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Trump, Clinton…or a third choice?

Clinton & TrumpIf you’re not happy about having to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump —and who is genuinely happy about it? — there’s something you can do: ask for a third choice.

Libertarian Gary Johnson is the only other candidate who will be on the ballot in all 50 states.  But most Americans don’t know about Johnson because the media and some national pollsters are ignoring him.

Whether or not we eventually vote for him, shouldn’t Johnson at least be mentioned by the media, included in national polls, and allowed to participate in the Presidential debates this fall?

Here are five simple things you can do:

  1. Send the following complaint to the media whenever their stories about Clinton and Trump fail to at least mention Johnson: “There is a third candidate on the ballot in all 50 states, so shouldn’t he at least be mentioned in your stories?”
  2. Sign this petition urging the pollsters to include Johnson along with Clinton and Trump in the national polls.
  3. Sign this petition urging the Commission on Presidential Debates to invite all candidates who have qualified for the ballot in all 50 states.
  4. Education yourself. Take this quiz to see where you stand, learn more about Gary Johnson here, and learn about the Libertarian Party here.
  5. Urge your friends to also do these five simple things.  Together we can make a difference.

Ten More Election Surprises?

This has already been one of the weirdest election years in American history, but it could get even crazier.Political parties

The Democrats have rigged their nominating process to hand their presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton — who with her husband are masters of crony capitalism and the fine art of using politics to achieve enormous personal wealth.

The Republicans weren’t as clever and will apparently end up with Donald Trump as their candidate — a braggadocio “I’m smarter than anyone” showman whose wealth exaggeration and tax-dodging are apparently so brazen that he is the first candidate in decades who refuses to release his tax returns.

What additional surprises could come out of this stranger-than-fiction election?  Perhaps some good developments if citizens are disgusted with “politics as usual” and are willing to fight for real change.  Such as:

  1. Will Democrats ditch Hillary? Whether or not she is indicted for one of her many scandals, will the Democrats turn elsewhere if they become convinced she won’t win?  Because she is so untrustworthy?  Because so many in her party are rejected her in favor of the outrageous socialist, Bernie Sanders?  But of course they wouldn’t dump Hillary for Bernie.  They would likely turn instead to Joe Biden or John Kerry.
  2. Will Republicans dump Trump?  Very unlikely.  Too many Republicans have already chosen Trump as the best way to give the “middle finger” to “politics as usual”.  They are so disgusted that they are willing to take a chance on an egomaniac who has a nonsensical platform but promises to shake things up.  For better or for worse?
  3. Will Trump become “presidential”? Also very unlikely, unless he is actually as smart as he thinks he is.  Could he overcome his habit of insulting everybody who doesn’t agree with him?  Could he actually study an issue before taking a knee-jerk stance?   Could he explain that he has learned that “building the wall” can more efficiently be achieved by high tech approaches and real immigration reform?  And that he has learned that America can become more competitive in the global economy with tax reform, without starting trade wars?  We will see, but I’m skeptical.
  4. A rejection of both political parties? Will citizens finally wise up to the fact that there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two major political parties?  Will they finally recognize that both Democrats and Republicans are equally guilty of promising too much and delivering too little, wasting tax dollars, handing out special favors to their supporters, and increasing the national debt?
  5. The rise of a third political party? Perhaps the two “major” political parties have sunk so low that disheartened citizens will finally consider alternatives, such as the Libertarian Party — especially if the “third” party nominates as formidable a ticket as proven former governors Gary Johnson and  Bill Weld.  This is the party that stands for minimum government and maximum freedom — the principles that made America great before the self-serving Political Class started screwing things up.
  6. A rejection of the Elite Political Class? Will citizens finally realize that they are being duped by career politicians?  That gridlock has become a major profit center for politicians of both parties, at the expense of “we the people”?  That politics in America has become the easiest path to enormous personal wealth?
  7. The rise of the No Labels movement? This group bills itself as being “for all those who have had it up to their eyebrows with all the petty infighting, party-first agendas and hyper-partisan wheel-spinning that are keeping the government from doing the people’s work”.  I wish they were more disciplined about limiting the federal government’s roles, but perhaps that will come later.  For now, their efforts to encourage non-partisan problem-solving are worthwhile.
  8. A demand for election reform? Congress won’t do it, so we need a citizen-driven Constitutional Amendment along these lines: “Candidates for elected federal offices shall accept campaign contributions only from individual citizens. Campaign contributions by businesses, political action committees, labor unions, trade associations, and other groups shall not be permitted. All campaign contributions must be made a least one month prior to the applicable election, and full disclosure of the amount and source of each contribution shall be posted online at least two weeks prior to the election.”
  9.  A demand for congressional reform? Unfortunately, Congress won’t reform itself — the members love things just the way they are.  So, once again, we may need a citizen-driven reform movement like the one outlined here.
  1. A demand for fiscal reform?   Politicians find it all too easy to engage in deficit spending.  Voters want goodies, and they don’t like taxes.  So, give them the goodies, lower their taxes and let the next generation worry about the rising national debt.  Congress won’t reform itself despite the efforts of groups like Fix the Debt.   Deficit spending will never stop unless citizens rise up against the political class and impose a Constitutional Amendment like the one being pushed by the Compact for a Balanced Budget.

Is this the best we can do?

Clinton & TrumpHillary Clinton and Donald Trump?

That’s the best America can do in 2016?

Will we elect a self-serving and scandal-ridden career politician who will say and do anything to achieve power and money?  In other words, elect President Clinton and get more of everything that is wrong about American politics?

Or will we elect a crude egomaniac who preys on our fears and prejudices and apparently has no principles, guiding philosophies or respect for anything other than himself?  In other words, elect President Trump and risk taking American politics from bad to worse?

It may be too late for us to avoid having to face such a depressing choice in this election year.

Regardless of how this election ends, could non-partisan citizen-based movements like No Labels give us the tools we need to save our country from the career politicians, crony capitalism, political parties and partisan media?


Only in government!

In Phoenix, three city officials have been “disciplined” for  sloppy and incomplete staff work. The punishment?  Suspension with pay for a day or two.  A couple of days off with pay.  Only in government!

Bureaucrats Politians Sowell

Freedom & the right to earn a living

freedom 2

The Goldwater Institute, a libertarian think tank in Phoenix, strikes another blow for freedom with its proposal to reduce unreasonable government regulations.

The Right to Earn a Living Act would reverse the current rule that forces people to prove that they should be free to run a business, and instead would require the government to justify restricting people’s economic liberty.

See the full report here:

We need a problem-solver, across party lines

I just joined No Labels’ New Year’s resolution to elect a Problem Solver as our next president.

Click here to join me:

Used properly, speed cameras save lives

Speed cameras2Driving on metro Phoenix freeways has become a nightmare with so many drivers exceeding the speed limits by 20 miles per hour and more. In effect, the state has created a “fly free zone” on our freeways.  It is too dangerous for police to pull speeders over; doing so would likely cause more accidents and more deaths.

Arizona’s experiment with speed cameras on the state’s freeways provides a great example of broken politics at its worst.

When the state used cameras to enforce speed limits on our freeways in 2009, traffic fatalities dropped by 32% compared to the average for three full years before the cameras were being used.  That’s 377 real lives that were saved during that one year.  The stats are available here:

In the four full years after the state’s speed cameras were removed, traffic fatalities are again on the increase, by an average of 12 per year.  However, the figures would be considerably worse if not for the fact that many of our local governments are using speed cameras and red light cameras to save lives and make law enforcement safer and more efficient.

So what went wrong at the state level?

  • When the state first started using speed cameras in 2008, former Gov. Janet Napolitano saw it as a money grab.  She projected the cameras would produce $90 million in annual revenues for the state.  The minimum fine was $181 (including a 10% surcharge for “clean elections”, another of the former governor’s pet projects).  But only 38% of those cited actually paid the fine, and the state’s windfall was only $37 million instead of $90 million.
  • Why were only 38% of the tickets paid?  Because the law Napolitano rushed through the legislature allowed drivers to essentially ignore the citation (such as, for example, denying that they are the driver in the citation photo).
  • After getting one ticket, the vast majority of violators drove more slowly to avoid a second ticket — at least around the fixed locations of the speed cameras.
  • Because of these political errors, citizens were understandably upset.  The state’s experiment with speed cameras ended in 2010 when then Gov. Jan Brewer simply allowed the program — and therefore the lives of some of our fellow citizens — to expire.

Why not learn lessons from our mistakes of the past, and bring back the speed cameras?  This time, Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona’s legislators and could do it the right way by following these principles:

  1. The purpose of the program should be public safety.  Camera enforcement should pay for itself, but shouldn’t be seen as yet another way to increase state revenues.  The fine for a first offense should be reasonable.  Repeat offenders can be made to feel the pain via higher fines, or even having their vehicle impounded.
  2. Like most other states, Arizona should hold the registered owner of the vehicle responsible for speed camera violations (just like auto insurance).  This would cause the vehicle owner to be more careful about who drives the vehicle.
  3. Obvious cameras in fixed locations simply encourage some commuters to slow down for the cameras but speed up between camera locations.   Better technical solutions are available, such mobile units and GPS timing devices.

Some of our more libertarian friends will decry a return to speed cameras as too much government interference in their lives.  But even libertarians believe in stop signs and speed limits, right?  Yes, government often tries to do too much and doesn’t do it well. But speed limits should be a basic function of government, and one that we should enforce as efficiently as possible.

To Arizona’s scofflaw speeders, the solution is simple:  If you don’t speed, you won’t get a speeding ticket.  Slow down and obey the law.  You’ll be less likely to kill somebody, including yourself.

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