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Sunday, May 29, 2011

There is no such thing as being "contractually forced"

David K. Williams, Jr.

I take issue with several assertions in Stephanie Paige Ogburn's "Perspective" piece in today's Denver Post, "Big beef taking the lion's share."

I will point out only one. It exemplifies the other issues. Ms. Ogburn writes, "Many chicken farmers these days are forced, contractually, to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in chicken houses..."

First, contracts are voluntary transactions. To say someone is "forced" to live up to an agreement they made freely is a misuse of the word "force."

Second, it is not true. No one is forced to abide by a contract. A party can always stop performing its duties under an agreement, subject to paying damages to the complying party. Many businesses break contracts every day. If it makes more economic sense to pay the damages than to abide by the previously agreed terms, then the contract most certainly can be unilaterally ended.

For instance, professional sports teams often fire an employee, usually the head coach, before the term of an employment contract is up. The management makes a decision: "Yes, we have a contract with you for two more years to coach our team, but we are not going to allow you to do that. It hurts our business."

The team must pay the employee damages, but they can most certainly break the contract. So can chicken farmers. If the agreement does not make economic sense, they should not agree to it at all. If, after they agree to it, it no longer makes economic sense, they can - and should - bail.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Colorado State Patrol wasting money and time prosecuting a rude gesture.

Colorado State Troopers are spending your tax money prosecuting someone that made a rude gesture to them. Yep, that is right. Thin-skinned traffic cops clearly have too much time and resources on their hands if they have time and resources to spend on this. (See the Denver Post's article, "Man who flipped off trooper faces harassment charge.")

State troopers don't provide a single service not already provided by local sheriffs or police. They write traffic tickets and investigate car wrecks. That is all. They are not state police that investigate crimes. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is the state agency that does actual police work.

The Colorado State Patrol is another example of a duplicative, wasteful government program. The State Patrol should be discontinued and the money saved. Instead of traffic cops with cool hats we could spend the money on teachers or additional $9 million phone systems like the one JeffCo Schools bought.

The DEA's arrogant intrusion into Pitkin County policy and how to stop it.

From the movie Con Air: An exchange between Pinball, played by Dave Chappelle, and undercover DEA Agent Sims, when the agent's cover is blown on the transport plane full of the most heinous murderers, rapists and assorted criminals in the federal prison system:
Agent Sims: I'm DEA, d'you know what the **** that means?
Pinball: It means you're the most crooked ****** on this plane!

Add the federal Drug Enforcement Agency to the long list of unnecessary, duplicative and wasteful government programs. What does the DEA do that multiple other federal and local law enforcement agencies do not?


So it is with some irony that the DEA recently executed a drug raid among wealthy Aspen residents without bothering to inform either the local sheriff or Aspen police. From the Denver Post article "Federal drug raid in Aspen irks cops:"

Acting DEA Agent-in-Charge Steve Merrill said agents purposely didn't tell locals about the investigation in part because former Sheriff Bob Braudis, who left office in January, and his successor, Joe DiSalvo, knew the suspects. Merrill didn't want the investigation compromised.

So the DEA was concerned about local corruption? That's rich. No, the DEA has to justify its expensive, wasteful, duplicative and unnecessary existence, so it replaces local law enforcement policy with national policy dictated from an unelected lifetime bureaucrat in D.C.

That's tyranny.

This DEA action is just the latest in the federal government's intrusion into purely state and local matters. It is a perfect example of why the model "Sheriff's First" legislation is needed.

According to the Sheriff's First website, the bill

... would make it a state crime for a federal officer to arrest, search, or seize in the state without first getting the advanced, written permission of the elected county sheriff of the county in which the event is to take place. Locally-elected sheriffs are accountable to the people and are supposed to the the chief law enforcement officer of the county, bar none. This bill puts teeth into the expectation that federal agents must operate with the approval of the sheriff, or not at all. It also gives the local sheriff tools necessary to protect the people of his county, and their constitutional rights

The Pitkin County Sheriff is elected by the people of Pitkin County. He is directly answerable to them. The DEA is not elected by anyone in Pitkin County. The DEA is not answerable to anyone in Pitkin County.

By intruding on the local sheriff's autonomy and jurisdiction without his knowledge, the DEA demonstrates its disdain for local law enforcement. The DEA is arrogant, unaccountable, and out of control.

I encourage the State of Colorado to stand up for its sovereignty, to reject federal overreach into purely local matters and to enact the Sheriff's First Act.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My final address as State Chair to the LPCO

May 21, 2011
DoubleTree Hotel Denver - North
Westminster, CO

State Chair Final Address

Chair, David K. Williams, Jr.

The Libertarian Party of Colorado faces unprecedented opportunity to reach out to new members and spread the message of liberty. More and more Americans realize the failure of the two-party duopoly and are looking for an alternative. Unfortunately, given the nature of the two-party system and plurality voting, we face many of the same barriers to growth we have faced since the inception of the Libertarian Party.

Most Americans, including Coloradans, are hard-wired to think that the only possible electoral process includes two-major parties and plurality voting. It does not. Our voting system is neither in the Constitution nor was it handed down from God to Moses on the top of Mount Sinai. It can be changed by mere legislation. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Frank Atwood, I have been converted to the Church of Approval Voting. Likewise, the LPCO adopted support of Approval Voting at last year’s convention.

I firmly believe that no peaceful substantive political change is possible under our current electoral process. The Democrats and Republicans have traded power at the national level since the Civil War. Since that time, the federal government has done nothing but grow - while individual liberty has shrunk. Neither wing of the duopoly has any incentive to change the process.

I believe a number of Americans are starting to understand that a change in process is necessary before any change in substance can occur. It is our job to make that number grow. To that end, I have done my best to spread the message of limited government and individual liberty throughout the state - in addition to introducing the idea of alternative voting methods to those that did not realize such a thing even existed.

My philosophy is that if there is an invitation to speak, I will take it. I’ll talk before a group Republicans, Democrats, Communists, Hare Krishnas or the American Society of Optometrists. I refuse to turn down an opportunity to spread the message. During my term as State Chair, I have been a substitute radio host on multiple occasions in Greeley and in Denver. I have spoken at numerous Tea Party events - always emphasizing that real liberty means that the government stays out of all voluntary activities between consenting adults, including drugs and sex. I have been quoted in several publications. I have written hundreds of blog posts. I have been active at the state legislature and in state politics.

I always try to argue in favor of liberty, and not against the state. I always try to bring a positive message of freedom, and not an angry message of destruction. We spend too much time arguing with each other or patting ourselves on the back in a small group of the converted when we should be spending our time and energy proselytizing to those that do not yet understand that, indeed, freedom is the answer - regardless of the question.

I can only hope that I have been a decent messenger for liberty and the Libertarian Party of Colorado.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Press Release: Libertarian Party of Colorado Annual Convention this Weekend

Libertarian Party of Colorado
Contact: Kate Melvin

May 20, 2011

For Immediate Release:


As is the annual tradition, Libertarians from across Colorado will gather this weekend for their yearly convention, during which they will attend to annual business, elect new board members, and enjoy presentations and guest speakers. The meeting on Saturday as well as tonight's casino night kick off serve as good opportunities for members of the media to speak with Libertarian leaders and party members about the past year and moving forward.

Many of the current board positions are turning over this year following the completion of two year terms by directors elected at 2009's annual meeting. This includes the State Chair, currently filled by David K. Williams, Jr.

"It has been a pleasure serving as State Chair of the Libertarian Party of Colorado the past two years," said Williams. "The unprecedented recent growth of the liberty movement has been great to see and to participate in. I appreciate the opportunity to serve and even though I am not seeking a second term as chairman, I will never stop fighting for a constitutionally limited federal government and for liberty. You will continue to see me at the state legislature – and elsewhere- advocating for the radical notion that freedom is the answer, regardless of the question."

Tonight's casino night starts at 6:00 at Westminster's DoubleTree Hotel, located at 8773 Yates Drive Westminster, Colorado. Saturday's annual meeting begins at 8:30a.m. and is located in the DoubleTree grand ballroom. For any questions, contact outgoing Media Director Kate Melvin at mediadirector@lpcolorado.org or on her cell phone at 303-882-1781.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tort reform is not a federal issue.

From a press release just now issued from Congressman Cory Gardner's office:

Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) threw his support behind a bill that will curb abusive medical lawsuits, lowering the cost of healthcare nationwide.

"This is a crucial step in replacing the President's healthcare law with common sense reforms that have been proven to work in multiple states such as Colorado, California and Texas," Gardner said.

H.R. 5, authored by Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), places a limit on the non-economic damages that can be awarded in a medical liability lawsuit at $250,000 for states that do not have caps already. Currently, there are 28 states that cap medical liability damages, Colorado being one of them. This legislation will not override caps already in place.

Rep. Gardner is one of my favorite politicians in the state. However, my affection for him is overshadowed by my affection for the Tenth Amendment.

Which one of the enumerated powers in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress authority to set malpractice award limits on states? No matter what one thinks of malpractice caps and tort reform, the issue is for the states, and not Congress, to decide.

Conservative Constitutional scholar and Independence Institute Senior Scholar Rob Natelson agrees:

To be blunt: H.R. 5 flagrantly contravenes the limitations the Constitution places upon Congress, and therefore violates both the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. H.R. 5 is purportedly an exercise of the Constitution’s Commerce Power. Yet as I shall explain, its subject-matter—civil actions in federal and state courts—is not within the Constitution’s meaning of “Commerce."
(See "Fedzilla Hungry Again: State Courts Threatened.")

It is hard to defend the Tenth Amendment when both Democrats and Republicans ignore it for their own political ends. I urge Rep. Gardner to reconsider his support of H.R. 5.