Tuesday, July 24, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #166 “The Haiku Economist”

100_1437        Recently at the annual California Libertarian Convention, a friend of mine gave me a copy of The Haiku Economist, which she had helped to edit.  In this work, author Jim Cox gives us 101 poems he wrote in the Haiku form that discuss economic principles.  Of course, Haiku is an ancient form of Japanese poetry that uses three lines, with five syllables in the first and third lines, and seven syllables in the second.  As most people would agree, it is certainly unusual to summarize economic principles at all, much less in 17 syllables.  But, amazingly enough, Cox is successful.  So, regretfully if not tragically, since economics is understood by few people, much less our younger generations, I hereby impart the existence of this book to our “2 Paragraphs” family, along with the continuing request that we all share it with others, particularly students.

On the left side of the page, the book sets forth an economic situation, and then on the right side it provides the Haiku poem’s description.  For example, at page 58 it says: “The comedian denounced communism for its lack of consumer choices among suppliers.”  And on the right:

“Lenny Bruce said it:

Communism, just like one big

phone company, man.”

        So the book educates in a fun but still meaningful way.  Other examples are poems about Karl Marx, government intervention in the economy, comparing government housing with government healthcare, two economic approaches tried by the Pilgrims, “Too big to fail” companies, rent control, “opportunity costs,” licensing, profits, government regulation, “stimulus spending,” economic “scarcity,” economic “markets,” the banking system’s “fractional reserves,” and inflation.  In many ways, people can only truly understand the workings of the world if they understand at least simple economics, and that has big connotations for Liberty!  Jim Cox’s book helps in that effort – and I highly recommend it.  So please discuss it and pass it on.

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

 

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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Saturday, June 23, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #165 “Define the ‘Rule of Law'”

Screen Shot 2012-06-01 at 1.05.41 PM                As has been affirmed numbers of times during this series, a Free Society must not count upon “good people” to ensure Liberty and good results for its members.  Why?  Because we can neither count upon those good people always to do the right thing or, even if we could, we cannot count upon having a continuing succession of good people to replace them.  So a free society instead must rely upon the “Rule of Law.”  But what does that mean?  It means that, although they don’t have to be perfect, the same rules must apply to everyone.  But where there are exceptions, whether based upon wealth, power, “holiness” or fame, the Rule of Law collapses.

Okay, but wait a minute: Life is Complicated, so how can all rules apply equally to everyone?  Well, there is a difference between simplification and being simplistic.  Many rules could be simplified so that they could be understandable and enforceable for everyone without being simplistic.  For example, the present income tax system is unfathomable, the healthcare system is a bureaucratic nightmare, and most licensing laws and requirements are strongly skewed in favor of those who are currently licensed.  And, as you can see, most of these problems are caused by government.  How did this come about?  The fact is that Big Government is genuinely good at at least one thing, and that is continually to increase the power, cost and scope of Big Government.  We have seen that now for decades.  And this reinforces Thomas Jefferson’s comment that “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”  But, on the contrary, the Free Market can work all of these things out without government involvement.  As long as the government has judicial protections in place to ensure that free-will contracts and the laws against theft and fraud are enforced – which is to say that we will have the Rule of Law – everybody will win.  Except Big Government and its favored special interests.  If you agree, then please vote accordingly.

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

** Bizarre Fact of the Week:
Did you know that one time Charlie Chaplin entered into a “Charlie Chaplin Look-Alike contest,” and came in third?

 

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: #164 “Change The Bail System”

Judge1                According to the Prison Policy Initiative, on any given day there are about 630,000 people confined in local jails around our country and, of those, 443,000 are in pre-trial confinement.  That is 70 percent!  And why are they in custody before trial?  Yes, because some are considered either to be dangerous to others or a flight risk, but the strong majority stay confined because they don’t have access to enough money to make bail.  What difference does that make?  Tragically, many of them will unnecessarily lose their jobs, which means that their families will not be able to make their rent payments which, in turn, frequently contributes to the break-up of families.  The law says that there are only two factors in determining whether people should be held in custody before trial.  The first is whether they likely will appear at court for their trial, and the second is whether, in the meantime, they are a threat to other people.  Straightforwardly, and speaking from first-hand experience, judges live in fear of releasing someone who then goes on to harm witnesses or other people.  So is the answer never to release anyone?  Well no, not only is that not Constitutional or even fair, it is also impractical because we don’t have the jail space.  So this puts us into a situation in which risks must be assessed.  So is money a good indicator of either of these two issues?  Not really.  The main indicators instead are the type of charges that people are facing, and whether they have close ties to the community, such as a job, a family with children in school, and the person’s past history of convictions and/or failures to appear in court.

Presently there is a bill in Sacramento, Senate Bill 10, to change our bail system away from bail and toward a system that individually addresses each person’s individual issues.  This is more like the federal system, and we all should want it to pass.  Why?  Today, if people are charged with even misdemeanors, it is common for them to be required to post $5,000 or even $10,000 in bail.  That means that they will have to pay a bail bond company a non-refundable ten percent of that bail, which in those cases would be $500 or $1,000.  Honestly, if I had to, I could quickly pay even more than that.  But many people cannot.  And it is wrong for people to be kept in pre-trial confinement simply because they do not have access to that kind of money – particularly since having access to money is not an indication of propensities to be dangerous or a flight risk.  By the way, the further result of the large numbers of pre-trial confinement is that many prisoners who have already been tried and convicted and are serving their sentences are released early due to jail overcrowding.  Not an equitable situation.

The new bill would require each county to have a detention release officer who would gather information about all detainees and then prescribe individual conditions for them to be released.  For example, maybe some people would be required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet that would broadcast their location.  If it was removed, or if they went into areas that were prohibited to them, an alarm would go off.  That furnishes both good accountability as well as good deterrence!  Or others who had substance abuse or mental health problems could, as a condition of their release, be required to begin programs to address those issues.  And, since it is simply wrong unnecessarily to punish anyone before they are convicted, Liberty also would be a winner.  So please contact your members of the Legislature and request that they support SB 10. All of these common sense responses would help everyone concerned, except the bail bond industry.

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

 

** Quote of the week:
“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” -Thomas Jefferson

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: #163 “Thank You For Your Service”

0 (1)                One of the most flaming breaches of contract I know about is still being perpetrated by our own federal government (namely, by us all) upon some of our military Veterans.  For example, it is estimated that about 30 percent the homeless population both in Los Angeles and Orange Counties are Vets.  And the statistics for Veterans committing suicide are similarly disturbing.  There must be a connection!  But the problem is that today that, although Veterans are formally entitled to receive healthcare services, a myriad of obstacles are put in their way before that is realized.  That simply must be changed!  Being in war creates many scars, many not visible, and those conditions can result in almost permanent disabilities.

But realistically nothing really will change until each of us shows that we care.  This means we must all become more informed, and then we must act.  One way to begin this process would be to see “Thank You for Your Service.”   This is a fictional film based upon the non-fiction book of the same name by Washington Post reporter David Finkel.  The film follows various Vets of the Iraq war as they re-enter society and struggle against other unseen enemies, such as the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and post-traumatic stress disorder.  Another more direct way would be to support a 501(c)(3) organization called Veterans Legal Institute, which is involved in two worthwhile efforts.  The first is to provide free legal assistance to homeless and low-income Vets in an effort to eradicate the barriers they face regarding housing, education, employment and healthcare.  The second is to identify structural problems that interfere with our veterans’ transition to civilian life, and then advocating for reforms and changes to public policy.  For further information about VLI, please visit www.vetslegal.com.

I often fly a banner in the front yard of my house which says “Land of the Free Because of the Brave.”  We Americans today have our Liberty in large part because of our Veterans, and many were permanently wounded for that cause.  Let’s thank them by helping them overcome the maladies that many still bear as a result of that service.  This breach of contract must come to an end!

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

** Quote of the week:
“Repetition does not transform a lie into the truth.” -Franklin Delano Roosevelt

 

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: #162 “The Rule of Law as the Protector of Liberty”

Judge-Jim-Gray             Without the rights of everyone being enforced, no one’s rights can really exist. In that regard, it is important to understand that our country is not a Democracy, which was defined by Benjamin Franklin as two wolves and a lamb voting upon what to have for dinner. No, we are a Republic, where the rights of lambs can be protected. And how can our rights best be protected? We must have institutions which are based upon the Rule of Law and which enshrine our Liberty.

Socrates and Plato understood this, and based their philosophy upon the argument that relying upon good rulers and citizens to possess the cardinal virtues of wisdom, justice, courage and moderation was a mistake because it could not be assured. A stark example is seen with President Franklin Roosevelt. Remember, he once so prominently said “We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions-bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality. Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities.” that it is engraved in stone at his Memorial in Washington DC. However, he is also the person who caused thousands of Japanese-Americans to be interned during World War II.* No, we cannot rely upon individuals, we must instead put our faith in the Rule of Law. Our great country’s Founders followed that approach in creating our Constitution and its Bill of Rights, which ensure the rights of all. And this is the reason that the United States of America has traditionally had more freedom than any other country in the world.

** I do, however, acknowledge that one of the times our institutions failed us was in the US Supreme Court’s decision in Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944), which was a landmark case upholding the constitutionality of FDR’s Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II regardless of their citizenship.

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

** Quote of the week:
“Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.” -Aubrey de Grey

 

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: #161 “Treating People As People”

key_gray                I am proud to say that my Father remains one of my biggest heroes.  As an example, a long time ago when I was a prosecutor and he was a judge in the Los Angeles Federal Courthouse, I would continually see him not only greeting the custodians in the hallways, but even asking about their children – all by name!  And they would literally glow in response.  It was not his way to speak to me about things like this, instead he led by example.  So I started doing the same thing.  Amazingly enough, the first time I did this was to the custodian who was cleaning my office.  When I greeted him by name, which I knew from the label on his shirt, he literally stopped in his tracks.  Then told me that he had been working here for ten years, and I was the first attorney ever to address him by name.   The irony of this was that I eventually learned that he was the father of one of the stars on the UCLA Basketball team.   So that was my unneeded tangible reward for treating people as people.

The fundamental truth is that people everywhere simply want to be treated with dignity, and most people will respond accordingly when that happens.  So this brings me to another story about my father.  One weekend he went up to Lompoc Federal Prison to take a tour, and he happened to take my wonderful mother with him.  As my mother later recounted, during the tour the warden said that there would be a talent show that afternoon presented by some of the inmates, and asked if they would like to attend.  Sure, was the answer.  So before the show began, my father was sitting in the first row, with the warden on one side of him and my mother on the other.  And next to my mother was an inmate, who struck up a conversation by saying: “Mrs. Gray, I’m sure you don’t know this but your husband was the judge who sentenced me to be here,” whereupon my mother became a bit uncomfortable.  The inmate continued: “Yes, and he actually gave me a maximum sentence,” whereupon my mother started leaning over toward my father.  “But,” the inmate went on, “Judge Gray treated me with such respect during all of the proceedings, that he is my favorite judge – and I have had lots of judges!”  Bottom line, treating people as people works – for everyone.  So please join me in saying hello to the people who clean our hotel rooms and mow our grass, as well as those who are in wheelchairs or are in other ways disabled.  They are anxious simply to be recognized as the human beings they are, and we are blessed to have the Liberty to do just that!

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

 

** I once saw this statement on a sign at a bar:
“Bad decisions make for the best stories.”

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: #160 “When Liberty Can Turn Ugly”

0 (3)                Where Liberty is not connected with accountability, the results can turn ugly.   For example, in a study about how people act first when they can be identified as opposed to anonymously, some observations were made on the same people first when they were on an elevator and then later when they were driving their cars.  While on the elevator, most would say “After you,” and the responses would be “No, after you.”  But when the same people were driving their cars, and thus anonymous, they would normally try to cut off the other drivers.  That’s what anonymity can do.  To sum up this thought, the great UCLA Basketball Coach Johnny Wooden put it best by saying that “Your reputation is the way others perceive you, but your character is how you act when no one else is looking.”  Under this definition, we all know that some people’s character when they have the Liberty to act anonymously can be ugly.

And this is a problem, because today we are all facing circumstances in which Russian agents seemingly were able anonymously to plant stories intended to influence the outcome of our recent presidential elections; some people are hiding their identities on the Internet in an attempt to coerce sexual photographs or even liaisons with other unsuspecting people; and anonymous donors are funneling money into elections for their selfish goals.  So what can be done about this problem?  Our institutions should adjust as best they can to reduce anonymous acts, and thus restore accountability.  Of course this can be touchy, because the more the government intrudes into private transactions, the more that Liberty can suffer.  But life is a constant tradeoff of some interests against others.  Liberty is not only important, it is sacred.  And sometimes total Liberty must be reduced to protect us from other people’s predatory and ugly natures.

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

 

** Here is one of my favorite anonymous quotes:
“Recently I have read so much about the harmful effects of what we eat, breathe and drink that I have decided to give up reading.”

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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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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