Civil Liberties Initiative

Ron,

  Just because something no longer exists doesn't necessarily make it "invalid," or a waste of time to honor it. Sometimes it's a small step toward getting the thing you lost back again -- in your example, that being a relatively free Vietnam. Most of the time when you see people complaining about a body like the Board of Supervisors taking an action related to national or international politics, it's because they disagree with the action being taken, i.e. it's usually an opportunistic argument rather than a substantive one.

  As Bob mentioned in our meeting, cities and towns across the United States have been passing resolutions against the "Patriot" Act -- more than 300 according to this Wired Magazine article <http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,63702,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1> from June 2004, and at least 400 now according to Bob.

  I strongly suspect that this evidence of strong grassroots opposition has a lot to do with the reluctance exhibited by GOP Senators meeting with President Bush to renewing controversial provisions of the act, a reluctance which led to a frustrated President Bush, according to this article <http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_7779.shtml > which has been making the libertarian list rounds, calling the Constitution "a goddamned piece of paper."

  So local action may not only influence the course of national legislation, but it may have resulted in the president letting slip an unguarded remark that will provide libertarians with powerful ammunition against him. Do you still think it's worthless for a locality to weigh in on larger issues?

  You say, "Let's get our junky yard straightened out first before we start trying to get the neighbors to fix their junky yard." The fact that you would say this in response to my last message leads me to conclude that you totally missed my point about parochialism. San Francisco is not our yard. Your yard is wherever you live, and my yard is wherever I live (actually I don't have a yard, though I do have a roof). If your point is to concentrate strictly on what's yours, the course of action most consistent with that is to take my roommate's attitude and eschew politics altogether in favor of working on self-improvement.

  Personally, I'm very thankful that some people are trying to raise their heads and see beyond the small local problems that affect them personally. Without such thinking, there would be no widespread and coordinated resistance to tyranny, only isolated people reacting to their immediate situations without the benefit or inspiration of solidarity in defense of shared ideals to guide them.

Yours in liberty,
        <<< Starchild >>>

Dear Starchild;

I used the flag issue as a simile of non-productive supervisorial resolution. The Republic of Vietnam flag is no longer a "valid flag" because the Republic of Vietnam is non-existant and the flag of Vietnam now formally known as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has as the offical flag a red flag with a yellow 5 pointed star centered on it.

The Board of Supervisors had no rhyme or reason to pass a resolution recognizing the old Republic of Vietnam flag which is why it got vetoed by Willie Brown after all the suitable news reports about another SF Supervisors foreign policy statement.

Part of the reason for a civil liberties issue much as the economic issues is to attract potential Libertarians to the local party and even have them register to vote Libertarian and even go and vote Libertarian.

My concerns about broad based state or national or international issues is similar to a couple years ago when the LPSF promoted the Flight 800 conspiracy. Including a dramatic pictorial recreation of the jet in flames on the main web page which stayed there until 9/11. The Flight 800 conspiracy had nothing to do with being a Libertarian in SF. And I am certain was a turn off to people who may have been considering the LPSF.

By local politics I mean an issue which someone can say: I see what does it mean to me. When you sell something to someone you must always show them what does it mean to me to gain their support or their willingness to vote yes or no as appropriate. A local issue can be clearly shown as to what does it mean to me.

A state or federal or international issue is understood by people to mean it would be nice but the vote won't get the underlying laws changed now or in the near future.

When you have a local issue based on Libertarian philosophy it is easier to clearly show what does it mean to me than a broad based statewide issue or federal issue of international issue which would require changing the laws as now written. Which does not have a ghost of a chance of happening while the current or near future crop of politicians are in office at the state or federal or international levels.

A local issue can be effective immediately and getting the law changed to reflect the issue can be done now not at some indeterminate time in the future. There can be immediate tangible results.

There are several problems needing fixes in SF. Let's get our junky yard straightened out first before we start trying to get the neighbors to fix their junky yard.

Ron Getty
SF Libertarian

Ron,

On what basis do you feel the Republic of Vietnam flag is "no longer a
valid flag?" Is the Gadsden ("Don't Tread On Me") flag also no longer a
valid flag? Obviously the Board did not know what they were doing when
they voted to honor the yellow flag with red stripes, but I'm glad they
did it. I only wish they'd had the courage and right principles to
stand by their action.

It's absolutely not true that we can have no impact on state,
national, or international issues. What do you think the old saw that
"all politics is local" means, anyway? Does it mean that there is
literally no such thing as national or international politics? Of
course not! It means that even politics at those levels IS strongly
influenced by politics at the local level.

Now it may well turn out for other reasons that a strictly local
measure would be a good choice for an initiative to pursue. But let's
not make that a basis for selection and ignore the implications of "all
politics is local," or your other apropos quote, "Politics is grand
theater." It is indeed, and that's why symbolic measures count!
Ultimately we are actors on a world stage.

When I talk with my roommate about political issues, his attitude is
that it's not productive to focus on such things. He believes that we
each need to work on improving ourselves, and that's what really
matters. Consequently he didn't even bother to vote in the last
election. You or I might dismiss such sentiments as dangerous and
regrettable coming from someone whose outlook is generally
left-libertarian (he once worked for the ACLU), but consider that he is
merely taking the parochialism you express below one step further, to
its logical conclusion.

Yours in liberty,
<<< Starchild >>>

> Dear Starchild and Everyone Else;
>
> On the civil liberties issues I personally believe it would behoove us
> to have an issue or issues which were local in nature so we could see
> positive tangible results here locally. We can't save the world -
> yet!
>
> I base this on the old political saw of "all politics is local". AND I
> base this on the Board of Supervisors having a foreign policy agenda
> and lots of people I know get disgusted with the supervisors issuing
> foreign policy resolutions instead of tending to their knitting.
>
> As an example of this stupidity a little ways back Fiona Ma wanted the
> City to recognize the old flag of the Republic of Vietnam the yellow
> one with the red stripes. This is no longer a valid flag but the
> Supervisors said okay and started an international brouhaha. DOH!
>
> When we select an issue or issues let's try to keep it local with
> local impact and local tangible results. Leave the broad sweeping
> issues of a national or statewide basis alone because we can not
> change the broad issues until we change the yahoos in Congress and
> Sacramento.
>
> Let's change something we can change here in the City on a civil
> liberties - civil rights basis. This issue or issues must
> be Libertarian oriented and be attractive to the group of San
> Franciscans who go and vote on election day.
>
> Also keep in mind this will be the Nov. 2006 ballot which will include
> 5 Supervisors districts up for election and the civil liberties issue
> or issues could be used as an issue for or against candidates to
> promote them or embarass them.
>
> Bella Abzug once said, "Politics is grand theater".
>
> Let's have the LPSF put on a real show!!!
>
> Ron Getty
> SF Libertarian
>
> Starchild wrote:
>
> Let's post suggestions to the list. I'd like to see what people come
> up with, and discuss the ideas as a group. Here are a few possible
> topics for civil liberties initiatives that I think could appeal to
> significant portions of the left:
>
> -a resolution against the PATRIOT Act
> -a measure limiting police power or making police more accountable,
> etc.
> -a pro-nightlife measure (e.g. make it easier for clubs to stay open 24
> hours)
> -a resolution against the war on drugs
> -a pro-immigrant measure (e.g. eliminate enforcement against
> undocumented persons driving without a license, unlicensed day labor,
> etc.)
> -repeal law making it illegal to sleep/live in your vehicle
> -repeal laws restricting skateboarding, rollerblading
> -repeal fees for amplified sound permits, other charges for free speech
> -repeal health codes required for feeding the homeless
> -a measure allowing bath houses to open again
> -a measure deprioritizing enforcement of laws against prostitution and
> unlicensed massage
> -a resolution against the use of torture, and supporting the
> application of Geneva Convention rights to all prisoners
> -repeal the law against public nudity
> -repeal the youth curfew laws
>
> As to *why* it would be good to pursue a civil liberties initiative
> that will appeal to the left, here are a few reasons:
>
> -because a majority of San Francisco voters lean to the left; we want
> to speak their language
> -because it will help us cultivate a reputation for the LP as being
> truly independent and a middle voice in a polarized society
> -because it can help keep the Libertarian Party from falling into a
> vicious cycle of becoming more conservative, like a ship taking on
> water to starboard, until it sinks
> -because *most* civil liberties issues would hold more appeal for
> leftists than for right-wingers; why a bias toward the exceptions?
> -because issues such as those listed above stand on their libertarian
> merits as surely as does a payroll tax repeal, so why not?
> -because some people might be turned on to freedom if we show its
> connection to things they see as positive social values (e.g.
> sexuality, nightlife, immigration, helping the homeless, etc.) and not
> just to things they see as negative social values (e.g. money and guns)
> -because we need more artists, fiction writers, musicians, performers,
> energized young idealists, students, women, minorities, and creative
> people in the movement, and people in these categories tend to lean
> more to the left
>
> Yours in liberty,
> <<< Starchild >>>
>
> > Hi Ron,
> >
> > I am wondering if you would like suggestions on the proposed civil
> > liberties initiative from the whole membership. If so, would you like
> > the suggestions to be on the lpsf activists list or made to your own
> > e-mail as Initiative Chair.
> >
> > Thanks again for all the work you have done.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Marcy
> >
> > --- In lpsf-activists@yahoogroups.com, Ron Getty
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > Dear Starchild;
> > >
> > > What civil liberties issues are you proposing? Secondly, why the
> > stressed emphasis on appealing to the left in such issues? Civil
> > liberty issues do not of necessity have to of necessity left leaning
> > even in SF.
> > >
> > > However, what list of civil liberty issues would you propose to
> > be considered for discussion?
> > >
> > > Would these cover: Human rights? Ethic rights? Ethnic rights?
> > Moral rights? Sexual rights? Social rights? Religious rights?
> > >
> > > What are the issues we as Libertarians in SF could either sponsor
> > or co-sponsor which would highlight Libertarianism in SF and
> > spotlight the LPSF and attract voters to our LPSF cause and
> > membership in SF?
> > >
> > > Yes I did fully understand the point you were making at the
> > meeting. However, I and I am certain others would need some input
> > from yourself where you articulate the civil liberty issues and
> > provide some elucidation on what you would wish to have us consider
> > and why those issues.
> > >
> > > Then from that list of issues which I am certain after some good
> > sensible discussion we would winnow it down to a couple issues. Then
> > for some final solid discussion and bringing forth at the next LPSF
> > meeting for a vote of endorsement on the motion for the civil
> > liberties initiative.
> > >
> > > I am all ears awaiting your e-mail.
> > >
> > > Ron Getty
> > > SF Libertarian
> > >
> > > Starchild wrote:
> > > Ron,
> > >
> > > I personally worked to oppose Proposition H, and am a strong
> > supporter
> > > of the right to keep and bear arms, but that's beside the point. A
> > gun
> > > rights initiative is NOT the kind of measure that will appeal to
> > most
> > > people on the left. There are lots of different potential civil
> > > liberties issues we could take on which would fit the bill, but
> > this is
> > > not one of them. I thought you understood the point I was making at
> > the
> > > meeting today, but now I am not so sure.
> > >
> > > Yours in liberty,
> > > <<< Starchild >>>
> > >
> > > > Dear Everyone;
> > > >
> > > > At this afternoons LPSF meeting it was moved and seconded and
> > endorsed
> > > > to consider a three initiative program. 2 economic issues -
> > > > the payroll tax repeal and the salary cap along with a civil
> > libreties
> > > > initiative. Here's one proposed civil liberties initiative.
> > > >
> > > > Both the Examiner and the Chronicle this week have had letters to
> > the
> > > > editor published about the SF hand gun ban and how opposed they
> > were
> > > > to this. Other letters have also been published in both
> > > > newspapers since the handgun ban was passed.
> > > >
> > > > While the court challenge is pending we could consider a a repeal
> > of
> > > > the handgun ban as a civil liberties issue as discussed at this
> > > > afternoons LPSF meeting.
> > > >
> > > > While we ourselves do not have to sponsor we certainly could be a
> > > > strong co-sponsor along with the Pink Pistols and the RKBA or
> > similar
> > > > organization.
> > > >
> > > > The following is a sample proposed initiative written in the
> > language
> > > > so near and dear to everyone whoever placed an initiative on the
> > > > ballot with all the rhetorical hyberbole of the Chris Daly
> > > > anti-handgun proposition.
> > > >
> > > > Ron Getty
> > > > Chairman Tax Initiaitive Committee
> > >
> >
>
> >
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> >
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> >
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> > lpsf-activists-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
> >
> > + Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
> Service.
> >
>
> >
>

>
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