check for such things as mental, criminal justice and terrorist issues.  But no welfare will be attached!  The failure for this system not being fixed is laid directly at the doorstep of Congress because, although they talk about it, many of them don’t actually want to!  Why?  Basically because numbers of influential Republicans continue to want the cheap labor, and influential Democrats continue to want people coming into our country who are anticipated eventually to vote for Democrats.  In the meantime, millions of people have been harmed.  But the responsibility also is laid at the doorstep of President Obama who, according to his own statements, had no authority unilaterally to change the laws and create the DACA program.  He himself said, as late as July of 2011, that he would like to change the system on his own, “but that’s not how our system works.  That’s not how our Constitution is written.”  So the current proposal to send the issue back to Congress with a six-month window to devise a workable system is one based upon the Constitution.  Allowing unilateral actions to pass laws is a direct threat to Liberty.  Maybe many people might like the results of those actions this time, but what about next time?  Re-instituting segregation, as done by President Woodrow Wilson?  Re-instituting internment camps for Japanese-Americans as done by President Franklin Roosevelt?  Those were unilateral acts of which no one today is proud.  So, along with obtaining desired results, we must also protect the process – our separation of powers – to protect the Liberty of us all!

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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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #133 “Liberty Sidelined In Education”

judgejimgray_portrait2            The logical extreme has happened in New York City!  According to an August 19, 2017 article on the front page of the New York Times, teachers who either had disciplinary problems or bad teaching records or who worked in schools that had either been closed or were experiencing a decline in enrollment were paid $150 million in salary last year alone – not to teach!  That constituted a full 822 teachers, more than 200 of whom had been receiving those payments for at least five years!  At an average salary of $94,000 per year!  They could have been re-engaged as teachers, but their performance was so poor that none of the school principals wanted them.  So, since the teacher’s unions were so strong that they couldn’t be fired, they were being paid their full salaries mostly not to teach.

How can a society that holds itself up as the Land of the Free tolerate such a result?  And how many other school districts around the nation are in the same situation?  In today’s world, imagine how much of a benefit it would have been to the students to have had that money for smaller classrooms, extra labs, field trips or tutors?  In too many places around our country our schools are failing our children.  So, as had been stated several times in this column, we must decide what the purpose is for our educational system: to educate our children?  Or to protect below-average teachers?  Liberty means that our children’s interests must be placed ahead of supporting teachers who cannot teach!  Thomas Jefferson famously said that we should have a bloody revolution every generation to keep the vested special interests at bay.  Fortunately, our Constitution has given us a means for the revolutions not to be bloody. But how long has it been?  When witnessing outcomes like this, maybe it is time for another of these revolutions!  How about trying it out with the Libertarians, who would never allow this result to occur!

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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Friday, September 8, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #132 “Frederick Douglass — Champion Of Liberty”

untitled          The truth is the truth, regardless of when it is spoken.  And who better to speak about timeless racial truths than Frederick Douglass?  A former slave and premier abolitionist writer, Douglass spoke and wrote often and forcefully that “It has long been the desire of our enemies to deepen and widen the line of separation between the white and colored people of this country.”  In literal effect, the only minority that counted for Douglass was the “Minority of One,” which was the individual.  And with what we have seen in the last few months and years in our country, we truly need to keep his teachings fresh in our minds because so many people from so many different standpoints are trying to separate us.

Douglass emphasized that America was a nation founded upon “human brotherhood and the self-evident truths of Liberty and Equality.”  In that regard, he went on to say that the designation or protection of specific groups or classes of Americans would lead to a focus upon benefits and burdens of class members at the direct expense of the protection of individual rights.  But, as he timelessly reminded us, “The Constitution knows no distinction between citizens on account of color.”  Instead, the “burden of our demand upon the American people shall simply be justice and fair play.”  Thus “We utterly repudiate all invidious distinctions, whether in our favor or against us, and only ask for a fair field, and no favor.”  In other words, Frederick Douglass was a champion of Liberty, and asked for no more nor no less – for everyone!  Each one of us today should simply and stalwartly demand and enforce the same!  That is fundamentally what America is – and should be – about!

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, September 3, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #131 “How Liberty Saved The Bees”

Bees working on honeycomb            Last week we talked about how Government is Money.  In other words, people in government have their own biases and, often, personal desires for power and influence.  So Liberty —in this context defined as instituting a system for private individuals to have incentives to prosper by producing (legal) goods and services that other people will desire and purchase – will almost always triumph over government bureaucracy, controls and regulations.  And that is what has happened over the past few years with the survival of bees.

According to an article by Shawn Regan in the August/September edition of Reason, large numbers of honeybees started disappearing in 2006.  And not only were they dying, they were mysteriously abandoning their hives.  The situation became so widespread that in 2013 some experts predicted “a world without bees.”  In response, the Obama administration set aside $82 million in funding and formed a task force to deal with this “crisis” by creating a “national pollination strategy.”  But this crisis was averted because of Liberty, which rendered the federal monies and efforts unnecessary and even wasted.

What happened?  Commercial beekeepers, who make a profit both by “renting” their bee colonies to orchards during the blooming season, and also selling the honey that is produced, had incentives to deal with the losses of bees.   So they responded in two ways.  First they privately determined that two parasitic types of mites were killing the bees.  So they countered by the use of miticides, fungicides and other treatments.  Second, they artificially stimulated the production of thousands more queen bees which, in turn, generated hundreds of thousands more honeybees.  The advocates of Big Government felt good about themselves in spending the taxpayers’ money and “rallying to the cause,” but no government involvement was really needed.  What is needed instead in to nurture a climate that supports 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 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!

(Okay, I know this was three paragraphs.  I could have combined the last two together, but I didn’t want to make my 9th grade grammar teacher, Ms. Menazian, mad at me!)



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Sunday, August 27, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #130 “Proof Once Again, Government is Money”

99a3f0e6e2ac09e2d96145fe3d41c7ef-350x196       Government is Money!  As Shakespeare said in a different context: “’Tis true ‘tis pity; ‘tis pity ‘tis true.”  But this dreary fact was recently brought home to me once again when I learned that each Republican member of Congress is expected each quarter to raise several tens of thousands of dollars for the National Republican Party.  Furthermore, before a Republican member of Congress can be appointed to chair a committee that member must “tithe” up to $100,000 to the party’s coffers, the exact amount depending upon the importance of the chairmanship.  I have no direct information as to what the Democrats do, but anticipate that it is equally discouraging.

So what is the answer?  Nothing is perfect, but my suggestion is to support the Libertarian Party.  Libertarians are classic conservatives: they really do want to reduce the size, cost and complexity of government.  In other words, Libertarians believe that you and I are better able to decide how better to spend our money than is the government.  But we are also classic liberals: we really do want to get the government out of our bedrooms and protect and defend our liberties.  And Libertarians would never engage in a “little honest payoff” in order to become a chair of a committee!  As has been written often in this column, we get the government we deserve.  And if this is happening on our watch, shame upon all of us!!  This is not Liberty!  This is not the honest government of “We the People.”   So we should contact the media, take to the airwaves, and otherwise pass the word that this is not what we condone!  And we should support political parties and candidates that would eschew such practices!  Thus we should show ourselves and the world that our government is not, or at least should not be, for sale!

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, August 12, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #129 “Install A Statue of Responsibility?”

Screen Shot 2012-06-01 at 1.05.41 PM         Regretfully, our great country has strayed away from a climate individual responsibility and instead fallen back into one of victimization.  For example, numbers of years ago a man who had been drinking too much one night dove headfirst off the Newport Pier into three feet of water, hit his head on the sand below and, tragically, became a paraplegic.  So then what happened?  He sued the City of Newport Beach on the theory that it should have posted a sign warning people that there was sand under the water.  (As if, under those circumstances, it would have mattered.)  And he won!  (At least partially.)  So he received some money, and the city posted the sign in self-protection. Recently, my sister sent me some pictures of similar public warning signs.  These included signs:

  • in a grocery store sitting on top of large numbers of peanuts in the shell saying “This product contains peanuts;”
  • a ten by four-foot picture advertising a hot dog, saying at the bottom “Not Actual Size;”
  • over a lit barbeque saying “Caution: Fire is Hot;”
  • floating in a swimming pool saying: “Caution: Wet Floor,” and another saying “Caution: Do Not Breathe Under Water;”
  • a picture of a metal clothes hanger saying: “Caution: Do Not Swallow;”
  • in front of a door saying: “If Door Does Not Open, Do Not Enter;”
  • on a public street saying “Wet When Raining;” and, finally,
  • in front of a public beach saying “No Swimming If You Can’t Swim.”

Maybe some of these are simply meant to be funny, but all of them are at least unintentionally so, because they show how far astray we have come.  So in response to that reality, I suggest that we should balance the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor by creating and installing a Statue of Responsibility in San Francisco Bay.  At least that would be a start!

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, July 31, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #128 “More Liberty In Elections”

100_1437          There are two ways we all could have more Liberty in our elections.  The first is called “Approval Voting,” and the second is called “Instant Run-off” elections.  Approval voting means that people could vote for all of the candidates of whom they approved for every office.  That means that, for example, if there were five candidates running for an office, and a voter would be content to have any three of them win, the voter could vote for all three of those candidates (but no one could vote more than once for any particular candidate.) Then all of the votes simply would be counted up, with the candidate receiving the most votes winning the election (see www.Electology.org.)  In instant runoff elections, otherwise known as Ranked Choice Voting, people could vote for their first choice, but then they would have the opportunity to vote for their second choice as well.  Then all first choices from all voters would be counted.  But if no candidate won 50 percent plus one vote, with a flip of a computer switch, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated, and a second tally would be completed.  All voters who had voted for the eliminated candidate would have their second choice counted in this “runoff” election.  That procedure would be continued until one candidate won a majority of the votes (see http://ift.tt/1fQQa85).  This process is now utilized by a dozen states and cities in our country, and those people seem to be happy with it.

Both of these approaches would almost completely eliminate the “spoiler” or “lesser of two evils” issues, because people could vote their consciences.  In other words, people could vote their dreams, but they could also vote against their fears.  In addition, the more radical candidates would be forced to moderate their positions, because they would have more direct information about the preferences of more of the voters.   Actually, in many elections we have seen numerous voters casting their votes against candidates by voting for their opponents, instead of actually voting in favor of anyone.  Both of these approaches would change that equation, which would bring more Liberty to our elections.

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, July 30, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #127 “Civil Asset Forfeiture: A Direct Attack Upon Liberty”

judgejimgray_ocregister         One of the most flagrant attacks upon Liberty and the due process of law is the federal government’s program of civil asset forfeiture.  This program allows the police to confiscate people’s cash and other property if they “suspect” that it is linked to criminal (mostly drug) offenses – even if the subjects are never even charged with a crime!  And, of course, the police have incentives to seize people’s property, since they get to keep part of the booty.  Furthermore, when seizures occur, it is up to the owners of the property to file a lawsuit to get it back, and even then they have the burden of proof to show that it was not gained from a criminal offense.  Some of those programs were pared down under President Obama, but US Attorney General Sessions recently announced a policy that will remove many protections from these “policing for profit” programs.

Most people agree that cash and property gained by illegal means should be forfeited to the government or otherwise returned to the victims.  But that should only occur with two conditions.  First, forfeiture could only occur after the subjects have been charged with and convicted of a criminal offense, with the same jury concluding that the property was obtained as a result of that illegality. Second, the forfeited property should go into the general fund, and not to any particular agency.  That will remove improper incentives.  Otherwise, at the very least, all of these forfeitures should be considered to be a violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits the imposition of excessive fines.  Liberty demands that Attorney General Sessions rescind this new policy!  Fortunately, all of us have the opportunity to have our voices heard by contacting our members of Congress and demanding the passage of the FAIR Act to reform federal asset forfeiture laws and stop incentivizing law enforcement seizures without a criminal conviction!

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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Thursday, July 20, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #125 “Is ‘Be Yourself’ Good Advice?”

image         Mark Twain once supposedly said that “Be Yourself” is not good advice for many people.  Yes, in most regards each of us, as adults, has the Liberty to act as we wish, as long as that does not wrongly affect the abilities of others to do the same.  But how do we act with that Liberty?  The great UCLA basketball coach Johnny Wooden once said that “Character is how we act when no one else is looking.”  So every once in a while it should be helpful for each of us to pause and reflect upon how we act with that Liberty, which is to say: what really is our character?  How do we act when no one else is looking?  Is that the person we wish to be?

Many people have come to the conclusion that the greatest thing in life is not power, love, wealth or success, it is gratification.  Not the short-term shallow stuff, but deep down.  We can receive gratification by being involved with power, love, etc., but they are not ends in themselves.  For example, worshipping the false god of materialism, i.e., the religion of “My yacht is bigger than your yacht,” is ultimately unsatisfying.  (And you can always find somebody with a bigger yacht!)  Instead, gratification can come from anonymous acts for family, friends or society in general that help to make the world a better place.  The areas for most of us in which we can make these contributions are almost boundless: we live in the greatest country the world has ever seen and at the most exciting time, and we have so many opportunities to expand our knowledge, experiences, relationships and contributions.  So think of the small and large acts of kindness that each of us can do – every day in our normal lives.  Not only will that bring gratification to us and often to others, it will also demonstrate a character of which we can be proud.

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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Friday, July 14, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #124 “You And I Are Now The ‘We'”

iStock_000009330394_Full       “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union.”  The Preamble to our Constitution, the greatest document in the history of the world that was ever inspired by man, decreed back in 1787 that “We the People” are in charge of our government, and thus our own destiny.  And to a person, each of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention believed that the most important function of government was protecting our individual liberties from the encroachment of government.  And now that power – and responsibility – has been passed down from the Founders to us.  So now it is you and I who are “We the People.”  Would the Founders be proud of us?  Do we agree with them about the fundamental importance of individual liberty?  Or, even worse, do we actually care?

We are coming once again to the Fourth of July!  Happy Birthday America!  But let each one of us celebrate this birthday by resolving not to take our great country – and all of the freedom and hope that it represents – for granted.  Let’s resolve to do our part – on a regular basis – to stand up for Liberty whenever we think, talk, act and vote.  We deserve the government that we get and recently we have not been doing a particularly good job.  The Founders are relying on us.  So Happy Fourth of July, in all of its ramifications!

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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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #123 “Look What Liberty Has Done!”

Judge1       There is much talk today about the disparity of earnings between the “top brass” and the regular workers and, somewhat obviously, a lot of it is true.  But if we think of it in a different fashion, we should have many fewer complaints.  Put it this way: how many of us would trade places with Henry VIII?  Henry was the King of England for about 37 years.  But he had undiagnosed gout, lived in a drafty castle, and if he wanted to travel he had to take a jolting coach ride by which he could travel only about 20 miles per day.  And he died at the age of 55!  (And who really would want to have 6 wives?)

So the point is that most people living in our country today have a much better life than Henry VIII.  Almost all of us have better health, life expectancy, comforts and enjoyment of life by far than even the epitome of life in the 16th Century.  And the difference between today’s rich and “poor?”  Your barber’s Timex watch keeps as good time as any CEO’s Rolex, his used Ford gets him here and there as well as the CEO’s Tesla, and his clothing is almost the same quality as the CEO’s designer brands.  Plus today almost everyone has cellphones, big screen televisions, computers and access to healthy foods and medicines.  Even airplane trips are available to almost everyone.  So even though there is a marked disparity in incomes, when it comes down to it, the difference between the lives of the wealthy and poor is so much closer today than it has ever been before.  So look what Liberty and the Free Enterprise System have done for us all!  That is not to say that we should not work to narrow today’s disparity of wealth.  But maybe along the way we should also focus on the life of Henry VIII, and be more thankful of what we have!

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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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #122 “They Have Been Punished Enough!”

280x157-z71           Truly one of the most important factors affecting our country’s domestic tranquility is people’s ability to get a job.  In so many different ways, not being able to find lawful employment contributes greatly to a loss of self-respect which, in turn, leads to despair, crime and drug abuse.  And probably the ones most susceptible to those ills are people who have served time in prison.  Why?  Because if ex-felons cannot get a job, the odds are shown to be appreciably higher that they will commit another offense that will land them back in prison.

But what most people do not realize is that many state governments intensely and unfairly aggravate this situation!  How?  Because those states’ occupational licensing boards are empowered to – and often do – reject applications for as many as 118 different types of jobs simply because the applicants were previously convicted of a felony.  This includes applications for licenses to work as barbers, hair stylists, massage therapists and roofers, even though the conviction had nothing to do with those jobs.  Yes, maybe some applicants should be rejected based upon the specific circumstances involved, but the decisions should never be automatic!  In other words, after they have completed their sentence, the ex-felons have been punished enough and should be given a fair chance to be productive members of society!  And, of course, since this situation creates greater court and prison costs, the taxpayers are being punished as well.  So everyone loses (except the prison guards unions).  Thus, for all of our sakes, this deprivation of Liberty to pursue lawful employment should not be tolerated!

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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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #121 “Liberty And Political Donations”

rsz_judgegray         Everyone knows that money is much too influential in today’s politics, so how can that influence be lessened?  To me the answer is to allow all natural people who are citizens or holders of Green Cards to contribute as much money as they wish to the candidates or ballot measures of their choice, with the firm provision that all contributions above a certain fairly small but fixed amount must be published in a timely fashion.  This would both be fair and consistent with freedom of speech.  Under today’s system, if Bill Gates were running for a public office he could contribute as much of his money to his own campaign as he wanted.  So why should he not be able to contribute to other campaigns as well?  And then if the voters feel that a candidate is beholden to Bill Gates or anyone else, they still would be free to vote for that candidate’s opponent.

But, critically, no organizations, including corporations and labor unions, should be allowed to contribute to any public elections whatsoever.   First of all, as a matter of basic fairness, since it’s the money of their shareholders and members, those shareholders or union members should not be forced to contribute to a cause with which they do not agree.  (And if they do agree, that’s fine, they can still contribute individually and also encourage other individuals to do the same.)  Of course, I understand that this idea conflicts with the ruling by the Supreme Court in Citizens United, but that is still my opinion.  Secondly, under today’s system with all of its purported contribution restrictions, the wealthy are still able to contribute virtually as much as they want to whatever cause they choose.  How is that?  Because wealthy individuals and special interests are able to “launder” their donations through Political Action Committees (PACs) or political parties, accompanied by their “private request” as to where the money should be spent.  And, of course, that is where the money goes, because the recipients are mostly in business to help those causes.  So why not make those contributions above-board, public and available to all?  And along the way, Liberty would be enhanced, as would more accurate information being available to the voters.

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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