Clearing the Air

There are probably 4 or 5 “flavors” of Democrats (or left leaning folks, in general). You have moderates, socialists, “democratic socialists” (not gonna lie, that term gives me a headache), old school Southern Democrats, Wall Street Democrats, and so on. I doubt a moderate Democrat would be too stoked about being called a Marxist or a socialist, right? 

Well, I’m a Republican. I’m not a corporatist Republican nor a religious right Republican nor a Tea Party Republican (whatever that means now) nor a Wall Street Republican. I’m a libertarian leaning Republican. I believe that every individual has the right to pursue their own happiness, whether they are straight, gay, green, blue or purple. I believe that the government needs to leave people alone from a social standpoint, spend as little of our money as possible (and as defined by the Constitution), and stay out of the business of using religion to drive public policy. Believe it or not, most of the younger Republicans I run into feel the same way. Before you say that makes me a Libertarian (with a capital L), it doesn’t. The reality of this country is that we currently have the best chance of advancing an ideology within one of the two major parties. I think my energy is best spent advancing liberty in a similar manner as Rand Paul and the rest of the liberty caucus Republicans. I don’t even align 100% with those guys. I probably don’t align 100% with ANYONE and that’s okay. Note: I was a dues paying Libertarian for almost a year until I realized that’s an entirely different can of worms and it’s not for me. Power to the folks who fight that fight, though. 

The GOP is a hot mess right now. To be fair, the Democrat Party is almost an equal sized dumpster fire, too. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. The old guard needs to go and that’s going to take a long time. We need to survive the Trump Administration and start putting more libertarian minded Republicans in office. This will be a long and slow process, but our government is designed to move slowly in order to avoid the whims of the masses. 

I see all this shit talking and friendships being torn apart because of political affiliation and it’s, quite frankly, stupid. Hell, if I avoided everyone with different views than my own, I’d have an extremely short list of Christmas cards to send out. And if I shunned all the bands that didn’t align with my political beliefs, I’d probably be stuck listening to Nashville country and Michale Graves. I prefer to think that I’m adult enough to hear something I disagree with, process it, and file it away without having a toddler sized tantrum.  

So, with all of that , I’m not going to hide my opinions and I’m not going to be vague about my affiliations any longer, simply because of the mess that the GOP is in right now. I wouldn’t expect you to hide because the Democrat Party is woefully out of touch, arrogant and fractured, either. 
So next time you get all high and mighty about people you “hate” – remember that it’s probably a guy you’ve played in a band with, or watched perform on stage, or turned wrenches with on a hot rod, or stood beside at a punk rock show (and, years ago, crashed into in a pit) or just had a beer with and talked about nothing and laughed a little bit.

So, you can hate and purge your social media accounts all day and that’s perfectly fine with me. I’m gonna have a beer, hang out with my wife, work on my hot rod, and lose what’s left of my hearing at a punk rock show. You might even see me letting my freak flag fly. If you do, feel free to wave yours, too, even if it looks different than mine. 

VIDEO: Eric July Talks Music, Libertarian Politics and Developing a Brand

By: Dave Cox

I had the pleasure of sitting down with singer, MC, political commentator, lecturer, activist and all around Ancap badass, Eric July, in our home neighborhood of Oak Cliff in Dallas, Texas.

Here’s a summary of the things we discussed; from his politics, to the falling out with his old band, to his upcoming record release with his new band, Backwordz, and a LOT more. You’re going to want to watch this video!

Transcript:

Dave: Both major political parties are making a rift in America that continues to grow.

Eric: “Non-Aggression, Voluntarism… We shouldn’t agress upon others just to be doing it – and being positive and being able to change people’s lives. That’s why I’m here”

Dave: Eric July is trying to right the ship in US politics with music and media.

Eric:  “That to me is what it’s about – being able to set that scene and telling you where I came from.”

Eric: “What’s good everybody,  I’m Eric July – frontman for Backwordz… Backwordz is really just everything coming together. Me as a political commentator, me as an MC… loving hardcore growing up, loving punk rock and metal. We’ve also got some hardcore MC-ing going down.”

Dave: Running track in college and running in gangs – those are just a few things July drew inspiration from. You can see it in their new music video for the song, “Be Great.” You also see him fire back at his last group, Fire From the Gods.

Eric: “The idea of what was actually asked of me was that they wanted me to be a ghostwriter.” He couldn’t take a back seat, so he left the band.  “I really just wasn’t comfortable with that considering the type of material that I wrote with Fire.  Those are things that come straight from the heart.”

Dave: But what inspired his tribute to his old band was what they did to the last song he recorded with them, “Eat.”

Eric: “They just, literally, re-recorded the song and plugged cuss words in there, because I don’t cuss in my rhymes, to try to make it a slight lyric change. Top to bottom I wrote that song and they just re-did it without my consent and just put it out there.”

Dave: July’s style isn’t your typical rap metal. He changed the culture of hardcore with his political rhymes. There’s no way his style could be mimicked.

Eric: “Just from a musician’s standpoint, it is the whackest thing that I’ve ever seen – the corniest thing I’ve ever seen – of a musician. Not even up for debate – the corniest thing that I’ve ever seen.”

Dave: Doing band business independently is very important to July.

Eric: “We started getting offers. We straight up got offers and we declined them because Backwordz is a brand and a message that we stand behind.”

Dave: They’re self-releasing their new record in partnership with Stay Sick Recordings 2017.

Eric: “You see the shirt [the shirt says ‘Non-Aggression – Voluntaryism’] – we have an actual message and things that we believe in and music is more so just the driving force.”

Dave: The message in their music will reach a younger audience that may have never before been interested in politics.

Eric: “You’re impressing me when you go do a Fox News interview. You go write an article that got shared around by a lot of people. You go do some public speaking – a lecture or something – and you got your message out there and plant some seeds. That’s what’s impressive to me”

Dave: Cable TV, blogs, magazines – he’s done them all as a political commentator. Speaking his mind is second nature for July, but it hasn’t always been that way.

Eric: “I was both confused and, I ain’t going to lie, a little intimidated to be honest with you, because you have to understand the culture of blacks. Leftists have a political monopoly in these communities. A political monopoly is really what it is. I didn’t know about Libertarianism until I hit college. I had never heard the word – never ever heard the word. I was confused because this stuff is making sense, but how do I tell my family this? How do I tell my family that I came to this realization that government sucks?”

Dave: A punk rock theme many of us grew up with turned into political awareness when July went to college.

Eric: “Policies like minimum wage and a welfare state have… helped destroy black communities and black families.”

Dave: His key message is to NOT rely on the government.

Eric: “You know, it’s confusing because I’ve been led for… 19, 20 years of my life to believe one way.”

Dave: He also gets haters as a black Libertarian.

Eric: “It comes with the territory and you’ve got a target on your back. I get stripped down every day.  I’ll go to my messages right now and someone’s calling me the N word.  Black folks too, saying… ‘He’s an Uncle Tom. He’s a coon – a house nigga,’ is what they say.  They’re calling us all of these different terms not because I’m a Libertarian because I’m not a leftist. You can be a conservative – which I’m not. You can be a Libertarian, but as long as you’re not a leftist, you’re going to get called those names.”

Dave: His unique perspective growing up gangbanging, performing as MC YG Rippa and setting athletic records gives him a gift to open minds.

Eric: “I want somebody to come at me and call me one of those names and I’ll be like, ‘Well, you’re the one worshiping the same entity that you claim is suppressing you. Who’s really the Uncle Tome here?’”

Dave: Now, his words are more powerful than any diss track.

Eric: “If I’m going to claim to be real then I’m going to put it out there. Once I put it out there I got more comfortable and I didn’t get phased by all them folks talking down.”

Dave: One word describes Eric’s music and politics…

Eric: “One word – REAL.  You might not agree with it but you know that it’s us. You know that we’re getting out there – we’re putting this music out. You hear me write a lyric, you hear me lay it down, you know it’s real. You know I’m coming to you and I’m being honest with you. You know what I mean? I’m being for real with you. And THAT’S what it’s about!”

Geography Lessons From Donald Trump [VIDEO]

By: Dave Cox

Donald Trump mentioned several times that Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, was from New Jersey, and then brushed it off and kept plowing away because it’s important to keep moving forward, even when facts get in the way of the narrative.  To bad Chris Christie wasn’t there to help him.

I really only have two questions to ask about this clip:

  1. 18 months ago, would anyone have thought that Donald Trump had a legitimate chance a becoming the President of the United States of America?
  2. Would anyone believe that Donald Trump would only be the SECOND worst candidate running for President in 2016?

Somebody please wake me up when this nightmare is over! Giant Meteor 2016!!

Medical Marijuana is Reducing Prescription Drug Use and Corporations are Angry

If you’re looking for an example of the misguided nature of big government, the drug war and corporatism, look no further than the medical marijuana. In a new article from The Washington Post, research has shown that prescriptions for painkillers and anti-anxiety medication are down in states where medical marijuana is an option. Guess who’s fighting it? The pharma industry, of course.

So, where does that put us now? We have a natural product that is inexpensive and easy to grow.  Solid scientific research shows people are helped significantly by it, from pain to anxiety to nausea to cancer treatment and much more, yet pharma corporations are lobbying the government in an attempt to keep it illegal. Ensuring that it remains illegal feeds the drug war which feeds our appetite for big government. There might not be a better example of our current state of government than this. Corporations have the power to lobby the government to create laws that benefit the corporations. The government buys in to it because they can grow and retain power over free thinking adults and feed the prison industry. The prison industry then grows as we continue to incarcerate people for minor drug crimes. This keeps the prison industry churning along, so THEY also lobby to continue the war on drugs so they can keep their facilities full and keep the payments coming in. It’s a dysfunctional Lion King movie where the screwed up circle of life is finally complete.medical

This is not an endorsement of marijuana use at all. That’s a personal decision for adults to make. This is an endorsement of keeping the government out of our lives and stopping corporations from determining policies that affect you and I.  A link to the article is shown below – please have a look and let me know what you think.

 

Source:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/07/13/one-striking-chart-shows-why-pharma-companies-are-fighting-legal-marijuana/

Group Seeks To Ban Medical Errors

By: Dave Cox

A newly formed advocacy group SHAME (Sad Humans Against Medical Errors) is testifying before Congress this week in light of a recent study that lists “Medical Errors” as the third leading cause of death in the United States. As part of their testimony, SHAME is expected to push for legislation that bans medical errors and makes it a Federal crime, punishable by 5-10 years in prison. The group’s spokesman, A.R. Quince, told reporters that, “Medical errors must stop. More than 250,000 people die each year as the result of errors committed under the care of a physician. If we can take the bold step of simply banning medical errors, we can dramatically make our society a safer place.”

When asked why his group chose not to take on heart disease or cancer, the top 2 causes of death in the United States, Quince responded that, “It’s impractical to try and ban a disease because of all the research that would be required, but medical errors are another thing altogether. The simple step of making medical errors illegal will have an immediate impact and will save lives. Also, if you go to our web site, you can order a SHAME t-shirt or bumper sticker to show everyone that you will not stand for one more medical error.”

SHAME has also proposed a 15 day waiting period on new surgical procedures and a Federal requirement to register all pre-existing conditions in a national database, but only for statistical purposes.

Source:

Washington Post: Medical Errors Now Third Leading Cause of Death in United States

Why I Left The Libertarian Party

By: Dave Cox

NOTE: This article was originally submitted for publication in Liberty Viral, but was not published for obvious reasons. There are some awesome folks over there doing great things and I encourage you to check them out. Links are provided below.  

I have decided to leave the Libertarian Party at a time when lots of other folks are flocking there in droves. Does it mean I will stop believing in personal liberty? Absolutely not! Does it mean I will stop supporting liberty minded candidates? No. Am I going to vote for Gary Johnson? Probably. Does it mean I will stop being a dues paying Libertarian? Absolutely. Does it mean I am going to take a step back from what I have seen in the liberty and, specifically, the upper case Libertarian movement? Definitely.

My political and personal journey has been a long one. As a kid, I played in punk bands and generally supported anything that would cause chaos. At the same time, I still always had an attraction to conservative politics, minus the social dogma that often went along with it. By my mid 20’s, I was an active Republican and even worked on some Republican campaigns in Virginia. As I put myself through college, had kids, and generally had more free time to ponder life, I evolved into a liberty leaning Republican and then a libertarian minded independent as the GOP became too fixated on social policy. Fast forward a couple of decades to this year’s Presidential race. I knew there was no way in hell I was going to support Dumb or Dumber from the two big parties, so I started looking at alternatives.  Constitution Party? Nope. They’re basically old school conservative Republicans who believe in fiscal and (most) personal liberty but with a big dose of religion to top it off. Green Party? Ummmmm, no. Social dogma from the left is just as bad  as social dogma from the right. Libertarian? Why not?!? I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012 and had voted Libertarian in a few other races in the past as well. This ragtag group looked like my people. Punks, geeks, political nerds, anarchists (and so many other -ists that will make your head spin) all seemed to form this unlikely alliance of liberty minded individuals and it drew me in. I ended up volunteering for the 2016 Austin Petersen Libertarian Presidential Campaign as his Texas Campaign Coordinator and I spent countless hours spreading his message of liberty. I have a great deal of respect for Austin and will continue to, even as I make my transition into the unaffiliated political abyss.  My networking also led to a writing gig as a contributor for Liberty Viral .

IMG_6339

Now that my boring background in politics has been mapped out, let’s talk about what brought me to the point of shutting things down, both from the liberty movement and from contributing to Liberty Viral:

1. The Libertarian Party is Just Like Every Other Political Party

The Libertarian Party sure looked like a good home for this stubborn, gun toting, socially tolerant, educated, aging punk who has a couple college degrees and likes to keep as much of his hard earned money as possible. So, what happened? I’ve been around the block a few times and I know I’m not going to agree with everyone on everything. I’m DEFINITELY not going to agree with any political party’s entire platform. That would just be weird, or at least too much of a herd mentality for someone like me. What I didn’t expect was the hate and vitriol that permeated much of the campaign season – and this was going on between members of the same party. I know the Libertarian Party is quite different in that it includes a lot of different factions, but the behavior bordered on outright silly at best, and vile at worst, all the way through (and after) the convention. Seriously, if I wanted back stabbing and drama I would have just gone back to the GOP!

2. Lots and Lots of Bitching 

I had about eight different wordings for this header, but this one ultimately summed it up the best. As I started adding Libertarian “friends” on various social media sites, I realized that my feed was chock full o’ endless whining and almost zero tangible solutions. Hell, I even caught myself doing the exact same thing a few times. It’s really fucking easy to say you want to abolish the government, or end the Fed, or privatize everything, or eliminate all taxes, but it’s another thing altogether to propose a tangible way to get there. If you’re going to bitch and moan about everything and offer no real solutions, you might as well save yourself some time and just register as a Democrat. Seriously. Side note about the whole bitching complaint: Calling everyone you disagree with a “statist” accomplishes absolutely nothing. In my time as a dues paying Libertarian, I’ve been called everything from a “statist” to a LINO (Libertarian in Name Only) to a Republican infiltrator. Do I care? Not really. It’s kind of fun to see people get so riled up that they resort to name calling. On the other hand, it’s not a great way to build a legitimate political party, much less a political movement that needs supporters to be relevant. In addition, there are quite a few members of the party who don’t even WANT it to be relevant. They want to forward the ideas, but not focus on winning. I can’t wrap my head around that. There are some wonderful folks in the Libertarian Party, but they often get overshadowed by the whining assholes.

3. Dallas

Many of my reservations about parts of the liberty movement came to fruition during the recent execution of police officers in Dallas. I live in Dallas (very close to where the shootings took place) and I have family members who work in law enforcement. I know my sister-in-law will stay strong for her husband as he goes to work patrolling the streets of Fort Worth, while she will probably have to try to unwrap that knot in her stomach, all while he gladly goes back out there to put his life on the line to help keep us safe. I remember the decades of my brother missing family vacations when he was a homicide detective because he was called in for an investigation or the risks he took serving as a SWAT Team leader. I watch my son, who is about to turn 21, seriously ponder going into law enforcement himself. I know that I will have that same knot in my stomach as his shift starts and one day he will have a wife and children who will pray for his safety as he risks his life to make our city safer. What I saw coming from the liberty movement in the aftermath of these shootings included the sickeningly overt things like memes saying “12 Terrorists Shot in Dallas” to slightly more subtle things like “If you work for the state these things can happen” (see the whole statist messaging happening again?) to the wry, but equally disturbing, veiled approval of what happened. I’ve seen many libertarians (upper case and lower case) say things to the effect of, “I don’t condone the death of these officers because of the NAP (I could write a fucking novel about the non-aggression principle), BUT (blah, blah, blah)….” My tipping point was actually an opinion piece on Liberty Viral called, “Exposing Blue Privilege: America’s True Protected Class.” Sorry, I’m not going to link it here but you can find it. The lack of respect for human dignity that accompanied the release of that article just a couple of days after the shootings in Dallas left me physically ill. I read it over and over again trying to find a satirical bend to it or a twinge of irony, but it wasn’t there. Should the publication that I contribute to be able to release whatever they want? Of course! Do I have to agree with everything that my publication releases? Hell no! I do, however, expect a little human decency. Statists didn’t die in Dallas. Evil doers didn’t die in Dallas (except for the asshole who did the shooting). Fathers died. Sons died. Sisters and daughters and friends died. More importantly, people who take an oath to protect the public died while protecting peoples’ right to protest against THEM!! Would it be too much to wait a little while before going there?

Parting Thoughts

If this article gets published by Liberty Viral, I will fully expect to get called all the names that I mentioned above plus a slew of new and very clever ones because libertarians are smart and creative folks. I’ll get some nasty comments made online and will probably receive some private messages as well. I’ll get unfriended by some and some people will show support. That’s fine. I really don’t care too much, except that I do care. I really wanted this to be my new home, both in the Libertarian Party and at Liberty Viral. It’s not and that’s okay. I’ll pull up my big boy panties and keep on keeping on. What I ask of libertarians is this: Try to stay positive. The message of liberty is one of hope, individualism and hard work. Don’t attack people just because their brand of liberty is a little different than yours. Offer solutions and stop bitching. You can’t get from A to Z without visiting the other 24 letters in between. In utopia, you can jump right to the last chapter. In the real world, you have to get there in increments and even compromise (gasp!) sometimes. Finally, don’t let your quest for liberty let you forget about the sanctity of ALL human life – even those “statists” in blue uniforms.

I’m outta here. Keep fighting the good fight and know that I’ll be out there, independently, doing the same thing. And hey, vote for Gary Johnson. He’s not perfect by any stretch, but the thought of him in the Oval Office doesn’t give me cold chills like the other two.