Monday, February 3, 2020

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #248 "RESPECT THE PROCESS!"

       Many people have complained that President Trump has wrongly set aside some of President Obama’s “good works” regarding things like DACA, which has kept people who were brought into our country as small children without complying with our immigration laws from being deported.  But the problem does not lie with Trump, it actually lies with Obama and Congress.  Why?  Because Mr. Obama issued Executive Orders for our laws not to be enforced for those young people.  So, that being the case, no one has a legitimate complaint when Trump similarly issues Executive Orders counteracting them.  However, if President Obama had respected the process and successfully attempted to have the immigration laws changed, President Trump would have been forced to follow suit.  (What’s good for goose also good for gander. . .)
        In other words, the process is critically important.  We don’t have dictators in our country who can rule by fiat.  The DACA issue to me is clear: we should keep those young people who have adapted well into our society here – and I believe most Americans would agree with that result.  So if I were in Congress, I would vote for the modification of our immigration laws to enact that result.  But this is yet another example of Congress abrogating its lawmaking responsibilities to a president.  Another huge example is Congress’ having passed the so-called War Powers Acts that have allowed presidents, in effect, to declare war on other nations or peoples.  No, Constitutionally only Congress can declare war!  Of course our laws still allow a president to respond to an immediate threat.  But otherwise it is meaningless for a country to be based upon the Rule of Law if its elected officials don’t respect the process– and these failings are laid at the feet of Congress!    
Quote for the week: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”  George Bernard Shaw

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



Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.  In addition, my new book entitled “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: Solutions that are Practical, Effective, Responsible, Libertarian, is now available at Amazon.com.   Please read and discuss it with friends, and send in a review.

Monday, January 27, 2020

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #247 "GROUPS LIKE TECHNOSERVE DO IT BETTER!"

       Are you aware of the charitable group called TechnoServe?  It (correctly) bills itself as providing “Business Solutions to Poverty” in 29 mostly poverty-stricken countries around the world.  For example, in Uganda it is using data captured by drones and satellites to help farmers determine where to allocate their limited resources to maximize their crops’ yields; in Mozambique it is using smart phones to facilitate more effective business decisions for cashew growers, buyers and manufacturers; and in Ethiopia it is making available solar-powered water pumps for irrigation systems to help family farmers cope with increasingly drier weather.  Furthermore TechnoServe also provides mobile banking services for direct payments to be made by the farmers.  And, importantly enough, it also provides all of its services equally to women and men!
       So this is yet another example of how private individuals, companies and foundations simply do a better job in philanthropic work than do (any) governments. Governments are, by definition, bureaucracies that must cater to political demands.  But the private sector can function directly to address the needs of those in poverty.  In addition, how much money that our government donates to a poverty-stricken countries actually gets to the people it is meant to help, as opposed to resulting in the local government officials driving around in expensive cars and opening up Swiss bank accounts?  This is not a total indictment of governments – they certainly fulfill some important functions.  But when it comes to things like aid to the poor and emergency relief, I suggest that governments much more often should contract with private foundations to address the problems.  (In that regard, maybe a good place to start would be for the US Government to abolish FEMA and simply contract with groups like the Red Cross for emergency relief?  Something to think about.)
Seen on one side of a sign in front of a bar: “I have mixed drinks about feelings,” and on the other: “Great Minds Drink Alike.”
Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President



Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.  In addition, my new book entitled “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: Solutions that are Practical, Effective, Responsible, Libertarian, is now available at Amazon.com.   Please read and discuss it with friends, and send in a review.

Monday, January 20, 2020

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #246 "A PROPOSAL FOR SOLVING OUR HOMELESS PROBLEM"

On Sunday, November 24, 2019 I published an op-ed column in the Orange County Register about my proposal for an institutional approach to the homeless crisis.  Instead of our normal “2 Paragraphs” edition, this week I am substituting that column.  As always, feedback would be appreciated.  
Here is the Register column for your thoughts.
             Our great country seems to be vexed by the Homeless issue.  All of us should take affront that people living in the United States and within its laws are being reduced to “living on the streets.”  So how is this situation being perpetuated, and how should it be addressed?
             As we have seen, the various governments’ responses around the country to the homeless issue have been sporadic if not spasmodic.  Every once in a while a state or the federal government will set aside fairly large amounts of money in one-time payments, or temporarily open an armory, either to make themselves feel better or to reduce some political heat.  But then the cold hard facts are that the problems continue on virtually as before.
             So what we need instead is an institutional response that should greatly reduce this national and even moral problem.  My approach is modeled after Dr. Milton Friedman’s “negative income tax” proposal, and is as follows, with the amounts of money used only for illustrative purposes:
1.       No one in our country will pay any income taxes on their first $30,000 of earnings from whatever source – not you, me, Bill Gates or anyone else.  (This could evolve into a national graduated flat tax, but that is a different issue.)
2.       For those people who earn no money, regardless of the reason, anyone who is at least 18 years of age, a citizen of our country or here legally with a green card will receive a stipend from the federal government in the amount of $15,000 per year – probably broken down into monthly payments of $1,250.  However, for every dollar they earn they will lose 50 cents of the stipend.  (Accordingly, everyone will have an incentive to earn the extra dollar.)  And, importantly enough, ALL other welfare payments could be abolished, except those for people with truly special needs.
3.       So what about the homeless?  The answer is that if each of those people had the equivalent of an ATM account with $1,250 automatically deposited into it each month the private sector would quickly start providing low-cost room and board-style living for each of them, probably at a competitive rate of about $1,000 per month, which would leave the recipients an additional $250 to pay for personal items, clothing, etc.
That would be the program.  Of course, the opposing argument is that many of these people would simply throw their money away on alcohol and other drugs, gambling or otherwise be irresponsible.  So what about them?  The answer is that basically the homeless issue is and should be a local problem overseen by city and county governments.  The federal government could and should participate as stated above, and then leave the issue to local control.  And then at the local level there should be a triage system to address different groups of the homeless people, as follows:
1.       Some people are temporarily down on their luck, but they both can and want again to function successfully in our society.  For those people a temporary financial boost in their ATM accounts would probably be all they would need to get back on their feet. 
2.       Another much larger group would need to be screened for mental health, drug and alcohol and other debilitating conditions.  Then they would, if necessary, be given access to appropriate assistance, to the degree that if they needed a conservatorship or a program of drug rehabilitation, that would be mandated. 
3.       The final group would be comprised of those who simply want to continue living that type of life – or at least think they do.  Those people would be provided places to live such as at one of these room and board facilities, or at various government developmental centers, or even some of the presently lightly used reserve military facilities or the like.  As we all agree, no one in our society should be arrested for “camping” or trespassing on public property unless they have a place to live with a roof over their heads.  But this system would provide those places.  Then, once that system is in place, the police could resume their enforcement of local ordinances that prohibit things like littering and illegal camping, urinating or defecating in public, etc.  And a day or three in jail would help convince some of them to change habits.
Of course, there are always complications involved in any system like this, such as extra provisions being made for children and the differences in the costs of living in different parts of our country.  But those issues can be addressed locally without making the approach too complicated.
Accordingly, with the publication of this column, I am reaching out to all people of good will in our society, including the legal, medical, religious and social communities, as well as caring groups like the ACLU, NAACP, MALDEF, various rescue missions, places of worship and others.  In that regard, I openly say that I don’t purport to have all of the answers, but please join me in actively trying to find some by sending these ideas to your elected representatives.  Because, as it now exists, the homeless problem is untenable and is an insult to who we are a people.  And it calls for an institutional response to resolve it.
Question for the week: What is the difference between a raven and a crow?  Mostly unknown to people, a raven has five pinion feathers in its tail and a crow, which is smaller, has only four pinion feathers.  So the difference between a raven and a crow is a matter of a pinion. . . .

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





James P. Gray is a retired judge of the Superior Court in Orange County, California, a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica, criminal defense attorney in the Navy JAG Corps, federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, and the 2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President.


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.  In addition, my new book entitled “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: Solutions that are Practical, Effective, Responsible, Libertarian, is now available at Amazon.com.   Please read and discuss it with friends, and send in a review.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #245 "INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY"

     My great friend Judge Andy Guilford recently called my attention to an insight that I will pass along to you: the Judiciary is probably the most important of our three branches of government.  Why?  Because the Executive is dependent upon the majority to stay in office, and so is the Legislature.  So it is only the Judiciary that truly upholds and enforces minority rights.  And that is what makes America what it is.  In other words, the very soul of our great country is our freedoms and our liberties.  And that soul is continually under attack, if only in the name of “keeping us safe.”  Wiretapping, surveillance cameras, unnecessary pre-trial confinement, license plate and facial recognition cameras, reduced rights under our search and seizure laws cloaked under the guise of the so-called War on Drugs, and on and on.  And it is really only the Judicial Branch of Government that stands in the way of even more erosion of our precious liberties.  I have said it many times in these columns, and it bears repeating: the Delegates at our Constitutional Convention in 1787 fought, debated and bickered over numbers of things, but literally each delegate agreed that the most important function of government is to protect our Liberties from the encroachment of government.  (The second most important was our security.)
      So what can we do to protect our Judicial Branch of Government?  Primarily we must protect its independence!  In the past few years we as a society have allowed our judiciary to become more politicized, even to the extent that several states have allowed judicial candidates to be endorsed by political parties.  In addition, many judicial branches, including California, have been intentionally underfunded by the legislatures in response to judicial decisions that the legislatures did not agree with.  These are dangerous precedents, because all of us are in the minority in some regards and, “There but for the Grace of God,” each of us could in fact be overly or even wrongly prosecuted by the government for just about anything.  We simply must have an independent judicial system to protect us from all of these potential abuses.  So everyone please be aware of this continuing threat, and lend a hand to protect us all against it.  We simply must keep our Judicial branch of government independent!
Story for the week: A Doctor gave a man six months to live.  But the man couldn’t pay his bills, so the Doctor gave him another six months.


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.  In addition, my new book entitled “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: Solutions that are Practical, Effective, Responsible, Libertarian, is now available at Amazon.com.   Please read and discuss it with friends, and send in a review.

Monday, January 6, 2020

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #244 "YOU WILL BRUSH YOUR TEETH!"

  It has clinically been shown numerous times that brushing our teeth after every meal enhances our health.  Thus society would benefit if all of us would consistently do that, not to mention the cost savings to governmental programs like Social Security, Medicare and MediCal.  So how about Congress passing a law mandating this “Good Health Measure” for all of us!  Of course, we cannot have an effective law unless some sanctions are attached for non-compliance, so Congress should also create an enforcement agency.  Naturally, of course, the enforcement police would also need to have surveillance capability, because voluntary reporting would truly be suspect and ineffective.  Nevertheless, due to the substantial “benefits” that would accrue, the costs and intrusions would be justified – and, as long as we are law-abiding and brush our teeth regularly, what do we have to fear?
    Is this a good idea?  No!  But do you understand that this is the literal basis for many of our laws in today’s Nanny State?  If so, where are the protests?  Naturally the above proposal would have many nuances and complications.  For example, must we use toothpaste with fluoride?  What type of toothbrush is “acceptable?”  Does simply eating a banana at lunchtime constitute a “meal” that would require brushing? etc., etc. and etc.!  But since the intentions are good, we will simply have to abide with the problems.  And think of the other possibilities: Eat your Greens!  Purchase Healthcare Insurance!  Be an “educated” voter (i.e. vote for the candidates and issues favored by the current government then in power)!  Of course, all of these things are important, but they can best be accomplished by private programs of education and taking responsibility for one’s own actions and health – i.e. employing Libertarian Values!  And, just like our great country’s Founders were, we should always be hugely cautious of allowing governmental encroachments into our Liberties!  To them that was the most important function of government!  (The second was keeping us safe!)  So, yes, we should brush our teeth, but we should also keep the government out of our bathrooms!
Lexophile for the Week: “Our mountains aren’t just funny, they’re Hill Areas!”  (Oh well. . .)

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


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.  In addition, my new book entitled “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: Solutions that are Practical, Effective, Responsible, Libertarian, is now available at Amazon.com.   Please read and discuss it with friends, and send in a review.