Too many Americans like the idea of free speech, so long as they agree with what is being said

Free speech has been synonymous with America since our founding. Free expression is one of many great things about America. Being able to protest our government without reprisal, going out in public and espousing a particular belief, supporting a candidate (or not supporting a candidate) are all covered by our guiding principles found in our U.S. Constitution. And it is nothing new, after all, the Magna Carta was crafted in 1215.

040:365 Free Speech.
Photo Credit: John Nakamura Remy

But what often happens, some people get offended by all of that freedom. Many people are citing President Donald Trump as being highly critical of media outlets who profile him and his administration, as he says, unfairly. At least Trump is not putting them in jail as would Abraham Lincoln. You see, notions of fake news are nothing new in our constitutional republic and those who are offended by someone’s free speech often go down the wrong road of trying to inhibit that speech.

Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the notion that simply because someone is offended, it does not limit one’s ability to exercise another’s public speech. When it comes to religion, a government entity can allow religion to come into the government nexus, but it cannot show favoritism to any one religion.

For example, here in Boca Raton, Fla, the city government is considering reversing its historical practice of temporarily allowing religious organizations to put symbols of their religion in city-owned Sanborn Square each December. The reason? Someone chose to exercise his free speech rights and offered a contrasting symbol of the “normal” Christian birth of Jesus and the Jewish menorah. Everything was fine until someone offered an “unpopular” religion, so now it is suddenly being proposed that there will not be any displays permitted. The person behind the Satanic symbol that caused all the controversy last year was making the political statement that the city government should not have been allowing the displays in the first place.

Similarly, many state and local governments would hold a prayer before their official meetings and this is against our Constitution unless they offer different religions the same on a rotating basis. It cannot just be a Christian or Jewish “prayer” before official government meetings, it must be open to all religions. This is what made Chaz Stevens and others around the nation did a couple years ago, as a “minion of Satan” offering his invocation before local government meetings. Most city governments ended the practice of praying before their meetings or have at least opened it up to other religions as to finally be lawful under the U.S. Constitution. Though I can say as a frequent guest at city council meetings, this is not always the case. Stevens was simply trying to point out that the government should not be showing favoritism toward any particular religion and for so long as elected officials inject religion into government, it must be non-discriminatory. Afterall, while Christians and Jews make up a large swath of Americans, a near equal number of Atheists, Islamists, Buddhists, and over 300 other religions make up the rest of America.

We have even heard recent talk that some people should not be allowed on television if they support President Trump or his positions. This type of thinking is the complete opposite of what free speech is all about. Media outlets should offer opposing viewpoints on their television stations and on their websites so the public can decide for themselves what is best. It is not up to news media companies to parse through and edit footage to offer up a particular viewpoint to the general public. It is up to news outlets to offer unbiased information from all sides. This is Journalism 101. But we rarely see that in today’s media and that is unfortunate. American journalism is on life support.

Sadly, we see students being disciplined at schools around the country simply for espousing a contrasting opinion. Ultimately, thanks to organizations such as FIRE, these overboard decisions by school systems are held accountable. But such discipline should not exist for a student simply putting for their opinions. If not on a college campus, then where can a young person get the intellectual growth necessary to be a productive human being exposed to multiple points of view?

Another issue on today’s college campuses seems to be people wanting to shut down debates or speeches by those with opposing views. This has been a dramatic upswing this past year where speakers have been shouted down and physical threats have been made if they step foot on campus. OK, so you disagree with what they are saying; you can choose to not attend or you can attend and then during the Q & A offer your strong objections to what they said. But shouting them down for having an opposing view is clearly un-American and doesn’t help public discourse.

Another local case was T.A. Wyner went up again the Florida parks system, challenging their “bathing suit rule” as being unconstitutional. This, because the rule violates state law which allows one being nude in a public place so long that area has been set aside for that purpose and it is not for sexual reasons. In 2003, Wyner, an avid naturist, held a performance art exhibit in MacArthur State Park which included her being without clothes in violation of the state park’s “bathing suit rule.” Although she was arrested, she took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won. Wyner should not have been arrested for two reasons, (1) she was actively expressing her first amendment right and (2) she was not violating state law.

So, while there are multitudes of people with which I may disagree, I enjoy exchanging ideas back and forth in a non-threatening, intellectual manner. It has been my experience, this works better than going out protesting a person instead of an issue or idea. Hopefully, when those exchanges happen, we both leave the conversation learning something. This is what free speech is all about in my opinion, and it is sad to see so many people willing to throw such discourse literally in the trash.

Thoughts on spending $34+ million on Boca’s public golf course

Late yesterday, May 8, 2017, the City of Boca Raton and the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District sat down to discuss what to do with a closed private golf course in the Boca Teeca area of Boca Raton. I have talked to many residents about the purchase over the last three weeks and almost all said the price was excessive, especially when they learn that appraisals came in for millions less. But those “in the know” have told me that even though they don’t like it either, I am wasting my time going up against the purchase because it is basically a “done deal.” The residents of Boca Teeca want it and the City Council wants it, so it’s “done.”

The City of Boca Raton is a well-run city overall, though, like most everything, it is not perfect. Members of the City Council are looking to enhance the city at every turn which is their job. But does that include being a bank? If the Beach & Park District wants to buy the golf course, let them get their own financing. Oh, that’s right, they can’t. So, the city should bow out and not be in the banking business.

The privately owned golf course closed the same reason golf courses across the country are closing, fewer people are playing golf, and the situation is not getting better, it is getting worse. Why plunge $24 million to buy the property and another $10 million to improve the property when there is less interest in playing golf.

The last city council meeting I was at, there was a big to-do and proclamation about conserving water. Adding a golf course to city limits is not water conservation.

I guess it comes down to the philosophy of whether governments should be in the golf business and if so, how much are the taxpayers willing to pay each year for the maintenance of that golf course? Although the Beach & Park District presented they would likely make a $1.95 million profit each year, the City of Boca Raton’s western golf course lost just shy of $500,000 last year. Rarely, if ever, do government-run golf courses make a profit. It is hard enough to do in the private sector, which is why this course was closed. Even the famed Arnold Palmer Golf Managment company couldn’t make it work, but apparently, those on City Council and Beach & Park District know better or are willing to roll the dice. We’ll see how it plays out.

NOTE: This post was mentioned in the Palm Beach Free Press.

golf-balls

Lyn Ulbricht says Bilton’s book on her son Ross Ulbricht has glaring factual errors

You may have heard that a book about Ross Ulbricht has come out called American Kingpin. The author, Nick Bilton, asked Ross’s mother, Lyn, to participate in the project but she was warned away by a trusted advisor who said, considering those involved, it would be a regurgitation of the government’s narrative.
free-ross.jpg
Sure enough, he was right.
According to Lyn, Bilton bases his story of murder-for-hire as if it’s fact. Yet these allegations were never proven, prosecuted or even charged at trial and no murders occurred. Former Federal Judge Nancy Gertner joined Ross’ appeal saying it is wrong to use uncharged crimes against a person. Yet Nick Bilton has no compunction in doing this.
Nick Bilton says Ross is dangerous. yet all his convictions were non-violent and he has no record of hurting anyone. No victims came forward at trial to claim that Ross had harmed them in any way. Rather, Ross is widely known as peaceful and compassionate. You can read what 100 people who actually know him have to say.
Ross cannot defend himself or his reputation against this media onslaught. He is helpless to stop the feeding frenzy; sensationalizing, fictionalizing and profiting from his life. He’s just trying to survive each day, living in a cell, hoping that the appellate courts care more about the truth than the media does.
You can help counteract this by commenting on articles about the book and sharing/liking the #FreeRoss posts on social media. The facts speak for themselves. Bottom line: it has never been proven that Ross was involved in murder-for-hire. Even the government didn’t have the confidence to charge him with this at trial.

My endorsements for Libertarian Party of Florida office holders

The Libertarian Party of Florida will convene its annual meeting this weekend in Cocoa Beach, Florida where party members will vote in new leadership while also conducting other party business. I rarely, and may have never publicly endorsed anyone for party offices. And frankly, until yesterday, I was going to continue that tradition. But things have gotten so fractured within the party, that I feel compelled to express for whom I expect to vote.

Much like the Democrats and the Republicans, the Libertarians have their own internal party conflicts. But what I particularly despise is when people make conclusions of fact based on assumptions. I have seen this with people who are not a friend and with those I consider friends. How one can come to a conclusion about a subject, an issue or a person without having all the facts is hard for me to understand. There is certainly nothing wrong with questioning things that seem odd, but to conclude without all the information can be reckless, especially when reputations and furthering a cause is at stake. Then when those assumptions are presented to others as fact, it creates a group of people operating under those false assumptions. This is simply not right.

I am not here to clear the air. While others may throw arrows, naming names and going down the conspiratorial road, that ain’t my style. I am here in hopes of moving the Libertarian Party of Florida forward in a positive direction while having the party taken seriously in Tallahassee and across the state. I am going to be voting for those who I feel are interested in devoting their time and soul to our cause of freedom and I will not be voting for those that cause conflict or detract from our cause.

I am going to be voting for those who I feel are interested in devoting their time and soul to our cause of freedom and I will not be voting for those that detract from our cause. DISCLAIMER: This is my own opinion and not that of any organization I am involved. Specifically, this is not the opinion of the Libertarian Party of Palm Beach County.

With that, the following are people I feel would be best for their respective offices they seek:

Libertarian Party of Florida Chair

There are two (well three) people who are running for Chair, Char-Lez Braden, Marcos Miralles and of course NOTA (None of the Above).

Char-Lez is the incumbent who has proven himself to be someone that can be fair and knows how to run a meeting. He is doing a better job at running meetings than when I was Chair of LP Florida. He’s a likable guy; though I rarely talk to him and we disagree as much as we agree on things, he is fair and skilled at being Chair. He has led the state party through a few serious rough patches.

Marcos, I do not know as well, because he and the LP Miami-Dade affiliate for which he is Vice-Chair, chooses not to participate in many LP Florida activities. He is a nice guy, seems competent and I like the idea of bringing “new, young blood” to LP Florida leadership. His team at LP Miami-Dade are doing great things and would like to see that translate to the state level. I would have liked Marcos to have been more involved with the state party before jumping in to run for Chair.

For the reasons stated above, I expect to vote Char-Lez Braden for Chair of LP Florida for the next term. If I were to offer Marcos a suggestion, it would be that if not elected, that he run again for Chair after being more involved with the state party.

Libertarian Party of Florida Vice Chair

There are three people that I am aware are running to be the Vice Chair of LP Florida, Dana Moxley-Cummings, Omar Recuero, and Joseph Wendt.

Dana is a fabulous person with a great family and has experience serving in various capacities with LP Florida in addition to serving as Chair. Although she was kind of “thrown into” the position of Chair, she adapted well under quite a bit of pressure. She clearly cares about liberty and I believe she cares about moving LP Florida in a positive direction. I can’t remember the last time we spoke, but I do enjoy her social media posts and her relentless medical marijuana activism.

Omar is an incredibly knowledgeable person about LP Florida. He is its current Vice Chair which entails serving on all its committees. He knows the By-Laws, Standing Rules, and the LP Florida Constitution like I used to recite Bible verses when I was a teen. He deeply cares about LP Florida which I believe is why he is, by far, the one with the most questions during LP Florida Executive Committee meetings. I do not know how much time Omar regularly spends on LP Florida business (let alone other LP business) but it has to be a big number each week. But Omar can be divisive at times which I wish is something he is able to overcome in the future. An email I saw overnight to a local “adversary” showed that I think he can do so. I rarely see or speak with Omar except during LP Florida EC calls and seeing him at LP Broward events.

Joe has the amazing ability to get a convention together like no one else. I have truly been impressed with his organizational capabilities — they certainly surpass my own. And though in the past, I have taken some of his “off the cuff” remarks to some other Libertarians as simple “joking around,” I may have been wrong. Recent events for which I am still looking into, lead me to believe this may be the case. I hope what I discover is incorrect because Joe is a very likable guy.

For the reasons stated above, I expect to vote for Omar Recuero for Vice Chair of LP Florida for the next term.

Libertarian Party of Florida Director At Large 1

The two people I am aware running for this position are Alison Foxall and Thomas Knapp.

Alison has proven herself to be a talented and dedicated soul on LP Florida’s Executive Committee. Her work ethic may outmatch my own which I had thought impossible. Between the different committees she works and her involvement with other LP business, it is impressive. She has helped LP Florida standardize our branding, made us look incredibly professional, and cares deeply about our cause. I was searching for something that I could find she could improve but came up blank. I can think of at least a dozen negative things to say about myself or ways I could improve regarding LP Florida, but nothing comes to mind regarding her and her work with LP Florida.

Thomas is somewhat a legend in LP circles, nationwide and here in the state. Like me, he is a radical, though we differ on many things and he may be a bit more radical than myself. Though he can be brash, it is not done so unfairly, nor without cause. He’s an impressive individual I would desperately want to see on LP Florida’s Executive Committee. Though like Omar, we may butt heads, he is fair and smart. He would be a tremendous asset to the EC which is why I was hoping he would run for another position as I think Alison may carry the vote on Saturday.

For the above reasons, I expect to vote for Alison Foxall for LP Florida Director At Large 1.

Libertarian Party of Florida Director At Large 3

There are two people running for this position and they are Greg Peele and Rob Tolp.

Greg is a newbie to me, only met him a couple months ago in Lakeland. Seems like a good guy, smart, capable. He seems to get along with the different factions of LP Florida which I like immensely which speaks positively of a man with great character.

Rob, I have known a while and would feel comfortable him being on the EC. We seem to agree on most, if not all issues. He is dedicated to our cause, he is capable and passionate.

It’s a tough choice here, so I am going to temporarily reserve who I will vote for Director At Large 3 until the day of the convention. I am leaning toward Rob, but Greg may be able to convince me otherwise. Greg, send for my Bitcoin address 🙂

 

With that said, the other positions are all Regional Representative positions, for which, I am one (region 13). Most are uncontested, I only know of two that are contested and frankly, I do not know the people well enough to endorse any. It’s best to leave it up to those regions to elect who they feel can serve them best.

There is a move afoot to get rid of the current EC and as for my position, if there is a better person people in my region (Broward, Hendry, and Palm Beach Counties) would like to elect, then that would be great. I have no ego in any of this. My only desire is to see Florida become a freer state and it is for that I base all my decisions.

2017confmemeFB@2x.png

AG Jeff Sessions needs to go (ACTION ITEM)

It is no secret that I was against Jeff Sessions being confirmed to be America’s top cop via President Trump’s nomination of him to be our Attorney General. There are many reasons for this and the most prominent, is his anti-freedom attitude toward drugs as he clearly has a strong, uninformed bias. He even wants to go back to the failed Nancy Reagan era of “Just Say No.” While failing to acknowledge that there are thousands of legal things available to Americans that harm them, he has chosen to demonize cannabis (marijuana).

While many Americans were out protesting the election of Trump, they should have been taking action by calling and writing their U.S. Senators to stop the nomination of Sessions, but few did. I predict Sessions is going to be the single worst person and impose the worst actions of any Trump nominees.

While failing to acknowledge there are thousands of legal things available to Americans which harm them, marijuana-leafSessions has demonized cannabis and recently said that it is “only slightly worse than heroin.” He is either lying, grossly misinformed or a complete idiot — one or more of the three. One does not have to smoke, vape or bake cannabis to be in favor of the freedom for others to use the plant. Nor does one have to use the plant to know the science behind the positive benefits of ingesting it.

One does not have to smoke, vape or bake cannabis to be in favor of the freedom for others to use the plant. Nor does one have to use the plant to know the science behind the positive benefits of ingesting it.

But for the Attorney General of the United States to make public statements which are clearly false is irresponsible. It has been scientifically proven that cannabis can help with a large number of ailments and as research continues, I believe we will find many more. Heck, even the federal government holds a patent showing the plant has health benefits.

And while there are many positive health benefits of ingesting cannabis, some choose to take it for fun and to help with their creativity — and it is their right to do so. It is their right to do so, for so long as I am not (or any taxpayer) footing the bill for any (if any) of its effects. What I, as a taxpayer am paying for today, is for the prosecution and jailing of millions of Americans who are not harming anyone else. This needs to end and many states have taken the steps to end this harmful domestic policy.

This needs to end and many states have taken the steps to end the failed “War on Drugs” yet we have a hard right Attorney General who apparently thinks the movie Reefer Madness is a documentary. Please, stop the madness!

Send a tweet to President Trump using this simple, customizable link TODAY!  http://spredd.it/5K4I5aaZ

If you’re not on Twitter, then at least shoot an email to president@whitehouse.gov .

 

New Study Explores Crony Capitalism in Florida

The DeVoe L. Moore Center Blog

A new study published by The James Madison Institute by DeVoe L. Moore Center Policy Analyst Matthew Kelly and Center Director Samuel Staley explores two examples of crony capitalism in Florida’s government policy: sports stadium subsidies and film tax incentives. The authors urge Floridians to remain vigilant over the spending of their tax dollars by government officials and prevent the enrichment of special interests at the public’s expense.

Cronyism-Backgrounder-First-Page-2

View original post 215 more words