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The State of New York Devolves into Fascist Extremism

By L.K. Samuels

It is now official. The state of New York and Governor Andrew Cuomo have decided to embrace the ugly specter of fascist extremism. A statist Leftist, Andrew Cuomo has spearheaded an anti-human rights and anti-Founders campaign to extinguish an advocacy group through government intimidation, regulations, and threats, a tactic often employed by the National Socialists of Germany to affirm the supremacy of society over individual rights.

Fortunately, the ACLU has found these government-funded strong-arm tactics to be problematic and unconstitutional, declaring: “Although public officials are free to express their opinions and may condemn viewpoints or groups they view as inimical to public welfare, they cannot abuse their regulatory authority to retaliate against disfavored advocacy organizations and to impose burdens on those organizations' ability to conduct lawful business.”

In this case, that advocacy group is the National Rifle Association (NRA), but it could be any educational or advocacy group that actively espouses change. In early August, Cuomo bragged about taking down the NRA via government regulations on his Facebook post, declaring: “The regulations NY put in place are working. We're forcing the NRA into financial jeopardy. We won't stop until we shut them down.” This has a chilling effect on free speech for every group and institution, left or right, since this precedent will encourage all politicos to silence or abolish an opponent’s ability to express their opinions.

This case is obviously beyond the pale. How can a government agency compel banks, financial institutions, and insurance companies to dismiss an advocacy group as a customer? This is a blatant violation of constitutional laws and protections, especially the First Amendment. The state of New York is using its vast legal and taxing power to punish political enemies. Only a Fascist-Marxist ideologue would employ the power of the state to silence private organizations they deem adversaries. They are simply outlawing their political opponents without actually legislating laws that explicitly make them illegal.

The New York State attack against free exchange went into high gear when Maria Vullo, head of the state's Department of Financial Services, sent out threatening letters to businesses in New York. Vullo demanded that companies sever connections with pro-Second Amendment groups. In many cases the government threats worked to scare off business vendors. A number of banks withdrew banking services while insurance companies decided not to renew liability insurance.

Of course, two can play this anti-free speech game. Tit for tat reprisals are notoriously ugly and damaging. Conservative governors and agencies might unleash their enormous bureaucracies and attorneys to go after the banks and insurance companies that associate with opposing advocacy groups. If this were to happen, all hell would break loose across the political spectrum as society grows more polarized, if that is even possible.

When it comes to keeping the political environment free of censorship, the golden rule of ACLU's legal director David Cole is indispensable: “The First Amendment bars state officials from using their regulatory power to penalize groups merely because they promote disapproved ideas.”

A slippery slope always arises when government decides to weaponize its political arsenal to attack political enemies. And such a chain of related events has the potential to destroy the core values of the First Amendment that could lead to the fascistization of America. But then again, like the censorship transgressions on college campuses, maybe the stifling of free speech is precisely the purpose of Cuomo’s agenda.

Repeal The Gas Tax--Yes on 6

One thing that all libertarians and classical liberals can agree upon is that taxes must be lower, especially in a state that has some of the highest taxes on the planet. Passed last year, the politico in Sacramento made it a automatic tax. That is the tax will automatically go up every year without a vote of taxpayers or the legislators in Sacramento. The tax will continue to go up until the end of time, or unless we repeal it. Their is a Repeal the Gas Tax Rally this Saturday, Aug. 25 in Seaside at the Embassy Suites-- see data below.

YES on 6 – Repeal Gas Tax Rally
Sat, Aug 25, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Embassy Suites by Hilton Monterey Bay, Seaside
1441 Canyon del Rey Blvd, Seaside, CA 93955

You are invited to attend an “organizing meeting” in your area for the YES ON 6 – Gas Tax Repeal Campaign!
By attending this briefing, you will learn why we need to repeal the car and gas tax hikes and how you can help spread the word to other voters so we can win in November. We will discuss campaign strategy, plan upcoming events in your area, identify local elected officials supportive of the YES ON 6 – Gas Tax Repeal, and devise additional projects in your area to get our message out.
The YES ON 6 – Gas Tax Repeal Campaign needs your help, starting with attending this informational and organizing meeting.
Register today at this link – and share with your friends so they register too!

PO Box 27227 San Diego, CA 92198
619-786-8019 – info@reformcalifornia.org

Self-Defense and the Lesson from the Battles of Lexington and Concord

By Lawrence Samuels

We all want to see the killing of innocent people by gun violence stopped. The fatal shooting of 17 high school students in Parkland, Florida was a real tragedy. But although there are many possible solutions to prevent such horrific acts, we must bear in mind the historical significance of gun ownership in America. The reason for the Founders’ emphasis on the right of citizens to possess guns heralds back to the battles at Lexington and Concord. A large contingent of British troops marched into the Massachusetts countryside to confiscate guns, ammunition and even some cannons from the people. The colonists refused to back down, believing that the confiscation of their weapons meant tyranny. This incident provoked the colonists to take up arms against Britain, their own country of origin, motivating them to establish a free nation.

Such liberal concepts are embedded into the American DNA. Many American states still have long-standing laws calling for every able-bodied man to own a gun to defend the country from domestic or foreign threats. This attitude epitomized the view that the people are the army. This anti-militarist concept was a popular American tradition, which prevented our government from establishing a standing army during most of its history. Americans vehemently opposed a standing army under the classical liberal concept that a big state and military was anathema to liberty.

Our nation was conceived in liberty, but unfortunately only 20-30 percent of the world’s population are now considered free. Most nations are plagued with dictators, kings, madmen or pseudo-democracies with rigged elections. Freedom of choice has become a rare commodity under authoritarian and abusive regimes that oppress and slay their own citizenry. Political scientist Rudolph J. Rummel estimated that up to 272 million citizens were killed by their own government (“democide”) during the twentieth century, mostly through state-sponsored famines, genocides, concentration camps, gulags, and extrajudicial executions.

There can be no excuse for killing innocent civilians, but the really horrific numbers for such atrocities are found exclusively in authoritarian nations that disallow people the democratic right to defend themselves with weapons. One of the best examples occurred in Switzerland during World War II.

In 1940 a large German army camped at Switzerland’s doorstep, preparing to invade. The Swiss had no standing army, only a people’s army of reservists. But under their “porcupine approach” to self-defense, millions of citizens in reserve units stiffened to deter foreign invaders. When the National Socialists realized that almost every man in Switzerland was armed and a marksman, they backed off and invaded France, which had a much larger army than the Third Reich. Switzerland is about the only nation in Europe which allows their citizens the right of self-defense.

A determined and self-armed citizenry of 4 million halted the invasion of a Nazi army of more than 4 million soldiers. This is why the second Amendment was put into the Bill of Rights. The right to self-defense, even against your own government, should it become despotic, is why America still retains much of her freedom and prosperity.

Libertarian Party Annual Meeting in Seaside—Wed, Feb. 28, 2018

The Libertarian Party of Monterey County (LPMC) will hold its annual meeting on Wed., Feb. 28 at Round Table Pizza conference room at 1717 Fremont, Seaside, starting at 5:30 PM. We will discuss current and future projects, elect new officers, and choose delegates to attend the California State LP convention in Long Beach (April 27-29) at the Long Beach Marriott (info at: https://ca.lp.org/convention/ ) Open to the public. The LPMC will provide the pizza and drinks at our annual meeting in Seaside.

--Lawrence Samuels, LPMC Chair lawsam1951@hotmail.com

Oppose and Repeal the Gas Tax

The Libertarian Party of California (LPC) has strongly endorsed the various ballot measures to repeal Governor's Brown higher gas taxes and registration fees. It appears that much of the money will not be spent on repairing roads, as advertised, but on the wildly expensive and uneconomical Bullet Train boondoggle. After all, the Bullet Train is a transportation project and government funding is fungible.

Dawn Jones is leading the charge in Monterey County to repeal that Gas Tax. She and others are having an Anti-Gas Tax Rally this Saturday, Feb. 3 at the Valero gas station in Prunedale at 2347 San Miguel Canyon Road, off of Hwy 101 from 9 AM to 12 Noon. Mark Carbonaro has been advertising this event all week on radio KION 1460-AM. Come and protest this high gas tax and registration fee legislation from Sacramento. –Lawrence Samuels Contact: Dawn Jones at djonesygirl222@gmail.com

NOTE: There well be a meeting to oppose this tax Saturday, February 17th at the Pizza Factory (926 S. Main Street in Salinas) at 11:00 am. This will be a planning meeting to fight this tax now and hopefully when it gets on the ballot.

There is another event on Sunday, Feb. 11 from 1 PM to 3:00 PM at the steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento. This is a “Take back California Rally”. If enough folks are interested in going, local organizers will charter a greyhound bus to take protesters from the Prunedale “Park n Ride” right to the Capitol steps. No parking fee, no paying for gas, no driving. Cost will be determined by how many folks are going. Bare minimum is $52.00 but I’m sure that will go down as people sign up.

Topsy-turvy politics on display with tax bill

NOTE: In my letter to the editor I should also have pointed out that since Democrats now oppose higher taxes for people with expensive real estate, they are in essence opposing income equality. They have apparently stopped their campaign to increase taxes on the rich. But I thought progressives were all about taxing the wealthy until everyone reaches wealth parity! So why aren’t they shouting from rooftops to make the “rich pay their fair share?” Why are they opposing higher taxes on those who can afford it? Hypocrisy? Maybe they only oppose higher taxes for the progressive rich; the rest be dammed.

Letter to editor: published in the Monterey Herald, Jan. 10, 2018

The response to the GOP 2017 tax bill was bizarre. Nancy Pelosi complained that under the tax bill, 80 percent of the public would have higher tax bills. But for decades Democrats have championed higher taxes!

Democratic governors expressed anger over citizens’ paying higher taxes on expensive properties if the deductions on property tax and mortgage interest were abolished. But wait, shouldn’t they have cheered the prospect of higher taxes? Doesn’t government need more revenues? What’s up?

One of the craziest statements made during the House floor vote when Pelosi said that the supposedly higher taxation in the bill was “brazen theft from the American middle class.” Was Pelosi suggesting that “taxation is theft?” Maybe the Founders thought that, but a tax and spendaholic from San Francisco?

As for the Republicans, they said they wanted tax cuts. That’s fine, but to keep deficits down, one of their pet issues, they would have to also cut spending. But they made no attempt to cut spending!

Ever since Trump’s election, the normal world of politics has gone simply topsy-turvy. Lawrence Samuels

The Dangers of Stealing Private Property

By Lawrence Samuels

There have been calls in the Monterey Peninsula community for a detailed financial study of the Cal Am public buyout. Such a study will unequivocally prove that a forced buyout would be extremely expensive to consumers. That is a given. It will take a billion or so to buy Cal Am and maybe another 2 to 3 billion dollars to service the 30-year loan, culminating in sky-high water rates and property taxes. But while such a study would be fruitful, it should be a secondary concern to the public. The primary danger of eminent domain is the bad consequences for a liberal society built on choice and liberty.

The seizure of private property not only gives eminent domain the illusion of being moral and legal, but that government takeovers can be extended to any private asset for any reason. Such unfettered authority conveys a carte blanche for potentially anything private; even to deny the self-ownership of people as if we still lived under feudalism. The stealing of property from an individual or group gives the impression that such criminal activity is somehow constitutional. But historically, this was never the case.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution provided a clause to prohibit expropriating property without compensation. At the time, the “Public Use” clause dealt only with roadways, since there were no government-owned and operated schools, hospitals or other facilities in 1700s America. Most roadways were private easements that allowed public travel, but were poorly maintained and rarely upgraded. Most Americans willingly donated or sold road easements to government agencies in order to have them assume financial responsibility for maintaining and repairing thoroughfares. Nonetheless, eminent domain powers were rarely carried out since the public considered such actions a violation of property rights.

But then came the 20th century which ushered in a radical change in attitudes towards the power of the state. The Founders’ anti-state sentiment was replaced with the concept that any politician or government could be trusted to do good works. Many Americans no longer saw government as an evil force just waiting to pounce upon unsuspecting people with despotic ambitions. No, it was now believed that the tyrannical traits of government could be reformed and domesticated, even made benign. It became fashionable to believe that the state could be easily defanged and neutralized by intellectual persuasion. In this environment, the political elite would be trained not to harm a fly. Of course, history proved them terribly wrong.

Europe was first to experience the fully protruding claw of totalitarian regimes, exposing the folly of misjudging the true horrific nature of political institutions. With the rise of ideological armies and dictatorships during and after World War I, collectivism, socialism and violence took classical liberal and monarchic governments by storm. Europeans experienced firsthand the savage and genocidal temperament of unfettered governments as they barreled over property rights, pillaged the public trust, and confiscated assets from individuals and companies without any thought of compensation. The greatest admirers of state-sanctioned kleptomania were revolutionary socialists, fascist syndicalists and national socialists who favored a hodgepodge of ideologies that espoused racism, nationalism, classism, tribalism, anti-Semitism, and statism, all in opposition to the John Lockean concept of individual rights.

These European collectivists were extremely hostile to private property, liberal capitalism, and individualism, and wanted to concentrate political power for social justice ends. Mussolini, a former Marxist, declared that Fascist Italy would “impose social order” on society. Not to be outdone, Hitler, in a speech to factory workers, promised to create a “socially just state.” And to achieve their particular ideological determinism, they were willing to confiscate the property of racial minorities, outcasts, opponents, and almost anybody else, eager to redistribute the plundered spoils. For instance, by 1943 the Third Reich had taken ownership of 500 companies in key industries, along with more property seizures in conquered nations. These ideologues were so determined to seize private companies and create new government ones that Albert Speer, Reich Minister of Armaments and War Production, worried that “a kind of state socialism seemed to be gaining more and more ground” in National Socialist Germany. In the case of Fascist Italy, Mussolini he went hog-wild with nationalizing the greater part of his economy, boasting in 1934 that “Three-fourths of Italian economy, industrial and agricultural, is in the hands of the state.”

A number of German Industrialists were extorted, threatened or imprisoned, such as Fritz Thyssen, who, after criticizing the invasion of Poland in 1939, was stripped of his political privileges. His company, the United Steelworks (Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG) with over 200,000 employees, was nationalized. He had to flee to France, but was captured by the Gestapo and sent to Dachau Concentration Camp.

The Founders were wise to oppose government ownership, wishing to avoid the type of harsh authority that monarchies mercilessly wielded on their subjects. In England, for example, the King claimed ownership of all land and people, far and wide, and if a starving peasant killed a deer in the forest, he would be hung if caught. The Founders hated such practices so much that they put into place policies to give Americans and immigrants free land across the entire continent.

Eminent domain is a horrendous injustice. Dubbed “Negro Removal” during 1950-60s by the black community, eminent domain seizures can only lead to greater losses of liberty. Why not just let Cal Am decide if they want to sell their water company? What’s wrong with choice? Why put a threatening sword over a company’s head? Why expropriate private property like the German National Socialists, Italian Fascists and Russian Soviets? Such confiscatory policies are not American, but actually an authoritarian type of “ism” that should be foreign to every American.

Also Take Down the Founders of the Racist Confederacy

I sent the letter-to-the-editor below some time ago to the local newspaper, but so far it has not been published.

I agree with the removal of Confederate statues that Southern authorities have now regarded as offensive. However, we are missing a vital part of this story. We are forgetting about the offensive extremists who established the Confederacy, initiated a bloody war to preserve slavery, and then erected monuments to commemorate their crime:—the Democratic Party.

The first Democratic President, Andrew Jackson and his vice presidential sidekick John C. Calhoun, praised slavery as a “positive” institution that had supposedly graced the halls of great civilizations, instead of regarding slavery, like the Founders, as an “evil” that must one day be abolished.

The Democratic Party was culpable in institutionalizing slavery, racism, white supremacy, Ku Klux Klan, segregation and Jim Crow laws. But this is not ancient history. In 2010, Hillary Clinton lavished praise on her old comrade Senator Robert C. Byrd, a recruiter for the KKK who led a filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. She referred to Byrd as “my friend and mentor.”

Isn’t it time to expose and take down the political party responsible for establishing the Confederacy and its racist legacy, instead of just a few bronze statues?

Assessing blame for water price

Published in the Monterey Herald – July 31, 2017

Assessing blame for water price

By Lawrence Samuels

Special to the Herald

      A report from the Food and Water Watch has Cal Am water rates as the most expensive in the nation. Maybe. But who is really responsible for the high rates?

      The story began with a 1995 proposed dam in upper Carmel Valley. The dam would have been the lowest-cost alternative since the fresh water is already free, naturally. Moreover, the dam would let the river flow during the dry summer months to accommodate the steelhead salmon, red-legged frog and other important species. Easy peezy. But no, the radical environmentalists said that a desalt plant would be better, although far more expensive. The dam was voted down. The cost of water seemed to be unimportant.

     When the dam was no longer politically viable, the radical environmentalists changed their tune. No, the desalt plant would not do. As for the temporary government agency—the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD), explicitly organized to resolve our water problems—they seemed impotent to do much of anything. After spending around $100 to $150 million dollars to find a new water source, there was little to show. In fact, the taxpayers’ money spent by MPWMD would have provided the lion’s share of the funds to build a dam. Ironic.

     Other alternatives to provide water got the attention of Clint Eastwood, who offered to donate a large parcel of land for a reservoir near Carmel River in early 1990, a project called the Cañada Reservoir Project, which most people wholeheartedly supported. That is, almost everyone except the MPWMD that had elected a number of radical environmentalists who opposed the lower-costing water gift. The project died. Apparently, cost was again no object.

     It took the local city mayors’ Monterey Regional Water Authority to get a desalt plant off the ground after almost 25 years of do-nothing. But here again, the radical environmentalists sued, obstructed, and delayed in every possible way to stop the desalt plant. This pattern only increased water rates. And even if Cal Am had been a public entity, the water rates would be still be high, since the State’s court order forced the water provider to get customers to use less water, thereby making the production of water more expensive per gallon.

     So, what is the game plan of the radical environmentalists? We know they don’t like water because it might inspire some growth, despite the harsh restrictions against building anything in Monterey County. Maybe they simply want to show their political muscles by actually stealing the water company before they eminent-domain whole neighborhoods into wildlands, returning Monterey to its pre-Columbian days. But that would bring up another problem; water would be fairly cheap then, and the make-water-expensive crowd could never allow that.

     Lawrence Samuels is author of the 2013 book, “In Defense of Chaos: The Chaology of Politics, Economics and Human Action.” He lives in Carmel Valley.

Using eminent domain against Cal Am is like stealing

Published in the Monterey Herald, June 29, 2017

Guest Commentary

Using eminent domain against Cal Am is like stealing

By Lawrence Samuels

In an effort to expand the government sector, Public Water Now not only advocates a buyout of California American Water, but if the water company refuses to sell, an expropriation of their business. This ideology of stealing has an ugly history that few people today would publicly support.

The story begins with Willian Lloyd Garrison, leader of the American Abolitionist movement that eventually led to the demise of slavery. Garrison was famous for labeling slavery “manstealing,” a word that connected enslaved labor with a type of stealing. At the time, most Americans saw stealing as morally wrong, so Garrison’s association of slavery with stealing was a powerful argument against the theft of a man’s time, life and assets. So, in this sense, the ballot measure proposed by the pro-eminent domain ideologues to forcibly seize Cal Am, is reminiscent of antebellum slavery.

Garrison was also a proponent of “self-ownership,” meaning that people owned themselves and therefore cannot be stolen and enslaved. He worried that if government itself attained the authority to legally steal, it could take anything by force. Government law had already given private citizens that power, but if government itself engaged in such authority, to legally steal people and their belongings, another kind of enslavement would rise. John Locke had earlier addressed this issue, warning that without private property rights the individual had no rights whatsoever.

There were numerous ideologies in the 20th century that opposed classical liberalism by promoting stealing in the name of community good; plundering nations and minorities. In fact, these collectivists from the 1920s-1940s believed that the state could take anything from anybody, even their labor. One such social justice militant in 1920 Germany demanded the “nationalization of trusts” (corporations) and “the common good before the individual good.”

Of course, the pro-stealing cohorts don’t like being victims of stealing themselves. They would rather be the stealer, not the stealee. So, to avert this dilemma, they seek political dominance with the muscle to impose their brand of utopia upon society.

Nonetheless, one could argue that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander? If stealing becomes acceptable, should we eminent domain Public Water Now supporters, confiscate their homes and bank accounts for the common good, bulldoze their buildings for public parks? Wouldn’t this be the appropriate karma?

But alas, this scenario would lead to a kleptomaniac society where nobody owned anything and the bigger the brute the greater his violent plunder. Fortunately, America was founded on the idea of equal treatment for everyone, which would include the owners of Cal Am. That should be the focus of Public Water Now, not its political demand to steal from others.

Lawrence Samuels is author of the 2013 book, “In Defense of Chaos: The Chaology of Politics, Economics and Human Action.” He lives in Carmel Valley.