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An Open Letter to the Obama Transition Team

Dear Mr. Obama and company:

You blew it.

You almost had me. I was on your side, all set to back you up. I was willing to overlook the backpedaling on telecomm immunity and on cannabis decriminalization. I gave money, did some canvassing for the Obama campaign on Election Day.

I wept when Barack Obama gave his Election Night speech. In that moment, hell, I would've taken a bullet for him.

I've stood up for him in the weeks since the election, defended some questionable Cabinet appointments with the idea that we should wait to see what policy decisions will be made, that some compromise would be necessary to get things done.

But for you to endorse a bigoted, anti-science, anti-choice, anti-religious liberty figure like Rick Warren by choosing him to give the invocation at the Inauguration...

Nope. I'm out.

Warren worked hard to pass California's Proposition 8, stripping gays and lesbians of their right to equal access to civil marriage. He called same-sex marriage equivalent to child abuse. His selection is a kick in the teeth to all who desire equal treatment under the law.

The fact that Warren wants to end all legal access to abortion, has said he could never bring himself to vote for an atheist, and deliberately chooses superstition over science in understanding the world, is just the cherry on top of this failure sundae.

Either you didn't mean to insult the LGBT community and its supporters - and the pro-choice community, the pro-religious freedom community, and the pro-science community - in which case this action shows a level of ignorance and ham-fistedness that makes me question how you function in the world.

Or you did mean it. In which case, well, screw you very much.

For shame, Mr. Obama. For shame.

Very truly yours,

Tom Swiss



I find this quite curious. I mean no insult here, but I have always found it astounding that Obama's supporters could actually believe he favored any kind of real change that would be beneficial to the people. What possible reason would he have to do that? Obama's taking-of-office is merely a managerial change -- one tyrant leaving office, another replacing him. It is not in Obama's interests to reduce the extremely powerful government oppression machine which he has just inherited.

Indeed, if you care for freedom, you should have supported Ron Paul. Once you get past your initial gut-reaction to the fact that he's a member of the Republican Party, and especially after you've done some in-depth reading on the issues, you'll come to find that he was the one candidate this year who actually represented the people.

I've recently been increasingly aware of the fact that the true issues are not Democrat vs. Republican, gays vs. religious people, or conservatives vs. liberals, but government versus the people. These false dividing lines have been engineered to "divide and conquer" the American people. When they've got half the people hating and fighting the other half, the government wins, grows, and prospers -- at the expense of the people.

Feel free to email me, Tom.

I've explained here and here why anti-science anti-liberty batshit crazy racist Ron Paul was never a choice for those who favor freedom. Embracing him was a big setback for the libertarian wing of the Republican party.

As for the idea of "government versus the people", I'm all for smaller government - provided that we start by shrinking its power to issue corporate charters, land and resource deeds, copyrights, patents, and all the other government interventions that concentrate power into the hands of the wealthy and make capitalism possible.

I'm not in favor of ripping the governor of social spending and financial regulation off of the machinery of state capitalism. Ripping of a governor may make an engine "smaller" in a technical sense, but not less powerful.

Tom Swiss - proprietor,

On Ron Paul -- here you call him a "religious wacko" -- is every person with religious views a "religious wacko" in your view, Tom?

His position on Roe v. Wade is not only not a symptom, it is the only consistent view any lover of liberty can hold. Anyone who favors small government -- even among those who favor abortion (or the "right" to choose abortion) should oppose Roe v. Wade and seek to have it overturned. Furthermore, his position on how to overturn Roe v. Wade is consistent with the Constitution -- simply have Congress strip the jurisdiction from the Supreme Court, as the Constitution specifically allows the Congress to do. This would leave the issue in the hands of the state courts, which, while still being inherently evil (as being part of the state), are nonetheless closer to the people; and perhaps more importantly, their "authority" extends over a smaller territory.

Then you call him anti-science -- but it is the pro-abortion position which is anti-science. Science has confirmed the obvious -- that when an egg and sperm unite, they form an entirely new individual, and that that individual is a human being.

Then you mention that Dr. Paul does not believe in evolution; I fail to see how this is possibly relevant to the situation. Ron Paul is a Congressman and was a candidate for President. Belief in evolution has no direct effect on the powers of either office -- his ideas on the issue are quite irrelevant. One need not agree with him on non-political issues in order to support him and to work with others who support him in the fight against government and for freedom.

Your attack on Ron Paul as a "racist" could not be further from the truth, and has been thoroughly dismantled anyway. Here's how Ron Paul feels about racism:

Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans strictly as members of groups rather than individuals. Racists believe that all individuals who share superficial physical characteristics are alike: as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called "diversity" actually perpetuate racism. Their obsession with racial group identity is inherently racist.

The true antidote to racism is liberty. Liberty means having a limited, constitutional government devoted to the protection of individual rights rather than group claims. Liberty means free-market capitalism, which rewards individual achievement and competence, not skin color, gender, or ethnicity.

More importantly, in a free society every citizen gains a sense of himself as an individual, rather than developing a group or victim mentality. This leads to a sense of individual responsibility and personal pride, making skin color irrelevant. Rather than looking to government to correct our sins, we should understand that racism will endure until we stop thinking in terms of groups and begin thinking in terms of individual liberty.

Racism is the enemy of everything Ron Paul has always stood for.

And here's a short (34-second) video clip where he says essentially the same thing.

As for Obama, what did you ever see in him that made you support him? Hasn't it always been obvious that he's simply yet another in a long line of establishment politicians? He doesn't want to increase freedom -- he just wants to use the tools of government oppression for his own benefit. The only halfway decent tendency I saw in him was his slight inclination to talk halfway reasonably about the war in Iraq, but he's nowhere close to being as principled or as consistent on that issue as Ron Paul is.

Your strange term "state capitalism" is simply a contradiction in terms. Capitalism necessarily requires that there is no state, and especially no state interference in the market. It is true that the economic system under which we live is a state system, but it is not capitalism. Removing the state from the system would allow our society to return to the natural free market.

Your views here seem rather contradictory. You say you favor "shrinking its [the government's] power to issue corporate charters, land and resource deeds, copyrights, patents, and all the other government interventions". I agree with you; I favor eliminating those government powers -- and all others -- altogether. Copyrights and patents, of course, are gross violations of human freedom and property rights. They are unnatural creations of government. Take away government, and they cease to exist. The state is the engine, and it has no governor.

Is every person with religious views a "religious wacko"? Of course not. Is Ron Paul? Yes.

The union of a sperm and an ovum forms a single cell. A single cell is not a human person. A human person is an organism with a complex brain, most especially certain distinguishing structures in the neocortex which do not develop and become functional until well after birth. Believing that some sort of ghost enters the ovum along with the sperm and makes it a human person is superstition, not science.

A basic understanding of science is a prerequisite for any position of political responsibility in this technological era. Failure to understand the basic tenets of biology - such as evolution - demonstrates that one lacks this qualification and is not suited to public office.

Paul's acceptance of superstition over science in his understanding of both the human species' evolution and of the development of individual human beings, shows that he is not suited to any position of public trust.

His desire to leave a woman's right to control her own body in the hands of state governments shows that Ron Paul wouldn't know liberty if it smacked him upside the head. The idea that individual state governments are somehow less hostile to liberty than the federal government was adequately disproven during the civil rights era, when it took federal action to get states to extend equal protection to all.

Not that I would expect an apparent racist like Paul to understand that. I've already pointed out the comments printed in his 'zine. His denial of holding racist views does not change the fact of those comments, nor does his sick and twisted attempt to label diversity advocates as racists.

Either he was the author of the racist comments that appeared in his newsletter; or else he's incompetent to even run a 'zine and he lied when he first defended them by acknowledging authorship but claimed to be quoted out of context.

As for capitalism, it absolutely cannot exist without the state. Capitalism is defined by the private control of economic resources by a state-backed class of owners. It's capital as private property, and property is created and enforced by the state.

Trace any claim of property back, and you will find the state at the root of it - it is the state that turns land and natural resources into property.

If I consider this pair of scissors on my desk, for example, in tracing back the claim of ownership I have to go back to the steel it is make from, which takes me back to the iron ore, which takes me back to a government issued land or mining rights deed.

Capitalism and free markets are orthogonal concepts - the first is about owners, the second is about production and trade. During WWII, the U.S. was still capitalist - industries remained privately owned, with profits still accruing to the investing class - but was a command economy, with more then 50% of GDP under government control; the same applies to Singapore today, where government entities control 60% of GDP.

On the other hand, market-based socialism can be found in the libertarian theories of folks like Proudhon.

Tom Swiss - proprietor,

Dearest Tom and unknown Peter=
I seek no argument with either of you and celebrate your voices for your opinions. I have no genuine stance of this topic as my life is too often consummed with helping people meet the basic needs that sustain life. I do have many friends who identify with the lables of bissexual, homosexual, transsexual and asexual lives.I try to balance all of what I hear. Anyway, I am attahcing here some email verbage from an open loving friend of mine- Kokopelli- Maybe it will shed yet another light....

In pursuit of the unknown=
On Dec 21, 2008, at 2:20 PM, Kathe Oliver wrote:,8599,1867664,00.html

To that effort the replied ensued:
My two cents:

Most everyone I know, Allen excluded, be they Gay or not - but especially Gay folks, came to believe that Obama was pro-same sex marriage, because he says stuff like "I'm a fierce" defender of equal rights for gay people, as he did at his recent news conference, even though he's not. Fierce, that is. So far as I know he's done little to advance Gay equal rights, but he's said some moderately positive things.

You, Kathe, I think are already aware that Obama defines himself as a centrist. I think it's a think people are having an amazingly difficult time wrapping their heads around. I've had to bring it up more than I thought necessary. But the momentum of partisanship seems to make steering one's worldview toward centrist leadership a bumpy turn, no matter where you stand. (or would "where you're seated" be better to keep the metaphor consistent?)

I think the very point that Obama is making is that I'm going to be pissed off sometimes, as are those in my general political vicinity, because he's going to include people I don't like, (and/or whose positions I don't like) in his government and his White House. And as are those at every spot along the political spectrum, accept those who really coalesce around his redefinition of centrist. I think he's trying to accomplish what he sees as a bigger goal: To bring people together after decades of strong forces working to push them apart, so far as he can come up with opportunities to do so.

I wish I could stand toe to toe with Warren and tell him how much fear he inspires in people, how much he harms peoples' live in substantial ways. He may think he's not a homophobe, but he seems to have confused having an irrational fear with having a rationale for one' s fear. (but i digress.)

Meanwhile, I get it, that Obama has again made a (not brilliant, not tactful, not sly, what's the word?) shrewd political decision.

And he's not just challenging people to get over being pissed off, knowing people WILL be.

He's taking the measure of the entire left wing, along with much of the Q-munity's political establishment.

As Allen says, if "we" (sheesh: including myself is the height of self-inflation) waste our time waging a campaign to fight Warren's praying, when we have so much else to prepare, what does that say about our focus and priorites?

People from all stripes of the political spectrum do seem to love their symbolism. They love it so much the cymbal-crash of it drowns out what's really important: The list Allen wrote of what's to be done now that we're not fighting a backwards-facing government anymore. There surely is work to be done: and if someone, some organization, is doing so effectively without spending their public energy largely on symbolic gestures, I'd like them to hire me to help. (but I don't see it yet. Sad.)

The one way I will now contradict myself and waste my time responding to this flap is that I have what I think is a good idea, but one which I want to spend little time and energy on; I just want to publicize it enough that others will pick up on it and publicize it themselves and just do it themselves, because I won't physically be anywhere near the inauguration.

I think there should be a protest -- wait! A very special kind of protest -- during Warren's invocation.

I'm calling it a Clinch-In. (It doesn't hurt publicity for it to be a first.)

Not a kiss-in, not a hug-in, but a Clinch-In: I think as many people attending the inauguration or related events as possible should same-sex pair up for the entirety of the invocation, and lock tight: Limbs embraced and mouths engaged in only one's partner's mouth. No speech. Maybe some low moaning, but nothing approaching orgasmic. Just stand up and be counted. Do not interrupt Warren.

But make it as difficult as possible to force him to ignore us.

Many pitfalls come to mind (not least that I'm not good at publicizing my ideas). The number of willing participants, I anticipate, will be pathetic. But I soooooo want to be wrong about that. And, as a completely anarchist event (in the sense that there should be no central governing authority other than, perhaps, this part of this email), some are bound to be confused and distracted. And the critics will howl, but I know critics, and I know it doesn't matter until AFTER the event occurs.

And that's why I'm bcc'ing this email around to a few people. Please take up the challenges, spread the word, participate.

Happy New Year, happy new administration, happy new beginnings.

Bill Stella

To that effect the replies came:

Well, I've read the article. And it doesn't tell me anything new.

For those with ears to hear, Obama has been opposed to same-sex marriage (or "marriage equality", as GLBT activists prefer to say) right along, although he is in favor of civil unions which would be recognized at the federal level. Which is good enough, even though both New Jersey and Vermont (home of the civil union) have issued reports saying that civil unions just do not give all the rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. (Granted, a good deal of that is because they are not recognized at the federal level.)

Some gay activists are outraged. Others are just shrugging over it. I'm with the latter.

There are more important things to be working on than who prays to God during this year's inauguration ceremony. Marriage eq uality, for one thing. The end of "don't ask, don't tell". The federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which has been rolling around the halls of Congress for over a decade. More funding, at home and abroad, for AIDS education and research. The final steps in repealing the visitation and immigration restrictions on people who are HIV+. Oh, yes, and the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Or at least that portion that blocks federal recognition of civil unions, domestic partnerships, and same-sex marriages in those states where they are legal.

If someone else wants to fret and fuss over Rick Warren doing the invocation at Obama's inauguration, I'm all for letting them do it -- if that's really where they want to spend their time and money. Just keep them the hell out of my way. I have real work to do.

-- Allen

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