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General Election

Nov 04, 2014

15days until next election

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Online Link to Recording of Televised Debate

Here is the link to watch the debate I participated in this past Tuesday afternoon that was broadcast statewide on AETN on Tuesday night.

http://www.aetn.org/elections/listing/u.s._congressional_district_4

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$1.1 Trillion = 2014 Budget Deficit

 

There the Federal Leviathan goes again, claiming that the fiscal year 2014 budget deficit was “only” $483 billion. A little fact checking reveals that the actual budget deficit for the fiscal year that ended on September 30 was $1.1 trillion(www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/debt/search?startMonth=09&startDay=30&startYear=2013&endMonth=09&endDay=30&endYear=2014). The $483 billion amount is arrived at through various accounting gimmicks.

 

In this year’s “Godzilla” movie the famed monster is described as an apex predator. Well, maybe Godzilla is an apex predator, but the ultimate predator is government. At least when Godzilla is fulfilling his role as a predator he is benefiting mankind by getting rid of monsters that would destroy the human race. Government uses its predator role to aggrandize even more power to it and to reward those who enable it to do so, such as Wall Street and a myriad of lobbyists flush with cash for campaign contributions. So one would think that our Federal Overlords would at least level with us when it comes to budgetary and economic numbers.

 

Just go ahead and tell the truth, federal government, about the economy actually contracting at the moment instead of manipulating numbers so you can say it is growing, about how the cost of living is really increasing more like 9% per year instead of an obviously fraudulent number like 2%, about unemployment being realistically calculated at around 13%, not 6%.

 

How are the American people supposed to give input to their representatives in Washington, D.C.(perhaps more accurately called Mordor-on-the-Potomac), when they are not even being given the facts by the people supposedly serving them in public office nor by the mainstream media who are allegedly supposed to be concerned with reporting the facts? Here’s a thought: How about the mainstream media actually investigating instead of merely parroting government press releases?

 

There is no doubt, my fellow Americans, that we are being very, very ill-served by the current Democrat-Republican duopoly that has been given basically unchecked power in government for far too long. It is time to give the Libertarian Party a chance. We can’t do any worse than the two old, dinosaur parties, and I believe we Libertarians would do far better at serving the American people in changing policies to get the economy growing again, to see a robust jobs market again, and to stop the fiscal profligacy.

 

Libertarians look to restore our republic in Washington and to bring the principles of liberty to governing in state and local governments. If this is what you want, then I encourage you to vote for Libertarians wherever you see them on your ballot.

 

 

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My Answers to Questions at the NPCC Candidates Debate on October 2

Thought I would share my answers to the three questions from this past Thursday night's debate at the National Park Community College in Hot Springs National Park and my closing statement.

 

Here is the first one.

1. Many in our state are concerned with the EPA’s universal approach to environmental regulations, particularly waterways and wetlands pertaining to the clean water act, and the effects on Arkansas agriculture and industry. Where do you stand on current EPA policy?

My answer: Waterways and wetlands are very valuable. Wetlands provide a habitat for fish and wildlife(including breeding grounds for waterfowl), help in storing flood waters, and improve the overall quality of water. And yet U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers projects have destroyed wetlands and agricultural subsidies have caused millions of acres of wetlands to be plowed under. And the EPA has attacked the property rights of citizens. As we know from the old Soviet Union and its satellite nations, as well as from our own experience with government management, government is a very poor steward of the environment and can be quite tyrannical about property rights.

To protect the environment, let's privatize government land. For instance, who do you think would do a better job maintaining and protecting a treasure such as Yellowstone Park and its wildlife – the federal government or private organizations like the Nature Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, and others?

And for infrastructure needs on waterways let's vastly increase the use of public-private partnerships, or even outright privatization. Using these methods will provide private capital and result in best practices in operations and long-term maintenance and achieve increased efficiency and cost effectiveness.

And as far as this idea of human-caused global warming is concerned, I sincerely believe this idea is nothing more than a power grab by people who want more control over individuals and the economy, and want to destroy our capitalist system(I might add that crony capitalists are also destroying our capitalist system through corporatism.) The earth has not warmed in almost 18 years, if anything we appear to be cooling off. I encourage all of us not be deceived by ridiculous claims of global warming, such as the recent one that 35,000 walruses gathering in northwest Alaska is a sign of the impact of global warming - even though such gatherings are not unusual and had already been noted as early as 1604, 410 years ago.

 

Here is the second question.

2. A major concern for Arkansas is attracting better paying jobs. A key component to that is better infrastructure. What will you d...o at the federal level to help alleviate some of the stress on our state budget for highways and transportation?

My answer: My answer is that the federal government should do nothing beyond what it is currently doing and even that needs to be phased out over time in favor of public-private partnerships (PPPs) or even outright privatization.

Veto of federal public works bill
President James Madison
March 3, 1817

“Having considered the bill this day presented to me entitled "An act to set apart and pledge certain funds for internal improvements," and which sets apart and pledges funds "for constructing roads and canals, and improving the navigation of water courses...I am constrained by the insuperable difficulty I feel in reconciling the bill with the Constitution of the United States to return it with that objection to the House of Representatives, in which it originated.
...
believing also that the permanent success of the Constitution depends on a definite partition of powers between the General and the State Governments, and that no adequate landmarks would be left by the constructive extension of the powers of Congress as proposed in the bill, I have no option but to withhold my signature from it...”

And I think that James Madison knew something about the Constitution.

Besides the constitutional issue involved, you should not want your state spending dependent upon the federal government as the federal government is going to have to cut back drastically on spending. The national debt is already over $17.7 trillion. The 2014 fiscal year that just ended two days ago had a budget deficit of $1.1 trillion. So barring an almost miraculous economic recovery that I don't see our current Keynesian monetary policy, nor federal tax and fiscal policy propagated by the Republicans and Democrats in Congress, nor any policy advocated by President Obama actually producing such a recovery, the federal budget will have to eventually be cut by $1.1 trillion as the current budget deficits are not sustainable.

 

Here is the third question.

3. Technical Education and the widening skills gap in our country seem to be a topic that many are discussing. It is widely accepted... that community colleges are well suited to provide technical
education, but funding for these programs is rarely materialized or continued, despite proven successes. As a member of congress, what would you do to ensure stable sources of revenue for technical education and workforce programs?

My answer: My answer is that the federal government should do nothing beyond what it is currently doing and even that needs to be phased out over time as there is no authorization in the Constitution for the federal government to be involved in education, including student loans. Unless there is explicit authorization the federal government cannot do something, whereas unless states are explicitly prohibited by the Constitution from doing something they can do so based on their respective state constitutions and their voters.

Veto of the Texas Seed Bill
President Grover Cleveland
February 16, 1887

"...there seems to be no doubt that there has existed a condition calling for relief; and I am willing to believe that, notwithstanding the aid already furnished, a donation of seed grain to the farmers located in this region...would serve to avert a continuance or return of an unfortunate blight.

And yet I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan...to indulge a benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds for that purpose.

I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people."

And I believe that Grover Cleveland was our last president who actually tried to follow the Constitution.

Also, as the founder of the educational venture, the Minerva Project, Ben Nelson, has said, “If you put a drug” —federal funds— “into a system, the system changes itself to fit the drug.”

And, again, you should not want your education funding on a state or personal level dependent upon the federal government as the federal government is going to have to cut back drastically on spending – and I think it will be sooner rather than later.

 

Here is my closing statement:

We need to change the direction of the federal government in the areas of foreign policy, the economy, and individual liberty.

The... federal government will soon cross the $18 trillion debt level with another $1.1 trillion of additional debt being added just this year. We can no longer afford to act as the world’s policeman nor should our fellow Americans be putting their lives at risk to carry out the misguided foreign policy of politicians in Washington, D.C., who believe they can control the affairs of other sovereign nations.

The U.S. economy was not doing great prior to the financial meltdown in 2008 and it has certainly not recovered since. We know that the free market is the best vehicle for improving the economy and returning to general economic prosperity. Government cannot properly direct an economy from Washington, D.C., and it is time for the federal government to stop trying. Ultimately, the Federal Reserve banking cartel should be abolished and the value of the U.S. dollar tied to gold once again. Since 1971 we have gone from the gold standard(where the dollar was as good as gold) to the trust standard(where we trusted the federal government to not destroy our money) to the hope standard(where Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and the Republican and Democratic Party leadership must be hoping that the American people don't figure out what they are doing to them).

The American people know best how to make decisions for themselves and their families and how best to see that their children are educated, not politicians in Washington, D.C. Just as the federal government cannot micromanage the economy, neither can it micromanage the lives of Americans.

The federal government, which was not created to be a national government, is supposed to be restricted by the U.S. Constitution. I advocate that the federal government should follow this wonderful legacy from the founders of this great nation in both its letter and its spirit.

I am asking you to vote all Libertarians on the ballot this election. Let's restore our republic in Washington, D.C., and have good governance based on the principles of liberty here in Arkansas.

Thank you.

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Answers to Survey From American Citizens for Taiwan

 

 

I was asked questions by the group, American Citizens for Taiwan - http://americancitizensfortaiwan.org/.

Below are the questions with my answers in " ".

If you are not already a member of the Taiwan Caucus, will you join?

"No. In Congress I will be there to represent my constituents in my district."

In this period of economic difficulty, exports and the jobs they provide are essential. Will you support pushing forward with a trade agreement with Taiwan that could increase US exports?

"I am willing to support any and all efforts on behalf of free trade between the United States and the rest of the world."

As laid out in the Taiwan Relations act [United States Code, Title 22, Chapter 48, Section 3301], the human rights of Taiwanese are a key interest of the United States. Will you commit to publicly speaking out against threats to Taiwanese human rights, as well as supporting legislation strengthening the US commitment to such?

" I am leery of using legislation to interfere in the affairs of other nations; however, I am always agreeable to lending my vocal support to people throughout the world in achieving liberty. As John Quincy Adams stated about the United States, "Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own." "

The Taiwan Relations Act states that any determination of Taiwan's future by other than peaceful means would threaten the peace and security of the Western Pacific area; with this commitment to human rights, the only acceptable method is Taiwanese self-determination with no external compulsion or external interference. Will you commit to a public stance that Taiwan's future can only be determined fairly by all the residents of Taiwan via plebiscite, where the issue of change in status is clearly laid out?

"As my answer to question 3 above indicated, I am always willing to speak up for liberty."

In order to protect Taiwan's democracy, it must have a credible deterrent form threats outside its borders. The Taiwan Relations Act clearly lays out in Section 3302 the policy of making available weapons to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability. Defense experts' opinions overwhelmingly state that Taiwan's current defense status is not sufficient for self-defense. Will you support additional weapons sales to Taiwan in order to bring credible deterrence back into line with the threat from the PRC military?

"Whereas the United States government should not be involved in weapons sales to other nations (unless Congress has officially declared war and we are helping an ally), private transactions between U.S. industries and Taiwan are acceptable."

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We Can Use Competing Currencies to End the Fed

by Ken Hamilton

 

If I had my preference, the banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve System(Fed) would be legislated out of existence as soon as possible. The Fed is not necessary for a properly functioning monetary system. The U.S. economy has flourished for long stretches of time without a central bank. Furthermore, from the creation of the Fed in 1913 until 1971 when President Nixon cut the dollar's last tie to gold the central bank had devalued the dollar by 75%. Since 1971 the central bank has devalued the dollar by another 83% from that already reduced level. Combine the numbers from 1913 until today and the Federal Reserve has destroyed the value of money by 96%. That doesn't sound like the Fed has served our nation well, does it?

 

However, realizing that getting rid of the Fed cold turkey might be more than most Republicans and Democrats could stomach(after all, it is the Fed that allows them to run $1 trillion yearly budget deficits), an alternative would be to allow competiting currencies. Rep. Paul Broun(R-GA) introduced H.R. 77 – Free Competition in Currency Act of 2013 last year(yes, there are a few folks in Congress that understand economics). If would want to read the text of this bill of three pages, you can do so at https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/77/text.

 

As people are allowed to use other currencies tied to a gold standard, or even using gold and silver coins, I believe that over a period of years Americans would see the advantages of using money that is not being devalued and stop using the Fed's paper money that has nothing to keep it from being devalued. There would be no disruption to the economy from using this method of transition. The bad Fed money would just go away due to non-use.

 

Also, if a bill such as H.R. 77 becomes law it would prevent federal government officials, such as U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins, from persecuting firms such as Liberty Dollar by making the outrageous claim that to use anything other than the Fed's paper and ink as money is “a unique form of domestic terrorism”. That nonsense would be stopped by a bill like this.

 

If I am elected I will fully support efforts to return sound money to our economy and stop the Federal Reserve's destruction of our money, a necessary step if we are return to general prosperity in these United States.

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Should the United States Risk a Nuclear War Over Lithuania?

By Ken Hamilton

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) was formed in 1949 as a military alliance between, initially, the United States, Canada, and ten European countries to defend western Europe from the Soviet Union and its allies in eastern Europe. Greece, Turkey, and West Germany were soon added. NATO's purpose for existence ...ended in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.

Yet, 23 years later NATO is still in existence, although in military power it is mainly just the United States and a bunch of other countries, now numbering 28 in total membership. It still exists although its whole reason for existence has long ago ceased. Since 1991 it has been an alliance of military forces looking for a cause to keep it relevant.

All NATO members are supposed to spend at least 2% of their Gross Domestic Product(GDP) on defense spending. The U.S. spends 4.4%, the U.K. 2.4%, Greece 2.3%, and Estonia 2%. The rest do not even meet this minimum threshold. If the vast, vast majority of NATO members are not willing to spend such a small amount on their own defense, why is the United States still a member of such an organization that long ago outlived its reason for existence?

American taxpayers are paying for a bunch of freeloading nations for what? To defend Vilnius, Lithuania? How is Lithuania a vital United States' security interest? Are the American people really prepared to engage in nuclear war with Russia over Lithuania? How about Latvia? Or Estonia? And there are policy leaders in the United States who want the NATO security umbrella extended to Georgia and Ukraine. How would we react if Russia wanted to have a security arrangement with Mexico?

The United States should withdraw from NATO and allow Europeans to defend Europe. The Soviet Union long ago ceased to exist. European nations in NATO(even with the miniscule percentages they spend) already spend three times the amount that Russia does on defense. And their total GDP is eight times larger than Russia's so Europeans could greatly ramp up their defense spending if needed. Russia may be able to bully nearby countries within its sphere of influence from Cold War days but it is not a threat to the European continent.

Our yearly budget deficit is over $1 trillion. We have not had any real economic growth in a decade. Unemployment is actually well over 10%, and even over 20% including long-term discouraged workers. The cost-of-living is increasing 9% per year. NATO membership is a luxury that we can no longer afford. Let's get out of NATO and get out NOW.

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Statement on Congress Funding Syrian Militant Islamists

Any of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate who voted yesterday and today to fund a bunch of Syrian militant Islamists to fight another bunch of militant Islamists should have his or her head examined. They have no idea to whom these weapons and training will be provided, especially since these militants seem to change allegiances at the drop of a hat.

 

Also, Authorization for Use of Military Force(AUMF) passed in 2001 that President Obama and the Republicans and Democrats are using to justify this expenditure of American taxpayer money has nothing to do with the current situation with the Islamic State or Syria. It was passed to authorize going after al Qaeda - the folks, mainly Saudis, that attacked these United States on September 11, 2001. This whole funding scheme, stuck into a another Continuing Resolution as the Republicans and Democrats refuse to actually pass real spending bills, is not only unwise but unconstitutional.

 

I reckon it is up to us Libertarians, through the votes of the American people at the ballot box, to have a federal government that actually follows the rules laid down for it on this very week 227 years ago.

 

Ken Hamilton

LP Candidate for U.S House of Representatives

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A Major Failure of President Bush's and President Obama's Foreign Policy

Some Observations on Bush's and Obama's Foreign Policy

by Ken Hamilton

 

As I observe events in the Middle East and elsewhere I am compelled by the evidence to come to the conclusion that the decision by the George W. Bush administration to invade Iraq was not just the worst foreign policy decision in United States history but one of the worst in world history, and the blunder has been repeated by the Barack Obama administration in Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.

 

Just look at what has happened in Iraq. Was Saddam Hussein a very bad human being? Yes, he was. He also kept a lid on the sectarian violence between the various Muslim factions that has become so widespread since the U.S. invasion in 2003. As bad as Hussein was as a ruler in Iraq, he did not attack the United States and arguably the situation in Iraq was better for a large part of the population than it is today. These words of Jesus remind me of what has happened to Iraq after the ouster of Hussein and what has filled the void that was left: “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” (‭Luke‬ ‭11‬:‭24-26‬ ESV)

 

And he allowed Christians to worship openly. Before the Bush administration’s decision to invade there were 1.4 million Christians in Iraq. Now there are less than 500,000, maybe even as few as 200,000. Without a doubt the Christian community was better off prior to the invasion. American taxpayers have lost thousands of brave American lives and spent trillions of dollars on a foreign policy decision that has pretty much wiped out the Christian community in Iraq.

 

And it not difficult to figure out why this happened as one of the selling points for invading Iraq was to bring democracy to Iraq. Unfortunately, the Bush administration somehow ignored the fact that Iraq is a Muslim country and did not have a first amendment tradition to limit religious intolerance. The lid on religious intolerance was not based upon the rule of law but the rule of a man, Saddam Hussein in this case. So mix a democracy with religious intolerance and we see what has happened to Christians in Iraq. And much the same impact has been seen in Afghanistan and Libya after U.S. intervention in those countries.

 

I point this out to illustrate that the United States government shouldn’t be going around the world sticking its nose into other countries without regard to the traditions and the facts on the ground in these other countries. While serving as Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams stated in 1821, “Whenever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will be America’s heart, her benedictions, and her prayers. But she does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion only of her own.”

 

I recommend that we again follow this foreign policy advocated by men such as John Quincy Adams and reject the current foreign policy that has been followed by George W. Bush and Barack Obama and resulted in so much calamity for so many people – Americans and non-Americans.

 

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My Speech to Saturday's Crashing The Party Picnic in Maumelle

A Cross of Paper

Speech Given By Ken Hamilton

September 13, 2014

 

As an accountant by trade I have a great deal of interest in financial matters. So for my allotted time I want to talk about what the Democrats and Republicans and the banking cartel called the Federal Reserve have done with and to OUR money.

Contrary to the reports you may have heard or read in the news in the past few days the federal government's budget deficit so far for this fiscal year that ends on September 30th is not the "mere" $589 billion they are reporting; it is $1,011,000,000,000. The federal government's own Treasury Department's website has the numbers that back up my statement(http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/debt/search?startMonth=09&startDay=30&startYear=2013&endMonth=08&endDay=31&endYear=2014). Furthermore, the national debt will soon cross the $18 trillion mark. Now, since I am skeptical that the Democrats and Republicans will be responsible and actually fix their spending problem, I see two possibilities: they will outright default on the national debt(which would really the honest thing to do) or they will call on their buddies at the Federal Reserve to devalue our money even further and more rapidly so they can pay down the debt with basically worthless money. Or a combination of these two.

Regardless of what our federal overlords decide, if the good people in the 4th Congressional District elect me to represent them, I want to mention two items that I will lend my efforts to achieve.

One is the adoption of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I remember how shocking it was during the Ronald Reagan presidency when the yearly deficit crossed the $100 billion mark. I remember being shocked as well during the final year of the George W. Bush presidency when the yearly deficit crossed the the $1 trillion mark; and it is still over that mark here in the 6th year of the Barack Obama presidency. This recklessness on the part of the Republicans and the Democrats must be brought to an end, and I reckon it is up to us Libertarians to get it done!

The other item is restoring sound money to our republic. And the way to do that is by tying the dollar to a tried and true point of value - the yellow metal, gold. The economist, David Ricardo, stated in 1816, "A currency, to be perfect, should be absolutely invariable in value." Imagine if in 1913, when the Federal Reserve was created, a foot was 12 inches long but today a foot was only a 1/2 inch long. Well, that is pretty much what the Federal Reserve and its enablers in the Democratic and Republican Parties have done to the dollar.

Also, President Grover Cleveland in his second inaugural address in 1893 said that "nothing is more vital to our supremacy as a nation...than a sound and stable currency." If we are going to have a strong economy to support a strong national defense, we must reestablish a sound currency.

And if we want to roll back the Welfare State and the Warfare State and the Spy State, then we should heed the words of Friedrich A. Hayek who wrote in 1960, “The increased dependence of the individual upon government which inflation produces and the demand for more government action to which this leads may for the socialist be an argument in its favor. Those who wish to preserve freedom should recognize, however, that inflation is probably the most important single factor in that vicious circle wherein one kind of government action makes more and more government control necessary. For this reason, all those who wish to stop the drift toward increasing government control[which I would call a full gallop today-KH] should concentrate their efforts on monetary policy. There is perhaps nothing more disheartening than the fact that there are still so many intelligent and informed people who in most other respects will defend freedom and yet are induced by the immediate benefits of an expansionist policy to support what, in the long run, must destroy the foundations of a free society.”

Here that? Hayek is saying it is the debasement of our currency that has paved the road for this overbearing federal government that has its fingers in our wallets and its foot on the neck of our civil liberties. And he has been proven RIGHT!

In our nation's history we have gone from the gold standard(where the dollar was as good as gold) to the trust standard(where we trusted the Federal Reserve to maintain the dollar's purchasing power) to the hope standard(where now I can imagine Janet Yellen and the rest of the Federal Reserve banking cartel and their Republican and Democratic enablers saying among themselves, "Let's HOPE that the people don't figure out what we are doing to them.")

Again, I reckon it is up to us Libertarians to restore a sound currency to our nation. If I am elected to the U.S. House I will lend my efforts to restore to all Americans a sound currency and, with all due respect to that great orator, William Jennings Bryan, if I may use his own phraseology from 1896 to make the opposite point that he made back then(as he was against the gold standard), I will not stand idly by while the Federal Reserve and our federal overlords in the Democratic and Republican Parties crucify the American people on a cross of worthless, fiat, paper currency!

Thank you.

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Remembering 9/11

I concur wholeheartedly with these comments by the chairman of the Libertarian Party:

 

Libertarian chair remembers 9/11

Posted on Sep 11, 2014

Nicholas Sarwark

Thirteen years ago, terrorists crashed planes into buildings, killing thousands of innocent Americans. I was working in Arlington, Va., on that day and remember rushing home past the smoking Pentagon. I will not and cannot forget that day.

But while terrorists killed innocent Americans that day, they did not kill America. They did not kill our Constitution. Our nation was founded in battle and our founders, knowing all too well foreign threats, made a conscious choice when drafting the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They chose liberty over a false sense of security.

We honor those who died that fateful day 13 years ago by vigorously defending our freedom and our rights against those who would infringe on them. We honor them by fighting for more liberty and more freedom. My path is with the Libertarian Party; you may chose another path. But regardless of what path you choose, never give in to those who would take your liberty.

If, as some say, the terrorists hate us for our freedom, my response is simple: more freedom. Our great nation was founded with cries of "Give me liberty or give me death," not "Give me liberty or give me security." Our commitment to freedom, even when freedom is dangerous, is an integral part of what makes America that shining city upon a hill that inspires people around the world.

Live free.

Yours in liberty, 

Nicholas J. Sarwark
Chair, Libertarian National Committee

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The Power to Declare War

The Power to Declare War

by Ken Hamilton

Article 1, Section 1, of the United States Constitution states: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Also, in Section 8 it states as one of the powers of the Congress: 'To declare war...”

In President Obama's recent NBC “Meet the Press” appearance he stated about going to war with the Islamic State(IS), “I am going to be asking Congress to make sure that they understand and support what our plan is” and “I'm confident that I have the authorization that I need to protect the American people.”

The president is correct that he has the authority to protect the American people in the case of an imminent, existential attack on our nation. The current situation with IS does not meet this criteria. Furthermore, his current bombing campaign does not pass Constitutional muster. The Congress is given the power to decide when to use our nation's military in a conflict, not the president. The Congress legislates and the executive is to carry out the legislation. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 has it backwards and is unconstitutional, as the president has no constitutional authority to send the nation to war first and then come to the Congress to back him up.

Republicans are no better on this issue than Democrats. In 2002 during the debate about invading Iraq, U.S. Representative Ron Paul reminded House Committee on International Relations Chairman Henry Hyde that the Congress has the power to declare war and is not to merely authorize the president to send our nation to war at his discretion. Chairman Hyde's reply was that declaring war is “anachronistic.”

Patrick Henry, in debating against the ratification of the Constitution in 1788, stated, “Besides the expenses of maintaining the Senate and other House in as much splendor as they please, there is to be a great and mighty President, with very extensive powers; the powers of a King: He is to be supported in extravagant magnificence: So that the whole of our property may be taken by this American Government, by laying what taxes they please, giving themselves what salaries they please, and suspending our laws at their pleasure...” Time has proven Henry to be correct.

The Congress should take back its power to declare war and the president should abide by the requirements of the Constitution. After all, the members of both Houses of Congress and the president swore oaths to defend the Constitution of the United States. They should start doing so.

See all of my policy articles at: http://democracy.com/KenHamilton4Congress

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/KenHamilton4Congress

Twitter: @ElectKen2014

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How to Handle the Islamic State Crisis

How to Handle the Islamic State Crisis

by Ken Hamilton

We are all aware of how in response to the attacks on the United States mainland on September 11, 2001, the Bush administration convinced the American people to support an invasion of Iraq in early 2003 to remove Saddam Hussein from power and turn Iraq into a model of democracy for the rest of the Middle East to emulate. However, the principle cheerleaders for this action, neoconservatives, failed to comprehend that Hussein had kept the lid on the 1300 year old conflict between Sunnis and Shias over leadership of Islam. This division was a problem while U.S. and allied military personnel were stationed in Iraq and has become even worse since Iraq has been handling its security needs on its own. Also, the civil war in Syria opened the door for this division to flare up in that nation.

The Islamic State(IS), a Sunni group, in the past few months has occupied a large swath of land in Syria and Iraq. We have all seen the news about the various acts of barbarism committed by this group, including against Americans. There is currently much hand-wringing about how to stop the spread of IS and the American people are reluctant to reengage militarily in a part of the world where long-term success through the use of force by the United States government has not been proven achievable.

So what to do? I suggest that there needs to be a rapprochement between the United States government and the governments of Iran and Syria, which are both run by Shias. The United States, along with other nations, is currently engaged in talks with Iran about its civilian nuclear program(Gareth Porter has thoroughly debunked the idea that Iran is attempting to build nuclear weapons in his book, Manufactured Crisis) that the Iranians hope will result in the removal of U.S. financial sanctions. Also, the U.S. has been assisting Syrian Sunni rebels(under the dubious notion that it can help “good” rebels without any of the assistance reaching “bad” rebels such as IS) in their attempt to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. The Iranian and Syrian governments are allies with each other.

The United States can make a twofold offer: removal of sanctions on Iran(a good idea anyway to improve relations with Iraq’s largest trading partner) and stopping assistance to the Syrian rebels(a good idea anyway considering the hodgepodge make up of the rebels). In return, Iran and Syria would ally with Iraq and the Kurds in northern Iraq to take on IS and eliminate it as a threat to that area of the world. IS would be surrounded by enemy forces and since it has failed to make any allies of its own I think its eventual defeat would be achievable without the U.S. having to get involved in another conflict in the Middle East.

After the immediate threat from the Islamic State is removed the United States can continue to offer to mediate the sectarian crisis in Iraq in which I think a healthy dose of federalism allowing a large amount of autonomy for the Sunni and Kurdish areas from the Shia dominated central government in Baghdad could be a workable solution. The United States(along with interested Arab nations) could offer to mediate as well between the Alawite dominated government in Damascus and the majority Sunni population. Our own founders knew(and as we are relearning today) that a strong central government attempting to impose its will on a diverse population was a recipe for disaster.

The United States government cannot resolve centuries long divisions in the Middle East through the use of military force. However, by being true to our founding governmental principles we can be an example to other nations as they attempt to stabilize their countries – a destabilization that poorly thought out U.S. foreign policy actions in recent administrations must bear a great deal of responsibility for creating.

See all of my policy articles at: http://democracy.com/KenHamilton4Congress

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/KenHamilton4Congress

Twitter: @ElectKen2014

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Eliminate the Department of Homeland Security

Eliminate the Department of Homeland Security

by Ken Hamilton

One of the major knee-jerk reactions to the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001(in addition to the horrible decision by the Bush administration to attempt to remake the Middle East into a bastion of Western-style democracy), was the creation of the Department of Homeland Security(DHS). The idea for this new federal bureaucracy had been discussed prior to the attacks but gained real currency afterward as Washington sought to flex its muscles in the “War on Terror.”

At a congressional hearing Rep. Dan Burton stated that DHS would be “a Defense Department for the United States, if you will.” Didn't we already have such an organization housed in the Pentagon called the Department of Defense? It was clear from the outset that DHS was being used to grow the size and scope of the federal government.

Ostensibly, DHS was created to fix the problems that led to the failure to stop the attacks by al Qaeda. However, we learned that there was a lack of coordination between the FBI and CIA and internal failures within the FBI that hampered the chances of stopping the attacks; problems that could have been fixed without creating a new federal agency with new bureaucratic slots to be filled.

The DHS department that Americans have heard the most about(and many despise) is the Transportation Security Administration(TSA) that took over passenger screening from airports and airlines. Instead of taxpayers(most of whom rarely, if ever, fly) footing the bill for this service, it should be placed back into the hands of the airports and airlines to handle and pay the costs for this service, along with passengers. The main impediment to re-privatizing this service is the airports and airlines not wanting to bear the costs if they were to be held responsible for a future terrorist attack. However, there is now a sufficient marketplace for terrorism insurance that this objection does not hold water.

DHS is also not necessary for law enforcement agencies to handle the work of finding leads to prevent future terrorist attacks. Per the fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the proper method to establish a lead to investigate a person is “probable cause.” We do not need a Soviet Union-sounding bureaucracy costing $38 billion per year when we already have the FBI, CIA, and local police departments.

DHS has become an agency used by politicians to direct federal funds to their home districts regardless of population density or risk assessment. Small towns and counties have been given money to purchase items such as chemical weapons suits and hazardous materials vehicles that they do not need nor can afford to maintain.

The Department of Homeland Security should be eliminated and any necessary functions placed with the FBI and CIA, thereby saving billions of dollars every year. A federal government operating within the bounds of the U.S. constitution is the best way to avoid labeling innocent groups of citizens as threats to national security and to apprehend real terrorists.

See all of my policy statements at: http://democracy.com/KenHamilton4Congress

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/KenHamilton4Congress

Twitter: @ElectKen2014

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Say No to the Export-Import Bank

When the Congress returns to Washington, DC, from its August recess the Republican/Democratic Establishment will attempt to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, an agency created 80 years ago to facilitate trade with the Soviet Union. This effort needs to be defeated.

The claim that the Export-Import Bank creates jobs does not stand up to analysis. Its activities may result in additional jobs at favored companies, but at the cost of jobs at other companies. An expert at the Government Accountability Office in 1997 testified to Congress that - “Government export finance assistance programs may largely shift production among sectors within the economy rather than raise the overall level of employment in the economy.”

Advocates for the Export-Import Bank also claim that it helps our nation's trade balance. If it does it is not significant at all as the exports it supports are only about 2% of total yearly U.S. exports.

It is also claimed that the Export-Import Bank steps in to help where the private sector will not. Yet the Bank generally helps in trade with countries such as China, Mexico, Brazil, etc., that have plenty of access to private financing.

Finally, it is said that U.S. firms need help because other countries subsidize their companies and the Export-Import Bank helps to level the playing field. The U.S. government should be concerned that our economy is strong overall, not that particular companies do well. And look at the effect of the Bank subsidizing foreign purchases of Boeing airplanes for foreign airlines. These subsidies help these foreign airlines to compete against our domestic airlines. Helping the Mexican oil company, Pemex, through the subsidies of the Export-Import Bank enables Pemex to compete with our domestic oil companies.

Whatever may have been the justification for creating the Export-Import Bank in 1934 does not exist today when the large companies it serves are quite capable of obtaining private financing for their export activities.

It is time to end all government programs that no longer serve a useful purpose. Only the Libertarian Party will actually do so and not just give lip service to ending Big Government across the board.

Vote for the accountant in Arkansas' 4th Congressional District on November 4th.

Vote Libertarian in any race you can!

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Hold the Democratic/Republican Establishment Accountable for National Debt

For the first ten months of the 2014 fiscal year(which ends on September 30) the national debt increased by $949 billion. You can check the numbers here:

http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/debt/current

This number is far higher than the $461 billion number that the Treasury Department reported this week. This difference is the result of items such as the surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund ...for the year being used to offset the increase in the national debt. The Treasury Department classifies these items as "intragovernmental debt."

The federal government does this based on the assumption that the Social Security Trust Fund will be paid back. First, who really believes that money will be paid back to the Social Security Trust Fund from the general fund? Second, if it was paid back, guess who would be paying it back? The taxpayers.

The national debt is already $17.7 trillion and will probably pass the $18 trillion mark in just a few months.

It is time to hold the Democratic/Republican Establishment in Washington, DC, accountable for running up massive debt year after year after year that will badly damage the U.S. economy in the years ahead - and the day of reckoning may be nearer than we care to think about.

Vote for the accountant in Arkansas' 4th Congressional District race on November 4!

Vote Libertarian!

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Replace ObamaCare with the Free Market

by Ken Hamilton

We have seen repeated a historical pattern playing out in the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Democrats enact a Big Government program, with Republicans first voicing opposition, then acquiescing, and, finally, embracing it. Libertarians, on the other hand, refuse to play along.

Republicans spent far too many years voicing opposition to the increasing federal government involvement in health care (even adding to it with the unfunded Medicare Part D law) without actively pushing for true free market reforms. Consequently, their opposition to the passage of ObamaCare was ineffective.

There have been valid concerns about the coverage and delivery of health care for years in the current system, one that the United States stumbled into in the 1940s. These concerns would be better solved by the free market instead of via a top-down mandate from Washington, D.C. And there are plenty of free market solutions from which to choose, such as:

• Health care insurance should be individual, portable, while giving individual plans the same federal income tax treatment as group plans, including allowing employers to contribute to individual plans.

• Health insurance should be available across state lines.

• In addition to the benefit of portability in dealing with pre­existing conditions, health status insurance should be allowed.

• Lower the threshold for deducting medical expenses on federal income tax returns.

• Expand health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs).

Obviously, there must be private charity to help those in need, and even if one thinks that some government involvement is required, there is no power in the U.S. constitution for the federal government to do so. Any governmental involvement would have to be at the state and local levels, certainly not through the federal Leviathan taking over how health care insurance is provided for 310 million citizens with differing situations and needs.

If the idea of a single-payer federally-run health care program sounds attractive to you, consider the following. Would you want a single, federally-run package delivery service? Would you want a single, federally-run airline? Or a single TV service? Or a single telephone service? Or a single school system? If not, why would you want something as vital as your health care to be subject to the whims of the federal government and a bunch of politicians in Washington?

The Libertarian Party stands ready to assist our fellow Americans in reclaiming their liberty across the board, including the area of health care. The Republicans and Democrats won’t. Libertarians will.

- Originally posted at http://lpar.org/2014/06/replace-obamacare-with-the-free-market.

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Reform the Income Tax? No, Replace It!

The 16th amendment to the U.S. constitution was passed in 1913 and has become a drag on economic growth and an administrative nightmare for taxpayers. The cost of compliance with 74,000 pages of regulations costs individuals and businesses over $430 billion per year. The privacy of citizens is intruded upon when we are forced to report personal financial information to the IRS. The true cost of the massive federal Leviathan is hidden in products and services throughout the economy. No one interested in efficiency and fairness would create such a monstrosity from scratch.

There is an alternative that has been talked about for years. It was advocated by 2012 Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and would be a vital ingredient in jump starting the economy. It is a national sales tax, otherwise known as the Fair Tax, to completely replace the income tax, regressive payroll taxes, as well as estate and gift taxes, which are particularly damaging to small businesses. What are the benefits?

1) Workers keep their entire paycheck. That’s right, all of it.

2) All households receive a monthly prebate equal to the poverty level to pay for life necessities tax ­free with the benefit that this makes the Fair Tax progressive in its operation.

3) Social Security and Medicare benefits are not affected, while consumption provides a more consistent tax base than income.

4) This is a one ­time tax at the point of sale. Used goods sold are not taxed. Business purchases for production of goods and services are not taxed.

5) U.S. businesses have increased competitiveness in foreign markets due to the removal of the income tax.

6) Americans will no longer be required to provide personal financial information to the IRS. We would be free of the possibility of owing additional taxes come April 15th, and we wouldn't be required to file a return to receive a tax refund caused by over withholding.

The initial Fair Tax rate would be approximately 23%; however, if we scale back the federal government to its limited constitutional powers, this rate could be drastically reduced and the monthly prebate increased.

Additional information can be found at www.fairtax.org.

I do not live in a fantasy land. I fully understand that major changes such as the Fair Tax will not be easy. The ones living in a fantasy land are Republicans and Democrats, looking only toward the next election or even the next donation from a wealthy donor or special interest group. Kicking the proverbial can down the road cannot last forever, as we hurtle toward economic calamity. The American people must one day exact retribution at the ballot box against those who have done so much harm to our economy. This disastrous road began with the creation of the Federal Reserve cartel and passage of the federal income tax in 1913 during the first term of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson. It continued when Republican President Richard Nixon cut the last link to gold in 1971, with the resulting skyrocketing cost of living. The two major parties bear responsibility for these terrible public polices.

It is too late for easy solutions. Only tough ones remain. Does anyone really believe that the Republican and Democratic Parties are the ones to fix the mess they have made?

By Ken Hamilton

Originally posted at http://lpar.org/2014/06/reform-the-income-tax-no-replace-it/

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The Actual Budget Deficit vs. the Reported One

It is being reported in the news media that the U.S. government's budget deficit for the first eight months of the 2014 fiscal year was "only" $436 billion dollars. This number is not accurate. The actual increase in the national debt for the first eight months was $779 billion. Which means that our federal overlords are under-reporting how badly the federal budget is out of balance by "only" 79%.

How long will the American people continue to allow the Democrats and Republicans to deceive them until they finally vote both major parties out of power and put limited, constitutional government Libertarians in positions of public trust in Washington?

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A Federalist Approach to Immigration Reform

- Originally posted at http://lpar.org/2014/05/a-federalist-approach-to-immigration-reform/.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KenHamilton4Congress

Twitter: @ElectKen2014

A possible way out of the stalemate on immigration policy reform is to utilize a federalist approach, which would allow state-­based visa programs to direct immigrants to states and localities that want them. This idea has been pushed forward recently by Brandon Fuller and Sean Rust with the Cato Institute ("State-Based Visas"), as well as Governor Rick Snyder (R-­MI) and Senator Rand Paul (R-­KY). There is much to recommend this policy prescriptive.

Article I, section 8, clause 4, gives the Congress the power “To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization.” This allows states to be involved in areas outside of naturalization, including state­-based visa programs within guidelines drawn up by the federal government.

States are better positioned to know what type of workers are needed for their economies and to monitor compliance with the rules they set forth. States that do not want additional immigrants can refuse participation in the program and will be minimally impacted by other states’ participation. States that wish to reap the benefits on real wages and entrepreneurship from immigration should not be hamstrung by those that are more concerned with enforcement and impacts on local public services.

State­-based visa programs would also provide a systematic method of dealing with undocumented immigrants already in the United States. States could include these people already residing within their borders and those in other states. In addition, cooperation between states could be enhanced through voluntary agreements covering agricultural workers (who are mobile due to the seasonal demand for their services) so that movement between states would be facilitated.

Similar regional immigration policies in Canada and Australia show that a state­-based policy in the United States can be successful. An evaluation of the Canadian program concluded that the program was a success and should be continued. Similarly, a survey of the Australian program concluded that immigrants and employers rated the program as a success.

Enforceability of state-­based visas is made easier by offering a path to permanent residency that would be forfeited if the state designed conditions were violated. The increase in lawful opportunities for immigrants through state­-based visas instead of employment-­based visas would offer more freedom of choice and increase the chances of a successful program.

While the federal government would retain jurisdiction over naturalization, states are much better positioned than Washington to determine the economic demand for immigrants and the numbers and skills that are needed. Also, states are better able to mitigate any adverse consequences from immigration and to enlist and maintain public support.

A further step that would help advance immigration policy reform would be to shift responsibility to states and localities for expenditures on welfare, education, and other public services. A one­-size-­fits-­all, top-down policy from Washington is not the best option on this issue (or any other) and is not in accord with the vision of our nation’s founders, as set forth in the U.S. Constitution and the federal system it established.

- Originally posted at http://lpar.org/2014/05/a-federalist-approach-to-immigration-reform/.

Website: http://democracy.com/KenHamilton4Congress

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KenHamilton4Congress

Twitter: @ElectKen2014

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April 2, 2014

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Drowning in a Sea of Red Ink

By: Ken Hamilton

The declaration in the Biblical book of Proverbs, chapter 22, “the borrower is the slave of the lender,” is quite instructive to the current situation of the federal government and the deficit spending binge it has been on for over a decade now. It was bad enough during the George W. Bush presidency. The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were being paid for through increasing the debt load on the American people, and the Republican Congress instituted a Medicare prescription drug plan that had no funding mechanism to pay for it. But toward the end of the Bush administration and continuing on through the Obama administration, this profligacy has increased to new record levels.

The 2009 stimulus program added even more debt for the American people to bear. Foreign investors helped this along by purchasing a large chunk of this debt, and the Federal Reserve has been more than willing to help by monetizing the debt as needed. The first yearly deficit that surpassed $1 trillion (the actual increase in the total national debt) occurred during the last full fiscal year of the Bush administration, coming in at a robust $1.2 trillion. The deficit grew even larger, hitting $1.9 trillion in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011. After dropping to “only” $671 billion last year (as the sequester’s automatic spending reductions had at least some bite and revenues increased a bit), the national debt has already increased by approximately $800 billion in the first six months of this new fiscal year.

And if all of this awful fiscal news was not enough to digest, the American people are facing unfunded federal government liabilities of many tens of trillions of dollars in the upcoming decades. These are unfunded because, at the moment, there is not enough projected revenue to pay for much of the expected spending, which will be mainly in the area of entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid).

I propose that two steps are necessary to stem this tide of red ink that is swallowing the American Dream. First, we need a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will require bringing the budget in balance within five years of its adoption. Doing so would help to stabilize the spending of the federal government at around 18% of GDP. That is still too high for a truly limited, constitutional federal government, but it would be a starting point. Spending levels could be ratcheted down from there, and at least the flow of red ink would be stopped at that level of government. There is no lack of ideas for prudently cutting down federal spending, and we need to start implementing at least some of them sooner rather than later.

Second, we need to ditch the Federal Reserve and its fiat paper monetary regime and institute a modern day gold standard. As former Congressman Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman wrote in 1982, in The Case for Gold, page 159:

"It is necessary to balance the budget and institute a gold standard together. The discipline required for one mandates the other. If government is to be limited in size, the budget balanced and the market free, gold will be a necessary adjunct."

As the Bible instructs in Deuteronomy 25:15, “A full and fair weight you shall have, a full and fair measure you shall have.” The Federal Reserve has manipulated the U.S. dollar since its creation in 1913 and has so far destroyed 96% of its value. At this point, I guess we should be grateful that they have left us with even four pennies on the dollar. This manipulation must come to an end, by instituting a sound gold-backed dollar and Balanced Budget Amendment, as a line of defense against deficit spending.

Originally posted at http://lpar.org/2014/03/drowning-in-a-sea-of-red-ink

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