The Real Target on January 6, 2021:The Constitution of the United States

On January 6, 2021, supporters of former President Donald J Trump engaged in an orgy of violence on the steps of the Capitol building, at the entrances to the Capitol building, and inside the Capitol building. But we know that the building was not the target, just collateral damage.

If you watched the news on January 6, on the following days, news specials about January 6, or the videos shown at the hearings of the January 6 Committee of the House of Representatives, you saw the Capitol building under attack. You also saw Capitol Police being physically attacked by Trump supporters. Prosecutors and police unions report that 91 Capitol Police officers were injured by pro-Trump rioters, along with 65 DC Police officers. Reports indicate officers were pushed down stairs, trampled by rioters, punched and run over in the stampede. Several officers died that day or after, from physical or psychological wounds sustained at the hands of Trump supporters. But police officers were not the target.

Capitol Police saw the threat to members of Congress, and moved members, including House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, other Republican members and the Democrat leaders and members. Senators and Representatives were moved to secure rooms in the Capitol, as at least one heroic Capitol Police officer teased rioters into following him as he moved away from where the members of Congress were taken.

Trump supporters shouted threats to members of Congress, announced their intention to kill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and acted with the intent of intimidating Congress into refusing to certify the election of President Joseph Biden. The Congress of the United States, the most representative branch of the government, would appear to be the proximate targets of the Trump supporters who stormed the capitol.

Peaceful Transfer of Power

In 1797, the first President of the United States, George Washington, left the White House and returned to his plantation and distillery in Mount Vernon. After two terms, one more than he wanted to serve, he retired as the Chief Executive of the new federal government. He set a precedent for the peaceful transfer of power that has been the cornerstone of the American Republic since then, unbroken up through and including 2017, when President Barack Obama left office and Donald J Trump took an Oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

This peaceful transfer of power is known as “rotation in office.” When President Washington left office and turned the power over to John Adams, it was unusual in the world of its time. So unusual, that many in Europe who heard the news of the peaceful transfer of power, did not believe it. The writers of the U.S. Constitution expected it, and after Washington observed the new convention, every President who had served out his term, respected the Constitutional mandate to leave office, and allow his elected successor to take the oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Every President who lost an election, surrendered the office, as required by the Constitution, until January 6, 2021.

The Real Target: The Constitution of the United States

When it was adopted in 1787, the Constitution of the United States provided for a government of limited powers. Article 1, Section 1 sets out the powers of the Congress of the United States, and the means of electing Congress. The Congress of the United States exists only because of The Constitution of the United States.

The same Constitution sets out the powers and responsibilities of The President of the United States, and instructs us on how The President shall be elected: Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof shall direct, a number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in Congress

By the end of the Civil War, each state had adopted a law providing that Electors would be chosen by direct popular vote. As early as 1832, every state except South Carolina had provided for a direct vote for electors. This history undermines the demand on election night 2020 by Mark Levin that Republican controlled legislatures appoint electors in states where the popular vote went for Biden. Still, the suggestion by Mark Levin indicates he understood that those states did cast their popular vote for Biden, not Trump.

The Constitution – the 12th Amendment – provides that the electors of each state shall meet in their state to cast votes for President and Vice-President, with the votes to transmitted sealed to the President of the Senate, who shall count the votes in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives. On January 6, Vice-President Pence began to count the votes, and in a Constitutional but unprecedented manner, objections were laid to the electoral votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania. In both cases Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas joined with several Representatives to lodge objections, and the Congress adjourned to consider the objections.

Even as Trump supporters in Congress worked to prevent certification of the election that Donald Trump lost, Trump supporters outside Congress undertook an assault, targeting all the members of Congress, including the Trump supporters. The certification of the electoral vote count was mandated by The Constitution, and the right to make objections was legal under the term of the Electoral Count Act. The attack on Congress was an attack on The Constitution of the United States – plain and simple.

The Evidence and the Proof

The physical destruction of parts of the Capitol Building, the broken glass, the smashed in doors, the nearly 160 injured Capitol Police and DC Police, and the deaths of several officers – these were the evidence for and the proof of the attack on The Constitution of the United States.

Not so long ago, Republicans and conservatives claimed to be defenders of the Constitution. The President of the United States, and the Trump supporters in Congress all took an Oath to “preserve, protect and defend The Constitution of the United States. President Trump violated his Oath many times, most publicly on January 6. Those members of Congress who have defended the attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters have also violated their Oath, and shown how empty are their claims to be defenders of The Constitution .

Let us treat Donald Trump and the Trump supporters in Congress with the same respect they have shown America’s founding Document, The Constitution of the United States.

(by Gene Berkman, Editor, California Libertarian Report)

Taiwan: the First Chinese Republic

Rep. Nancy Pelosi has received criticism from Republicans, Democrats and others for visiting Taiwan. Some have mentioned the insult to China. More thougtful critics have suggested her trip would cause more trouble for Taiwan, by waving a “red flag” at China.(Irony unintentional)

I want to commend the Speaker for including Taiwan in her Asia trip. She visited a number of countries in Asia; Taiwan is a trading partner with the USA, a source of immigrants, and a vacation spot for Americans, so a visit by a member of the US Congress is appropriate for maintaining friendly relations with a true friend of America.

It is true that the US no longer maintains formal diplomatic relations with the government that rules Taiwan. But everyone recognizes that Taiwan exists. Even the People’s Republic of China, which benefits from billions of dollars in direct investment by Taiwan companies, and which actively trades with Taiwan, recognizes that Taiwan exists.

Taiwan has survived many jolts in the past 51 years. It has survived President Richard Nixon’s trip to Beijing, and his friendliness with Mao Zedong. Taiwan has survived the diplomatic recognition of the PRC by the administration of President Jimmy Carter.

Taiwan has survived the overtures toward an alliance with the PRC by President Reagan’s Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Taiwan has survived the elevation by President George H W Bush of the People’s Republic to an equal member of the New World Order.

Taiwan has survived the rush by American and European countries to invest in mainland China. This rush was motivated by the low wage level in People’s China after decades of Communist rule. And Taiwan has survived as the People’s Republic has annexed and come to dominate Hong Kong and Macao.

The Taiwan Miracle

In normal terms, “Taiwan Miracle” refers to the Taiwan Economic Miracle, a period of rapid economic growth at the beginning of the 1960s. Taiwan grew rapidly alongside Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea, the 4 countries referred to as the “Asian Tigers.”

Taiwan has other miracles. Its economic strength provided the basis for the miracle of Taiwan’s survival, referred to above. And the other Taiwan miracle is the implementation of competitive democratic elections in the 1980s and 1990s, ending the one-party rule of the mainland refugees in the Kuomintang.

They Called Themselves Republics

China has proclaimed itself a republic twice. In 1911, when Kuomintang (KMT) – the National People’s Party, took power, it proclaimed the Republic of China and adopted a Constitution providing for a President and a National Congress to be indirectly elected. Democratic as the Constitution appeared, the reality was that from 1911 to 1949, China was under the one party rule of the KMT, with opposition groups harassed and oppressed.

From 1921 to 1927, the Communist Party collaborated with the Kuomintang, with Communists welcomed into the membership ranks of the KMT. The KMT was a full affiliate of the Communist International; Chiang Kai-Shek represented the KMT on the Executive Committee of the Communist International.

After the suppression of Communists and labor unionists in Shanghai in 1927, the Communist Party went into opposition, eventually engaging in violent revolutionary insurrection against the KMT regime. After a brief United Front of the two parties in opposition to the Japanese invasion, the civil war resumed in 1946, with the Communist Party taking power in 1949.

The Communist Party shot its way into power, as the KMT attempted to defend its power with its own guns. The People’s Republic of China, allied with the USSR, was established by violence, not democratic elections. Since taking power in 1949, The Communist Party of China has never allowed legal opposition, and illegal dissent has been ruthlessly suppressed. So neither Chinese Republic really qualifies as such under the American understanding.

Republic of Singapore

There is another Chinese polity that claims to be a Republic. Since 1965, the island based city-state Singapore has been independent as the Republic of Singapore. Even before independence, Singapore had a ruling party. The People’s Action Party has ruled continuously since the establishment of home rule for the Singapore colony in 1959. Since Independence the PAP has dominated the legislature with overwhelming majorities, and the President has always been a member of the PAP.

The policies of the PAP which have promoted economic growth through a regulated market economy are popular with many people. The PAP control of the government has given it control of Singapore’s media, either through direct government ownership (in violation of the market economy) or very active censorship of the media.

Opposition parties have been subject to (non-violent) harassment by supporters of the PAP. In several cases, opposition candidates who have won elections have been subject to post-election harassment, even arrest. There has never been rotation in office in Singapore, peaceful or otherwise.

The First Chinese Republic

In the 1980s, after decades of rule by the Kuomintang, run by mainland exiles, several leaders of Taiwan undertook a transition to democracy.

After the death of Chiang Kai-shek in 1975, his son Chiang Ching-kuo became Chair of the Kuomintang in Taiwan. He began reforms in the 1980s to allow more civil liberties and the beginning of democratic participation in the government by the Taiwanese people.

While the KMT remained dominant during the Presidency of Chiang Ching-kuo, the Democratic Progressive Party continued to grow, with less harassment by authorities. The DPP, composed of Taiwan natives, advocated a clear statement of Taiwan independence, while the KMT continued to claim to be part of China; it continued to claim, in a pro-forma way, that it was the legitimate authority in the mainland.

Chiang Ching-kuo picked Lee Teng-hui as his Vice-President and successor in 1984, and Lee was elected by the Congress to the post. Lee Teng-hui was born in Taiwan during the Japanese occupation, and was fluent in Japanese, as well as the Hokkien dialect spoken by 70% of the population of Taiwan. He became the first native born Taiwanese to be elected Vice-President.

On December 25, 1985, Chiang Ching-kuo spoke on Constitution Day about the Presidential succession: The first question is the succession to the presidency. This sort of question only exists in despotic and totalitarian countries. It does not exist in the Republic of China, based on the Constitution. So the next President will be elected in accordance with constitutional procedure by the National Assembly on behalf of the people.

After the death of Chiang Ching-kuo in 1988, the Congress of the Republic of China elected Lee Teng-hui President of the ROC. The first Taiwan-born President, he prepared the way for a multi-party system. He was the last President of the ROC chosen by Congress, and in May 1991. President Lee headed a drive to eliminate the emergency laws adopted by the KMT to deal with the Communist Menace – laws which had been abused to maintain a KMT monopoly of power.

In 1996 Taiwan held direct elections for the first time. Seeing that this would strengthen Taiwan by increasing the loyalty of the population toward the ROC, military forces of the PRC conducted missile tests in the waters surrounding Taiwan, and other military exercizes off the coast of Fujian province. In 1996, Lee Teng-hui became the first President directly elected by the people of Taiwan.

Rotation in Office

President Lee supported the Taiwanese Localization Movement, which emphasized Taiwanese identity, in contrast to the China-centric doctrines promoted in Taiwan by Chiang Kai-shek. This, and further political liberalization, prepared the way for the elections of 2000, which were unprecedented in any Chinese polity.

The Democratic Progressive Party had been formed in 1986, a year before the end of martial law. President Chiang Ching-kuo did not suppress it, and it grew based on its appeals to the Taiwanese people. After legalization, it affiliated with the Liberal International, and developed a platform defending civil liberties and the independence of Taiwan.

In 2000,Chen Shui-bien, candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party was elected President, with a plurality vote in a three way race. Then the miracle: the incumbent President affiliated with the KMT, left office and let the newly elected Chen Shui-bien take office as President. This was the first time in Chinese history that a Chinese polity experienced peaceful rotation in office. Since 2000, every election in Taiwan has been accompanied by a peaceful rotation in office, as incumbents surrender their power to those elected to succeed them.

An American Principle

Rotation in office is a fundamental principle of the American republic, enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. It is true that until the accession of Caesar to leadership of the Roman Republic, Rome had elections for Consul, and when new Consuls were elected, they peacefully took office. After the end of the Roman Republic, it would be nearly two millenia before any European country had a peaceful rotation in office.

In America, the first President, George Washington was ready to retire after one term, but gave in to demands that he accept a second term in office. At the end of his second term, in 1797, Washington retired to Mount Vernon, and devoted his time to his plantation, his distillery, and other business interests. In retiring from office, George Washington proved the strength of the new Republic and its Constitution, and set the precedent for peaceful rotation in office, a precedent unbroken until the events of January 6, 2021.

As America faces a threat to its Constitution and its Republic from the forces loyal to former President Donald J Trump, those of us who defend the Republic need allies and friends. What better friend to our Republic than the first Chinese polity to move beyond the Chinese history of one-party rule, the first Chinese polity to institutionalize rotation in office?

Long Live Free Taiwan! And, we can hope, Long Live Freedom and a Free America!

(by Gene Berkman, Editor, California Libertarian Report)

Kansas Voters Defend Freedom

In the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade and ending Constitutional protections for abortion rights, conservative politicians in many states have moved to pass laws prohibiting abortion within their states. In some states, legislatures passed “trigger laws” before the Court ruling – laws that would go into effect if the Court ruled to end Roe v Wade.

In other states, legislators moved right after the ruling in Dobbs to pass new laws against abortion. And in some states conservatives relied on laws passed before Roe v Wade, but never repealed, which were then invoked.

In Kansas Republican politicians took a more extreme step. They qualified a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would declare that the Kansas Constitution does not guarantee a right to abortion, given the state government the power to prosecute individuals involved in abortion, and stated that the Kansas government is not required to fund abortions.

In 2019 the Kansas Supreme Court had ruled that the state Constitution protected a woman’s access to abortion. The Kansas Bill of Rights states that “all men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights.” The Court ruled that this clause includes “a woman’s right to make decisions about her body.”

In response the legislature voted to put the amendment – titled “Value Them Both” on the state ballot. The proposition was scheduled for a vote during the state-wide primary election, August 2, 2022. It was believed that some hot contests in the Republican primary would bring out many conservative voters; with few contested Democrat primaries, it was believed that turnout by moderate and liberal voters would be lower. It was also believed that non-affiliated voters – the largest part of the Kansas electorate – would not vote because they could not vote in candidate contests in the primary.

The Value Them Both amendment was backed by Catholic dioceses throughout Kansas, protestant evangelical groups, along with numerous opportunistic Republican politicians. Kansans for Constitutional Freedom (Kansansforfreedom.com) was organized as a nonpartisan coalition to oppose the amendment.

The Kansas Libertarian Party also supported a “No” vote on Value Them Both. https://lpks.org/2022/06/30/bodily-autonomy-resolution/

And Kansas Libertarians were active in the campaign https://lpks.org/2022/07/15/803/

In putting the proposed amenment on the ballot, the legislature clearly explained what the effect would be if Kansas voters rejected the amendment. The statement at the end of the ballot paper explained:”A vote against the Value Them Both Amendment would make no change in the Constitution of the state of Kansas, and could restrict the people, through their elected state legislators, from regulating abortion by leaving in place the recently recognized right to abortion.”

On August 2, polling places found themselves jammed with voters, including large numbers of non-affiliated voters who turned out just to vote against the anti-abortion amendment. In the first public vote on the abortion issue since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the amendment to end abortion rights in Kansas went down to defeat.

It is clear that there was a large turnout in the Republican primary. More than 451,000 votes were cast in the Republican primary for Governor; the Democrat primary for Governor only saw 276,000 votes. In the Senate primary, Republican candidates received more than 464,000 votes; Democrat Senate candidates could only pull 226,000 votes. It would seem that the strategy of the anti-abortion conservatives should have succeeded, but it didn’t.

Not reflected in the votes for candidates in the partisan primary, large numbers of unaffiliated voters turned out, a clear majority of them to vote No on the Amendment. It would also appear that there were Republicans who still oppose government overreach. With current numbers, the Value Them Both Amendment is losing with 58% of voters voting NO.

The campaign against the Amendment was explicitly libertarian. The Los Angeles Times quotes Rachel Sweet, the campaign manager for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom:“Kansans across the political spectrum believe in personal liberty and freedom,” she said. “They understand that we must protect our constitutional rights and freedom to make private medical decisions, including those about abortion.”
https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-08-04/how-abortion-rights-were-won-in-conservative-kansas

The Times also mentions “In one ad, Kansans for Constitutional Freedom framed the measure as a “strict government mandate designed to interfere with private medical decisions,” and showed images that linked abortion restrictions to vaccine and mask mandates.”

In conservative Kansas, more people voted NO on the Value Them Both Amendment than voted for any Republican candidate in a contested primary. With 98% of votes counted, Derek Schmidt, victor in the Republican primary for Governor, has received 365,031 votes. With 98.2% counted, Jerry Moran won the Republican primary for US Senate with 374,994 votes (and counting). With 97.3% of votes tallied, 538,847 NO votes have been counted on the Value Them Both Amendment. A message to Republicans – in traditionally Republican Kansas, Abortion Rights are more popular than any Republican candidate.

A message to The Libertarian National Committee: in the first vote on Abortion Rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the Libertarian message of personal freedom won an outstanding victory, with the support of Kansas Libertarians. Do you yet have any second thoughts about what you are doing to the Party of Liberty?

(By Gene Berkman, Editor, California Libertarian Report)

Libertarian National Committee to Meet, July 3

The Libertarian National Committee will hold a zoom meeting on July 3, 2022. This will be the first meeting of the new Libertarian National Committee since the close of the Libertarian National Convention. More information on the meeting is available @ https://groups.google.com/a/lp.org/g/lnc-business/c/dU3V1LoI7QI

At the Libertarian National Convention, the new chair Angela McArdle promised that the LP would be bold in defending liberty. She promises that the Libertarian Party would not embarrass libertarians.

Now Ms McArdle has a chance to make good on those promises. The Supreme Court has just overturned Roe v Wade, allowing state governments to regulate or prohibit abortions for women who want to have them. For 50 years the Libertarian Party has been explicit in its support for a woman’s right to control her own body, including the right to terminate a pregnancy.

Prominent defenders of liberty have long supported a woman’s right to choose. Ayn Rand has spoken out and written against restrictions on abortion and birth control. Sen. Barry Goldwater stated his own belief that abortion should be legal. n 1967 Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the first law that protected a woman’s right to abortion. In his essay in the June 1971 issue of Libertarian Forum on “How to Destatize,” Dr Murray Rothbard pointed to the campaign to legalize abortion in New York as an example of how to cut state power.

Now is the time for The Libertarian Party to stand with those who defend a woman’s right to freedom and body autonomy. The recent national convention adopted a plank on body autonomy, denouncing government rules on what Americans can do with their own body. We can hope that the LNC, inspired by the new plank, will adopt a strong statement in support of a woman’s right to choose, and a strong stand againsts thoses states – and those statists – who would control people’s bodies through violent coercion.

Don’t embarrass us, Angela!

Alito’s Abortion Ruling Overturning Roe Is an Insult to the 9th Amendment

At the heart of Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturns Roe v. Wade (1973) and eliminates the constitutional right to abortion, is Alito’s objection that “the Constitution makes no mention of abortion.” For Alito and the many legal conservatives who think like him, unenumerated constitutional rights are inherently suspect. When a court recognizes an unenumerated right, these conservatives say, that court is almost certainly guilty of judicial activism.

But this conservative mindset is at odds with constitutional text and history, both of which make clear that unenumerated rights are entitled to the same respect as the small handful of rights that the Constitution specifically lists.

Remember that when the Constitution was first ratified, it did not yet contain its famous first 10 amendments, otherwise known as the Bill of Rights. Those amendments arrived a few years later. They were added in response to the fierce criticism leveled against the Constitution by the Anti-Federalists, who opposed ratification on several grounds, one of which was that the document lacked a bill of rights, and therefore, in their view, left a number of key rights unprotected (because unmentioned).

The Federalists, who labored on behalf of the Constitution’s ratification, rejected this argument. Why? Because, explained James Wilson, one of the leading figures at the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention, “if we attempt an enumeration, everything that is not enumerated is presumed to be given.” And the consequence of that, Wilson told the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention, “is, that an imperfect enumeration would throw all implied power into the scale of the government; and the rights of the people would be rendered incomplete.”

Full commentary by Damon Root @ Reason https://reason.com/2022/06/24/alitos-abortion-ruling-overturning-roe-is-an-insult-to-the-9th-amendment/

Ominous Parallels – Iraq & Ukraine

by Gene Berkman

On February 24, 2022, under orders from President Vladimir Putin, Russian military forces undertook a violent invasion of independent Ukraine.

Another invasion. More people killed. There are lots of parallels with many previous invasions. Many times over many years, many countries have violently invaded their neighbors, or even countries far removed. Still some specific parallels come to mind.

In 2003, US military forces undertook a violent attack on Iraq, based on claims that the Hussein regime had or was developing atomic, chemical or biological weapons. Iraq, they claimed, posed a future threat to the US, despite no evidence of Iraqi nukes or poison gas.

To head off a future threat, President Bush announced a preemptive military strike on Iraq, called an “operation” not a war. Yet the announced goal of the “operation” went beyond disarmament. The goal was regime change.

When President Putin announced the Russian “operation” in Ukraine, the stated reasons include a charge that Ukraine might in the future join NATO – a move Putin considered a threat. To deal with this threat – still much in the future – Putin ordered a preemptive strike.

The US preemptive strike on Iraq began with a barrage of Tomahawk missiles and thousands of precision guided weapons. The Russian preemptive strike has relied on barrages of rockets that lack precision guidance. These Soviet era weapons cannot be precisely targeted, and some have blamed this lack of guidance for the many hits on civilian targets. Still, so many civilian targets have been hit by Russian rockets and artillery that such targeting cannot be dismissed as accidental.

Claiming that hits on hospitals or neighborhoods are “accidental” is no defense. If the actions of the Russians consistently result in new civilian casualties, the Russians are morally obligated to stop their murderous activity. If you accidentally kill someone because your car has faulty brakes, you don’t get to keep driving the faulty car. They do take your drivers license away from you.

Of course there is no license to kill civilians. It was wrong when the US military used precision guided weapons to destroy neighborhoods. It is wrong when the Russian military makes attacks on civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure the main tactic of its invasion.

Russian forces have targeted civilians in past military actions – in Ukraine, in Georgia, in Chechnya, in Afghanistan and in Syria. In Russian military strategy, killing civilians is a feature, not a bug.

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION

The US government sent teams of inspectors to many parts of Iraq from 2003 to 2005, searching for weapons of mass destruction, or programs to develop WMD. No nukes were found. No chemical weapons were found – just fertilizer and pesticides.

When Russia began its invasion on February 24, WMD were not mentioned. When Ukraine gained independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union, there were Soviet missiles located at bases in Ukraine. These missiles were believed to have nuclear warheads. Ukraine contacted international agencies and asked to have the nuclear tipped missiles removed from its territory. The missiles were returned to Russia, the successor state of the USSR.

The USA and Russia agreed to guarantee the security of Ukraine. Russia is clearly in violation of that agreeement.

Ukraine is the only country that has had possession of nuclear weapons and given them up. The only country to implement nuclear disarmament.

Putin and the Russian general staff know that Ukraine does not possess nuclear weapons. So they felt safe invading with superior conventional forces. President Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld all knew that Iraq did not possess nukes -or poison gas. They felt an invasion – excuse me, an “operation” in Iraq with superior conventional forces would prevail.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its third week, mass popular resistance continues against Russian forces. Russian attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure have increased as the Russian advance has stalled. And now, the Russian foreign minister and other Russian spokesmen have made claims about WMD in Ukraine. They claim that Ukraine has petitioned international authorities for permission to weaponize plutonium produced in its nuclear power plants. No Russian spokesman has presented evidence to support this claim.

Russian spokesmen have also made claims that Ukraine has a research program for developing biological weapons. It does appear that Ukraine is engaging in medical research on viruses – as many institutes throughout the world are. There is no evidence that Ukraine has developed or is developing biological or chemical weapons, or has any program to do so. Russia’s claims are war propaganda, intended to convince the rest of the world that Russia’s brutal incursion in Ukraine is justified.

Russia does have nuclear weapons, and Putin has made statements that imply a willingness to use them. He has threatened any country that would help Ukraine defend itself. Putin has repeated his threats on more than one occasion in recent weeks. The USA has had nuclear weapons since 1945, and used them on Japan. The USA did not make threats to use nuclear weapons in Iraq, in Yugoslavia or in Afghanistan, so that parallel breaks down.

Russia has chemical weapons, which it has used against Chechen rebels, and in Syria against opponents of the Assad regime. The USA does appear to have chemical weapons, which many Americans oppose. The US military has not used chemical weapons in any conflict since World War II.

PEOPLES WAR IN FINLAND AND UKRAINE

In other specifics, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has different parallels. The resistances of the Ukrainian people has prevented a Russian victory for 3 weeks. The people’s war carried on by Ukraine has parallels to Finland’s defiance of Soviet Russia in 1940. Finland too faced long odds, going against the Soviet Red Army which was bigger and had many tanks, more artillery and more planes than did Finland. In 3 months, the Finns convinced Stalin he should end his intervention. Stalin relied on the intimidating power of Russian military strength to force Finland to give up its independent foreign policy, which seems to be the most minimal of Putin’s goals for Ukraine.

The Finns put on a mighty struggle against a stronger power, and did better than anyone expected. Ukraine has advantages that Finland did not have:

(1) International sanctions on Russian state enterprises and state banks, along with voluntary boycotts and withdrawal from the Russian market by numerous American and European companies.

(2) Other countries are providing defensive weapons to Ukraine. When American B-52s were raining destruction on Hanoi and the countryside of Vietnam – north & south – the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was able to obtain surface to air missiles from East Europe, to defend itself from bombardment. Now Ukraine is being supplied with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to enable its defense against air attack, and with Javelin anti-tank missiles to deal with Russian armor.

(3) Ukraine has something going for it that Finland also had -the Russian army is dispirited, soldiers are badly treated by their government, and they are equipped with inferior Russian made equipment.

It is clear that Russia cannot conquer Ukraine, cannot impose a new state on the people of Ukraine. The main question is how many innocent Ukrainians will die, how many Russian conscripts will die in a war they don’t understand, and how much of Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure will be destroyed by the invading Russian army.

The related question: how many Americans who claim to oppose war will jettison the non-aggression principle to become defenders of and apologists for Putin’s War of Choice?

(By Gene Berkman, Editor, California Libertarian Report)

LPC Chair:Recall Not Just for Republicans

Mimi Robson, Chair of the Libertarian Party of California, published this commentary in the Orange County Register:

At the end of last month I was asked to write a declaration to be used in a lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Secretary of State Shirley Weber by the proponents of the Recall Newsom effort.

This lawsuit was regarding the inclusion of governor’s argument in the voter guide that will be sent to all registered voters in California, that the recall is a partisan Republican effort.

Superior Court Judge Laurie M. Earl decided to reject the lawsuit, writing, “As persuasively demonstrated by Governor Newsom, the recall effort was clearly spearheaded by Republicans.”

It appears that she didn’t give any weight to the declarations of five registered voters in the state of California, which includes me, who are clearly not Republicans and who have strongly supported the recall. I am the chairperson of the Libertarian Party of California, and although I don’t agree with many supporters of the recall effort for their reasons for recalling the governor, I truly believe that the governor should be removed.

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States and achieved permanent ballot status in California in 1978.  We are one of only three political parties in the country to have our presidential candidate on every ballot in the past two presidential elections. The Libertarian Party of California is an affiliate of the National Libertarian Party, and is not a part of, nor influenced by, any other political party.

Since March of 2020, residents and businesses have fled the state due to the restrictive environment caused by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Countless businesses have had to close their doors forever due to the government deeming them to be “non-essential.”

The Libertarian Party of California supports the recall based on our party platform, beliefs and the actions of Gov. Newsom.

Read full commentary by Mimi Robson @ The Orange County Register: https://www.ocregister.com/2021/08/14/newsom-is-wrong-to-describe-the-recall-as-just-a-republican-led-effort/

Jo Jorgensen on Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was an accomplished woman and a trailblazer, breaking barriers in a male-dominated world. Born in an age when women’s rights had yet to be fully acknowledged — both culturally and in law — she fought passionately for equal treatment for women. But she also saw the unfairness of an Oklahoma law that gave women the right to drink at age 18 while men were not allowed to drink until age 21. She saw this as a denial of equal treatment and facilitated its defeat.

Among her accomplishments in support of personal freedoms, Ginsberg was in the majority in the 2015 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. She was also the first Supreme Court Justice to preside over a same-sex wedding ceremony.

She wrote the majority opinion against the publicly-owned Virginia Military Institute, ending its male-only admissions policy on equal protection grounds.

She voted to uphold the Fourth Amendment in a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling that stopped the federal government’s warrantless use of thermal imaging to detect marijuana inside of a house.

I appreciate Justice Ginsberg’s bravery and all her actions in support of civil liberties. Her contributions to the rigor and analysis that is required at the highest court will be missed. May she rest in peace.

Source:https://jo20.com/jo-jorgensen-quotables/

Jo Jorgensen: “It’s high time we cut the Military–Industrial Complex down to size”

Libertarian presidential nominee calls for Pentagon’s accountability to taxpayers

GREENVILLE, S.C.; September 17, 2020—  “If the Pentagon were a private business—or an ordinary taxpayer—it would be guilty of federal crimes,” charged Dr. Jo Jorgensen, Libertarian for President. “It spends trillions of taxpayer dollars with virtually no accountability for how that money is spent.”

For decades, military bureaucrats have defied the law and refused to comply with congressional mandates to be audited. They finally conceded in 2018—and failed that audit miserably.

“Democratic and Republican politicians fund military spending to the tune of over $1 trillion every year—and don’t give a whit that the Pentagon can’t—and won’t—pass an audit,” she said. “Yet those same politicians authorize the IRS to audit you, then hound you and garnish your wages unless you comply with their every order.”

Not only have congress and every modern-day president allowed the Pentagon to go unaudited, but they have given it more money every year—in spite of the fact that stories occasionally surface showing that the Pentagon has been unable to account for—not thousands, not millions, not billions—but trillions of taxpayer dollars.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted in 2001, “According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.”

Said Jorgensen, “Even if you could justify operating more than 800 American military bases in foreign countries around the world; starting wars based on false pretenses; putting our servicemen and -women in harm’s way, where some get killed or badly injured; and causing immense personal and property damage overseas, there’s never an excuse for spending taxpayers’ hard-earned money with no accountability.”

“Democrats and Republicans, the Pentagon, and price-gouging defense contractors are a big part of our country’s spending problem,” she said. “It’s high time we cut the military-industrial complex down to size.”

“The fastest way to make the Pentagon auditable is by simply downsizing it,” said Jorgensen. “And if it continues to fail audits, downsize it even more. It ought to face at least as much scrutiny as those who are paying its bills.”

Source:https://jo20.com/jorgensen-its-high-time-we-cut-the-military-industrial-complex-down-to-size/

Jo Jorgenson on the Record of Sen. Kamala Harris

On Tuesday August 11, presumptive Democrat nominee Joe Biden announced that he would Sen. Kamala Harris (California) is his choice for the nomination for Vice-President. Jo Jorgenson, the Libertarian nominee for President has released this commentary on Sen. Harris:

Joe Biden is making the worst mistake of his Presidential campaign today.

Kamala Harris is officially his selection for Vice President.  

Her 28 year long career as an Attorney General and prosecutor in the state of California is a COMPLETE miscarriage of justice. 

  • Kamala Harris helped put THOUSANDS of men and women in jail for pot related charges… and proceeded to laugh about smoking marijuana on a podcast during her failed campaign.
  • After being ordered to release inmates by the Supreme Court, Harris used her position as Attorney General to prevent inmates from being paroled so she could use them for cheap labor… including using them to fight forest fires.
  • Harris has also demonstrated her willingness to use “third strike laws” in order to extend unfair prison sentences. 

While millions of Americans are crying out for criminal justice reform, Joe Biden has selected a running mate with an abysmal record of fighting for justice and working people. 

Biden, an architect of the War on Drugs with a known history of racial “gaffes” or “media mistakes,” has demonstrated a TOTAL disregard for those in his base demanding criminal justice reform. 

I WILL NOT LET BIDEN NOR KAMALA HARRIS ESCAPE THEIR RECORD OF TRAGIC INJUSTICES AGAINST MILLIONS OF PEOPLE.

Biden is LYING to the American people and to millions of Democrats who are counting on him to enact REAL change. 

To put it bluntly, I am angry. 

There is a fire in my belly and I want to shout it from the rooftops, “Joe Biden is lying to you about criminal justice reform!” 

Let’s fight back. 

I am asking all of my supporters to use this opportunity to teach millions of Americans the truth about Biden and Harris’ record on criminal justice and let them know they should vote for OUR campaign in November. 

To find out more about Jo Jorgenson, Libertarian for President go to https://jo20.com/