Sunday, May 21, 2017

Mail Service: The Free Market at Work

To start, let's define Free Market since I'm not sure I've actually gone into that here.

Free market refers to an economy where the government imposes few or no restrictions and regulations on buyers and sellers. In a free market, participants determine what products are produced, how, when and where they are made, to whom they are offered, and at what price—all based on supply and demand.

In the US, the majority of blockage to a truly free market comes from the government. They forbid producers from polluting, pricing below cost, or being a monopoly. In addition, they often require minimum safety standards, the disclosure of ingredients, licensing of certain professionals, and protection of original ideas, to name just a few. They even control the money supply to minimize the negative effects of natural economic expansion and contraction.

Some of these things may SEEM like a good idea. We all want the market to thrive, but time and time again it has been proven that the market thrives best, when it is left alone. When there is competition, consumers will choose the best available option for their goods and services needs. Factors such as time, distance, ease of use, customer service etc all effect companies well being in a buyer's market. When the government interferes with the market, buyers lose control. Here in the United States, there is a lot of favoritism for government sponsored programs that are supported by taxpayer dollars that would NOT survive in a free market.

The best example I can think of is USPS. Now, I don't know how your local postman treats you where you live, but I've gotten mail at 5 different addresses over the last 3 years. I can say with certainty that amongst the big 3 delivery services: UPS, FedEx, and USPS that USPS by far has the least reliability and the worst customer service. When I ship something with FedEx or UPS, it gets where it's going within the time frame I am quoted or in rare cases where it does not, I get a partial or full refund.

At my last apartment (the last one I'll live in, at least for the next 30 years, thankfully) USPS failed to deliver 6 packages in the short 9 months we lived there. When we called to talk to them, they insinuated that it was OUR fault, for not being home to receive the package and therefore it had to be rerouted. However, none of those packages required a signature. They could have left them at our door.

FedEx and UPS are typically a great deal cheaper than USPS, they have better customer service, a higher overall rating by consumers, a lower failure rate and from my experience, much nicer employees. So why does the USPS still exist? If overwhelmingly, the buyers PREFER other companies that provide the same services one would assume that they would take over the market. So why isn't that happening? Why do USPS employees continue to exist to complain about their employer (rightly so) on the internet?

Because they are supported by the US government. Because even though they have operated at a deficit for YEARS we continue to finance them out of our tax dollars. So, not only is the IRS stealing money out of my paycheck, they are stealing it to support a company that I purposefully DONT shop at due to rude employees and overall incompetence.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Libertarian Party of Florida Executive Committee Outcomes

I apologize that this post is so late in coming to you. I've been trying to get all my ducks in a row following the LPF convention the weekend before last in Cocoa Beach. I think I speak for all the Seminole County Delegates when I say we had a great time.

I'd like to announce the results of the Executive Committee Race. Marcos Miralles has replaced Char-Lez Braden as the Chair of the Libertarian Party of Florida. Miralles is seeking to have at least 100 Libertarians in public office by 2021 and hopes to dramatically increase help to candidates running for office. He also seeks to increase the fundraising efforts of the county affiliates and LP Florida. I am excited to see what he will do to better the Libertarian Party of Florida in the next 2 years.

Omar Recuero was re-elected Vice-Chairman of LP Florida and Alison Foxall was re-elected Director At Large 1. LP Florida newcomer Greg Peele won Director At Large 3 by an overwhelming majority.

I don't know Omar very well and my first interactions with him were at the LPF convention. They were all positive and I think he's done a good job thus far as Vice Chair and hope he will continue to advance liberty here in Florida.

Alison Foxall is an outstanding advocate for Liberty. She works hard at the local, state and national levels helping to streamline processes and project a positive image of the LP across social media. She does a tremendous job running the communications committee (of which I am a member) here in Florida and I believe does a great job as At-Large 1. I can not say enough great things about her!

Greg Peele is near and dear to all of our hearts here in Seminole as he is the treasurer (and overall do-er of things) at our sister affiliate in Orange County. I say with great confidence that he will do wonderful things in his new position as At-Large Director 3.

I would also like to take this time to publicly thank Char-Lez Braden for his work as chair. I appreciate all you've done for the LPF and am happy to see that you'll be continuing your action to further liberty in FL as a region representative.

Thank you to everyone who came out to the convention. I enjoyed getting to meet my fellow FL libertarians.

Until next time.
In Liberty,
Megan Killion

Monday, May 8, 2017

Homeschooling In Florida

Every year that my son goes to public school is another year that his education disappoints me. I feel like when I send him to school he ends up being babysat and then sent home with weird new propaganda. He's had some great teachers and I appreciate them, but it's become pretty clear that the public school system isn't for us. So I did some research on homeschooling here in FL. I started at the Department of Education (DOE) website to find more info.

Section 1002.01, Florida Statutes (F.S.), defines home education as the sequentially progressive instruction of a student directed by his or her parent or guardian in order to satisfy Florida's compulsory education requirements.

Florida Statute 1002.41 specifies the responsibilities of parents who establish a home education program.

  • Send a written notice of intent to the school district superintendent. The notice must be filed within 30 days of beginning the home education program and must include the following information:
  • Name of the home education student(s)
  • Birthdate(s)
  • Address
  • Parent's signature
  • Maintain a portfolio of educational records. Statute defines a portfolio as
  • A log of educational activities which is made contemporaneously with the instruction and which designates by title any reading materials used, and
  • samples of any writings, worksheets, workbooks or creative materials used or developed by the student.
  • Make the portfolio available for inspection by the superintendent upon 15-day written notice (The statute does not require the superintendent to inspect all portfolios).
  • Provide an annual educational evaluation of the student's educational progress to the superintendent. The evaluation must consist of one of the following:
  • A Florida certified teacher chosen by the parent may evaluate the child's progress based on a review of the portfolio and discussion with the student.
  • The student may take any nationally normed student achievement test administered by a certified teacher.
  • The student may take a state student assessment test at a location and under testing conditions approved by the school district.
  • The student may be evaluated by a psychologist holding a valid, active license pursuant to section 490.003 (7) or (8), F.S.
  • The student may be evaluated with any other valid measurement tool as mutually agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent.
  • Preserve each student's portfolio for two years.
  • Submit a letter of termination to the school district superintendent upon completion of the home education program, enrollment in a public or private school or moving from the district.

Your Choices Under Florida Law

Florida statutes provide three options for families who wish to educate their children at home. Each will meet the state’s compulsory attendance laws. Families may:

1. Enroll in a noncampus-based private school, that is, a private school that facilitates home education, and follow the procedures set by the school.

2. Establish a home education program as defined in the statutes by sending a Notice of Intent to the local school superintendent, maintaining a log of activities and portfolio of work, and filing an annual evaluation using one of five evaluation choices.

3. Establish a Private Tutoring Program.

While any of the above choices will provide compliance with Florida’s compulsory attendance laws, each has different implications for you. While some of these differences go to issues of recordkeeping and methods, the heart of the distinction is whether you want to be accountable to the state or to a private entity.

Private Versus Public Homeschooling

Most families choose either private or public home education. Private tutoring programs are extremely expensive and infrequently used. Regardless which method you choose, you can educate your children at home, using the materials and methods you select. The key difference between enrolling in a private school and registering as a home educator is this:

  1. Private school students are overseen by administrators you select. Identifying data about the student and samples of the student’s work are never shared with anyone outside of the private school (other than at your request).
  2. Home education students are overseen by government employees at the school district. Parents must file annual evaluations with the district and are be required to show their record-keeping and samples of the student’s work upon demand by the Superintendent.
Since I think this is probably going to be the only solution for my family, I will continue to do research and keep you all posted!!

Florida SB 614 Has Been Indefinitely Postponed

Let your representatives know that you're disappointed in them for postponing (indefinitely) SB 614.

SB 614 would have authorized a qualifying patient or his or her caregiver to purchase, acquire, and possess up to the allowed amount of marijuana, medical marijuana products, and associated paraphernalia for a qualifying patient’s medical use; providing that a physician must certify, on a specified form, that a patient is suffering from a debilitating medical condition and that the benefits to the patient of using marijuana outweigh the potential health risks before a patient may register with the department and obtain a registry identification card; requiring that the department create a secure, online, electronic medical marijuana patient registry containing a file containing specified information for each qualifying patient, caregiver, and certifying physician, etc.

This was a GENERAL BILL by Brandes ; (CO-INTRODUCERS) Rouson ; Steube ; Stewart.

I urge you to find your legislators here and let them know how detrimental postponing this bill is to our communities.

Celebrate Libertarian Victories

These are all seated, elected libertarian officials in the state of Florida. I consider every one of them a major victory. Let's get more candidates and win more elections! I'd love to see someone in Seminole on this list next. Are you ready to run? Can you help someone else run? Let me know!!

Bruce Reichert
Collier County Soil and Water Board
Seat 1

Carol Morris
Fort Myers Beach Fire District Board
Seat 3
Lee County

Gary Gerstein
Fisher Island Community Council
Miami-Dade County

Jared Grifoni, Vice Chair
Marco Island City Council
Collier County

Keon A. Grayson, Community Councilman
North Central Community Council, Seat 83
Miami-Dade County

Marc Tancer, Supervisor
Palm Beach Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors

Marco Alvarez, Jr., Supervisor
Century Gardens Village Community Development District, Seat 1
Miami-Dade County

Marialexandra Garcia, Supervisor
Islands at Doral III Community Development District, Seat 4
Miami-Dade County

Dennis Misigoy, Supervisor
Enclave At Black Point CDD, Seat 1
Miami-Dade County

Martin Sullivan
Frostproof City Council
Polk County

Austin Gravley
Frostproof City Council
Polk County

Matthew Bymaster
Palm Beach Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors
Seat 2

Richard D. Paul
Lee County Mosquito Control District
Area 4

Larry Allen Schneck
Osceola County Soil and Water Conservation Board

HB 141 Passed: Win for Liberty!!!

HB 141: Free Craft Distilleries from Unnecessary Regulations

HB 141 massively helps craft distilleries. A craft distillery is defined as one that is “a licensed distillery that produces 250,000 or fewer gallons per the calendar year of distilled spirits on its premises."

HB 141 allows craft distilleries to get their products to more people by removing restrictions on the volume of product distilleries can sell directly to customers. The previous law limited customers to purchasing two bottles per brand/style per year.

Obviously selling on-site is more profitable, and it allows for customers to try the product and share it with others outside the area without involving third parties and middle-men.

HB 141 passed on 5/5/17

2 Important Bills in the Florida House This Week

This week 2 Important Bills are in the Florida House that I believe are deserving of your support.

HB 13: End the Slush Funds for Politicians

Here in Florida under our current laws,  local governments can designate areas as "Community Redevelopment Areas" and create a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). CRAs are funded by property taxes (theft) and are charged with "helping blighted neighborhoods." While the mission of a CRA is billed as "anti-poverty measures", CRAs have been used to subsidize museums, concert halls, production studios and other pet projects of local political officials. CRAs are no longer being used for anti-poverty measures, but are now primarily used as slush funds to repay political donors and keep private campaign promises.

HB 13 will place tighter restrictions on CRAs and begin a phase-out period for current CRAs.

Note: HB 13 was indefinitely postponed on 5/5/17

HB 141: Free Craft Distilleries from Unnecessary Regulations

HB 141 will massively help with craft distilleries. A craft distillery is defined as one that is “a licensed distillery that produces 250,000 or fewer gallons per the calendar year of distilled spirits on its premises."

HB 141 would allow craft distilleries to get their products to more people by removing restrictions on the volume of product distilleries can sell directly to customers. The current law limits customers to purchasing two bottles per brand/style per year.

Obviously selling on-site is more profitable, and it allows for customers to try the product and share it with others outside the area without involving third parties and middle-men.

Note: HB 141 passed on 5/5/17

HB 13 and HB 141 are on Special Order Calendar for Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 and could be voted on by the full House this week.

Call and e-mail your district Representative to support HB 13 to end CRA abuse and HB 141 to free Craft Distilleries from unnecessary regulations.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Taxation is NOT the same as charity.

by, Meghan Beverly

I have seen a lot of memes and implications from the left that seem to make those in favor of limiting welfare and other entitlements look like uncaring, greedy pigs. Somehow having money stolen from their pay and redistributed amongst those less fortunate makes those same people feel somehow superior. Morally righteous even. What these people don't understand is that forced distribution is not the same as being charitable.

The ridiculous logic that taxation is the answer, makes it difficult to use the rational argument that if allowed to keep their own money and spend as they will, the population will give to those who are needy because they can. To have the means to actually maintain a standard of living as well as having the freedom to give as one sees fit is a beautiful thing. I believe there is a general good in the world and that the majority of Americans want to help. If you pay attention, you can see it everywhere. It can be as simple as buying a coffee for the next person in line or giving a coat to a homeless person all the way up to running fundraisers and volunteering time. Look at how many pages of crowd funding have been fulfilled for cancer patients and surgeries are out there. In general people are good and do good.

Taxation =/= Charity.

But if one was to believe the liberal rhetoric, it would seem that we were really quite the opposite. The American people can't be trusted to "do the right thing" so therefore, need to be forced to. It's important that the government intervenes to make sure that everyone gets their "fair share". It makes them feel righteous to know that the feds are taking money from hard working people every week to fuel whatever that agenda may be.

It's time to wake the hell up!

Charity is voluntary. That's the part that makes a good person. One actively seeks out a cause and participates thus making a difference. A good person doesn't hesitate to give money, food, or clothing to someone who needs it. They also do it for zero praise and want nothing in return. What makes someone inherently good is the drive to make the world a better place without the threat of force.

Once more for those in the back: Taxation =/= Charity.

This is the problem with the left-wing agenda and socialism as a whole (and likely why so many are running away screaming from the party) decent and potentially generous people are being taxed to the point where taking care of themselves and their families is becoming difficult. They find themselves will little to no room to help in the way they like. In the meantime, the pious, self-serving tax mongers are patting themselves on the back for a job well done, when all they've done is take money from hard working people. It's not the mega rich that's hurting, it's your neighbor.

There is also the point that the government hurts and inhibits far more than it helps. Stories come out regularly in the news about a cosmetology student offering free haircuts to the homeless. The guy is being investigated for practicing without a license. Or how about the BBQ competition in Kansas City that had the donation food bleached by the health department. 3000 people went hungry because of this.

Frankly, there are too many instances where government on every level shut down acts of decency and kindness. Churches get fined, volunteers are arrested; I guess it isn't truly help unless the government does it. Until the self righteous pull their heads from their collective asses and stop vilifying those who are actually decent, we will never really know the true potential of the American people.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Florida's Red Light Cameras Face Repeal This Year

If Florida repeals it's Red Light Camera law it will be a major win for Liberty! As crashes at intersections with Red Light cams rise, lawmakers may repeal the state's red-light camera law entirely. On January 11th  House members sitting on the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee heard an overview of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles report that found crashes at intersections with red-light cameras rose 10 percent in 2015. This could be the first step in repealing a law I consider to be unconstitutional. The report on increased crashes also found pedestrian-involved accidents dropped nearly 20 percent, and state representatives were unsure how to take the overall results.

However, the next time they discuss the law should be whether to repeal it. State Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah, has proposed repealing the law, and state Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, has filed a similar measure.

The legality of the law itself has been in question for a while now. There have been conflicting rulings in state appeals courts requiring a review by the Florida Supreme Court. A federal class-action suit demanded the return of fines paid by motorists under the potentially illegal law and is on hold pending that review. With all the legal uncertainty, more and more cities are choosing to end their red-light camera programs once and for all.

The number of cameras in use in Florida has already dropped to 688 in 2015, down more than a hundred cameras from the year before. Despite the decrease in cameras, the number of citations has actually risen. Artiles and other critics call this evidence that the cameras are a revenue-generating system, not a public safety issue.

"The purpose of red-light cameras is not about safety. It's about money," Artiles said. "We finally have the proof we need."

Friday, February 17, 2017

Hi! My Name Is...

What is up, everybody? I'm Meghan B, contributor and newest Lady of Liberty. I'm a married mother of two, hairstylist, and reformed republican (silence the judging). I'm also frugal, friendly, and fluent in sarcasm. My obsessions include: Outlander, movies, Hard Rock, and Doctor Who. If it's nerdy, I'm in.

I love my country and see amazing potential and goodness in the citizens around me every day. I believe in the NAP, Free Market, Fair Tax, and helping our fellow man. And while i have a hard time identifying with the "F-word" (feminism), I am a woman who stands for equality. I just like mine with a touch of dignity and class.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Libertarian Must Reads

So first I really just need to throw it out there that I've been reading the Thinblade series by David A Wells and if you love fantasy with tons of libertarian philosophy thrown in I highly recommend it, and the first 2 books are free on Kindle so you can't really go wrong there.

Here is a list of a few more standard books I recommend:

The Libertarian Mind by David Boaz

You can also find Libertarianism a Primer by Boaz for free here.

Consider The Law by Frédéric Bastiat.

You can find it free here.

The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism by David Friedman

Find a second addition copy free of charge here.

My road to libertarianism admittedly started with this Dystopian fiction:

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Found free online here.

Also try:

America's Great Depression by Murray Rothbard

The Road to Serfdom by Frederich Hayek

I'm sure I'm missing some on my list. What books do you recommend?

Voluntaryism, it works!

In order for the Libertarian party to truly be the "party of principle" we, as libertarians, must practice what we preach. How do we prove we don't need the government to govern our morality? By being moral without their interference. By giving of ourselves, our time, and our money to better our society WITHOUT the threat of violence looming over our heads. So this is my not so subtle reminder to go out and better your world today.

Whatever is voluntary is ethical. The implementation of force (or the threat thereof) to achieve what we consider to be "right" bastardizes the nature of said "good deed". However, the argument many leftists make against a libertarian society is that we are incapable of governing our own moral actions. The best way to dispute this is to be living, breathing examples of voluntary charity.

Here are just a few ways to get involved in Central Florida, so that the next time someone tells you charity would cease to exist without government involvement you can be a living example of why they are wrong:

Junior Achievement of Central Florida

To Write Love on Her Arms

Hands on Orlando

Consider going to your local VA and asking what they need most right now. Check out a local animal shelter and spend time volunteering there. No matter your income, or talents somewhere there is someone who needs you, and you can find a way to help and change the world. Don't let libertarians be targeted as a "selfish" party. Let's stand together and show them who we are: The Party of Principle.

You can also Go Here to get matched with volunteer opportunities in your area.

You down with NAP? Yeah, you know me.

If you spend any time online amongst Libertarian groups you may see a lot of "TAXATION IS THEFT?" "AM I BEING DETAINED?" and "ABOLISH _______". While all of these things can be/are libertarian principles. They aren't THE basis of what I consider to be all things libertarian. For me libertarianism starts with the Non Aggression Principle, or NAP for short.

The Non Aggression Principle asserts that any act of aggression is inherently illegitimate. Anything that has to be imposed upon people by force is regarded as criminal in nature. This applies to government as well as our personal lives, and can be applied to almost any thing. There are few issues that fall outside the logical repercussions of this singular theory. Most of which, we as libertarians, rarely chime in on.

Aggression in this case refers to any initiation of a coercive relationship. It's easy enough to see how one could follow this theory to insert that taxation is indeed theft, or that many government programs are not legitimate since we, as citizens were not ASKED if we'd like to pay for them. Anything I am forced to participate in at threat of violence is a violation of the NAP.

Libertarians oppose the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals. They reject “first-strike” force, fraud or theft against others; they only use force in self-defense. Those who violate this “non-aggression principle” are expected to make their victims whole as much as possible. This “Good Neighbor Policy” is what most of us were taught as children. We were told not to lie, cheat, steal, not to strike our playmates unless they hit us first. If we broke a friend’s toy, we were expected to replace it.

Most of us still practice what we learned as children with other individuals, but we have grown accustomed to letting government assert aggression against others when we think we benefit. Consequently, our world is full of poverty and strife, instead of the harmony and abundance that freedom (i.e., freedom from aggression) brings.

There are many other ideas and concepts that surround libertarian principle, and it has even been suggested that we move away from the NAP as it is a somewhat limited philosophy, but I for one agree in entirety that it should be the basis of all our principles, and that anything that could be considered a violation of the NAP should not be supported by libertarians. If it can't be supported by this one principle I don't believe it should be a part of our platform. However as libertarians we are allowed to disagree and hold beliefs different than one another.

So what do you think? Should we abandon the NAP and build a more specific platform/philosophy?