LPM Online

June 12, 2001

Contents

  1. Upcoming Events
  2. LPM DIRECTORY
  3. ANOTHER PRINTING OF PETITIONS IS NOW AVAILABLE
  4. End the Selective Service Now!
  5. GOING TO THE FAIR!
  6. Selling Us a Sales Tax Bill of Goods (Add 6%)

  1. Upcoming Events

    June 12, 2001 - 7:00 PM
    LP of Oakland County Executive Committee Meeting. All dues-paying members are welcome. Business begins at 7:00 PM.
    Location: LPM Headquarters, 619 East Nine Mile in Hazel Park, just east of I-75.
    Contact: Chris Pellerito Phone: (248) 373-9411 E-mail: chair@lpocmi.org

    June 13, 2001 - 6:30 PM
    Libertarians of Macomb County monthly meeting. Drinks and dinner at 6:30 PM, business begins at 7:00 PM.
    Location: Miles World Resturant, 17689 Masonic, Fraser, MI 48026, 810-415-4500.
    Contact: Diane Barnes Phone: (810) 774-1625 E-mail: dbarnes98@aol.com

    June 14, 2001 - 7:00 PM
    The Ballot Access Restoration Committee meets the second and fourth Thursday every month -- until we submit petition signatures to the Bureau of Elections to be certified to once again be able to run Libertarian candidates in partisan races. All LPM members are welcome to attend and help with both the planning and execution of our petition drive.
    Location: LPMHQ, 619 E. 9 Mile, Hazel Park (just east of I-75)
    Contact: Nancy O'Brien Phone: (313) 562-5778 E-mail: nobrien321@home.com

    June 19, 2001 - 7:00 PM
    Libertarians of Allegan County monthly meeting. LPM vice-chair Ghazey Aleck will be our guest speaker. We will be planning our petition activities for the upcoming Allegan Bridgefest celebration.
    Location: Blue Heron Coffeeshop on the Riverfront in downtown Allegan. The entrance to the Riverfront parking is at the corner of Hubbard and Chestnut. Drive down and park behind Dockerty's. The Blue Heron is right next door to Docherty's, entrance on the riverfront.
    Contact: Rick Dutkiewicz Phone: (616) 673-5503 E-mail: rdoogie@datawise.net

    June 20, 2001
    Monthly meeting of the St. Clair County affiliate.
    Location: Figaro's is located at 1503 11th Street, Port Huron, MI 48060. TX: (810) 987-3588. Join us for dinner at 6:00 PM. Business begins at 7:00 PM.
    Contact: Richard Friend Phone: (810) 982-7178 E-mail: rfriend@advnet.net

    June 21, 2001 - 7:00 AM
    Regular monthly meeting of the Berrien County Libertarian Party.
    Location: Conference room of the Berrien Springs Public Library, located across from the Old County Courthouse in Berrien Springs MI
    Contact: Glenn Whitt, Secretary Phone: (616) 473-2764 E-mail: trombonist1@juno.com

    June 21, 2001 - 7:00 PM
    Monthly meeting of the Van Buren County affiliate.
    Location: CT's Restaurant, South Haven, on the corner of M-140 and Blue Star Highway. Join us for dinner at 6:30pm.
    Contact: Bill Bradley Phone: (616) 637-4525 E-mail: bbradley@cybersol.com

    June 23, 2001
    Allegan BridgeFest Celebration, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, featuring parading and petitioning by the Libertarians of Allegan County. Also music, kiddy rides, food, and fun.
    Location: On The RiverFront in Downtown Allegan
    Contact: Rick Dutkiewicz Phone: (616) 673-5503 E-mail: rdoogie@datawise.net

    June 24, 2001 - 1:00 PM
    The Libertarian Party of Shiawassee County would like to invite you to join us for a Celebration of Summer! Not a Fundraiser! Not a Political Event! Just an opportunity to relax and enjoy the company of friends! What to bring: Your choice of beverage; your choice of meat to throw on the barbie (hamburgers will be provided); any other food you want; your friends; your kids; your neighbors... Cards, Frisbees, Fishing gear.... Itís up to you! Letís have some fun! Call for directions. (Participation in event is purely voluntary; the LPSC assumes liability for NOTHING)
    Location: Shiatown Park in rural Shiawassee County
    Contact: Ben Steele III Phone: (989) 288-5616 E-mail: bsteele1@tir.com

    June 26, 2001 - 6:00 PM
    The monthly membership meeting of the Ottawa County Libertarian Party. Business meeting starts at 7:00.
    Location: The Denny's in Holland off of US 31
    Contact: Roger L. Bouwman Phone: (616) 218-2616 E-mail: chair@oclp.org

    More
    For more events, see the online calendar at:
    http://www.michiganlp.org/lpmonline/events.php

  2. LPM DIRECTORY by Ghazey Aleck

    I am presently compiling the information to print the 2001-2002 Directory for the LPM. All local LP's and State officers are requested to provide me updated officers addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses for inclusion in the Directory. Send them to Ghazey Aleck at aleckfamily@voyager.net or call 517-386-5407 after 6 p.m. Thank you!

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  3. ANOTHER PRINTING OF PETITIONS IS NOW AVAILABLE by Ghazey Aleck

    The Committee of the LPM has made another printing of petitions. The new printing of petitions are the petitions officially approved by the Michigan Board of Canvassers on May 15, 2001. The LPM has been using an unofficial version of this petition and now we would like to convert over to using the officially approved version only. This conversion is merely an attempt to be prudent in cutting down on the possibility of any challenge to our petition drive to get the LPM back on the ballot.

    Please immediately turn in all of the signatures that you have collected on the unofficial petition (the one with the sample signature). They can still be added to the total signatures ultimately submitted to the Secretary of State. At the same time, please turn in the unused petitions that have the sample signature on them. You can immediately obtain the officially approved petitons at the Headquarters 248-591-FREE or by calling Ghazey Aleck at 989-386-2699. Thank you.

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  4. End the Selective Service Now! by Marc Brandl

    The Libertarian Party has launched an online campaign to end draft registration. The campaign website is:

    http://www.EndSelectiveService.org

    Since 1980, every male aged 18 to 26 has had to register with the Selective Service System (SSS). Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has introduced HR 1597 to eliminate this program -- a program that:

    * Is increasingly being used to violate people's privacy.
    * Is not necessary for America's defense.
    * Is incompatible with the principles of a free society.

    The SSS has few friends on Capitol Hill or in the Pentagon, yet continues to survive, hidden away in the bureaucratic maze of federal agencies. In 1999, a similar bill introduced by Rep. Paul almost passed -- with little input from citizens in favor of eliminating the program. WITH your voice and the voices of tens of thousands of other citizens, we can end Selective Service. Simply go to http://www.EndSelectiveService.org and send a letter to your Congressperson, asking him or her to support HR 1597.

    Here's why you should support this campaign:

    DRAFT REGISTRATION VIOLATES PRIVACY

    * Young men who register have their personal information distributed to dozens of federal, state and local government agencies -- including the IRS, INS, DMV and Departments of Education and Defense -- without their consent and, often, without their knowledge.

    * Seven states (AR, OK, DE, GA, HI, AL and UT) now require young men to register in order to obtain (or renew) their driver's licenses, and 23 other states are currently considering such legislation.

    * In the event of war, the SSS is ready to draft all medical personnel 55 years and under.

    * The penalties for refusing to fight if drafted, and for going AWOL, are miniscule compared to those for failing to register. Selective Service is more concerned with getting you on the government's "mailing list" than with preparing for some future war.

    THE DRAFT AND REGISTRATION ARE UNNECESSARY TO DEFEND AMERICA

    Former President Bill Clinton stated that the draft was necessary as "a relatively low cost 'insurance policy' against our underestimating the maximum level of threat we expect our Armed Forces to face..." But the Pentagon and many pro-military politicians disagree:

    * Citing the success of the all volunteer military, the Pentagon concluded: "...it is highly unlikely that we will have to reinstate the draft in the foreseeable future... [P]eacetime draft registration could be suspended without irreparable damage to national security." From the "Report to the President and Congress: A Review of the Continued Requirement for Draft Registration," December 1993.

    * Senator John McCain (R-AZ) concurs, adding that "...our new military requires a great deal of training, a great deal of expertise, and technological skills that, frankly, don't lend themselves to a short-term draft."

    * The Pentagon also noted that conscripts, to be used ffectively, take several months of training, and can't even be trained until volunteers are done going through training. In today's fast-paced world of conflict, most wars are over in the time it would take the first trained conscript to hit the battlefield.

    * Even during the Cold War, the necessity (and utility) of a draft was dubious. As President Reagan observed at the time, "The Soviets can tell the difference between computer lists of inexperienced young men and new weapons systems, a million-man reserve, and an experienced army."

    * Most European and other developed countries have dropped the draft in recent years. They realize that an effective military means using a highly trained, all volunteer army.

    If additional troops are needed for a conflict, our well-trained reserves can be mobilized much more quickly and cheaply than scarcely trained draftees.

    Clinton's "insurance policy" is neither needed nor desired.

    THE DRAFT IS UN-AMERICAN

    * "Conscription is not part of the American dream. It is not part of the American philosophy. It is not part of liberty. It is a totalitarian notion. Congress has the authority to raise an army, but it does not have the constitutional authority to enslave a certain group to bear the brunt of the fighting. A society that cherishes liberty will easily find volunteer defenders if it is attacked. A free society that cannot find those willing to defend itself without coercion cannot survive, and probably does not deserve to." -- Rep. Paul in House debate.

    * "[T]he most fundamental objection to draft registration is moral... a draft or draft registration destroys the very values that our society is committed to defending." -- Ronald Reagan.

    SELECTIVE SERVICE IS A COLD WAR LEFTOVER THAT NEEDS TO BE THROWN AWAY

    Most people probably think the draft died with Vietnam, but its specter still haunts us today. We need your help to exorcise this demon -- and we need it NOW. Unlike 30 years ago, we have a chance to end draft registration BEFORE it claims its FIRST victim. And, regardless of whether anyone is ever drafted again, $25 million is being wasted every year on an unnecessary program that violates privacy on a massive scale.

    Don't wait, help us end the draft TODAY! Go to:

    http://www.EndSelectiveService.org

    Sign the petition, write your representatives about HR 1597, and forward this e-mail to friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, or other people you know who might be interested. (But please don't send it indiscriminately; spam will only hurt our campaign.)

    Sincerely,
    Marc Brandl
    Libertarian Party Campus Coordinator
    MarcBrandl@hq.lp.org

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  5. GOING TO THE FAIR! by Ghazey Aleck

    The Clare-Gladwin LP has obtained space for a booth at the Clare County Fair in Harrison, MI for July 29 thru August 4, 2001. This is a big Fair for the Mid-Michigan area. CGLP has been on a waiting list and has just been informed of being accepted. Once in the Fair, CGLP will retain the space each year until we decide to give it up. So, if you are in the area or at the Fair, stop by and see us! We should be able to get MANY signatures for the petition drive during this week so if anyone can find the time to lend a hand, please contact Ghazey Aleck at 989-386-2699.

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  6. Selling Us a Sales Tax Bill of Goods (Add 6%) by Tim O'Brien

    The following article is the latest in a series of Op-ed articles written by LPM Executive Director Tim O'Brien and submitted to news outlets across the state for publication.

    If there is one, universal, defining characteristic of politicians, it would have to be: covetousness.

    Nothing drives a politician to distraction faster than the prospect that some money might be trading hands somewhere without the government getting a piece of the action.

    The consummate incarnation of this effort to skim off of every transaction is the sales tax. In fact, elected officials are so enamored of this source of revenue that they have shamelessly pursued expansion of its application in ways that strain even contemporary credulity.

    Consider, for instance, the sales tax attack on our state's most important product -- the automobile.

    Suppose you buy even a modest new car for, say, $16,000. From an historical perspective this is really quite a bargain, given all of the creativity, resources and labor that goes into producing a vehicle that can safely and comfortably whisk you across several states in a single day.

    But open your checkbook a bit wider. You will also have to fork over another $1,000 to the state government -- which contributed nothing to the production of your new car. The extra $1,000 essentially gets you a purchase permit.

    What if you buy the car in another state? Or even don't buy it at all but, instead, merely lease it? No Michigan sale, no Michigan sales tax, right? As TV pundit Charles McLaughlin would say: "Wrong!" They thought of that. And created a corresponding "use" tax for such circumstances to make sure the government still gets its cut.

    And if you expect any credit for the tax already paid on your trade-in, you obviously aren't appreciating the depths of the politicians' avarice. This isn't about equity. It's about opportunity. There is no credit for taxes previously paid on a vehicle when it is resold.

    But you won't encounter the most crass example of government greed until you take that new car to your local gas station for a fill-up. There you will notice that the state has tacked the 6% sales tax onto the final price of a gallon of gasoline. A price that already includes a 19 cent state tax. That's right. More than a penny of the sales tax you pay on every gallon of gasoline you buy is not even on the gasoline. It is a tax on the tax!

    How is that for unvarnished rapacity?

    Now comes much wailing and gnashing of teeth in Lansing over the money that is allegedly being "lost" because the people are increasingly making purchases over the Internet. (In point of fact, of course, no money is evaporating into the ether. It is simply remaining in the pockets of the people who actually earned it. The only thing that is being lost is the politicians' chance to rake in a 6% windfall and spend the money as they see fit.)

    The problem for state pols in attempting to leech off of e-commerce is a little stumbling block called the United States Constitution. This annoying document limits the enforcement authority of the individual states to within their own borders. And it prohibits them from interfering with interstate commerce -- including e-type -- by, for instance, slapping a tariff on goods produced in other states.

    Senator Joanne Emmons (R-Big Rapids) has sponsored and already shepherded through her Senate Finance committee and the Senate itself a bill to circumvent this little difficulty. The legislation would send Michigan representatives to a National Council of State Legislatures meeting where they would be authorized to negotiate an interstate compact -- a reciprocal agreement that would permit collection and remittance of sales and use taxes among all of the signatory states. A sort of you-shakedown-our-residents-and-we'll-shakedown-yours deal.

    Although the legislation is strongly supported by Governor John "31 Tax Cuts" Engler and is said by insiders to be on a fast-track, it still faces some additional obstacles.

    For one thing, SB-433 has yet to be formally introduced in the state house (where stiffer opposition than in the senate is anticipated).

    For another, the drafters of that pesky US Constitution anticipated the possibility that states might attempt this kind of "end-run" around the Interstate Commerce clause and also included in Article I, Section 10 a prohibition against states entering into such Agreements or Compacts without the consent of congress. A hurdle that may yet prove problematic.

    Then, there's the fact that in order to unify the administration of diverse sales and use taxes, the numerous state codes themselves will have to be standardized in a way that is broad enough to encompass all variations.

    That means caps and exemptions (such as our state's exempting food and medicine) and limits on application (such as our state's not applying the tax to services) could ultimately be eliminated.

    So, they ostensibly set out to tax Internet transactions. But could well end up extending the 6% sales and use tax to everything from groceries and antibiotics to haircuts and medical check-ups -- even if you don't have to cross state lines to get to your supermarket, pharmacy, barber or doctor.

    When the Almighty carved the last of his Ten Commandments in stone he must have had politicians in mind.

    Tim O'Brien is the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Michigan.

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