The Manchester Free Press

Monday • July 16 • 2018

Vol.X • No.XXIX

Manchester, N.H.

Formula For Failure - A Retrospective

Libertarian Leanings - Tue, 2018-07-03 13:29 +0000

George Packer's New Yorker article, Witnessing the Obama Presidency, from Start to Finish, is a look at the Obama presidency through the eyes of Ben Rhodes, Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser.  Rhodes has just written a book about it.

Ben Rhodes was the President’s speechwriter, foreign-policy adviser, and confidant. His book records the Administration’s struggle to shape its own narrative.

No doubt Packer considers the Obama presidency a success of historic proportions, and if there is any failure to be associated with it, it is a failure of the American people to fully appreciate and get behind Obama.  But the impact of Packer's article is that it explains the failures of the Obama Presidency, unintentionally of course.

Barack Obama was a writer before he became a politician, and he saw his Presidency as a struggle over narrative. “We’re telling a story about who we are,” he instructed his aide Ben Rhodes early in the first year of his first term. He said it again in his last months in office, on a trip to Asia—“I mean, that’s our job. To tell a really good story about who we are”—adding that the book he happened to be reading argued for storytelling as the trait that distinguishes us from other primates.

Seems a misguided theory that the United State presidency would be a struggle over narrative.  In retrospect it's a theory that fits the Obama presidency.  Think of ObamaCare as not so much an effort to improve health care than as a statement, a narrative: "This is who we are."  It went through congress and was signed into law on a strictly partisan vote with Republicans shut out of the negotiations.  It was Democrats saying who they were and who the Republicans were not.  When finally implemented — as much as it could be — health care costs went up instead of down as promised.  Some people were helped, and others — most — were not.  If you liked your health care plan, you could not keep your health insurance plan, as Obama had promised.  And if you liked your doctor, you couldn't necessarily keep your doctor, as Obama had promised.  Your doctor had to be part of your new health insurance network that replaced the one you couldn't keep because it didn't meet Obama's requirements — like men having to be covered for birth control pills.

The presidency as narrative is risky business when there is an ever changing narrative, especially when elements of it seemed to have a shorter and shorter shelf life.  But there is no doubting the centrality of narrative to Obama's presidency. 

Obama’s audience was both the American public and the rest of the world. His characteristic rhetorical mode was to describe and understand both sides of a divide—black and white, liberal and conservative, Muslim and non-Muslim—before synthesizing them into a unifying story that seemed to originate in and affirm his own.

Unfortunately, it was only in rhetorical mode that Obama understood both sides of a divide, but that was the narrative.  In reality, Obama had no interest in the any side of any divide other than his own.  This is a point that Packer himself inadvertently reinforced when he described the rise of Ben Rhodes.

The journalistic cliché of a “mind meld” doesn’t capture the totality of Rhodes’s identification with the President. He came to Obama with an M.F.A. in fiction writing from New York University and a few years on the staff of a Washington think tank. He became so adept at anticipating Obama’s thoughts and finding Obamaesque words for them that the President made him a top foreign-policy adviser, with a say on every major issue. Rhodes’s advice mostly took the form of a continuous effort to understand and apply the President’s thinking.

Rhodes brought nothing to the table other than a world view in lockstep with Obama's and a talent for putting it in grandiose words.  And that accounts for his meteoric rise in Washington politics.  Ben Rhodes didn't bring a specialized knowledge of foreign policy.  He was not the man to point out alternate perspectives to Obama, to shed new light on issues, or, heaven forbid, to challenge Obama's assumptions.  Rhodes was a magnificently successful sycophant, a yes man.  His selection as an adviser meant that U.S. foreign policy was guided almost solely by Obama, or more accurately by Obama's whim when reality stepped in to crush Obama's naivete.  Syrian red line?  Tell Vlad I'll have more flexibility after the election?  It was a foreign policy that almost invariably reacted to world events rather than dictated them, always with an eye towards domestic political consumption rather than productive results on the international stage.

There were two moments during their ten years together when a gap opened up between the President and his aide. The first came at the start of Obama’s second term, when the promises of the Arab Spring were unravelling. The second came with the election of a successor who pledged to dismantle everything Obama had stood for. In each case, Obama was forced into a reconsideration of his idea of progress, and Rhodes, a step or two behind, had to catch up. The drama of “The World as It Is” lies between these points.

A step or two behind and having to catch up.  That was Obama's idea of an adviser.  What advice could Rhodes possibly have given that Obama didn't already know about?  As a sympathetic observer George Packer is fully on board with the Obama/Rhodes approach, and equally oblivious.

In “The Final Year,” a new documentary that focuses on Obama’s foreign policy at the end of his Presidency, Trump’s victory leaves Rhodes unable to speak for almost a full minute. It had been inconceivable, like the repeal of a law of nature—not just because of who Trump was but also because of who Obama was. Rhodes and Obama briefly sought refuge in the high-mindedness of the long view—“Progress doesn’t move in a straight line,” Rhodes messaged his boss on Election Night, a reference to one of Obama’s own sayings, which the President then revived for the occasion: “History doesn’t move in a straight line, it zigs and zags.” But that was not much consolation. On Obama’s last trip abroad, he sat quietly with Rhodes in the Beast as they passed the cheering Peruvian crowds. “What if we were wrong?” Obama suddenly asked. Rhodes didn’t know what he meant. “Maybe we pushed too far. Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe.” Obama took the thought to its natural conclusion: “Sometimes I wonder whether I was ten or twenty years too early.

Ponder the sentences I highlighted in bold print.  You question, could you have been wrong?  Of course not.  The "natural conclusion" is that you're ahead of your time.  Isn't that a relief.  Ben Rhodes thought so.

Rhodes wrestled with this painful blow. It sounded like a repudiation of everything they had done. But then he found an answer, and it was in keeping with the spirit of his years in service to Obama: “We were right, but all that progress depended upon him, and now he was out of time.”

"And now he was out of time."  Thank God!

Categories: Blogs, United States

Blue Wave Theory of Operation

Libertarian Leanings - Tue, 2018-07-03 13:20 +0000

In The Glory of Timely Leftist Overreach Dov Fischer offers some needed perspective on that "socialist wave" that swept Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to the Democratic nomination for a Bronx congressional seat.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got 16,000 votes and Joseph Crowley got 11,000 in a District of, uh, 691,000 people. Even ten percent is not an endorsement of an ideology. Look more closely at that District: (i) more than 40% of the population speak Spanish at home; (ii) 57% were born in Latin America; (iii) ethnic-racial composition 50% Hispanic, 11% Black, and 18% White.

The passage above illustrates the leftist/Democrat strategy as it was meant to work. Our totalitarian Democrats have abandoned all attempts at appealing to more conservative American voters, adopting a strategy, instead, of importing a new socialistically oriented electorate from Central and South America. Keys to the success of this strategy are 1.) lax or nonexistent enforcement of immigration laws and 2.) lax or nonexistent validation of voter identification.

Read the whole thing.  Fischer makes quite a few other entertaining observations.

Categories: Blogs, United States

2018 Pine Tree Riot Celebration

Adventures in the Free State - Fri, 2018-04-27 12:53 +0000
What? Where? The Pine Tree Riot? One of the first acts of rebellion by the American colonists? Yeah, you know Weare. The third annual Pine Tree Riot Celebration, Weare, NH, 4/26/2018...

Two Hundred and Forty Six years ago, a group of loggers from the small town of Weare, New Hampshire took the initial organized action against British tryanny in the eventual war for America's independence. This small act of resistance created a chain reaction across New England and the other colonies powered by the principles of freedom and liberty.
The Pine Tree Riot, as it came to be known, cemented New Hampshire as a place where the seeds of free and open societies grow strong. New Hampshire has served as a model of freedom to the rest of the nation ever since, and continues to lead the way. The Granite State consistently ranks among the most free states in America, and the recent years of tax reductions for employers has helped set the stage for the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at the federal level.
AFP-NH invites you to join us to celebrate this important event in American history and to reflect upon the sacrifice those before us made in the fight for liberty. We will be discussing the recent efforts at the state and federal level to expand economic freedom as a reminder of the fight that continues to this day.
History & Press
  • NH Primary Source: AFP plans annual anti-tax ‘Pine Tree Riot’ event
  • 2017 Pine Tree Riot Celebration
  • 2016 Pine Tree Riot Celebration
  • Weare Historical Society
  • Weare, NH 1772: Rebellion Before the Revolution -- The Pine Tree Riot | Cow Hampshire
  • The New Hampshire Pine Tree Riot of 1772 - New England Historical Society
  • Pine Tree Riot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Pine Tree Riot | RealClearPolitics
  • Pine Tree Riot: A History of Rebellion | Free State Project
  • Pine Tree Riot Remembered - Shire Liberty News
Let's raise a very appropriate tankard this day to the very able Ebenezer!

Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

Prohibitionist Nannies On Parade

Adventures in the Free State - Tue, 2018-04-17 14:06 +0000
Well, that was oppressive (but I do it for you, gentle reader). So here we are again with NH's very deliberately hand-picked "Prohibition Justification Commission", AKA, the Commission to Study the Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana, which has deigned this day, 4/16/2018, to hear from actual -- if not actually all that representative, if polls are any indication at all (and, too, it needs noting, mostly rent-seekers) -- citizens.

The "public comment" portion begins at about 22 minutes, following a college paper. Excepting your humble chronicler's own svelt testimony, weighing in at about a minute and a quarter, the remaining 10 average a torpor-inducing ~15.5 minutes apiece (granted, they get commodious "help" from the commission). Today's relentless catch-phrase: the ever-popular 'for the children'. Adults must simply accept being treated like children by their betters.

Here is the issue, mentioned by Commission member, Attorney Twomey a dozen ticks shy of the 19-min mark, regarding Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and his proper political intercession, on behalf of his actual constituents no less, against the DoJ's sabre-rattling regarding re-igniting the dying embers of that very "War On People Who Use (Some) Drugs"™. After that, maybe a freedom-oriented person might want to just skip to Rick Naya, the final speaker, at about 2:29:00.

The cognitive dissonance is strong in these crusaders, at least several of whom actually helpfully instruct the commission that the horrifically expensive (in blood, treasure and liberty) drug war does not work -- and yet they're here advocating that NH should continue that unwinnable drug war. Does that seem right to you -- especially if you're among, according to many polls now, the two-thirds of voters who want it ended, maybe even believe it was never authorized in the first place?

One more time. In a free, civil society, the rule of law must be respected. Therefore, in a free, civil society, servant government ought to obey its instituting Constitution. In a free, civil society, unauthorized fiat prohibitions must end. This aggression will not stand, man.

If you want prohibition -- of cannabis, or alcohol, or cigarettes, or harmful calories (watch the video, understand the "health choices" hypocrisy) -- you are first required to get the People to pass an authorizing amendment. A mere legislative statute is flatly insufficient in this Constitutional Republic. Once upon a time, even servant government understood that -- and the People eventually rectified their own grievous and costly mistake.

But no amendment is needed in order to repeal an undelegated authority. All that requires is an honest, servant government.


Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

Make the Agora Great Again

George Donnelly - Fri, 2018-04-06 20:29 +0000

Nation-state power is declining.

Trust in national institutions is faltering across the globe.

The specter of collectivism, nationalism and racial identity is on the rise.

What if there was another option? What if, instead of a return to early-20th-century-style strong-man protectionist regimes, we could create something better? Something less likely to lead to war and recession?

What if we could create a global market anarchist order, a swarm of self-governing jurisdictions that effected security, lawmaking and conflict resolution via freed markets outside the nation-state?

What if we could do it right under the nose of the nation-state, incrementally decentralizing its power, in the form of a private organization?

Why does such an organization not yet exist today?

There are political parties for every statist ideology, from the environmentalists to the Nazis. There are advocacy organizations for human rights, for the rainforest, and for the poor.

But there is no organization whose purpose is to plan, execute and support a global market anarchist evolution.

It’s time to start such an organization. Let’s call it Agora.


What are the goals of Agora? Here is an initial draft:

  • to support our members in our individual searches for liberty, prosperity and self-realization, and to come to the aid of fellow members in times of crisis or need;
  • to spread liberty across the globe and end the reign of nation-states by planning, executing and supporting a global market anarchist evolution;
  • to incubate the institutions required to provide law, security and dispute resolution in a stateless world;
  • to educate all of mankind in its birthright: liberty;
  • to support and incentivize radical accountability, responsibility and integrity for every human being; and
  • to cooperate with other private societies that share compatible goals, methods and standards.

What does Agora look like?

  • It is managed by dApp (smart contract), perhaps via Aragon or district0x.
  • New members are admitted via an application process.
  • Membership has a price and carries benefits.
  • Members must post a bond to ensure good behavior.
  • Members who engage in coercion or fraud can be removed from the organization.
  • Members vote on the rules (laws) of the organization. This is how lawmaking is bootstrapped.
  • Members are obligated to come to the support of each other in case of crisis or need, in a way to be determined at the discretion of each member. This is how member security is initially bootstrapped.
  • There is a mechanism for the resolution of disputes among members. This could be an arbitration panel or a simple vote. Members who refuse to respond to arbitration requests lose their bond, or some portion of it. This is how dispute resolution is bootstrapped.
  • Members have access to an exclusive communications channel.
  • Members vote on how to spend the organization’s budget in pursuit of the organization’s goals.

The Agora organization is the base layer. Other layers can be built on top of it in the form of projects. Here are some examples that come to mind:

  • Mutual Aid: Members can join a mutual aid society within the organization.
  • Incubator: Members can compete to receive seed capital for entrepreneurial projects that serve Agora’s mission.
  • Education: Members can receive funding to educate people around the world in market anarchist ideas via personal improvement training, entrepreneurship workshops, activism training, and more.
  • Crisis Response: Members can create projects to respond to some crisis in the world, as a means of experimenting with market anarchist ideas, supporting allies, for public relations or some other reason.
Next Steps

Join the Agora Discord. Work starts today.

If you want to see a freed world where nation-states are obsolete, then the Agora organization is a no-brainer.

You can also join the discussions at Reddit, Steemit and YouTube.

Photo by Tran Phu on Unsplash

The post Make the Agora Great Again appeared first on More Liberty Now.

Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

If Taxpayers Can't Challenge Taxes, Who Can?

Adventures in the Free State - Fri, 2018-03-30 01:16 +0000
CACR15, "relating to legal actions. Providing that taxpayers have standing to bring actions against the government," before the NH Senate Rules and Enrolled Bills Committee, 3/29/2018, followed by the Committee's ultimately unconsummated Executive Session.

The only testimony nominally against the bill -- yet they're taking no official position -- comes from the Judicial Branch, which essentially "helpfully" warns (except without the "strike me down first" part)...

No one takes them seriously, at least.

So I ask again, if voting-eligible taxpayers, in government's self-written, very self-serving rulebook, may not hold their own servant government's spending accountable, who will? If taxpayers don't have "standing," don't "have skin in the game" -- by definition -- who the hell does...?

Look for this coming soon to a ballot near you. Tell your Senator you expect no less.

Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

Your Right To Live Free

Adventures in the Free State - Fri, 2018-03-30 00:25 +0000
Close your eyes and take a deep sniff of this. Give it a swirl. Fill your olfactory. Its nose tells you this is well aged. Hints of liberty and expressly limited servant government. Peer through it in the strong light of day and examine its clarity. And plenty of legs, this. Now take a sip. Let it roll around on your palate. Full-bodied, to be sure. History in a glass. Solemn sincerity with just a touch of insouciance. And a rebellious finish. This belongs in any respectable Constitutional cellar. Contemplate the possibilities.

This is CACR16, "Relating to privacy. Providing that an individual's right to live free of governmental intrusion is natural, essential, and inherent." Fundamental, even, in a free society. Having cleared the NH House (a little surprisingly, really -- more on that anon), today before the Senate Rules and Enrolled Bills Committee, 3/29/2018.

It should be noted -- and the ever-bewildering Rep Horrigan should appreciate -- that he voluntarily contractually consented (and if it's not in there, then sue) to his Facebook dossier. And it is not -- ever -- government's responsibility nor prerogative to protect him from what he or it consider to be his own bad choices.

And I just gotta say again, although I've agreed with the League of Women Voters' analysis of the bill since I first became aware of it, while the potential implications concern them, I absolutely revel in the possibilities...

Look for it coming soon to a ballot near you. Tell your Senator you expect no less.

Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

It's a Block(chain) Party...!

Adventures in the Free State - Wed, 2018-03-28 04:24 +0000
Blockchain in the Energy Sector: Can Government Be Educated?
State House presentation on blockchain in the energy sector

Tuesday, March 27 at 1 PM - 2:30 PM
Science, Technology & Energy Committee, LOB Room 304

Should it need to be in a free society, in a market economy?

The high cost of energy in NH is a statewide issue that negatively effects the business climate and economy. Our regional energy grid is arcane and centralized, being governed by ISO New England in Massachusetts. This presentation will explore the potential to transform the grid into one in which many more participants become consumers, storage providers, and producers of energy, with accounts settled using blockchain technology in a more decentralized fashion.

The presentation will be for the benefit of the committee but the public is welcome to attend.

Presenters will be:
Sandra Ro of Global Blockchain Business Council
Dr. Lee Brenner
 of Global Blockchain Business Council 
Daniel Heller, CFO of BitLumens, Switzerland
James Eggleston of PowerLedger, Australia

Intro by House Science, Technology and Energy Committee chair, Dick Barry.

(Originally Scheduled Presenters had been:
Sandra Ro of Global Blockchain Business Council
Michael Casey of MIT Media Lab, author of The Truth Machine
James Eggleston of PowerLedger, Australia
Veronica Garcia of BitLumens, Switzerland)

And, too, explore The Math Behind Bitcoin with Dr. Darren Tapp.

Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

Temporary Time-Off

Meg McLain - Thu, 2013-12-19 02:05 +0000

I have had to take some time off from my activism (and to a lesser extent, my graphic design work) to care for my elderly grandfather.  I hope to return to full time activism and design freelancing eventually; however, my family is my primary focus at this point in time.  While I appreciate those who have contacted me with various projects, I am just not in the position to put my full focus on my work at this time, which isn’t fair to those looking for quality work.  My apologies to anyone who feels they have been overlooked.  I hope I can respond to everyone, but please do not take it personally

Hope I can return soon!

Categories: Blogs, New Hampshire

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