L. Neil Smith's
Number 223, May 12, 2003


[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. To ensure their acceptance, please try to keep them under 500 words. Sign your letter in the text body with your name and e-mail address as you wish them to appear.]

Letter from MacGregor K. Phillips

Letter from Mike Straw

Letter from Curt Howland

Letters from Kent Van Cleave and Jeff Fisher

Letter from Lehr Duquesne

Another Letter from MacGregor K. Phillips

re: PAIN

The article "Pain" by William Stone III hits the money right on the head. Until the average citizen feels the pain of repression he will sit back and be fat, dumb, and happy, and not care one whit what is happening to the country. Perhaps it is time for all anarcho-capitalists to copy a page from the book The Devil's Advocate by Taylor Caldwell, in which the resistance fighters who are about to be captured are rescued, given a new identity as one of the overseers, and sent out to repress the people even more so they will revolt and overthrow the evil dictatorship as soon as possible. I just do not know if I would have the stomach for it.

MacGregor K. Phillips [mkp@topsecretcrypto.com]


In December 2000 in Las Vegas Nevada, Marina Cannon, forty-nine, was murdered by her husband, Vitaly Zakouto, fifty-four. Case closed? Not hardly. Marina was subjected to seven months of terror and domestic violence at Zakouto's hands so severe that Cannon repeatedly predicted he would kill her.

By November 2000, frustrated Family Court judge Arthur Ritchie Junior had already thrown Zakouto in jail at least twice for contempt. During the appearance, Cannon told the judge that Zakouto was going to kill her. "You have to stop him. If you don't stop him, the outcome of this is preordained. He can't stop himself. ... he's angry," she said.

Judge Ritchie told Cannon that unfortunately, the allegations of contempt that were before him weren't based on documented, independent evidence. The Family Court system can only do so much when an individual like Zakouto is intent on ignoring judicial warnings to stay away from his victim. "No court will protect you. That's the bottom line. The court will issue orders that attempt and try to protect you, but if someone is engaging in criminal conduct with disregard for the court's orders, there's nothing I can do for you. You have to protect yourself in any way you can. I've entered every order that I can prohibiting him from contact," Ritchie said.

Zakouto was convicted of first-degree murder. During the sentencing hearing Marina 's will was read: "If I have died under suspicious circumstances, Vitaly did it. In the event I am murdered... Tell the world what happened to me." At the time of Cannon's murder, a criminal stalking charge was pending against Zakouto. Clark County prosecutor Ed Kane acknowledged in Zakouto's case that "the system that I'm a part of let her down." Judge Ritchie didn't return a phone call left on the answering machine of a judicial assistant in his office.

So what's the answer? Take judge Ritchie's advice: be responsible for your own safety. First, read Lieutenant Colonel "Jeff" Cooper's "The Principles of Personal Defense," then "Jim Grover's" "Street Smarts," to point you in the right direction. Read "The Truth About Self-Protection," and "In The Gravest Extreme," by Massad Ayoob. Take the "Refuse to Be a Victim" course to open your eyes that you have options, then take the "Basics of Personal Protection in the Home" course to learn the nuts and bolts of how to do it. Listen to the advice of experts:

"There are no victims, only volunteers."—Eleanor Roosevelt

"I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself."—Susan B. Anthony

"Even in the best and most peacefully civilized countries many occasions arise when a woman versed in the knowledge and use of firearms may find that information and skill of great importance."—Annie Oakley

The only way to live is in that state of awareness and training that allow us to move through life with the confidence to know that any threat is, in the words of Lieutenant Colonel "Jeff" Cooper, ".in more in danger from you than you are from him." The alternative is to be another Marina Cannon.

Mike Straw [mikestraw1@juno.com]


In TLE#222, Russell D. Longcore asks worthy questions:

"Are we so afraid of the IRS and its power that we send our money in as a kind of protection payoff.......hoping that they'll just leave us alone?"


Like so many others, I have been unable to find the law that requires me to pay. In their own rules they must send me a notice of tax owed if I owe any, and I have never received such a notice. I only pay their tax because I fear them, paid under duress and threat of force.

"But, what would the FedGov do if 25 million people simply refused to send their money to the IRS?"

They would continue to do what they do now. Prosecute one at a time while FBI informants and gung-ho shock troops ensure that any groups remain small enough to eat easily. Since they're "from the government", other government agencies like police and sheriffs, for example the Texas Rangers at Waco, will not interfere and likely even help for a cut of the take.

Legitimacy is perceived. Because of public schools, the great majority of the population believes that they cannot fight back at all, that the legitimacy of the government and its actions are beyond questioning in major part because "we voted for them". That is what they have been taught by that very same government.

"Please don't misunderstand me. I don't wish to become a tax protestor."


"The Dominican Republic or Panama are both looking pretty good to me right now....maybe Grand Cayman."

I believe you're fooling yourself. What you do not wish to become is a "statistic". Your work is in practical matters, so do the math. Make it a cold and calculated profit and loss statement and then act on it. Is it worth living on a warm, tropical island to avoid paying taxes to a government you consider both immoral and illegitimate?

Curt Howland [Howland@Priss.com]


In the most recent TLE, Jeff Fisher offered a "vote swapping" scheme to help third parties break the two-party stranglehold on politics. It's a good idea—good enough that I implemented an online version nearly four years ago at VoteBuddy.com (still available, though dormant until the next national election cycle).

"Vote swapping" isn't quite the right term, though. Under this scheme, nobody votes for anyone they don't actually prefer for their own reasons. I call it "creative vote canceling," because it cancels two hold-your-nose votes for major party candidates and frees them both for honest and forthright expression. This fact importantly insulates such a program from the legitimate accusations of subverting the electoral system that were directed at Nader Trader and other similar schemes in 2000.

I like Mr. Fisher's twist, though. My implementation was basically an honor system, relying on mutual trust with no hope of verifying that one's BallotBuddy wasn't cheating—voting for the same old major party while getting you to switch from the opposing major party to a less threatening one. By using absentee ballots as he suggests, that problem is nicely solved. I will certainly recommend it at VoteBuddy.com in the future.

What's needed now is a way for strangers who like the idea to be matched as I do at VoteBuddy.com, but with a similar guarantee of mutual compliance. I have two ideas for how to accomplish that.

First, if both individuals want to vote for the same third party, that party itself might play the role of intermediary, receiving their absentee ballots, mailing them out together, and sending the participants confirmation. This would work best at the state party level, allowing the creative vote canceling process to apply to multiple statewide candidates as well as to the presidential race.

Second, if the participants want to support different third parties or independents, some nonpartisan individual or organization could accept and forward their ballots, and send them a confirmation. That might seem to be a natural role for VoteBuddy.com, but as a one-man operation (me), both the time commitment and the potential liability issues put it out of reach ... unless I expand the operation to include volunteers or even (shudder) 501 (c) 3 status....

I think a bit of brainstorming on options for this sort of long-distance verification is in order. Feel free to send me suggestions at kvc@tima.com. Still, I think implementation at the level of state parties should provide ample opportunity for most voters to get matched up to their satisfaction, so the nonpartisan approach would appear to offer minimum utility for substantial costs in both time and money. Thus, I'd say the top priority will be to develop turnkey software that any state party affiliate can easily use to match up participants, track incoming absentee ballots, crank out confirmations, and maintain online reports of the ongoing progress during each election cycle. Meanwhile, it's time to start selling third party leaders on the idea. And it's probably not too early to get some legal minds thinking about how to squelch the inevitable legal challenges, as major parties complain about political parties handling votes on their way to the ballot box— though it's tough to imagine why a party would do anything other than faithfully submit the absentee ballots casting votes for their own candidates! The main thrust will probably appeal to the sanctity of the secret ballot being violated; but even that has ample precedent in our favor, with help routinely offered at precincts for disabled or illiterate voters to cast their votes. Pretty clearly, given that this system only helps the voter express her political will in a voluntary (even proactive) manner, legal challenges will have tough slogging indeed!

Finally, I noticed that dumping plurality voting in favor of approval voting (AV)—see [this link]—would provide much the same benefits from inside the electoral system. I also think that AV offers such clear benefits for voters (almost certainly better satisfaction with outcomes for the average voter, while enabling people to vote their dreams and their consciences rather than their fears) that it will be ridiculously easy to beat up on major party opposition to the idea. So I favor a two-pronged attack: the external do-it-yourself approach outlined above, plus the pursuit of internal reform with AV in the political arena.

Thanks to Mr. Fisher for the creative nuance that can turn a good idea into a great one.

Kent Van Cleave [kvc@tima.com]

- - -

Kent Van Cleave writes:

"In the most recent TLE, Jeff Fisher offered a "vote swapping" scheme... I implemented an online version nearly four years ago..."

Jeff Fisher replies:
I knew someone should have thought of it sooner, but I hadn't seen it. I'm glad to hear that someone else is working this angle.


"What's needed now is a way for strangers who like the idea to be matched... I think a bit of brainstorming on options for this sort of long-distance verification is in order."

Matching yes, but I'm not sure that we need long distance. When I think about co-operation possibly extending down the ticket, I expect matching to be a community activity involving voters who share some congressional and/or state legislative districts. Such geographically bound voters should be able to meet face to face.

Churches, clubs and newspapers (even tiny community ones) could serve to offer mixers. Schools could suffice also if they weren't owned by the government. For this one activity, local Green and Libertarian parties might even hold their noses and co-operate to organize something together. With something this important, it's also possible that one or more organizations will emerge specifically for this function.


"...it's probably not too early to get some legal minds thinking about how to squelch the inevitable legal challenges, as major parties complain about political parties handling votes on their way to the ballot box..."

If, as I expect, voters meet FTF, they would avoid this problem by depositing sealed ballots themselves. My biggest worry is that the major parties will eliminate mail-in ballots as soon as we the people exploit them in large numbers to escape the two-party trap.

Thank you for your comments Kent; they were very encouraging.

—Jeff Fisher [jeffryfisher@attbi.com]



I've recently sent an original lyric to The Libertarian Enterprise, as well as adding it and a Songbook section to my own website. It has generated a little response, notably from Kathleen Stockwell, implying that she represents Rush Limbaugh and encouraging me enthusiastically (with three exclamation points in her message!!!) to send it in as vocals. Sadly, I do not sing. Or rather, I sing both sadly and badly. If Ms Stockwell's entreaties are sincere and legitimate, Rush's audience represents a good opportunity to push the libertarian theme.

In specific answer to new subscriber tf from bakersfield: You (and anybody) can help as follows: do you sing, can you play an instrument? Lay down some vocals on Fantasy Isle (to the tune of Gilligan's Island), or anything else you find in Songbook, and send it in to Rush or anybody else willing to play it on the air. And of course, keep your eyes on my site and other worthy sources, and keep banging your drum for freedom.

Lehr Duquesne [lehr@citizenduquesne.org]


In "Another Letter from Lehr Duquesne" he states the First Amendment does stipulate that the "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, which leads inevitably to the conclusion that there can be no Federal or national support for religion.". The correct phrase is "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,". In this context [an establishment of religion] establishment is used as a noun and not a verb. This makes all the difference in the world in how this phrase is interpreted.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary CD_ROM v3.0, establishment as a noun means: "An organized staff of employ‚s or servants, often including, and sometimes limited to, the building in which they are located: a. A public institution, a school, factory, house of business, etc".

What this actually means is that Congress cannot make any laws respecting the physical buildings, or persons connected with a these buildings, in which a religion is practiced. In other words, they cannot treat the physical assets or employees of a religion any differently than the physical assets or employees of any other person or legal entity, because in order to do so they would have to pass a law respecting an establishment of religion. This means no exemption from taxation in any form. A law exempting you from something is still a law.

Both governments and religions prefer "the establishment of religion" interpretation because it allows government to pass tax exemption laws for the favored established religions who then turn around and support the government in the enslavement of the people. Ayn Rand at least got one thing right, Attila the Hun and the Witch Doctor, faith and force, destroyers of the modern world. The democrats are Attila the Hun who rule by brute force, while the republicans are the Witch Doctors who rule through faith. Put them both together, which seems to be the rule now, and you have a very lethal combination.

While I think any tax is outright theft and the looters should be shot on sight, I think it is high time that the "organized" religions of the world start paying their fair share. Perhaps they would then see their partnership with big government in a different light, and instead of siding with them to enslave the people, they would help in its elimination.

It is the second phrase of the religion clause in the 1st Amendment "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", that guarantees you the natural right to the free exercise of the religion of your choice. So, if FedGov or any State wants to establish (verb) a religion of their own, the 1st Amendment does not prohibit them from doing so. All it does is prohibit them from passing any laws for or against an establishment (noun) of religion.

MacGregor K. Phillips [mkp@topsecretcrypto.com] http://www.topsecretcrypto.com


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