Did Thrusting Gary Johnson Out Of The Republican Party In 2012 Set The GOP Up For A Fight They’d Rather Avoid In 2016?

Rand Paul has a long road ahead of him if he’s to appear on your ballot, but Republican apologists haven’t wasted any time trying to marginalize or criticize Gary Johnson after announcing his candidacy for President in 2016.

Allow me to be up front about this; in no way is this a hit piece on Rand Paul, and in no way am I asking you not to vote for him if he does in fact appear on your ballot in 2016. Always put your conscience and principle before party or superficial issues. To be fair, there are more than a couple scenarios that would provoke me to vote for Rand Paul in 2016, and I would be ecstatic if the GOP actually nominated him as opposed to another establishment, status quo candidate like Mitt Romney, a big government social conservative like Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum, or someone that espouses nothing but empty rhetoric and holds a view of the Second Amendment totally incompatible with a free society like Ben Carson.

But make no mistake, within hours of former Republican Governor and Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson’s announcement that he intends to run for president in 2016, “libertarian” Republicans were doling out editorials lambasting him for running when the GOP will have Rand Paul to offer instead. Some have suggested that the Libertarian Party should simply endorse Rand Paul in 2016 and refrain from running a presidential candidate, while others go so far as to suggest that an LP candidate will cost the GOP the White House in 2016 (this, coming from some of the same bloggers and journalists that have defended Ron Paul and Gary Johnson supporters when we were attacked for “wasting our votes” two and six years ago).

It’s not difficult to refute this line of reasoning, though. For starters, Rand Paul has a long, difficult path to take before we even see his name on every ballot in 2016. While he’s a much better politician than his father was, he still has much of the neoconservative establishment within the GOP actively campaigning against him (the same people that worked so hard to minimize Ron Paul and push then Republican candidate Gary Johnson into the Libertarian Party in 2012). Rest assured, the GOP will be promising a “restoration of America” with big government candidates with last names like Bush, Santorum, Romney, Carson, and Cruz, so let’s not pretend Rand Paul is already on the ballot next to Hillary Clinton in the next election.

Second, the notion that Gary Johnson and Rand Paul hold views so similar to each other that it would be pointless for one to campaign against the other is ridiculous. If this were so, then the GOP should have no issue simply nominating a candidate from within the party and skipping the entire primary process, right? I mean, they’re all Republicans, so their views are similar enough that it shouldn’t matter which candidate you’re issued, correct?

Of course not. Just as Democrats will debate Democrats and Republicans will debate Republicans because of differences in philosophy, principle, and personality, so to should a libertarian from the Libertarian Party challenge a libertarian from the Republican Party. Not only are there drastic differences found in the platforms of the parties that either candidate represents, but their philosophical views on hot topics such as social issues, foreign policy, tax reform, immigration, and more, differ, as well. There’s clearly plenty of room for debate between both candidates, and a Republican will have to (and should) compete with a Libertarian if he or she wants those votes. Every vote must be earned, after all.

And what if Rand Paul and Gary Johnson were in fact on the same ballot? How is this a bad thing? What is wrong with a ballot where two out of three candidates hold some degree of libertarian philosophy, when we’ve endured decades where our two “big government” “lesser of two evils” choices had names like Bush, Kerry, Gore, Obama, Clinton, McCain, and Romney? A national level competition amongst libertarians?! Sign me up! It’s about time we changed the conversation!

Finally, Republicans, “libertarian” or not, are fooling themselves if they think the third largest political party in the U.S. should simply sit out the highest race on our ballots. Expecting any political party to simply fold in such a scenario is expecting them to forfeit all legitimacy, liquidate principle, and alienate party members, supporters, and voters. 2016 presents a real chance to produce a fundamental change in conversation and policy, an opportunity to have a third candidate present in national, televised debates, and the same people that wrote, spoke, and voted on behalf of liberty for the last decade shouldn’t be working so hard to contradict their past efforts.

If the GOP can evolve beyond the party that has given us trillions of dollars in debt, unconstitutional wars, the evisceration of privacy and due process rights, and a ballooning of bureaucracy, then so be it. I’ll welcome it. But while they’re busy figuring out just what it is they stand for, I’ll be one of the many pressing for more than two candidates in any debate, and more than two choices on my ballot.

-Chris Mayo

https://www.facebook.com/chrismayoLP

It was totally worth it!

Many would consider the results a failure. Granted, those results appear to be nothing short of dismal, but I don’t see it that way. While I didn’t win the seat in which I campaigned for, I gave all of those individuals that voted for me another choice. Like it or not, there’s a segment of people out there that refuse to have their hands tied by a false, two party choice every couple of years, and they deserve the ability to vote based on principle, and not “for the lesser of two evils.”

I gave the voters another choice; a real choice. And I worked tirelessly to spread the message of liberty. I made a decision to dedicate my personal life towards promoting the idea of “minimum government and maximum freedom,” and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

We did all of this having raised very little money. Instead, this campaign was “financed” by the volunteer assistance of friends and family that believe in that same message that I want to spread. We didn’t have a tv commercial or a newspaper ad. We didn’t have special interest groups or banks promoting us or giving us money. We didn’t have interns, a campaign chairman, or a treasurer. There were no advisors, publicists, or fundraisers. And last (but certainly not least), there was absolutely no previous experience in campaigning present here. No, this was as “grassroots” as it gets.

What we did have, though, was a handful of driven, dedicated, young American adults that are tired of the status quo. We’re tired of the encroachment on individual liberties, the colossal debt, and false dichotomies. We see the writing on the wall, and realize it’s irresponsible to continue ignoring it. And we did all of this with a smile on our face, enjoying the experience, learning everything we could, and believing that we just might make a difference. Maybe, just maybe, we can leave our children with a better country than the one they otherwise might inherit.

The only failure, here, would be to let this effort go to waste. We don’t have to stop spreading the philosophy of individual freedom and responsible government just because an election ended. People will listen if you talk. Liberty is an old idea whose appeal never loses its luster, after all. And remember, your representative has a phone number, an email address, and active social networking resources, all of which should always be put to use. It’s your duty to hold that individual accountable. Just because they won today doesn’t mean it should be smooth sailing for the next two years for them. Be relentless. Make them earn it. Respect them, but always remind them who they work for.

On a closing note, I want to thank everyone that supported me. I certainly stepped out of my comfort zone in this endeavor, and I don’t regret a single second of it. But I couldn’t have done it if no one believed in me, so again, thank you!

Chris Mayo, Candidate, U.S. House, IN-7, Libertarian

Voters Deserve Better

It is, unequivocally, a great disservice to any voter when he or she is not afforded the opportunity to hear each of their balloted candidates debate pertinent issues in a public forum. An informed voter is vital to a healthy representative government, and history has proven that an open debate is one of the best methods to allow constituents to hear the candidates and make an educated vote.

The most egregious injustice, though, is a multi-term incumbent that has denied repeated requests by two challengers to a debate. Any constituency that is represented by a candidate facing reelection that refuses to debate (let alone acknowledge) opposing candidates, is undoubtedly poorly represented.

In case you are still wondering, yes, I’m referring to the 7th Congressional District’s Representative Andre Carson. Rep. Carson’s office has ignored repeated requests from my office for a multi-candidate debate, and blatantly refused a request for a public debate by the Republican challenger, Catherine Ping. Efforts were made on my office’s part to find an impartial host for a debate as well, to no avail.

I take issue with this not only as a candidate in this race, but as a voter, as well. As voters that take the time away from family, school, or work to cast a vote for the individual that we want to represent us in Washington D.C. for the next two years (the individual that not only represents us, but is paid by us, as well), it is necessary that we have the opportunity to hear each and every candidate that we will see listed on our ballots in November. I’m confident that I am not the only voter that would like to know where each candidate on my ballot stands on fundamental issues before I walk into that booth, rather than being forced to vote for incumbents, name recognition, or political parties.

As a candidate, it’s insulting to dedicate the time, finances, and personal sacrifices to challenge an incumbent, only to be denied the opportunity to confront my representative in an open forum regarding the pertinent issues that face our country and our community, and issues in which Rep. Carson is directly responsible for addressing.

To be sure, there are many reasons an incumbent may invoke to excuse themselves from a debate. Some wish to avoid the opportunity to stick their foot in their mouth, while others prefer to keep any and all attention away from their challengers, preferring instead to be that “automatic representative.” Rest assured though, any reason an incumbent may have to exclude themselves from a public debate absolutely reflects poorly on the candidate, and on that candidate’s regard for his or her constituents.

Ultimately, refusing to debate a challenger portrays an incumbent as being unaccountable to the people he or she is paid to represent. At a time when the federal debt exceeds $17 trillion dollars, we’re dropping bombs in multiple countries, the real economy is floundering, health care costs are rising faster than wages, our failed War on Drugs and War on Terror bleeds us of personal liberty while bestowing our future with unfathomable debt, and corruption and cronyism run rampant, accountability is obligatory. At a time when poll after poll shows public trust and approval of Congress (with both parties holding majorities between houses) hovering at all-time lows, incumbents should be held accountable to voters and challengers alike, rather than successfully hiding behind donors and political allies.

Chris Mayo, Candidate, U.S. House, IN-7, Libertarian

Addressing the Underlying Issues With Our National Infrastructure System

Our interstate system is in terrible shape and must be tended to now, but the usual “kicking the can down the road” approach so common in Washington will only exacerbate the issue.

The Obama Administration is absolutely correct that we’re facing an infrastructure crisis that can’t be avoided. Recent studies have suggested that repairs, maintenance, and growth-related improvements to our interstate systems could cost as much as $1 trillion. But from a federal government that routinely spends hundreds of billions of dollars more every year than it receives in tax revenues siphoned off of the burdened American worker, and from a highway trust fund that will reportedly be bankrupt in one month, it seems unlikely that we’ll be able to find that $1 trillion dollars without addressing some other major issues, right now.

Proposals by both parties in Congress seem laughable at best. Burdening the economy with increased gas taxes, income taxes, corporate taxes, inflation, or debt would be counterproductive if the primary reason to maintain or improve our interstate system is to benefit the economy. Judging by the results from the many other crises our federal government has recently encountered, it’s likely that a band-aid will be placed on the issue and it’ll be passed down the road. Nothing fundamental will be addressed, nothing will actually be “fixed,” and we’ll be facing the issue again in the near future, hearing all of the usual rhetoric about increasing taxes or taking money from the other party’s pet project for a superficial solution to a serious issue.

The bigger issue here (the one that seems to escape public debate) is the underlying problems with our infrastructure system. As it stands, the federal government extracts income from American workers, then disperses this “revenue” amongst the individual states with strings attached. The money is misallocated, and much of that money is directed towards projects that may never directly benefit many of the individuals taxed. Our current course of action has created an untold number of shortfalls within our interstate system, and simply is not working. It’s ineffective, and inefficient. In other words, it’s government as usual.

In order to avoid facing this crisis again, and to refrain from increasing the burden on the taxpayer, we have but two options:

1) The federal government reprioritizes both its role and its finances towards specific, necessary domestic issues like infrastructure, and away from doling out billions in foreign “aid,” billions more in maintaining a global military presence, and yet billions more in corporate welfare. If the federal government is going to continue to maintain its monopoly on infrastructure, it better ensure it has the funds available to do so, and do so without further damaging our struggling economy.

2) The federal government can return both the funds and total control of the interstate system to the individual states. With this proposal, federal fuel taxes can be ended, and the individual states can then determine if they want to continue accounting for the interstate system with public funding, instituting user fees, or turning the operation over to the private sector as much of the world has trended towards.

This proposal is consistent with the libertarian philosophy that the individual state is easier for the public to hold accountable than a bloated federal government is, and a state will best understand what its needs are and how to address them. Either proposal, though, will be a step in the right direction, and both deserve serious consideration in Washington D.C.

It’s simply not enough to pick and choose a handful of projects, inefficiently throw billions of taxpayer supplied dollars at it, and pretend that a crisis was averted. Regardless of the issue at hand, it’s vital that we open the debate beyond the false dichotomy we’re typically presented with if we’re to address fundamental problems in Washington. Our infrastructure undeniably plays a critical role in the economy at local, state, and national levels, and we’re only setting ourselves up for failure if we don’t take serious consideration of the root issues, today.

-Chris Mayo (L), candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IN-7)

Our Two-Party System is a Charade

Why is our political discourse limited solely to a left-right paradigm? Why is it that we’re limited to only two choices when it’s time to select our next government representative? Why are we told that a vote for anything beyond the two party realm is a “wasted vote?” And are our “two choices” fundamentally all that different?

These are the questions we are not supposed to ask. And if someone dares to address them, it’s with the usual “we have to beat the other guy,” “lesser of two evils” rhetoric.

I’m tired of it.

I once considered myself a Republican. But the Republican Party has been hijacked by neoconservatives, statists, and progressives that have little regard for limited government, fiscal conservatism, and individual liberty. I then considered myself a conservative. But it turns out “conservative” no longer infers that one believes in a conservative, limited government, but rather that one is socially conservative, and wishes to utilize government “authority” to promulgate those values among the rest of the population. With few exceptions, this summarizes that majority of the Republican party, and you know what? Their fundamental view that government can no longer be small or limited, and that personal liberties must make way for “national security” or certain social values is fundamentally indistinguishable from our “other choice.”

The Democrat Party has proven over the last century (and no less so, the last decade), that it too wants to wage certain wars, infringe on civil liberties, perpetuate a nanny state, and spend like there’s no tomorrow. Ultimately, the differences between our “two choices” are limited only to how they want to use the government, rather than how they want to limit the government and protect personal freedoms. The Constitution designed to protect your individual liberties is only pertinent when it underpins their agenda, and is otherwise a nuisance or outdated document.

This brings us to the third largest party in the United States: the Libertarian Party. While Republicans and Democrats debate which country they would drop bombs on or place boots on the ground in, Libertarian candidates are proposing that our military is reserved for defense purposes or to prevent/repel imminent attacks on U.S. citizens and soil (and only via the means prescribed by the Constitution). While other candidates talk about increasing taxes on this group a couple percent or lowering them for that group a couple percent, Libertarians are advocating for the total abolition of our immoral tax code and the IRS. And while Republicans and Democrats are debating tweaks they’d make to interest rates, subsidies they’d like to handout, “adjusting” or “replacing” the Affordable Care Act (misnomer), or “reforms” they would make to the NSA or the USA PATRIOT Act (another misnomer), Libertarians are calling for a full audit or abolishment of the Federal Reserve, ending corporate subsidies, returning our health care industry to a free market system, and repealing ineffective and unconstitutional legislation.

The Republican party likes to paint Libertarian candidates as “vote stealers,” but is it really “stealing a vote” when a Republican candidate’s proposals and philosophies on government are so much different from a Libertarian Candidate’s? When YOU make the personal decision to vote for Libertarian Bob instead of Republican Larry, did Libertarian Bob really steal a vote from Republican Larry?

Democrats and Republicans both like to convince voters that any vote cast for a third party candidate is a “wasted” vote. Voting for the same thing over and over again and somehow expecting a different result, sounds more like a wasted vote. The very fact that Republicans and Democrats alike choose to ridicule, mock, or marginalize libertarian voters rather than work towards encompassing them ought to be evidence enough that it’s not real “change” or “reform” that they intend to institute. Rather, they’ll work tirelessly to ensure Libertarian candidates aren’t invited to their debates (Gary Johnson in 2012, comes to mind) or enact a barrier (by legislation) to prevent third party candidates from appearing on a ballot.

Do not mistake this as some grandiose attempt to convince you to vote for every Libertarian candidate on your ballot, or even depress you or make the situation seem hopeless, because it’s not. My feelings wouldn’t not be hurt if every ballot had 3, 4, or even 10 choices on it. But what every ballot (and debate) should have is a candidate that promotes actual change. Having such a candidate is entirely plausible, and the responsibility rests with you, the voter.

As a voter, you unfortunately are now tasked with giving due diligence in your decision at the ballot box. I say “unfortunately,” because life shouldn’t be so complicated, and neither should our government. Regrettably, our “two parties” have willingly perpetuated a system so convoluted that their differences seem significant, partisan politics dominates media, commentary, and meaningful political debate, and any viewpoint, opinion, or candidate that represents anything out of the mainstream realm of discourse is ignored or relegated to second-tier status.

As a voter, though, you can change this. It’s your vote, after all, that they want.

-Chris Mayo (L), candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IN-7)

Why Aren’t We Talking About This?

Cannabis, whether it’s prohibited, regulated, or subsidized, should be of no matter to our federal government.

 

“Now what I contend is that my body is my own, at least I have always so regarded it. If I do harm through my experimenting with it, it is I who suffers, not the state.” – Mark Twain

 

My usual title, “Why aren’t we talking about this?” is probably a bit of a misnomer for an article regarding marijuana policy. While it’s true that the mainstream media frequently discusses marijuana decriminalization, and I’m sure we’ve all discussed it at some point in our personal lives, much of the discussion has been rhetorical or superficial, and full of biased, predictable talking points.

The federal prohibition on marijuana is one of preconceived notions, biased opinion, bigotry, and power, plain and simple. Though cannabis sativa has been cultivated and utilized for manufacturing, medicinal, and recreational uses for thousands of years, our federal government did not find reason to prohibit the drug until 1937 (after alcohol had been prohibited by constitutional amendment, which was later repealed). As history has proven, the prohibition on marijuana apparently wasn’t even worth a constitutional amendment (why the difference?), and the debate on the 1937 bill to prohibit the possession or transfer of marijuana lasted for less than two minutes on the House floor. The bill’s most ardent supporters? Federal Bureau of Narcotics officials Henry Anslinger and James Munich, who made claims about “taking two puffs and turning into a bat,” “killing dogs,” and “outlawing marijuana” because of its effect on “degenerate races” (marijuana was primarily prevalent in Mexican culture  and the jazz scene at that time, not to mention with the “Hindoos” as stated by a 1913 California report).

By 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the 1937 marijuana “tax act” unconstitutional, prompting Congress and President Nixon to enact the Controlled Substances Act, thus initiating the “War on Drugs.” The Controlled Substances Act places a priority  or “rating” on various substances, with Schedule I being the most prohibited (you can’t even get a prescription from your doctor), and Schedule V being the least prohibited (over-the-counter substances, primarily). Hopefully you’re as perplexed as I am to find marijuana rated as a Schedule I substance (like heroin), while cocaine, meth, and oxycodone are Schedule II substances, and are permitted for distribution via prescription in some instances, and available to drug companies for research. You read that right: a major pharmaceutical company cannot even touch a marijuana plant, but they’re free to play with cocaine and meth.

Since the start of this “War on Drugs,” hundreds of billions of tax payer dollars have been spent attempting to eliminate marijuana. It goes without saying that they’ve clearly failed their mission (making it yet another ineffective War on Something), and the end result is nothing less than your money wasted, overcrowded federal, state, and local jails and prisons, death, unnecessary criminal records, loss of personal assets, the apparent justification for a growing police state, and the associated black market that comes with any prohibition.

None of this needs to exist. There shouldn’t be a black market for weed and hemp, just like there shouldn’t be a militarization of our local and federal law enforcement departments to combat this “problem.” Not only has our government failed (miserably) at their aim to eradicate the possession and transfer of marijuana, but their efforts have been counterproductive at best, perpetuating their “problem.” The War on Drugs is, and always has been, a lose-lose for everyone involved. The only people “winning” in this “war” are the profiteers created by the black market, and the entities profiting from the militarization of police departments spanning from Mayberry to the Drug Enforcement Agency. As USMC General Smedley Butler infamously stated 80 years ago, “war is a racket.”

But the states are standing up. Numerous states have enacted legislation or are debating legislation to decriminalize marijuana, permit it’s medicinal use, and permit the industrial use of hemp. The effort to put these decisions back into the hands of the individual states is gaining traction, and this is just the start. Ultimately, all federal drug laws should be repealed and the DEA needs to be abolished. Sound radical? Probably to some. I’m sure many envision some sky high naked teenager charging down their street on horseback, shouting obscenities, burning flags, and shaving their cat the day the Controlled Substances Act is repealed, but this ignores the fact that repealing such laws merely places the responsibility of addressing any issues in the hands of each individual state. Certainly, Indiana may want to try a different approach at prohibiting or decriminalizing various substances than say, California would.

Intrinsically, that was the entire philosophy behind the creation of this Great Experiment nearly 230 years ago. We were never meant to be endowed with a government that has assumed the illegitimate authority to issue broad, sweeping, cookie-cutter laws and regulations for everyone to follow, but rather with a federation of states that can operate independently, and if you simply can’t stand what your state did, there’s (now) 49 other options out there for you to try.

Eliminating federal drug laws and related agencies and ultimately allowing free, independent people, communities, counties, and states to decide what works best for them is the only approach to resolving the abysmal failure that is our War on Drugs. It’s not a Republican issue, it’s not a Democrat issue, and it’s not a Libertarian issue. Consequentially and philosophically, the War on Drugs is the antithesis of a limited, conservative government, and contradicts the concept of both federalism and individual liberty. It’s appalling regardless of what side of the aisle you stand on, and it has to end before the problems it created eternize.

-Chris Mayo (L), candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IN-7)

Why Aren’t We Talking About This?

Repealing the 17th Amendment

“Another advantage accruing from this ingredient in the constitution of the Senate is, the additional impediment it must prove against improper acts of legislation. No law or resolution can now be passed without the concurrence, first, of a majority of the people, and then, of a majority of the States.” – Federalist #62

 

The states were supposed to have a seat at the table. And at one time, they did, and for good reason. And it was for this reason that the Progressives then in control of our government adopted the 17th Amendment in 1913. If you haven’t noticed yet, 1913 was a terrible year for limited government and personal freedom.

Article 1, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution made explicitly clear that the U.S. Senate (one of two Houses in our Legislative branch of the federal government) would represent the individual states, and the state legislatures would vote for their Senator and send him/her to Washington to provide yet another check on the federal government.

State representation in Congress wasn’t by happenstance, and the reasoning was a point James Madison expressed in Federalist Paper # 62, where the authors of the U.S. Constitution wanted to ensure the states that were debating this proposed government that they would, in fact, retain their own rights and powers, and that the federal government would be comprised of the individual states, rather than become its own entity. The (proven) theory was that the states would remain much more vigilant and act as a watchdog over the federal government than the citizenry would, and that both the individual states and the population within those states deserved say-so in federal decision making.

The Progressives recognized that founding theory, and they didn’t like it. A relentless campaign spanning several decades came to fruition in 1913, when Progressive William Jennings Bryan (Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of State) was able to announce the 17th Amendment he fought for was now law. This new Amendment revoked the right of the individual states to select their two representatives, and handed it to the citizens that they knew were more easily swayed with promises of handouts and favors.

Since 1913, we’ve progressed from a country with no income tax and relative economic stability to a country that has suffered through multiple economic busts and depressions, immoral income taxation, too many wars (both declared and undeclared), an explosion of publicly held debt, prohibition of untold amounts of foods, drinks, and substances, irresponsible monetary inflation, and a massive growth of government power, intrusion, and expense. None of this is to discredit the character of the citizens or reprehend them, but merely to highlight the fact that your state legislators spend most of their time monitoring federal actions (it’s their profession, after all), whereas the average citizen is working 40+ hours a week in a non-political careerfield, raising their kids, living their own lives, and getting their news (if they choose to do so) from a lackluster local news source, a biased cable news source, or a few headlines on a website or newspaper. That’s a freedom you have, and was absolutely expected when the Founding Fathers insisted the states are represented, as well.

It’s for these very reasons that I insist we repeal the 17th Amendment and return to each state, the right to have a voice in Washington D.C. Judging simply from the states working to repeal or nullify Obamacare, indefinite detention laws, firearm regulations, medicinal and recreational marijuana laws, etc, I’d argue that many of hot issues we hear or see everyday would be better resolved or debated at local levels (assuming the state considers it an issue at all), rather than at the federal level, where they attempt to legislate and regulate over 300 million people in one fell swoop. Had the individual states had a stronger presence in Washington D.C., when something such as the misnamed Affordable Care Act was passed in both Houses, it likely would have been defeated, and those states that do in fact support health care mandate legislation might have have enacted it as an individual state (much as Massachusetts did), rather than forcing this “one size fits all” mire on us that we’re burdened with, now.

Repealing the 17th Amendment is hardly something you’ll see, hear, or read about from the usual mainstream media outlet, but it’s a conversation we need to have, none-the-less, and a topic I’ll absolutely carry with me to Washington. My intent isn’t to make your decisions for you, but rather return the right to make your own decisions back to you. By eliminating the state’s role in the federal legislative process, your voice is now lost in a sea of over 300 million other voices shouting at a few people Washington D.C. History is proving that it doesn’t work, and we need to return to a system where your state can both represent you, and provide an additional check on a power hungry federal government.

 

-Chris Mayo (L), candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IN-7)

Why Aren’t We Talking About This?

Repealing the 16th Amendment

Everyday, whether it’s at work, at home, or on the news, we all hear that our taxes are “too high,” that “nothing is certain but death and taxes,” or that certain groups “need to pay their fair share.” Why, in everyday conversation, can’t we discuss the method in which taxes are levied, and what we have to do to change this process, instead? Why must we limit conversation to “how much we’re taxed,” when we could be talking about “why we are taxed” and “how we are taxed?”

Since 1913, the federal government has possessed the “legal” ability to extract money from the income that every working American earns through skill, sweat, talent, and sacrifice. The amount is decided by law, and your representation that you vote for and fund (with that income they extract from your paycheck) is complicit in this theft.

Article 1, Section’s 2, 8, and 9 of the U.S. Constitution explicitly prohibits direct taxation by the federal government. During the Civil War, this restraint was disregarded by the federal government when it was used to fund the war, but otherwise the restriction on direct, federal taxation was recognized and upheld by our judicial system. In 1894, the federal government instituted an income tax which was soon struck down by the Supreme Court as being “unconstitutional.” Nearly two decades later though, as a progressive wave swept through all levels of government within the U.S., Republicans and Democrats alike (no surprise there) adopted the 16th Amendment, which permits the federal government to directly tax the income of the individual.

It is with this very Amendment that our federal government annually siphons trillions of dollars off the income of working individuals (from every class), created a tax code that totals 74,000 pages, and justified the existence of the our fraudulent, corrupt Internal Revenue Service. The loopholes are endless, the code is so complicated that even our own Treasury Secretary can’t get it right, billions of dollars are spent funding the IRS, billions more are spent paying someone to help you figure it out, thousands of people are penalized or prosecuted annually for trying to find a way to keep the money they earned, and the government still wants more from you.

The 16th Amendment, though adopted via legal procedure, is immoral, and is the antithesis to the philosophy that each individual has a right to his or her own property. The paycheck you earn from your employer or the income you receive from performing a service or providing a product is the result of an agreement or contract between two consenting parties, and if it were anyone but the federal government stepping into the process to extract whatever percentage they deemed necessary, it would be a crime. A government that is responsible to no one but the public, takes your money, and throws you in prison if you boycott the process.

So what do we do? What is the alternative?

We absolutely must repeal the 16th Amendment and abolish the IRS. Taxation is a necessary evil to fund the government’s few legitimate roles, but to do so by coercion and in an involuntary fashion should remain illegal, as it was originally prohibited by the Constitution. The alternative would have to come in the form of a sales tax (and not a VAT), which, while still not optimal, allows you the ability to deposit your entire paycheck, and funding the government is based solely on voluntary purchases you make with the money in your possession. There’s no IRS, the tax code is about as small as this blog, and there’s no representative government stealing your money by threat or force.

I recently viewed a meme that made the valid point (as many do) that if you had to sit down every week and write a check to the IRS for amount they “conveniently” withhold from your paycheck and mail it in yourself, you would be a lot more concerned with how your money is being wasted in Washington. Shortly after reading that, I read a recent article in the Washington Examiner stating that 90% of incumbents facing re-election this year will retain their seats (and many will do so without even campaigning). It’s not shocking, because it happens every election year.

It’s an ugly fact that I know I have working against me, but it doesn’t have to be this way. A person cannot be “irate” about IRS scandals, “upset” about tax increases or the money withheld from their paycheck, or “incensed” about the money they owe the IRS or their tax professional every April, and continue to vote for the same politicians that never author, co-sponsor, or vote for legislation to repeal the income tax or abolish the IRS, and continue to push for or vote for income tax increases on any class of Americans. You can do something about it.

-Chris Mayo (L), candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IN-7)

Why Aren’t We Talking About This?

In this installment of “Why Aren’t We Talking About This?”, we’ll look at the “Authorization for use of Military Force” resolutions passed in 2001 and 2002.

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Shortly after the heart wrenching terrorist attacks America suffered on September 11, 2001, our federal legislature passed a resolution permitting the president to engage those responsible for the 9/11 attacks with military force. Honorable enough, and the 9/11 attacks certainly justified a violent response. Whether or not “war” should have been declared is worthy of debate, as it may have been possible to take a “law enforcement” approach to hunting, capturing, or killing Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda operatives directly responsible for planning and staging the attacks, but history proves that our approach was that of an invading force, waging a war against the Taliban government that harbored the Al Qaeda organization hiding in Afghanistan. In either scenario, 9/11 was not an event we should have taken lying down, and had I been a member of Congress at that time, I would have supported specified measures to act.

By “specified,” I mean that any declaration or authorization to commit U.S. troops to combat must specify how, when, where, and how long these forces are utilized. What we received, instead, was the “Authorization to use Military Force” in 2001. It sounds innocuous enough, right? The issue with the resolution, though, is found in the first sentence of Section 2, which reads:

 

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

 

Note that nowhere in this 60 word sentence (nor anywhere else in this short bill) was a time restriction given for use of force, nor a sunset date for the bill, nor a geographic restriction on where this action may take place. It is a very open-ended piece of legislation, essentially leaving the president very little restriction on where he may commit our troops to action. I italicized he in that sentence, because the resolution explicitly states “he determines…,” so the facetious side of me wonders if the resolution dies (or takes a four year sabbatical) when a woman presides over the Executive Branch.

Anyways…

The very fact that the bill places so little restriction on how, when, and where the president can commit U.S. troops and assets to wage this “War on Terror” has been noted by, and exercised by both our former Republican president, George W. Bush, and our current Nobel Peace Prize winner, Democrat Barack Obama. Despite popular rhetoric about one being a warmonger and the other being the “peace candidate,” the fact of the matter is that both are responsible for the thousands of U.S. troops killed, tens of thousands of innocent civilians killed, the destruction of private and public property, the infringement of the sovereignty of other nations, the indefinite detention and torture of both the peccant and the innocent, the profiteering, and the trillions of dollars spent on the “cause” under the guise of this resolution. The bill, as scrupulous as it may have seemed at the time, is nothing more than carte blanche for war at one person’s discretion.

President Obama (and the legislature that seems largely complicit in the matter) has only mentioned repealing the 2001 and 2002 AUMF (which authorized the Iraq War and has no sunset provision) at opportune moments, while continuing to cite both resolutions to permit a global drone war, indefinite detention, enhanced interrogation, invading or bombing countries like Libya and Syria, funding, training, and supporting terrorist organizations and governments that we either were fighting or will be fighting, and more. The 2002 AUMF, in fact, is what would permit President Obama to wage an aerial campaign or commit “boots on the ground” in Iraq if he determines the situation warrants it. While a Republican Senator has in fact presented a bill to repeal the 2002 AUMF, the Democrats comprising the majority have not acted on it, and here we are.

Your representatives must be held accountable on this issue, and every effort must be made to repeal these obsolete authorizations to wage war at a single person’s discretion. In order to prevent further violence and bloodshed, global American resentment, and public debt, these authorizations must be repealed at all costs, and any commitment of U.S. troops and assets to battle must first require a formal declaration through our legislature, and never be permitted to pass without a timeline or sunset provision.

Both parties can continue to point fingers and blame “the other team’s president,” but the fact of the matter is, a two party majority spanning over a decade, and two presidents, have been completely complicit in our global warfare campaign, and it must stop. While I pledge to author or sponsor legislation that repeals obsolete blank checks for war as a U.S. Representative and will fight to ensure that all appropriate avenues are taken before our young men and women are sent around the world to engage in violent warfare, I would be but one of nearly 500 other representatives with weight on the matter (the majority of which seem either derelict in their duties as keepers of our Republic, or complicit in the act, and continue to retain their seats with little difficulty). It is absolutely the duty of each and every American to ensure their representative represents them and upholds their oath. War, whether necessary or not, does not come without death and destruction, and requires every avenue of consideration. The helm of death and destruction does not reside in one person, regardless of what a malfeasant, dated resolution declares.

When Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying A republic, if you can keep it” outside of Independence Hall after the deliberations on the new Constitution in 1787 to a curious woman waiting in the crowd, he meant exactly that; it’s your government, and you’re responsible for keeping it.

-Chris Mayo (L), candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IN-7)

 

Why Aren’t We Talking About This?

In this installment of “Why Aren’t We Talking About This?”, we’ll look at the proposition that we abolish the Department of Education.

 

It is beyond time we return to the idea of abolishing the federal Department of Education (ED). After decades of opposition, former President Jimmy Carter, with support from the NEA, signed into law a bill creating a federal Department of Education in 1979, making it an executive department. In the subsequent presidential election, then candidate Ronald Reagan pledged to abolish the new department, and the proposal soon became a plank in the Republican Party’s platform.

Then…it became unpopular to propose eliminating the newly created department. Instead, as results have suffered year after year, the power, bureaucracy, and expense of ED grew in the guise of combating our suffering education standards. Democrats and Republican’s both have proposed or enacted legislation that grows the scope and intrusion of ED into state, local, and household affairs. The states, for their part in it, have consistently stood idly by holding a hand out, and only balk when they’re forced to comply with the burdensome dictates handed down by the ED. There are always strings attached when the federal government redistributes your money.

Consider, too, that the Department of Education currently operates on an annual budget of $80 billion. The ED has no school, and teaches no student. It’s simply a department that receives $80 billion of tax payer money every year, and disperses that money through 150 programs proclaimed to improve education conditions in the U.S. That’s $80 billion that would be best allocated by the individual communities, counties, and states.That’s $80 billion that has done nothing to improve math, reading, and science scores when viewing data beginning in 1970. The department’s budget has increased by nearly $70 billion since 1980, with no increase in performance or standards.

Everyday we are reminded by politicians, bureaucrats, and talking heads that education is a vital piece of our economic recovery puzzle. But seldom will a single one of them mention or recommend abolishing the Department of Education that stands in our way. If we want to improve the education conditions in the U.S., it’s beyond time we return the decision-making process and money back to the parents and communities, and away from a select few that want to set standards for every house and community in the country. Abolishing the Department of Education not only allows us to reallocate billions of dollars back into local schools and communities (where they can best decide where and how to spend it), but fix our broken education system as well. Abolishing the Department of Education isn’t some caveman approach to pinching pennies, but rather a pro-education approach designed to empower the parents and return the U.S. to its former prominence.

-Chris Mayo (L), candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IN-7)