Monday, May 6, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #215 "WHAT A LEGACY!"

               Depending upon whose statistics are used, today nationwide we have unfunded government employees’ pension liability somewhere between one and six trillion dollars!  Even at the lower amount, that is a debt of about $10,000 for every man, woman and child in our country!  Mostly you and I will be all right, but our children are in deep financial trouble – and our grandchildren are almost certainly bankrupt!  And this is just using the lower numbers!  So what is the threat?  Consider that in 2008 the City of Vallejo, California, with a population of only 100,000, had a pension debt of more than $83 million, and that debt threw the city into bankruptcy.   As a result, the City of Vallejo had to cut employee salaries, raise its pension contributions, close its fire stations and lay off 40 percent of its police force.  By 2014, one-third of its fire stations remained closed and crime rates had increased, including a tripling of the homicide rates.  What a legacy we are leaving for our descendants!  So what is the answer?  The Libertarian values of open and honest discussion, and financial responsibility!
                According to the Reason Foundation, addressing pension reforms is much like attempting to lose weight.  First you must recognize the need, and then you must actually do the necessary work to shed the fat.  On the positive side, and with the Reason Foundation’s help, the entire State of Michigan offers us all some hope.  After an in-depth analysis of its problems, the state now has embraced a new program that, first, places all new teachers into an auto-enrolled and defined contribution plan similar to the private sector’s 401K programs and, second, is accelerating the pay-down of tens of billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities.  So Michigan is successfully facing its problems.  And now Reason is also working with the State of Arizona toward similar ends.  The reality is that our system of government gives elected politicians little or no incentive to be concerned about the future – just about the next election.  So it takes public pressure to change that reality.  But all caring people should demand that we join the Reason Foundation’s efforts and face this financial irresponsibility immediately!  Our Legacy is at stake!

Quote for the week: A former stewardess for Southwest Airlines told me that on those few occasions in which their Boeing 737 airplane had a hard landing, and most of the people in the first few rows had stunned looks on their faces, she would grab the microphone and say: “Okay, I know that was a hard bump.  But it’s not the crew’s fault, and it’s not the airplane’s fault.  It’s the asphalt.”


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 these and other 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 as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on 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.

Monday, April 29, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #214 "THE GREEN NEW DEAL"

            Taking the pandering of voters to an entirely new level, politicians promoting the “Green New Deal” are now saying that they will supposedly tackle climate change by passing legislation that has been on the progressive wish lists for years.  This means that progressives say they will rework the electricity grid in an environmentally friendly manner, provide high-speed trains that will make domestic airplane travel undesirable, guarantee everyone a well-paying job as well as provide paid leave for workers when their children are born or a family member is sick, and provide high-quality healthcare, affordable housing and food security for everyone in our country.  And as to the cost?  Most scoff at that issue saying things like “It’s not about cost.”
                But Liberty fails without responsibility.  This means, among other things, that cost is always a factor, and it is blatantly irresponsible not to discuss it!  Most credible estimates project that universal healthcare alone would cost about $36 trillion between 2020 and 2029!  This also means that incentives must always be considered in any plan – governmental or otherwise.  So ask yourself, if people were to be guaranteed a well-paying job, this implies that they couldn’t be fired from it.  So what would be their incentives actually to be productive?   And imagine the bureaucratic issues that would evolve from determining whether Uncle Albert being sick would qualify for family paid leave – or determining how sick he really must be!  Things like this are laughable from a practical standpoint, but often can be politically effective.  So it is up to all of us to point out to any voters who might be lured into the possibility of receiving this “free stuff,” that what is being offered is fanciful, and only being raised simply to get their votes. 



Question for the week: HERE'S THE SITUATION:
You are on a horse, galloping at a constant speed.
On your right side is a sharp drop-off.
On your left side is an elephant traveling at the same speed as you.
Directly in front of you is a galloping kangaroo and your horse is unable to overtake it.
Behind you is a lion running at the same speed as you and the kangaroo.
What must you do to get out of this highly dangerous situation?
          Answer:  When the merry-go-round stops, get off!



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 these and other 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 as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on 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.

Monday, April 22, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #213 "PRO-JECT' UNDERSTANDING"

             Without fear of contradiction, we must label acts like the recent bombings in Sri Lanka as barbarous – without any form of justification or redemption.  But, having said that, what can people of good will do to reduce such mindless slaughtering of people, simply because they have a different religious faith?  Obviously this is a difficult issue, but numbers of people who are solid religious practitioners or scholars have joined in the effort.  The result is our “Pro-Ject’ Understanding.”  We all know that religions and philosophies have differences among them, but we focus upon the many things that they all have in common.  So we have a website that posts fairly short essays about those commonalities, and forward them to other people and groups here and around the world, along with the request that they forward them on to their social network as well.  In this way we hope to smother the earth.
Here is the link: https://pro-jectunderstanding.com/about-the-pro-ject/ .  I think you will find the essays to be interesting, educational and helpful for all.  The problem is that getting these thoughts around the world, where they will do the most good, is difficult.  So I am requesting that we all harness the frustration that builds up when we hear about atrocities like these that occurred in Sri Lanka, and turn it into some constructive attempts to reduce them.  Please help us in this effort.


Quote for the week: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”                    

-Edmond Burke


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 these and other 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.”  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on 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.



Monday, April 15, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #212 "INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE"

               Among other things, I have learned from researching and then writing a musical about our 1787 Constitutional Convention that, of course, the delegates debated and even fought about many issues at that convention: the rights of big states versus small; to have a standing army or not; whether the federal government should have control over the states and, if so, in what areas; and, of course, slave states or free?  But the one thing that ALL delegates agreed upon was that THE most important function of government was to protect our freedoms and liberties against the encroachment of government.  (The second most important was our security.)  So how far have we strayed from our Founders’ primary objective of government?  Suffice it to say that our Founders would be deeply disappointed in us.
                But there is a group that is doing our Founders proud in fighting for and upholding our Liberties, and that is the Institute for Justice.  Since 1991, IJ has successfully taken on cases at no charge to the litigants to keep the government from unduly condemning people’s land without even having a purpose in mind for its later use; forfeiting a man’s $42,000 truck based upon a conviction involving about $200 worth of illicit drugs; requiring people to have a government license before they can work as tour guides; enforcing a term of probation that prohibited a defendant from writing a book about how the Securities Exchange Commission over-prosecuted his own case; and upholding parents’ ability to choose where government money would be spent for the education of their children, even if it happened to be at a religious school.  This group, and several others like it, deserve our praise and our support.  So, if you wish to join me in thanking and supporting IJ, please visit its website at www.IJ.org, and join me in supporting it at 901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900, Arlington, VA 22203.  I don’t often use this column specifically to suggest helping a particular organization, but IJ merits that exception.
Quote for the week: “Character is what you do when no one else is watching.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                -UCLA’s Great Basketball Coach Johnny Wooden


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 these and other 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.”  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on 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.

Monday, April 8, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #211 "BREAKING NEWS!"

     Some of you may remember back in 2004 when I took a year-long unpaid leave of absence from the court and ran in California as a Libertarian for US Senate against incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer and Republican Bill Jones.  I knew that I would not win, but I wanted to be a part of the conversation on the important issues that then were pressing us.  Unfortunately, since George W Bush functionally abandoned California to the Democrats in the presidential election, Bill Jones’ campaign never really got started.  As a result, there really were as no discussions.  So to pursue the same effort after the election, I started writing a weekly Sunday column about various issues in the Daily Pilot, which was a local newspaper that was distributed by the Los Angeles Times in three cities in Orange County.  Thereafter, I took what I thought were the most timely of the columns and re-published them in a book entitled A Voter’s Handbook: Effective Solutions to America’s Problems (The Forum Press, 2010).  Then, after giving my readers a rest for a few years, I began distributing this 2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty about four years ago, which leads me to today’s breaking news: As of Friday morning at 7:00 Pacific and 10:00 Eastern, I am launching a weekly one-hour radio show entitled All Rise: The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray”  The purpose is the same: to encourage thought and discussion on the issues that are important to us, our children and our great country. 
      So please join me by listening to our program, and encouraging your social media and other friends to do the same.  Yes, some of these issues are difficult, complex and even controversial, and I do not pretend to have all of the answers.  But I strongly believe that if difficult issues go unaddressed by responsible leaders, they will surely be exploited by irresponsible ones.  But if we all pitch in together and encourage discussion and debate and the grappling of these issues, the odds are substantial that our so-called leaders will get the courage to do the same.   And that will increase the chances that we can All Rise together!  You can hear the show either at it scheduled time of 7:00 a.m. Pacific/10:00 a.m. Eastern, or on demand as described below.  Thank you, and Onward!



All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray

Friday at 7 AM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel
“All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” will set forth some of the problem areas in our country, with interesting, experienced and knowledgeable guests. Judge Gray and his guests will provide some practical and workable solutions that benefit virtually everyone in our country except many vested interests. We will learn that there really are Libertarian solutions to many of our problems, including our healthcare, justice and educational systems, national security, dispute resolution, problems with over-incarceration, civil liberties, homelessness, mental health, creating jobs and mentoring our youth! Tune in to our program every Friday at 7 AM Pacific Time on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel, and you will be gratified, stimulated and encouraged by the experience!

    Monday, April 1, 2019

    2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #210 "BEATING THE DRUM FOR JUSTICE"

            Recently one of my favorite people ordered a book for me from Amazon that is entitled Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson (Spiegel & Grau, 2015), saying that she had read it and thought of me.  I was flattered, because this is a book about an attorney/author in the Alabama and Georgia area who filed appeals on death penalty cases and told us about the stories and players surrounding them.  And, if one accepts Mr. Stevenson’s facts as true (which I do), there have been many atrocious cases in those states even into the late 1980s in which African Americans were put to death for crimes for which they were factually innocent.  The existence of just one of those cases is simply too much, but there were many.  And even if the guilt was fairly established, the book quoted the statistic that a Black man was eleven times more likely in those states to receive a death penalty sentence if his victim had been a Caucasian instead of the victim being Black.  This fact cannot make us proud!
               Many people in the African American community were terrified of the police and the court system – and for good reason.  How can we respond?  As one older Black lady was quoted in the book as saying to the author when he was working on one of his cases: “You must beat the drum for Justice!”  In that regard, in August of 2010, I published two back-to-back articles in the Los Angeles Daily Journal that advocated the full repeal of the death penalty throughout the United States.  My argument was then and is still that, regardless of one’s political philosophy, the death penalty is simply not working.  (The two articles are enclosed for those who would like to read them.)  What do you think?  Please let me know your thoughts and then spread the word to your social media and other friends to help us abolish the death penalty – once and for all.  Let’s all join together and beat the drum for Justice!   

    Quote for the week: “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.”  Abraham Lincoln

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





    By the way, these columns are now on 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.

    Monday, March 25, 2019

    2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBETTY: #209 "A LESSON FROM DOGS"

     The old saying is that dogs love their owners more than they love themselves – and I believe it.  So let’s take a lesson from dogs.   They love us regardless of our heritage, race or economic status, or whether we are overweight or slim.  If we treat them well, they will give us tribute, security and wonderful companionship and affection.  What a great lesson for us all to learn, and also a particularly great lesson to use in mentoring our children!  In fact, this reminds me of the lyrics in the song “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” in the musical South Pacific, which ended with:

    You've got to be taught before it's too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You've got to be carefully taught!”

    The most important thing in our relationships is that we are all brothers and sisters, and children of God.  All small children understand this reality, as seen by the fact that they will voluntarily play with any other child their age.  But they soon learn discrimination based upon artificial factors from us adults.  I think of it this way: We are all in the Service Business: Treat people well, and they will treat you the same way.  Similarly, successful employers know that if they treat their employees well, they will almost always treat the employers and their companies the same way. So say it how you will: “What Goes Around Comes Around;” “Reap as Ye Shall Sew;” or “Do unto Others as You Would Have Them Do unto You.”  These are the lessons that can be learned from Man’s Best Friend, and I wish more of us would take them to heart.  If we did, the world would be a more peaceful place, and everyone’s lives would be more fulfilling. 

    Quote for the week: “Don’t just do something, stand there.”  Secretary of State Dean Rusk during a meeting in the Oval Office in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis.



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

    By the way, these columns are now on 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.