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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Friday, November 28, 2008

John Bell, Ol' Ross, And Mr. Bill

Bill Minor's column of today notes the U. S. Senate Democratic caucus's decision not to strip Connecticut's Joe Lieberman of his committee chairmanship for backing the Republican John McCain for president. Mr. Bill then takes us on another stroll down political memory lane.

"Back in the 1964 presidential race, Mississippi Rep. John Bell Williams, a hard-line segregationist, supported Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona against President Lyndon B. Johnson..."

John Bell, who also campaigned for Goldwater in other Southern states, headlined a rally for the Arizonan at the Mississippi Coliseum. I consider Williams the best Mississippi political orator of my lifetime, and I watched on live TV as he stood before the overflow crowd and thundered, "In my heart I know he's right!"[1] One of only six states carried by Goldwater, the Magnolia State voted 87.1 percent for him.

"The House Democratic Caucus not only stripped Williams of his committee chairmanship, but wiped out his seniority..."

"What did Williams do? Rather than switch to the Republican Party, he resigned his seat and returned to Mississippi to run for governor in the 1967 Democratic Primary."

John Bell lost 18 years' seniority. I believe that the man from Raymond, in 1964, was already looking toward the 1967 governor's race. Mr. Bill's memory is a little faulty here, as Williams did not resign his seat until after he had been elected governor. He was re-elected to Congress in 1966, and had he lost the governor's race, he would have kept his House seat.

In the February 1968 special election to fill John Bell's House seat, Charles Evers of Fayette, field secretary of the state NAACP, led the first round but lost the March runoff to Charlie Griffin of Utica, who had been John Bell's administrative assistant. Both Evers and Griffin were Democrats.

"In what is regarded as Mississippi's last openly racist gubernatorial election Williams defeated William Winter for the Democratic nomination."

John Bell was definitely our last segregationist governor, but I don't remember him openly injecting race into the 1967 campaign. Winter, then the state treasurer, felt compelled to say that he had "always defended" segregation and to note that his ancestor had ridden in the Civil War with General Nathan Bedford Forrest, from whom Winter had gotten his middle name.

The rabid segregationist in the race was Jimmy Swan, a Hattiesburg radio station owner, who promised a system of "free, white, private, segregated schools." Since Swan was cutting into former governor Ross Barnett's base, Barnett ran radio ads in south Mississippi in which he said, "If you want private schools, Ross Barnett will see that you get them." Swan nonetheless finished a strong third in the Democratic primary and Barnett a distant fourth.

"One of the most hilarious scenes ever in Mississippi politics came during the first primary between... Williams and former Gov. Ross Barnett over the 'tapes.' Everyone knew the 'tapes' meant recorded conversations between Barnett and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and his brother, President John F. Kennedy, preceding the [1962] Ole Miss crisis over the admission of James Meredith."

"In a finger-shaking, vilification-tossing clash - poetically, at a White Citizens Council forum - Williams discombobulated Barnett by asking him about 'deals and underhanded agreements' he made with the Kennedys over admitting Meredith. Barnett tells Williams: 'bring out your tape, if you've got one; bring it out and play it.'"

I don't recall who sponsored it, but there was a forum held at the Masonic Temple on Capitol Street, just west of downtown Jackson. John Bell mentioned "tapes" and "deals" between Governor Barnett and the Kennedys. When Barnett spoke, he angrily shook his finger at Williams and said, "Ross Barnett made no deals! You got to either put up or shut up!" John Bell was the one who appeared to be chastened by this exchange. When William Winter's turn came, he joked that he didn't know what the temperature was in the audience, "but it's pretty hot up here." (Years later, the tapes of the Barnett-Kennedy phone conversations were made public. They revealed Barnett to be two-faced and largely concerned with maintaining his image as a staunch segregationist.)

It's also worth noting that that 1967 race included one former governor, Barnett, and three future governors-- Williams, Winter, and Bill Waller Sr., the Hinds County district attorney, who finished fifth in the Democratic primary.

"The Williams governorship became one of the surliest the state has ever experienced..."

John Bell banned Bill Minor from his press conferences, so there was no love lost between the two of them.

"... [Governor Williams's] refusal to appoint blacks to county draft boards..."

Waller, who succeeded John Bell in 1972, integrated the state highway patrol and appointed the first blacks to state agencies in modern times. Waller also eliminated the notorious state Sovereignty Commission by vetoing its funding.

"Williams' best time came after Hurricane Camille hit the Gulf Coast in August, 1969... . ... After his heroic post-Camille stand, Williams virtually disappeared from public view."

This is the first time I've known Mr. Bill to say anything positive about John Bell. Williams appeared on TV after the killing of several students in the riots at Jackson State University in May 1970; he defended the police. Charles Evers rebutted what he had said, pointing out that Governor Williams would soon be gone from office.

John Bell supported his former lieutenant governor, the Democrat Charles Sullivan of Clarksdale, in the 1978 race to succeed U. S. senator Jim Eastland, which was ultimately won by Republican congressman Thad Cochran. Williams also attended a number of the Jackson meetings held for Ronald Reagan's presidential candidacy in 1980; he addressed at least one of them. I remember seeing him in one of the hallways of the Coliseum Ramada Inn, fielding questions from several reporters.

Williams died of a heart attack in 1983 at age 64.


[1] Goldwater's campaign slogan was, "In your heart you know he's right." The Democrats sometimes retorted, "But in your guts you know he's nuts."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Myth of the Robber Barons

This essay provides some excellent lessons on the folly of government subsidizing private companies and individuals. Several years ago, I heard Professor Folsom on C-SPAN, and one person he mentioned was James J. Hill, the founder of the Great Northern Railroad, and how Hill succeeded with no government money, while several of his taxpayer-assisted competitors failed.

Andrew Carnegie is also briefly mentioned below. Carnegie spent the first part of his life becoming wealthy and the last part giving away his wealth. He had some difficulty, however, as his fortune grew faster than he could spend it (wouldn't you love to have that problem?). Today there are libraries all across America that Carnegie built-- without one penny of government help. ~~SR


by Burton W. Folsom Jr. | September 16, 2008

This article is adapted from a lecture Professor Folsom gave at the History and Liberty seminar at [the Foundation for Economic Education] in June. For readers who are interested in finding out more about these lost lessons of history we recommend Professor Folsom's popular book, The Myth of the Robber Barons, now in its fifth edition.

In the ongoing war of ideas in American history, those who advocate government action as an engine of economic development have been encouraged by a general and all-too-human tendency to avoid thinking deeply. Because we have a long history of government intervention in the economy, the assumption—both among those who design government programs and among the constituencies that support them—has usually been that government action accomplishes its objectives. Even people who have reservations about bureaucratic inefficiency reason that we wouldn't have turned to government so many times in the past if government hadn't accomplished something.

Three Assumptions About Capitalism

This shallow conclusion dovetails with another set of assumptions: First, that the free market, with its economic uncertainty, competitive stress, and constant potential for failure, needs the steadying hand of government regulation; second, that businessmen tend to be unscrupulous, reflecting the classic cliché image of the “robber baron,” eager to seize any opportunity to steal from the public; and third, that because government can mobilize a wide array of forces across the political and business landscape, government programs therefore can move the economy more effectively than can the varied and often conflicting efforts of private enterprise.

But the closer we look at public-sector economic initiatives, the more difficult it becomes to defend government as a wellspring of progress. Indeed, an honest examination of our economic history—going back long before the twentieth century—reveals that, more often than not, when government programs and individual enterprise have gone head to head, the private sector has achieved... Read more>>>>

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Will It Be Senator Haley Barbour?

Thad Cochran, Mississippi's senior U. S. senator, was elected to a sixth six-year term on November 4. The Republican Haley Barbour's second term as governor will end in January, 2012; the state constitution places a lifetime two-term limit on the governor.

It was suggested on another website that the Republican Cochran might resign while Barbour is still governor, and that Barbour will engineer his own appointment to the Senate. In other states where this has been done, it has usually backfired. The voters don't like it, and they take out their anger on the appointed senator at the next election. Barbour knows this, and I believe that he's much too shrewd to attempt such a shenanigan (besides, there is no evidence that Cochran does not intend to serve out his full term).

The Republican Trent Lott was Mississippi's first U. S. senator in modern times to resign before the close of his term, if not the first in history. This happened at the end of last year, and Barbour appointed GOP Congressman Roger Wicker to succeed Lott. On November 4, Wicker was elected to serve the remaining four years of the Senate term.

Tennessee Caretakers

Our Tennessee neighbors, in contrast, have a tradition of naming caretakers to fill vacancies in the U. S. Senate. This occurred most recently after Senator Al Gore was elected vice president in 1992. Governor Ned Ray McWherter appointed a Democratic party stalwart to serve until 1994, when the Republican Fred Thompson was elected to serve the remaining two years on the Senate term. Thompson was then elected to a full six-year term in 1996.

Senator Estes Kefauver's sudden death in 1963 at age 60 set off a memorable chain of events in the Volunteer State. Kefauver had sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1952 and 1956, losing both times to Adlai Stevenson of Illinois. Rather than naming his running mate in 1956, Stevenson left the choice to the convention delegates. Kefauver narrowly won a spirited contest with a young senator from Massachusetts named John F. Kennedy, and the Stevenson-Kefauver ticket went on to lose in a landslide to President Dwight Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon.

The keynote address at that 1956 Democratic convention was delivered by Tennessee's 36-year-old governor, Frank Clement ("How long, America, O how long"). Clement had first won a two-year term as governor in 1952. He was re-elected in 1954, after the term was changed to four years, and the governor was no longer allowed to succeed himself. For a time, Clement and Buford Ellington-- a native of Holmes County, Mississippi-- played "musical chairs" with the governorship. The Democrat Ellington was elected in 1958, Clement won again in 1962, and the voters again chose Ellington in 1966 (another former Mississippian, Winfield Dunn, a Meridian native, was elected to succeed Ellington in 1970. Dunn, a Memphis dentist, was Tennessee's first Republican governor elected since 1920 and only the third in the 20th century).

Following Senator Kefauver's death in 1963, Governor Clement appointed a caretaker to serve until the 1964 elections. Midway through his term as governor, Clement entered that 1964 race for the two years left on the Senate term; however, Clement lost the Democratic primary to Ross Bass, a liberal congressman who went on to defeat the Republican Howard Baker in the general election.

In the 1966 race for the full six-year term, Clement beat Senator Bass in a bitter rematch in the Democratic primary. But Clement then lost the general election to the Republican Baker.

Clement was rumored to be preparing to run again for governor when he was killed in a car crash on a rainy night in late 1969. He was 49 years old.

Getting back to Governor Haley Barbour: I had thought that he might be a candidate for president in 2012. His recent proposals for tax increases, however, will likely hurt him if he does run.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bryant May Run For Governor

Lieutenant governor Phil Bryant says that he intends to run for governor at some future time, possibly 2011. A Republican from Rankin County, Bryant was a state legislator in 1996 when Governor Kirk Fordice appointed him state auditor following the resignation of the Democrat Steve Patterson. Bryant was subsequently elected to full terms as auditor in 1999 and 2003, and he, of course, was elected lieutenant governor last year.

Bryant added to his campaign war chest on Thursday with a $250-per-couple fund-raiser in Biloxi on the Gulf Coast.

Governor Haley Barbour, an ally of Bryant's, will be ineligible to run again in 2011 because of term limits. It would seem to make more sense for Bryant to run for governor in 2011 than to run for re-election as lieutenant governor. There won't be an incumbent governor running in 2011, and Bryant would likely have to face a sitting governor if he waited until 2015, when he would be term-limited as lieutenant governor.

Among the Democrats, second-term attorney general Jim Hood has been mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate in 2011. Another possibility is former governor Ronnie Musgrove, who just lost the hotly-contested race with the Republican Roger Wicker for U. S. senator. And-- who knows?-- maybe ex-attorney general Mike Moore, the scourge of "big tobacco," will emerge from the mothballs and toss his hat into the ring.

A Democrat who has been in mothballs even longer than Moore is former governor Ray Mabus, an enthusiastic campaigner for Barack Obama in the recent presidential race. Mabus will probably be offered a position by the president-elect, but maybe he'll have a hankering to try again for the governor's mansion by 2011.

While sitting lieutenant governors in some states often get elected governor, that has historically been a high hurdle in Mississippi politics. Theodore G. Bilbo and Lee Maurice Russell did it in 1915 and 1919, respectively. The next to accomplish this feat was Paul Johnson Jr. in 1963, and Ronnie Musgrove in 1999 was the most recent.

In the 20th century, numerous of the Magnolia State's incumbent lieutenant governors tried and failed to be elected governor.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Two Runoffs In Georgia

Georgia, the only state that has party primaries AND runoff general elections, will have two runoffs on December 2, one for public service commissioner and the other for U. S. senator. Both runoffs were forced by the presence of Libertarian candidates in those races.

The Peach State has an unusual setup for electing its public service commissioners. The state is divided into five PSC districts, and a candidate must live in the district that he seeks to represent. However, all PSC candidates run statewide; hence it's possible for a candidate to be elected commissioner despite losing his home district.

The Libertarian who finished third has endorsed the Democrat over the Republican in the PSC runoff.

Allen Buckley, the Libertarian who got enough votes for U. S. senator to force a runoff, has not yet endorsed either the Republican incumbent, Saxby Chambliss, or the Democrat Jim Martin (B. J. "Bill" Clinton-- the only elected president ever to be impeached-- recently campaigned for Martin). Chambliss has caught flak for his "yes" vote on the bailout bill.

Georgia's runoff provision is a by-product of the 1966 election of Lester Maddox as governor. The Republican Bo Callaway, who had been elected to Congress on Barry Goldwater's presidential coat-tails in 1964, got more popular votes than Maddox. However, former governor (1943-1947) Ellis Arnall, who had lost the Democratic runoff to Maddox, got enough write-in votes to deny either candidate 50-plus percent. Georgia law then specified that, in that situation, the race be decided by the state House of Representatives, and the heavily Democratic House elected Maddox.

The third-place finisher in that 1966 Democratic primary, incidentally, was a state senator named Jimmy Carter.

Thanks to Ballot Access News for the posts.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Prophylactics For Incumbents

I have had numerous exchanges on websites with Jim Riley, who is a strong advocate of a Louisiana-style "top two" system, popularly called the "open primary." On this post at Ballot Access News, Jim comments on a pre-filed bill in the Texas legislature that would make the candidate filing deadlines earlier. He also criticizes political parties for wanting to officially nominate candidates, which his beloved "top two" prevents. Here is my response to his comment (the 5th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, to be sure, covers Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas):

There are lots of precedents for the unconstitutionality of an early April filing deadline for independent candidates. Mississippi has a January filing deadline for independents for Congress– the same as for party candidates.

A lawsuit against such early deadlines for independents in Texas and Mississippi would have a good chance of winning in the 5th Circuit, although it would likely first lose in district court. The problem is locating a plaintiff– or a financial backer– who is willing to cover the expenses of getting to the 5th Circuit (I have found a qualified plaintiff and an election law attorney who would take the case, but the potential plaintiff doesn’t have the necessary bucks).

I oppose early filing deadlines, which are little more than prophylactics for incumbents.

It’s interesting that you want to hamper political parties in performing their basic function of nominating candidates. A party, of course, has a First Amendment right to nominate/endorse candidates, but the state is not required to recognize those nominations/endorsements.

That’s one of the problems with your cherished “top two”/”open primary”: the state does not recognize party nominations in that system. In Louisiana, for example, this has led– more than once– to the national Republican Party and the state Republicans backing opposing candidates in the same election.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Real Alexander Hamilton

"Hamilton popularized... protectionism, arguing that young industries needed to be protected from competition. Well, it turns out that industrial infants never grow up. ... In keeping with the Republican Party’s big-government roots, one of the first things President George W. Bush did upon taking office... was to place 50 percent tariffs on steel, which he apparently believed had not yet grown up." [Note: This, of course, raised the price of every product containing steel. ~~ SR]


by Thomas J. DiLorenzo | May 14, 2004

Rousseau’s wish to free the current majority from all restrictions, to dissolve the people into a homogeneous mass, abolish decentralization, and remove representative institutions could not be in sharper contrast to American traditions of constitutionalism, federalism, localism, and representation.
~ Claes G. Ryn, America the Virtuous, p. 73

In his important book, America the Virtuous, Professor Claes Ryn of Catholic University makes the compelling case that Rousseau is the ideological inspiration for the neoconservative movement, which he calls the new Jacobinism. Rousseau conjectured that some nebulous "general will" of the people was always right, and therefore government should have absolute power over a highly centralized and militarized state, all in the name of promoting if not imposing "democracy."

It is not at all surprising, then, that another of the neocons’ American idols is Alexander Hamilton, whom historian Cecelia Kenyon [1922-1990] labeled "the Rousseau of the Right" (Cecelia Kenyon, "Alexander Hamilton, Rousseau of the Right," Political Science Quarterly, June 1958, pp. 161–178). The neocon love affair with "the Rousseau of the Right" was on display recently in a Sunday, April 25 New York Times book review of a new biography of Hamilton (Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow) by Times op-ed columnist and house neocon David Brooks. Brooks is just wild about Hamilton, crediting him with nothing less than "creating capitalism." (He also seems gratified that the Chernow book supposedly does a "devastating destruction job on Thomas Jefferson").

Now, Alexander Hamilton can and should be admired for many things. But the one thing that Brooks says was his "greatest achievement"– his role as Treasury Secretary – should not be. Hamilton was a mercantilist. This was the corrupt system of political patronage and special privilege held into place by economic superstition in the Europe of Hamilton’s day (and before). As such, he championed protectionism, corporate welfare, central banking, excessive excise and property taxation, and government debt. Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was a critique and repudiation of mercantilism and a defense of capitalism. Brooks and Chernow have it all backwards when they write that these policies were capitalistic. In fact, they were just the opposite.

As Larry Schweikart writes in The Entrepreneurial Adventure: A History of Business in the United States (p. 63), Hamilton’s central bank, the Bank of the United States (BUS) "brought out the mercantilist Hamilton" and "fit perfectly with the mercantilist view of using business in the service of government." (This was also the view of the Italian and German governments during the 1920s and ‘30s). The BUS was thankfully disbanded by President Andrew Jackson after several decades of corruption, inflation, and political mischief making. It did serve, nevertheless, as a precursor of the Fed.

Far from being a champion of capitalism, Hamilton was a champion of... Keep reading>>>>

The Churchill Myth

As Joe Sobran has noted, Winston Churchill, during World War II, wanted to bomb the dickens out of Rome. Aside from the human carnage, this action would have inflicted great destruction on the artifacts of the Roman Empire. Churchill, as a speaker and writer, was a great phrase-maker. Too bad he also lusted for power. ~~ SteveR


"Winston Churchill was a Man of Blood and a politico without principle, whose [glorification] serves to corrupt every standard of honesty and morality in politics and history."


by Ralph Raico | November 14, 2008

When, in a very few years, the pundits start to pontificate on the great question: "Who was the Man of the Century?" there is little doubt that they will reach virtually instant consensus. Inevitably, the answer will be: Winston Churchill. Indeed, Professor Harry Jaffa has already informed us that Churchill was not only the Man of the Twentieth Century, but the Man of Many Centuries.[1]

In a way, Churchill as Man of the Century will be appropriate. This has been the century of the State — of the rise and hypertrophic growth of the welfare-warfare state — and Churchill was from first to last a Man of the State, of the welfare state and of the warfare state. War, of course, was his lifelong passion; and, as an admiring historian has written: "Among his other claims to fame, Winston Churchill ranks as one of the founders of the welfare state."[2] Thus, while Churchill never had a principle he did not in the end betray,[3] this does not mean that there was no slant to his actions, no systematic bias. There was, and that bias was towards lowering the barriers to state power.

To gain any understanding of Churchill, we must go beyond the heroic images propagated for over half a century. The conventional picture of Churchill, especially of his role in World War II, was first of all the work of Churchill himself, through the distorted histories he composed and rushed into print as soon as the war was over.[4] In more recent decades, the Churchill legend has been adopted by an internationalist establishment for which it furnishes the perfect symbol and an inexhaustible vein of high-toned blather. Churchill has become, in Christopher Hitchens's phrase, a "totem" of the American establishment, not only the scions of the New Deal, but the neo-conservative apparatus as well — politicians like Newt Gingrich and Dan Quayle, corporate "knights" and other denizens of the Reagan and Bush Cabinets, the editors and writers of the Wall Street Journal, and a legion of "conservative" columnists led by William Safire and William Buckley. Churchill was, as Hitchens writes, "the human bridge across which the transition was made" between a noninterventionist and a globalist America.[5] In the next century, it is not impossible that his bulldog likeness will feature in the logo of the New World Order.

Let it be freely conceded that in 1940 Churchill played his role superbly. As the military historian, Major-General J.F.C. Fuller, a sharp critic of Churchill's wartime policies, wrote: "Churchill was a man cast in the heroic mould, a berserker ever ready to lead a forlorn hope or storm a breach, and at his best when things were at their worst. His glamorous rhetoric, his pugnacity, and his insistence on annihilating the enemy appealed to human instincts, and made him an outstanding war leader."[6] History outdid herself when she cast Churchill as the adversary in the duel with Hitler. It matters not at all that in his most famous speech — "we shall fight them on the beaches … we shall fight them in the fields and in the streets" — he plagiarized Clemenceau at the time of the Ludendorff offensive, that there was little real threat of a German invasion or, that, perhaps, there was no reason for the duel to have occurred in the first place. For a few months in 1940, Churchill played... Keep reading>>>>

Thursday, November 13, 2008

State-By-State Presidential Vote

The Denver Post has the presidential vote for all the states listed on one page. With a few exceptions-- which are listed as "None"-- the independents and minor party candidates are also included.

The recipient of Missouri's 11 electoral votes has not yet been determined. The unofficial final tally has McCain leading Obama by less than 5,000 votes. Notably, Missouri is a bellwether state, having voted for the winner in every presidential election since 1904, except for 1956, when it supported the Democrat Adlai Stevenson over President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican.

You'll see that the independent Ralph Nader finished third in Mississippi. Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party ran fourth, edging the Libertarian Bob Barr by just 22 votes.

You'll also note that "None" is listed as running third in Louisiana. That refers to Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, whose running mate there was Barry Goldwater Jr., a former California congressman. The Paul-Goldwater ticket was labeled as the Taxpayers Party on the Bayou State's ballot.

"None" is also third in Montana, far ahead of the fourth-place Nader. That's also Ron Paul, who was on that state's ballot as the nominee of the Constitution Party, which has disaffiliated from the national Constitution Party. Paul's running mate there was Michael Peroutka of Maryland, the national CP's 2004 presidential nominee.

Thanks to Ballot Access News for the link.

Is Louisiana's "Open Primary" A French Idea?

A commenter at Ballot Access News named "Deemer from California" strongly implied that Louisiana adopted its "open primary" system as a result of the state's French heritage. Here is my response to him:

Louisiana’s adoption of its “top two” (popularly called the “open primary”)[1] had nothing to do with its French background. Louisiana’s “open primary” is an extension of the old one-party (truly NO-PARTY) system, in which elections were decided in the Democratic primary, with a Democratic runoff if necessary.

When Southern Republicans began running a few candidates in the 1960s, they almost never had primary opposition, so they only had to run in the general election– whereas a Democrat had the aggravation and expense of both a primary and a runoff primary campaign prior to the general election. The Democrats naturally resented the fact that the Republican only had to campaign in the fall, and the Democrats wanted to force the Republican to run in the same election with the Democrats– hence, the push for the “open primary” (apparently, the "open primary" proponents assumed that there would never be more than one Republican running for the same office).

Between 1966 and 1979, the Mississippi legislature enacted the “top two” (aka “open primary”) five different times, but its implementation was blocked each time– thank God.

Meanwhile, Louisiana began using the “open primary” for its state and local elections in 1975; it also used it for its congressional elections from 1978 through 2006.

The “top two”/"open primary" is certainly not a new idea. California voters rejected it for state offices in 1915 and for state AND congressional offices in November 2004. North Dakota voters rejected it in the early 1920s, while Oregon voters last week defeated a similar proposal for their congressional, state, and local elections.

Click here for a post that includes Louisiana’s and Mississippi’s history with the “open primary."


[1] All candidates, including independents, are listed on a single ballot, and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, progress to the runoff.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Obama Presidency: Marxist Mess?

"The two 'major parties' have rigged the political system so that it is almost impossible for any incumbent – Republican or Democrat – to ever lose an election. The re-election rate of incumbents has been in the 95% range for decades. They have also rigged the system so that third-party candidates never have a chance. In some states, if you want to run for Congress you must first get 10,000 signatures by citizens who want you to run. This does not apply to Democrats or Republicans. The two major parties guard 'ballot access' like Mafia dons who zealously guard all the secrets of their 'business.' This system of monopoly government must be destroyed unless we are satisfied being 'a nation of sheep'..."


by Ilana Mercer | November 7, 2008

Note: In today's offering, Ilana interviews professor Thomas J. DiLorenzo about his new book, "Hamilton's Curse: How Jefferson's Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – and What It Means for America Today," with relevance to the events of the day.

ILANA: The president-elect's leanings are more Marx than Hamilton. This makes Barack Obama even more alien to the American system than was Hamilton, the subject of your new book, "Hamilton's Curse." Nevertheless, he'll adapt. Tell us how Alexander Hamilton cursed the old republic, and how you think Obama's socialist statism will blend and meld with American, Hamiltonian statism?

TOM DILORENZO: Hamilton was the intellectual leader of the nationalist movement among the founders who wanted to import the corrupt British mercantilist empire to America. He wanted the government to pursue "imperial glory," another word for empire, and to adopt a set of economic policies – protectionist tariffs, a large national debt, corporate welfare and monetary manipulation by a bank operated by politicians out of the nation's capital. At the constitutional convention, he proposed a permanent president who would appoint all the governors who would have veto power over all state legislation. A "king," in other words. Jefferson and his followers viewed this as nothing less than a betrayal of the American Revolution. They had just fought a war against that very system, and Hamilton wanted to turn around and adopt it here in the U.S. Hamilton believed that a mercantilist empire was a bad thing if you were on the paying end, but quite good if you were on the collecting end. It's good to be the king, as Mel Brooks might say. Jefferson opposed him every step of the way, believing that every one of his policy proposals would not only be economically unwise, but destructive of the very liberty the Revolution was fought to advance.

The Hamilton/Jefferson political battle raged on for decades, but some historians call the post-Civil War era the period of "Hamiltonian hegemony," where the presidency became more and more dominant over Congress; states' rights or federalism became essentially nullified; and all of Hamilton's mercantilist economic policies were adopted, from protectionism to corporate welfare for the railroad corporations. The Republican Party has always been the party of Hamiltonian mercantilism. That's why I've called Lincoln "the political son of Alexander Hamilton," as far as economic policy and the structure of government are concerned.

Obama is a slick politician, so I expect him to continue to administer the neo-mercantilist, Hamiltonian empire that has been built up by both parties over the decades, with all of its schemes for corporate welfare for defense contractors, investment bankers and myriad other politically active businesses which, in turn, provide financial support for the regime. But Obama is also a hardcore leftist who spent his earlier career working with some of the craziest socialists in America, groups like ACORN, who advocated such things as kicking doctors off the boards of hospitals and replacing them with "the poor," and Soviet-style nationalization of the energy and health care industries.

He's a male Hillary Clinton, and I expect him to immediately... Keep reading>>>>

Click here for Part 2 of Ilana's interview with Thomas DiLorenzo.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"B. McBama" Was The Better Choice

Robert Ringer is a libertarian author and speaker who is famous for such best-sellers as Looking Out For #1. He calls the two 2008 major-party presidential nominees "B. McBama" and "J. McBama." While not endorsing either one, he contended that, given all the financial upheaval that he expects in the next few years, we would be better off if "B. McBama" were elected. Following is Ringer's response from last August 5 to a reader who opined that we should elect "J. McBama" because of the coming vacancies which the next president will fill on the Supreme Court. ~~ SteveR


There is no question that the appointing of Supreme Court Justices is a dangerous issue if B. McBama gets in. But, judges aside, there is no turning back now for the U.S. - even if Ronald Reagan were to be reincarnated. Forget all the insanity about no offshore drilling, no drilling in ANWR, the Iraq War, "global warming," and all of the other daily political debates on TV.

The issue that trumps all else is the accelerating death of our currency - and that cannot be reversed, no matter who is president. But when it all shakes out, and people can't go on the vacations they have come to believe they are entitled to, can't go out to eat several times a week as they have come to believe they are entitled to, when the government has no more resources to bail them out of their defaulted mortgages as they have come to believe they are entitled to ... etc. ... it will make a great deal of difference who is in power.

As I've said many times in the past, if J. McBama is president, the masses, pitchforks in hand, will demand that capitalist heads roll. But if B. McBama is in power, and you and I work tirelessly to spread the truth throughout the land, a majority of folks might just come out of their slumber and demand a return to a small, impotent government.

The government must be stripped of all of its powers, other than its contract to protect the lives and property of the citizens of this country; i.e., the people pay the government (and thereby grant it the right) to protect them. Beyond that, the government has no other rights.

No matter which way the shoe drops, there are, of course, no guarantees. But I am all but certain that a (perceived) conservative in the White House would bring about a horrific collectivist backlash from the uniformed populace. Which is why a John McBama victory could be a devastating blow to the Education Revolution.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Uncle Sam... or Uncle Tom?

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who ran a distant third as an independent in the presidential race, appeared on Fox News Channel with Shepard Smith. Here is the complete post from the Independent Political Report, including the YouTube of the interview.

A snippet from the interview: "To put it very simply, [Obama] is our first African American president; or he will be. And we wish him well. But his choice, basically, is whether he’s going to be Uncle Sam for the people of this country, or Uncle Tom for the giant corporations."

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Castle-Gonzalez-Root VP Debate Tonight

There will be a vice-presidential debate tonight at 8:00 Central time, which will be broadcast from Las Vegas.

The participants will be Darrell Castle (Constitution Party), the independent Matt Gonzalez, and the Libertarian Wayne Allyn Root. Gonzalez is the running mate of Ralph Nader, an independent presidential candidate. Castle is a Memphis attorney, while Root is a Las Vegas businessman.

The debate, sponsored by Restore the Republic Radio, may be viewed by live Web stream at this link.

Click here for more details.

Thanks to Independent Political Report for the link.

An Unusual Sample Ballot

Last Friday, a black woman was handing out fliers at the stoplight at the intersection of Robinson Road Extension and McDowell Road in southwest Jackson. The heading on the flier is "Sample Ballot General Election November 4, 2008... HINDS COUNTY STATE OF MISSISSIPPI." The name of the person or group behind the flier is not given, but there are two phone numbers for rides to the polls: 601-362-0851 (Jackson) and 866-423-6643 (Hinds).

It's far from being a complete Hinds County ballot. For the partisan offices listed, starting with president/vice president, the names of the Democratic nominees are printed in big bold letters, with a check mark in the brackets next to their names. The names of the non-endorsed candidates are printed in letters so tiny that one almost needs a magnifying glass to see them.

Besides the Obama-Biden ticket, the endorsees include Erik Fleming for U. S. senator and Bennie Thompson for the Second District in the U. S. House.

Strangely, the special U. S. Senate election between the Republican Roger Wicker and the Democrat Ronnie Musgrove is left off.

In the nonpartisan races for county election commissioner, the candidates for Districts 1 and 2 are included. One of the two Democrats running in District 1, W. Jean Lavine, is endorsed (there is one Republican candidate, Marilyn Avery, in that district). In District 2, both candidates are Democrats, and Bobbie Graves is the endorsee.

In the Central District for Supreme Court justice, Jim Kitchens is endorsed over Ceola James and the incumbent Jim Smith.

The only other race shown on the flier is the seven-candidate special election for District 3 constable. Canera Jelks gets the endorsement there.

I've seen lots of sample ballots in my lifetime, but this is the first one I've ever seen that (1) lists a selective number of offices, and (2) does not say who produced it.

Footage Of Baldwin-Barr-Nader Debate

On Thursday, October 30, at the Cleveland City Club, three presidential candidates debated: Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party), the Libertarian Bob Barr, and the independent Ralph Nader.

Here's a little over five minutes of video of the debate.

Thanks to the Independent Political Report for the link.