Rambling Political Thoughts by Seth Hollist

The real problem with the Federal Reserve, is not that it exists, but that it is a private corporation operating as a governmental protected monopoly with little accountability or oversight. The answer is not to "End the Fed", but to end the unconstitutional "Legal Tender" laws, and get congress back into the business of setting monetary standards as is required by Artical I Section VIII Clause V. Being a part of a free country means that the Federal Reserve also has the freedom to exist, but it is up to congress, according to the U.S. constitution, to set monetary standards that the fed should follow, not the other way around as it is today. The best way to keep the Federal Reserve accountable, is to have competition, such weighing it's monetary system to be measured against coins and standards set by congress.

The constitution makes it clear that the Federal Government should not be doing many of the things it is today.

While we certainly have the constitutional grantee to speak our minds and peaceably assemble, do not believe that the 1st Amendment found in the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution is a guaranteed protection to Artistic Expression, lewd displays, or remarks of a slanderous or endangering type, I also do not believe that the Federal government has the right to enforce punishments for any such activities.  This is, thanks to the 9th and 10th amendments, is clearly a State matter.

If we want to allow the Federal Government to enforce such laws, we need to pass a constitutional amendment, that clearly defines how and under what circumstances the Federal Government is allowed to act on such things.  This help keep everyone clear about what to expect, and what is acceptable.

Social Security falls under this category as well.  Instead of simply passing a law, FDR should have sought his second bill of rights as constitutional amendments that clearly defined things such as, money being put into Social Security can only be used for the purposes of paying out SS benefits.  Preventing the funds from being spent else where, except for some reasonable administrative fees, and not allowing them to be invested in, borrowed from against any government issued bonds; which clearly creates a conflict on interest.  It could also provide guidelines for allowing people to partially op-out; especially if they are already investing elsewhere, and are willing to accept that they will not receive any future payouts. For example, if you are investing into a 401K, Roth IRA, or other long term investment, then you could keep half of your normal social security taxes.

Medicare and Medicate are also in similar situations, however, I don't think the Federal Government needs to be involved in such things at all.  They need to be given over completely to the states, and the states in turn need send any funding straight to the counties and communities, if they have the ability to pay for them.

I certainly wish I could do more to help others, and provide additional donations to help those in need, but considering the high levels of price inflation we've seen over the last few years, and that it would be unwise for me to go into debt to be able to give, I simply cannot.  I believe the best thing I can do to help out my country and my neighbors is to run for office, and in doing so be as good an example as I know how to be to other politicians who are caught up in the bureaucracies and corruption that is currently rampant throughout the Federal Government.

I would also suggest that going into debt to help others is not only a bad idea, but right down foolish and unsustainable.  I wouldn't recommend that anyone to take out a loan, or even co-sigh (unless your married and/or sharing finances) on a loan for someone else.  This only puts you into a much worse position, and makes you less able to help in the future.  If the person needs help that desperately, obligating them to a loan, or even making them indirectly responsible for it, will not help them in the long run.

Likewise, having the Federal Government accumulating massive, unchecked debt (as if the Federal debt ceiling had any real meaning with how easily it gets raised time and time again), as if it was all somehow meaningless.  While interest rates are low, and the borrowed money seems cheep today, much if it is done as short term bonds that will come due at a time when interest rates are not so likely to be so low.  Suddenly just paying the interest on the debt could consume a great deal of the tax revenues for the Federal Government, and then how easy will it be to pay for Obama Care, or Social Security benefits?

- seth.hollist.org

U.S. Senate Recognizes LDS Church’s 75th Anniversary of Welfare Program

On November 15th, 2011, Senator Hatch submitted Senate resolution 323 "Recognizing the 75th Anniversary of the Welfare Program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the significant impact of the Welfare Program in the United States and throughout the world in helping people in need"


This type of service is not unusual within the LDS church. For example, last October the Sachse Ward (congregation) did their own service project by helping Sachse City clean up Heritage Park. For the last three years they have also done the 12 days of Christmas anonymously for a needy family within the area.
The LDS church's headquarters in Salt Lake, UT responded to this Senate's recognition by releasing their own new story about the resolution, as well as to note it's recent "day of service" to commemorate the 75th anniversary, noting that "members have participated in various service projects around the world organized by local church leaders".

The Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) also had an event on Mormonism and Politics, that may be helpful to those wanting additional information about what Mormon's generally believe from a Political perspective.

How I differ from Texas Libertarians

This is a list of areas were I differ slightly from, or would add additional details or clarifications to the Library Party of Texas's 2010 Party Platform.  This list may seem long, but I do, for the most part, agree with the Libertarian's much more so then any other political party I've had the opportunity to be a part of or even learn about; especially on a Federal Government level.

Economic Liberty

1. Taxes
I am in favor of replacing the current federal income tax with a much simpler and less intrusive tax code, including a federal flat income tax as a good compromise until less intrusive methods of taxation can be implemented. Before we can eliminate it we would have to greatly downsize the federal government, which I also support.
I’m glad Texas does not have an income tax, and would support keeping it that way, but would also caution that any taxation also requires prudence in saving for a rainy day, and avoiding debt.

I support property taxes as a way to pay for essential government services, local roads and schools used in and around the local area were such taxes are collected, but I also understand that raising property taxes is especially hard on fix and low to mid income families and individuals and should, as a general rule, be greatly limited for Homesteads.
Sales Taxes, Service Fees, Tolls and other forms of taxation should be used only for areas which the collected taxes directly affect.  For example, Gas and fuel taxes should be apply only to the building and maintaining of roads.

3. Transportation
I agree for the most part (maybe 85%), but would add that toll roads are a good way to fund freeways, - as those who pay for the toll primarily end up being the one's who use it regularly - so long as the tolls are also used to pay for construction, upkeep and improvement on the surrounding roads as well - a freeway is no good if you can't get to it easily and efficiently. I would seek a requirement that all toll roads be responsible for highways or frontage roads that run parallel to the toll road to enable those who do not want to pay tolls the ability to still travel in the same general direction and to the same destinations; not necessary with the same level of efficiency or speed.
I would however keep all Interstate Freeways toll free, to insure unrestricted travel between states and major cities.

Personal Freedom and Civil Liberties

1. Rights of Individuals, Children and Families
These so called “Free speech zones” should only be allowed in areas where it would help protect the freedoms of a non-governmental groups or religions, or in areas of heightened security were the general public is not allowed.  I have seen them work very well for religious groups wanting to allow open access to an area of their property, but want to still insure it is a place conducive to spiritual activities and contemplation without detracting distractions.
I believe that traditional families, within a traditional marriage, is of the up most importance to insuring our children learn how to create and maintain a safe, productive, and free society. However, I do not believe the Federal Government has any right to enforce this in any way. I would also encourage States to view marriage as a significant religious event, not a legal one requiring a license, but to instead provide legal partnerships between any two people willing to share financial and legal responsibilities of all types on any level, either for specific things or all aspects of their lives in general.
Attempts by the Federal Government to regulate and control marriage, violates the 1st Amendment were it says that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

2. Government and Health
I believe that local and county governments, with assistance from state governments if requested and approved, should be allowed at the discretion of the majority of citizens, to provide charitable health care resources were needed. State and Local governments, however should reject any help or funding in this matter from the Federal government.
The Federal government’s “War on Drugs” should only be concentrated on the importation of illegal or uncontrolled drugs into the country as a matter of national defense, just as it would with any other hazardous or dangerous materials. Across state lines the Federal government should only intervene, based on state law, as a matter of interstate commerce if assistance is requested by the state(s); however I would encourage states to first work together to resolve any such issues.

3. Privacy and Universal Identification
I believe the original meaning of the 4th amendment has been stretched in the last few decades, as the information age has given us a faults sense of tangible ownership to intangible information, and is really only about property, not privacy; however I do support strong protections of privacy for individuals within their personal lives.

4. Election Reform
I reject the notion that a National party is needed for any reason, and believe the major parties have usurped power from the Federal Government, reducing the effectiveness of the separation of powers; however I do respect their right to exist, but would encourage voters to focus more on the individual candidates instead of the party.
The only public office for which there is a nationwide vote, is for President, and this vote is unnecessary under the current constitutionally defined process of electing the President. True election reform to me would be restricting candidates, or organizations focused on electing a particular candidate, from accepting any contributions, towards running an election campaign, from anyone other than those whom they are campaigning to represent. This will help insure that elected officials do not have loyalties to anyone, but those they directly represent.
I also belive that we currently have insufficient representation in the U.S. House.  A single person cannot be expected to effectively represent many hundreds of thousands of individuals.  I would seek to at least double, if not quadruple the number of elected members to the U.S. House, with the goal of having no Representative being beholden to more then 200,000 individuals.

5. Crime and The Justice System
I feel indifferent in this area, until I can learn more about the issues expressed in the 2010 Platform, though I do believe we have a constitutional right to a trial by Jury.
Due to the uniqueness that is intrinsic in every situation, I don’t agree with the notion that one judge’s decision can be used to decide the outcome of an unrelated case. I believe this would prevent the Judicial system from “legislating from the bench”. Every case should be considered as unique and judged based on its particular facts.
We put way too many non-violent "criminals" in jail today, making them a significant burden on tax payers. We should instead be requiring other punishments, such as community service, that allow the convicted persons to continue being a productive member of society, keep their job, and still have deterrents to crime that also provide restitution to society.

Thing I wish they had tought me in High School

Practical Self-Defense
Running around a track for 30 minutes every other day, or playing games like Volleyball, certainly helped with the physical fitness aspects of things, but does nothing to help us understand how to protect ourselves from other potentially physically damaging encounters.  Certainly I had health classes that at least attempted to teach me about personal respect, eating healthy, human sexuality, and how to avoid conflict; however, none of this helped me learn how to defuse an already heated conflict, or to deflect a punch, hold down or disarm an assailant, or even shot a gun when the conflict becomes violent.

All I'm really asking for is another choice or alternative to gym class, called "self defense class".
Home Maintenance and Repairs
I took Wood and Metal shop in Jr High, and they also offered Home Ec as another option.  I also took Auto Shop in high school, which if you ask me should have been a per-requisite to the Drivers Ed class; however, were I learned to take care of my home was by working with my dad in the summer time has he built and remodeled homes.  It might have been helpful to many of my classmates to have had an option to take a class on home repairs.
Personal Finances
I took a lot of math in school, so much so I didn't have to take any in Collage for the degree I ended up getting.  However, after living with roommates in a condo I had purchased, and driving a new expensive car, It didn't take long before I realized I didn't have a very good grasp on how manage a budget, or the real cost of financing and paying interest.  A course on personal finances, that included balancing a budget and avoiding debt would have been helpful.

Statistics

I passed the AP calculus test in High School, which the collage I attended gave me 12 semester credit hours towards their math requirements for graduation.  Unfortunately, if you were to ask me today to do some complex calculus equation I would probably have no idea what you were even talking about.  On the other had, on a regular daily basis at work I'll do any number of math equations from simple addition all the way up to algebra.  From there what would have helped me more then taking calculus or even Trigonometry would have been a class on Statistics.  I run statistical analysis on all kinds of data all the time, without any formal training, and often times find myself wanting for a better understanding of what I just did.
Computer Programing
While computers were just getting into peoples homes when I started high school, I fortunately had friends and family that helped me get and learn to use one of my own.  If I had only learned more about programing languages before collage, I might have found a reason to continue past an associates degree, and ended up in a career in software design and programing.

Thankfully there are a number of things I was glad to have had the opportunity to have learned in High School, including:

  • The U.S. Constitution (although they told me it was a "Democratic-Republic" and glossed over many other things that where significant influences upon the founding fathers.).
  • World History
  • English and writing
  • Theater, and performing Arts
  • Art classes
  • Science, though it would have been nice to know that many of the theories I was taught were just theories that where only a few year or decades old, and would be discarded or modified within my lifetime.
  • Socializing, you know with friends and enemies in the halls and cafeteria.  How else can we learn how we fit into society?
  • Most importantly, how to learn.  After High school I really didn't know how to do much of anything except turn a wrench, hammer some nails, and go to school.  Thus I ended up in Collage, and really haven't stopped learning new things since.  I've even found that I learn better on my own while focusing on things that interest me most.

Why Libertarian?

In November 2011 I started to seriously consider running for officeI have certainly though of doing it before, but after receiving a number of general inquires, via mass e-mail, from the Texas and National Libertarian parties I figured it would at least be a great learning experience.  I certainly don't expect that I'll win, but hopefully it will be educational for myself, and for others within my congressional district.

Why Libertarian? My journey through the political spectrum starts when I was just a teenager.  I overheard an older brother-in-law of a friend of mine badmouthing Democrats, and soon started to realize I was living in an area heavily dominated by self proclaimed "conservatives", many of whom were practicing Republicans. I found myself identifying with a lot of what Republicans had to say, yet still much of it seemed a bit off to me; and proclaimed myself to be more of a Moderate.  The first few chances I had to vote, despite having closely supported Republicans at a state level, I found myself voting for Presidential candidates belonging to the Constitution Party; mostly out of protest. After all if you vote for the lesser of two evils, all you really end up with is evil.  I first heard of the Constitution Party while sitting in church, after our Priesthood meeting had concluded.  A man who had just given a lesson on freedom and liberty, after being asked a question, decided since church was over he was ok to talk more freely about a particular political candidate running under this parties banner.

I soon after moved to Texas, were the Libertarian Party has a much larger Influence.  Of course being much larger then almost nothing still isn't very large, yet as I continued to learn more about politics, and the political process, I found myself disagreeing more and more with Republicans, and certainly a great deal with Democrats.  I eventually concluded that there is a problem with the political system itself.

Today I find myself wanting to be a Moderate Libertarian at a Federal Level, a Moderately Conservative Republican and a state level, and a Conservative Democrat at a local, regional or county level.  However, if I want to get involved at any level, I must pick one.  If I want to have much of a chance at really getting involved in a big way, I'm pressured into picking one of the major parties, and hoping that I can influence it from within; something I had tried before as a county delegate within the Republican Party.  Or I can pick the long shot, the one I most identify with, relative to the position I want to run for, and hope for the best.

Now I just have a whole lot of paperwork to get done, notarized, and mailed in.

Texas candidate filing deadline approaching for 2012 elections

If you are considering running for an office in Texas that will be voted on as part of the November 2012 elections, the deadline for filing is quickly approaching. December 12th is the deadline, and many grassroots organizations are looking for common minded people to jump into the races.

The Grassroots Texans Network recently sent out a notice filled with useful information on how to file.
Below is a list of some important information for those looking to file:
You can also read about my previous experience with researching how to file for candidacy.