Mar 12, 12:32 PM EST
Police capture Atlanta slayings suspect
By RUSS BYNUM
Associated Press Writer
DULUTH, GA. (AP) -- A man accused of killing three people at a courthouse was captured Saturday after taking a woman hostage at an apartment complex, officials said. The man is also a suspect in the fatal shooting of an immigration agent earlier Saturday.
"Brian Nichols is in custody. He turned himself in without incident. Everybody is safe," said Officer Darren Moloney of the Gwinnett County Police Department.
Moloney said Nichols was armed and had a female hostage when he was caught. The woman was not identified by authorities, and it was unclear what relationship she had with Nichols.
Nichols, 33, was taken into federal custody. FBI Spokesman Steve Lazarus said Nichols is a suspect in the courthouse shootings and the fatal shooting of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent found dead early Saturday.
The agent was discovered shot to death at an upscale townhouse complex, and his blue pickup truck, pistol and badge were missing.
After Nichols' arrest, a crowd of people across the street from the apartment complex cheered as a black sports utility vehicle drove away, escorted by multiple police cars with lights flashing and sirens on.
The courthouse shootings Friday set off a massive manhunt and created widespread chaos across Atlanta, where schools, restaurants and office buildings locked down amid fears that the suspect might strike again.
Nichols was being escorted to his retrial on rape and other charges Friday when he allegedly overpowered a court deputy, taking her gun, before killing three people: the judge presiding over his case, a court reporter and a deputy who confronted him as he escaped the courthouse.
The deputy from whom he stole the gun, Cynthia Hall, remained in critical condition Saturday.
He then allegedly pistolwhipped Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Don O'Briant and stole his car. Throughout Friday, police said they were looking for the reporter's green Honda Accord, and highway message boards across the state issued descriptions of the vehicle.
But later that night, the car was found in the parking garage where Nichols stole it. Police said Nichols attempted more hijackings, and it was suspected that Nichols had stolen another vehicle from the same parking garage.
Surveillance tape showed him going to the garage's lowest level, wearing a jacket that CNN said belonged to O'Briant.
O'Briant wrote in Saturday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he had just parked his car when a young man pulled beside him and asked for directions to a nearby mall. Before O'Briant could oblige, the man pulled a gun and said, "Give me your keys or I'll kill you," then told him to get in the trunk.
O'Briant refused and started to run.
"I figured it was better to be shot at while I was running than to just stand there and be executed," O'Briant wrote.
The man pistol whipped him as he tried to escape. O'Briant fell, but got up and ran again.
"I scrambled into the street, waiting for the shots to come, but they didn't come," he wrote. "I guess it just wasn't my day to die."
On Friday, carloads of law enforcement officers in riot gear swarmed the buildings and parking lots surrounding the north Atlanta condominiums where Nichols once lived, residents said.
"I've just kept my doors locked," said James Spice, 18, whose home is around the corner. "I always lock up, but I'm just making sure. My mom called and told me to."
At the state Capitol, just down the street from the site of the shooting, flags flew at half-staff as lawmakers prepared for a rare Saturday session. Legislative leaders had considered canceling their weekend "family day," after the shooting, but decided to go ahead with it.
The killings came less than two weeks after a Chicago federal judge's husband and mother were slain in their home and set off a fresh round of worries about the safety of judges, prosecutors and others involved in the criminal justice system.
On Thursday, the judge and prosecutors in Nichols' case requested extra security after investigators found a shank - or homemade knife - fashioned from a doorknob in each of Nichols' shoes, prosecutor Gayle Abramson said.
District Attorney Paul Howard did not say what measures were taken to beef up security, but Assistant Police Chief Alan Dreher said no other officers assisted Hall with taking Nichols to court.
In the rape case, Nichols was accused of bursting into his ex-girlfriend's home, binding her with duct tape and sexually assaulting her over three days. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Nichols brought a loaded machine gun into the home and a cooler with food in case he was hungry.
Nichols had been dating the woman for eight years, and she tried to break up with him after he got another woman pregnant, Hazen said. Though he is accused of imprisoning the woman and raping her, Hazen said his client claims she invited him over and they had consensual sex.
Nichols faced a possible life sentence if convicted in his retrial on charges of rape, sodomy, burglary, and false imprisonment, among others. His earlier trial was declared a mistrial on Monday when jurors voted 8-4 for acquittal.
"My guts tell me he faced a greater chance of conviction in the second trial," his attorney, Barry Hazen, told a local television station.
Prosecutor Gayle Abramson said she believes Nichols, who had been jailed since Aug. 23, was certain he would be convicted and was willing to kill to avoid it.
Hazen described his client as a "big, strong guy" with a laid-back personality.
"Even the larger deputies I don't think would be any match for Brian Nichols," Hazen said.
Muslim inmate abuse probed
Justice Dept. notes discriminatory acts at federal prison
Mar. 12, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General said Friday it had "found a disturbing pattern of discriminatory and retaliatory actions against Muslim inmates" by the warden and guards at an unnamed federal prison, one of a series of criticisms the internal watchdog leveled against the federal Bureau of Prisons in connection with its treatment of Muslims.
Inspector General Glenn A. Fine also disclosed that an FBI agent sent an e-mail to field offices "identifying the names and addresses of the proprietors and customers of a Muslim-based Web site" along with instructions to "take whatever action it deemed appropriate" against local people on the list. The FBI later conceded that the e-mail was probably illegal, he said.
The report was the latest in a series of semiannual reviews of civil rights and civil liberties violations required by a provision of the USA Patriot Act, the law enforcement powers enacted after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The new report comes a year after Fine disclosed that guards had beaten and verbally abused some of the hundreds of Muslim detainees swept up on immigration charges by the FBI after the Sept. 11 attacks and held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. None of the detainees were found to have a connection to the attacks.
Friday, Fine noted that even though he sent the results of the Brooklyn investigation to the Bureau of Prisons for its "review and appropriate disciplinary action" in December 2003, no corrections officer has been held accountable.
"More than a year later, the . . . review still is ongoing, and the Bureau of Prisons still is considering appropriate disciplinary action," Fine wrote.
Fine said his investigators uncovered a "disturbing pattern" of mistreatment against Muslim prisoners at another federal prison by "members of the prison's executive staff, including the warden." A spokesman for Fine declined to identify the prison to protect the privacy of those under investigation.
Fine asked the Justice Department to prosecute prison officials for their actions, but the local US attorney's office declined to do so, the report said. He then forwarded the report to the Bureau of Prisons for "administrative action" against them.
Investigators determined that Muslim inmates were denied transfers to other cells that would "facilitate their prayer requirements," while non-Muslims received similar transfers. Muslims were also "unfairly punished" if they complained about prison conditions or cooperated with the Inspector General investigation.
"A Muslim inmate who had filed complaints relating to his treatment at the prison was placed in the Special Housing Unit for four months for what we determined were specious reasons," the report said.
Ibrahim Cooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an Islamic civil rights and advocacy group based in Washington, said he found the findings of the report "disturbing."
But he said he was heartened that the findings were being examined.
DEA agent shoots self in gun safety class
Orlando, FL, Apr. 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is
investigating an Orlando, Fla., agent who shot himself in the leg while
conducting a gun safety class for children.
The unidentified agent was conducting the class at a the Callahan
Center when he suffered the wound in the thigh, the Orlando Sentinel
The shooting Thursday night was ruled an accident by Orlando police.
He was treated and released at a hospital.
The presentation was part of a class called "The Game of Life, the
Game of Golf" and was sponsored by the Orlando Minority Youth Golf
The agent was explaining about making good life choices, and it
included the gun presentation.
The agent emptied the gun of ammunition as he pointed it toward the
floor, but when he released the slide it fired into his thigh.
Apparently there was one round left in the chamber.
"Everyone was pretty shaken up, but the point of gun safety hit
said Vivian Farmer, 52, who watched with her 13-year-old son.
(now if the DEA thug had shot himself while making an arrest the person arrested would probably be charged with attempting to murder the dumb ass DEA thug)
Ley de armas en los bares pasa al Senado
Por Chakris Kussalanant
Marzo 8, 2005
La semana pasada el Senado de Arizona aprobó 17-11 el proyecto de ley SB1363, que permitiría a las personas portar un arma dentro de un bar o restaurante, siempre y cuando tengan un permiso adecuado y no consuman alcohol.
La propuesta ahora será deliberada por la Casa de Representantes local, donde se estima no tendrá mucha oposición.
De ser aprobada la próxima semana, la ley pasaría a la gobernadora Janet Napolitano y podría estar en efecto en menos de un mes. publicidad
Sin embargo, la posibilidad de una aprobación final tiene a distintas cámaras y asociaciones de turismo, restaurantes y bares preocupados. El Departamento de Control y Licencias de Licor se opone a la medida con el argumento principal de que la práctica pondría en riesgo la seguridad de sus inspectores, los cuales no trabajan armados.
Por su parte, la Asociación Nacional de Rifles (NRA) apoya la iniciativa pues permitiría a individuos responsables cargar una pistola dentro de un bar o restaurante en vez de dejarla en una carro o en casa, donde el arma podría ser robada o es inútil para protegerse.
En los primeros días de marzo, la Legislatura había aprobado otro proyecto de ley que permitía portar armas en escuelas, urnas electorales y plantas nucleares, siempre y cuando no hubiese sospecha razonable y el arma fuera usada para protección. Pero la propuesta HB2666 fue eliminada un día después de ser aprobada por su propio creador, el representante republicano Doug Quelland de Gilbert, después que el público reaccionara enérgicamente contra su idea.
bigots and idiots
Frontera sin ley
Por Valeria Fernández
Marzo 8, 2005
James W. Gilchrist es un ex combatiente de Vietnam, un héroe de guerra con una sola misión: defender la nación estadounidense de la invasión de inmigrantes ilegales.
Aunque pareciera el resumen de una película de ciencia-ficción, “Jim” es un jubilado de 56 años de carne y hueso que vive en Aliso Viejo, California, y lidera los esfuerzos de formar una milicia fronteriza que a partir del 1 de abril hasta fines de ese mes erigirá una barrera humana en unas 50 millas de la frontera suroeste de Arizona, entre Douglas y Nogales.
Gilchrist asegura que ya cuenta con 700 voluntarios de 49 estados de toda la nación dispuestos a defender la patria de la amenaza del inmigrante indocumentado.
El grupo que ya es conocido en todo el país como “The Minuteman Project”, lleva su nombre inspirado en las primeras milicias armadas del siglo XVIII que defendían a los Estados Unidos de las fuerzas invasoras inglesas.
“Nosotros somos vigilantes buenos”, asegura Gilchrist en una conversación telefónica desde California.
El ex periodista y contador público cuenta que la idea de formar esta milicia armada, que se instalará durante un mes en la franja fronteriza denunciando a los indocumentados que intenten cruzar, nació de la frustración de que el gobierno lleva años sin hacer nada para controlar el flujo masivo de la inmigración ilegal.
“No creo en las fronteras abiertas”, dice. “No es buena política dejar que cualquiera entre en su casa”.
Gilchrist asegura que los indocumentados son una carga para los contribuyentes estadunidenses que tienen que pagar la cuenta por los hospitales donde se atienden, las escuelas a donde van sus hijos, y las cárceles en donde son detenidos.
Sin embargo, algo sale a relucir en su discurso. Una preocupación a largo plazo sobre el futuro de la cultura “americana” y de la esencia de la nación estadunidense, amenazada por un orbe de inmigrantes refugiados que hablan más de cien lenguas.
“En unas décadas va a ser un caos”, cuenta. “Vamos a tener una sociedad en la que California va a ser un país, y otros estados van a ser otros países. Vamos a tener una distorsión en la que ninguno habla el mismo idioma”.
El famoso ‘melting pot’ donde se derriten todas las diferencias culturales se va a convertir en una bolsa de canicas golpeándose las unas a las otras, pronostica Gilchrist.
Pero la pregunta esencial sobre aquello que quiere proteger no tiene respuesta: ¿Qué es la cultura americana?
“Es una buena pregunta”, responde, “difícil de contestar”. “No sé la respuesta”.
Después Gilchrist continúa quizás en una evidente contradicción: “no se trata de bárbaros que llegan a matar gente a los Estados Unidos, son personas que abandonan su país porque no les gusta”, dice.
Compasión aparte, dispuesto a darles agua y auxiliarlos cuando sea necesario, Gilchrist los quiere fuera, y no sólo eso, sino que es partidario de que se reduzca el número de inmigrantes que pueden ingresar al país legalmente.
“Agarramos a los más pobres de los más pobres mexicanos y los explotamos. Una vez que terminamos (de explotarlos) los desechamos”, describe sobre lo que para él es parte de la hipocresía americana.
En semanas pasadas Gilchrist viajó hasta el área de Naco, en Arizona, para comenzar a planear las estrategias de cómo se organizará el grupo al que él se refiere casi sagradamente como “guardianes” fronterizos.
Por la noche pudo observar a través de un equipo de visión nocturna a cinco hileras de inmigrantes que se aproximaban a un rudimentario cerco fronterizo.
“No siento que nos tengan miedo”, cuenta. “Les dimos agua y nos dieron las gracias”.
Mediante un intérprete Gilchrist se comunicó con algunos de ellos parados todavía en tierra mexicana, separados por la fina línea que divide quebrantar las leyes de una nación para no vivir bajo el yugo de otra.
“Nosotros les explicamos que somos una nación con leyes y que íbamos a tener que reportarlos con inmigración si cruzaban (la frontera)”, agregó.
Los indocumentados entendieron y se fueron, aunque no llegaron demasiado lejos después de que los vigilantes fronterizos los reportaran con la Patrulla Fronteriza.
“Escuchamos después que se los llevaron”, comenta satisfecho, gracias a un sistema de radio que tendrán disponible y les permite conectarse a una frecuencia en la que se comunican las autoridades.
¿Sería esa la misma respuesta de la de un grupo de narcotraficantes? ¿Los recibirán ellos con los brazos abiertos?
Gilchrist asegura que no cree que vayan a toparse con grupos armados en los 30 días que pasarán patrullando las fronteras y denunciando a indocumentados.
“Los narcos no van a pasar por donde estamos”, dice orgulloso. “Ya les hemos dado bastante advertencia de que vamos a estar ahí. Si le disparan a un americano se va a desatar una catástrofe”.
Gilchrist, nacido en Rhode Island, el estado más pequeño de los Estados Unidos, asegura plana y sencillamente: “no, no soy racista”,
después agrega “tengo un yerno que es méxico-americano”.
Incluso hace años atrás tuvo la oportunidad de asistir a una familia indocumentada con las transacciones para la compra de una casa.
“Me encariñé mucho con sus niños”, rememora. “¡Pero cómo me hubiera gustado que vinieran legalmente!”.
Ante sus ojos los indocumentados se escapan de México en particular porque buscan refugiarse de su gobierno.
“¿Qué está pasando, por qué un 50 por ciento de la gente se quiere ir de México?”, cuestiona. “Hay una razón por la que se van: son refugiados”.
Zona de guerra
“The Minuteman Project” convocará a sus miembros en Tombstone, Arizona, el 1 de abril. Los voluntarios recibirán su acreditación tal cual como la de esos que atienden un simposio sobre salud o educación. El grupo que algunos dicen no es más que una maniobra publicitaria de “unos cuantos gatos locos”, anuncia en su página web que la zona es muy agradable para salir a hacer “hiking”.
También indican que tienen casi hasta doce aeroplanos de aficionados y pilotos que sobrevolarán el inusual mundo de la frontera cada día más violenta, cercada por los alambres de púas de la muerte de miles de indocumentados y la impunidad de coyotes.
Una frontera que desde octubre de 2004 ha visto más de cien ataques a oficiales de la Patrulla Fronteriza, y desde los noventa ha dejado un saldo de 3 mil muertos en su intento de llegar a la tierra de la oportunidad.
Aunque algunos quieren hacer creer a la gente “que somos la GESTAPO”, cuenta el veterano refiriéndose a una policía alemana que en la época de Hitler buscaba a los judíos, “nosotros no estamos yendo para asesinar ni matar gente”.
“Preferiría que nuestros voluntarios no estuvieran armados”, dice. “Ya les he dicho que no traigan rifles, que esto no es una guerra, pero no puedo evitar que traigan armas”.
Las leyes en Arizona permiten que las personas porten armas siempre y cuando sean visibles, pero también otorgan licencias para llevarlas sin que se vean.
En parte Gilchrist espera que un grupo de ex policías voluntarios que estarán armados, y los mismos oficiales de la Oficina del Alguacil del Condado Cochise los protejan ante cualquier imprevisto.
“Nos pueden disparar pero eso va a ser muy mala publicidad para ustedes”, comenta. “Alguna gente puede querer que esto pase, hasta los mexicanos. Pero nosotros queremos gente con una actitud pasiva”.
Gilchrist repitió que “The Minuteman Project” no detendrá a ningún indocumentado, sino que se limitará a reportarlo con la Patrulla Fronteriza dándole las coordenadas de su ubicación.
-¿Qué es lo peor que puede pasar?
-¿Qué quiere decir? ¿Qué alguien se vuelva loco y empiece a disparar?
Los que hagan algo así van a ir a parar a la cárcel. No creo que la gente de México nos dispare. Si es así vamos a tener un millón de personas queriendo ir a la frontera tratando de declarar la guerra”.
Imán para grupos supremacistas
¿En dónde acaba el patriotismo fanático y comienza el racismo? ¿Cuál es la línea que divide el temor a la destrucción de la cultura propia y la ignorancia de lo desconocido?
Esas son algunas de las preguntas que vienen a la mente hablando con Gilchrist, quien reconoce que en el terreno de las ideas la frontera entre lo que es extremismo y patriotismo puede ser borrosa.
Desde el anuncio de la formación de este grupo, Gilchrist alega haber recibido multitud de solicitudes de voluntarios.
Sin embargo, miembros de grupos supremacistas no son bienvenidos. Aunque el grupo no revisa el historial de sus miembros, el veterano asegura que él puede darse cuenta con sólo hablar con la gente si tienen motivos de odio racial, o son miembros de grupos neonazis.
“Los sacamos enseguida si es así”, subrayó.
No hace mucho surgieron comentarios en la página en Internet del grupo StormFront que defiende la superioridad de la raza aria, donde un individuo estaba publicando mensajes sobre su apoyo a “The Minuteman Project”.
“Hicimos nuestra investigación y ya es historia”, cuenta. “Alguien así se muestra por lo que dice. Nosotros no podemos saber la historia de toda la gente. No estamos haciendo investigaciones del FBI, pero los podemos amenazar con eso si vemos que están metidos en esas cosas”.
“Tenemos gente con doctorados en química y ciencias políticas, profesores de universidades y amas de casa”.
Gilchrist se enorgullece de decir que tienen hasta abogados y doctores, además de por lo menos un tres por ciento que son México-americanos.
El grupo no recibe donaciones de nadie, ni de organizaciones antiinmigrantes, sino que todo sale del bolsillo de cada uno de los voluntarios.
Aliado con Civil Homeland Defense
El veterano que se autodefine como un patriota no es el único que lidera los esfuerzos de la milicia de “vigilantes buenos”.
El creador del grupo Civil Homeland Defense, Chris Simcox, y coordinador estratégico de “The Minuteman Project” ya se encuentra en Tombstone trabajando sobre los mapas del terreno en donde realizarán, según dice, uno de los movimientos pacíficos por la justicia más grande desde la lucha por los derechos civiles en los 60.
Hace 4 años, poco después de los ataques terroristas del 11 de septiembre, Simcox abandonó su carrera de 15 años como maestro en California para instalarse en la frontera respondiendo a un llamado por defender a su patria.
Desde entonces Simcox sabe de al menos seis mil 98 inmigrantes que fueron capturados por la Patrulla Fronteriza gracias a sus denuncias.
“Nuestro gobierno nos pidió que como americanos denunciáramos a cualquiera que esté realizando una actividad sospechosa”, dice Simcox, de 44 años de edad. “No sabemos si los que cruzan vienen a trabajar o son criminales”.
Más que a Gilchrist lo que a él le preocupa es que los traficantes humanos o coyotes lo mismo reciben dinero de indocumentados que vienen en busca de un trabajo que de un terrorista.
Gilchrist dice que quiere enviar un mensaje al gobierno federal para que tome acción sobre la inmigración ilegal, aunque asegura “no sé cuál es la solución”.
En cambio Simcox asegura que “quiero al ejército en la frontera”.
“Se necesitan 15 mil personas para sellarla totalmente”, comenta como si fuera algo que meditó por mucho tiempo. “Nuestro mensaje es para el presidente: ‘Haces lo que te decimos o vamos a seguir sellando la frontera nosotros’”.
“Nosotros somos el gobierno”, agrega. “La cultura en América no tiene nada que ver con lo que comemos ni la lengua que hablamos, la cultura es nuestra Constitución”, completa Simcox.
Ni Gilchrist ni Simcox dicen que se arrepentirían si ocurre una desgracia en la frontera a causa de su presencia.
“Vamos a ir a reportar. No estamos yendo para generar muertes y destrucción”, concluye Gilchrist.
Contacte al reportero: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mar 13, 2:33 PM EST
Security for Federal Judges Varies
By TOM HAYS
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- Nearly a decade after they presided over terrorism trials, two federal judges still are under 24-hour protection by deputy U.S. marshals, who complain their duties include carrying groceries and golf clubs.
Documents show that the security for U.S. District Judges Michael B. Mukasey and Kevin Thomas Duffy and their spouses far exceeds the protection given any other federal judge around the country, including the judge in Chicago whose husband and mother were slain earlier this month.
Experts and officials say the seemingly random approach to protecting judges in Chicago and New York reflects the complexity of assessing and responding to threats against the roughly 2,000 federal judges and magistrates nationwide, a job that falls on the U.S. Marshals Service.
There is no foolproof approach, said Howard Safir, the former New York City police commissioner who once headed operations for the Marshals Service in Washington.
"Threat analysis is an art, not a science," said Safir, now head of the SafirRosetti security firm. "There's no absolute way to determine whether a judge is in danger. ... You tend to err on the side of providing protection."
A personnel grievance recently obtained by The Associated Press gives a behind-the-scenes look at other potential problems.
The grievance - submitted by about three dozen deputies who help protect Mukasey and Duffy around the clock - alleges the judges and their spouses have abused their position and compromised security by expecting their bodyguards "to carry groceries, luggage and golf clubs." If they object, the "protectees" subject them to "condescending comments," it says.
Deputies "who are busy loading and unloading groceries clearly cannot immediately react to an attack," the grievance says.
Security at the Airport
A Marshals Service spokeswoman in Washington, Nikki Credic, confirmed the grievance had been filed but would not elaborate.
There was no comment from Mukasey, who did not return phone messages left at his chambers on Friday. Duffy declined to comment.
In a statement issued Friday, the service called judicial security its "most important task," and insisted security decisions are "assessed on a case-by-case basis and in full consultation with the jurist or jurists at risk."
In the Chicago case, security for U.S. District Joan Humphrey Lefkow was withdrawn with her concurrence after the conviction of a man who is now awaiting sentencing for soliciting her murder, officials said. She had received special protection for about two weeks in 2003 after the man was arrested.
Mukasey, 64, the district's chief judge, and Duffy, 71, have a history of doling out tough talk and stiff sentences in terror cases.
In 1998, Duffy gave the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Ramzi Yousef, a 240-year prison term, calling him an "apostle of evil." At the 1996 sentencing of coconspirators in a plot to blow up the United Nations and other city landmarks, Mukasey accused Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman of trying to spread death "in a scale unseen in this country since the civil war," then sentenced him to a life term.
More recently, Mukasey presided over hearings for alleged dirty bomber Jose Padilla. Following the 2001 conviction of four men in the attack on U.S. embassies in Africa, the case against the remaining fugitive defendants - including Osama bin Laden - was transferred to Duffy.
A largely overlooked study last year by the Justice Department's inspector general cites classified documents and says two unnamed judges who are under special protection remain "under express death threats from terrorist groups."
In an interview earlier this year, U.S. District Judge William G. Young, who presided over the Boston trial of al-Qaida shoe bomber Richard Reid, said most federal judges don't want "to be surrounded by bodyguards wherever we go."
However, judges should receive extra protection "as long as the threat exists," he said. "I really think it should be the judge's decision."
Associated Press Writer Denise Lavoie in Boston contributed to this report.
© 2005 The Associated Press.
the city of tempe sue to steal land for Miravista corporation. i always though governments where to protect people rights, not steal stuff from one person and give it to another person. i guess i was wrong on that.
Tempe sues to get last mall land
By Dennis Welch, Tribune
March 9, 2005
Tempe has filed separate condemnation lawsuits against 15 property owners who stand in the way of commercial developers planning to build a $220 million shopping center.
Five more lawsuits are expected to be filed in Maricopa County Superior Court later this week as the city ends its efforts to broker a deal with the remaining landowners.
The properties are the last of more than 100 parcels needed before Miravista Holdings and Vestar begin construction on the Tempe Marketplace.
The property owners are scheduled to appear in court March 22 to defend themselves against the city’s attempts to seize land by using eminent domain, according to records.
During the hearing the city could ask for immediate possession of the properties. Cliff Mattice, an attorney with the city, said he expects the judge to rule on the case at a later date.
It is unknown how many property owners will resist. But members of a group calling themselves "Tempe Property Owners Against Governmental Theft" have pledged to fight.
Del Sturman, the owner of a machine shop and member of the group, said Tempe’s drive to bring in sales taxgenerating businesses has clouded the city’s decision making.
"I would just like to stay put and be part of an industrial park," Sturman said. "I just want the city to perform what they promised back when they annexed us."
Most of the 220 acres on the northeast corner of Rio Salado Parkway and McClintock Drive was county land until the city acquired the property nearly 10 years ago.
Sturman said the city never invested in infrastructure to improve roads and sewer lines, promised as part of the annexation deal.
City leaders have argued that taking the land for economic development would deliver the public benefit required by the Arizona Constitution before cities can invoke eminent domain.
Environmental experts for commercial developers Miravista Holdings and Vestar have said the area, which was part of a federal Superfund site, must be environmentally cleaned.
The area’s Superfund site designation was removed and the city qualified for $6 million in federal aid to improve slum and blighted areas.
However, the developers’ own environmental expert has contradicted the city’s claim that the only way to clean up hazardous materials at the proposed Marketplace is by condemning property at the site.
The consultant said it is possible to clean the site one property at a time — something the city has said is not possible as it has argued to seize private property for the shopping center.
The City Council during its Jan. 6 meeting unanimously approved a final resolution authorizing the condemnation of property.
Last May, the City Council approved an agreement that includes more than $23.7 million in incentives and agreed to lay out $9 million in property tax rebates over eight years.
A number of high-profile businesses, including Arizona’s first Dave & Buster’s and an 18-screen Harkins movie complex, have committed to the development.
Contact Dennis Welch by email, or phone (480) 898-6573
Three shot to death at Georgia courthouse
March 11, 2005
ATLANTA - A judge presiding over a rape trial was shot to death Friday along with two other people at the Fulton County Courthouse, authorities said. A fourth person was wounded and a search was under way for the suspect, the defendant in the trial.
Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor confirmed that Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes and his court reporter were killed. He gave no other details in announcing the deaths in the state Senate. A deputy died later at a hospital, while a second deputy had minor wounds, police said.
The judge was shot on the eighth floor of the courthouse, while one deputy was shot on a street corner just outside the building, said Officer Alan Osborne with the Atlanta Police Department.
Witnesses said the gunman carjacked a car and authorities were searching for a green Honda Accord that was hijacked from a newspaper reporter.
Fulton County Sheriff's Lt. Clarence Huber identified the suspect as 33-year-old Brian Nichols, who was on trial on rape and other charges stemming from an incident in August.
It was not immediately known how the suspect got a gun, but county employee Ali Lamei said he was told by officers that a sheriff's sergeant was escorting a prisoner into Barnes' courtroom when the prisoner grabbed the sergeant's gun and shot the judge and sergeant.
"We heard some noise. It sounded like three or four shots. At the time, we thought it was just an engine backfiring," said Chuck Cole, a civil defense attorney who was in an adjoining parking deck when he heard gunfire at around 9:10 a.m.
A sheriff's deputy died at Grady Hospital and a second was being treated for graze wounds, police Sgt. John Quigley said.
"I saw one person on the street that they were performing CPR on," said court reporter Amy McKee.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newsroom staff was told that Don O'Briant, a features reporter for the paper, was beaten by the suspect and carjacked outside the courthouse. Mike King, an editorial board member for the paper, said O'Briant was taken to Grady.
All the judges in the building were locked in their chambers. The courthouse and other buildings in downtown Atlanta were on lockdown. Schools around the area were also on lockdown.
Traffic in the blocks surrounding the courthouse was backed up as police cruisers flooded the area looking for the suspect. More than 2 1/2 hours after the shooting, the suspect remained at large.
James Bailey, a juror at Nichols' trial, said the jury was not in the courtroom at the time of the shooting. Bailey said Nichols had made him and other jurors nervous. "Every time he looked up, he was staring at you," Bailey said. He said Barnes was the presiding judge.
Barnes was named to the Fulton County Superior Court bench in 1998.
Among cases he handled was the fatal 2003 car wreck by hockey star Dany Heatley that killed 25-year-old teammate Dan Snyder. Heatley pleaded guilty and was sentenced Feb. 4 to three years on probation and ordered to give 150 speeches about the dangers of speeding.
Barnes, 64, also drew attention last month when he took the unusual step of ordering a mother of seven who pleaded guilty to killing her 5-week-old daughter to undergo a medical procedure that would prevent her from having more children.
The shooting happened 11 days after the husband and elderly mother of a federal judge in Chicago were shot to death in her home. A man whose medical malpractice lawsuit was dismissed by the judge committed suicide and left a note saying he was the killer.
government thugs want more money!!!!!
County attorney seeks pay raises for prosecutors
By Gary Grado, Tribune
March 9, 2005
Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas is trying to stop the march of prosecutors out his agency’s door by asking the county for $6.3 million in pay raises.
The turnover is becoming critical because he is being left with junior prosecutors to appear in court against seasoned defense attorneys, Thomas said Tuesday.
"The prosecutors in this office have not been receiving a competitive wage for some years," he said.
Thomas took over the office from Richard Romley in January. Romley had been in control since 1988.
The office, which prosecutes all felonies committed in the county, is losing prosecutors to better-paying counties, such as Pinal and Pima, and to city prosecutor offices, which prosecute only misdemeanors, Thomas said.
Starting salaries for deputy county attorneys is $51,000, compared with about $63,000 in salary and deferred compensation given to six new prosecutors hired by Phoenix in 2004, according to the county attorney’s office.
Thomas said he wants his office, which has a turnover rate of 20 percent, to match salaries at the Phoenix prosecutor’s office.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will decide whether he gets the money. Maricopa County Supervisor Fulton Brock, RDistrict 1 of Chandler, said he believes Thomas made the proposal without a full understanding of the county’s budget process.
Brock said the board will review the request.
Contact Gary Grado by email, or phone (602) 258-1746
MEXICO CITY Mexican officials say they've found a workshop that transformed small passenger planes into specialized drug haulers.
The federal Attorney General's Office says agents found the factory by tracking a low-flying plane to a clandestine airstrip between El Fuerte and Los Mochis.
The site is about 350 miles south of the Arizona border.
Those aboard fled into a nearby cane field as authorities landed behind them.
On the ground, the agents found a single-engine Cessna 206 with its Mexican registration numbers modified.
Searching further, they found a hangar and workshop and nine airplanes, including seven Cessna 182, 206 and 210 models.
Their I-D markings and plaques had been modified or removed and they were being painted to be hard to spot.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
government idiots screw up almost everything they touch!!!!!
Friendlier adoption system urged
By DAVID CRARY, Associated Press
March 13, 2005
NEW YORK - The backlog of children languishing in foster care could be sharply reduced if state agencies were more friendly and helpful to prospective parents asking about adoptions, according to a new report, which says fewer than one of 16 adults who make initial inquiries actually ends up adopting.
The vast majority give up "not because they don't want to (adopt), but apparently because they decide not to deal with a system they perceive as too frustrating, bureaucratic and just plain unfriendly," the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute says.
The report urges state agencies to set up hot lines staffed by well-trained employees who provide callers with immediate, encouraging responses. Throughout the process, state employees should strive to avoid alienating applicants, be cordial in broaching the issue of background checks, and provide clear information, it said.
A preliminary version of the report circulated among adoption professionals last year, and already has had an impact. Barb Holtan, director of a new federal initiative called _AdoptUSKids, said the findings prompted her program to form state recruitment response teams with the goal of providing "basic good customer services" to prospective parents.
"We recruit and recruit (parents), and then when people call, they're treated less than enthusiastically," she said Friday.
The report's lead researcher, Jeff Katz, formerly headed Rhode Island's state adoption agency. He and his colleagues surveyed more than 40 states, analyzed federal data and conducted interviews in Boston, Miami and San Jose, Calif.
"To me, it's shocking," Katz said in a telephone interview. "There are kids in foster care saying, 'No one wants me,' and there are parents who want to adopt saying, 'Why doesn't anyone return my calls?'"
According to the latest federal statistics, from 2002, about 126,000 children were in foster care awaiting adoption, often for many years. Roughly 53,000 children were adopted from foster care, in most cases by their foster parents or by relatives; Katz said less than 6 percent of the 240,000 other adults who inquired about adoption ended up completing the process.
Katz said state agencies - rather than spending to recruit ever more applicants - should focus on making the process more welcoming, even during the necessary screening to weed out unsuitable parents.
For foster children, "an alienating experience for a prospective parent can mean the difference between a life spent in the uncertainty of temporary homes and the loving embrace of a permanent family," the report said.
a large number of the wounded in the iraq war will be brain dead zombies, or people missing a number of limbs who cant take care of themselfs because the medicial technologie is keeping people alive who have very severe injuries who would have died in prior wars
Journey of the war's wounded
Survivors' fight for life takes new courage
Connie Cone Sexton
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 13, 2005 12:00 AM
When Tammy Duckworth woke up
Nov. 20 at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., she had no idea of the journey she had taken the previous eight days.
She had no idea that she was missing almost all of her right leg up to her hipbone or that her left leg was gone just below the knee. The 36-year-old Army National Guard pilot could feel the bandage over her broken right arm but didn't realize she might lose it if doctors couldn't restore its blood supply.
And Duckworth, who was plucked from her crippled Blackhawk helicopter after a rocket-propelled grenade tore through her cockpit as she was flying across Iraq, wouldn't understand until the haze of medication lifted that she was one of the lucky ones.
If it had happened during World War II, Vietnam or even the Gulf War, doctors believe Duckworth, who lost nearly half of her blood from the assault, would have died. But a revamped emergency medical system rushed her to battlefield surgeons, saving her life. It has been the same for thousands of other injured soldiers, Marines and airmen whose bodies have been mangled, burned and shattered in attacks since the war in Iraq began March 19, 2003. In any other combat, at any other time, doctors say they would have died.
Chances of surviving have increased with every war of any duration the United States has fought. During World War II, roughly one in three injured troops died. In the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf wars, it was about one in four.
Today, it's down to one in eight.
Military leaders point to three changes behind a higher survival rate in the Iraq war: They gave troops better body armor, put surgeons into field hospitals closer to combat and created an air evacuation plan to get the wounded to surgical care within an hour.
Undoubtedly, one other contributing factor is the advances in the first aid carried by medics traveling with the troops. One such advance is QuikClot, a mineral powder that adheres to exposed tissue and helps blood clot. Bleeding is a primary reason so many wounded die.
Fellow troop members and medics provide initial treatment and prepare the wounded for the air or land transport to whichever is nearer: a 20-person forward surgical team, called an FST, that operates out of six Humvees and can fashion a tent-draped hospital in minutes, or one of the larger combat area support hospitals, known as CASH, that operate out of tents on former Iraqi airbases. A CASH typically has at least 15 surgeons and equipment such as X-ray machines.
The wounded cannot stay in either spot for long. There is no room. The higher survival rate means that a higher volume of wounded is flowing through the medical system.
The goals are to keep the patient alive and with as many body parts as possible and to whisk him or her out of harm's way in Iraq to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, the largest U.S. hospital in Europe.
Helping get them to Landstuhl is the newest, and what some call the most important, leg of the medical journey: a ride on a Critical Care Air Transport helicopter.
These "flying ICUs" are the workstations for doctors and nurses who tend to patients during the eight-hour flight. Landstuhl is the last, albeit usually brief, stop for the wounded before they return to their units or come to the United States for more surgery or rehabilitation.
Nearly 6,000 wounded troops (at least 250 from Arizona) have gone in and out of Landstuhl since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. But more than 1,500 troops (including 44 from Arizona) have died, most before getting to Landstuhl. In Vietnam, most of the 58,000 deaths happened before the wounded could ever reach a surgeon, a wait of several hours or more. During the Gulf War, field hospitals were put closer to the action, but there was still a delay in transporting the wounded to intensive care.
For the war in Iraq, military officials knew they would need a larger number of mobile medical teams that were closer to combat and could get to the wounded by air or land within the "golden hour," that daunting 60-minute window before a battered body begins to shut down. Even in the Gulf War, it could take several hours.
Suicide car bombs, improvised explosive devices and RPGs have ripped into bodies with such trauma that immediate treatment is necessary to prevent shock or death from loss of blood.
The RPG that struck Capt. Tammy Duckworth shredded one leg, crushed the other and badly damaged her right forearm, breaking it in three places. She had seen a fireball hit below her feet and thought the helicopter engine had been taken out. Communications inside the aircraft were gone, so Duckworth couldn't speak to the pilot, Chief Warrant Officer Dan Milberg, who was observing her flying that day. They both tried to land the chopper as Duckworth was fading in and out. The last thing she saw before she blacked out and fell forward was grass coming through the floor bubble. Milberg had managed to set the chopper down in a date grove.
It was then that he turned to Duckworth and could see her massive injuries. He thought she was dead.
Flying behind them, another pilot had already radioed for a medical evacuation helicopter, and troops on the ground rushed to do what they could, giving "Buddy Care," the basic first-aid training all troops are taught before they're deployed.
In cases like Duckworth's, it's a life-or-death battle to stop the bleeding. Medics traveling with troops can rip open and apply a packet of QuikClot powder, one of the newest medical weapons. Every soldier carries a plastic ring tourniquet that, with just one hand, can be slipped above a wound and pulled tight with a hand or mouth.
Duckworth's femoral artery was severed when her right leg was torn off. She could bleed out within five minutes. The wound was so jagged and so near her hip that getting a tourniquet on was nearly impossible. Medics couldn't stop the blood flow, but they pressed on the wound and slowed it down.
A helicopter flew Duckworth to a CASH in Baghdad where surgeons amputated her right leg a few inches below her hip bone and cut off her left leg just below the knee. They reset the bones in her arm and stitched the cuts.
A stretcher carried her out to a Critical Care Air Transport helicopter, and Duckworth was bound for the 350-bed Landstuhl hospital. But it was just a pit stop. She was in and out within hours, finally arriving at 10 p.m. Nov. 14 at Walter Reed. Not even 60 hours had passed since the RPG exploded into her legs.
During Vietnam, if the soldier had lived, it could have taken a month to 45 days to get to a stateside military hospital.
Not everyone gets to leave Landstuhl as quickly as Duckworth. About 15 percent are too sick or too unstable to move and may stay for weeks.
At Landstuhl, the goal is to clean wounds, do more surgery, if necessary, and attack any infection. So that the wounds can be easily cleaned to fight bacteria, most aren't sewn up until the patient reaches a medical center in the United States.
Doctors at Landstuhl also look for small shrapnel that medical staff before them might not have had time to find. Some soldiers come in with 10,000 or more microscopic pieces in their skin.
Col. Eric Holmstrom, a chaplain and chief of the department of pastoral services at Landstuhl, tries to minister to the emotional needs of the wounded.
He and the other six chaplains in the hospital listen as the wounded talk about their best buddies who were killed, the units and friends they left behind and their guilt for being removed from the fight.
Holmstrom tries to make a connection in the often-brief time before a wounded soldier moves on and another takes his or her place.
The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research estimates that 15.6 percent to 17.1 percent of U.S. troops suffer from a mental disorder, including post-traumatic stress syndrome, the modern term for shell shock. PTSD is the primary or secondary ailment afflicting a number of the nearly 6,000 wounded.
Maj. Timothy Woods, a trauma surgeon at Landstuhl, likens the hospital to a turnstile, with so many wounded coming and going.
He wishes they had more time to help with the mending. He wonders how they will make out, whether they will lose another limb, lose a battle to infection. He'd like to keep them around for just a few more days before the long flight to the States.
But as soon as they come in, he already is filling out the paperwork to ship them on.
When Tammy Duckworth woke up that November day at Walter Reed, she was in pain. Her legs ached.
Her husband, Capt. Bryan Bowlsbey, was at her side. He knew he had to break the news that what she was feeling was just phantom pain. So he told her what he had to say: Her right leg was gone, and there was nothing below her left knee.
He kept talking, and she quietly took it all in: that she wasn't the only one having to go through this and, like the other amputees in the ward, she would get better.
She didn't cry and didn't ask why it had happened to her. Instead, she said she wanted to get on with it and do whatever was necessary. She told her husband that she loved him but that, hey, after six days by her side, he really needed a shower.
He was relieved. Her can-do spirit and humor were still very much intact.
But it was hardly easy going the next few weeks.
Duckworth's right arm was in jeopardy and needed repair. For stretches during November and December, she was having surgery every other day to improve the blood flow and to fight a stubborn infection.
For Duckworth, who hails from a Chicago suburb, and other patients, it is a frustrating time, waiting for the body to heal enough so they can begin rehabilitation. There is little within the patient's control. Limbs swell. Shrapnel no one ever knew was there suddenly breaks through skin and must be removed. Patients have to decipher what doctors are telling them. Every day can mean visits by new teams of doctors. The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service team. The Infectious Disease team.
Finally, the day comes when, barring the unforeseen, the surgeries are over and the OK is given for physical therapy. It's a chance for dormant muscles to awaken and the patients to regain a little control over their bodies, to see what works and what doesn't. It's time to rebuild.
On a cold morning in late January, bright light floods the physical therapy room on the third floor of Walter Reed. Duckworth is stretching her muscles on a padded table. She pauses to watch a fellow soldier attempt the parallel bars as he tries out the two prostheses attached to his legs. She returns his smile when he takes a break, breathless from the journey of a few inches.
Some in the room are where she was a month ago. And some, like this young man, are where she'll be, in time.
It gives her hope.
Most of the people in the physical therapy room have lost a limb. Since the war started, at least 283 people have lost one arm or leg. Duckworth is among the 34 to have lost all or part of two limbs. Four have lost three. If there is someone who has lost both arms and both legs, Chuck Scoville, who manages the Walter Reed amputee patient care program and tracks such statistics, hasn't heard.
Duckworth's daily visits to therapy have elevated her spirits. She takes heart in seeing the familiar faces that share the same struggles.
Like Lonnie Moore, an Army captain from Wichita, Kan.
He has been attacking the rehab equipment for several months, and it shows in his broad upper body. He is doing chin-ups on this January morning, the muscles in his arms tightening as he dangles from a bar, pulling his body up and down.
His medical odyssey from Iraq to the United States began on April 6, 2004, when the Bradley fighting vehicle he was commanding was ambushed just outside Ramadi in central Iraq en route to help Marines under attack. A rocket-propelled grenade sheared off his gunner's right hand and went through Moore's right leg above the knee. He saw that the gunner's hand was missing but had been cauterized by the RPG and, therefore, wasn't bleeding. Moore, who was knocked down by the blast, thought he had missed being hit until the gunner told him he'd better look again.
Moore, 29, had pretty much bled out and barely had a pulse by the time he got to medical help. "I lost my leg, didn't I?" he asked his doctor, waking up after surgery in a CASH.
On a bench near Duckworth and Moore, Joseph Bozik, 26, an Army sergeant from Wilmington, N.C., grimaces as he raises and lowers what remains of his left leg.
He is one of the more severely injured to have come to Walter Reed. He lost a portion of his right arm (from the forearm down) and both legs: the right leg above the knee; the left, below.
Bozik regained consciousness at Walter Reed, thinking he had only been shot.
On Oct. 29, his Humvee went over an anti-tank mine. The airborne soldier, who had been stationed with the 118th Military Police Company at Fort Bragg, was unconscious for three days.
Bozik, who has lost count of his surgeries, is grateful to be alive. He doesn't want to look back. He only wants to move forward, he says quietly.
The wounded soldiers don't chat much as they exercise. But they're closely monitoring each other's progress. When someone gets a new piece of equipment, the others shout and cheer him on.
No one follows the same path, even those sharing the same injury. Healing can be slow, and there can be setbacks. Sometimes more of a limb has to be amputated.
Here, at Walter Reed and other surgical and rehab hospitals that the wounded go to stateside, progress is made by the slightest of measures.
The patients look forward to the day when changing a bandage won't reveal a wound glossy with blood. Or the day that they can raise their stumps another half-inch above the workout bench.
They look forward to the day when someone will make casts of their limbs for prostheses. Those who have lost a leg above the knee will be fitted for a state-of-the-art "C-Leg," which has a computer microprocessor in the knee-shin area, capable of sensing a person's gait.
Vietnam-era amputees had to settle for plastic legs or for metal legs with limited hydraulics. Hydraulics are still used in prosthetic legs today, but the materials are stronger, the movements smoother.
Before Duckworth can be fitted for her prostheses, she has to continue to work at being completely upright. After weeks in bed or in a wheelchair, a vertical position makes her light-headed.
Today, she will make her fourth effort at staying upright. The goal is to better her time. Therapists move her onto a table and place straps across her body. They then levitate the table to a full standing position while her right leg rests on padding and her left inside a temporary prosthesis. (Temporaries are used until the sizes of patients' stumps are stable.)
Duckworth's husband is there to cheer her on. "You aren't turning all white this time," Bowlsbey jokes.
Duckworth grins and nods.
The world beyond
The question is always around them: What are they going to do when they get out of here? It's a topic that dominates thoughts and conversation from their early days at Walter Reed.
Should they push to stay in the service? Should they ask for a discharge and seek disability benefits? Making the decision is often highly stressful. One reason is the decision is not solely theirs to make. A medical review board has the final say.
Moore, who has been in the Army for nine years and grew up the son of an Army father, isn't sure whether he should strive to stay on active duty or retire. He has an appointment coming up with the medical review board.
Bozik has already made his choice. He will request a discharge but isn't sure where he'll settle. Even though he is still in a military hospital, he already feels like an outsider.
He feels like he has aged 50 years in a matter of months.
His family has been his rock, but he is worried that his mother has gone through too much. He worries that people in their hometown are asking her over and over again to tell his story.
But there is a new chapter to share. Bozik and Jayme, his fiancee, moved up their plans and got married on New Year's Eve. It was at the hospital, and Bozik even got to wear a tuxedo.
He had planned to be a federal law enforcement officer, but he doesn't want to be assigned to just a desk job. So he is thinking of working with the disabled.
He wants to help others find their way back into life.
Duckworth, who was promoted to major not long after getting to Walter Reed, feels she is lucky in that, at 36, she had a lot of years to enjoy her two legs. The 20-year-olds she sees in the room who are barely beyond their high school football days got a much worse deal, she says.
She gets through the physical therapy by focusing on her dream to fly again. If not for the military, then for a private company.
And she thinks about that day when the RPG hit and how she could have died. She calls the pilot her hero as she talks about those last seconds before the helicopter set down.
During those particularly hard days in therapy, she clings to her memory that she, too, was trying to get the helicopter down.
It speaks to who she is and how she will tackle the challenges ahead.
"I was still trying," she says, her voice breaking. "I was still trying to do my job."
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or (602) 444-8894.
if you confess to an ordained atheist minister can it be used against you in an arizona court? i used to give out certificates for ASH making atheists ordained atheist ministers.
E-mail on affair with boy disputed
Court will rule if note to 'minister' is confidential
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 13, 2005 12:00 AM
Korri Waters was in big trouble and wanted to cleanse her soul.
She e-mailed a woman at the church she used to attend, a woman she addressed as "minister," and asked if she could come back to the congregation.
The "minister" wrote back that if she wanted "deliverance," she would have to admit everything she had done.
Waters laid it out in another e-mail, every graphic detail. That e-mail ended up in the hands of prosecutors and was used as evidence to convict Waters of having sex with a 16-year-old boy.
Now she is looking for deliverance from the Arizona Supreme Court, claiming that her "confession" should not have been allowed as evidence.
Under Arizona law, what is discussed between priest and penitent is supposed to be as sacrosanct as what is said between husband and wife, attorney and client, doctor and patient.
But what if the minister is not ordained? And what if the church doctrine doesn't include confession to its pastor?
"We're not a Catholic church," said Pastor Daniel McCluskey. "There's no resolvement (sic) from confession. According to the Bible, it says you confess to God."
McCluskey said that he often counsels members of his congregation, and those conversations are confidential. But Waters confessed to a church deacon, not to him, McCluskey said. And besides, Waters had long been kicked out of the church.
Waters' attorney said that confession and confidentiality are in the mind of the confessor. Waters thought she was communicating with a minister, according to Public Defender Karla Momberger, and that's enough to meet the criteria of the law.
"I don't think she had a formal notion of confession and absolution," Momberger said. "I think she was feeling that when you're so down and you feel that your soul is burdened, you should be able to talk to a minister."
The Maricopa County Superior Court didn't think her argument had a prayer. Neither did the Arizona Court of Appeals, and on Feb. 25, Superior Court Judge Ronald Reinstein found her guilty of sexual conduct with a minor.
Beginning of the affair
Even before the tell-all e-mail, police reports painted a sordid picture of the Korri Waters' affair.
Waters was involved with the youth program at the Church on the Word in Glendale, and that is where she met her victim, the son of the church's receptionist.
In her e-mail, Waters described the slow seduction over the course of a few heart-to-heart talks between the 16-year-old boy and the 29-year-old woman. He was curious about sex, and she agreed to teach him, she wrote in her e-mail.
The seduction led to obsession. Waters even took a job at the boy's school. She bought him cellphones so that they could keep in touch. She called him out of school for their liaisons.
Everyone was suspicious, including the boy's parents and Waters' husband. The husband moved out. One afternoon, late in 2003, he let himself into his house, and according to the police report, claimed to find the two of them naked and between the sheets.
What happened next was like a scene from a bad comedy.
The husband ran outside to call police while the two got dressed. Once out the door, Waters grabbed her husband to restrain him and told the boy to run.
Then she got into her car. The husband stood behind it and told her she'd have to run him over to get out of the driveway, and she obliged, backing out with him hanging on to the car's spoiler. Then he fell off and kicked the car as it sped away.
Waters was arrested and charged with sexual conduct with a minor.
Sharing private matters
The boy confessed to the police that he had had sex with Waters, but Waters denied it. Momberger was her assigned public defender.
Then, against her lawyer's orders, she called McCluskey and asked if she could come back to church. The answer was no.
"She needs to go to the authorities. She needs to confess her crimes. That's what I told her," McCluskey told The Republic.
But Waters didn't stop there. She contacted Dawny Worth, the church's music director, with whom she had discussed private matters in the past.
Worth is not an ordained minister, but at the church, she was referred to as "Minister" Worth, even in her e-mail address.
Worth consulted with McCluskey. McCluskey said he told Worth to repeat his advice to Waters to confess her crimes to authorities. However, the words "crimes" and "authorities" were not in Worth's reply to Waters; they were replaced by the words "sin" and "deliverance."
"If you truly want deliverance in your life," Worth wrote, "total and complete deliverance, you have to come clean about what you did. You can't just label it sin."
Waters came clean by spilling every detail. Worth took the message to McCluskey, who gave it to the boy's mother, who turned it over to prosecutors.
"I already knew what was going on. That was just evidence that we needed in order to get hard-core evidence that we needed," the mother told The Republic. "It's been a very long ordeal. So if it's going to end up helping our case, I'm glad that they used it."
In preliminary hearings before the trial, defense attorney Momberger argued that the e-mail was a privileged conversation to a perceived minister. Worth testified that the church didn't have confession and that she was not a minister.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Karen O'Connor allowed the e-mail and Worth's testimony. Momberger rushed to the Arizona Court of Appeals, hoping it would reverse O'Connor's ruling before the trial began. "Part of my position is that it's the subjective belief of the person is what really matters," Momberger said.
If a person feels he or she is confessing to a pastor, that should be more important than church doctrine or licenses, she reasoned. After all, Worth was listed in the church programs as a minister, and her phone number and e-mail address were published so that congregation members could reach her.
But the state contended that Worth is neither a counselor nor a minister and therefore was not required to keep confidentiality.
The appeals court agreed, upholding O'Connor's ruling.
Steve Donohue, a professor at Grand Canyon University who is also an ordained Baptist minister and a licensed psychologist, thought that it was, at the very least, an ethical lapse on the part of the church to let Waters tell all.
Donahue thought someone should have warned Waters as to the limits of confidentiality.
"She should not have advised her to do it electronically," he said. "She should have done it in person and then been conscious about what she put into her notes to protect confidentiality."
Whether the state's highest court agrees to hear the case remains to be seen.
Momberger is insistent.
"It doesn't matter if you have formal confession or absolution (as a church doctrine), everybody knows that if a major tragedy occurs, if your world falls apart, that's who you call. You call the clergy," she said. "Whoever the clergy is, that's who you call. And that's what she did."
Contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-444-8994.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Mafia madness: NYPD detectives as hitmen, FBI agent as mobster?
By PAT MILTON AND LARRY McSHANE
Associated Press Writers
March 13, 2005, 11:14 AM EST
NEW YORK -- It's getting harder to tell the cops from the crooks around here.
Imagine the surprise of 32 mobsters arrested this week, including the head of the Gambino family, only to discover their brother-in-firearms of the last two years was an undercover FBI agent doing an Al Pacino impersonation.
And imagine the disgust of New York police officials when a pair of retired detectives were arrested in an Italian restaurant on the Las Vegas strip, charged as mob hitmen responsible for eight murders and a failed plot to kill turncoat Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.
"They're all becoming made men _ one for good reasons, some for bad reasons," said mob expert Howard Abadinsky.
Henry Hill, the onetime informant now living in America's heartland, said it sounded a bit like old times: "They're running amok back there."
The stunning mob stories broke on consecutive days in New York, still the center of the Mafia universe and home to five of its crime families. As details emerged, both tales assumed a Hollywood patina: the FBI agent was right out of "Donnie Brasco," while one of the two detectives had a bit part in "Goodfellas."
The Brasco sequel came 24 years after FBI agent Joe Pistone, in the first case of its kind, inflitrated the Bonanno family. Like Pistone, the unidentified agent accepted by the once-mighty Gambino family was uniquely qualified.
He walked the walk, a physically imposing guy built like a tank. He talked the talk, too, the mobspeak that helps right guys get made and wrong guys get whacked.
More importantly to his associates in the Gambino family, the 50-something mob wannabe could deliver stolen watches, jewelry, plasma televisions. It wasn't until last Wednesday, when federal authorities arrested 32 of them, that the mobsters discovered his true affiliation.
"They were all shocked," said Matt Heron, the New York-based FBI official who ran the two-year undercover operation. "I saw some crestfallen faces."
None were more shaken than Gambino capo Gregory DePalma, a 72-year-old Mafiosi who had once posed backstage with Frank Sinatra and since-slain family boss "Big Paul" Castellano. DePalma, dazzled by the agent's performance, had proposed his induction into the Gambinos _ an offense that produced a mob-imposed death sentence for one of Brasco's sponsors.
Although the agent remains unidentified, FBI officials described him as a law enforcement veteran and a family man, with undercover experience and unfailing instincts. When the plan was proposed, he volunteered.
His meetings were always in public places: diners, Italian restaurants, rest stops. Two of the most memorable spots were at a New Rochelle nursing home, where they conversed at the bedside of one gangster's comatose son, and at a suburban Bloomingdale's.
Inside the store, the agent stepped in when one mobster grabbed a brass candlestick holder and began bashing the other in the middle of the store. His reaction limited the damage to a bloody head wound.
The FBI agent spent two years with the Gambinos. According to authorities, ex-NYPD detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa spent considerably more time in their murderous roles after joining the Luchese family payroll in 1986.
Eppolito, 56, grew up in a mob family; his grandfather and father were both in the Mafia. He was the wisecracking, flashy and flabby partner of Caracappa, a skinny, mustachioed detective known as "The Stick."
Eppolito never denied his mob roots. He even wrote an autobiography, "Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob." He retired in 1990, Caracappa followed two years later, and the pair became neighbors in Las Vegas.
A law enforcement source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that Eppolito had the mob connections and Caracappa the access to information through his job in the Organized Crime Homicide Squad. An indictment charged the pair worked together to identify three mob informants, who were then killed for their cooperation.
The detectives were also accused of accepting a $65,000 contract from Luchese underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso to kill Gambino capo Eddie Lino, who was suspected of plotting to kill Casso. Gravano was targeted for the same alleged office, the indictment charged.
By the end of the week, Eppolito and Caracappa were kicking up their heels in a Nevada jail. In contrast, the undercover FBI agent was kicking back at home with his family.
"He was delighted it was over," said Heron. "He is very pleased."
Associated Press Writer Michael Weissenstein contributed to this story.
Saturday, March 12, 2005 4:04 p.m. ET
By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- One was fat, flashy and liked by fellow cops, a rough-and-tumble detective with a storied career despite having relatives in the Mob. The other was skinnier and quieter, and had spent years in the nerve center of Mafia murder investigations.
Together, Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa are accused of some of the most stunning violations in the history of New York law enforcement.
Prosecutors charge that they moonlighted for more than a decade as Mafia hit men who kidnapped, killed and engineered the slayings of at least eight rival gangsters for a vicious underboss in the Luchese crime family, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso. The government says they were paid thousands of dollars a month.
They were arrested Wednesday at a restaurant in Las Vegas, where they both retired, and were being held without bail.
Law-enforcement veterans puzzled over the lives and careers of men who won medals, fame and respect while carrying out what prosecutors called a sickening betrayal of public trust.
Eppolito, 56, is the greater enigma. The son, grandson and nephew of Gambino crime family members entered the police department in 1969 and quickly developed a reputation as a cops' cop, a tough guy with a knack for knocking heads and solving difficult crimes.
"He was a hard charger and he made lots of arrests," said one retired detective, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. "He was a rough-and-tumble, roll-on-the-ground kind of street cop."
In his 1992 book "Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob," Eppolito described himself as the department's 11th most-decorated officer.
At a bail hearing Friday in Las Vegas, where the former partners both retired in the early 1990s, Eppolito's lawyer offered a list of awards, medals and citations won by the former detective first-grade, one of the department's most coveted ranks.
Some investigators believe Eppolito built his impressive record by using Mafia connections to gather inside information on crimes.
"He was getting heads-up information that would make him look good," said Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes. "I've been involved in a lot of police corruption investigations over the years and I've never heard anything like this. It reaches a level of utter disbelief."
But others familiar with the case say Eppolito's Mob ties cannot explain his long history of tough investigations and arrests in some of Brooklyn's grittiest neighborhoods.
"He was really perceived as a great street cop," said another investigator familiar with the case, also speaking on condition of anonymity. "I've seen him put together cases that were fairly complex and highly circumstantial."
Caracappa, 63, cut a lower profile than Eppolito. But the skinny detective known as "The Stick" had access to reams of confidential information as a founding member of the Organized Crime Homicide Unit in the department's Major Case Squad.
"He knew what the FBI was doing, he knew what the DEA was doing," the second investigator said. "Everything was funneled through there."
Casso paid $65,000 in 1990 for the two detectives to pull over Gambino captain Eddie Lino in their unmarked car with flashing lights and kill him for a suspected attempt on Casso's life, prosecutors charge.
They grabbed another mob associate from a meeting in a park, stuffed him in their trunk and delivered him to Casso for torture, interrogation and execution, according to court documents and interviews with investigators.
Eppolito and Caracappa are each charged with eight murders, two attempted murders, murder conspiracy, obstruction of justice, drug distribution and money laundering, and could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
Copyright © 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Ex-New York police detectives charged as Mafia hitmen
By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN
Associated Press Writer
March 10, 2005, 7:56 PM EST
NEW YORK -- Two police detectives led double lives as Mafia hitmen, kidnapping and killing rival gangsters and giving confidential information to the mob for more than a decade, federal prosecutors charged Thursday.
Louis Eppolito and his former partner, Stephen Caracappa, were arrested Wednesday night at a restaurant off the Las Vegas Strip, law enforcement officials said. The pair have been living in Las Vegas, across the street from each other, since retiring in the early 1990s.
Eppolito's autobiography was titled, "Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob." Caracappa helped found the New York Police Department's Organized Crime Homicide Unit.
Each is charged with eight murders, two attempted murders, murder conspiracy, obstruction of justice, drug distribution and money laundering.
They appeared late Thursday in federal court in Las Vegas but did not enter pleas to the charges. The hearing was postponed until Friday so their lawyers could have time to argue against the prosecution's request for no bail.
Outside court, Caracappa's lawyer David Chesnoff accused the government of using "organized crime figures who are trying to save their lives" to build their case.
"The government is relying on the words of rats," Chesnoff said.
Family members who attended the hearing declined to comment outside the courthouse.
According to court filings in the case, Eppolito, 56, and Caracappa, 63, took $65,000 from Luchese family underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso to eliminate Eddie Lino, a Gambino family captain suspected of involvement in an attempt on Casso's life.
The detectives followed Lino from his Brooklyn social club in November 1992, pulled him over and shot him dead, prosecutors charged.
Lino was one of five mobsters, including Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, whom the two detectives targeted on Casso's orders in retaliation for the attempt on his life, prosecutors said.
In 1987 Eppolito and Caracappa kidnapped a Gambino associate suspected of involvement in the attempted assassination, stuffed him in a car trunk and delivered him to Casso, who tortured and killed him, prosecutors said.
The detectives also used their access to police information to give mob associates the names of three confidential informants who were slain for their cooperation, prosecutors said. Another cooperator was shot and survived.
"These corrupt former detectives betrayed their shields, their colleagues, and the citizens they were sworn to protect," U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf said Thursday in Brooklyn.
Eppolito, the grandson, son and nephew of Mafia members, became an officer known in the 1970s and '80s equally for his suspected ties to the mob as his rough-and-tumble takedowns of street thugs. His 1992 autobiography described his family background, decorated career and what he described as false charges of Mafia involvement.
Caracappa was the gatekeeper for information about Mafia killings investigated by the NYPD's Major Case Squad, according to court filings in the case.
"This shocking, disgraceful conduct demands prosecution to the fullest extent of the law," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement.
The two men had been suspected of Mafia involvement for more than a decade but authorities were unable to file charges in the case. Court filings say the defendants' Mafia involvement now can be proven through wiretapped conversations and the testimony of cooperating witnesses.
Caracappa and Eppolito face life in prison if convicted.
i think laro knows Kyrsten. she didnt say it but she is also an antheist. i didnt know she was an ex-mormon. i talked to her at ASU and she said she hated here new job as a member of the house of representives. the only bad thing about kyrsten is that she is a gun grabber and a tax and spend person. but other then that she is a nice person. She is my favorite socialist.
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema Central Phoenix Democrat, State’s Youngest Lawmaker, Is ‘No Political Rookie’
By Jim Small
A freshman Democrat from District 15 in central Phoenix, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has stepped right into some of the more heated debates on the House floor. A bisexual, she made an emotional plea for the House not to approve HCM 2005, which urges Congress to pass a federal Constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage. A recent law school graduate with an eye toward being a criminal defense attorney, she has spoken out on many bills that she feels infringe on the rights of the accused. Ms. Sinema was interviewed on March 7 by Arizona Capitol Times to discuss her first-term experiences at the Legislature.
You recently received your law degree from ASU – what type of law did you specialize in and do you plan on passing the Bar exam and practicing?
I graduated in December – criminal defense and I took the Bar two weeks ago, so, hopefully I passed it. We’ll see. Actually, the day that [the House voted on HCM 2005] was the day before the Bar. It was a real bad day. I’m the only person I know who went to work the day before the Bar. I should have been at a hotel, crying under a table like everyone else. I will practice criminal defense when we’re not in session. I find out if I passed in May. There’s high expectations because the whole state knows I took the Bar, pretty much, so I better pass.
What attracted you to politics?
I was just born involved in politics. My family is conservative Mormon, and so I was born – although the Mormon faith is not inherently political, their faith requires some political stands, and those are ones that I happen to disagree with vehemently – so I was just political from a very early age. But I think my political views really became sharper and more solidified during my eight years as a social worker, when I practiced in the Sunnyslope community. One of the things that I found on a daily basis is that I was really hampered in my ability to assist the community and to help people work toward self-sufficiency, which I think is the ultimate goal of social work, to help people until they’re able to become self-sufficient, and then they don’t need your services. I felt like my hands were tied in providing that service because of the political structure, society and the law weren’t allowing me to have the space to create the self-sufficiency for my clients.
At 28, you’re the youngest lawmaker at the Capitol. What impact does that have (positive and negative)?
I don’t think it has a positive or negative impact. The people who are most concerned about my age are the media, frankly. It doesn’t seem to have a big difference here in terms of members or Republicans versus Democrats. In the short time that I’ve been here, people have seen that, although I am definitely progressive in my political views, I’m also smart. If you’re intelligent and articulate and can make a point based on law, fact and reason, age really is not that important. I haven’t felt a detriment from my age at all. People comment on it, but it’s never hurt me in any way, because I think people realize that, while I might be younger than everyone else here, I am no political rookie. I’m not inexperienced in the world – I graduated with my undergraduate degree when I was 18. I’ve been a professional for 10 years, so I have experience, I have education – I have three degrees – no one’s really going to say I’m a young fish or anything, because I come to the table at least with what other people come to the table with, and, in some cases, I think more. I think [my age is] important, because I think young people can bring something very significant to politics, and that’s a fresh, new, innovative way of looking at things, and I think that’s something I bring here. But, again, I also bring, I think, a little maturity that’s beyond my years.
How were you able to get your undergraduate degree by age 18?
I graduated high school when I was 16. When I was in high school – I started high school at 14, the same age as everyone else – I went to community college in the summers instead of hanging out at the beach like everyone else did. My third year of high school, when I was sixteen, I went to college full-time instead of going to high school, so I graduated [high school] a year early and I also graduated with 66 college credits because I had been attending community college since I was 13 – I went to community college before I went to high school. When I went to college to get my undergraduate degree, I already had the equivalent of an [associate’s degree], so within two years I was able to complete my degree and graduate at 18.
Why the switch from Independent to Democrat from your first legislative campaign [lost to Democrats Ken Clark and Wally Straughn in 2002] to last year’s?
Well, you saw the results from the first campaign, didn’t you? Nothing about my political beliefs changed, nothing about my ideology changed. It was a practical decision. One of the reasons I chose not to run as a Democrat the first time I ran was because I felt the Democratic Party had lost a lot of its ideals. It had moved too far to the center and had abandoned the issues of importance to its base – working class people, Latinos, African Americans, women – and had really lost its commitment to those groups. There’s been a change. The party has definitely moved back and is embracing its roots. A big part of that was the momentum that was leading up to the last election. I don’t think the party’sfully there yet, but I think at the state level the party’s doing much better. We’re back towards arguing about what’s good for families, and that includes helping small businesses, making sure the economy’s healthy, but it’s really about focusing on individuals and what’s good for families in Arizona.
Now that you’ve made it to the Legislature, what do you think of the process and the daily activities?
Lately, it’s been a madhouse. At the beginning, as it always is in the beginning, it was a little slow and everyone was playing nice and we were all very cordial to each other. There have been a few things about the process that are difficult for me, and one of those would be, for instance, we had a [Committee of the Whole] session last Tuesday [March 1], and I felt in that COW session, there was a concerted effort to stifle debate and discussion, and I actually made a comment about it in caucus later that day. That concerns me, because we’re elected to represent our constituents, and that includes the full range of democracy. Representative democracy means that the people in my district elected me to be their voice and I can’t be their voice if there’s a concerted effort to not allow us to speak. I had to stand up and wave and practically scream to get recognized, but I did, and I got recognized the whole rest of that COW session, and the reason I did was because those were bills that hurt Arizona families, that I think are bad public policy and, even if they are going to pass, I have a duty and responsibility to myself and to my constituency to make sure that Arizona knows that District 15 and many people throughout the state don’t believe in what happened. That has been one of the most concerning things to me – the effort to truncate, to kind of smoosh democracy into a two-hour time period. It just doesn’t fit. Last week and this week were pretty bad, and I do know that we have this huge backlog of bills – there’s so many bills to caucus and there’s lots of bills to COW, but, frankly, if we’re going to be here until two in the morning because that’s how long it takes to debate the bad bills, okay then, that’s how long we’re going to be here. I’ve got some caffeine in my fridge and I’m ready to stay, because that’s what we’re here for. I don’t ever want to become a legislator who just rubber-stamps what’s happening. I just want to see democracy preserved. The idea is that we’re just going to rush things through for the good of the order, and what I believe [is] that the good of the order is actually respecting democracy and allowing a full debate to occur.
How does your social work background impact the legislation you support?
I think both my law degree and my social work degrees have an impact on what I do. They are a reflection of what I believe in, but they also help shape the way I look at things. Yeah, I’m not going to like [the Republican budget], because it strips money from family builders, which is a child abuse prevention program. It takes money from childcare subsidies, which is the number one key to helping low-income women get out of poverty and into the workforce. All these little programs and building blocks that really help create self sufficiency, those are the kind of things I’m going to work to protect. In terms of social work, it’s really helped me continue to view legislation through the eyes of what is best for all Arizona families. You hear a lot of talk about families down here – I just wish we talked about all the families. Not everyone’s family is raised in the East Valley with a two-parent, two-income household and a two-car garage with plenty of money for soccer after school. In fact, I know very few of those families, and in my work as a social worker, I worked in the Sunnyslope community, which is largely undocumented, and very hard-working first-generation, monolingual Spanish-speaking families, and it’s not the same world as it is out in Gilbert. I am looking at legislation through the eyes of the at-risk people and the underserved, not through the eyes of middle-class-white-bread America.
If there were one thing you could change about the state, what would it be?
I don’t think that Arizona has a history of adequately funding the vital programs and resources in our state – education, health care, social service programs. These are all the building blocks of a healthy and safe community and we don’t fund them adequately and we haven’t for years. It’s been like 20 years since we’ve done adequate funding for those programs. I think the Legislature is very short sighted. If we want to have – I think Democrats and Republicans alike would agree that we want to have a strong and vibrant economy in the future, we just differ on how to get there. Some Republicans believe the way to get there is through tax cuts for corporations and for the wealthy. I believe the way to get there is through a very strong education system, because then we have an intelligent and articulate workforce who can then go and work at those high-paying jobs. I think that cutting taxes is going to hurt us because then we can’t fund education. I believe that our chronic underfunding of the system – and by “the system,” I mean all of Arizona’s systems – has relegated us to a place of mediocrity. We can never become a great state when we’re funding things in a mediocre manner. We have to be strong, we have to be bold, and that means that we have to invest in the future, and we don’t.
What is the biggest problem facing the state in the future?
I think it’s funding, it’s chronic underfunding. There’s other issues: I think we have a huge water crisis coming that the Legislature refuses to acknowledge and deal with. You know, you can’t ignore water forever.
I think that’s important, but I do think the number one important issue facing the state is chronic underfunding. If we do not have a balanced, reasoned tax system that provides adequate resources for a state budget so we can truly fund the important programs, like infrastructure for Arizona’s future, we’re never going to be able to have a vibrant economy. We need to do an overhaul of our entire tax system.
In what way?
Right now, we get taxes in the system in three ways: we have sales taxes, we have property tax and we have income tax. It’s kind of like a three-legged chair, but it’s not balanced. There’s a heavy burden, of course, on sales tax, which is a regressive form of taxation and it hurts low-income and moderate-income people the most. I spend every dollar I earn, not because I want to, but because I need to. For upper income people, they spend a very small portion of their income. Most of their income is not spent in the marketplace, it’s spent to invest into some stocks and bonds, so it’s not put back into the marketplace for taxation. So, sales tax is really a regressive form of taxation. By far, it’s our strongest leg of that chair – it’s going to tip over if we keep funding it that way. What we need to do is truly balance our sales tax, property tax and income taxes. One of the issues going through right now is a [Rep. Steve] Huffman bill that has passed through the House already that would reduce the valuation for property taxes for businesses. While that is a good idea in the long term, because property taxes are high for businesses in Arizona, if you just reduce property taxes for businesses in Arizona without compensating for that in the system, you have what’s called deficit, which means you can’t fund. We’re already underfunded, so now we’re going to be pulling even more money [out]. What we really need to do is reinstate a statewide property tax. The Legislature eliminated it; I believe, in the late eighties, early nineties. It would help us with education, as well. We need to restructure the income tax system. I think that the highest five per cent of wage earners paying more taxes in this state is not a big deal, and if I were up there, I’d be happy to pay it. I’m nowhere near there, and I’m happy to pay more taxes, and the reason is I believe it pays for things we need in the state, like education, healthcare and social services. If we don’t balance that three-legged chair, we’re going to have serious problems, even bigger than we’re having now. We’re going to have huge, major fiscal crises, because we’re moving away from a sales-based economy to a service-based economy, and you know how we tax sales but we don’t tax services? That’s going to be a bigger problem in the future as we move more and more towards services. We’re losing at all ends. What I think we need to do is hire some really, really smart economists who understand long term tax systems. We need to go through and fix the loopholes, fix the Swiss cheese, and get a balanced tax system that actually addresses all three of the revenue streams and is fair. We can do that by next week, I’m sure. No problem.
Why is there so much legislative opposition to gay marriage and domestic partnerships?
I think it’sfear. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. Perhaps it’s fear of the unknown. Perhaps it’s fear of change. Perhaps it’s fear of losing what you know. But I do think that it’s based on fear. I think that, in my opinion, there are three targets in the Legislature: there’s immigrants, LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer/questionable] people and the poor. Now, we have a long history of targeting the poor at the Arizona Legislature, so that’s less of a surprise, but the target on LGBTQ people and the target on immigrants has, in my opinion, increased exponentially in the past couple of years — especially against the immigrant population. There are amazing numbers of bills that are targeted and persecuting those perceived to be immigrants. I would argue that the legislation that is anti-immigrant and the legislation that is anti-LGBTQ is based on the same thing: it’s fear. Because those are the people who are not here at the Legislature. How many immigrants do you see walking around at the Legislature? Perhaps someone who’s cleaning the building at night, but that’s it. These are communities that are not represented – they’re minority communities that are very small and there’s a history of oppression of these communities. I think that’s one of the reasons that we see this targeting. I think in particular, though, in Arizona and throughout the country, the reason we see so much targeting toward LGBTQ people and any kind of legislation that would positively impact that community would be as a response to the fear that gays are going to “take over marriage” or destroy marriage as an institution, which is not anyone’s interest. There’s no one in the LGBT community saying, “I can’t wait to destroy marriage.” What people in the LGBT community are saying, though, is, “We would like to participate in some of the responsibilities that are attendant with this,” and I just think that this response throughout the country is a backlash to the movement that we’ve seen — moving forward some of the equal rights for LGBTQ people in the past two decades.
We’ve seen a lot of advancements and a lot of movement toward protecting that class of minority, and this is a response to the thought that it’s moving too far or too fast. When you say immigrants, are you talking about those here legally, illegally, or a combination of the two?
All. I mean immigrants and those perceived to be immigrants. In my opinion, for instance, with Prop. 200, it targets undocumented residents. Or, as some people like to say, illegal aliens. I don’t like that term – I think undocumented residents is a better term. It’s not as divisive. But, Prop. 200 will hurt a whole lot more than just undocumented residents. It hurts children of undocumented residents who
are citizens, and it’s designed to do that. And it also hurts anyone who is perceived to be a member of that community. So, [Rep.] Steve Gallardo, for example, was born, raised here in Arizona, but he really could be targeted under Prop. 200 because he looks a certain way.
Hey Kevin and Laro:
I not trying to convert you guys to libertarian but since you pass this on to other people I might as well run it by them and try to convert them or at least show them there are alternatives to the Republicans and Democrats. Also you have probably head the saying that one mans religion is another mans belly laugh. I think the same saying also apply to political parties and one mans political party is also another mans belly laugh. So from that you will get to learn what us Libertarians believe and also laugh a lot while you learn the weird stuff about my political views.
This is summary of the platform of the Libertarian Party. It is from http://www.lp.org/issues.
The libertarian party is the only political that allows convicted criminals to join it. The Libertarian party is also often called the legalize everything party. We want to legalize all drugs, all victimless crimes, guns and just about everything else. Just about the only thing we don’t want to legalize are real crimes such as rape, murder, robbery, theft, fraud, assault and battery, and of course taxes. Yes we consider taxes a crime. Anytime somebody in the government points a gun at you and demands money we consider that a crime. This is my second and final blurb on the Libertarian Party and it includes the party platform. I am also trying to find a version of it in Spanish to include in a third letter. After that I won’t give you any more of this Libertarian nonsense.
This is the platform of the national Libertarian Party. If you love big government you will hate the Libertarian Party. If want the government to tell you how to run your life you will hate the Libertarian Party. If you’re a socialist you will also probably not like the Libertarian Party. If you’re a bully and think that you should be able to get the government to tell other people how to run their lives you probably won’t like the Libertarian party. If you hate working and want to live on government welfare you will also hate the Libertarian Party.
If you hate government and think that you know how to run your life better then some government bureaucrat you may like the Libertarian Party.
The Libertarian Party is pretty much the legalize everything party. Legalize drugs, legalize victimless crimes, legalize guns, legalize gambling, legalize prostitution, and legalize everything with the exceptions of theft, robbery, fraud, rape, assault, battery, murder, and of course taxes. Hey taxes are stealing and should be illegal just like any other crime.
The Libertarian Party was founded in the 1970’s and is in all 50 states and a number of other countries world wide. The Libertarian Party is a small party. In Arizona only about one percent of the people are registered as Libertarian Party members. In Arizona about 20 percent of the people are registered as Independents which means they didn’t pick a political party. And the other 80 percent of the people are registered as Republicans or Democrats.
National Platform of the Libertarian Party
Adopted in Convention, May 2004, Atlanta Georgia
As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives, and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.
We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.
Consequently, we defend each person's right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.
In the following pages we have set forth our basic principles and enumerated various policy stands derived from those principles.
These specific policies are not our goal, however. Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.
Statement of Principles
We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.
We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.
Governments throughout history have regularly operated on the opposite principle, that the State has the right to dispose of the lives of individuals and the fruits of their labor. Even within the United States, all political parties other than our own grant to government the right to regulate the lives of individuals and seize the fruits of their labor without their consent.
We, on the contrary, deny the right of any government to do these things, and hold that where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual: namely, (1) the right to life -- accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others; (2) the right to liberty of speech and action -- accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form; and (3) the right to property -- accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.
Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals.
People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others. They should be left free by government to deal with one another as free traders; and the resultant economic system, the only one compatible with the protection of individual rights, is the free market.
Individual Rights and Civil Order
No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government.
Freedom and Responsibility
Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make.
The appropriate way to suppress crime is through consistent and impartial enforcement of laws that protect individual rights.
Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes.
The War on Drugs
The War on Drugs is a grave threat to individual liberty, to domestic order, and to peace in the world.
Safeguards for the Criminally Accused
Until such time as persons are proved guilty of crimes, they should be accorded full respect for their individual rights.
Justice for the Individual
We support restitution for the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or wrongdoer. We oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense.
We favor all-volunteer juries and urge the assertion of the common-law right of juries to judge notonly the facts but also the justice of the law.
We favor an immediate end to the doctrine of "Sovereign Immunity" which ignores the primacy of the individual, and holds that the State may not be held accountable for its actions.
Government and Mental Health
We oppose the involuntary treatment for mental health by health officials or law enforcement.
Freedom of Communication
We defend the rights of individuals to unrestricted freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right of individuals to dissent from government.
Freedom of Religion
We defend the rights of individuals to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others.
The Right to Property
All rights are inextricably linked with property rights. Property rights are entitled to the same protection as all other human rights.
The Right to Privacy
The individual's rights to privacy, property, and to speak or not to speak should not be infringed by the government.
We condemn the government's use of secret classifications to keep from the public information that it should have.
The defense of the country requires that we counter threats to domestic security; however, we call for repeal of legislation that violates individual rights under the color of national security.
The Right to Keep and Bear Arms
We affirm the right to keep and bear arms and oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, regulating, or requiring the ownership, manufacture, transfer, or sale of firearms or ammunition.
Conscription and the Military
We oppose any form of compulsory national service.
We hold that human rights should not be denied or abridged on the basis of nationality and welcome all refugees to our country.
Freedom of Association and Government Discrimination
Individual rights should not be denied or enhanced at the expense of other people's rights by government.
Women's Rights and Abortion
Individual rights should not be denied or abridged on the basis of sex. Recognizing that abortion is a very sensitive issue and that people, including libertarians, can hold good-faith views on both sides, we believe the government should be kept out of the question.
Families and Children
We believe that families are private institutions, which should be free from government intrusion, and that parents have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs.
We believe that adults have the right to private choice in consensual sexual activity.
American Indian Rights
American Indians should be free to determine their own system of governance and should have their property rights restored.
Trade and the Economy
The only proper role of existing governments in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected.
Government intervention in the economy imperils both the personal freedom and the material prosperity of every American.
All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We oppose all government activity that consists of the forcible collection of money or goods from individuals in violation of their individual rights.
Inflation and Depression
Government control over money and banking is the primary cause of inflation and depression.
Finance and Capital Investment
Regulation of financial and capital markets represses capital ventures.
We support a constitutional amendment requiring government budgets be balanced by cutting expenditures and not by raising taxes.
Government is the source of monopoly, through its grants of legal privilege to special interests in the economy. We advocate a strict separation of business and State.
The unrestricted competition of the free market is the best way to foster prosperity. We oppose all government subsidies.
Tariffs and quotas give special treatment to favored special interests and diminish the welfare of consumers and other individuals.
We advocate the termination of government-created franchise privileges. The right to offer services on the market should not be curtailed by law.
Unions and Collective Bargaining
We support the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions. An employer should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union.
Current problems in such areas as energy, pollution, health care delivery, decaying cities, and poverty are not solved, but are primarily caused, by government.
We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production.
Pollution of other people's property is a violation of individual rights. Strict liability, not government agencies and arbitrary government standards, should regulate pollution.
We support strong and effective laws against fraud and misrepresentation.
We advocate the complete separation of education and State.
The American people are not a collective national resource. We oppose all coercive measures for population control.
We support transit competition and deregulation.
Poverty and Unemployment
We support the repeal of all laws that impede the ability of any person to find employment. The proper source of aid to the poor is voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.
We favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. We advocate a complete separation of medicine and State.
Resource management is properly the responsibility and right of the legitimate owners of land, water, and other natural resources.
Farmers and consumers alike should be free from the meddling and counterproductive measures of the federal government -- free to grow, sell, and buy what they want.
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
We call for the repeal of OSHA, which denies the right to liberty and property to both employer and employee and interferes in private contractual relations.
Replace the fraudulent, bankrupt Social Security system with a private, voluntary system.
We propose allowing free competition in all aspects of postal service.
The Civil Service system entrenches a permanent and growing bureaucracy and is inherently a system of concealed patronage.
We call for an end to government control of political parties, consistent with First Amendment rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression, and propose electoral systems that are more representative.
We recognize the right to political secession by political entities, private groups, or individuals.
The United States government should return to the historic libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, abstaining totally from foreign quarrels and imperialist adventures, and recognizing the right to unrestricted trade and travel.
The important principle in foreign policy should be the elimination of intervention by the United States government in the affairs of other nations.
International Travel and Foreign Investments
We call upon the United States government to adhere rigidly to the principle that all U.S. citizens travel, live, and own property abroad at their own risk.
We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights against governments or political and revolutionary groups.
We oppose U.S. government participation in any world or international government. We oppose any treaty under which individual rights would be violated.
Any U.S. military policy should have the objective of providing security for the lives, liberty and property of the American people in the U.S. as inexpensively as possible and without undermining the liberties it is designed to protect.
Presidential War Powers
We favor limiting the presidential role as Commander-in-Chief to its original meaning, namely that of the head of the armed forces in wartime.
We support the elimination of tax-supported military, economic, technical, and scientific aid to foreign governments or other organizations.
We favor withdrawal of the United States from all international money and credit schemes, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.
Individuals have the right to homestead unowned resources, both within the jurisdictions of national governments and within unclaimed territory.
We favor immediate self-determination for all people living in colonial dependencies and the termination of subsidization of them at taxpayers' expense.
We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid, guarantees, and diplomatic meddling. We make no exceptions.
We oppose all government restrictions upon voluntary, peaceful use of outer space.
Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval.
I. Individual Rights and Civil Order
No conflict exists between civil order and individual rights. Both concepts are based on the same fundamental principle: that no individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government.
Freedom and Responsibility
The Issue: Personal responsibility is discouraged by government denying individuals the opportunity to exercise it. In fact, the denial of freedom fosters irresponsibility.
The Principle: Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. We must accept the right of others to choose for themselves if we are to have the same right. Our support of an individual's right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices.
We believe people must accept personal responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
Solutions: Libertarian policies will promote a society where people are free to make and learn from their own decisions.
Transitional Actions: Repeal all laws that presume government knows better than the individual how to run that person's life. Encourage private sector dissemination of information to help consumers make informed decisions on products and services. Enforce laws against fraud and misrepresentation.
The Issue: The continuing high level of violent crime -- and the government's demonstrated inability to deal with it -- threatens the lives, happiness and belongings of Americans. At the same time, governmental violations of rights undermine people's sense of justice with regard to crime. Victimless crime laws themselves violate individual rights and also breed genuine crime.
The Principle: The only justified function of government is the protection of the lives, rights and property of its citizens.
Solutions: The appropriate way to suppress crime is through consistent and impartial enforcement of laws that protect individual rights. We applaud the trend toward private protection services and voluntary community crime control groups.
Transitional Action: We call for an end to "hate crime" laws that punish people for their thoughts and speech, distract us from real crimes, and foster resentment by giving some individuals special status under the law. Laws pertaining to "victimless crimes" should be repealed. We support institutional changes, consistent with full respect for the rights of the accused, which would permit victims to direct the prosecution in criminal cases.
The Issue: Activities which do not affect anyone but the actor have been criminalized by government on the basis of encoding a particular morality into law.
The Principle: Only actions that infringe on the rights or damage the property of others can properly be termed crimes.
Solutions: We favor the repeal of all federal, state and local laws creating "crimes" without victims.
Transitional Action: In particular, we advocate:
A. the repeal of all laws prohibiting the production, sale, possession, or use of drugs, and of all medicinal prescription requirements for the purchase of vitamins, drugs, and similar substances; the repeal of all laws restricting or prohibiting the use or sale of alcohol, requiring health warning labels and signs, making bartenders or hosts responsible for the behavior of customers and guests, making liquor companies liable for birth defects, and making gambling houses liable for the losses of intoxicated gamblers; the repeal of all laws or policies authorizing stopping drivers without probable cause to test for alcohol or drug use; the repeal of all laws regarding consensual sexual relations, including prostitution and solicitation, and the cessation of state oppression and harassment of homosexual men and women, that they, at last, be accorded their full rights as individuals; the repeal of all laws regulating or prohibiting the possession, use, sale, production, or distribution of sexually explicit material, independent of "socially redeeming value" or compliance with "community standards";
B. the repeal of all laws regulating or prohibiting gambling;
C. the repeal of anti-racketeering statutes such as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which punish peaceful behavior -- including insider trading in securities, sale of sexually explicit material, and nonviolent anti-abortion protests -- by freezing and/or seizing assets of the accused or convicted; and
D. the repeal of all laws interfering with the right to commit suicide as infringements of the ultimate right of an individual to his or her own life.
We demand the use of executive pardon to free and exonerate all those presently incarcerated or ever convicted solely for the commission of these "crimes." We condemn the wholesale confiscation of property prior to conviction by the state that all too often accompanies police raids, searches, and prosecutions for victimless crimes. Further, we recognize that, often, the Federal Government blackmails states which refuse to comply with these laws by withholding funds and we applaud those states which refuse to be so coerced.
The War on Drugs
The Issue: The suffering that drug misuse has brought about is deplorable; however, drug prohibition causes more harm than drugs themselves. The so-called "War on Drugs" is in reality a war against the American people, our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It is a grave threat to individual liberty, to domestic order and to peace in the world.
The Principle: Individuals should have the right to use drugs, whether for medical or recreational purposes, without fear of legal reprisals, but must be held legally responsible for the consequences of their actions only if they violate others' rights.
Solutions: Social involvement by individuals is essential to address the problem of substance misuse and abuse. Popular education and assistance groups are a better approach than prohibition, and we support the activities of private organizations as the best way to move forward on the issue.
Transitional Action: Repeal all laws establishing criminal or civil penalties for the use of drugs. Repeal laws that infringe upon individual rights to be secure in our persons, homes, and property as protected by the Fourth Amendment. Stop the use of "anti-crime" measures such as profiling or civil asset forfeiture that reduce the standard of proof historically borne by government in prosecutions. Stop prosecuting accused non-violent drug offenders, and pardon those previously convicted.
Safeguards for the Criminally Accused
The Issue: Instant-punishment policies deprive the accused of important checks on government power -- juries and the judicial process.
The Principle: Until such time as persons are proved guilty of crimes, they should be accorded full respect for their individual rights. We oppose any concept that some individuals are by nature second-class citizens who only understand instant punishment and any claim that the police possess special insight into recognizing persons in need of punishment. We oppose reduction of constitutional safeguards of the rights of the criminally accused.
Solutions: Cases must no longer be treated as "civil" strictly to avoid the due process protections of criminal law. Government must no longer be allowed to seize property for criminal offenses, prior to civil or criminal proceedings. Full restitution must be made for all loss
suffered by persons arrested, indicted, tried, imprisoned, or otherwise injured in the course of criminal proceedings against them that do not result in their conviction. When they are responsible, government police employees or agents must be liable for this restitution.
Transitional Action: Police officers must be prohibited from using excessive force on the disorderly or the criminally accused, handing out what they may consider to be instant punishments on the streets, or using preventive detention and no-knock laws. The judicial system must be reformed to allow criminal defendants and civil parties to a court action a reasonable number of peremptory challenges to proposed judges, similar to their right under the present system to challenge a proposed juror.
Justice for the Individual
The Issue: The present system of criminal law is based almost solely on punishment with little concern for the victim.
The Principle: The purpose of a justice system is to provide restitution to those suffering a loss at the expense of those who caused that loss. In the case of violent crimes, an additional purpose is to defend society from the continued threat of violence.
Solutions: We support the following:
a) restitution for the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or wrongdoer;
b) an end to the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense; and
c.) an affirmation of the right of the victim to pardon the criminal or wrongdoer, barring threats to the victim for this purpose.
Transitional Action: End all "no-fault" insurance laws, which deprive the victim of the right to recover damages from those responsible in the case of injury. Affirm the right of the victim to pardon the criminal or wrongdoer, barring threats to the victim for this purpose. Change rape laws so that cohabitation will no longer be a defense against a charge of rape.
The Issue: The right to a trial by a citizen jury is an important check on the infringement of our rights by government. Current practice has seriously eroded that protection.
The Principle: Juries should be composed of volunteers, not forced jurors. In addition, the common-law right of juries, to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law, should be recognized and encouraged.
Solutions: In all cases to which the government is a party, the judge should be required to inform the jurors of their common law right to judge the law, as well as the facts, and to acquit a criminal defendant, and to find against the government in a civil trial, whenever they deem the law unjust or oppressive.
Transitional Action: End the practice in capital cases of excluding jurors who are opposed to the death penalty (referred to as "death qualification"), which denies capital defendants the right to a trial before a jury representative of community values.
The Issue: The government has placed itself in a position of superiority above its citizens, has denied our rights under a policy of "compelling state interest" (thereby becoming the primary threat to our rights, rather than the protector of them), and has denied its citizens their right to sue their government for redress of grievances, claiming a position of sovereign immunity.
Principle: The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights -- life, liberty, and justly acquired property -- against aggression, whether by force or fraud. This right inheres in the individual, who -- with his or her consent -- may be aided by any other individual or group. The right of defense extends to defense against aggressive acts of government.
Solutions: Government must be returned to its proper role as protector of rights, and once again be made accountable for its actions to the individual citizen. Individual elected officials and bureaucrats must be held accountable if their actions directly violate the rights of individual citizens.
Transitional Action: We advocate an immediate end to the doctrine of "Sovereign Immunity" which ignores the primacy of the individual over the abstraction of the State, and holds that the State, contrary to the tradition of redress of grievances, may not be sued without its permission or held accountable for its actions under civil law.
Government and Mental Health
The Issue: Individuals are forcibly medicated or denied medication, not based on medical need, but based rather on a social agenda as enforced by government.
The Principle: Medication must be voluntary.
Solutions: We oppose the involuntary commitment of any person to or involuntary treatment in a mental institution. We strongly condemn Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC), where the patient is ordered to accept treatment, or else be committed to a mental institution and forcibly treated. We oppose government pressure requiring parents to obtain counseling or psychiatric drugs for their children. We also oppose forced treatment for the elderly, the head-injured, or those with diminished capacity. We are against the invasion of people's homes and privacy by health officials or law enforcement to either require or deny drug taking.
Transitional Action: We advocate an end to the spending of tax money for any program of psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral research or treatment. We favor an end to the acceptance of criminal defenses based on "insanity" or "diminished capacity" which absolve the guilty of their responsibility.
Freedom of Communication
The Issue: We oppose any abridgment of the freedom of speech through government censorship, regulation or control of communications media, including, but not limited to, laws concerning:
a) Obscenity, including "pornography", as we hold this to be an abridgment of liberty of expression despite claims that it instigates rape or assault, or demeans and slanders women;
b) Reception and storage equipment, such as digital audio tape recorders and radar warning devices, and the manufacture of video terminals by telephone companies;
c) Electronic bulletin boards, communications networks, and other interactive electronic media as we hold them to be the functional equivalent of speaking halls and printing presses in the age of electronic communications, and as such deserving of full freedom;
d) Electronic newspapers, electronic "Yellow Pages", file libraries, websites, and other new information media, as these deserve full freedom; or
e) Commercial speech or advertising. We oppose speech codes at all schools that are primarily tax funded. Language that is deemed offensive to certain groups is not a cause for legal action.
We strongly oppose the government's burgeoning practice of invading newsrooms, or the premises of other innocent third parties, in the name of law enforcement. We further oppose court orders gagging news coverage of criminal proceedings -- the right to publish and broadcast must not be abridged merely for the convenience of the judicial system. We deplore any efforts to impose thought control on the media, either by the use of anti-trust laws, or by any other government action in the name of stopping "bias." The Principle: We defend the rights of individuals to unrestricted freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the right of individuals to dissent from government itself. We recognize that full freedom of expression is possible only as part of a system of full property rights. The freedom to use one's own voice; the freedom to hire a hall; the freedom to own a printing press, a broadcasting station, or a transmission cable; the freedom to host and publish information on the Internet; the freedom to wave or burn one's own flag; and similar property-based freedoms are precisely what constitute freedom of communication. At the same time, we recognize that freedom of communication does not extend to the use of other people's property to promote one's ideas without the voluntary consent of the owners.
Solutions: We would provide for free market ownership of airwave frequencies, deserving of full First Amendment protection. We oppose government ownership or subsidy of, or funding for, any communications organization. Removal of all of these regulations and practices throughout the communications media would open the way to diversity and innovation. We shall not be satisfied until the First Amendment is expanded to protect full, unconditional freedom of communication.
Transitional Action: We advocate the abolition of the Federal Communications Commission.
Freedom of Religion
Issue: Government routinely invades personal privacy rights based solely on individuals' religious beliefs. Arbitrary tax structures are designed to give aid to certain religions, and deny it to others.
Principle: We defend the rights of individuals to engage in (or abstain from) any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others.
Solution: In order to defend freedom, we advocate a strict separation of church and State. We oppose government actions that either aid or attack any religion. We oppose taxation of church property for the same reason that we oppose all taxation. We condemn the attempts by parents or any others -- via kidnappings or conservatorships -- to force children to conform to any religious views. Government harassment or obstruction of religious groups for their beliefs or non-violent activities must end.
Transitional Action: We call for an end to the harassment of churches by the Internal Revenue Service through threats to deny tax-exempt status to churches that refuse to disclose massive amounts of information about themselves.
The Right to Property
The Issue: We oppose all violations of the right to private property, liberty of contract, and freedom of trade, especially those done in the name of national security. We also condemn current government efforts to regulate or ban the use of property in the name of aesthetic values, risk, moral standards, cost-benefit estimates, or the promotion or restriction of economic growth. We specifically condemn all government interference in the operation of private businesses, such as restaurants and airlines, by either requiring or prohibiting designated smoking or non-smoking areas for their employees or their customers. The taxation of privately owned real property actually makes the State the owner of all lands and forces individuals to rent their homes and places of business from the State. We condemn attempts to employ eminent domain to municipalize sports teams or to try to force them to stay in their present location.
The Principle: There is no conflict between property rights and human rights. Indeed, property rights are the rights of humans with respect to property, and as such, are entitled to the same respect and protection as all other human rights. All rights are inextricably linked with property rights. Such rights as the freedom from involuntary servitude as well as the freedom of speech and the freedom of press are based on self-ownership. Our bodies are our property every bit as much as is justly acquired land or material objects. The owners of property have the full right to control, use, dispose of -- or in any manner enjoy -- their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes the valid rights of others.
Solutions: We demand an end to the taxation of privately owned real property. Where property, including land, has been taken from its rightful owners by the government or private action in violation of individual rights, we favor restitution to the rightful owners.
Transitional Action: Repeal property tax laws and force government to fund property protection services with user fees.
The Right to Privacy
The Issue: Privacy protections have been eroded gradually over many years. The Social Security Number has become a universal ID number, causing rampant and massive identity theft. Government routinely keeps records on the bank accounts, travel plans, and spending habits of law-abiding civilians, for no other reason than they "might" commit a crime in the future.
The Principle: The individual's right to privacy, property, and right to speak or not to speak should not be infringed by the government. The government should not use electronic or other means of covert surveillance of an individual's actions or private property without the consent of the owner or occupant. Correspondence, bank and other financial transactions and records, doctors' and lawyers' communications, employment records, and the like should not be open to review by government without the consent of all parties involved in those actions.
Private contractual arrangements, including labor contracts, must be founded on mutual consent and agreement in a society that upholds freedom of association. On the other hand, we oppose any use of such screening by government or regulations requiring government contractors to impose any such screening.
Solutions: We support the protections provided by the Fourth Amendment and oppose any government use of search warrants to examine or seize materials belonging to innocent third parties. We oppose all restrictions and regulations on the private development, sale, and use of encryption technology. We specifically oppose any requirement for disclosure of encryption methods or keys, including the government's proposals for so-called "key escrow" which is truly government access to keys, and any requirement for use of government-specified devices or protocols. We also oppose government classification of civilian research on encryption methods. If a private employer screens prospective or current employees via questionnaires, polygraph tests, urine tests for drugs, blood tests for AIDS, or other means, this is a condition of that employer's labor contracts. Such screening does not violate the rights of employees, who have the right to boycott such employers if they choose. We oppose the issuance by the government of an identity card, to be required for any purpose, such as employment, voting, or border crossing. We further oppose the nearly universal requirement for use of the Social Security Number as a personal identification code, whether by government agencies or by intimidation of private companies by governments.
Transitional Action: We also oppose police roadblocks aimed at randomly, and without probable cause, testing drivers for intoxication and police practices to stop mass transit vehicles and search passengers without probable cause. So long as the National Census and all federal, state, and other government agencies' compilations of data on an individual continue to exist, they should be conducted only with the consent of the persons from whom the data is sought. We oppose government regulations that require employers to provide health insurance coverage for employees, which often encourage unnecessary intrusions by employers into the privacy of their employees.
The Issue: We condemn the government's use of secret classifications to keep from the public information that it should have.
The Principle: Government is the servant of the individuals who own this country; withholding information that the public has a right to know is dishonest, deceptive and a perversion of the proper relationship between government and its employers.
Solutions: We favor substituting the present secrecy system with one in which no individual may be convicted for violating government secrecy classifications unless the government discharges its burden of proving that the publication either:
a.) Violated the right of privacy of those who have been coerced into revealing confidential or proprietary information to government agents; or
b.) Disclosed defensive military plans so as to materially impair the capabilities to respond to attack. It should always be a defense to such prosecution that information divulged shows that the government has violated the law.
Transitional Action: Abolish the entrenched system of classification of information except for all matters that pass a private sector citizen review board and are determined as true national security.
The Issue: Lacking appropriate citizen oversight, government bureaucracies have deprived citizens of their privacy, property, and freedom, under the pretense that such action is necessary to protect us from our enemies. Such actions include the suspension of the right of habeas corpus during the Civil War, the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II, the Patriot Act and the classification of "enemy combatants" today.
The Principle: The rights of due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, personal privacy, the freedoms of assembly, expression and religion; and other individual liberties and rights must not be denied on the basis of national security. The Bill of Rights provides no exceptions for a time of war.
Solutions: Wherever possible, private security agencies should replace public institutions.
Agencies, public or private, duly constituted to preserve the security of the nation must be subject to independent oversight, accountable to the citizenry whom they serve, and subject to the law, including full responsibility for any violations of individual rights. Individual awareness of the requirements of security must be the ultimate supplement to any public protection.
Transitional Action: We opposed the establishment of a new cabinet level Department of Homeland Security and now call for its elimination. Abolish the subpoena power as used by Congressional committees against individuals or firms. We oppose any efforts to revive the House Internal Security Committee (or its predecessor the House Committee on Un-American Activities), and call for the destruction of its files on private individuals and groups. We also call for the abolition of the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies like the CIA, NSA, and FBI must be prevented from abusing individual rights or else be abolished.
The Right to Keep and Bear Arms
The Issue: Governments at all levels often violate their citizens' right of self defense with laws that restrict, limit or outright prohibit the ownership and use of firearms. These "gun control" laws are often justified by the mistaken premise that they will lead to a reduction in the level of violence in our society.
The Principle: The Bill of Rights recognizes that an armed citizenry is essential to a free society. We affirm the right to keep and bear arms.
Solutions: We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, regulating or requiring the ownership, manufacture, transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition. We oppose all laws requiring registration of firearms or ammunition. We support repeal of all gun control laws. We demand the immediate abolition of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Transition: We oppose any government efforts to ban or restrict the use of tear gas, "mace" or other self-protection devices. We further oppose all attempts to ban weapons or ammunition on the grounds that they are risky or unsafe. We favor the repeal of laws banning the concealment of weapons or prohibiting pocket weapons. We also oppose the banning of inexpensive handguns ("Saturday night specials") and semi-automatic or so-called assault weapons and their magazines or feeding devices.
Conscription and the Military
The Issue: We oppose any form of national service, including conscription into the military, a compulsory youth labor program, or any other kind of coerced social program.
The Principle: Impressment of individuals into the armed forces is involuntary servitude.
Solutions: Recognizing that registration is the first step toward full conscription, we oppose all attempts at compulsory registration of any person and all schemes for automatic registration through government invasions of the privacy of school, motor vehicle, or other records. We call for the abolition of the still-functioning elements of the Selective Service System. We call for he destruction of all files in computer-readable or hard-copy form compiled by the Selective Service System. We oppose adding women to the pool of those eligible for and subject to the draft, not because we think that as a rule women are unfit for combat, but because we believe that this step enlarges the number of people subjected to government tyranny.
Transitional Action: We call for the immediate and unconditional exoneration of all who have been accused or convicted of draft evasion, desertion from the military in cases of conscription or fraud, and other acts of resistance to such transgressions as imperialistic wars and aggressive acts of the military. Members of the military should have the same right to quit their jobs as other persons.
We call for the end of the Defense Department practice of discharging armed forces personnel for homosexual conduct. We further call for retraction of all less-than-honorable discharges previously assigned for such reasons and deletion of such information from military personnel files. We recommend the repeal of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the recognition and equal protection of the rights of armed forces members. This will thereby promote morale, dignity, and a sense of justice within the military.
The Issue: We welcome all refugees to our country and condemn the efforts of U.S. officials to create a new "Berlin Wall" which would keep them captive. We condemn the U.S. government's policy of barring those refugees from our country and preventing Americans from assisting their passage to help them escape tyranny or improve their economic prospects.
The Principle: We hold that human rights should not be denied or abridged on the basis of nationality. Undocumented non-citizens should not be denied the fundamental freedom to labor and to move about unmolested. Furthermore, immigration must not be restricted for reasons of race, religion, political creed, age or sexual preference. We oppose government welfare and resettlement payments to non-citizens just as we oppose government welfare payments to all other persons.
Solutions: We condemn massive roundups of Hispanic Americans and others by the federal government in its hunt for individuals not possessing required government documents. We strongly oppose all measures that punish employers who hire undocumented workers. Such measures repress free enterprise, harass workers, and systematically discourage employers from hiring Hispanics.
Transitional Action: We call for the elimination of all restrictions on immigration, the abolition of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Border Patrol, and a declaration of full amnesty for all people who have entered the country illegally.
Freedom of Association and Government Discrimination
The Issue: Discrimination imposed by government has caused a multitude of problems.
Anti-discrimination laws create the same problems.
The Principle: Individual rights should not be denied, abridged or enhanced at the expense of other people's rights by laws at any level of government based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. The right to trade includes the right not to trade -- for any reasons whatsoever. The right of association includes the right not to associate, for exercise of this right depends upon mutual consent.
Solutions: While we do not advocate private discrimination, we do not support any laws which attempt to limit or ban it.
Transitional Action: We support repealing any laws imposing discrimination by government, rather than extending them to all individuals.
Women's Rights and Abortion
The Issue: Recognizing that abortion is a very sensitive issue and that people, including libertarians, can hold good-faith views on both sides, we believe the government should be kept out of the question. We condemn state-funded and state-mandated abortions. It is particularly harsh to force someone who believes that abortion is murder to pay for another's abortion.
The Principle: We hold that individual rights should not be denied or abridged on the basis of sex. It is the right and obligation of the pregnant woman, not the state, to decide the desirability or appropriateness of prenatal testing, Caesarean births, fetal surgery, voluntary surrogacy arrangements and/or home births.
Solutions: We oppose all laws likely to impose restrictions on free choice and private property or to widen tyranny through reverse discrimination.
Transitional Action: We call for repeal of all laws discriminating against women, such as protective labor laws and marriage or divorce laws which deny the full rights of men and women.
Families and Children
The Issue: Government involvement in traditional parenting responsibilities has weakened families and replaced family-taught morals with government-taught morals.
The Principle: Families and households are private institutions, which should be free from government intrusion and interference. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs, without interference by government -- unless they are abusing the children. Because parents have these rights, a child may not be able to fully exercise his or her rights in the context of family life. However, children always have the right to establish their maturity by assuming administration and protection of their own rights, ending dependency upon their parents or other guardians, and assuming all responsibilities of adulthood. A child is a human being and, as such, deserves to be treated justly.
Parents have no right to abandon or recklessly endanger their children. Whenever they are unable or unwilling to raise their children, they have the obligation to find other person(s) willing to assume guardianship.
Solutions: We recognize that the determination of child abuse can be very difficult. Only local courts should be empowered to remove a child from his or her home, with the consent of the community. This is not meant to preclude appropriate action when a child is in immediate physical danger.
Transitional Action: We would repeal all laws that impede these processes, notably those restricting private adoption services. In particular, we call for the repeal of all laws restricting transracial adoption. We oppose laws infringing on children's rights to work or learn, such as child labor laws and compulsory education laws. We also oppose the use of curfews based on age.
We call for an end to the practice in many states of jailing children not accused of any crime.
We call for repeal of all "children's codes" or statutes which abridge due process protections for young people.
The Issue: Government has presumed to decide acceptability over sexual practices in personal relationships, imposing a particular code of moral and social values and displacing personal choice in such matters.
The Principle: Adults have the right to private choice in consensual sexual activity.
Solutions: We advocate an end to all government attempts to dictate, prohibit, control or encourage any private lifestyle, living arrangement or contractual relationship.
Transitional Action: We would repeal existing laws and policies intended to condemn, affirm, encourage or deny sexual lifestyles, or any set of attitudes about such lifestyles.
American Indian Rights
The Issue: The rights of American Indians have been usurped over the years.
The Principle: Individuals should be free to select their own citizenship, and tribes should be free to select the level of autonomy the tribe wishes.
Solutions: Indians should have their property rights restored, including rights of easement, access, hunting, and fishing.
Transition: The Bureau of Indian Affairs should be abolished leaving tribal members to determine their own system of governance. Negotiations should be undertaken to resolve all outstanding differences between the tribes and the government.
II. Trade and the Economy
We believe that each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. Therefore we oppose all intervention by government into the area of economics. The only proper role of existing governments in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected.
Efforts to forcibly redistribute wealth or forcibly manage trade are intolerable. Government manipulation of the economy creates an entrenched privileged class -- those with access to tax money -- and an exploited class -- those who are net taxpayers.
We believe that all individuals have the right to dispose of the fruits of their labor as they see fit and that government has no right to take such wealth. We oppose government-enforced charity such as welfare programs and subsidies, but we heartily applaud those individuals and private charitable organizations that help the needy and contribute to a wide array of worthwhile causes through voluntary activities.
The Issue: Government intervention in the economy imperils both the personal freedom and the material prosperity of every American.
The Principle: The free market, which respects individual rights in voluntary trade with other individuals, should be allowed to function unhindered by government. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected.
Solutions: To ensure the economic freedom and enhance the economic well-being of Americans, we would implement the following policies:
a. Dramatic reductions in both taxes and government spending;
b. An end to deficit budgets;
c. A halt to inflationary monetary policies;
d. The elimination of all government impediments to free trade; and
e. The repeal of all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production and interest rates.
Transitional Action: We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the US Constitution.
The Issue: Government manipulation of the economy creates an entrenched privileged class -- those with access to tax money -- and an exploited class -- those who are net taxpayers.
The Principle: All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. Government activity should not include the forcible collection of money or goods from individuals in violation of their individual rights. No tax can ever be fair, simple or neutral to the free market.
Solutions: Specifically, we: a.) support the right of any individual to challenge the payment of taxes on moral, religious, legal or constitutional grounds; b.) oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes; c.) support the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, and oppose any increase in existing tax rates and the imposition of any new taxes; d.) support the repeal of all taxation; and e.) support a declaration of unconditional amnesty for all those individuals who have been convicted of, or who now stand accused of, tax resistance. We oppose as involuntary servitude any legal requirements forcing employers or business owners to serve as tax collectors for federal, state, or local tax agencies. We oppose any and all increases in the rate of taxation or categories of taxpayers, including the elimination of deductions, exemptions or credits in the spurious name of "fairness," "simplicity," or alleged "neutrality to the free market."
Transitional Action: As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately. In the current fiscal crisis of states and municipalities, default is preferable to raising taxes or perpetual refinancing of growing public debt.
Inflation and Depression
The Issue: Government control over money and banking is the primary cause of inflation and depression.
The Principle: Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item, such as gold coins denominated by units of weight. We support the right to private ownership of and contracts for gold.
Solutions: We call for the repeal of all legal tender laws and of all compulsory governmental units of account, as well as the elimination of all government fiat money and all government minted coins. All restrictions upon the private minting of coins must be abolished, so that minting will be open to the competition of the free market. We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. The only further necessary check upon monetary inflation is the consistent application of the general protection against fraud to the minting and banking industries.
Transitional Action: We call for the abolition of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Banking System, and all similar national and state interventions affecting banking and credit. Our opposition encompasses all controls on the rate of interest. We also call for the abolition of the Federal Home Loan Bank System, the Resolution Trust Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the National Credit Union Central Liquidity Facility, and all similar national and state interventions affecting savings and loan associations, credit unions, and other depository institutions. To complete the separation of bank and state, we favor the Jacksonian independent treasury system, in which all government funds are held by the government itself and not deposited in any private banks. Pending its abolition, the Federal Reserve System, in order to halt inflation, must immediately cease its expansion of the quantity of money. As interim measures, we further support: a.) the lifting of all restrictions on branch banking; b.) the repeal of all state usury laws; c.) the removal of all remaining restrictions on the interest paid for deposits; d.) the elimination of laws setting margin requirements on purchases and sales of securities; e.) the revocation of all other selective credit controls; f.) the abolition of Federal Reserve control over the reserves of non-member banks and other depository institutions; and g.) the lifting of the prohibition of domestic deposits denominated in foreign currencies.
Finance and Capital Investment
The Issue: Government regulation of capital markets inhibits investment, and creates marketplace advantage for those with political access, through exemptions to laws against fraud and breach of contract.
The Principle: Free markets should operate unhindered by government regulation, while government should punish fraud, theft and contractual breach without exception.
Solutions: We call for the abolition of all regulation of financial and capital markets. What should be punished is the theft of information or breach of contract to hold information in confidence, not trading on the basis of valuable knowledge.
Transitional Action: We call for the abolition of the Securities and Exchange Commission, of state "Blue Sky" laws which repress small and risky capital ventures, and of all federal regulation of commodity markets. We oppose any attempts to ban or regulate investing in stock-market index futures or new financial instruments which may emerge in the future. We call for repeal of all laws based on the muddled concept of insider trading. We support the right of third parties to make stock purchase tender offers to stockholders over the opposition of entrenched management, and oppose all laws restricting such offers.
The Issue: Government debt forces individuals to assume debt that they did not choose to incur; distorts capital markets and rates and ruins the economy.
The Principle: Government must not incur debt, nor should it be allowed to hold assets, for these are debts incumbent on and assets taken away from the individuals of this country.
Solutions: We support the drive for a constitutional amendment requiring the national government to balance its budget, and also support similar amendments to require balanced state budgets. To be effective, a balanced budget amendment should provide:
a. that neither Congress nor the President be permitted to override this requirement;
b. that all off-budget items are included in the budget;
c. that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes; and
d. that no exception be made for periods of national emergency.
Governments facing fiscal crises should always default in preference to raising taxes.
Transitional Action: The Federal Reserve must be forbidden to acquire any additional government securities, thereby helping to eliminate the inflationary aspect of the deficit. At a minimum, the level of government should be frozen.
The Issue: We recognize that government is the source of monopoly, through its grants of legal privilege to special interests in the economy.
The Principle: Anti-trust laws do not prevent monopoly, but foster it by limiting competition. We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of companies based on voluntary association.
Solutions: We condemn all coercive monopolies. In order to abolish them, we advocate a strict separation of business and State. Laws of incorporation should not include grants of monopoly privilege. In particular, we would eliminate special limits on the liability of corporations for damages caused in non-contractual transactions. We also oppose state or federal limits on the size of private companies and on the right of companies to merge. We further oppose efforts, in the name of social responsibility or any other reason, to expand federal chartering of corporations into a pretext for government control of business.
Transitional Solutions: We call for the repeal of all anti-trust laws, including the Robinson-Patman Act, which restricts price discounts, and the Sherman and Clayton Anti-Trust acts. We further call for the abolition of both the Federal Trade Commission and the anti-trust division of the Department of Justice.
The Issue: The unrestricted competition of the free market is the best way to foster prosperity.
The Principle: In order to achieve a free economy, in which government victimizes no one for the benefit of any other, we oppose all government subsidies to business, labor, education, agriculture, science, broadcasting, the arts, sports, or any other special interest. In particular, we condemn any effort to forge an alliance between government and business under the guise of "reindustrialization" or "industrial policy." Relief or exemption from taxation or from any other involuntary government intervention, however, should not be considered a subsidy.
Solutions: We call for the abolition of the Federal Financing Bank, the most important national agency subsidizing special interests with government loans. We also oppose all government guarantees of so-called private loans. Such guarantees transfer resources to special interests as effectively as actual government expenditures and, at the national level, exceed direct government loans in total amount. Taxpayers must never bear the cost of default upon government-guaranteed loans. All national, state and local government agencies whose primary function is to guarantee loans -- including the Federal Housing Administration, the Rural Electrification Administration and the Small Business Administration -- must be abolished or privatized. Furthermore, the loans of government-sponsored enterprises, even when not guaranteed by the government, constitute another form of subsidy. All such enterprises -- the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, the Federal National Mortgage Association, the Farm Credit Administration, and the Student Loan Marketing Association -- must either be abolished or completely privatized.
Transitional Action: We oppose any resumption of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, or any similar plan that would force the taxpayer to subsidize or sustain any enterprise.
The Issue: Tariffs and quotas serve only to give special treatment to favored special interests and to diminish the welfare of consumers and other individuals, as do point-of-origin or content regulation. These measures also reduce the scope of contracts and understanding among different peoples.
The Principle: Individuals trading with individuals in other nations, voluntarily, should be the sole source of regulation of international free markets. All trade barriers are unnecessary and burdensome constraints.
Solutions: We support abolition of all trade barriers and all government-sponsored export- promotion programs, as well as the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. Court of International Trade. We affirm this as a unilateral policy, independent of the trade policies of other nations.
Transitional Action: We advocate a complete and unilateral withdrawal of the United States from all international trade agreements, including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The Issue: We believe government involvement in the provision of utilities has weakened our free market and limited the development and availability of state of the art services.
The Principle: The right to offer, on the market, such services as garbage collection, fire protection, electricity, natural gas, cable television, telephone, or water supplies should not be curtailed by law.
Solutions: We advocate the termination of government-created franchise privileges and governmental monopolies for such services.
Transitional Action: All rate regulation in industries providing these services should be abolished.
Unions and Collective Bargaining
The Issue: Government interference in the employer/employee relationship has imposed undue burdens on our economy, destroying the rights of both to contract in the free market.
The Principle: We support the right of free persons to voluntarily establish, associate in, or not associate in, labor unions. An employer should have the right to recognize, or refuse to recognize, a union as the collective bargaining agent of some, or all, of its employees.
Solutions: We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or the imposition of an obligation to bargain. Therefore, we urge repeal of the National Labor Relations Act, and all state right-to-work laws which prohibit employers from making voluntary contracts with unions. We oppose all government back-to-work orders as the imposition of a form of forced labor.
Transitional Action: Government-mandated waiting periods for closure of factories or businesses hurt, rather than help, the wage-earner. We support all efforts to benefit workers, owners and management by keeping government out of this area. Workers and employers should have the right to organize secondary boycotts if they so choose. Nevertheless, boycotts or strikes do not justify the initiation of violence against other workers, employers, strike-breakers and innocent bystanders.
III. Domestic Ills
Current problems in such areas as energy, pollution, health care delivery, decaying cities, and poverty are not solved, but are primarily caused, by government. The welfare state, supposedly designed to aid the poor, is in reality a growing and parasitic burden on all productive people, and injures, rather than benefits, the poor themselves.
The Issue: Government regulation of the energy industry has resulted in high prices, shortages, lack of competition, stunted exploration and development of alternative energy sources, and displaced responsibility for wrongdoing in the energy markets, while granting advantage in existing markets to those with political access.
The Principle: We favor the creation of a free market in oil by instituting full property rights in underground oil and by the repeal of all government controls over output in the petroleum industry. Any nuclear power industry must meet the test of a free market. Full liability -- not government agencies -- should regulate nuclear power. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production, such as that imposed by the Department of Energy, state public utility commissions, and state pro-rationing agencies. We oppose the creation of any emergency mobilization agency in the energy field, which would wield dictatorial powers in order to override normal legal processes.
Solutions: All government-owned energy resources should be turned over to private ownership.
Nuclear energy should be denationalized and the industry's assets transferred to the private sector. We oppose all government subsidies for energy research, development, and operation. We oppose all direct and indirect government participation in the nuclear energy industry, including subsidies, research and development funds, guaranteed loans, waste disposal subsidies, and federal uranium enrichment facilities.
Transitional Action: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission should be abolished. The Price-Anderson
Act, through which the government limits liability for nuclear accidents and furnishes partial payment at taxpayer expense, should be repealed. We support abolition of the Department of Energy and the abolition of its component agencies, without their transfer elsewhere in the government.
We oppose all government conservation schemes through the use of taxes, subsidies and regulation.
We oppose the "strategic storage" program, any attempt to compel national self-sufficiency in oil, any extension of cargo preference law to imports and any attempt to raise oil tariffs or impose oil import quotas.
The Issue: Toxic waste disposal problems have been created by government policies that separate liability from property. Present legal principles, particularly the unjust and false concept of “public property," block privatization of the use of the environment and hence block resolution of controversies over resource use. We condemn the EPA's Superfund whose taxing powers are used to penalize all chemical firms, regardless of their conduct. Such clean-ups are a subsidy of irresponsible companies at the expense of responsible ones.
The Principle: Pollution of other people's property is a violation of individual rights. Strict liability, not government agencies and arbitrary government standards, should regulate pollution.
Claiming that one has abandoned a piece of property does not absolve one of the responsibility for actions one has set in motion.
Solutions: We support the development of an objective legal system defining property rights to air and water. Rather than making taxpayers pay for toxic waste clean-ups, individual property owners, or in the case of corporations, the responsible managers and employees should be held strictly liable for material damage done by their property.
Transitional Action: We call for a modification of the laws governing such torts as trespass and nuisance to cover damages done by air, water, radiation, and noise pollution. We oppose legislative proposals to exempt persons who claim damage from radiation from having to prove such damage was in fact caused by radiation. We demand the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency. We also oppose government-mandated smoking and non-smoking areas in privately owned businesses.
The Issue: Government consumer protection regulation restricts the competition of the free market and replaces the individual's right to make independent choices with government-determined, "one size fits all" standards.
The Principle: Consumer demand rather than legislative mandate should drive consumer safety and protection. We support strong and effective laws against fraud and misrepresentation. However, we oppose paternalistic regulations, which dictate to consumers, impose prices, define standards for products, or otherwise restrict risk-taking and free choice.
Solutions: We encourage consumer activism that would boycott and economically sanction those businesses that adversely affect human health and/or damage the environment, passing costs on to the general public. We look to independent entities such as Underwriters Laboratories, Consumer Reports and other testing organizations as models for grassroots consumer-driven certification.
Transitional Action: End governmental interference in consumer affairs by eliminating the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Food and Drug Administration and other ineffective governmental organizations. Repeal laws mandating use of safety equipment such as seat belts or crash helmets, which can be more effectively driven by consumer action in the marketplace.
The Issue: Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Compulsory education laws… spawn prison-like schools with many of the problems associated with prisons…
The Principle: Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality and efficiency with more diversity of choice.
Solutions: We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended. We call for the repeal of the guarantees of tax-funded, government-provided education, which are found in most state constitutions. We condemn compulsory education laws…and we call for an immediate repeal of such laws. Until government involvement in education is ended, we support elimination, within the governmental school system, of forced busing and corporal punishment. We further support immediate reduction of tax support for schools, and removal of the burden of school taxes from those not responsible for the education of children.
Transitional Action: As an interim measure to encourage the growth of private schools and variety in education, including home schooling, we support tax credits for tuition and other expenditures related to an individual's education. We likewise favor tax credits for child care and oppose nationalization of the child-care industry. We oppose denial of tax-exempt status to schools because of those schools' private policies on hiring, admissions and student deportment. We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit.
The Issue: We regard the tragedies caused by unplanned, unwanted pregnancies to be aggravated, if not created, by government policies of censorship, restriction, regulation and prohibition.
The Principle: The American people are not a collective national resource. We oppose all coercive measures for population control.
Solutions: We oppose government actions that either compel or prohibit abortion, sterilization or any other forms of birth control. Specifically, we condemn the vicious practice of forced sterilization of welfare recipients or of mentally retarded or "genetically defective" individuals. We call for the repeal of all laws that restrict anyone, including children, from engaging in voluntary exchanges of goods, services or information regarding human sexuality, reproduction, birth control or related medical or biological technologies. We equally oppose government laws and policies that restrict the opportunity to choose alternatives to abortion.
Transitional Action: We support an end to all subsidies for childbearing built into our present laws, including welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children. We urge the elimination of special tax burdens on single people and couples with few or no children.
The Issue: Government interference in transportation is characterized by monopolistic restriction, corruption and gross inefficiency. We condemn the re-cartelization of commercial aviation by the Federal Aviation Administration via rationing of take-off and landing rights and controlling scheduling in the name of safety.
The Principle: The transportation industry should not be treated differently from any other industry, and should be governed by free markets and held to strict liability.
Solutions: We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation -- including the Department of Transportation, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Coast Guard, and the Federal Maritime Commission -- and the transfer of their legitimate functions to competitive private firms. We demand the return of America's railroad system to private ownership. We call for the privatization of airports, air traffic control systems, public roads and the national highway system.
Transitional Action: As interim measures, we advocate an immediate end to government regulation of private transit organizations and to governmental favors to the transportation industry. In particular, we support the immediate repeal of all laws restricting transit competition such as the granting of taxicab and bus monopolies and the prohibition of private jitney services. We urge immediate deregulation of the trucking industry.
Poverty and Unemployment
The Issue: Government fiscal and monetary measures that artificially foster business expansion guarantee an eventual increase in unemployment rather than curtailing it. Government programs are inefficient, paternalistic, demeaning and invasive of privacy.
The Principle: The proper source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals. No worker should be legally penalized for lack of certification, and no consumer should be legally restrained from hiring unlicensed individuals.
Solutions: We seek the elimination of occupational licensure, which prevents human beings from working in whatever trade they wish. We call for the abolition of all federal, state and local government agencies that restrict entry into any profession, such as education and law, or regulate its practice. We oppose all government welfare, relief projects and "aid to the poor" programs.
Transitional Action: We call for the immediate cessation of such fiscal and monetary policies, as well as any governmental attempts to affect employment levels. We support repeal of all laws that impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws, so-called "protective" labor legislation for women and children, governmental restrictions on the establishment of private day-care centers, and the National Labor Relations Act. We deplore government-fostered forced retirement, which robs the elderly of the right to work. To speed the time when governmental programs are replaced by effective private institutions we advocate dollar-for-dollar tax credits for all charitable contributions.
The Issue: Recent decades have witnessed growing government involvement in the health care system. That involvement has led to bureaucratic top-down management, rapidly escalating prices, costly regulations, the criminalization of the practice of medicine and a host of other problems.
None of these problems was prevalent prior to the time when government began to increase its involvement. We believe that government involvement is the principal cause of many of the problems we face in the health care system today. The high cost of health insurance is largely due to government's excessive regulation of the industry.
The Principle: We recognize the right of individuals free from government interference and its harmful side effects to determine the level of insurance they want, the level of care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care. Government's role in any kind of insurance should only be to enforce contracts when necessary, not to dictate to insurance companies and consumers which kinds of insurance contracts they may voluntarily agree upon.
Solutions: We favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. We advocate a complete separation of medicine from the State. We support an end to government-provided health insurance and health care. Both of these functions can be more effectively provided in the private sector.
Transitional Action: We oppose any government restriction or funding of medical or scientific research.
The Issue: We oppose government control of resource use through eminent domain, zoning laws, building codes, rent control, regional planning, urban renewal, or purchase of development rights with tax money. Such regulations and programs violate property rights, discriminate against minorities, create housing shortages, and tend to cause higher rents. All government restrictions upon private use or voluntary transfer of water rights or similar despotic controls can only aggravate the misallocation of water. Forced surface-mining of privately homesteaded lands, in which the government has reserved surface mining rights for itself, is a violation of the rights of the present landholders.
The Principle: Resource management is properly the responsibility and right of the legitimate owners of land, water and other natural resources. We recognize the legitimacy of resource planning by means of private, voluntary covenants.
Solutions: We advocate the establishment of an efficient and just system of private water rights applied to all bodies of water, surface and underground. Such a system should be built upon a doctrine of first claim and use. The allocation of water should be governed by unrestricted competition and unregulated prices. We also advocate the privatization of government and quasi-government water supply systems. Only the complete separation of water and the State will prevent future water crises. We call for the homesteading or other just transfer to private ownership of federally held lands.
Transitional Action: The construction of government dams and other water projects should cease, and existing government water projects should be transferred to private ownership. We favor the abolition of the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers' civilian functions. We also favor the abolition of all local water districts and their power to tax. We oppose any use of executive orders invoking the Antiquities Act to set aside public lands. We call for the abolition of the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. We oppose creation of new government parks or wilderness and recreation areas. Such parks and areas that already exist should be transferred to non-government ownership. Pending such just transfer, their operating costs should be borne by their users rather than by taxpayers.
The Issue: America's free market in agriculture, the system that feeds much of the world, has been plowed under by government intervention. Government subsidies, regulation and taxes have encouraged the centralization of agricultural business. Government export policies hold American farmers hostage to the political whims of both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Government embargoes on grain sales and other obstacles to free trade have frustrated the development of free and stable trade relationships between peoples of the world.
The Principle: Farmers and consumers alike should be free from the meddling and counterproductive measures of the federal government -- free to grow, sell and buy what they want, in the quantity they want, when they want.
Solutions: Farmers, ranchers and all other purveyors of goods and services in the agricultural free market must operate unhindered by government regulation, while being policed by private sector consumer protection agencies for quality, and held strictly liable by government only against fraud and deception.
Transitional Action: The agricultural problems facing America today are not insoluble. Government policies can be reversed. Five steps can be taken immediately:
a.) abolition of the Department of Agriculture;
b.) elimination of all government farm programs, including price supports, direct subsidies and all regulation on agricultural production;
c.) deregulation of the transportation industry and abolition of the Interstate Commerce Commission;
d.) repeal of federal inheritance taxes; and
e.) an end to government involvement in agricultural pest control. A policy of pest control whereby private individuals or corporations bear full responsibility for damages they inflict on their neighbors should be implemented.
Occupational Safety and Health
The Issue: The arbitrary and high-handed actions of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration invade property rights, raise costs and unjustly impose upon the business community.
The Principle: This law denies the right to liberty and property to both employer and employee, and interferes in their private contractual relations.
Solutions: Private sector consumer activism groups must be created to replace ineffective government agencies like OSHA.
Transitional Action: We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The Issue: Social Security is a bankrupt, immoral pyramid-scheme that has trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities and yields below average returns for those trapped in it. Any financial advisor who suggested investing in a program like this would go to jail, but the members of Congress get off scot-free.
The Principle: In a free society, retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government.
Solutions: We favor replacing the current fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, government sponsored Social Security system with a private voluntary system.
Transitional Action: Pending that replacement, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary. Victims of the Social Security tax should also have a claim against government property.
The Issue: The present postal system, in addition to being inefficient, encourages government surveillance of private correspondence.
The Principle: In a free society, people should be able to choose whatever postal service meets their needs.
Solutions: We propose the abolition of the government Postal Service.
Transitional Action: Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for the allowing of free competition in all aspects of postal service.
The Issue: We recognize that the Civil Service is inherently a system of concealed patronage, which entrenches a permanent and growing bureaucracy upon the land.
The Principle: The concept of "career bureaucrat" is anathema to true liberty. We promote the Jeffersonian concept of "citizen statesman" and would extend it to those performing "necessary public service" functions, as long as those are not being provided by the private sector.
Solutions: We therefore recommend a return to the Jeffersonian principle of rotation in office.
Transitional Action: We propose the abolition of the Civil Service system.
The Issue: Electoral systems matter. Many state legislatures have established gerrymandered districts and prohibitively restrictive laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties from their rightful places on election ballots. Such laws wrongfully deny ballot access to political candidates and groups, and further deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives. Various laws enable the federal and state governments to control the elections of their own administrators and beneficiaries, thereby further reducing accountability to citizens.
The Principle: Elections at all levels should be in the control of those who wish to participate in or support them voluntarily. As private voluntary groups, political parties should be allowed to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries and conventions. No state has an interest to protect in this area except for the fair and efficient conduct of elections.
Solutions: We propose electoral systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels. There should be no state or federal restriction of ballot access. Voters may submit their own choices including the option of using "tickets" or cards printed by candidates or political parties.
Transitional Action: End government control of political parties, consistent with First Amendment rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression. We urge repeal of the Federal Election Campaign Act and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which suppress voluntary support of candidates and parties. Primary elections should be returned to political party convention rather than being a taxpayer subsidized public event. Add the alternative "none of the above" to all ballots. In the event that "none of the above" receives a plurality of votes in any election, either the elective office for that term should remain unfilled and unfunded, or there shall be a new election in which none of the losing candidates shall be eligible. In order to grant voters a full range of choice in federal, state and local elections, we propose proportional voting systems with multi-member districts for legislative elections and instant runoff voting (IRV) for single winner elections. To avoid fraud and manipulation, electronic voting systems must use a voter verified paper ballot as the ballot of count, recount, audit and record.
The Issue: People are forced to be subject to governments and to participate in their programs, usually as providers of financial support, regardless of their wishes to the contrary.
The Principle: As all political association must be voluntary, we recognize the right to political secession. This includes the right to secession by political entities, private groups or individuals. Exercise of this right, like the exercise of all other rights, does not remove legal and moral obligations not to violate the rights of others.
Solutions: We support the right of political entities, private groups and individuals to renounce their affiliation with any government, and to be exempt from the obligations imposed by those governments, while in turn accepting no support from the government from which they seceded.
Transitional Action: As a transition step, we support the right of political entities, private groups and individuals to renounce their participation in any government program, and to be exempt from the obligations imposed by that program, while in turn accepting no benefit from the program from which they seceded.
IV. Foreign Affairs
American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world and the defense -- against attack from abroad -- of the lives, liberty, and property of the American people on American soil. Provision of such defense must respect the individual rights of people everywhere.
The principle of non-intervention should guide relationships between governments. The United States government should return to the historic libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, abstaining totally from foreign quarrels and imperialist adventures, and recognizing the right to unrestricted trade, travel, and immigration.
The Issue: Intervention by the government in Washington in the affairs of other nations is an attempt to impose our values on those nations by force.
The Principle: The important principle in foreign policy should be the elimination of intervention by the United States government in the affairs of other nations.
Solutions: We favor a drastic reduction in cost and size of our total diplomatic establishment.
We would negotiate with any foreign government without necessarily conceding moral legitimacy to that government
Transitional Action: We favor the repeal of the Logan Act, which prohibits private American citizens from engaging in diplomatic negotiations with foreign governments.
International Travel and Foreign Investments
The Issue: We recognize that foreign governments might violate the rights of Americans traveling, living or owning property abroad, just as those governments violate the rights of their own citizens. Any effort, however, to extend the protection of the United States government to U.S. citizens when they or their property fall within the jurisdiction of a foreign government involves potential military intervention. In particular, the protection of the foreign investments of U.S. citizens or businesses is an unjust tax-supported subsidy.
The Principle: We condemn all such property-rights violations, whether the victims are U.S. citizens or not. We call upon the United States government to adhere rigidly to the principle that all U.S. citizens travel, live and own property abroad at their own risk.
Solutions: We look forward to an era in which American citizens and foreigners can travel anywhere in the world without a passport. We aim to restore a world in which there are no passports, visas or other papers required to cross borders.
Transitional Action: American embassies should inform our citizens that they are subject to the laws of foreign countries when they travel or invest in those countries. Our government cannot insulate citizens from foreign laws when they travel abroad; our embassies cannot assume the responsibility of protecting citizens from the consequences of their own conduct while visiting nations outside the United States.
The Issue: We condemn the violations of human rights in all nations around the world. We particularly abhor the widespread and increasing use of torture for interrogation and punishment.
The violation of rights and liberty by other governments can never justify foreign intervention by the United States government. Today, no government is innocent of violating human rights and liberty, and none can approach the issue with clean hands.
The Principle: We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups. Only private individuals and organizations have any place speaking out on this issue.
Solutions: We call upon all the world's governments to fully implement the principles and prescriptions contained in this platform and thereby usher in a new age of international harmony based upon the universal reign of liberty.
Transition: Until a global triumph for liberty has been achieved, we support both political and revolutionary actions by individuals and groups against governments that violate rights. In keeping with our goal of peaceful international relations, we call upon the United States government to cease its hypocrisy and its sullying of the good name of human rights.
The Issue: Participation in any form of world or international government threatens the sovereignty of the United States, its citizens and its Constitution.
The Principle: The sovereignty of individual rights is preserved only by minimal government, and subservience to a world government is totalitarianism of a more severe form than to a national government.
Solutions: We oppose U.S. government participation in any world or international government. We support withdrawal of the United States government from, and an end to its financial support for, the United Nations. We oppose any treaty under which individual rights would be violated.
Transitional Action: Specifically, we oppose any U.S. policy designating the United Nations as policeman of the world, committing U.S. troops to wars at the discretion of the U.N., or placing
U.S. troops under U.N. command.
The Issue: The potential use of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat to all the peoples of the world, not only Americans. Thus, the objective should be to reduce the risk that a nuclear war might begin and its scope if it does.
The Principle: Any U.S. military policy should have the objective of providing security for the lives, liberty and property of the American people in the U.S. against the risk of attack by a foreign power. This objective should be achieved as inexpensively as possible and without undermining the liberties it is designed to protect.
Solutions: U.S. weapons of indiscriminate mass destruction should be replaced with smaller weapons, aimed solely at military targets and not designed or targeted to kill millions of civilians. We call for the replacement of nuclear war fighting policies with a policy of developing cost-effective defensive systems. Accordingly, we oppose any future agreement which ould prevent defensive systems on U.S. territory or in Earth orbit.
Transitional Action: We call on the U.S. government to continue negotiations toward multi-lateral reduction of nuclear armaments, to the end that all such weapons will ultimately be eliminated, under such conditions of verification as to ensure multi-lateral security. During arms reduction negotiations, and to enhance their progress, the U.S. should begin the retirement of some of its nuclear weapons as proof of its commitment. Because the U.S. has many more thousands of nuclear weapons than are currently required, beginning the process of arms reduction would not jeopardize American security. We call on the U.S. government to remove its nuclear weapons from Europe. If European countries want nuclear weapons on their soil, they should take full responsibility for them and pay the cost. We call for the withdrawal of all American military personnel stationed abroad, including the countries of NATO Europe, Japan, the Philippines, Central America and South Korea. There is no current or foreseeable risk of any conventional military attack on the American people, particularly from long distances. We call for the withdrawal of the U.S. from commitments to engage in war on behalf of other governments and for abandonment of doctrines supporting military intervention such as the Monroe Doctrine.
Presidential War Powers
The Issue: Recent Presidents have -- on their own through declarations of "states of emergency" and with the assistance of Congress via the War Powers Act -- expanded the role of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to assume the power to wage limited (and not so limited) war without the Constitutionally required explicit Declaration of War by Congress. These wars often occur in secret, funded and/or operated by the CIA, NSA, and other agencies not directly accountable to the People.
The Principle: The role of Commander-in-Chief, correctly understood, confers no additional authority on the President.
Solutions: We favor a Constitutional amendment limiting the presidential role as Commander-in-Chief to its original meaning, namely that of the head of the armed forces in wartime.
Transitional Action: We call for the reform of the Presidential War Powers Act to end the President's power to initiate military action, and for the abrogation of all Presidential declarations of "states of emergency." There must be no further secret commitments and unilateral acts of military intervention by the Executive Branch.
The Issue: The federal government has used foreign aid as a tool of influencing the policy of other sovereign nations under the guise of aiding needy people in those nations. This forces American taxpayers to subsidize governments and policies of which they may not approve.
The Principle: Individuals should not be coerced via taxes into funding a foreign nation or group.
Solutions: All foreign aid should be voluntarily funded by individuals or private organizations.
Transitional Action: Eliminate all tax-supported military, economic, technical and scientific aid to foreign governments or other organizations. Abolish government underwriting of arms sales.
Abolish all federal agencies that make American taxpayers guarantors of export-related loans, such as the Export-Import Bank and the Commodity Credit Corporation. End the participation of the
U.S. government in international commodity circles that restrict production, limit technological innovation and raise prices. Repeal all prohibitions on individuals or firms contributing or selling goods and services to any foreign country or organization, unless such provision constitutes a direct threat to the people of the United States.
The Issue: The federal government's involvement in international currency markets undermines the stability of the dollar, artificially inflates and deflates the currency and undermines the free market.
The Principle: Individuals voluntarily trading in free markets should be the only determining factor in the value of goods and services
Solutions: The government involvement in international money markets along with the Federal
Reserve System should cease, and private sector trading should be the only influence in the value of money.
Transitional Action: The United States must withdraw from all international paper money and other inflationary credit schemes, and from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We strongly oppose any bailout of foreign governments or American banks by the United States, either by means of the International Monetary Fund or through any other governmental device.
The Issue: Governments and international groups claim the right to unowned resources that they have no jurisdiction over, imposing those claims against individuals by force.
The Principle: Individuals have the right to homestead unowned resources, both within the jurisdictions of national governments and within such unclaimed territory as the ocean, Antarctica and the volume of outer space.
Solutions: We oppose any recognition of fiat claims by national governments or international bodies to unclaimed territory. We urge the development of objective international standards for recognizing homesteaded claims to private ownership of such forms of property as transportation lanes, broadcast bands, mineral rights, fishing rights and ocean farming rights.
Transitional Action: All laws, treaties and international agreements that would prevent or restrict homesteading of unowned resources should be abolished. We specifically hail the U.S. refusal to accept the proposed Law of the Sea Treaty because the treaty excluded private property principles, and we oppose any future ratification.
The Issue: United States colonialism has left a legacy of property confiscation, economic manipulation and over-extended defense boundaries.
The Principle: People have the right to govern themselves as they see fit, without fearing that a large nation will simply take control of them.
Solutions: While the United States should be willing to accept expansion through other nations and territories petitioning for statehood, we must not coerce any nation or people into "unity" through military or economic action. Transitional Action: We favor immediate self-determination for all people living in colonial dependencies -- such as American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands -- to free these people from U.S. dominance, accompanied by the termination of subsidization of them at taxpayers' expense. Land seized by the U.S. government should be returned to its rightful owners.
The Issue: Intervention in the affairs of other countries has provoked resentment and hatred of the United States among many groups and nations throughout the world. In addition, legal barriers to private and personal aid (both military and economic) have fostered internal discord.
The Principle: The United States should not inject itself into the internal matters of other nations, unless they have declared war upon or attacked the United States, or the U.S. is already in a constitutionally declared war with them.
Solutions: End the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid, guarantees, and diplomatic meddling. Individuals should be free to provide any aid they wish that does not directly threaten the United States.
Transitional Action: Voluntary cooperation with any economic boycott should not be treated as a crime. End all limitation of private foreign aid, both military and economic. Repeal the Neutrality Act of 1794, and all other U.S. neutrality laws, which restrict the efforts of Americans to aid overseas organizations fighting to overthrow or change governments. End the incorporation of foreign nations into the U.S. defense perimeter. Cease the creation and maintenance of U.S. bases and sites for the pre-positioning of military material in other countries. End the practice of stationing American military troops overseas. We make no exceptions to the above.
The Issue: Government has historically asserted a monopoly on space exploration.
The Principle: Voluntary, peaceful use of outer space should not be regulated by government.
Space related activity is not a proper function of any government except for the protection of the terrestrial borders of that nation and its people located within that territory.
Solutions: We support all peaceful, private, voluntary attempts to explore, industrialize and colonize any extra-terrestrial resources.
Transitional Action: We support the privatization of the National Aeronautics and Space
Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval.
Chandler officer fired, faces charges of assaulting neighbor
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 11, 2005 04:58 PM
A Chandler police officer charged in the aggravated assault of a neighbor while off-duty has been fired.
Chandler police announced Friday afternoon that Brian Delbert Rader, 32, was terminated Thursday upon the completion of an internal investigation that determined the officer had violated several city personnel rules. Those violations include:
• Demonstrating improper/abusive attitude or conduct that resulted in the physical harm, injury or damage to another person or property.
• Engaging in conduct that might discredit city service.
Rader may appeal the termination.
Police records show Rader was "extremely intoxicated" when he showed up on Chris Malham's doorstep with his pants around his ankles on Jan. 17.
Rader's statements to police show he downed beer, wine and whiskey, starting in his apartment about noon and finishing up at a nearby topless bar about 10:30 p.m.
When Malham opened his door, police say Rader punched him in the jaw and bit a deep cut into his finger. Neighbors responded to Malham's cries and held down Rader until police arrived at the Olive Grove Apartments, near Arizona Avenue and Germann Road.
Rader pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated assault and criminal trespass March 3. Rader's pretrial conference is scheduled for April 7 in Maricopa County Superior Court. At that point, a trial date would likely be set.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or (602) 444-7983.
Sex shops reappearing in NYC's Times Square
New York Times
Mar. 16, 2005 12:00 AM
NEW YORK - Ten years after Mayor Rudolph Giuliani declared war on Times Square's X-rated peep shows, strip joints and video stores, shops selling sexually explicit materials have begun to creep back into the area, adroitly exploiting loopholes in the law and property-owners' demand for high-paying tenants to stage their comeback.
Sex-related stores have been popping up again in other neighborhoods in the city, notably in Chelsea. But their reappearance on the side streets and avenues near Times Square is especially significant, given the large amount of time and money city officials have spent to reinvent the area as a family-friendly tourist destination.
The areas that have seen the biggest resurgence are on Eighth Avenue near the Port Authority Bus Terminal and on 37th and 39th Streets near the Avenue of the Americas, where the number of sex shops has tripled, to 18 from six, in a year and a half. North of 42nd Street, the increase has been smaller, with only three of the 17 stores in the area opening since 2003.
Part of the growth owes to the agility with which store owners have learned to comply with city zoning regulations adopted in the mid-1990s to keep them out of residential neighborhoods and away from schools and churches.
But development officials and business owners say that another factor has been the shops' willingness to pay well above market rents.