A Change is Gonna Come
Mr. Stormont is a career State employee. When he inevitably loses his race for Attorney General, he will go back to being as assistant Attorney General, and doing what he is told. Today, while on leave of absence, he talks about changes in the office; but he does not talk about the changes that are really necessary. Because the important issues have not been addressed by the “major party” candidates, I have chosen to make one more effort to put the important issues before the public.
The Attorney General is an elected position, in the Utah Constitution. Some have suggested he (or she) should be appointed by the Governor. The U.S. Attorney General is appointed, and he serves at the pleasure of the President. In Utah, the Attorney General is independent and makes policy for the legal department. He often files “friend of the Court” briefs in cases around the country, to support legal positions he believes are important and correct. He makes important decisions as to how to interpret and enforce the law. He can decide what civil actions to file, and what appeals to take. He has “Prosecutorial discretion” as to what criminal charges to bring, and when to make “plea bargains” in the interest of justice. In most of these cases, it will make little difference which of the “major party” candidates might be elected. It will be business as usual, either with the Republican politician or the career bureaucrat.
I am the consummate outsider. I have never worked for the government, and I am not influenced by what government employees think is good for the government. I prefer to look at the job as legal counsel for the people of the State of Utah, and will work to promote their interests.
The “war on drugs” has become a war on the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The police have been trained to see this important right as a “technicality”, to be dodged when possible. If there is a suspicion of drugs, they WILL find a way to get into your car or your house or wherever they think they are. And the basis for their suspicion can be weak. They might say they smell the odor of marijuana. It is hard to deny that, because there is no physical evidence left over from that smell. Or, they may say there is an air freshener in the car, in an effort to prevent them from smelling the drug. In a recent case, a client was held on a minor traffic case, while dogs were brought in, because a check of her driving record showed a previous drug violation. If I am elected, one of the first things I will do is insist that all police officers receive training on the Fourth Amendment, and why it should be important to them as well as those who are suspected of wrongdoing.
Separate from the Fourth Amendment implications, the whole question of putting people in jail for nothing other than possessing a small amount of marijuana (or other drug, for that matter) for personal use, should be re-examined. It is a terrible policy, and it is making a whole generation of young people into criminals. I would do my best to stop the “war on marijuana users”. I am the only candidate who would do so.
There are other examples of our major differences. A few years ago, I represented a man who spent over 4 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. We filed a legal action to collect compensation, as set out in law, for such situations. To my dismay, the Attorney General fought us tooth and nail; and they won at the trial level. I appealed to the Utah Court of Appeals, and I won. The day the State issued the compensation check, I cried, because I knew that my efforts had brought justice for one person, despite the best efforts of the Attorney General to prevent it.
I am now involved in a couple of cases where regulatory agencies have asserted authority far in excess of what the actual legislative act gives them. Without exception, the Attorney General pushes for the most oppressive interpretation of the law. If I am elected, I will expect regulatory agencies to rein in their tendencies to over-regulate.
In 2004, the people of the State of Utah voted to eliminate most “civil Forfeiture”. This is done by filing a civil action against the PROPERTY of someone who may be suspected of a crime, and the property has no constitutional protections. The property is then taken by the police for their own use, even without a criminal conviction. I have had several cases where people have carried more money than the police think is reasonable. The money is taken from them, and it is up to them to show that they were not going to use it to purchase drugs, or for other illegal purposes. This should never happen, and I will work to change the policy of the State back to what the people voted for by ballot in 2004.
I have more experience in the legal system than either of my opponents; and I have seen first hand the kinds of things that the State has done to increase its power at the expense of the individual. If I am elected, you can count on a wholesale change of attitude in the Attorney General’s office. Tell a friend.
The revolution is here. You have nothing to lose but your chains.
The "Utah Debate Commission" poll for AG
The Debate Commission previously promised to publish the results by September 15. One can easily tell why they waited until 4:57 PM today to do it. The results show that only 53.5% of their sample voters are willing to commit to one of the "major party" candidates, and that the Democratic candidate has less than 13% support! Their website disclaims the poll as a predictor of the election results. Obviously! Over 31% of voters remain undecided, and there was a whopping 14.5% support for an alternative other than the two candidates who will appear at the debate. Since it is obvious that the voters want something other than the two "major party" candidates, why doesn't the Debate Commission invite everyone, so the voters can decide for themselves?
This is just laughable. The debate set a threshold designed to include only two candidates. KSL radio and TV have long used a threshold of 15% for their debates. It is a very good thing for the Democrat that they did not do that this year.
Join me in protesting this stupid "Debate Commission". I start from a decent base of support, over 5%. I need people to help my campaign with contributions; and I need people to put up signs, "share" the news on Facebook, and otherwise help spread the word. This could be the year of total embarrassment for the two "major parties". Now, wouldn't that be fun?
Read my previous blog posts to see my stands on the legal issues in this race. If you agree, do something to help.
"You have nothing to lose but your chains."
Candidate Party Affiliation Percentage Polled
Charles Stormont Democrat 12.6%
Gregory Hansen Constitution 3.9%
Leslie Curtis Independent American 5.3%
Sean Reyes Republican 40.9%
W. Andrew McCullough Libertarian 5.3%
League of Women Voters
1. If elected, what is the single most important thing you would do to gain back the public's trust in the Attorney General's Office?
Answer: I still don't know if either of the two previous Attorneys General broke any laws. I would like to hope not, as I rather like Mark Shurtleff as a person. He has always been friendly and decent with me. Nevertheless, he and his successor left the impression that they had favors for sale in return for large campaign contributions and/or vacations, use of expensive cars and airplanes, etc. Pictures of Mr. Shurtleff in the private jet and the Lamborghini car owned by a businessman who was under suspicion for illegal business practices were everywhere on the internet. I have no favors for sale, and I will not have my photo taken showing "conspicuous consumption". It is not my thing. If I am elected, I will strive to treat all those I deal with with equal fairness. My approach to prosecution will not be as aggressive as some. I have little interest in putting people in jail for being sick (using drugs) and engaging in other activity which essentially is none of the State's business. But I will deal firmly and fairly with those who hurt and abuse others. It will not matter if they are "party faithful" or other privileged people. If the law is too harsh, we will work to make it lees so. As one might expect, I have no large contributors, so I owe nobody any favors. That will not change.
2. Do you think the Attorney General's office has a responsibility to advise the Utah State Legislature and/or the Governor's office against lawsuits posing a great financial burden to Utah's tax payers? Please explain your position.
Answer: In Utah, as in many other states, the Attorney General represents the interests of the people, not the Governor. I intend to take that responsibility seriously. I will not defend the unlawful actions of State employees; and I will not encourage the State to believe that it should throw great resources into lost causes. It is certainly the responsibility of the Attorney General to defend a law passed by the Legislature. But endless appeals and the use of mean spirited and untenable arguments are neither necessary nor appropriate. Specifically, I would do my best to end the State's defense of the prohibition of same sex marriage. After the appeal to the Tenth Circuit, the Attorney General has certainly done his duty. Anything further is not only a waste of resources, it is an insult to many citizens of the state who do not march in lockstep with the majority on this very personal question.
3. What solutions will you pursue to prevent fraud/abuse in issues such as payday lending and business opportunity enterprises (Biz-Ops), as well as to combat identity theft.
Answer: There is nothing inherently unlawful or fraudulent about the payday lending business or those businesses which "sell" business opportunities. Obviously, if they do engage in unlawful or fraudulent practices, they should be prosecuted and shut down to protect our citizens from their practices. I have personal concerns about payday lenders. There seem to be so many of them, and they appear to make such high profits. Certainly, they must be fair and honest with their customers, who tend to be those who can not afford the high interest rates that they are charged. I am not sure the answer is to prohibit or tightly regulate them. Utah previously had a usury statute, which was repealed by the legislature. Perhaps these enterprises fulfill a real need. But I am certainly open to looking carefully at their practices and doing what is necessary to stop abusive practices. For one thing, I will take no large campaign contributions from them, and I will owe them no loyalty when complaints come in that need to be reviewed.
If you agree with my positions, tell a friend. This is not a campaign that will spend large amounts of money. I need those who like what I stand for to pass the word.
A Fair Debate
Ladies and Gentlemen:
By now, you may be aware of the controversy caused by your sizable donation, in May of this year, to the election campaign of our present Attorney General, Sean Reyes. I thought it worth this effort to inform you of some things of which you may not be fully aware.
First, Utah has become a “one-party State”, in which Democratic candidates rarely win major office, and are in a tiny minority in the State Legislature. Part of the dominance by the Republican Party is due to a huge financial advantage enjoyed by their candidates, who are regularly the recipients of large contributions from corporate interests. You may not be entirely aware that our last two Republican Attorneys General, Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow, are currently facing a number of felony counts for “influence peddling” charges, arising in part from those large contributions. Many in the state are discouraged and disgusted by what they have seen in this regard.
So, Mr. Reyes was temporarily appointed at the end of last year, and required to run for office this year in a special election. He most likely will win easily, despite the bad taste left by his two predecessors, because of the dominance of his party.
As you might guess, he is raising substantially more money than either the Democratic candidate, Charles Stormont, or I, the Libertarian Party candidate. Your contribution is one of his largest, and it just looks and feels like “business as usual” from special corporate interest groups. He doesn’t need your money, but you are certainly free to offer it. Nevertheless, to many people in this State, it looks and smells bad, especially in light of the ongoing legal battle over same sex marriage rights, which Mr. Reyes has recently appealed to the United States Supreme Court. While he says he is just doing his job, many think he has gone overboard in his mean spirited arguments that marriage “means nothing” if it just serves the adults who engage in it; and that marriage should be centered around procreation. I only wish your people had read his filings before they sent this contribution.
Well, we all know that “what’s done is done”. I, however, have a suggestion and a request. Mr. Reyes will win no matter who does what from here on. But it is important to the State of Utah to have a healthy debate. Please consider a contribution to Mr. Stormont, and also to me. I am running a serious campaign, and I have championed a more free society. The “war on drugs” has made criminals of a whole generation, and the militarization of our police has made us all less free. The State has no legitimate interest in who we love, or what we smoke in our own homes. Contributions to me and to Mr. Stormont will encourage a real debate over important societal issues. And, if you were to act to “level the playing field” a little, you would be winning a great deal of good will from those who “do not march in lockstep” in our one-party state.
I am not suggesting a contribution for my own campaign in the same amount as that given to Mr. Reyes. But it would certainly be reasonable to suggest $500 or $1,000. A like amount to Mr. Stormont would make all Utahns believe in our system a little more, and would act to remove the suspicion that “big corporate money” owns our state.
Thank you very much for any consideration you may give. By the way, I ran for this office in 2012 as well, and I received 53,000 votes, or 5.4%. I am not running to win, but to change the nature and the quality of the debate. In order to do that, I must make myself heard. It would be good for our state in general if this debate were encouraged.
W. Andrew McCullough
Libertarian Party candidate
for Utah Attorney General
Equality For All
Wednesday August 6th, 2014 Here is my letter to Equality Utah concerning their upcoming "Allies Dinner":
A friend reposted your announcement of the Allies dinner in September. I would love to go, except of course, that I can't, because I do not see your organization as politically fair. I am the Libertarian candidate for Attorney General. Our party fully supports equality, and we announced it both at Pride and in an ad this month in Q Salt Lake. But I am cut out completely from the possibility of an endorsement, or even an acknowledgment that I exist. I understand that your organization claims to be looking for "viable" candidates, but that almost invariably means Democrats. The irony of that decision is that there are very few "viable" Democratic candidates in Utah, for major office. I concede that the Democratic candidate for AG will likely get more votes than I will; but he has no better chance than I do to win. It seems to me that a candidate who cannot get more than 35% of the vote is not really viable. I have been an active supporter of the cause for many years, as the Chair of the Libertarian Party and a long time board member of the ACLU of Utah. I stood on the capitol steps on that June day in 2003 when the Supreme Court announced its decision in Lawrence v. Texas, and I celebrated freedom. I have contributed money to the current litigation, and I have previously given money to your organization. It makes me sad that I cannot do so now.
I look forward to the time when my party is recognized as a strong supporter of the cause of equality, and we are at least acknowledged for that support. When that happens, send me an invitation to your dinner, and I will see you there.
W. Andrew McCullough
Libertarian candidate for Utah Attorney General
Tuesday August 5th, 2014 My Facebook friend Robert Gehrke wrote an article in Sunday's Trib about suggestions for changing the AG election to being nonpartisan, or appointing him, to take the politics out of it. I wrote him a letter telling him why we should not do either of those things. Here it is:
Just read your article on "reforms" suggested for the Utah Attorney General, including appointment of non-partisan election. As you well know, I have been a candidate for this office several times. It all started when a close friend was arrested and strip searched over an allegation of driving under the influence of marijuana. My beautiful friend actually had a speech impediment, which caused her to speak a little slowly, and caused the officer to write in his report: "The lights are on, but nobody's home." After the drug tests came out negative, they sent them back to the lab and told them to try again. Only at the last minute did they drop the DUI charge for lack of evidence. We sued, and the AG fought tooth and nail to protect the incompetent and vindictive officers. It seemed so simple to me that a serious mistake had been made, my client had been strip searched in a misguided attempt to find the drugs that were not there, and that the state should pay compensation. The AG did not agree. the very small settlement we got in the end only made me more angry, and I decided to run for the office myself.
Why? Because I wanted to make some major changes in the way the office operates. I want the AG to represent the people, not law enforcement. I want them to stop the mean spirited attacks on gays, and I want them to stop trying to fill our prisons with marijuana users. The way justice is administered is indeed political. A criminal prosecutor has the discretion to either prosecute to the fullest or to show mercy (and sometimes common sense) in being more reasonable. The AG has great influence in the legislature on adopting laws which may result in long prison sentences, or to suggest alternatives like rehabilitation. Many people may see me as a bit of a kook for running for this office several times without a real chance of winning. but one thing continues to motivate me in doing so: the way things are run now needs change. The war on drugs is a disaster and needs to end. Militarization of police is a terrible mistake that needs to stop. Somebody needs to say these things, and give people alternatives. It would be a serious mistake to make the office "nonpartisan" on the assumption that all we need is a good lawyer at the helm, and that it is not important to know that lawyer's philosophy concerning the use of force by the State.
Thanks for listening.
W. Andrew McCullough
Libertarian candidate for Attorney General
Sunday, July 27th, 2014 Following is the text of a letter I sent this morning to the Utah Debate Commission, which has announced that there will be a debate between candidates for Utah Attorney General who show 10% support in an august poll.
To the Utah Debate Commission:
Thank you for sending me information on the Utah Debate Commission. Obviously, the debate format is designed to exclude "minor party" candidates, and will almost certainly exclude me. I received 5.4% of the vote two years ago, which is a decent showing for a "minor party" candidate. I may do better this year, but it is not likely that I will have reached 10% by August (a time when few people pay much attention to politics).
So, I will not participate in further interaction with your commission. I will leave you to stock your debate with "viable" candidates - Democrats who can reliably expect 25% to 30% of the vote, but will not come close to actually winning.
I learned something important in a high school social studies class many years ago. Eugene Debs ran for President 5 times on the socialist Party ticket. He did not come close to winning. A reporter asked him why he kept doing it when he had no chance of getting elected. He said his job was not to get elected, but to put new ideas into people's minds, and to "change the nature of the debate." I will not get elected this November, but Libertarians are changing the nature of the debate. On important legal issues such as the disastrous "war on drugs", marriage equality, and the militarization of our police, my party has been in the forefront of demanding change. And, on these and other important issues, we are winning. The GOP, with their religious morality, is a true dinosaur. Yes, they will win again in Utah this year; but they will lose the fight to prevent freedom.
Your guidelines simply make sure that only the old, tired, and discredited ideas of the past will be heard. The debate for Attorney General will not address the important issues and give people the opportunity to embrace real change. Shame on you and those others who work to throttle real debate. Your debate will have little merit except to give Mr. Reyes further opportunity to trumpet his intolerance and support for oppression.
W. Andrew McCullough
Libertarian candidate for Utah Attorney General
Wild ride Continuied.Wednesday, December 25, 2013 Today is Christmas. It is a day of quiet in a sea of turmoil. Last night, as I got ready to go to church for Christmas Eve service, I heard the news that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals will not issue a stay of the District Court's ruling over same sex marriage. So far, Utah County (and I think a couple of others) have refused to issue same sex marriage licenses. The Utah County clerk indicated that he was waiting to see that the Tenth Circuit did about the request for a stay. Now we know; and we will see what happens tomorrow. There have been long lines of those who wish to marry. They have been very anxious, because the privilege could be taken from them at any moment. Now it appears that this will not happen. By the time the Tenth Circuit issues a ruling, there will have been thousands of weddings. It will be difficult to put the genie back into the bottle.
Meanwhile the Governor has appointed a new Attorney General, Sean Reyes, an attorney who lost in the primary election last year to John Swallow. He is, of course, going to run in the special election next year. And he will certainly put all possible efforts into overturning the two recent marriage rulings by the Federal courts. So, I watch the amazing events with great interest. If I were Attorney General, I would do what I could, within my authority, to abandon the appeals and to allow those who wish to marry the freedom to do so. I remember what Mildred Loving said regarding her ground-breaking appeal to the Supreme Court (Loving v. Virginia, regarding the right to marry someone of a different race) - that she just thought people should be able to marry the one they loved. Seems simple enough to me.
There were many who thought that the Governor should appoint someone as Attorney General who would not immediately start campaigning for election, and could give full attention to the mess in that office. He chose not to do so. Hopefully the new Attorney General will be a bit more up front with how he finances his campaign. Nevertheless, for the people of Utah, the change of direction will not be as substantial as we would hope. We will still have someone in that office who will spend taxpayer money defending State efforts to tell us how to live our private lives. He will not only fight the marriage appeals, but he will fully prosecute the "war on drugs" and put many more people in prison. I offer a change in direction, where the State is not our "big brother", and where there is more freedom. Help me pass the word. And let freedom ring!
What a Wild Ride.Friday, December 20, 2013 December 2013 has brought such changes to the legal landscape, in Utah and elsewhere, it leaves me almost breathless. Several years ago, an independent polygamist named Tom green was arrested, prosecuted and convicted of bigamy. Tom did not do anything more than many others had done without arrest, except that he refused to be quiet. An overzealous small town prosecutor went after him and won; and Tom went to prison,. The prosecutor was rewarded by defeat for re-election. My firm filed a "friend of the court" brief in Tom's support, claiming that Tom and his wives were protected by guarantees of freedom of religion and freedom of speech,. The Utah Supreme Court ruled against us.
More recently, Cody Brown and his three wives, living in my hometown of Lehi, starred in a reality show. They were not arrested, though they were actively investigated by the Utah County Attorney, making them very nervous. They sued the State in Federal Court, once again claiming that they were protected by constitutional guarantees of free speech and freedom of religion. a couple of weeks ago, the Federal Court ruled in their favor. The Judge (a law school classmate of mine) did not formally legalize plural marriage in Utah. He simply pointed out that, in the Twenty-first century, people do live together without being married in the eyes of the State. The fact that these people all each other husband or wife does not prohibit them from living as they please. Only if they wrongfully obtained multiple formal marriage licenses will they be subject to prosecution. It is a decision that is very much in line with common sense. Needless to say, however, there are those who have been very upset about this decision, saying it sends the state back to the dark ages of polygamy, They also claim that it gives comfort to those polygamists who abuse children and commit welfare fraud to support their large families. The decision does not do those things, but certainly, some see it as an attack on "traditional marriage." So, there has been a lot of discussion of it, and a lot of criticism.
Well, today the roof really fell in on the advocates of "traditional marriage". another Federal Judge invalidated the Utah law, and a State constitutional Amendment prohibiting same sex marriage. The lawsuit, brought by three same sex couples, claimed that recent Supreme Court decisions, as well as a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, made Utah's ban on the practice unconstitutional,. The Court agreed. Sometimes a court making such a momentous decision, will delay implementation of the ruling until the state considers and appeal and attempts to obtain a stay of the ruling. This decision did not do that, and was effective immediately, by its terms. County clerks in four counties started issuing marriage licenses within hours, and marriages have taken place. The temporary Attorney General is seeking an emergency stay, but it is not likely to be heard until after many more marriages are performed, Wow! The internet was ablaze with the news today, and I pretty much lost my ability to get any meaningful work done at the office.
Meanwhile, our elected Attorney General has resigned, and new information of his possible wrongdoing is released daily. The temporary Attorney General is faced with multiple crises; and he does not know if he will still be in office next week. Three Republicans picked by their party, are vying to be appointed for a year until the next general election. They all support appeals of these earth-shaking decisions; and the litigation is likely to go on and become ever more expensive. Personally, of course, I am thrilled by both of these Court decisions. The State has interfered with out personal relations for too long. If I were Attorney General, I would do my best within my authority, to end the appeals and to allow the rulings to be implemented.
The Game is Afoot
Nevertheless, I was stunned to turn on my computer last Wednesday evening and receive a "heads up" from my Facebook friend, Robert Gherke (who writes for the Salt Lake Tribune), that criminal charges might be coming soon. And then an updated message that a resignation was possible in the next 48 hours. It all came so fast. By the time I woke up on Thursday, it was all but over. The resignation came on Thursday afternoon. On Friday, a report from special counsel to the Lt. Governor suggested several campaign violations which could be charged as crimes. Wow! And then the radio started to talk about an interim appointment and a special election. So, I got out my election code, and found that there will be an appointment by the governor, until the next general election, which will be next November. The appointment must go through the Republican State Committee, as Mr. Swallow is a Republican. Until Thursday, I had given no thought whatsoever to running for office again next year. But all of a sudden, it appears I am once again a candidate for Attorney General. I have run before as a Libertarian candidate. Last year, I received 53,000 votes, or 5.4% of those cast. My party supporters seemed to assume that I would run again; and so far I have not come up with a good reason not to run. Yesterday, the friend who supplied me with campaign signs last year, called to discuss making some new ones.
I have explained here before that I see the role of a "minor party" candidate to be that of changing the nature of the debate. Last year, my two opponents campaigned for "family values" and promised to be tough on crime. I campaigned for smaller government and more freedom. Utah is a traditional, conservative, state. We are not going to be in the forefront of change. But anyone who is observing our society can see that major changes are coming. The "war on drugs" that has put thousands of our young people in jail, is a total failure. Colorado has now legalized the sale and possession of marijuana. I have never tried it (nor have I ever tried a cup of coffee). But it seems obvious beyond debate that putting people in jail for smoking it is a disastrous policy. Marriage equality will come to this country no matter how hard the battle to stop it may be. The State simply must step back and admit that there are some areas of human activity that are not properly regulated or prohibited by the state. And rather than making plans to build a huge new prison, we should be working to downsize the ones we have. So, the game is once again afoot. We have been given a major new opportunity to make our voices heard for more freedom, and less oppression. If you agree that this is an opportunity that we should make the most of, get involved. Make a small contribution ($50 or less remains confidential), tell your friends, put a bumper sticker on your car (they are magnetic and will come right off). Find me on facebook and "like" my page (McCullough for Attorney General). Together we can "change the world", even if only a little.
More Freedom. Less Oppression
November 3, 2012 -- Up early for a Saturday. Having trouble sleeping lately. Too much on my mind. The Deseret News poll published this morning gives me only 3% of the vote for Utah Attorney General, with 18% still undecided. Still too many who do not know I am running. Please help pass the word. . . . Salt Lake City Weekly this week predicts that the Democratic Party in Utah will be beaten worse than in a long time this year, mostly due to Mitt Romney's presence on the ballot. I think the problem is made worse by the party's conscious decision to nominate active LDS members for all the high offices. This appears to be backfiring, as they no longer present a real choice. That leaves only alternative voices like mine. . . . I am going to add some material here from others. Please consider sending a link to this blog to others, to increase the number of people seeing it. Such an easy thing to help the cause of freedom. . . . Here is a great little video, less than two minutes, made my friend, Val. I'm impressed: http://vimeo.com/52705072 . . . . I was also impressed this week by a couple of lawyers, both Democrats, who posted endorsements of me on their Facebook pages. Here is one from Ed Flint: A plea to all Democrats in Utah: Our party's candidate for Utah Attorney General is NOT the right person for that job. He also has zero chance of winning and is more interested in turning Weber County into a police state first, then expanding his evil empire to the rest of Utah. Of all the candidates, the ONLY one that's a capable, experienced trial lawyer and supporter of the Constitution is: W. ANDREW McCULLOUGH, LIBERTARIAN. If every Democrat knew what only a handful of Utah attorneys know from first-hand experience, our party would both reject Dee Smith and support Andy McCullough! VOTE!!! . . . . And here is one from Tyler Ayres: please vote for Andrew McCullough for Utah Attorney General. No, he's not the republican or democratic candidate but he is the best candidate for the job. I've known him for years, watched him work, and I am confident he would make an excellent AG. Furthermore, if we are going to start the process of repairing our broken country we need an alternative to the status quo. a vote for Andy is a vote not only for the AG but for a new outlook. please go vote.... in this instance not only does your vote count but it is vital to this movement! . . . . Rocky Anderson, former SLC mayor and third party candidate for President, was quoted in City Weekly this week seemingly favoring Democrat Dee Smith for Attorney General. Rocky and Dee Snith wouldnot likely agree on ANYTHING. When I wrote and asked him why, he sent this response: I didn't endorse -- and actually talked in the article about how much I love you doing what you do in our state. You ARE such a colorful person -- and I am so glad you're here! . . . . I am very thankful to those who have expressed support (some of which seems a little backhanded). I am sad at some of those who have expressed a lack of support. One thing is particularly bothering me. I have always supported the movement for equality for the LGBT community, and I bought a big ad in Q Salt Lake magazine for September and October. When equality Utah did their endosements this year, I filled out their questionnaire and never heard back. They later claimed they sent an ivitation for an endorsement interview. I did not get it (checked my competer for such messages). They did not endorse Dee Smith the Democrat, either (as is usual for them). Neither did the Stonewll Democratic Club. When I tred this week to post a mention of those facts on Equality Utah's Facebook page, I found that I am blocked from posting there. I am sad and a bit angry that it has come to that. But this little feud should not block the message that neither of my opponents have any sympathy for those who do not march in lockstep. If you are gay, if you smoke mj, if you like watching exotic dancers, if you drink alcohol, if you don't go to (the dominant) church every week, I really am your only choice to show your opposition to the establshment. I actually lead a pretty straight life. I have never yet had a cup of coffee (really). And I have many LDS supporters too. But I am strongly opposed to those who would make their choices mandatory for others. Help send the message. . . . . Please.
Sunday, October 07, 2012 -- Send the Message. Let Freedom Ring. October 7, 2012 One month to go before the final election day. Several people who prefer to vote by mail tell me that their ballots have been received. There is still time, however, to register to vote. The deadline to do so is Tuesday in Utah; and it can now be done online through your county clerk or the State election office. There is no excuse not to vote, even though we can pretty much guess the results of major races in Utah. Last time I checked, I had a couple of thousand dollars in the bank, and my Democratic challenger had maybe $12,000 or so. I think the Republican had about $600,000. Not sure why he feels he needs that much; and of course those who donate it do not expect any favors or special considerations. Well, the system is what it is, and we will live with it. I actually have one particular donor who happens to make signs. Late Friday afternoon, I received 500 yard signs, more than I really know what do do with. I do hope that we will get them out wher people can see them, and increase my visibility substnatially. A major downside of running for office as a Libertarian is being unkown and largely invisible. Anyone who can help spread these signs around would be greatly appreciated, especially if you may be traveling form the Salt Lake area to other areas of the State in the near future. And, if you live far from Salt Lake and would be willing to receive and help distribute signs, please let me know. I saw a poll in the Provo Herald this morning that asked about feelings towards early voting. People were asked if they were concerned that they might learn something that could have changed their minds, after they had voted early. About 55% were sure there was nothing that could happen that would change their minds. Well, I guess I am one of those. But it is kinda sad to see so many who are so sure, at a time when I have not had a chance to get more widely known, and before I can explain why they should consider me. Smaller campaigns spread new ideas, and we will continue to do so until election day and beyond. I also saw an article in today's paper about the Salt Lake City police chief's apology to the 76 year old woman whose front door was hit by a battering ram, at night, when she was home alone, and who was held at gunpint while her house was searched. They broke into the wrong house. The Chief says he is sorry, and that there should have been safeguards to prevent this. The thing he did not say is that such raids by narcotics officers are unnecessary and dangerous. That comes after the horrific shootout in Ogden, and after a samll town police chief in New Hampshire was shot and killed in his last week before retirmement, on such raids. The sad fact that government will not admit to us, is that this kind of violence on the part of the police is NOT WIINNING THE WAR ON DRUGS. The war is being lost, and the answer is not more violence; it is to treat drugs as a social and medical problem, not a legal one. As we approach the election, we really do have an opporunity to register our frustration and disagreement. We do not need more state-sponsored violence. We do not need the State telling us what to do, how to think, and what kind of entertainment is OK for us to view. The Utah Democratic Party, in an effort bo become more relevant, has become even less so. Their major candidates this year are uniformly active LDS members, on the conservative edge of their party. In the "Year of Romney" this will not help them get more votes; and it deprives those who believe in a vibrant "two party sytem" of any real choice. Don't get me wrong, this is not an anti-LDS rant. this is being written as I listen to General Conference on the radio. I am a BYU graduate, though I no longer participate. There are major policy reasons for that, but suffice it to say, I do not want a government dominated by those who favor a fusion of church and state. I do not think that something should be illegal because it immoral. I have never had a cup of coffee; but I am not going to tell anyone lese that they cannot have one. This campaign is about freedom from government intrusion into our personal lives. I am running against two people who believe that the State should use whatever means to bring "safety', even at the expense of liberty. If you agree with me, there is still time to get involved and help me send the message. Please do.
September 5, 2012 -- What a day! Today I argued my first case in the New York State Court oif Apopeals. I grew up in Albany, the State Capital. When I was young,my mother's best friend was a deputy clerk in the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. When I became an attorney, it was a distant dream to appear there. Today it came true. New York has a sales tax on admissions to places of amusement, but not on admissions to a place where the program consists of choreographed dance performances. I still have a seconmd home in New York state and go there in the summer when I can. Sometimes I drop by the exotic dance club run by old friends of mine. Several years ago a state tax auditor told them that they owed a lot of money for admission taxes becauase their dance show was not the kind of dance show that the law was designed to exempt. They disagreed and hired a tax lawyer to contest it. After a while they realized their tax lawyer didn't undersand the business; and they asked me to step in. I hired a widely known expeert in exotic dance to testify that the dance programs of this establishment were indeed the kind of performances exempt from tax. It has been a long road. We won the first round, and the State appealed, where we lost. We had to pay the tax and sue to get it back. The court again ruled for the state, and the only chance was to get a hearing before the State's highest court, which does not accept many cases. Nevertheless, they accepted mine, and today we argued it. A decision is due in a couple of months. We think the state should not make value judgments on what kind of performances should be taxed based on whether the tax collector likes it. We think the First Amendment gives us equal footing with other kinds of dance, and we told them so. We think the arguments went well. The press has been calling all day for interviews, and I was FINALLY quoted today in the New York Times, one of my goals in my porfessional life. This is, of course, just one more aspect of my campaign to bring more freeddom to this wonderful country. Join me in my crusade. Remind a friend that I am running for Utah attorney gehral. Mkae a donation. get a yard sign or bumper sticker and display it. We have nothing to lose but out chains! In closing, I want to acknowledge the loss of a good friend and ally, Brian Barnard who died unexpectedly yesterday. He will be sorely missed; but we need to do the best we can to carry on. I intend to do so. RIP, Brian.
May 10, 2012 -- Changing the nature of the debate. It has been an interesting week, politically. Last weekend I went to Las Vegas to the National Libertarian Party Convention. We nominated former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson for President, and retired California Supreior Court Judge Jim Gray for Vice President. It is a good ticket. Both have campaigned against the insane war on drugs for years, and both are articulate, hard-working proponents of the Libertarian message. As I campaign as a Libertarian for office, I often quote something I heard years ago, attributed to Eugene Debs, the perennial Socialist Party candidate for President. Someone asked him why he continued to run, when he knew he would not win. His response was that smaller parties do not so much run to win as they run to change the nature of the debate. In the midst of the raging debate over the definition of marriage in North Carolina, we were reminded at the convention that we have supported marriage equality for many years. On Sunday, I watched Vice President Biden, in a televised interview. He was aaked his position on gay marriage, and he said he thought it was a fair thing for everyone. On Tuesday, voters in North Carolina enacted a consitutional amenement to ban gay marriage and civil unions. The President waited until after the vote to announce that he has "evolved" to a position of support for gay marriage. It has made headlines everywhere. But we have been there for years. Have we influenced the direction of the debate? YOu bet we have? Can we continue to do it on other issues? "Tes, we can." And, as my secretay said to me last night, "We're winning, aren't we?" Yes, we are. The Libertarian Party has advocated smaller government and less spending for many years alos. Now the so-called "tea party Republicans" claim they invented the idea. In advocating what we have long advocated, they often bring along their ideas of intolerance, however. Thus, while we can be happy about some "tea party" victories, we reject the intolerance exhibited in North Carolina and other places. American needs this third voice, moving the debate in a direction of common sense. I have not been shy about my opposition to the "war on drugs", which has made criminals of a whole generation, and has filled our jails and prison with people who do no harm to society. My two "major party" opponents will preach big government solutions to law enforcement, which will continue this unwise course. I offer an alternative view, and I simply seek to steer the debate in a different direction. I have been interviewed in the last couple of months on four radio stations. The press, however, will mostly try and ignore me. If my friends in the press read this, please consider covering my alternative views. It will make the debate richer, and it may help bring about change, just as President Obama has been moved to "evolve". I must say that it will all be easier with a little money to spend on advertising. My website, www.andrewmccullough.org, and my Facebook page, McCullough for Utah Attorney General, have "donation" buttons. Even a small contibution will help with the effort to bring about change. And tell a friend. The revolution is here.
April 15, 2012 -- Campaigning again. Even in the middle of en election year, it is hard to find time to update my blog, but I will try and do so more often as campaign season warms up. As I have done before, I am running for Utah Attorney General. As the former Socialist candidate for President, Eugene Debs said, when asked why he kept at it: It is important that we try and change the nature of the debate. The Libertarian Party in Utah is growing, as more people realize that the one party state does not protect their personal freedoms. And we needed someone to keep the debate alive. When Weber County Attorney Dee Smith announced he was running as a Democrat, my e-mail lit up wildly. Mr. Smith is most known for his loud support of the failed drug war and for his support of the death penalty. So, we needed an alternative, and here I am.
Last night I filed my pre-convention finalncial report, a couple of days early. I checked on the preliminary reports of two of my opponents, including Mr. Smith. As far as I can tell, he has no working website, and he has only a few thousand dollars on hand, given to him by his party. These numbers may change when the reports are filed next week, but right now, he has not raised any money, and has not started campaigning. John Swallow, one of the two Republican candidates, has raised almost half a million dollars. I did not check Mr. Reyes yet, but assume he has similar resources.
So, what chance do I have of changing the Republican domination of this office, or of infuencing the debate? Well, to start, I represent a different point of view that has much support among citizens. The constant drumbeat of being "tough on crime", and especially on drugs, needs to be counterbalanced with common sense. I read in the Provo Herlad this morning that the drug war may get even tougher, with potential death penalites for dealers. This is a reaction, they say, to the fact that heroin is now about the same price as a six pack of beer, and is readily available to those who seek it. So, the "war on drugs" gets more serious, and more people die. Only I am willing to say what most people already know: The war on drus is being lost, and getting tougher will not win it. It is the drug war that costs lives, more so than drug abuse itself. Yesterday, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that a Springville man had called for urgent medical help. when the paramedics got there, they found heroin. So, after a short stay at the hospital, he went to jail. Obviously, he will never call for help again. Next time, he may just die.
Last week I spoke to a group in Ogden that supports Matthew Stewart against the death penalty charges brought against him by Mr. Smith. I don't support shooting police officers, and nobody else there does either. But we all wonder why several heavily armed and armored police officers would break into anyone's house at night, without warning, just to get a few pot plants that he was aupposedly growing. Is this worth the risk to anyone's life? We don't think so.
I also was interviewed over the last couple of weeks on KKAT radio in Salt Lake, and KVNU radio in Logan. So, I am not being totally ignored. There are many who want to hear the alternative message that I bear. I intend to keep spreading it the best I can. Maybe the powers that be will eventually begin to realize that what they are doing is wrong; and it is failing.
Help me spread the word. Tell a friend. Consider a small contribution at www.andrewmccullough.org
And pass this bolg on to someone as well. We don't have a lot of mney, but we have an important message. Let's spread it as we can.
January 7, 2012 -- War on Drugs hits home. It has been a while since I have updated this blog. Hope to do better, but so very busy fighting the "man".
This past week the War on Drugs came to Utah with a vengeance. And it was a real war. The Ogden area, like others in the State, maintains a militarized "task force", supposedly to fight drugs. These guys train for battle, are heavily armed, and wear body armor, in anticpation of a firefight. This week twelve of them planned a "raid" of a home where they reputedly had information that an occupant was growing his own marijuana (and may have sold some - it still is not clear). They broke in his door at night; and things did not go as planned. One is dead, two others are in critical condition, and three others were wounded less seriously. The community has come together for candelight vigils and other expressions of support of these heroes.
I want to make it clear right now, that this was a tragedy. It should not have happened. But I look around and I do not see any heroes, just more victims of a drug policy which creates so many of them. What possible reason was there for this military assault? Was anyone in immediate danger of serious harm? The tactics themselves make little sense. They knew who lived there, and that he worked a graveyard shift at Walmart. Why not wait until he was not home? Better yet, why not try and arrange to go there during the day and talk to him in a civilized manner? Or even better yet, why not ask if such a "raid" was even necessary? Marijuana possession is not s serious crime, even in Utah. When twelve heavily armed men charge a house with guns drawn, doesn't it seem likely that SOMEBODY may get hurt? Is grabbing a few marijuana plants worth ANYONE'S life?
I am reading a book about a man who grew up with drug addicted parents in New York. Wouldn't have had a chance in life except for a friend who helped him get out and lead a real life. The drug war went on all around him; and those police who were fighting it never had a snowball's chance in the hot place of winning. So lives were destroyed and nothing got better. I do not like drugs. I do not use them. I also do not, however, believe that I can force you to do as I do. I have wateched the drug war lose ground from the day President Nixon decared it. A whole generation of young people have been made criminals, and it is NOT getting better.
We should mourn the fallen officers; and we should mourn the man whose life has been destroyed by defending his home against a nighttime breakin by men he likely did not know were police officers. And then we should talk about how to fight the evil effects of drug addiction without destroying more lives.
Please consider doing something to help. I am gearing up to run for Utah Attoreney General. Yes, I have done this before; but this incident reminds me that we need new ideas in law enforcement. Join me in my fight for common sense. And demand a stop to the violence.
September 24, 2011 -- Ups and downs on the road to freedom. I just attended (but felt to old to fully participate) Utah's "undie's run". Hundreds of people in their underwear gathered at Gallivan Center and then either walked or ran up State St. to the Capitol. I thought it was just too much of a hill, and now I wish I had gone up. Some were real athletes who ran hard the whole way. Most ran and walked at their own pace. The police closed State St., and it was quite a festive occasion. There was to be an "after party" at the Gallivan Center with music and beer after, but I left. Very impressive event, and many wrote messages of freedom on their bodies, protesting Utah's liquor laws, advocating legalization of mj and gay marriage, etc. It occurred to me that this is my constituency, and that I should have done something to let them know who I am and what I stand for. They should all vote for me in my next run for Attorney General (if I do it). I have to work on getting that message out. Anyway, I left feeling quite good about freedom in general. And the funny thing is that tonight was also the LDS Church Women's conference. TRAX was full of well dressed women on their way to conference. I can't help but chuckle about the two groups running into each other on the way home.
Last week I went to Las Vegas for a convention. I have always been able to avoid those new scanners at the airport until now. I was scanned going both ways. The scanners have been modified to eliminate the explicit nature of the images. But, on the way down, a single dime in my pocket triggered an extra pat down. On the way back, I was very careful not have ANYTHING in my pockets, and the machine found nothing. Nevertheless, I still got the pat down. This time he took my wallet and leafed through it. I assume that was a result of the raised middle finger during the entire process. To their credit, they were polite enough, even wishing me a nice flight. But the combination of that damned machine, the extra patdown, and the wallet thing made me feel quite violated. It is my understanding that Congress is in the process of defunding the machines. It will not be soon enough for me. No, I do NOT feel safer. I only feel harassed. And I do not like it. Thanks again to Congressman Chaffetz for his untiring efforts to do away with this.
And finally, I need to mention the sadness of the execution this week of Troy Davis, in Georgia. I don't know whether he killed that police officer. And I don't think the State of Georgia knows either. There have been so many mistakes, that unless we really are sure, this final solution should NOT be used. Please read my previous blog (Innocent Man Part 2) about our successful efforts to exonerate a man who spent over 4 years in prison for a cirme he did not commit. And I also recommend that you read John Grisham's recent and disturbing novel, "The Confession", about efforts to save an innocent man from execution. Last week, during a debate, Governor Perry of Texas boasted about the number of execution in his State during his watch. What a horror, if we elect this man President.
I am working on putting together a campaign for Attorney General (again) because somebody does need to keep saying what needs to be said about freedom. And enither of the two "major party" candidates will do so. Please help me with this effort. Register to vote, tell your friend, and consier a small contribution. There is so much that needs to be done to advance the cause of freedom.
September 12, 2011 -- An innocent man, part 2. First, I apologize that I haven't been working on this blog for a while. So many things to do. So many windmills to tilt at. Today, however, it is most important that I take the time to do this.
Back in July, 2008 I posted about my efforts to obtain compensation for a man who had spent four and a half years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Due to the efforts of his public defender, his conviction was thrown out, and he was set for a new trial in July, 2007. On July 6, 2007 (happens to be my birthday), the State dismissed all charges, and he was released. The next day he came to see me about obtaining compensation for his wrongful imprisonment.
Harry Miller had been charged with an armed robbery in Salt Lake City at a time when he was most certainly in Louisiana, recovering from a mild stroke. Evidence showed that he was there at least a few days before and a a day or so after the robbery, but there was a period of 2 days or so that was not clearly accounted for at trial. Despite the fact that it did not seem likely that he was in Utah during the crime, it was POSSIBLE, based on the lack of precise evidence of alibi, that he could have gotten on a plane, flown out here, committed the robbery, and flown back. His trial attorney thought this was so silly that he didn't see much likelihood of conviction. The fact that Mr. Miller is black, and the victim didn't have much contact with black men, may have figured in. More than two years later, the victim identified Mr. Miller as her attacker, and, despite the seemingly weak evidence, he was convicted.
At the time he was released, there was little that could be done. The police had not falsified evidence or done anything else to violate their oaths. But the legislature was considering a new law which allowed compensation for people imprisoned, who were later determined to be "actually innocent". We patiently waited almost a year until the new law went into effect, and then we filed. In my July, 2008 post, I noted that the State did even not want to give Mr. Miller a hearing to determine his innocence. They simply relied on the evidence at trial, and claimed that it was too late now to add extra evidence, even though the results of that trial had been thrown out. The District Judge agreed, and we appealed. On November 19, 2009, the Court of Appeals said that we were entitled to a hearing at which we could introduce whatever evidence we had of actual innocence.
At this point, the Utah Innocence Project stepped in and volunteered to use its resources to track down witnesses, issue subpoenas, and put together a good case. They did a wonderful job, and it began to appear that we would win. But, it took over four years from the time that he was released.
I AM TOTALLY THRILLED TO REPORT THAT THIS MORNING THE STATE STIPULATED TO FACTUAL INNOCENCE, AND THE COURT SIGNED THE ORDER COMPENSATING MR MILLER FOR HIS TIME SPENT IN PRISON. THE COURT ALSO EXPUNGED HIS RECORD OF ARREST AND CONVICTION. THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST DAYS FOR MY LAW PRACTICE. The practice of law is terribly frustrating on many occasions. Many times I am convinced of the rightness of my cause, and I lose anyway. Sometimes I almost want to quit. DAYS LIKE THIS MAKE IT ALL WORTH IT. JUSTICE HAS BEEN DONE. CONGRATULATIONS, MR. MILLER.
I am very pleased for my part in this. The appellate lawyers who won a reversal, Margaret and Patrick Lindsay, and the lawyers for the Innocence Project, especially Jensie Anderson, did as much or more. Thank you all for what you have done. And thank our founding fathers for a system that (at least sometimes) works to achieve justice. WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY
February 15, 2011 -- My day at the Utah Legislature. It is illegal in Utah to offer or agree to a sex act for money. Not unusual. But today, the Utah Legislature took the first step to expand the "sex solicitation" law to also make it unlawful to do such things as expose a breast or even to touch your own buttocks, while "intending to commit" a sex act for hire. The fact that this law is totally ridiculous did not seem to occur to many on the House Judiciary Committee.
This Bill was introduced by a Democrat from Salt Lake City, who apparently was asked to do so by Salt Lake City Police. She brought with her the City Prosecutor, a Salt Lake vice officer, the Police Chief, a vice officer from Sandy, and the lobbyist for the Statewide Association of Prosecutors. The committee allowed her and her entourage to go on for over a half hour about how this Bill was necessary to fight prostitution. Under cover police officers, we are told, are asked to do things such as touch themselves or touch the girl, in an effort to find out out if he is a cop. So, now all an officer has to do is to say that she asked me to do this, OR that she acted in a sexually provocative manner, leading him to believe that she might be willing to have sex for money. WOW!
My clients are adult entertainers. They are licensed and regulated; and THEY ARE ALLOWED to strip and to touch themselves. One legislator made it very clear that he does not believe the First Amendment was ever designed to protect nudity. But, of course, the Supreme Court says it was. Now, properly licensed entertainers who follow all the rules are in danger of being treated by police as prostitutes. The Police Chief said they would only use the law against those who they had reason to believe were prostitutes. The problem is that they believe this about everybody.
I was told, when it came my time to speak, that I had two minutes. When I complained, the chair did allow me an extra minute or so. This, after all the officers and prosecutors had spoken as long as they cared to. I tried to explain the problems with this Bill, and in the end I convinced one brave committee member. Thanks you, Rep. Hutchings.
The Bill is not yet law. Hopefully, there will be another chance to slow it down. and the legislature only is in session for 3 more weeks. For those reading this who would like to be of help, consider contacting your legislator and asking him or her to vote "No" on HB 121. This Bill will go a long way towards ruining the lives of young girls who only wanted to earn some extra money, in a LEGAL, LICENSED occupation. Shame on the legislature for this.
Once again, I can't help but notice that a morality bill is introduced by a Democrat. Those who believe that Democrats are less willing to sove their morals on ohters are just wrong. And once again, I am glad that I am a member of the one party that will not push its morals on others. Get involved in the Libertarian Party. There really is no place to else to go for those who really believe in personal freedom.
I do want to say a further word about Republicans. I tend to diss them as a class for their willingness to interfere in our private lives. Rep. Hutchings is a Republican and a BYU alumnus. Ealier this week Congress renewed provisions of the Patriot Act which allow the FBI to spy on US citzens. Senator Lee and Congressman Bishop, who voted "No", are also Republicans. Thank you, gentlemen. I will try and remember that I should not condemn all members of the Party because many of them support oppression.
October 31, 2010 -- The big day is here. No, I'm not speaking of Halloween. Because of campaigning, did not have a chance to party this year. I am running for Utah Governor to put forth new ideas on freedom, to give voters a real alternative from the two "major party" candidates, and to keep my party growing. If any of those things are of interest to you, help me by voting for me, and tell a friend. The polls show an easy victory for Herbert; but there is no doubt that many people are not satisfied with those who choices. Some wish that Corroon had campaigned differently and had put up a stronger fight. But he didn't, and he will not win. (Sorry, Missy). If you really would like to see a more free society, vote for me and help us to build a real alternative party. Voting Democratic for Governor will not help anyone (though some of their other candidates may well win and make some changes). Our party is running candidates for Davis County and Utah County Attorneys. There are no Democrats in these races; and these Republicans are used to running unopposed. We give you a real choice. Our candidates can be expected to prosecute hard those who commit violent crimes. But they will be less inclined to prosecute "victimless" crimes. We are not the morality police. The expense of trying to be that is something the taxpayers cannot afford; and it is time that somebody said so out loud.
I have said several times recently that Libertarians are the Tea Party without the intolerance. Well, the New York Times this week quotes a tea party leader in Indiana as saying that those who claim that there is global warming are stating "a flat-out lie." As evidence of that, he relies on Rush Limbaugh and the Bible. "I read my Bible. He made the earth for ust to utilize". (NY Times, 10/20/10; "Climate Change Doubt is Tea Party Article of Faith") Some Libertarians also doubt the claims of global warming,and we are likely to disagree with Democrats on what to do about it. I would hope that we do not resort to arguments such as this to support our position. Being a Libertarian does not conflict with common sense; and what we are saying adds substantially to the debate.
There has been an almost total news blackout on Libertarian campaigns this year (though I would like to publicly thank the St. George Spectrum, Salt Lake Weekly and Q Salt Lake publications; KVNU, KRCL and KTKK radio; and Ethan Millard on KSL radio Nightside Project for letting me get in an occasional word. Join us in protesting our media treatment by the simple act of voting Libertarian. If we grow enough, they will have to talk to us. And that starts on Tuesday.
All Libertarians in the Salt Lake area are invited to our election night party at Brewvies on the corner of 300 West and 700 South, starting at 7 PM. Vote first; and bring your laptops if you want to watch the returns with us.
Vote Libertarian for real freedom; and tell a friend. The revolution is now; and you have nothing to lose but your chains.
October 24, 2010 -- A real alternative. I have been working hard over the least several weeks trying to get my name out to those who have yet to hear of me. The people who I talk to are receptive, at least partially, because both of the "major party" candidates have high "negatives". People would like there to be another alternative, and there is. Yay. If you are interested enough to be reading this before the election, help me get my name out to others. Pass this on to a friend, post something on your Facebook page, just bring it up in conversation. I still have some yard signs that need to be put out as well. Help me beat the "news blackout" on my candidacy.
We Libertarians want government to be smaller, less expensive, and more respectful of individual rights and freedoms. And we are not afraid to say things that the "major party" candidates would never dare say. I say "end the war on marijuana users." While that may seem pretty far out in Utah, it is likely that this will be passed by the voters of California next week. It IS coming, and we might as well jump on the bandwagon while we can. Real equality for gays and lesbians is also coming, no matter how hard "they" try and stop it. So, why are "major party" candidates so afraid? Nobody wants to be out in front, and make people angry. Well, that is what "third parties" are for. It is our job to say things that need to be said, and to help the changes come.
If you are not fully satisfied with either of the two "major party" candidates, why not join us in our efforts to bring change. And, frankly even if you would be happy with Peter Corroon as Governor, you must know by now that he will not win. So a vote for him really is "wasted", while vote for me is a vote to change the debate, to accelerate change, and to send a message to the "major parties" to stop dragging their feet.
Polls all over the country show deep disappointment that the Obama administration did not make the kinds of changes that people expected. And there is no doubt that the government is spending money "like a drunken sailor" (although a drunken sailor spends his own money, not that of others). Think the only alternative is to go back to the Republicans you helped vote out of power only two years ago? Ridiculous! Try something new. Vote Libertarian.
Libertarians started the "tea party movement", as a tax protest. Right wing religious Republicans took it over and used it to bash gays, immigrants, those who do not espouse their religious beliefs, and anyone "different" from them. If you don't like taxes, I am your candidate. If you don't like gays, immigrants, and those who do not agree with your religious beliefs, well, vote Republican.
October 13, 2010 -- Thoughts on Freedom. Well, I am still bitterly disappointed over the refusals of the U.S. Supreme Court to consider my appeal from the decision of the Utah Supreme Court that the State may tax nude dancing and give use proceeds to help with therapy for sex offenders. That, of course, implies that there is some link between nude dancing and sex offenses, which is pure balderdash. The tax will never bring in enough money to justify collecting it. It is just another way that the sanctimonious "family values" crowd gets to go on the record in support of their morality -- those who have not resigned from the legislature for DUI or child molesting incidents. Perhaps they have snuck off to the strip clubs once too often? Well, that fight goes on, with other cases pending in Texas and Nevada; and one day they will be overturned. I just so wanted to be the guy who did it. The fight for freedom, however goes on. I have several other cases pending in which the limits of the State's power to enforce "majoritarian moral values" is at issue. We will get them next time.
I rarely get to just sit down and watch a movie. Too many other things to do. Last night, however, I managed to do that, and it was thought-provoking. The movie was "Pirate Radio", about the pirate stations that popped up on ships off the British coast in the 60's when the only radio available was BBC. BBC played very little of the new British rock music, so people found ways to play it elsewhere. The government responded with force to eliminate the "filth"; and eventually closed them down. They won the battle and lost the war, as now there are plenty of alternative stations in Britain. And Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Elton John have been awarded knighthoods. We too will prevail in the long run against people like Mike Lee and others, who would turn the clock back to the 1700's.
Join the fight now. Only three weeks until the election. I am running a very successful Facebook ad campaign; but I need a few more $10 and $20 contributions to run it through election day. See my website at www.andy4gov.org and look for the contributions button. We also need people to hang door hangers, put out signs, and to just tell their friends (personally and through FB and MySpace). Join my FB group, Andy for Utah Governor. And let's stick it to the Man!
September 5, 2010 -- "Third Party" politics. In response to my last blog, of September 2, I received the following comment. Rather than just publish it as a comment, I decided to make it the subject of a new blog:
"You must have two parties before you can have three. Sure wish you would work with Utah Democrats who have the best ideas and stop wasting time and money on a less than 2 percent party."
There is so much to say in response, I almost don't know where to start. Let me start by saying that 2% is the threshold to become a political party in Utah. If my party was a "less than 2 percent party", we would not be on the ballot, and there would be nothing to discuss. I received 4% of the vote for Attorney General in 2008; and our candidate for State Auditor received 6%. We are growing and getting stronger, as shown by a steady stream of people wanting more information on the party, and a doubling of the number of dues paying members. We think we have a message, and we will continue to try and get it out to the best of our ability.
Libertarians come in all stripes. Personally I would likely vote Democratic in many races if there were only the two "major party" candidates running. A majority of Libertarians would vote Republican, so nothing would be gained by the Democrats by our demise. Libertarians do not like government interference in their lives. Many of us are particularly upset about the "tax and spend" policies of the "major" parties. Since neither will stop their pandering to special interests, we prefer not to endorse either. While Democrats tend to support more personal freedom, they are big tax and spend advocates. Republicans might be more fiscally conservative, but they play to the politics of fear and oppression. We are not interested in either alternative. We prefer the third, and most logical, alternative: Leave us alone all the time, even if we do things you don't approve of.
As Eugene Debs, the longtime head of the U.S. Socialist Party, said: third parties are not there to win elections. We are there to change the nature of the debate and to pull the others kicking and screaming, into new ideas. That is why we are here; and it is important that we are. Very few "major party" politicians would DARE endorse gay marriage in Utah, but why not? Does equal treatment for those who are different than you really harm you? What about the "war on drugs", which is really a war on young people who don't follow the rules that their elders have decreed for personal behavior? Would any Democrat who wants to get elected say that we are losing this war, that it is costing too much, and that it is turning a whole generation of young people into criminals? No, but it needs to be said, so we say it. And history is on our side. Gay marriage and legalization of marijuana is coming, and nobody is going to stop it. What about censorship? Even our Utah Attorney General refuses to get into the battle that California has started, over "violent video games". Another loser for those who want to control what others see and do. But even a "liberal" state like California cannot resist the temptation to try. And, lest we think out AG is enlightened, he went to the legislature this year to get new power to issue subpoenas for cell phone and e-mail records, without a warrant. Big brother is truly watching; and we are the ones sounding the alarm.
In Utah this year, we have candidates in Utah, Davis, Uintah and Iron counties for offices which the Democrats are not contesting. As a Utah County resident, I often find the ballot listing only Republican candidates for office. We are giving many people who would not otherwise have one an actual choice at the ballot box. What a breath of fresh air.
Should we shut down and let the weak Democratic Party battle the one party system on its own? Absolutely not. And who is to say that we won't eventually become Utah's second party? Why not "think outside of the box" and help us continue to grow?
September 2, 2010 -- Governor's race. Traditionally, the Labor day weekend is the official start of the real election campaign in this country. As a candidate for Governor this year, I am ramping up my little campaign. Yard signs and bumper stickers are now available at my campaign office in Midvale. they will shortly be available around the state. Fliers are also in production, and advertising will start soon as well. If you would like to see some real change in Utah, please consider a contribution or other help.
Many people think that voting for a "third party" candidate is a wasted vote. In Utah, unfortunately there is really only one party. A recent Rasmussen poll had Governor Herbert at 60%, Mayor Corroon at 29%, and "some other candidate" at 2%. If you vote Democratic in this race, your vote is wasted. If you vote to help build the Libertarian Party into a real force in Utah politics, you will be accomplishing something.
Back in May, I wrote a blog here about immigration and the move among Republicans to repeal the part of the 14th Amendment that makes all persons born in the United States citizens. As my old friend Enid Greene pointed out the other day on the Doug Wright show, there is not going to be a repeal. So, deal with it. Governor Herbert has recently joined the "repeal" crowd; and it will do neither him nor them any good. Please go back and read that blog, and pass it on to a friend.
Governor Herbert also recently took Mayor Corroon to task for his statement that Utah schools need more math and science classes. All the experts agree on that; but Governor Herbert says that might hurt LDS Seminary (not that he wants to "play the religion card"). Shame on him. As a Libertarian, I suggest that those who think there is not enough religion in schools consider private schools or home schooling. But it is not the state's job to protect LDS religious education in this State (and I am a BYU grad).
When a previous candidate for State Senate was disqualified recently, the Republicans turned to the State Log Cabin Club president to fill in. For those unfamiliar, this is the organization for "gay Republicans". This seat is one of the few safe Democratic seats in the senate; and this person is a sacrificial lamb -- apparently in an attempt to show people that the GOP is not as narrow minded as everyone knows they are. I'm sorry guys, but there is no room in that party for gays. Those who support conservative fiscal policies and who are gay need to learn that and join our party. We really do not care who you have sex with (so long as it is between consenting adults). In the meantime "Equality Utah", the gay political action committee, supports only Democrats. We are the only party dedicated to real freedom; and it is time for those who are disenfranchised by the "major parties" to join with us. We are growing rapidly; and we will be heard from. Help us rise up against the "one-party system" and bring real change to Utah.
July 3, 2010 -- Let Freedom Ring in 2010. There is so much interesting news, that it is hard to know where to start. So, I'll start with the news that KSL, the flagship radio station of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) will is dropping the Shawn Hannity Show. I listen in the morning to KSL, as Doug Wright is often interesting and thought-provoking. And I have become an increasing fan of the Nightside Project, as Ethan Millard is a breath of fresh air in Utah. But, Hannity is a hater. He not only knows that Republicans are always right and Democrats wrong. He believes that the Democrats are deliberately working to hurt our country. I do not much like Republicans; and I certainly am not a Democrat. But I do not think that they (including Harry Reid, the highest ranking LDS Church member ever in US Government) is deliberately out to destroy what is good in the country. I express my thanks to KSL in the hope of more civil dialogue in the future. Yes, another Salt Lake station (that I do not listen to) will pick up the Hannity broadcast, and most likely improve their ratings. More power to them.
In another pleasant surprise, the Freedom Festival in Provo gave its Freedom award this year to Greg Mortensen, one of my personal heroes. Mr. Mortensen, a former professional mountain climber, and a nurse, has built 131 new schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and brought education, especially to girls, who would never have received it otherwise. The Freedom Festival has often been the exclusive neighborhood for right wing Republican politicians, like Shawn Hannity. I congratulate them for their intelligent choice this year. And if you do not know of Mr. Mortensen, pick up his book, "Three Cups of Tea" which is one of the most inspiring books I have read.
This morning the papers reported that a high ranking Davis County police officer was caught in a "sting" or undercover operation in which Layton City police set up in a hotel and invited men to make appointments for anticpated sexual activity. Now, I don't know the details of the operation. I don't know if they advertised outright for sex, or whether they suggested they were escorts. Whatever you may think of that business, escort agencies are perfectly legal; and making an appointmen with one is no crime. But the clear implication of the articles was that the officer was caught trying to pay for sex. Layton City has a history of enticing escorts from Salt Lake City and then arresting them for sex solicitation. I wonder if they feel they have a problem that no other Davis County City has. And I wonder why they feel this is a good use of limited resources. Are they just bored? Why is it their business what two consenting adults do in one of their hotel rooms? The notion that the police have the power to protect public morals is obviously archaic, and is probably without legal standing since the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Lawrence v. Texas. So, one little part of me says that this police officer got what he probably deserved; and a much bigger part of me says that it is neither my business nor that of the Layton police, and that he should have been left alone, just like everyone else.
In this weekend that we celebrate our freedoms, we must take note that our country has a long way to go to be truly free. People still get arrested for having (or wanting to have)sex, for possessing a small quantity of a "weed" that grows well nearly anywhere, for walking across the border to pick fruit and vegetables for Americans who feel that the work is too demeaning, and many other silly things. The government finds it convenient to instill fear into people, so that they can engage in oppressive surveillance of their citizens. And taxes are simply too high at a time when people have less money.
Sometime this weekend I will sit down and watch one of my favorite movies, 1776, which I watch at this time very year to celebrate Independence Day. And then I will celebrate my birthday on Tuesday. Please consider helping with my celebration of freedom and life. Please consider going to my website at www.andrewmccullough.org/contributions.html and making a small ($10?) donation to my campaign for Governor (don't let it bother you that the site may refer to "Attorney General" -- the account has been transferred). And then tell a friend about my campaign to bring freedom to Utah, even if Utah does not really know what to do with it. Together we can help make Freedom ring!
May 26, 2010 -- Our Constitutional Freedoms. With all the fuss about "tea party" candidates, and their alleged dedication to the "original intent" of the Constitution, there is much to say. Here in Utah, many Republicans celebrated loudly over the defeat of the so-called "RINO" Republican Senator, Bob Bennett. One of the issues that was important there is that of "illegal immigrants". That term seems to get people all excited, though I wonder exactly why. A couple of years ago, the Feds made a big noise when they raided a meat packing plant near Logan and seized a number of "illegal immigrants" working there. I cannot easily imagine a less enjoyable job than working in a meat packing plant. The simple fact is that Americans won't work there, so the jobs go to Mexicans, who need the work so badly that they are willing to do it. The same goes for the back-breaking work of picking fruit and vegetables. Americans simply will not do it, so Mexicans come up and do it for us. Does anyone really think we are safer or better off financially when groups of these workers are rounded up and deported?
The bedrock of American Constitutional protection against an overreaching government is found in the text of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is what protects us from unreasonable actions of State governments. And here it is, in all its majesty and simplicity:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Prior to its enactment at the end of the Civil War, there was no really American identity. Citizenship was a State issue; and therefore States were at liberty to treat their citizens as they pleased. And members of the LDS Church bore the brunt of that fact when the State of Missouri issued an "extermination order" for Mormons. And all pleas to the Federal government were met with the answer "Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you."
Now both Republican Senate candidates want to "reinterpret" the Fourteenth Amdmendment to say that not "All persons born . . . in the United States" are citizens, but only the ones LEGALLY born here. WOW! I wonder if they have given much real thought to the constitutional upheaval that this will create. And they want to "reinterpret" the Consitution by act of Congress! Sorry guys, but Congress does not have that power. The plain language of the Constitution says "all persons". Is that hard to understand? Amend it if you must, but do not tell us that the Constitution does not say what it says. I for one do not understand the fear that drives these efforts. Unfortunately, the recent Republican administration in Washington made the politics of fear a cornerstone of its policy. I cannot fully express the sadness that I feel as a result of that policy.
From Tim Bridgewater's website:
"Eliminate the “anchor baby” loophole. In general, it should be harder–not easier–than it is to become a citizen of the United States. Children born to non-citizens should not receive automatic citizenship. There are arguments to be made that changing the current practice will require a constitutional amendment, but I think there is a strong case that it could be done by statute, and I would pursue that avenue vigorously as Senator. If it can’t be done by statute, I would support a constitutional amendment to achieve the goal."
From Mike Lee's website:
"Clarify the original intent of the citizenship clause through legislation specifying that children born to illegal-alien parents in the United States are not entitled to automatic citizenship;"
We ALL agree that a change in immigration law and policy is needed. But please think again before you give into the climate of fear that has brought us SB1070 in Arizona, and promises of more to come. This is not the America we love. Is it?
March 13, 2010 -- More family values news from the legislature. I spent a couple of hours at the Utah Legislature on its last day, Thursday. I was attempting to convince them not to pass a new law aimed at making it nearly impossible to continue operating escort services in this State. These businesses, whatever you may think of them, are legal, licensed and closely regulated. In Salt Lake City, for instance, and agency must pay a license fee of $1000; and each escort must pay $750 per year. This fee includes a background check to make sure that people in the business do not have serious criminal records. As of today, an escort licensed in Salt Lake City may go to an appointment in Murray without obtaining a similar license, and another background check. Starting in May, the 16 entities in the Salt Lake Valley who require such licenses will be able to demand fees from everyone who does any business in their city. Obviously, this is done "for purposes of harassment", and will be nearly impossible to comply with. This bill was introduced by a Democrat, and passed with unanimous support of his party as well as most Republicans. Another example of protecting "family values" in our "pretty, great state". Needless to say, the big winner is likely to be me, who will have to fight this new law in court for the next couple of years, as I have been doing with the "sin tax" passed to harass my clients back in 2004. Oh well, another year in Utah.
And then, only a few hours later, came the bombshell. Yet another high ranking "family values" legislator, is in trouble for his private conduct. This time, Representative Garn, the House Majority leader, paid out $150,000 to a young girl with whom he had gone nude hot-tubbing, when he was at least 28 and she was only 15. No sex, but highly inappropriate. And now, a couple of days later he, following the lead of Senator Killpack (see my last blog entry in January), has resigned. And as with Senator Killpack, I view it with some mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is yet another example of Utah legislators telling us how to lead our lives, when they cannot manage their own. On the other hand, it was a long time ago, and he made reparations. Once again, I cannot help but wonder whether, now that his secret is known, he might have been counted on to be more compassionate to others who do not "march to the beat of the same drummer". We will never know, because now he is gone. No, I do not approve of what he did. The law presumes that a young person cannot reasonably make such decisions; and it is up to the more mature person to stop things before they get out of hand. Shame on him. But, hasn't he paid enough for something that happened so long ago?
Anyhow, this next week is the time for those who would like to run for public office this year to file with the County Clerk or the State Elections Office. We need more people to file for office as Libertarians, and to publicly announce that they will support more freedom for everyone. See our website at http://www.lputah.org if you would like to help. Obviously, there is much to do.
November 4, 2009 -- Elections and politics. It has been too long since I blogged. Will try and make up for it here just a little.
Last night, Republicans won the Governor's races in both Virginia and New Jersey. Republicans are crowing that this is a referendum on the Obama administration.
Well, everyone is concerned about the economy and the deficit. Hopefully, this will remind the President that we cannot spend our way back to prosperity on borrowed money. But, the Republican Party in my native State of New York continued its march to oblivion, losing one of the three congressional seats (out of 29) it has held there. National Republican leaders, including Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh had endorsed the New York Conservative nominee against the Republican, and the result was a Democrat victory. Is the country on a move back to conservatism? I certainly hope not, and the results from yesterday do not show this. The sometime Republican Mayor of New York was barely re-elected, though he outspent his opponent well over 10 to 1. Most other races in the City went to Democrats.
Perhaps the most interesting election was in Maine, where the voters refused to approve of the new law passed by the legislature which legalized gay marriage. At the same time, they approved of a more liberal medical marijuana law. Mixed results for those of us who think neither item is any of the government's business. We still have so far to go to our goal of getting the government out of our personal lives. Now is not the time to quit. We need to keep working at it, confident that we will win in the long run.
Here in Utah, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff withdrew from the U.S. Senate race today for family reasons. I actually like Mark (but not his politics) and wish him and his family well. It is now one year from the election for Utah's Governor, the Senate, and a host of other races. Our little Libertarian Party receives inquiries every day, and I joke that we will soon be bigger in Utah than the Democrats. There are many people who do not like the choice between the two "major parties". The Democrats are way too free with our money. The Republicans, while claiming they are for smaller government, constantly interfere with our personal lives, pushing their personal ideas of morality on us with the force of the State. We need to build a real third alternative, and today would be a good day for you to get involved in it. Join us in the fight for real freedom. www.lputah.org
July 23, 2009 -- And the "wars" go on. On this eve of Utah's Pioneer Day holiday, it is important to remember that the State of Utah was founded by those who were forcibly ejected from polite society for their different religious views, including the right to have multiple wives. Times have changed, and now the outcasts see themselves as the bulwarks of society, the ones who can now "prevent the breakdown of conventional marriage" by doing such things as harassing gay men who happen to express affection while walking by the LDS Temple. After the Church issued a statement earlier this year urging respect for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, many of us hoped for more.
On Saturday, several groups, including the Libertarian Party, will sponsor a rally at the State Capitol to urge sensible policy toward drugs, especially marijuana. Today the U.S. "Drug Czar" dashed hopes that the Obama administration would change policy to go along with its previous announcement that it would no longer use the term "war on drugs" in policy statements. Today the Drug Czar announced "Marijuana is dangerous and has no medical benefit." Most educated people know that this is utterly without factual basis; so we now know that the new government will lie to us, just like the old one. And our hopes of something better are dashed once again.
On the local front, the Salt Lake County Sheriff reopened the "Oxbow Jail" on Monday, to help hold the prisoners that are being held for minor drug crimes and other victimless offenses. On Wednesday, it was announced that the jail might have to be closed again, because there is no money to operate it. If the waste of taxpayers money that has already gone into this farce wasn't so tragic, it would be very funny. Even staunch Republican Doug Wright of KSL radio wondered aloud if the time hadn't come to stop incarcerating people for possession of marijuana. To me, it is too obviouis to require much discussion.
Back to the national stage. Republicans have used every possible opportunity to criticize the President for his "Stimulus Package" to increase government spending to stimulate the economy. Libertarians, along with Republicans, think it is only common sense that the government must tighten its belt and cut spending when everyone else is forced to do the same. This week, however, the Republicans in the Senate put up fierce resistance to cutting back on the production of F-22 fighter aircraft. We have already built over 150 of them; and have yet to find a use for them. They have not been used once in the two expensive wars now being waged overseas. So, the Pentagon suggested that we should not build more. The reason for the fierce resistance to this request was NOT that we really need them. No, it was that those employed to build the worthless machines need the jobs! And many of them appear to work in States with Republican Senators. Wow!
Some of my Libertarian cohorts suggest that the only way we will ever elect our members to public office is to change the electoral system to something like proportional representation. I maintain that, if the two "major parties" continue to do dumb stuff to our country, the electorate will look elsewhere for a real alternative. If you are seeing some of what I see, please join us in our efforts to bring common sense back to government, and to support our freedom from a government that has gotten too big and too intrusive. Unfortunately, the two "major parties" will not restore the freedoms we have lost, so we must do it without them.
July 17, 2009 -- Letter to Ogden Standard Examiner
June 25, 2009 -- Family values and strip searches. This week has been another interesting one for the "family values" crowd, in the Republican Party. Another of their leaders has fallen, a victim of his lack of such values. This time it is the Governor of South Carolina, who some had hoped might run for President, after he refused to accept Federal "bailout" money for his State. He was, after a tough legislative session and fight over the bailouts, taking a few days to wander off and just "hike", away from society. Instead, he was in South America visiting his mistress.
Last month it was Senator Ensign of Nevada, another great champion of "Family Values". What is it with these guys? They want the world to know that they are more virtuous than the rest of us; and yet they think nobody will find out that they are living a lie. I feel bad for wives who are shocked by the news of the infidelity; but I also feel bad for the voters who actually believed this baloney, and elected them to carry the banner of virtue into the "culture wars". Once again I note that Libertarians do not necessarily expect our leaders to be more virtuous than anyone else. Perhaps if everyone was a little more honest about who and what they are, there would more of us and fewer of them.
And, on another note, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that a school may not strip search a student in an attempt to find pills that she is claimed (by another student) to be carrying (in this case it was ibuprofen). A blow for freedom and a little less intrusion into a person's privacy. Justice Thomas, the lone dissenter, suggested that this will just result in those who carry illegal substances hiding them in their underwear to avoid detection. Yes, Justice Thomas, it just might mean that a few students who carry headache tablets to school will not be found out; and that just doesn't bother me much. The government just does not get to know everything we are doing; and that is alright with me. Even most of the conservatives on the Court got the idea that the right to check inside underwear for suspected medications is beyond the power we have given our government.
The day was also marked by the deaths of Farrah Faucett and Michael Jackson, two people who will be missed for the good they have done (even if at least Michael may have had his dark side). Farrah was one of my generation's great heartthrobs; and check out "USA for Africa" to be reminded of the good that Michael did to help the less fortunate. May they both rest in peace.
May 13, 2009 -- The beginning of the end to the "war on drugs"? Today the Wall Street Journal reports that the new U.S. "Drug Czar" wants to at least end the use of the "war on drugs" terminology in its policy statements. According to the article, people see it as a war on them and their freedom, rather than a war on a substance. Yay! Finally someone noticed. During my campaign for Utah Attorney General last year, the Ogden Standard Examiner newspaper labeled my view on this subject as "not in the mainstream". I retorted that it was my job to try and move the mainstream more towards reality. And it is beginning to look like I am not the lone voice on the subject. Those in power are beginning to realize that making a whole generation of young people into criminals is not good for the nation. Policy, we are told, will emphasize treatment, rather than law enforcement. And it is way past time! It is time to rise up and let your voice be heard! Let "them" know that you will no longer allow them to threaten your freedoms in a misguided attempt to save you from your own choices. You can see the article at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124225891527617397.html.
And speaking of those who still want to fight the losing "war on drugs", our current Utah Attorney General has announced (by mistake, they say) that he is running for the U.S. Senate next year. I am working to field a strong Libertarian candidate who will continue to preach common sense in the face of all the misinformation given to us through the two "major" parties. Let's be heard in our opposition to the continued misguided policies. Treatment over jail? A good start. Maybe the next step will be to acknoledge that, just like those who drink alchohol, not all drug users need treatment; and that this should be an individual decision, not one forced upon them by the courts.
April 28, 2009 -- More political fun. Friday this week is Law Day, traditionally the day Americans of the legal profession celebrate the "rule of law". It is also the day that is set aside for the Utah Attorney General to have a major fund raiser for his political action committee. This year he has invited the Utah football coach to talk about the wonderful year his team had last year, and presumably to invite commiseration about having lost the national championship because of the bowl matchups. As many people no doubt remember, the current Attorney General has been threatening to "investigate" the BCS championship system for possible violations of anti-trust laws. This week the newspapers tell us that he is not yet "investigating", but is still looking into whether to investigate. That, it seems to me, is pretty confusing, but it apparently is enough to bring out a big crowd to his event, at $300 per plate. I sure hope the food is good.
The question that has kept me guessing is what this fund raising effort is for. The Attorney General has announced that he is not running for re-election; and there is some chance he may run for the Senate next year. But then, there is also Utah's strange campaign law which allows him to vaguely raise huge amounts of money for political purposes, and then later declare it as income and just keep it. What a deal! And there are still stories making the rounds about huge contributions from those who are seeking favors. All perfectly legal, and yet somehow just slightly slimy. Well, the Republicans seem to have mor money than they need -- perhaps it is from government bailout money, which they so vocally oppose.
Yesterday, I received a letter from a lady in Pennsylvania, addressing me as a fellow conservative, and calling on me and like-minded religious people to help throw Senator Arlen Spector right out of the Republican party, for being so liberal. Well, she got her wish, and so very quickly. Senator Spector apparently realized that the Republican Party in his state has moved far to the right, and no longer tolerates "moderates" or liberals. So, today he became a Democrat, just about totally sealing the power of the Democratic Party in Washington. Some in my own Libertarian Party have joined the wailing that the "socialists" have taken over completely, and that all is lost. Personally, I think that the Republican Party, with their drive to become the "pure" conservative party in the United States, has alienated far too many people. As a former Republican who long ago felt squeezed out by the religious right, I have a strong impulse to just gloat. There is little doubt that civil liberties under the Democrats will enjoy a resurgence. Sadly, however, the war on drugs will go on, and jails and prisons will remain full.
But, lest anyone think otherwise, I am not a Democrat. This week I read that the Federal government is likely to become the majority stockholder of General Motors. As a Ford stockholder, I am not happy that we will have to compete against the government. That is not the way the capitalist system is supposed to work. And yes, taxes are too high, and the government is too big. But those who think that a return to Republican control will help have short memories, or are just naive. It really is about time that our little Libertarian Party be given some attention, and that people wean themselves from the "two party system". What a mess we are in, and both "major" parties are to blame. See our website at www.lputah.org and see what you can do to help force real change. Now if we Libertarians can just keep from trying to kill each other!
April 12, 2009 -- Criminally different, and other thoughts.
It has been a while since I added to this blog, so there are a few things that I would like to mention.
I go down to watch spring baseball every March, in Phoenix. It gets my spring started, and it is always great fun. Besides the baseball, there is a spring traditional music festival where I spend as much time as possible. But every time I go there, the local news has stories about the Maricopa County Sheriff. "Sheriff Joe" as people call him has many who think his "get tough" approach is what the country needs. And many others, like me, wonder why this two bit bully, who has built a "tent city" to house prisoners, keeps getting elected. This year, under the heading "Criminally Brown", was a story about his harassment of local Yacqui Indians, who happen to look like Mexicans, and share Spanish surnames. Unfortunately, the small town of Guadalupe, surrounded on three sides by the City of Tempe, has had to contract with the Sheriff for police services, after failing to reach an agreement with Tempe for those services. They, however, pay a high price in the rough treatment their citizens get at the hands of Sheriff's deputies who are hunting "illegals". The article mentions a small group who are raising funds to fight back when their people are wrongfully arrested in what appears to be misguided efforts to "round up the illegals". I went out one Saturday morning to find these people and missed them. Next time, Andrew.
Here in Utah, a new law goes into effect in July which encourages, but does not require, local police forces to cross-deputize their officers as immigration officers, to help in the round up. This past week, Salt Lake City and Park City opted out. Hopefully many others will do the same. The Salt Lake City Police Chief rightfully pointed out (as has our Attorney general) that cross-deputizing will instill fear in the immigrant community, and that all cooperation with the police on other issues will cease. That is counter-productive. Now, the House sponsor of the new law has threatened "retribution" on those who do not sign up. There are claims made that the immigrant community accounts for more than its share of crimes; but the statistics show this is not true. Yes, we need to control our borders, but we have not vigorously enforced immigration laws because we need this migrant labor to do so many things that our won citizens will not do. Like the stupid "war on drugs", the effort to use criminal laws to round people up for deportation is doomed to fail. One of these days, we will arrive at a sensible "guest worker" policy. Of course, in Utah, we like to round up those who are different in more ways than just race or ethnicity. Those who dress or wear their hair differently are stopped by police for investigation. And heaven help them if the police make them "nervous", as police are trained to look for this as a sign of "guilt". Watch for the upcoming story of a black man who has been repeatedly arrested, apparently just for being black in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Our esteemed Attorney General seems to be getting ready to run for the Senate next year. Senator Bennett is getting old, and there are those who think his time is up. This week's Salt Lake Weekly had an interesting lead story on the Attorney General's potent fund-raising operation, and how it may be used to funnel money into a Senate campaign and avoid Federal contribution limits. Read it and decide whether these things make you nervous. People keep asking me whether I will run for Attorney General again. Probably not. I am getting old too, and small parties suffer from a lack of money and recognition. But, I certainly intend to keep giving an alternative point of view and encouraging others to get involved.
And, in that vein, let me remind my readers of two upcoming events. the Utah Libertarian Party will hold its convention, and elect its officers, on May 16. All are welcome. See www.lputah.org for details. That same evening, the ACLU of Utah will hold its annual dinner. The cost for this is $100, and I am hoping to fill a table of ten. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for ticket information. get involved, and help us stop the oppression.
March 3, 2009 -- Watching porn in Utah. Today's newspapers reported that Utah ranks No. 1 per capita among the 50 states in subscriptions to adult websites. Explanations for this run from the fact that Utah has younger population to the fact that adult movies are not easily available here by other means. Most mail order services will not send adult movies into Utah for fear of being prosecuted, so it is easier and safer to order it online.
This morning's Doug Wright Show on KSL radio featured a lively discussion as to the causes of this "problem", and even accusations from some that numbers were manipulated to make Utah look bad. Pamela Atkinson, who does great work as an advocate for the homeless in Utah unfortunately has divided her attention by also serving as head of the Utah Coalition Against Pornography. She is quoted as lamenting the fact that "People spending more time on the internet are realizing that this is something they can do in the privacy of their own rooms and their own homes."
The Supreme Court ruled, way back in 1967 that viewing pornography in the privacy of one's own home is not a crime. In 2003, the Court went a step closer and said that is not the government's business what sexual activity you may have in hour home, as long as there are no minors involved. So, it seems pretty settled that people who view adult videos in their own homes are not a "problem" at all. While it may be interesting that Utahns are no different than anybody else in this regard, it is hardly evidence that "the problem is really growing in Utah", as opined by Ms. Atkinson. If anything, this is a sign that Utahns are no longer afraid of free speech. If that is the case, this is certainly good news. Freedom breaks out wherever and whenever it is least expected. Hooray!
February 20, 2009 -- So much to talk about. There is indeed so much to talk about lately, it is hard to know where to begin. Today former Utah Senate President John Valentine was vindicated in his decision last year to remove Senator Buttars as chair of the Judiciary committee. That was for insensitive remarks that brought several calls for his resignation from the Senate. Buttars reacted by getting together with some of his conservative friends in the Senate and overthrowing Valentine. He was promptly restored to his chairmanship. Well, today the new Senate President removed him again for more insensitive, and downright mean-spritied comments, particularly about gays. This time it brought a rebuke from the LDS Church, something that happens only on very rare occasions. I think the Senate President did the right thing. Senator Butttars refuses to see what he has done wrong. And, of course, he speaks for many like him who think that society is going to the dogs, and must be shielded from immorality. As the Church said, however, the debate should be civil and respectful, something that Buttars does not seem to understand. Perhaps next time will be the time when the voters in his district get embarrassed enough to bring in someone new.
Our State Attorney General has been in the news, with his calls to cut back on criminal appeal rights, and the Salt Lake Tribune pointed out this week that the AG's efforts to cut the time necessary for an execution amount to improper interference by the legislature in the entire legal process. See my website, under articles and briefs, for the Tribune editorial, and my own efforts to obtain compensation for someone wrongfully imprisoned. Personally, I am scared to death over the possibility of executing an innocent person; and there are undoubted examples of that in our history.
I must have a short say about the government efforts to prop up our economy. While I am not a pure Libertarian who thinks all government intervetnion is wrong, I do worry that we have spent so much money, which has to be borrowed, without knowing it will help. And, of course, it increases the size of government, something that I always think is the wrong direction. This week I finally started reading Ayn Rand's book on the hopelessness of such intervention, "Atlas Shrugged". I will report more on this when and if I get through its 1100 pages.
And I also must comment on the passing today of Larry H. Miller. A devout member of the LDS Church who also had his tussles with gay rights, he seemed to be willing to engage in dialogue and try and accommodate the views of others. Mostly, he brought Utah great entertainment, and he will be missed by all.
Please remember to check off the Libertarian Party box when you do your Utah Income tax return; and ask your friends to do the same. Utah needs a new voice, and we will work hard to supply it. I look forward to the days of more freedom, but it will not come without your help.
January 29, 2009 -- The Patriot Act again! For the last several years, I have lived with a Little gnawing fear in the back of my head. It all started with a letter from the bank where I keep my general account for my law office. Due to the Patriot Act and its provisions on money laundering, they had found "suspicious" activity in my account. They had closed the account without warning, because the main source of funds was money from another account in my own name. That account, of course, is my client trust account, where I keep client money until it is earned. Once a week or so, I transfer that money to my general account and use it to pay firm bills, including my secretaries. Then I take what has not been spent on bills and transfer it to yet another account in my name -- my personal account, and pay my own personal bills. I have been doing this for 35 years. When I explained this to them, they apologized, told me it would not happen again, and reopened my account. But, of course, by then, there were several bounced checks that I had to deal with.
Well, today, it happened again. This time they have given me until Monday to get my money out, before they close the account. Somewhere in Texas, Mr. Bush is laughing that his outrageous "national security" measures have caught another innocent victim. This time I do not want to reopen the account. I asked for 30 days to clear it out in an orderly manner; and I am awaiting word. In the meantime, I am not identifying the bank. But I am angry, hurt, and afraid of my government and what it can do to turn my life upside down without any thought or repercussion.
I am Chair of the Utah Libertarian Party. Many ask why we need a small party like ours. Why not work within the "two party system"? Well, today, we see why there must be others who will raise their voices and tell the government to stop oppressing its citizens. And to stop enlisting our banks, our neighbors, and our associates to help. Almost all members of Congress, from both "major" parties voted for the Patriot Act without even knowing what was in it. I cannot continue to live in fear like this. I will find a smaller bank, where I can talk to the bank officers, and where they will not do this to me again. But, I am not the only one who has been treated like this.
What about you? Are you living in fear? Or are you just too naive to be afraid? On January 20, I woke up and declared that the "reign of terror is over." No, it is not! We still have cause to live in fear. Mr. Obama, what will you do to make it less so?
January 12, 2009 -- News and comments. I just got back from Las Vegas where I watched the national championship college football game on TV. The big news in Utah, of course, is that our Attorney General is investigating the BCS for anti-trust violations, becvuassde Utah did not get into the title game. Well, I'm a Utah fan as well, but the AG does not seem to understand the role of government. Our team did great this year, and we are all unhappy we didn't get into the championship game. But using taxpayer money to fight over college football is a real waste of time and money at a time when taxpayer funds are in short supply. Hopefully our AG will find something else to occupy him, and this will go away, before our "pretty, great state" becomes more of a laughing stock than the polygs downs south have already made it.
Speaking of Mr. Shurtleff, Paul Rolly reported a week or so ago that our AG is giving the cold shoulder to the Tribune as a way of punishing them for some unfriendly reporting. Sounds a little like the kind of shenanigans between the Governor of Illinois and the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune, of course, utterly ignored my own candidacy for AG this past year, despite my active campaigning and my advertisements in their online edition. Perhaps they got what they deserved.
Well, the Republican reign of terror in Washington is at an end. What a relief! but then the Democrats will want more of our money in taxes. Please remember to do your very little part to keep an open debate by checking off the Libertarian Party box on your Utah Income Tax return this year. And maybe next time we will have the resources to avoid being completely ignored (except for "Super Dell", of course.)
An finally, a foot note of history, Mr. William Zantzinger, of Maryland died last week, at 69. He became somewhat famous when he "killed poor Hattie Carroll with a cane that he twirled round his diamond ringed finger at a Baltimore hotel society gathering"; and the judge "handed out strongly for penalty and repentance, William Zantzinger with a six month sentence." Since I learned that Bob Dylan song in the 60's, I wondered what really happened. And now his obituary filled in some of the details. The song was a lament on the social inequality of justice in this country. I think the days of a white man not being properly punished for killing a black woman are now long gone. And starting next week, we are truly in a new era. I voted for our Libertarian candidate for President, but I have great hopes for President Obama. May God be with him in his efforts to undo the damage done by Mr. Bush.
October 30, 2008 -- News on the campaign trail. Today has been interesting and busy. This morning the Salt Lake Tribune released a new poll in which I remained at 4% support. With all I have been doing, that number is disappointing. Ms. Hill, the Democrat, however, is at 20%, and improvement, but not a great one. And Mr. Shurtleff continues to decrease in support, despite his huge financial advantage. There is a large percentage of "undecideds", of 17%, and lots of opportunities to increase my share. Mr. Shurtleff assays it must be people who don't know what the office does. I rather think it is people who are not satisfied with the choices they have. Perhaps many of them don't know that a real choice for real change is available. I will work right up to the last minute to get the maximum Libertarian vote, and to make a showing that will remind people that we really do have something to say. I urge you to do what you can to help.
Today also, I talked with Doug Wright on his KSL talk show, The subject was our candidate for Governor, "Superdell" Schanze. He wanted to know how even 2% of the electorate could support that nut. I told him that the more I see, the more I think Dell is not as crazy as he seems. He was on the cover of the latest Salt Lake Weekly, and he got a whole hour of air time on KSL today. I'm lucky to be mentioned at all, even though I have run an active campaign and spent over $10,000. It seems that the way to get noticed is to act crazy; and now we have to wonder who really is crazy. Well, if he gets two percent, he will keep us on the ballot, no matter how I do. But, of course, I would like to outpoll him and all other "third party" candidates to show that someone who works at it and has a good platform really can get votes.
Today I received a "robo-call" from Mr. Shutleff's campaign, asking me to "push one" if I wanted to pledge my vote to him. Well, at least you can all be glad that I am not using such an obnoxious method to get votes. But, there are still people who do not know who I am. Tell somebody today, and ask for their support.
October 23, 2008 -- Need your help! This morning I got a call from a gentleman in Sanpete County who is still trying to make up his mind on who to vote for. He was looking at the various candidate websites, and saw that the current Attorney General is scheduled to be in a KSL debate tomorrow. He called to ask if I had also been invited. Since I had not, my campaign secretary sent out an e-mail asking why. I later received a telephone call from KSL saying that their latest Dan Jones tracking poll had me still below their threshold for an invitation. She gave no details of the poll, but said there would be one more poll coming before the election. Also, she said, the fact that I have run before and did not get enough votes to qualify also was figured in.
I have been working quite hard on this campaign, and have spent quite a bit of money on it as well. I was hoping to see more evidence of traction. Hopefully I still will; and I am getting a steady stream of messages from people who say they have already voted for me.
Anyway, there is still time to do more. Please, if you have not yet done any of these things, pick one out and do it today.
I would like to place a few more ads. If you can spare a small contribution, please get on my website Here and make that contribution right away -- preferably by Pay Pal, so I can use it immediately.
Come by my office and get signs, bumper stickers, and literature, and help me become more visible. Or, simply call or e-mail some friends and ask them to vote for me and then ask their friends to do the same. Send out some of my blog entries to friends, and ask them to read them or watch my videos, and send them on also. There are many people out there who would vote for me if they knew what I stand for, but still don't. We have 11 days to tell them. Please help me do this. You are protecting your freedom, and that is important enough to put some effort into it.
"The stakes are too high to stay at home."
October 20, 2008 -- Ogden Standard Examiner. I am taking the unusual step here of linking to Saturday's Ogden Standard Examiner editorial endorsement of Jean Welch Hill for Utah Attorney General. I think it is an interesting and informative article, written after the full editorial board spent a half hour with each of the three candidates, and taped the interviews for their website. Perhaps most people do not have an hour and a half to invest in watching all three interviews; but they are attached to the editorial, for your information.
At first glance, the brief mention of me in the editorial might seem dismissive: "Libertarian Andrew McCullough is a candid man and we appreciate his blunt talk, but many of his ideas are not in the mainstream." Of course, they are right. That is the function of a "third party" candidate: to move the mainstream in a new direction. As I said in my comment on their website, I am looking for voters who "are tired of the failed policies of the mainstream, such as the hopeless 'war on drugs'". At least these voters now know they have a real choice.
Frankly, if I am to pull an upset and beat Mr. Shurtleff, I need Ms. Welch Hill to do better than early poll numbers suggest she is doing. When I went into the interview at the Standard Examiner, I told them that they would not find it possible to endorse me, as their readers would think they had become too radical. I didn't go there with the hope of an endorsement, just the hope of being heard. And I am being heard. If you want to be heard, join me in my campaign to "move the mainstream in a new direction", and to change the failed policies of the present. Ms. Welch Hill is not an agent of real change, and real change is what the nation is seeking. If you are tired of fearing your government, this is your big chance to make that change. If you wait until November 5 to do something, it will be too late.
Today I had my first joint appearance with Ms. Welch Hill, on KTKK radio. Mr. Shurtleff was invited, but declined. He believes he is so far ahead that he does not have to debate his opponents. Tomorrow, at 9:00 AM I will again be featured for an hour on KTKK radio, this time by myself. Tell your friends.
October 15, 2008 -- Campaign whirlwind. I am having a lot of fun, and at the same time; I will be glad when it is over. There is no doubt that my law practice suffers a bit lately from lack of attention. But there is so much to do and so much to say. We have started advertising online, in print and even on TV. Signs, bumper stickers and fliers have been going out to more and more people. I have been mentioned in several publications, and people are taking notice. There is still lots to do, as many people still have not heard of me. But, by November 4, I think it will be hard to utterly ignore me. If you agree with what I have to say, I still need your help in passing the word along to friends and neighbors. Send this blog on to a friend, put up a sign, pass out literature, or find your own way. What a shock it will be to the "powers that be" if I score in double figures, or maybe even come in second. Why not? It is within reach.
A friend said I should "embed" some of my videos in this blog; but I am not computer savvy enough to do that. I am putting in a link to the page on YouTube which contains several of my videos (including ones that will shortly be on TV), which also are on my website (put there by someone smarter than me). Please pass these on as well, as the Internet is a wonderful tool when put to work by a few people who are really dedicated. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=andrew+mccullough&search_type=
Get out and vote, and if you still know someone who is not registered, there is still time to drag them to the county clerk and get them registered. Two of my closest friends have told me in the last two days that they have not yet registered. (You know who you are, now get down there and do it!). Those who support the Republican establishment will vote. Do you have an excuse not to? The stakes really are too high to stay at home.
October 9, 2008 -- Update on "An innocent man". Here is an order issued by a Utah Court in response to our petition to compensate a man who was imprisoned for over 4 years for a crime it now seems clear that he did not commit. The order was granted upon a motion from the Utah attorney general, who does not seem interested in seeing that justice is done. There will be an appeal, but I am very sad that our legal system has caused such suffering.
October 3, 2008 -- Rolling along as election time nears. I just watched the introduction to KUED's Attorney General debate this evening, and it started out with two untruths. That was enough for me, and I decided my time was better spent here. The first untruth was that the debate was going to feature the "two major candidates for Utah Attorney General". I don't know how they measure that, but my Democratic opponent polls at 16%, and that has to be a stretch to call her "major". The second untruth was that the AG race this year has been "one of the most lively" of the election year. How they could say that about a race where I am not heard and where Ms. Hill has almost no presence despite her "major party" status, I do not know. If there is anything lively about the race, it is my presence, and it will get more lively with your help.
While up on campus at the University earlier this week, we had some contacts with KUED, and tried without success to get them to include me in their debate. So, I have purchased an ad in the Daily Chronicle for next Tuesday to protest my exclusion from three separate debates sponsored by parts of the tax supported university. I should not have to pay to be heard, but I am willing to do so, in order to let the public know I am running. It is too late to change any minds at the university about including me, but there is much you can do to help with very little effort or expense. Read through some of my recent blogs, and you will come up with some ideas. Signs, bumper stickers and flyers are available in many places around the State, and the flyer is now online here to be printed out and spread around.
Also, this week we have added to our YouTube presence with my 8 minute speech to this summer's hemp rally at the State Capitol. This video needs to be spread around. Please view it and find someone in Utah to send it to. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA3LW2P7tpk It is actually pretty good, I think.
Next week we will have our TV ad out. There will be a 30 second version to be used on actual broadcast television, and a longer version for YouTube. This medium works only when people watch and then ask others to watch. Very little time, and no money to do this, so please do it today.
Keep tuned in. I have money to spend, though I still need you to donate. It is very quick and easy at my website. I will be popping up all over the place. This week I have also starrted advertising in the online edition of Salt Lake's two major newspapers. Tell your friends, the revolution is here.
September 28, 2008 -- Thanks to my friends and supporters. On Friday night we had a rousing and raucous fund raising party hosted by my wonderful friends, the Voodoo Darlings, and their band, Voodoo Box. thanks to them and all those who showed up or donated. And for those who didn't make it (several people said they would be there and did not come), you can still get involved right now by making a small donation to the campaign. I have a PayPal account on my website at www.andy4ag.com and it takes only a minute or so to do it.
If you are wondering if it will do any good, let me report that I have a TV commercial coming out nest week, which will be shown on at least one or two local stations as well as YouTube. We will be doing some radio advertising, and internet as well. We have already started ads in three print publications; and you can see a recent comment on this blog by someone who responded to one of those ads. We ARE going to be heard; and your donation can help. TV and radio spots start in the area of $10. Can you afford to sponsor a spot or two?
More soon about some other wonderful people who have helped make a difference. Keep it up guys, we are beginning to scare them!
September 20, 2008 -- A good week. This week has been a good one for the campaign, though I struggle to keep up with that and still maintain my law practice. I am having great fun, but will be relieved in six weeks when it is over. There are only six weeks to make an impact, and we will do that, with your help. The latest poll, which identifies me as "other" shows I am making progress, and that the Democrat is not. So, my goal is to come in at least second; and that will send a major message that we are to be listened to.
I have now got signs and other campaign material all over the state. See my website, and look for "campaign materials" to get your signs, bumper stickers, and flyers. I will post the flyer online shortly, so you can download it for distribution. I also have t-shirts and some big banners. Anyone who has a place where we can hang one, please let me know.
I was interviewed twice by Utah publications this week, and we started print advertising. I think I convinced both reporters that I am the best candidate. If I could talk to everyone for a few minutes, I would win. My fund raising is doing better, and I should have some money for radio advertisements (and maybe a little TV) as well. Send in your contributions today.
I am still being excluded from debates and other appearances, so it would help if you would contact sponsors and ask them to include me. Also, watch online for chances to comment on political news stories, and to mention me and our other candidates. Call our campaign office at 801 565-1988 to get involved. And see my campaign message, which isnow online on Youtube.
Last night, as I stood on the Trax platform, a woman on the train going the other way, started waving and pointed to my "Libertarian" hat, indicating she really liked it. get yours for only $15, and help us get our message out simply by wearing it.
September 12, 2008 -- Events and advertising. My campaign will start print advertising next week, and I hope to follow it with other media, including a real cool TV ad. Help out with a donation if you can. This week I received a terse note from KUER (supposedly public radio, paid for by taxpayer money) saying early polls on my race did not justify them interviewing me for their station. I am wondering how they justified interviewing the Democrat, who has very little support or money. If you would like to comment on my exclusion, you can do so at email@example.com But, that is the life of a "third party" candidate, and we will do the best we can with what we have. Keep your eye out for my efforts to become more visible. And in an interesting coincidence today, the Deseret News published a new poll showing both of my opponents slipping, while I am gaining support, and more than ever are undecided. Yes, I'm still in third place, but I am doing better, even though the pollster only mentions me as "other".
Two weeks from tonight we will be having a really cool campaign fundraising event at the Paper Moon club at 3737 S. State St. in Salt Lake. Tickets will be $20 at the door, but only $10 if paid for in advance through our slick reservation site. So log on right now and reserve your tickets. And bring some extra money to tip the dancers and to donate to the campaign. and let's have some fun taking on the establishment.
See you there, and in other places around the State. Stick it to the man!
September 6, 2008 -- My campaign video, and my opponent. The 5 minute message I made for Valley TV, at Salt Lake Community College is up on their website. Please watch it and pass it on. The producer came out of his booth to say he liked what I have to say. If people listen, they will often agree. I need help in getting them to listen.
In today's news, the Deseret News editorialized against the current Attorney General's website, which shows video and comment on the arrests of people suspected, but not convicted, of crimes; and Paul Rolly's column reported on the interesting uses of campaign money by the current Attorney General. both in Saturday's editions. Check them out, and see even more reasons to vote for me.
August 23, 2008 -- Left out again? A supporter sent a calendar item from the Utah Policy website announcing a debate at the Hinckley Institute at the University of Utah on September 30, for the Attorney General candidates. Unfortunately, my name was not included. This is not unusual, and if asked, the sponsoring organization will usually say something like "we only want the candidates with a realistic chance to win". Well, the initial polls in this race show the Democrat candidate, Jean Welch Hill, with almost no chance at winning. So, why not just acknowledge that, and only invite the current Attorney General to tell why is so loved and admired? On the other hand, if the Hinkley Institute wants to air the issues and examine all valid points of view, they should invite me. I am a breath of fresh air, and will change the nature of the debate. Rather than just arguing over who can be "tougher on crime", we would examine the issue of whether the drug war, which puts thousands of young people in prison every year, is a total catastrophe, and should be ended. Crime rates would plummet immediately, and society would be safer. But, for now, such a point of view will not be heard.
If you agree that the debate needs all points of view, contact the Hinckley Institute right now and ask them to include me in their debate. And then, send a contribution, get a lawn sign, put on a bumper sticker, or simply forward this to your Utah friends and ask them to do the same. firstname.lastname@example.org
August 19, 2008 -- Latest news. I returned to Utah from vacation late last night, and found news and issues awaiting me. This morning's radio and newspapers report that the president of Westminster College in Salt Lake City has signed on to a letter circulating among college presidents encouraging states to lower their drinking age to 18. The higher age restriction, according to some, encourages binge drinking, and is widely violated. I have always thought this was a stupid law, designed by those who want to continue making decisions for other people as long as they can. I have wondered why younger voters do not rebel and throw those who want to run their lives out of office. I fully support the initiative of the college presidents, and urge younger voters to flex their muscles this year by voting Libertarian and demanding their equal rights as citizens.
The Deseret News also reports today an effort by Republicans in the legislature to stop citizens from making laws by initiative process, or from repealing bad laws by referendum. this is after the voters of this state overwhelmingly crushed a law on vouchers earlier this year. Some may remember the citizen initiative from several years ago which substantially restricted civil forfeitures of those accuses (but not convicted) of certain crimes. After intense lobbying from the current Attorney General, the legislature overrode that initiative, and gave police back their right to take property which they claim was illegally gained or used. Now the legislature will likely act to atop voters from overruling them again. Once again, it is time for voters to rebel and to throw those who want to rung their lives out of office. Help me send a message that you do not like state officials telling you what to do. Now, before it is too late.
July 30, 2008 -- A "positive rating" and a check. I am pleased to report that I received an "endorsement check" today for $500 from the Planned Parenthood Action Council. If you go their website at http://www.ppacutah.org/ you will see that their formal endorsement went elsewhere, but that I am featured on their site with a "positive rating". The check speaks volumes, however, as it is a rare accomplishment for a Libertarian candidate to receive Political Action Committee PAC) funds. Four years ago, I received a similar check and "positive rating" from Equality Utah, which unfortunately chose not to repeat that this year. Nevertheless, I am getting noticed. As I told them, the funds will be spent carefully and judicially to spread the message of less government control over our personal lives. And I publicly thank PPAC for their confidence.
Now it is up to me to do my best to spread the word, and I need your help too. Please consider a small contribution of your own, and please send this announcement to your friends in Utah. So much to do , and so little time.
Please, if you have not done so recently, browse through my previous blog entries, and see what I have been doing to defend freedom. Then, do something to help.
July 22, 2008 -- "An innocent man". I recently filed a lawusit in the District Court in Salt Lake City to determine the innocence of a man who was convicted of a serious crime that he did not commit. The law in Utah allows for such legal actions, and provides for compensation at a specific rate for the time an innocent person spent in prison. In this case it was over four years for a robbery committed in Salt Lake City when the evidence shows that the Defendant was in Louisiana at the time recuperating from a stroke. The Attorney General has filed a Motion to Dismiss, claiming that there is insufficient evidence of innocence.
Because of ethical guidelines, I am not going to comment additionally on this case except to ask those interested to read my response to the Motion to Dismiss and judge for yourself.
Then I am going to ask you to consider supporting me for Attorney General, someone who will work as hard to exonerate and compensate the innocent as I will to convict the guilty. And that is a breath of fresh air. Tell your friends.
July 20, 2008 -- A real alternative -- Some thoughts on the road to giving the people a real alternative. I have been hard at work, as usual, over the last several days, on my campaign to give the people a real alternative in the race for Attorney General, and to manage the party as State Chair. All the while, of course, I have a busy law practice to keep up. Sometimes I wonder if I can do it, and it it is all worth it. This morning, however, I was reading the autobiography of Harry Reid, the majority leader of the US Senate. He wrote of the pressures of going to law school, keeping a fulltime job, and starting a family. At one point he sought counsel from his law school dean, who told him that the best answer was probably to quit law school. Obviously he didn't; but he harbored a grudge against that dean for many years, as he became a great success in his chosen field. Well, we all do the best we can with what we have, and I will not quit either. Besides, "irritating the establishment" is too much fun.
My last blog entry, written just before my 6oth birthday asked for small donations and volunteers to help with my campaign efforts. The response was disappointing, to say the least. Please, if you have not read that one, go back and do it now. And if you have, do it again, and this time do something, however small, to protect your freedom. There is so much to be done; and it really does bring satisfaction to know you have done your part.
I recently made a five minute presentation of my views on Valley Television, at Salt Lake Community College. That will shortly be available on their website and on YouTube. Yesterday, I spoke at a rally to end Marijuana prohibition, and that will also shortly be available on YouTube. I did not speak as a user, as I have never tried it (or cigarettes or alcohol or coffee) but as one who thinks it is just plain stupid to jail people for doing something the government thinks will harm them. Jail will harm them too, and it cost us so much money! The number of people in jail or prison in this country is a national embarrassment. If you agree with my views, please pass this blog, and those videos, along to your Utah friends. We will never have enough money to compete with the current Attorney General; but a few people who will help get out the word really can help us make a difference.
Last night I commented on an article in the Tribune about the big expensive campaign of the current Attorney General, and the fact that he currently has a "crushing lead" on his Democratic opponent. I referred to her as "a sacrificial lamb", and today noticed that I got negative marks for this from some of her supporters. I want to make it clear that I have nothing against the Democratic candidate in this race; but the fact is that she is not competitive, and is not likely to be competitive. The Democrats have not committed adequate resources to her campaign, because they know this. Perhaps it is a question of "the chicken or the egg". Whether putting a lot of money into her race would help is unknown; but right now, she is going nowhere. I point this out only because it becomes all the more important that I be heard, and that a real alternative is given to the voters. And it cannot be said that votes for me are any more "wasted" than votes for her. So, if you believe in more freedom, smaller government and lower taxes, do what you can to help me heard. Media advertising will start shortly. But it will always be important to just have many friends passing the message on through yard signs, bumper stickers, word of mouth and the Internet. Do something today. You will feel better, and more free!
July 3, 2008 -- My sixtieth -- Help get me started. Well, I have spent the last 8 years celebrating my birthday on the same day as the President -- I am two years younger; and this will be the last time (thank goodness). I turn 60 on Sunday. Help me celebrate by sending a small contribution to my campaign. See my website at www.andy4ag.com and use PayPal. It is really easy, and even five or ten dollars will help. It would be a wonderful birthday present to see a surge in online contributions. Do it now.
And it is time to get to work on many projects to help out. If you will just make a habit of reading this blog, and forwarding it to one or two friends, that would be a help. We got a shipment in of yard signs this week. Drop by my office and take a few for your yard, and a few other strategic places. And, if you live outside the Wasatch front, I need a few people to take some and help me distribute them in other areas of the state. I have people in St. George and in Moab who have agreed to distribute them; but I need somebody to take them to these places, so they can.
Please join my MySpace group and ask your other Utah friends to add me as well. See my MySpace address at the top of my blog. And get some voter registration forms. They can be obtained from your county clerk, from me, or they can be downloaded and printed out from my website, or your county clerk's site. Then get some friends to register to vote. We know the Republicans vote. It is our patriotic duty to vote also.
Also, see my campaign store on my website, and buy something with my logo on it. I have one cute female friend who did so, and already has signed up several new voters and spread my name to many others who do not know me, just by wearing it. And if you are willing, send me a photo of yourself wearing it for my photo section.
Yes, we need money to be heard; and I need to get 5% in a poll in order to get invited to the televised debates. But there are many things you can do that do not cost money. If you agree with me on the need to offer a real alternative, find something to do and start doing it.
June 26, 2008 -- The tough life of a Libertarian. As I have mentioned before, I am now Chair of the Libertarian Party of Utah. Mostly, because nobody else wanted to do the job. It brings with it many frustrations, and today I am going to write about one in particular, because today this frustration is really gnawing at me.
Political Action Committees (PACs) are orgainizations of like-minded people who get together and support candidates with contibutions and help. One of the most active in Utah is that of Equality Utah. A couple of weeks ago, they interviewed many candidates for possible endorsements, contributions and support. Several years ago, I wrote them a letter, when I recieved the invitation to their annual fund raising dinner. I asked if they conceivably would ever support a Libertarian. they were kind enough to reply that it wasn't likely, because they like to back people who might actually win. Needless to say, I did not go to their dinner. Four years ago, however, in my previous campaign for Attorney General, I interviewed with them, and, while they did not formally endorse me, they made a $500 contribution to my campaign. I was thirilled, because in my mind they had "broken the boycott", and given money because I am a good candidate, no matter what party I represent.
So, this year, I went to my intrerview again, and of course I answered the questions the right way. After all, my politics are very much in their favor. I fully support equality; and I am the rare candidate who will say so without reservation. Today I received a call saying that they had decided to use their limited resources in support of another candidate. Actually, I AM disappointed, and a little depressed. I am doing my best to run a credible campaign, and to gather enough resuorces to make my alternative viewpoint heard. After the hopes of four years ago, it is a real letdown. Obviously, they are entitled to do what they think is best for their cause; and I wish them well. They did indicate that their website will give me a favorable rating(maybe not, after they read this), and that they hope individual members may support me. I hope so too, as I believe it is very important to have a real choice in politics. In this race, I am that real choice, as I have staked out positions very different from my opponents. And, of course, I maintain that I have at least as good a chance as the other challenger, who is suffering from low polling numbers and low resources.
So, here is my hope. If you are someone who supports Equality Utah, and you also support me as a real alternative to the current legal establishment, please write me a check today for $100 (I also have PayPal), which is the price of a ticket to the Equality Utah dinner. Please include a note saying that you are an Equality Utah supporter; and please send them a note telling them that you may not make it to the dinner this year, as you have made your contribution directly to the best candidate for Attorney General. If I get just FIVE of you to do this, I will come out even, I will feel much better about life, and I promise I will use the money to rock the boat and to preach freedom.
And PLEASE forward this to others who may support Equality Utah. I need your help to get the word out, more than anything. See my website at http://www.andy4ag.com/ for instructions on how to donate. And watch this space for news of a pending endorsement from another very important civil liberties organization.
June 21, 2008 -- The Utah Attorney General. First, I am sad to hear that my opponent for Utah Attorney General, Mr. Shurtleff, has just had a sixth round of surgery to repair the fractured leg suffered last fall in a motorcycle accident. I do hope he gets well quick, and that we can can on with our debates and policy disagreements in good spirits.
That said, I am once again sad and frustrated by his office, and once again I am reminded why I am running for this office and why I would like to contribute to the incumbent's defeat in November. Several years ago, a good friend of mine was treated very badly by a UHP officer, who turned her slight speech impediment into evidence of drug impairment while driving, culminating in a strip search in an effort to find the drugs. When we tried to get compensation for this outrageous conduct, the Attorney General's office let us know right away that they had more money, more manpower, and more resources, and would grind us into dust. We did get a small settlement after a trial and two appeals; but my friend and client was mistreated by the system a second time, making it all the worse. Today I have been working on a case where it is clear to me that an Innocent man was imprisoned for several years. Once again, the state's attorneys will do everything possible to avoid him being compensated for his injuries. When an innocent man is treated as poorly by the system as this man is being treated, the Attorney General's office should be attempting to seek justice, not just win. Should I win the office I seek, the Attorney General will not represent solely the state bureaucrats; but will attempt to balance the real interests of the people of this State. More on this case is coming; and in the meantime I ask your help to get my message out that government can be kinder and gentler to its citizens. Justice should be the goal, and not an increase of State power.
May 30, 2008 -- Gay marriage and more. Today's Deseret News reports that our current Attorney General filed a brief with the Calfornia Supreme Court yesterday, in conjunction with several other state attorneys general, asking the Court to delay implementation of its ruling until after the November election, so that voters will have a chance to overturn the ruling. The California Attorney General, who recently argued against the legalization, has asked the Court NOT to delay its ruling. What business does the Utah Attorney General have in getting involved in this? In 2006, the Equality Utah political action committee gave Mr. Shurtleff an award for his efforts to fight discrimination -- apparently because he is at least a bit more enlightened than most of his Republican colleagues. If they really thought he believed in equal rights, he has now made it clear that they were wrong.
Also today, Mr. Shurtleff announced that the court ruling in Texas has made him "even more determined" to fight abuse in the polygamous community in Utah. See yesterday's blog for my thoughts on the ruling. For today, let me just say that we are ALL against child abuse wherever it occurs. Some of us, however, are also against the abuse of State power to advance a political agenda.
May 29, 2008 -- FLDS ruling. Today the Texas Supreme Court affirmed the Third District Court of Appeals that the wholesale removal of over 4oo children from their homes over fear of a strange brand of polygamy in their community was unlawful. That ruling was absolutely correct, no matter what you think of the FLDS Church and their leader, who is now in jail for assisting in a rape (See my previous blog entries for my feelings on that). It is great to see that misuse of State power can be reined in through determined use of the judicial system.
I am particularly proud of the fact that the ACLU national office and the ACLU of Texas filed a substantial Amicus Curiae ("friend of the court") brief in support of the rights of the parents. And, because of the very short time to file it, they worked all night. Our Utah ACLU has links to the ACLU brief and the court decision on its website at www.acluutah.org Hopefully, that will answer those of you who have asked me lately where the ACLU is in that case. They were present, and they answered the call. As an attorney who practices sometimes (I try not do do it much anymore) in Juvenile Court, I know as well as anyone that the State (whether it is Utah, Texas or whatever) will OFTEN abuse its power in intefering with a family, based on rumors and unproved allegations. We must continue to fight for individual rights against this power. And, at least sometimes, we will win in the end. Thanks to the ACLU of Texas and all those who fought and won this time.
May 10, 2008 -- More on campaign contributions. Today are the State conventions for both the Republican and Democratic parties. This week, their candidates had to file their financial reports for the first part of this year. The difference between the reports from the current Attorney General and his Democratic challenger are startling. HIs contributions are mostly from businesses, and many are quite large. Hers are mostly from individuals, and are mostly quite small. I am a lot closer to her than she is to him. I just had this wonderful thought: I could beat this Democrat, both in contributions and votes, if I really put my efforts into it. Why not help me do just that? What a coup! We all know that I would make a good Attorney General; but many people think the fight is hopeless, so why bother? Take a look at the contribution reports on the Lt. Governor's website, and tell me what is and is not possible. Then, see my official website at www.andy4ag.com and make a contribution. Help me really rock the boat! What fun we will have!
May 5, 2008 -- In Memorium -- Mildred Loving, and more. It is a name known mostly by those who have studied constitutional law. Mildred Loving, a black woman from Virginia, passed away earlier today at the age of 68. She married her longtime white boyfriend in Washington, DC in 1957. At the time, she didn't really realize that such a marriage was illegal in Virginia. But, when she went back home, she found out, as she was arrested shortly thereafter. She and her husband agreed to leave Virginia and live in Washington for a period of time. Then she contacted the ACLU and told them she wanted to go home without fear of arrest. She later said she didn't want to be a hero, just a bride, and said "We are not marrying the state. The law should allow a person to marry anyone he wants." To some degree, the landmark Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia held just that. but we all know the battle is far from over. The fight to keep the State out of our bedrooms goes on; but because of Mrs. Loving, one step has been taken. For all those of us who believe there is a part of our lives beyond the control of the State, we say "thanks".
On another subject, this morning's Deseret News reports that a majority of Utahns side with our present attorney general, who says that the public's right to be safe is more important than giving a person who is listed on the State's sex offender registry a chance to be delisted. Mr. Shurtleff, why do you fear Due Process of Law? Why not allow a person to go to court eventually to show that he is not a threat to society, and have himself removed from this hideous list? If the Court deems him still a threat, he stays. but if he is not, why should he be there?
The problem is that the listing requriements keep getting more severe. A person who entered a guilty plea years ago thinking he would not be listed, or thinking he would be delisted in ten years, now finds that the legislature has increased his listing requirement to lifetime. Where is the fairness in that? What is the harm in allowing him to challenge it, and show that it is not proper in his particular case? The current attorney general claims he is just protecting children. But, from what? Why have we allowed ourselves as a nation and a society to be governed by fear? Mr. Bush has transformed our nation into one afraid of everything and everybody. Do you really want to live in fear all your life? Do you truly feel safer this way? I don't; and I only ask that common sense prevail. Those who are dangerous can be labeled so. Those who are not deserve the chance to prove it. That, really, is the American way.
April 29, 2008 -- Latest on FLDS controversy. I have been asked a number of times why, if I don't want to be a Republican, I don't choose the other "major party", the Democrats. Frankly, I would probably rather have a Democrat in the White House than another Republican disaster, like the one who is there now. But I am not a Democrat, because they favor too much government interference into our lives, much like the Republicans do.
Today's newspapers reported that Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, has railed against the State of Utah for not being more aggressive with our southern Utah "polygs". He says he is a "cheerleader" for the overreaction of Texas authorities, and thinks it is time for the Federal government to get involved if Utah won't do more. Our current Utah Attorney General fired back that he has done a lot, and boasted of putting Warren Jeffs in prison for rape. Once again, the "major parties" are trying to outdo each other by being more aggressive at eroding our civil liberties. Shame on them both! Both men are active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS); and neither appear to be familiar with the history of their own church. The LDS Church came close to being totally wiped out by the fervor of Federal government agents trying to fight LDS polygamy in the late 1800's. The charges that were leveled against church leaders were as exaggerated and fanciful as some of those being leveled now.
Let me make it clear yet again that I do not condone child abuse or welfare fraud, or any of the other numerous possible violations by this group. But I do condone their freedom of religion and their right to Due Process of Law. The overreaction of the Texas authorities is to be protested, not cheered. And those who are cheerleaders for this can be counted on to push aside our constitutional rights the next time there is a "crisis".
Had enough? There is a choice, and now is the time to make it.
April 19, 2008 -- What a day! Today the Utah Libertarian Party held its convention to choose both candiates for public office , and also party officers. Yes, I was nominated to run for Attorney Gnereral, so now it is official. I will do my best to change the tone of the debate, and to give the electorate a real choice between pholosophies of government. While the other two candidates will disagree about policies, and will tout their abilitites to efficiently run a large "law firm", doing the State's legal business, they will agree on most things. They will agree that the State should spend your money trying to increase the already bulging jail and prison populations. They will not acknowledge that we hold too many prisoners; and the financial and social costs are just too high. They may have some slight differences on their approach to "protecting children"; but they will both tell you that the kind of mass interference with families recently seen in Texas is probably necessary, and in the "best interests" of the children. They will tell you that the State must tolerate law enforcement officers who stretch thier authority to "get the bad guys"; they will tell you that the State has a legitimate interest in helping you decide for yourself what you can read and view in the privacy of your own home; and they will tell you that if the govenment "sneaks and peaks" into people's homes, they are only doing it to protect you and me from those same bad guys, who are just about everywhere.
Thankfully, there is another point of view -- that we can be both safe and free; and that we can reduce the terrible costs of law enforcement without sacrificing public safety. Please consider helping me spread this message.
Oh, and one additional thing. I was also elected State Chair of the Libertarian Party today, for the next year. Mostly, I think, because nobody else wanted it. And yes, "Super Dell" Schanze is our candidate for governor. Give him a chance, he grows on you. And watch for an exciting Libertarian candidate for President as well. More on that soon.
Please browse this website to help out my campaign.
Please see the party website (soon to be revamped and made easier to use) at www.lputah.org
April 12, 2008 -- More on polygamy controversy. Since my last blog entry only four days ago, the ongoing controversy over the raids on the Texas ranch owned by the FLDS Church has spilled over into Utah politics. The Deseret Morning News reported on April 10 that the current Utah Attorney General had obtained 80 search warrants in 2006 to search for DNA evidence of incest in the Kingston group of polygamists, but backed off long enough so those who were at risk disappeared.
The Salt Lake Tribune today reported on a debate yesterday between Congressman Cannon and his Republican opponents, in which polygamy was discussed. While Cannon is concerned that Texas authorities went too far in their recent raids, by taking into custody over 400 children, (duh!), his main opponent, David Leavitt says that polygamists must be diligently prosecuted. He is the one who, as Juab County Attorney, prosecuted Tom Green, and put him in prison for having several wives. He was promptly defeated for reelection. Rather than hearing the message, he is now bringing his crusade to the congressional race. He says this must be done to defend the institution of marriage against those who would use any leniency to promote gay marriage. Well, if there is any doubt that there is a strong current in Utah for instituting a theocracy, this should help erode that doubt. Our current Attorney General actually received an award from the Equality Utah political action committee for bucking his party's anti-gay bias, and defending the basic dignity of gay people. But, he only stands out as a moderate within his very socially conservative party, and is still socially to the right of those who think the government has no business in our bedrooms.
The Tribune story on the congressional debate reminds us that there are very strong oppressive forces in the majority party, bent on eliminating any signs of tolerance of those who don't quite fit into with the "family values" movement. Once again, those of us who insist on the right to live our lives as we choose, are under seige. If you haven't yet decided to make your own voice be heard, the time is running out. This election year gives us a great chance to be heard. If you wait until after the election, it will be too late.
April 08, 2008 -- Child welfare. Today an old friend called me out of concern, after the Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) came to visit her. They were investigating a complaint of possible child abuse. I do not think they will find any evidence of such a thing there. But this incident, and perhaps even more, the drama that is unfolding among the FLDS community in Texas, prompts me to write about my own concerns of State involvement in the family. After many years of practicing law, it has become very apparent to me that the State (and not just Utah) is a little "trigger happy" about intervening in family matters, and removing children from the home. The headline in today's Salt Lake Tribune tells us that over 400 people have been removed from the FLDS community in Texas. And the subheading, quotes a State official that, while the removals are traumatic for the children, this is "in their best interest". Some of the stories of child abuse coming from this community would cause anyone concern. But the State of Texas has come in with SWAT teams, and hordes of police; and they have brought ambulances in anticipation of having to resort to violence to get into the FLDS Temple, and other sacred buildings. I am not any happier than anyone else about claims of child abuse; but my own experience has tausght me that State inteference with the family is its own form of child abuse.
Many of us remember the massive legal fight that the Utah Attorney General's offce had a few years ago over their move to take a young boy from his fmaily in order to forcibly medicate him. The family resisted, he was not forced to undergo the tratment, and he is doing fine. Our current Attorney General, in his candidate statement on the Salt Lake Tribune Politics webpage touts his efforts to protect children, and asks for four more years to do so. Unfortunately, those efforts sometimes include unfair and inappropriate interference with families. If you want the government to spend less time spying on you and interfering with your family, let's not give him four more years.
March 1, 2008 -- Americans incarcerated. Over the last few days, the news media has widely reported that: "For the first time in U.S. history more than one in 100 American adults are behind bars" (Salt Lake Tribune, 2/28/08). According to BBC news, this is the highest percentage among world democracies. The cost is high, not only in what it takes to lock people up, but in broken families and lost production. Former Federal Judge Paul Cassell is quoted in the Tribune as saying the cost is not as high as it seems, as it is mitigated by lower crime rates. How many Americans would former Judge Cassell incarcerate to further lower the crime rate? If were all locked up, the crime rate would be close to zero, but who would pay for the jails?
The high rate of incarceration in this country comes from a number of things. Federal crimes in particular are punishable by incarceration for such long periods of time, that it has no rational connection with the crime charged. And then there is the war on drugs, which puts people in jail who have done nothing other than use or possess substances that the government thinks are bad for them. The government does not seem to think that prison is bad for them too. The jails and prisons are full. Shall we build more indefinitely, or will we wake up and reform our justice system to avoid incarceration which does not make sense?
The present Utah Attorney General, charged with coordinating the State's law enforcement, and I fundamentally disagree on the need to jail or imprison so many people. If you support him in the upcoming election, you will do so out of fear -- fear which I think does not bear a real connection to society's needs. If you support me, you will be doing so in the hope that more freedom will make society better. The choice, and the cost, is yours.
February 14, 2007 -- First, let me thank those who helped our Libertarian Party regain its ballot status. We have been informed by the Elections Office that we will be ballot qualified this year. In order to stay qualified, we will need to poll 2% of the statewide vote by one of our candidates. This should present no particular problem, as it is my intention to run (one more time) for Utah Attorney General; and to put in the most effort I can afford, both financially and time-wise. If you are interested in helping, please let me know, and see this website for instructions on making contributions.
And speaking of contributions, the Libertarian Pary will not be receiving tax checkoff money this year, which will be a drain on our limited funds. When you do your tax returns, please consider a small donation to the Party to help us make up for the lack of tax funds. Every $5.00 or $10.00 will help a lot.
Ok, on to political issues. despite a 90% vote for him in the Republican primary in Utah, Mitt Romney will not be the Republican nominee for President this year. And the presumptive nominee, John McCain seems to be drifting rightward to keep his party's "base". After being the champion of efforts to make sure the U.S. does not torture prisoners, he voted against the bill this week to outlaw "waterboarding". Shame on him. President Bush will likely veto the bill, out of his misguided belief that we will be protecting our country by using degrading methods to try and wring information from prisoners.
And, despite pleas from the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, our Republican legislature seems bent on taking out their frustrations on so-called "illegals" by eliminating in-state tuition at colleges, and their driver privilege cards. Both efforts are mean-spirited and will do nothing to help either our security or our economy.
A couple of weeks ago I sent a message to an e-mail list of libertarain leaning people about our ballot petition. One gentleman, with a BYU e-mail address, wrote back suggesting that we all join the Republican Party and try and reform it from within, much as he says Rep. Ron Paul has been doing. No thanks. My old party has been taken over by people who claim to be Christians, but have no Christian charity. The party which has claimed to be for smaller government and more freedom spends much of its energy now tryjng to make people live up to their expectations for moral behavior. I prefer not surrender my freedoms for the illusion of safety.
Join the revolution, and protect our freedom. Pass on the message to your friends. You have nothing to lose but your chains!
January 18, 2008 -- Today I received a forward of a comment which appeared on the website of http://www.utahpolicy.com/ ranking our current Utah Attorney General as one of the "safest" in the country, as far as re-election goes:
"Two-term Utah Attorney Genral Mark Shurtleff (R) has ruffled feathers, especially among conservatives, by backing hate crimes legislation, opposing an anti-gay-marriage amendment and, most explosively, prosecuting splinter sects that practice polygamist-arranged marriages with underage girls, a crusade that led to death threats. But many voters respect his prosecutions, and Democrats acknowledge that his seat is not a target."
There are some areas where the current Attorney General and I agree, but he does not understand the Bill of Rights as written into both our national and State Constitutions. Frankly, I would be thrilled if the Democrats do not even put up a "secrifical lamb"against him this year. A race between just him and me would be great fun, emphasizing our massive differences on such things as the Patriot Act, the "war on drugs", and First Amendment freedoms. But, of course, I need lots of support to make it fun. If you haven't downloaded a Libertarian Party ballot petition, pease do so now. If you can send a monetary contribution (up to $50 remains between us), please consider that as well. Let us use this opportunity to really make a statement for freedom. And let's make him feel a little less safe!
December 25, 2007 -- Merry Christmas and more. Merry Christmas to those who actually read this blog. And a double Merry Christmas to those few who may have printed out a Libertarian petition and are working on getting a few signatures to get us on the ballot; and for those who have forwarded my blog on petitioning to friends. For those who have not, there is still time to help; and it would be a great present for those who are working to preserve freedom in Utah.
OK, on to the more serious business. A few weeks ago, many of us were shocked to see a UHP officer apparently becoming hysterical over a motorist who questioned his speeding ticket, and using his Taser when he should have used reason. Naturally, his superiors supported him in his decision. The very day of that decision by the UHP, I sat in a courtroom and listened to a bunch of macho police officers laugh and joke about what they would do with anyone who questioned their authority. I was, to say the least disturbed that they have not been taught decency in the use of police power.
This week, in Minneapolis, we narrowly missed a real tragedy when a bunch of police officers burst into a home without warning or identification, scaring the family inside half to death. The father of 6 children fired a warning shot before engaging the unidentified housebreakers in a firefight. Amazingly, despite three blasts from his shotgun, and 22 bulletes fired in return, nobody was injured. Seems the officers were serving a search warrant and got the wrong house (again). When homeowners have sued for such home invasions, courts have usually called it an honest mistake -- even when people have been killed.
It seems to me that there are just too many such mistakes without anybody being disciplined. And just maybe there are too many "no knock" warrants served under circumstances where somebody may get killed. I realize there are situations where this has to be done. But extreme care must be taken to avoid near tragedies like this. And when a mistake is made, somebody must be disciplined. That likelhoood will make them be more careful. And on this sacred day, let us thank God that there was no tragedy this time. If you want to increase the chances for avoiding it next time. help us get on the ballot and bring restraint to law enforcement. "The stakes are too high to stay at home."
And today the news reports that the recently graduated class at the Idaho Police Academy chose as its motto: "Don't suffer from PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder]. Go out and cause it." Doesn't that just warm your heart? I sure hope the New Year brings us something better; and it will if we fight for it!
December 15, 2007 -- Freedom's anniversaries. This week is an interesting one for anniversaries associated with freedom. Today is the anniversary of the Bill of Rights, without which we would helpless in the face of government intursions into our personal liberty. And tomorrow is the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, when colonists protested the hated British Stamp Act by throwing a cargo of tea into the Borson Harbor. It is less known that the Stamp Act was used as a means of censorship as well. Newspapers could not be sold without a Tax Stamp attached, and that increased the cost of the newspaper so that peole could not afford to buy it. The government is still telling us what we cannot read, and here is your chance to fight back.
Various celebrations of these historical occurences are set. Here in Utah, we Libertarians rather badly need just a minute of your time to help us out with the last phase of our ballot petition. Scroll down this page to the heading "Petition Help" from a recent blog; and please take a minute right now to download a petit0n, and sign it. then get a few others to do the same and send it in to the Party or to me. so easy, and yet so important. You don't have to risk arrest or being shot to protect your freedom, so you have it much better than many others. And please send this blog to your Utah e-mail list and ask their help as well. I went to my PO Box last night and found no petitions. Next week, help fill it up with them, even if they only have a couple of signatures.
W. Andrew McCullough
PO Box 651147
Salt Lake City, UT 84165
November 30, 2007 -- State Trooper; and the Blue Boutique. First, please read yesterday's blog, if you have not already done so, and do what you can to help. But things are moving so fast, I had to write again regarding new happenings.
Next, the Utah Highway Patrol issued its preliminary findings today regarding Trooper John Gardner and the now famous tasering incident in Vernal. As I predicted last week, they are standing by their own. I think they failed to really see what was in the video, and that is that their officer was near hysteria over nothing more than a bewildered motorist trying to figure out what was going on. The plaintive questiion issued just before the weapon was fired: "What's wrong with you?" has not been answered. And it is clear that UHP doesn't see much wrong at all. But, in a strange twist, they have stated that they will review their policies on the use of force. So, maybe they do see something wrong. For now, however, the officer is vindicated, and we are given the message to be a little more afraid of our police. That is not the message I was hoping to hear. Officers are encouraged to use the catch phrase "officer safety" in all difficult situations, even when, as in this incident, there was no "officer safety" issue. The bigger issue is that of public safety, and this incident did not do anything to increase that. The next time an officer asks, out of the blue, and with no legal authority: "Do you mind if I search your car?" a few more people are going to think that the alternative of standing up for their rights is not worth the trouble. And that is just sad. I would love to hear our present attorney general call for his own investigation into the agency that protects their own at the expense of the public; but it will not happen. So, once again, I urge my readers to do something to be heard.
Lastly, the news has been full of stories about the Sugerhouse landmark store, Blue Boutique, and its attempt to move a few blocks east, after their present building was slated to be torn down for new devolopment. Those who would censor anything they personally do not like are in fine form on this one. They want the Salt LakeCity ordinance defining Sexually Oriented Businesses (SOB's) to be amended so that they can prohibit a store which sells even a very small amount of "adult product" to be classified as an SOB and banned from much of the city. The City Attorney is looking at possible amendments, and it is possible that litigation may be coming. The legal difficulty comes from the theory of "secondary effects" which allows a city to push a business into "outer darkness" if that business is thought to increase crime or decrease property values in its neighborhood. Secondary effects, if they exist at all, have long been claimed to exist around businesses which cater mostly to "dirty old men" who nearby residents and business people do not want around them. This busies, however, is targeted much more at women, and has none of the qualities associated with such effects. This is censorship, and nothing more; and it is both wrong and unlawful. It needs to be resisted. So, Salt Lake residents, let your city officials know that they cannot spend yout tax money on this effort, and that they must preserve the city as a place which allows diversity and a little fun.
November 29, 2007 -- Need Petition help. Our Libertarian Petition to get us on the Utah ballot came is almost 600 signatures short. We need at least 700 more to assure getting on the ballot. I am all set to run for office, and cannot do that without my party. Please help. Download the petition at my website, www.andrewmccullough.org (left side of home page), get some people to sign it, and get it to me -- even if you don't have a full page. Every signature at this point counts. This is my last time to run for office, and I need support to even be able to start. E-mail this to your friends. If a bunch of people just got 10 signatures each, it would be over in a week. We will be taking signatures at least through the end of the year. Pass them out at your Christmas party.
The petition says something about wanting to join th party. Do not worry, you do not have to join the party. Just help us get on the ballot, and we will not bother you about anything else.
Just think of what politics would be like without fun people like me. What a dull thing it would be.
November 21, 2007 -- Police brutality? This morning's Salt Lake Tribune reported that an investigation is underway after a UHP trooper fired a taser at a man who would not sign a speeding ticket. The actual video is on Youtube, and is highly disturbing. The trooper appears to have completely lost control of himself over the man's statement that "I'm not signing anything." The trooper was not in any kind of danger, and there can be no excuse for his behavior. Perhaps we will all be pleasantly surprised when he is publicly disciplined. Far too many times, inappropriate or unlawful behavior by law enforcement personnel is tolerated. It should never be so. People want to be able to trust and depend on law enforcement officers. Thus, the average citizen usually will give the officer the benefit of the doubt. After all, the alternative is to be afraid. We SHOULD be able to trust law enforcement; and when police violate our trust, they should be promptly and firmly dealt with. They certainly expect that of the rest of us. I found the video easliy by looking for Officer John Gardner and the UHP on Youtube. Watch the video, decide for yourself, and then make your voice heard.
In a completely unrelated note, the Governor of New Jersey says he will go to work as usual on Friday morning, and he expects other State employees to do the same. This is the first time in 40 years that the Governor has not given State employees an extra day off with pay, beyond the holidays declared by the legislature. The employees, who feel that this is owed to them, are up in arms. Wah!! As someone who has NEVER had a paid holiday, I am unimpressed. And as a taxpayer, I hope that other governments do likewise and save all of us a great deal of tax money!
Happy Thanksgiving to all (even those who -- like me -- have to go back to work on Friday).
November 18, 2007 -- Fiddling with Constitutional rights. The Deseret News, of Salt Lake City, reports this weekend that a move is underway in the Constitutional Revision Commission of the State of Utah to "clarify" the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Utah Consitutiona. The Utah provision, contained in Article I § 14, is essentially the same as the Federal one. On occasion, however, the State Supreme Court has had reason to grant more protections to the citizens of this State than do the Federal Courts. The current Attorney General of Utah, and former Federal Judge Paul Cassell, want to make sure that this does not happen again. In fact, it is also being discussed that the exclusionary rule be eliminated, as much as State courts can do so. That rule says that evidence which is unlawfully seized cannot be used in court. It is the only way courts have found to effectively force police officers to obey the law. The moving parties suggest that a police officer who breaks the law could be punished separately. That has always been a possiblity, of course, but one that simply never happens. It is my view that the Attorney General, who is elected by the people, should answer to them, and not to the police. He should be resisting efforts to lessen our precious consitutional rigths, According to this aritcle at least (it can be seen on my website http://www.andrewmccullough.org under "news"), he is not doing that. Well, there is an election next year for his position, and I ask those who are concerned about their freedoms to send a message. It is time for a change. and I ask for your help in making it.
October 23, 2007 -- Protest this week
For those few who read this blog regularly, sorry I have not been here in a while. Life has been hectic, as always. A few things to catch up.
The President announced yesterday that he wants Congress to give him another $46,000,000,000(!) for his wars! There will be a big anti-war protest this Saturday, October 27, starting at 11:oo AM and going to 3:00, here in Salt Lake City. It is part of a wider protest activity to occur in several cities around the country. This will be the last big anti-war speech from our Mayor, and it should be quite a day. For more information, see www.Oct27.org/salt_lake_city for local events, and follow the links for other cities. I hope to see you and all your friends out for the party. I think it starts at the State Capitol and moves the City Hall around 1:00 PM.
So, what is a Libertarian, who is running for Utah Attorney General doing at an anti-war rally? Well, the sad fact is that our government has used this war as an excuse to attack some of our most fundamental freedoms and civil liberties. They want to spy on us without judicial oversight. They want to suppress dissent, and to suggest that those who disagree are unpatriotic. This is not the Country I want to live in; and I want to make my voice heard that the government will NOT use this war to cut back on the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments; and we WILL be heard. Some of my best friends, people who genreally support free speech, keep telling me that the Presaident is doing what he must do, and that he needs our support. This is just nuts! What the President and his supporters (including our present Utah Attorney General) need is a healthy dose of reality -- that this has to stop. Help us send the message!
This is also my last call for Libertarian Petitions for our effort to get the Party back on the Utah ballot for next year. We intend to gather up what we have and submit them at the end of the month. Please, if you haven't signed one, print one out on my website, http://www.andrewmcccullough.org/ and send it to me ASAP. Or come out on Saturday and sign it there. Or if you have one half-filled out, send it to me right away. This is urgent. we MUST get back on the ballot in order for me to do my thing next year (just one more time). Help me out, please.
This is the time to "stick it to the man". Let me close with some words from a song by Chuck Brodsky (http://www.chuckbrodsky.com/) :
"These are dangerous times
You might be overheard using one of whatever they've defined as being a dangerous word
What if they don't like your songs?
What if they don't like your books?
What if you fit a profile based solely on your looks?"
September 25, 2007 -- Polygamist leader guilty. Today Warren Jeffs, the leader of a polygamous offshoot of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) was found guilty of "rape as an accomplice" for allegedly forcing a 14 year old girl to marry her cousin (age 19), resulting in sex. Upon hearing of the verdict, the present Utah Attorney General was quoted by KSL radio and TV as saying:
"This verdict is a victory for the many victims who have been hurt by Warren Jeffs and have been too afraid to speak out. Everyone should now know that no one is above the law, religion is not an excuse for abuse and every victim has a right to be heard. Let this verdict be a warning to anyone else who believes that forcing young girls to marry older men is acceptable and without consequence. The State of Utah will continue to be vigilant in pursuing anyone who breaks the law, no matter where they live or what they believe. Today's verdict is just the beginning of a long journey to seek justice for all."
Certainly that statement makes it clear that this prosecution was not about a single victim of "rape"; but is part of a concerted effort to destroy a culture which has been part of Utah since the days when the "mainstream" LDS Church also approved of the practice of polygamy. I want to make it clear that I do not condone child abuse; and this may well have been a case of that. What it was NOT, was rape, as that term is commonly understood. I was surprised by the verdict; and I will be more surprised if it stands up under appeal. If there is child abuse going on, it can be fought without resorting to ridiculous "legal fictions" such as the one bought today by the jury. Crimes should not be tolerated; but reasonable prosecutions will be sufficient to eliminate them. And, in the end, the State, which has tolerated polygamy for over 100 years, needs to back off its current morality crusade, lest it sweep up a few more Republican office holders.
It is time for new Attorney General who will not use his power to destroy those who believe differently than he does.
August 31, 2007 -- Stay tuned for comments on the resignation of Alberto Gonzales as U.S. Attorney General. But for now, I just have to comment on the wild scene in the U.S. Senate and the "family values" folks who have taken over my former Republican party. Apparently there have been rumors about the private sexual conduct of Senator Larry Craig of Idaho for some time. Frankly, I do not care if he is gay or not; but his party and his constituents care a lot. It reminds me of the mess that President Clinton got himnself into over sex several years ago. My thought at the time was that the guy is a Rhodes Scholar -- one of the truly brilliant minds of this country. And yet he could not understand something I though was both simple and obvious: You can be a successful politician, and you can be a great lover; but you really cannot be both. He simply wouldn't make the choice he had to make; and it nearly ruined him.
Here the choice was even more stark. Senator Craig wanted to be a great defender of family values; but there is some evidence (I make no decision as to his "guilt" of the sex solicitation of which he was accused but not convicted) that he tried to lead a double life of anonymous sex while traveling. If this is true, he needs some professional help to sort out things. Being gay is not a crime; and having sex with other men should not be a crime either. But he is accused (and still not convicted) of engaging in high risk behavior (both from a legal and medical view) which just is not becoming a man of his education and intelligence. What a shame.
This is one of the reasons I am a Libertarian. and while I am a politician, I am not a serious one. No, nobody is going to catch me doing things like he was accused of. But whatever I may be accused of, I have my reponse at the ready: "What do you expect from me? I'm a Libertarian." Those who want make a career of campaigning for "family values" had better be awfully careful, or it will jump up and bite them. Mitt Romney quickly fired him from his campaign and said he thought the behavior was "disgusting". Romney may have forgotten the Biblical admonition: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Shame on him for being such a self-righteous jerk. And shame on the Republican Party for its determination to criminalize essentially private behavior. Who, outside of the religious right (which seems to contain its fair share of those with sexual problems) really cares?
Senator Craig needs to come to terms with who and what he is. Then he would certainly be welcomed as a Libertarian, as was former Republican Congressman Bob Barr who finally realized his "war on drugs" campaign was a terrible mistake. Give it some thought, Senator. You have seen what kinds of friends you have in your current party.
July 04, 2007 -- War on drugs (again). Today I went to lunch at a fast food place. A cute young lady sat down at the next table, pulled out her cell phone, and made a couple of calls which sure sounded like a drug deal to me. I wondered if she knew I could hear her; and whether she even considered that I could easily be a police officer. I pondered warning her against such activity, but did nothing, as she shortly was joined by friends, and the circumstances were just not right.
I imgine the young lady really doesn't even understand that what she did might get her a felony conviction. Probably never occurred to her. Most young people don't really understand the "war on drugs" and the determination of the government to turn a whole generation into criminals. Sadder still, she is probably totally uninvolved in the political process. She likely is not registered to vote; and it also has never occurred to her that she should be out working for change, if she does not like the current rules. She probably has never heard of the ACLU, the MPP or the Libertarian Party. (Haven't either? Look them up!)
We are struggling to get enough signatures to get our party back on the ballot in Utah for next year's election. And the party's natural consitutency -- those who do not like the current rules made by the "major parties" -- react with blank stares to the suggestion that they should be involved in making changes to the system. Please consider passing this on to someone you know who fits this discription, and ask them to think about protecting their own right to be free.
On a brighter note, I received an e-mail this past week from a former dancer and client, who I have not heard from in several years. She told me that she admires what I do, and that she is STILL an ACLU member! Yay! Once in a while, some good news.
Have a great day, and get a friend to sign our Libertarian Party Petition, available on my site under "organizing petition".
June 24, 2007 -- Jails too small? Today the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper reported that the Salt Lake County Jail has had to start releasing women prisoners becuase there is no room for them. They will begin releasing male prisoners shortly , for the same reason. The paper quotes Salt Lake City Prosecutor Sim Gill (unsuccessful candidate for Salt Lake District Attorney last year) as saying the County has not properly funded the jail, and that they must step up, provide more money, and find more room. Mr. Gill obviously wants more people in jail at greater taxpayer expense.
The County Mayor is quoted as saying ; "If the sheriff tells us that we're going to have to release violent offenders who should not be out in society, then I would support opening up more beds." Both men seem to have a misunderstanding of the type of people who are in their jail. There are some who are indeed dangerious, and are awaiting trial on serious felony offenses. Many, however, are booked on misdemeanors such as possession of marijuana or of drug paraphernailia. Others did not pay their traffic fines, and are found in contempt of court. Once again the "war on drugs" rears its ugly head. If people are put in jail for possession of drugs (for being victims of drug dealers), they overcrowd the system, and it begins to fall apart under the stress. The average citizen wants more people in jail for non-violent offenses, such as drug use; but they also want to be sure there is no new jail built in their community. They do not want to pay the price of the drug war; but they seem to support that war, without an understanding of the cost.
This is the end result, and it is just going to get worse, until our government comes up with a sensible drug policy . Ladies and gentlemen, get out your wallets and give until it hurts (more).
April 28, 2007 -- It has been an eventful week for those interested in the next election for Attorney General next year. First, the current Attorney General's campaign announced an upcoming fundraising event with a theme based on the current series of Pirate movies. Captain "Black Mark" Shurtleff was to conduct a "wench auction". I was looking forward to seeing how that would work. After Paul Rolly made fun of this on his blog, the event was called off; and it will be rescheduled in a different format later. What a shame! The sight of Republicans looking dumb and insensitive for me to poke fun at was sure enticing. Oh well, they will be up to something else soon. They are still attempting, of course, to "pirate" our individual rights, so at least they got that part of the time correct.
Then, on Thursday, "Black Mark" (I really like that nickname)went to Provo to lend his moral support to the vice President, who spoke at BYU's commencement. During his talk to a small pro-Cheney rally, he allegedly (according to the Salt Lake Tribune) compared Mayor Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake city, and (the devout Mormon) Senator Harry Reid to Tokyo Rose, the famous traitor who broadcast anti-American propaganda during the Second World War. He referred to Mayor Anderson as "Iraqi Rocky" and Senator Reid as "Hezbollah Harry", simply because they have criticized the invasion of Iraq.
We all know now that the invasion of Iraq was based on lies, thought there is still some dispute as to was doing the lying and why. a recent Utah poll showed that, for the first time, a majority of Utahans oppose the Iraq war effort. It is true that nobody really has the perfect solution to extricating us from this terrible mess; but there would be no doubt that a grave mistake was made in getting us into the mess. Opposing those who did this to our country should not be ridiculed like "Black Mark" did in his speech. It really is time to stand up to those who have used the "war on terrorism" as they have previously used the "war on Communism" and the "war on drugs"to take away our rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. And now even our right to free speech and our right to petition the government for a redress of grievances are under attack. It is so easy (and so outrageous) to claim that those who oppose the current government policy are aiding the enemy. More accurately, it is time to quote the old Pogo comic character who states: "We have met the enemy and it is us."
Ok people. MANY friends and associates have encouraged me to stay involved in the fight for freedom and to continue my campaign to oust our current Attorney General. Now is the time to give your support. Make a contribution. Get some Libertarian Party petitions signed. Spread the word to your friends that it is time to fight back.
Speaking of petitions. If you have been working on one, please get it back to me right away. If you have not, go to my Home page, print one out, and get it filled with signatures. We need to get the Libertarian Party back on the ballot right away; and we need your help.
March 20, 2007 -- Today Mark Shurtleff announced that he is running for one last term as Utah Attorney General; and that so far he knows of nobody running against him. Well, it is certainly my intent as of now to do so. In order to run, however, I do need early and substantial support from as many people as possible. Please see my previous blog entry for last week as to what kind of support I need. Please consider now sending me your contribution, and I will not bother you about making another one. And please start spreading the word. Tell your friends about me and my website, and ask them to take a look and consider some support. Together we can make a splash, and give the voters a real choice.
March 11, 2007 -- It has been a while since I added to my blog, and for those few of you who read it, I apologize. I have kept very busy with a civil rights trial in Iowa and an appeal and a summary judgment motion here in Utah. I did get interviewed for a story in the February-March issue of Salt Lake Magazine, which even had a photo. I think that issue will go off sale quite soon, so if you are interested, get it while you can. My "fame" is spreading.
This is the season where politics is heating up again. Candidates for President are jumping in or falling out, by the handful. It is time to consider my own political status as well. I have done no fundraising in a couple of months, but I intend to start up again soon. You can beat the rush by sending me a check or a Paypal contribution right now. See my Donations page for details. I do intend to run one more time for Attorney General of Utah, because it is necessary to keep the pressure on those who would cut back on our freedoms in the name of safety. Recently the FBI admitted that it has been misusing its powers under the Patriot Act, and has been spying on people illegally. The FBI director says he "takes responsibility", but he has neither fired anyone nor quit himself. I have a hard time understanding how public figures can "take responsibility" for unlawful acts without losing their jobs.
If you think it is about time we moved in the direction of more freedom and less oppression, now it the time to do something about it. Please consider the following steps right now. They are mostly very quick and easy.
1. Go to my Home page and print out a Libertarian Party ballot petition. Sign it, get some friends to sign it, and send it to me. We need over 2,000 signatures by the end of June to make sure we are on the ballot.
2. When you do your state income tax, check off a contribution for the Libertarian Party. It will not increase your tax.
3. Get some friends to register to vote. Instructions on this site under "Register to vote".
$. Send me a small contribution for my campaign. Unlike other campaigns, once you give, I will not hassle you about additional contributions. Any contribution up to $50 remains anonymous. Then get a friend or two to do the same.
See, that WAS easy. Please do what you can to help today. And please spread the word that the revolution is coming!
January 1, 2007 -- At the start of the new year, there is much to do in our fight to protect our freedoms. I am excited to work on building our party and getting ready for the 2008 election. Now would be a wonderful time to send a contribution to my campaign, so I can be ready to run an active campaign next year. See my Contributions page for details. In the meantime, please remember to check off the Libertarian Party on your Utah State Income Tax form, and help rebuild our treasury. If you are not a member of the party, and would like to receive the party newsletter, go the www.lputah.org and sign up. the cost is only $20 per year, and we need to build our membership base. Perhaps most importantly, we need all our friends and supporters to sign our Organizing Petitions and to get others to do the same. See the "Organizing Petitions" tab on my Home page, print it out, and get started. We need your help now.
Last week, I went to the local pharmacy to fill my prescription for allergy medication. Taking this medication makes it very much easier for me to breathe without sneezing and without a runny nose. I tell you this, because of a strange circumstance. While there, I asked the pharmacist about obtaining some over the counter decongestant, which I occasionally need as well. For the prescription medication, he had not required a photo ID. For the over the counter medication, he did need my driver license, and he needed to add my name, signature and address to a log he is required to keep, of people who buy this medication. The reason is the "war on drugs". Large quantities of this medication are needed in the manufacture of methamphetamines. And despite that fact that the amount I purchased would be of no use to a meth lab, I am now on a government watch list. Heaven help me if I need it too often.
No, I do not support the distribution of illegal drugs. Methamphetamine in particular is very dangerous, and destroys lives. But I also do not support the government keeping records of my purchases of a perfectly legal over the counter medication, to see if I use an amount that might be suspicious. I write about this today simply because it is yet another example of government efforts to spy on its citizens who are not suspected of any crime. This bothers me, and it is one of many reasons why I maintain this website, why I write this blog, and why I work to get the government to stop interfering with our privacy. If you agree, then please do something to help.
December 17, 2006 -- This is a very short blog entry today. The nation celebrated the 215th anniversary of the First Amendment last week. Please see my Articles page for a comment on the importance of this, from the first Amendment Center.
Please also see my last two blog entries for comments I feel are important; and keep an eye on my Events page for news of ongoing events.
Merry Christmas to all. Please check back here often in the new year, as there will be much happening in our campaign to bring freedom to Utah.
December 10, 2006 -- Two days after the Deseret Morning News announced its takeover by the Republican Party and the appointment of the Republican State Chair as its new editor, today's headline trumpeted the glories of Utah's current Attorney General, in its lead article. The article was accompanied by photos of Mr. Shurtleff "at a pro-war rally", and in his crusade against polygamy. According to the article, Shurtleff is not considered a "pure" Repbulican by many, and has irritated his own constituency by taking some unpopular positions -- including against Amendment 3 in 2004, and for "hate crimes" legislation. It is true that he is an interesting, and often surprising man. Before we all give in to hero worship, however, we must be aware of the realities.
The article starts by telling us of a recent "family council" called by the current Attorney General to help decide whether he would once again run in 2008. His family was decidedly against it; and he will most likely run anyway. So much for "family values". The ending of the article tells the real story -- that he would like to serve in the U.S. Senate once either of the elderly Republican incumbents leaves. And, of course, our current AG relishes the spotlight, so he will be well positioned for the opportunity when it comes.
As a former Young Republican State Treasurer myself, I never thought I would attend an anti-war rally. I was proud to do so, however, when Salt Lake city's Mayor called for one to greet President Bush this past summer. We all know now that the war in Iraq was based on lies, and continues to be supported by more lies. What kind of man addresses a "pro-war rally" when he knows those things? What kind of man invites former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to spoeak to a fund-raising dinner in light of Ashcoft's championing of the Patriot Act and torture? Mr. Ashcroft's "spy on your neighbors" program was the butt of many jokes, but is not really all that funny.
For the record, I agree that the leader of the FLDS church in southern Utah has abused his flock, and that he is a dangerously unbalanced man. Neverthless, prosecuting him for rape is both inappropriate and a dangerous misuse of the law. In his statements, the current Attorney General makes it clear that his distaste for one man is enough to make him bring the power of the State against a whole religious movement which, we must admit, is based on Joseph Smith's teachings.
While our present Attorney General received an award last year from the (gay) PAC, Equality Utah, he has not been a model of tolerance. Under his leadership, the Attorney General's office has filed "friend of the court" briefs in numerous legal actions seeking court approval of religious based morality laws. He is a proud soldier in the "war on drugs", which has criminalized a whole generation of young people; the "war on pornography", which seeks to tell citizens what they can read and watch; and the "war on terror", which is largely an excuse to expand government powers to spy on its citizens.
If anyone has read through all I have said today, you know where I stand; and hopefully you know what to do. Help us get the Libertarian Party back on the ballot; and help me get organized and financed to oppose our present Attorney General when he runs for re-election. There is much to do.
December 1, 2006 -- Today is the official start of the Libertarian Party of Utah Petition drive. We need to gather signatures of at least 2,000 registered voters in order to get our party back on the ballot for the 2008 elections. I hope that it will happen much faster than that, and I have decided that I will be the most successful person in obtaining those signatures. If you can lend a hand, I would sure appreciate your support. Please go the the "Register to Vote" tab on my Home Page, and then follow the link to Libertarian Petition. You can then download a copy of the Petition in PDF format and start getting signatures. those who sign must be registered voters. If they are not, have them register, by using the instructions on my Register to Vote page. when the petition is done (or when you are tired of working on it), please deliver or send the petition to:
W. Andrew McCullough
Attorney at Law
6885 S. State St. suite 200
Midvale, UT 84047
This is a great opportunity for those who want to help, but do not know what to do; and for those who might like to contribute, but are short on money. Getting your friends signed up is simple and easy; and it does not cost any more than a $.39 stamp. Questions? E-mail or call me; and pass this on to your friends. Let's start a groundswell.
Please also note that tax season is coming up fast. Please check off the Libertarian Party for a contribution on your State income tax form. The party remains eligible for check off money, and it does not increase your tax amount to do it.
Thanks for all you do; and have a happy holiday season.
November 10, 2006 -- I am very pleased that the "reign of terror" in Washington appears to be over. I truly hope that our new congressional leaders have more concern for individual rights and freedoms, and less interest in telling us how to live our lives. The other day I posted a note protesting the sponsoring by our local radio station of a campaign appearance by Shawn Hannity in Salt Lake City -- the voice of the "religious right" of the Republican Party. I was told by other posters to go to San Francisco and live near Nancy Pelosi. well, we will all be closer to Nancy, now that she is in line to be Speaker of the House; but I am not a Democrat, and not really a liberal. What makes me sad is the attitude of "ethnic cleansing" that seems to prevail in Utah, and other places in our country: "If you are not like us, go away". That attitude is destroying Iraq, where the Sunni's and Shiites each seem determined to rung the minority our of their area. It already destroyed Yugoslavia, where each ethnic or religious group formed their own country and forced our the minorities. Our country is great because we tolerate different politics, different religions, and different ethnicities. I surely hope that tolerance and freedom have come out ahead as a result of the recent elections.
Here in Utah, not much changed. Republicans stayed very strong, and our "senator for life" was routinely re-elected. My former law partner, Rob Latham, got about 3.5 percent of the vote for Salt Lake District Attorney, but our party did not get enough votes to remain on the ballot. I hope to be able to announce shortly that the Libertarian Party is circulating petitions to get back on the ballot for the next elections, in 2008. I am planning to run again then for Utah Attorney General, and to put enough time, effort and money into it to make a substantial difference. Please consider a donation now to my campaign (see Donations page) and/or to the Libertarian Party of Utah, www.lputah.org for the petition drive. It is time to bring the revolution of more personal freedom to Utah. With your help and support, we will do so.
October 21, 2006 -- I recently attended the national ACLU Membership Conference in Washington, DC. It was great fun and very interesting, of course. We listened to Justice Scalia of the Supreme Court defend his "originalist" view of constitutional rights; and heard from many people who are working to preserve our rights against those who would take them away to protect us (from who knows what). I am doing what I can to preserve our freedoms, both in politics and in the courtroom. If you are not yet involved, please do what you can. It is not too late. Please vote, and ask you r friends and family to vote. For those who are not registered, there is one more day to get registered, as Smith's and Dan's stores around the State, on Monday, October 23. You can also volunteer time to help get out the vote, (see www.moveon.org) and it is not too late to make a monetary contribution to one of many groups trying to help this country change its direction.
I have been reading the new book "State of Denial" by Bob Woodward. It is yet another chilling reminder that the country is now governed by those who would lie, cheat and deceive in order to get what they want. It really is time to do something to change this; and it is up to you.
Please keep an eye on this space for announcements after the election; but please do not wait until then to get involved. It is almost too late!
October 3, 2006 -- The big election is getting close, and nationally there is a real chance there will be a change of power in Washington next month. As a long time former Repbublican, it makes me sad to think that my old Party has caused such a mess; and that it is now imperative to replace them. Here in Utah, of course, not much is likely to change. Our (quite) senior Senator, who was elected by telling voters that two terms were enough for any man, is a shoo-in for his sixth term. Republicans, who some see as the de facto "party of God" will do well here as always.
A bright and interesting spot, however, is in the very close race for Salt Lake District Attorney. My former law partner, Rob Latham appears to have enough support to make the difference between the "major party candidates. More power to him. The others fuss that each is a "tougher prosecutor" than the other. I suggest this is really a debate over who can be more "efficiently oppressive" in their efforts to put people in the already overcrowded jails for such things as smoking pot. While I have never tried it, the idea of making it a crime punishable by jail time is totally ridiculous. Please consider getting out and helping Rob with his campaign to bring some common sense into this race, and to stop wasting taxpayer money with such nonsense. I have yard signs at my office. Obviously, he could use some extra money. Please get your friends registered to vote (the deadline is next Monday) and ask them to support Rob. And then let's have some real fun upsetting the "status quo".
Please stay tuned for some real activity in my own campaign for Utah Attorney General, right after the November elections.
September 23, 2006 -- With political season going strong, I am working with my former law partner, Rob Latham on his campign for Salt Lake District Attorney. See his website at www.roblatham.org. He has asked me to help distribute his yard signs. Please come by and get one at my office at 6885 S. State St. in Midvale. And please make sure your friends are registered to vote, and that know he is running. Let's make some noise on this one; and then we will be ready to make our own noise when this election is over.
September 4, 2006 -- Today is Labor Day, which is not only the unofficial start of fall, but also the traditional start of the campaign season. While I am not running for office this year, there is an important election this November; and I urge you all to get involved., My former partner, Rob Latham, is the Libertarian Party candidate for Salt Lake District Attorney. We also have some great candidates for other offices. Please help us build our party and retain ballot status for the even bigger election in 2008. See www.lputah.org for more information.
Lat week was a very exciting one to be in Utah. The President came to Utah to defend his foreign policy to the National Convention of the American Legion. While he was here, he added another $400,000 or so to Orrin Hatch's campaign chest, in a brief appearance at a fund raising lunch. Mr.. Hatch, by the way, campaigned against former Senator Frank Moss by saying two terms were enough for any person. He is now campaigning for his sixth term.
I joined with many of my fellow Bar members, and a number of friends, at a large and noisy anti-war and pro-freedom rally at the Salt Lake City Hall. The main speaker was Mayor Rocky Anderson. I will try and put a link to his speech up on my Articles Page shortly. Some say that Mayor Anderson should be a good host to the President when he is in town. Others say that the rising tide of opposition must be expressed as strongly as possible. Either way, we had a great time; and hopefully our message was heard by many.
Today, with my bills, I sent out a note to my clients asking them all to make sure that they, their employees and their friends were registered to vote; and that they did what they could to take back our country from those who would take away our civil liberties in the name of a little added safety. Last week I was pulled out of line at the Las Vegas Airport and groped by a TSA agent in a "random" effort to increase security. I can't help but wonder if hassling a middle aged lawyer who has never had any legal troubles makes anyone feel safer. The agent seemed amused when I suggested that this was insulting. If you don't see the amusement in having the government attack your civil liberties, now is the time to do something about it. I am already raising money for the 2008 campaign; and others also need your support. Let's give the "neocons" who are running our country into the ground a message this November, and in 2008 as well.
August 1, 2006 -- I am on vacation back east, and am trying out my new laptop. So far, it seems to work OK. I wanted to comment on a few thinhgs that have happened lately, and which affect our freedoms.
Last week a young girl in Salt Lake city was found dead, apparently at the hands of a neighbor. Some other neighbors were angry that not enough effort was made to search every house in the area, despite the fact that this would not have saved the little girl. The police had to explain to a bunch of upset parents that they could not go into people's houses without a warrant; and that probable cause is necessary to get one. It has been my experience that many police do not support this important constitutional right. Now we have an example where many others think that it is only there to protect criminals. I just want to remind everyone that it is times like these when hysterical people are likely to act first and think later; so it is times like these when our rights are most important. I hope you will agree, and will see the continued need to battle for our rights.
Last week also the Utah Supreme Court took a giant step backwards in the protection of our rights. this court has been very good over the years in using the Utah Cosntitution as a means to protect our citizens from government excesses. Now, all of a sudden, they have decided to go back 150 years and look at the constitution from the eyes of the Mormon pioneers who drafted it. Remember that this was a time when slavery was legal, and many of our modern constitutional protections were not solidly in place. The case involved nude dancing as expression. The Court majority (it was a 3 to 2 decision) foiunds the subject matter so distasteful that they threw out some of our most important protections to avoid protecting the dancers. the Utah constitution was written at a time when people were jailed or otherwise punished for simply expressing their opposition to the government. Once again, this is a dangerous tenency, which must be resisted.
For those who have not gotten involved in our fight for freedom, it is important that you do so now. Every day there are attempts to cut back on personal freedom, in the name of the war on terror, the war on drugs, or whatever other war is going on that day. If you let them do it now, it will be harder to do something about it in the future. Please help now.
July 4, 2006 -- Happy Independence Day to all. I am in my office today because I just got back from 3 days in Portland for the Libertarian Party National Convention. It certainly was an interesting experience. The Libertarian Party is a mixture of right-wingers who think the government should have no tax powers, and left wingers who are more concerned with social freedoms. The convention was an opportunity to meet other party members, and talk about what we want from our political system. It was also an opportunity to debate the direction the party is going. In the end, we voted to simplify our platform and remove a number of items which label us as out of the mainstream. I favored this. Some were very unhappy about it. Hopefully, the party will now have an opportunity to project an image that will attract more voters who are unhappy with the other parties. I certainly had fun. Portland is a nice city to visit. We will see if our work accomplished anything.
Well, at least I came home ready to work to change things in Utah. Whether we like it or not, there is an important election coming up soon. We Libertarians need to stay on the ballot by getting at least 2% of the statewide vote for one of our candidates. We need to register a lot of new voters, and we need to teach many people why it is important to vote to protect our freedoms. Lots of things to do. Get in touch with me or the Libertarian Party about volunteering some time to help. You will have fun, and we will do what we can to make the world a better place. And remember it is not too early to donate to my 2008 campaign.
Keep an eye on my Events page
May 29, 2006 -- Hope everyone had a good holiday weekend. I went out to Camp Floyd (west of Lehi) where Johnston's Army camped in 1858, when they came out to "watch the Mormons", for a Memorial Day ceremony and pot luck feast. Always a nice way to honor those who fought for our country. When I came back, I read in the newspaper that Utah prison officials, and the Parole Board, are unhappy with Utah's crazy "Drug Free Zone" law, which makes it a more serious offense to possess drugs near a school or church (try and find a place in Utah County that is not near a church). People are going to prison for long terms for simply walking or driving by a church with drugs; and police often wait until they pass by before they are arrested, to make it more serious. The prisons aren't big enough for all that crap, so maybe this silly law will change. If you agree that we put too many of our citizens in prison or jail for too many silly things, please join me in my campaign to bring some common sense to law enforcement. I am busy preparing for 2008, and I need support in order to make a difference. Please consider making a donation, volunteering to help, or simply getting all your friends registered to vote.
Please also not that my former law partner, Rob Latham is running for District Attorney in Salt Lake County this year (2006), and he also needs your support. If you love freedom, and think the wars on drugs and terrorism too often are used as an excuse for a war on our constitutional rights, get involved now. See Rob's website on my Links page.
Please also come by and say "Hi" at the Libertarian Party booth at Pride Day this weekend. See my Events page for details.
May 9, 2006 -- Life is exciting and hectic as usual. We recently held the Utah Libertarian Party Convention, and we nominated some great candidates for public office. Be sure to check with the Libertarian Party website, and get to know them. We need your support as we work to create a viable third alternative to those who support the are on drugs, the war on free speech and countless other wars which generally have the effect of restricting our Constitutional freedoms. We also held a very enjoyable ACLU annual dinner last week. thanks to those who came; and we missed those of you who did not make it. Look for a summer activity associated with my campaign, and also Rob Latham's campaign for District Attorney. the two other candidates for that office are not friends of freedom. There really is no "lesser evil", so the only real alternative is to stand up and be counted by voting for Rob. See his website and get involved. You might start by something as simple as asking your friends if they are registered to vote. Everyone should be registered, and it is easy to do. Forms are available on this site and from you County Clerk.
My campaign for Attorney general in 2008 is coming along fine. We are receiving contributions and pledges of support from many people. It is not too early to get involved by contributing and volunteering. We will start working in earnest right after this year's campaigns end in November. In the meantime, I will be attending the National Libertarian Convention in Portland this summer, to meet new people and get new ideas on how to be an effective campaigner. With as much preparation and support as we have, it will not be easy to write us off as just another fringe candidate, so let's take this seriously. Our freedoms really are at stake if we continue to elect those who react to every crisis or concern by building up government power.
Please take a look around my site at the things you can do to help, at the interesting articles and quotes I have accumulated, and at the links to people and organizations who are involved in defending freedom. We now have a sign up in our office that says "Not being able to do everything is no excuse for not doing everything you can." why not do what you can. You will feel better for it.
April 17, 2006 -- Well, I have been in the news a bit lately, in an article on Doctor John's in the (Salt Lake) City Weekly, and on the TV news with the effort of the City of Cottonwood Heights (!) to prosecute an escort agency client for doing business without a license. The City prosecutors for both Salt Lake City and Cottonwood Heights are running for District Attorney this year, and you might guess I am less than thrilled at the thought of either of them winning. Once again, please get involved in the political process, as it really does make a difference in the kind of commnity you live in.
The ACLU annual dinner and the Libertarian Party Convention are coming up in a couple of weeks (See Events page). We would love to have you come and celebrate the Bill of Rights with us at either event. The ACLU dinner is especially a fun occasion. Whatever you do,, please do SOMETHING to help us preserve your freedoms. There are so many who would take them away in the name of "safety" or in the name of "decency". Eternal vigilence truly is the price of liberty.
Please remember Rob Latham (Links page) who is running for Salt Lake District Attorney, and please make sure that you and all your friends are registered voters.
I reently received an e-mail from the current Utah Attorney General telling me he will not be holding a fund-raising event for Law Day this year, but offering to come and picket any event I may be holding. With the ACLU dinner and the Party Convention within a week of each other, I have not planned another event right away, But keep watching for an event in the next couple of months, perhaps in connection with Rob's campaign. We will keep wortking on preparing for 2008, and will make our presence felt. My fund raising has been going fairly well, and that is necessary in order to be heard. Now would be a good time for your own contribution.
See you at the events.
March 27, 2006 -- Political season for Utah is just starting up. Last week the "major" parties had their precinct meetings to elect delegates to their county and state conventions. The Libertarian Party will hold its State Convention on April 29 at 10:00 AM in the Salt Lake County Commission Chambers at 2001 South State St. Everyone is invited. This year we will hold our convention to a couple of hours, and will not hold an evening dinner. Many of us will, however, get together for lunch, so drop in and get to know us. The party will be contesting several of the major races including U.S. Senate and all three congressional seats. We also have candidates for most Salt Lake County offices. Perhaps most exciting to me as an attorney is the fact that we have candidates for Salt Lake District Attorney and Washington county Attorney. this shows increased strength and sophistication. Our candidate for Salt Lake DA is our party Chair, Rob Latham, who has a website at www.roblatham.org I hope you will drop by there and get to know him better. We will undoubtedly be doing some campaign events in the next few months, and I will put these events on my Events page. Please also check Rob's site for news, and also see our party website at www.lputah.org We should continue to have lots of fun while sticking it to the establishment.
None of this, of course, means I am taking a breather from my own plans to run for Attorney General in 2008. I continue to receive contributions from attorneys and other supporters, but certainly not as many as I need. I could use your help whenever you can give it. See my Contributions page for more information. and, of course, it is very important that the Libertarian Party receive enough votes this year to guarantee ballot access for the 2008 races. Please make you contribution to the Party on your State Income tax form, and ask your friends to do that as well. If you are not registered to vote, now is the time to get registered. See my Registration page for information on doing that. And please keep watching my Events page for information on campaign events, including a Law Day Activity in early May, most likely in conjunction with the event hosted by the current Attorney General. If you are not worried about your eroding rights, if you don't mind that so many of our citizens are in jail as a result of the war on drugs, and if you think the government should tell us what to watch and what to read, just have a nice day. If these things disturb you as they do me, help us fight back. We will have a lot of fun doing it, too.
March 11, 2006 -- Politics in Utah is warming up again. We are in the middle of candidate filing time, and it looks like there will be some interesting races in Utah this year. So far, not a lot of people have signed up as Libertarian candidates. Hopefully, that number will increase by the end of next week, when filing closes. I keep noticing that there are some local office holders up for re-election, who I am not that excited about. Some of these people may not have opponents, so I am in danger of losing the right to vote in their race. I have found myself thinking about running for a local office, just to make sure there is an actual election. but, I have so much to do to get ready for what I really want to do in 2008, that I will have to pass. I urge those of you who may read this before the 17th, and have any interest, to consider filing for office as a Libertarian, to help build up our party. You will give the people a real choice, and you will have fun.
I have been doing all kinds of fun things. My legal fight to keep Utah free never ends. Lat week the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals denied our appeal on nude dancing in Utah, but the Utah Supreme Court has had a similar appeal under advisement for two years, and anything is possible. Next week we go to court to stop the Tax Commission from levying a "sin tax" on businesses of which they morally disapprove. There is always so much to do.
Last week I gave a talk to a small group that gets together every couple of weeks to hear from "an interesting person". It is nice to be considered such, and at least a couple of them are encouraging my political plans. This week I was interviewed for a "profile" in the City Weekly newspaper, set to come out next Thursday. Be sure to get a copy, as I think the article on my efforts to fight for freedom should be interesting.
Please do remember to check off a contribution to the Libertarian Party on your tax return. That is the simplest and easiest way to help. It really is not too early to make a contribution to my campaign or buy something from my campaign store to show your support and help raise funds. So many people encourage my continued political efforts. If only half of them contribute or otherwise help with the effort, we will make a big splash.
February 11, 2006 -- Here in Salt Lake City, there is much nostalgia this week for the 2002 Olympics. The huge party we hosted transformed our quiet city into the center of the world for 17 days. Sigh! I even got contacted by the Los Angeles Times to help with a story on another side of the Salt Lake area; adult entertainment. After showing the reporter around to several clubs, the story never ran. But it was fun trying.
Anyway, there is so much else going on. One of my clients who sells adult videos in Salt Lake City had his stock confiscated by the police last week. There will be a big fight over whether the government really should be telling us what to view. I do not personally believe that the government needs to act as our parent in this way; and there really is nobody out there I trust to make those decisions for me. In the meantime, (see latest Articles on this site), Carl Rove has urged Republican candidates for office this year to keep up the effort to scare everyone into voting for more security and less freedom. It is a sad monument to Americans that this type of fear mongering has kept them in power for the last several years in the face of scandal and incompetence.
Today I received a note that an old friend who has previously run for office as a Libertarian has grown tired and discouraged, and won't be so involved in the future. After the 2004 election, I wanted to say I have done my part, I'm getting old, and I should also find something else to do with my time. So many people have expressed their admiration and support for what I do, however, that I most likely am not yet ready to retire from the fight. All we can do is our best, and it never seems to be enough. But if we don't do that, we should be ashamed. So, I am still working for the cause of freedom from oppression. And I am still asking you for your support. Let's continue to do what we can, and to have fun doing it.
January 18, 2006 -- Thanks to the editorial cartoonist for the Salt Lake Tribune who noted Ben Franklin's birthday today with a slightly different version of my campaign cornerstone quote from Mr. Franklin -- See top of my Home page. It is a quote that has popped up with increasing frequency lately, including the debate on the renewal of the Patriot Act, quoted by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. It is a statement we should all repeat once in a while, especially when the President says virtually anyhing is OK in our "war on terrorism." As folk singer Chuck Brodsky wrote (see Chuckbrodsky.com -- "Dangerous Times"):
Let us all agree
Let us not dissent
Let us not ask questions such as
Where our freedoms went
Let's have a look inside those pockets
Let's have alook inside that purse
Let's have a look inside that glove box
Or someplace maybe worse
And who was in your house
While you weren't home
And looked in your computer
And through everything you own?
What did they want to know?
Which websites did you visit?
What have you learned about them?
They want to know -- what is it?
Once again have a nice day.
January 15, 2006 -- Another interesting time over the last couple of weeks. It looks like we will shortly have a new Supreme Court Justice whose record does not favor individual rights. Though he hasn't answered many questions (what has he got to hide?), all the experts say his record tends to side with government power against the individual. What would we expect from someone who has always worked for the government, and who felt it necessary to emphasize his commitment to government power, in all his applications for government positions?
We also have been hearing more about the President's tendency to ignore any congressional restraints on his power, in the name of fighting the "war on terror" (or the "war on drugs", or the "war on pornography", or whatever war seems most important at a given moment).
I am only one little guy, trying my best to fight back when and where I can. Please join me in the never-ending, crucial, (and for right now increasingly desperate) battle to defend our freedoms.
The newspaper recently reported that western music and pro-democracy newspapers are increasingly being shut down in Iran. That's terrible! If only we didn't have a history of banning "offensive" music and speech here in America. See my December blogs for my review of censorship efforts here in the U.S. There is so much to do and so little time. Let's get to work and do what we can. And keep watching this space for news of the "war on freedom", and remember the words of Ben Franklin about freedom and safety which are at the top of my home page. The government increasingly is trying to force us into a choice that should never be made in a free society.
Know somebody not registered to vote? Start there, and get them registered. More soon.
January 1, 2006 -- Here it is, a new year, and an important midterm election year at that. This year I want to get serious about building up my own campaign and getting ready to take a serious message to the voters in 2008. The current Attorney General has already raised thousands of dollars for his next campaign, and anyone waiting until 2008 to start campaigning against him will be at a serious disadvantage. Watch this space, and my website at large, for notices of things we will be doing to get ready. In the meantime, make a conribution (Contribution page), buy something at my store (Campaign store page), order a copy of "Heart of the Beholder" dvd (link at bottom of Home page or on Links page), and be sure to check "Libertarian" for your free $1.00 contribution when you file your Utah Income Tax retrun. Please also keep checking my Articles page, which will keep you updated on the efforts of the government to take away your freedoms, and our efforts to stop them. A new year is an exciting time, as it can be so much better than the last one; and it is an empty canvass for us to paint as we want it to be. Let's get out there, drive them crazy, and have some fun doing it. Tell your friends, and let's spread the message of freedom.
December 18, 2005 -- Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays) to everyone reading this. I appreciate the continued words of support I receive from many people regarding my little campaign to bring freedom to Utah. As we get into the New Year, there is much to do. Please, if you haven't read my most recent blogs, especially that of December 3, do so now and I won't have to repeat all that stuff here. In order for me to mount a campaign in 2008, I need to build up my campaign treasury (hint); and the Libertarian Party must keep its ballot position by getting sufficient votes in certain races. See the Libertarian Party site -- there is a link at the top of my home page, and on my Links page, for more information. Please also stop by my Articles page for news on the war to maintain our liberties (this nation will always be involved in SOME kind of war -- "These are dangerous times").
This past week was both very important and very interesting. First, Senator McCain forced the President to accept a legal prohibition on torture. The President claimed that we don't do that, but fought tooth and nail to avoid a law against it. Why? (Good question). Second, the U.S. Senate refused to block a filibuster against renewing some of the worst parts of the "Patriot Act". The Article about it on my Articles page even quotes Senator Reid as using my favorite quote from Ben Franklin (near the top of my Home page) about those who prefer safety over liberty deserving neither. For those who don't know much about this attack on our freedoms, there are a number of websites that will explain it (try the ACLU site on my links page). Among the worst parts of this act is a provision which allows law enforcement to obtain personal records from banks, libraries, credit card companies, etc., without anyone telling you they have done it. Then there is the "sneak and peak" provision which allows law enforcement to search your house and not tell you they have even been there. If allowing the government to do these things makes you feel safer, then the current Attorney General would like to have you as a supporter. If this bothers you like it bothers me, then get involved and fight back. This Senate victory is only temporary. The Republicans (not all of them -- 4 Republican Senators and 18 Republican House members including Rob Bishop of Utah voted against the extension) are hard at work on a way to get what they want, and the President has said he will use this against Democrats in the next election, suggesting they are soft on terrorism. If you haven't seen the article quoting the President as saying the Constitution is just a "goddamned piece of paper", check it out under Articles.
Please stay tuned for news on the fight against government oppression and please consider helping out. I can't do much without support, but I am determined to do what I can. Let's all do what we can in 2006, and let them hear us.
December 15, 2005 -- This is a letter I sent this week to the current Attorney General about his employees who are also Deputy U. S. Attorrneys:
ATTORNEY AT LAW
6885 SOUTH STATE STREET
MIDVALE, UTAH 84047
December 13, 2005
Mark Shurtleff, Esq.
Utah Attorney General
Capitol Complex #E-320
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114
I have recently been working with one of your assistant attorneys general on a drug case. She is one of several, I believe, who are also special assistant U.S. Attorneys. She has sent me a proposed plea agreement in which my client must stipulate to a long prison sentence, and to forgo any right of appeal he may have of any sentencing. The alternative, she tells me, is possible life imprisonment. Obviously, my client must choose carefully, and may have to sign the agreement.
This joint effort with the U.S. Attorney's Office seems to me to be an end run around the Utah Legislature which has enacted indeterminate sentencing. The prosecutor working for your office has an option to go for a much stiffer federal sentence, and to throw in provisions such as a stipulation to the amount of the sentence, and a waiver of all appeal rights. I recently attacked one of those agreements in the Tenth Circuit, without success.
I have often said that, upon my inauguration, this working agreement with the U.S. Attorney=s Office will cease immediately. I ask you to consider terminating the agreement now, and depriving me of ammunition for my campaign. It is a stinking, rotten agreement, and it clearly defies the intention of the Legislature to allow a Judge and the Board of Pardons to determine cases on individual merit.
You will, of course, shortly see a copy of this letter on my website blog.
W. Andrew McCullough
December 3, 2005 -- The holidays are upon us, and our thoughts are turned to the many activities of the season. I wish all who read this Happy Holidays (Merry Christmas) and a great New Year. It used to be that this time of year meant a real slowdown of legal work (except for divorces which go up at this time of year). That hasn't happened over the last few years, and there is much to do. Congress stays busy discussing changes in the Patriot Act, and preparing for hearings right after the New Year on our newest Supreme Court nominee. Many of us worry that Judge Alito will not be friendly to individual rights despite his repeated claims that he can put personal feelings aside on such issues. His rulings as an appeals court judge have not been reassuring, as he has often disagreed with fellow judges on the limits of State power. We continue to live in interesting (and dangerous) times; and it is imperative that we continue to be on our guard to protect our hard won rights.
I am currently reading a book on the history of free speech. The other night, I came across a mot interesting story. Up until about 1800, England had a law against "Seditious Libel". This crime was defined as any public or written statement which tended to lessen the affection of the people towards their government! Those convicted of this crime were placed in a "pillory" (a locking device to hold people for punishment) in a public square, and people were encouraged to throw garbage at them. It seems that under such a law, I might spend a lot of time having things thrown at me. Thankfully, our own founding fathers determined that the right to express grievances against our government should be protected in our Bill of Rights.
I continue to hope that those interested enough to read this blog will help out in my little campaign to support freedoms right here in Utah. One thing that would be easy to do is to find the new link to "Heart of the Beholder" on my Links page (or at the bottom of my Home page) and order a copy of this fascinating independent film telling the story of a video store run out of business by those determined to censor (More details can be found in my blog from June 7 of this year, but the link has changed). This would make a great gift, and a small part of the purchase price will go to support my campaign. The fight against censorship continues to be very important, as those who censor will appeal to morality and decency in their attempts to stop messages with which they disagree. Those who work to increase government power at the expense of the indivividual are mostly decent people who are trying to do "the right thing" as they see it. The problem comes when they claim to be the ones who know what is right and good for us and to discount our contrary point of view.
Please also consider the simple act of checking off a $1.00 contribution for the Libertarian Party on your 2005 Utah State Income Tax form this year. Our party relies heavily on this for our operating expenses, and it is so quick and easy! Please note that my friends in the Personal Choice Party have decided not to accept such contributions, and will return any money received to the State treasury.
As we go into the new year, I continue to work to put together a campaign, and to raise money. Please consider a small contribution and I promise it will be used carefully to support your individual rights.
November 11, 2005 -- This morning I listened to the President defend his record on foreign policy during an hour long speech to a veterans group in Pennsylvania, to mark Veteran's Day. He accused hie detractors of trying to "rewrite history" and distort the reasons for going to war in Iraq. Once again, it seems so simple to me. He and his government officials told us they were ABSOLUTELY SURE that Iraq had weapons of mass destructions and that there was NO CHOICE but to attack, as he WOULD NOT DISARM. He still refers to Iraq's refusal to disarm as the reason for going to war, when there WERE NO SUCH ARMS and DISARMING WAS THEREFORE IMPOSSIBLE. Who is trying to fool who here, and why does "the big lie" continue to work for so many people?
Last night I went to a disturbing movie called "Good Night and Good Luck" about the feud between Edward Morrow of CBS TV and Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was the master of the "big lie". It was disturbing because our government is still trying to use an external threat (only the enemy's name has changed) to manipulate the people and to stay in power. The fact that the current Utah Attorney General invited former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, one of the worst of the manipulators, out to Utah this year to speak at his fundraiser shows the way he thinks. If you value your freedoms, and are tired of the same old lies told to keep you in line, then it is time to get involved in working for change. Help me out, and together we will make a lot of noise.
The fact that I disagree with the President does not mean I am not a patriot. I disagree because I think we are making some big mistakes. The President, for instance, says we do not torture prisoners. But he threatens to veto a bill in congress outlawing such torture, because it limits our options. Senator Frist is angry that somebody is talking about secret prisons where unlawful activity is likely to be going on; and he is not so angry at that unlawful activity. shame on them, and shame on us if we let them keep doing this.
Happy Veteran's Day. Fly the flag and fight to retain your freedom
October 31, 2005 -- Well, here we are on Halloween with something to be really scared about. The President today nominated a very conservative Appeals Court Judge from the Third Circuit to the Supreme Court. Judge Alito is often compared with Justice Scalia, only one of two Supreme Court Justices who do not think exotic dancing is a form of speech with First amendment protections. This is the judge that many people also hope will provide the deciding vote to once again make abortion a crime, and go back to telling us what we cannot do in the privacy of our homes. I think it is a disaster from a President who deals them out fairly often. When I expressed this today to some attorney "friends", here is one reply I received: "I think this is a result, in part, of all those fucking Libertarians who don't choose a side and therefore split the vote." Well, I don't see it that way. If the Democrats did a good job of protecting our freedoms, I would be one, but they don't. How many of them voted against the Patriot Act, or voted against funding the invasion of Iraq? Almost none. In Utah, they opposed our efforts to end civil forfeiture, and they continue to support the insane war on drugs.
Anyway, another friend, another Democrat, sent me a note today wondering if there is anything we can do about the way the religious right is ruining our country. My answer to her is whatever we do may not be enough, but we must all do what we can. I continue to do what I can, and ask that those of you who read this consider doing what you can. Let's get involved and protect our freedoms the best we can. At least we can look at ourselves in the mirror and say we tried.
Today I also read a very interesting article in Esquire Magazine about the campaign of the Religious Right to teach "intelligent design" in our schools, and to replace science with religion. If you are not aware of this movement, find out more about it, and once again do what you can. Another fright, and unfortunatley tomorrow it will NOT all be over.
October 30, 2005 -- We are certainly living in interesting times. First, an update on my own run-in with the Patriot Act. It appears all my bank accounts are once again functioning, but it took several days and repeated contacts with my banks to get everything cleared up. It was quite an eye-opening experience to know that my bank might at any time decide that my transactions (all in accord with Utah Bar rules for attorneys) were "suspicious", after being an attorney for 31 years. My friends in the ACLU tell me that while I am not alone in this, it usually happens to people with Arab sounding names. Welcome to another period of "dangerous times" when the right of the individual to be left alone by the government are sacrificed in an effort to increase security (See statement of Ben Franklin on my home page).
The President's pick for the Supreme Court pulled out, after failing to convince almost anybody of her qualifications. The strongest opposition seems to have come from the right wing, who wanted someone who would be clearly committed to overruling Roe v. Wade (the right to an abortion as part of the inherent right to privacy). If the President gives in to those demands, hopefully he will create an even bigger storm from those who do not want the government to have the power to interere with such initmate decisions. In the meantime, one of the President's top aides was indicted for "throwing sand in the face" of a Federal prosecutor who was appointed by congress to find out if government officials had illegally disclosed the identity of an undercover CIA agent, in an effort to punish her husband. And this week there is additional news of a Federal anti-porn "war". The various "wars" declared by our government, like the "war on terrorism", the "war on drugs", the "war on pornography" and so many previous "wars", rack up many innocent victims, including free speech and the right to privacy. If you agree with me that it is time to be really concerned about what our government is doing TO US, please join my little fight to preserve freedom. We can use all the help we can get. If you don't yet see the danger, you will, hopefully before it is too late.
October 19, 2005 -- Today I received a shock in the mail. The bank in which I have my general office account announced it was closing my account. No reason was stated. I promptly went down to their office and was told that it appeared to them that there was a pattern of "suspicious activity" that has been reported to the government pursuant to money laundering and or "Patriot" act. The "Suspicious" activity was the regular transfer of money from my trust account to my general account for fees, as earned (and as required by the Utah Bar); and then the further transfer of some of that money to my own personal account. When it was explained to them (in not very polite language), they reversed themselves. I will still be looking for a new bank soon. They say they tried to call my office before taking this action; but we have 24 hour voice mail, and two good secretaries who DO take messages. I have to admit, I was both very angry and more than a bit plain scared that my government has my bank spying on me like this. My secretary says that now that we know the government is watching my account, it is a perfect time to make our contribution to the Marijuana Policy Project. I think she is right (and maybe the ACLU, etc.).
Speaking of the MPP, I received an e-mail today from them reporting that a medical marijuana patient in a Canadian hospital (there to avoid U.S. restriction on it) was recently taken from his hospital bed and driven to the U.S. border to return him for prosecution for growing his own medicine. The efforts of our government to watch us all, and to see that we behave "properly" have never hit home to me as much as they did today. If you haven't heard from them yet, chances are that you will.
Have a nice day.
October 8, 2005 -- Lots has happened lately. The President has nominated a second Supreme Court Justice, and it seems nobody, either right or left, thinks she is particularly qualified. Her main qualification appears to be "loyalty", something that our President deeply appreciates. Whether that means that she will do what she is told remains to be seen. But it does appear that the Court will continue their drift towards honoring government power at the expense of individual rights. That reinforces once again what I have been saying here -- that Utah needs a new Attorney general who will fight for the rights of the people instead of for more government power.
Keep you eye here, and on my Articles and Events pages in particular, for news of what we are doing to keep up the fight. And it is not too early to volunteer to help or to send in a donation. I am way ahead of previous attempts to raise money, and this time we will make a lot of noise!
September 23, 2005 -- Today I had a court hearing in Federal Court where a client was accused with possessing drugs with intent to distribute. Federal sentences are much longer than State, so it is not unusual for a State Prosecutor, who has been also deputized as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, to bring charges in Federal Court to put pressure on the Defendant (for a number of reasons). The Court decided to hold my client pending trial because he apparently is using drugs (for his own good?)
In the hallway, I approached the prosecutor, (who actually works for the Utah Attorney General) and told her I though it was unfair for my client to be detained for his USE of the drug. Once again this seems so simple to me. If there is any legitimate reason to arrest a pusher, it is because they hurt other people by making them victims. WHY then do we ARREST THE VICTIM? She looked at me like I was crazy, and said something to the effect that it was more complicated than that and I didn't really understand. In this, she is no doubt right. I have been an attorney for 31 years, and I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY THEY ARREST THE VICTIMS! DO YOU?
This drug war has got to go! And THE FIRST THING I will do when I am elected Attorney General of Utah is to eliminate the program where Assistant Utah Attorneys General are made Assistant U.S. Attorneys so they can put people in jail longer. The Utah legislature does not like drug users, but their penalties have at least SOME semblance of reason. Federal penalties have no relationship to reason at all! The Utah Attorney General should live with Utah penalties, at the very least; and he should be trying to replace prison with treatment! Did you read the recent story in the newspaper that our state prison population will soon have to release 200 inmates early because there is no room for them? I have some ideas about how that can be avoided -- don't arrest the victims!
If you agree with me, do something to help!! I am trying to bring some reason to our legal system, and I can't do it alone. See the rest of my site for ways to help out, and please do it soon. Look back on my blogs to see how hard our current Attorney General is working to raise money to stay in office. And then help me tell him to go do something else!
JUST A NOTE IN PASSING -- If you have not read my BLOG for June 7, please go back and do that and order the movie about free speech. I get a small slice of that money for my campaign, and it is so painless.
September 4, 2005 -- Last week was a bad one. Let's hope that this one is much better. To start with, all of our hearts go out to the victims of the hurricane in the gulf coast region. I spent a week in New Orleans this summer, much of it in the Convention Center recently featured so often on televiswion; and I am so sad for that city and others nearby. My two secretaries made it an office project to donate to hurricane relief, and I encourage you to do so as well.
It was also a terrible week in Iraq, with the stampede that killed almost 1,000 people at a religious parade. My thoughts and prayers are also with those in that country who continue to suffer from the ongoing war.
Last night I got a call at 2:00 AM to tell me that the Chief Justice had just passed away. Boy, that certainly heats up the domestic political scene as well. The President wants to remake the Supreme Court in an effort to rein in civil liberties and advance his agenda of a more religiously oriented society. As someone who supports individual freedom (and is also an active church goer), and believes that our Consitituion protects us from government interference in our lives, I am more nervous all the time.
All we can do is our best. Let's all donate to help those less fortunate, and then please consider donating to help protect our freedoms. Last week I was greeted in court by a prosecuting attorney who told me his donation check was in the mail towards my campaign. And it was! It will take a lot of such small donations, however, to match one $1,500 donation to Mark Shurtleff's ongoing campaign (see previous blog entry). Everywhere I go, people stop me and encourage me to keep up the fight. As of now, I intend to do so. But it would be so much more effective if I had active support, even at this early date. Give it some though, and tell your friends to spread the word. In the immortal words of the Civil rights Movement from the 1960's: "FREEDOM NOW!"
August, 2005 -- I just returned from a nice vacation in New York, and am scrambling to catch up on work which piled up while I was away. One of the items I received in the mail was a contribution request from our current Attorney General. It seems he is sponsoring a day of "trap, skeet and target shooting" at the Browning arms HQ in Morgan. The suggested contributions run from $1,500 to $10,000 for the day; and checks should be made out simply to Mark Shurtleff. No indication accompanies the invitation as to exactly what the funds will be used for.
I want to remind everyone here that I like Mark as a person and always enjoy our time together (debates). But it honestly bothers me that it is so common for a high ranking State official to raise LARGE sums of money, without restriction, using his office as a launching pad. Assuming that this money is for his reelection campaign, it is still a long way off, and potential challengers will be at a substantial disadvantage in raising money if they wait until a year or so before the election. Of course, we really don't know if this is campaign money at all, as nothing in the invitation confirms that.
Anyway, this example of "Utah politics as usual" bothers me enough to mention it here. I do not begrudge Mr.. Shurtleff his opportunity to raise campaign funds, though I do think he should be clear that this is a campaign event. I assume that I received this invitation because I am a registered lobbyist with the Utah Legislature, and that other lobbyists for various special interests also received it. Is there a hint here that access to government officials can be easily purchased in Utah? If that is the message being sent, it is not one that I am terribly comfortable with.
I have been approached by many people over the last few months and encouraged to keep up my own little campaign to change the way things are done in Utah; and so far it is my intention to do so. Several people have indicated a willingness to support my efforts with contributions (though none have suggested amounts near $10,000). Not so many have actually made those contributions. If you are one of those who are considering making that kind of commitment, please remember how far ahead Mr. Shurtleff already is at this early date, and make your contribution now. See my Contributions page for details.
And if you have not yet read my blog for June 7, and purchased the DVD I mentioned at that time, that is a particularly easy way to start getting involved.
Thanks for staying tuned.
July 23, 2005 -- Greetings from New Orleans where I am attending the ACLU National Convention. It has been a great expereince as usual, learning a lot and meeting some great people. Bourbon Street is quite a fun place; and the nearby streets have many art galleries and neat entertainment places as well. We have heard the former President of Ireland talk about International freedoms; the Catholic Nun who wrote "Dead Men Walking" talk about her campaign against the death penalty; and some good discussions on thing such as Church-state relations and the efforts to both strengthen and cut back on the Patriot Act. It has certainly made me more determined to do what little I can do to help make the world a little more free, and continue the fight against those who would tell us what to do, how to think, and what we can read and view.
Just before I left Utah, I went to court and was called up to the bench afterwards buy the judge who just wanted to tell me he had voted for me last year, and to keep up the good work. Everywhere I go, I am encouraged to believe that I can really help affect the debate on legal issues if I can get organized and get my messae out. I certianly intend to keep trying, and I count on your help in doing so. More when I get back.
July 14, 2005 -- I have been getting a number of comments on my blog, pretty positive. Thanks to those who tune in from time to time to catch my view of the world. For those who do not keep up regularly, please do go back to my blog of June 7, and consider following up on my invitation there.
This week's big political news is that Karl Rove, the President's political advisor and Deputy Chief of staff is the one who exposed Joseph Wilson's wife as a CIA agent, apparently as punishment for her husband publicly disagreeing with the President on Iraq's WMD program. The President has promised to fire those responsible, but apparently will not do so. Republicans are saying that if they can just wait until the President picks his new Supreme Court Justice, this will all fade awy. What bothers me most is not whether he broke the law in naming Mrs. Wilson, but the fact that he has sat there quietly for two years and watched the government spend millions of dollars trying to find the leaker; while the Presdient has said there was no chance he was involved. Lying apparently is not a big vice in the White House, so long as those who lie go to church on Sunday. That really offends me. As a Libertarian, I think jail is overrated as a remedy for wrong doing; but this guy really needs to be fired. If you agree, see my link to moveon.org on my links page, and sign their petition to get him fired.
I also continue to get positive comments on my own continued political involvement. And I ask myself : If I don't give the voters a real choice on how the government's legal affaits should be run, who will? So far, I don't know, so I am working away to make a real difference next time around. If you agree with me, please tell your friends, and stay in contact. Together, we may just surprise some people.
Next week I will be in New Orleans for the ACLU convention. I will try and find a computer there to write about my adventures. It should be interesting.
July 7, 2005 -- The following is a letter I sent today to Doug Wright at KSL in reply to comments he made ins support of current nationalk policy.
This morning you quoted part of an editorial from the Deseret News, and then added your own comments. The combined thrust was that the bombings in London should unite us all to be resoluste in the "war on terrorism", and spectifically in our support for the war in Iraq. Many intelligent people think the war in Iraq is the wrong war, for the wrong reason, at the wrong time. Thus, supporting that particular policy will not defeat the real enemy; and may be counterproductive, as we put our resources in the wrong place. The comment that Spain was wrong to withdraw its troops from Irag after a similar episode misses the point: that putting the troops there in the first place was a bad idea which did nothing to make the world a safer place. We all support government efforts to make our country safe -- provided that those efforts make sense and are properly focused. If the policy is wrong, then bombings in London do not make it right. Now we wait for the next stupid government move, which will probably be something like a statement from the President that the bombings show that we need to strengthen the "Patriot Act" to make it easier for the government to spy on us.
W. Andrew McCullough
2004 Libertarian Candidate for Utah Attorney General
July 2, 2005 -- Yesterday was another very interesting one. The retirement announcement by Justice O'Connor will set off a major power struggle. the President has said he wants to appoint another Justice like Scalia and Thomas -- those who would return us to the stone age and allow the State to tell us what to do in the name of morality. This needs to be resisted, and hopefully it will wake up many who are doing nothing to protect their rights. Consider joining the ACLU or getting involved with www.moveon.org to help in the struggle. and don't forget to support my little efforts to bring sanity to the legals system of Utah. Look around the site for ideas on how to help. I continue to get many words of encouragement about running another time for Attorney general, and it is now my intention to do so. My opponent is raising money already, and I will increase my efforts to do likewise, and to run a serious campaign for this office in 2008.
Yesterday I was interviewed for an hour on KRCL Radio Radioactive program about mandatory seat belt laws. I expressed concern that police will use this as another tool to attempt to search your car fro drugs or whatever it is that they are looking for these days. I understand that is archived on their website if you are interested. Anyway, the events of the last couple of days remind us that we have so much to do to protect our freedoms. Please get involved and do what you can.
June 11, 2005 -- An eventful week. For those who may be reading this but have not read my blog for June 7, please do so first.
Anyway, this week I became one of several plaintiffs, including the ACLU of Utah, two bookstores, a couple of internet providers, and others, who filed suit in Federal Court against the Utah Attorney General, who has been told by the legislature to set up a list of websites which are contain material "harmful to minors", so those deathly afraid of being offended might ask the State to block them. For more information on this lawsuit, see my Articles page. I am impressed that the ACLU has brought in two of the experts on internet censorship to serve as counsel in this matter; and I am certainly proud to be involved in the effort. I will keep you posted on how things go.
Last night I hosted my 2005 summer edition "First Amendment Tour" of Gentlemen's Clubs in Salt Lake City. We had a nice group (though not as large as I had hoped) and a fun evening. We had originally intended to start the tour at the City's only downtown Gentlemen's Club, the Crazy Goat, to participate in their celebration of their recent Court victory which allows them to stay open. They had plumbing problems, and had to postpone their party. Keep your eye on my Events page for an announcement of the Crazy Goat victory party; and also for a fall version of our famous First Amendment Tour, probably in September. In the meantime, please continue to fight for our freedoms. In the present atmosphere, it requires a constant effort. In the words of John Dickinson in the movie "1776", "these are dangerous times."
June 7, 2005 -- It has been a long day, and it has been a disturbing one. On Monday, the Supreme Court allowed the Feds to arrest medical marijuana smokers, even though they have the State law on their side. My sister died of cancer 2 years ago, and, for the months before her death, she used marijuana to help her eat, when she could not eat any other way. People who supplied it to her risked jail, as did she for using it. Tomorrow I will pay my dues to the Marijuana Policy Project which is fighting these unjust laws, and I urge you to do likewise. There is now a link to the MPP on this site. Please consider using it.
I also spent the evening watching a brand new and very disturbing movie on DVD. It never was in theatres because it apparently is too controversial, and had to be made by a small independent filmmaker who has had a terrible time distributing it. It is the true story of a family in St. Louis ruined by those who preach censorship, and who enlisted a corrupt prosecutor to go after them for renting the wrong movies in their video stores. It would seem far fetched if it wasn't so close to what happened here in Utah just a few years ago when Movie Buffs was ruined by a long prosecution which failed in court but forced them into bankruptcy. Everyone needs to see this movie, and right now it is only available by internet. PLEASE SEE MY LINK TO "HEART OF THE BEHOLDER" AND BUY THIS MOVIE. Then tell your friends and ask them to get one. It will help my campaign for freedom if you buy it through my link. Please do.
Today I am reminded why I continue to fight for freedom, because the fight needs to be fought every day by all of us. Please help. Good night.
May 21, 2005 -- For some time, I have been watching a very interesting project unfold. A few years ago, a small chain of video storesin Missouri was harassed to the point of closure by religious zealots, because of disapproval of some of the videos rented. Since I have seen similar things happen right here in Utah, I became interested in the independent production of a film about the harassment. The film is now finished and for sale. It is entitled "Heart of the Beholder", and is available through www.customflix.com A link directly to the film has been added to my Links page; and if the film is ordered through the link, my campaign receives 10% of the proceeds. I urge you to consider purchasing this important film (on DVD) and then spreading the message to your friends. Censorship is a terrible thing, and we must fight it wherever it occurs. Here is the opportunity to fight censorship, help my campaign and see a great film, all very easily and inexpensively. Then please let me know how you liked it. I may post some of the reviews here in the blog. Thanks again for "tuning in" and showing interest in my fight to preserve freedom.
May 14, 2005 -- Just some quick notes as I get ready to leave for a week in New York. Last Saturday I was part of a panel discussion at the annual Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership program (HOBY) which teaches High School students more about our system of government, and other skills important to become leaders. I represented the ACLU in a discussion of rights and responsibilities. As always, it was great fun and very interesting. I received a thank-you message that I am someone who can be counted on to open minds and get the kids thinking about new things. I certainly hope so.
Last week I also received a thank-you note from a client (yes, we won) who said he was proud to have had the opportunity to know and work with someone who is dedicated to keeping our country free.
And on Thursday, I ran into an old attorney friend who said: "I keep voting for you, and you keep losing." I told Him I am leaning towards one more try, only if I can get some more substantial financial support; and that I am starting early and collecting money right now. He said he would send some right away. Once again, I hope so. Just think of all the consternation I could cause if I had the funding to really be heard. We know the Democrats are likely to field a weak candidate without too much of a chance to get elected. why not make it a race between the oppressive policies of bush, Ashcroft and Shurtleff on one hand, and the policies of freedom on the other. give that some thought, and then decide to help out as you can. I just put a new article up from the editor of National Review magazine, once again making the point that the drug war is a disaster. with company like that, it is hard to pin me as a "liberal", so let's take advantage of what we have, and really drive them crazy!
May 4, 2005 -- Tonight our present Attorney General held his annual $150/plate fund-raising dinner with special guest John Ashcroft. Since Mr. Shurtleff has obviously not stopped campaigning, I decided that I should not do so either. My campaign (5 of us) joined a larger number of protesters from Planned Parenthood outside the Wells Fargo building where the dinner was held, with Libertarian Party signs and a cute little flyer. The flyer had the lyrics of a John McCutcheon song: "Ashcroft's Army", which I thought both appropriate for the occasion and light-hearted enough not to upset anybody. I was surprised and disappointed that many of the Republicans who came by refused to take one, and showed no sense of humor whatsoever. Among those who did take one was Senator Hatch, who certainly can be personable enough. Shortly after we started our litttle demonstration, we were joined by two security officers from Wells Fargo who wanted to see our permit (which I showed them) and our ID, which I did not, as we were on a public sidewalk. They seemed quite anxious to cause trouble, but at a loss as to how or why.
Three of us got together and even sang our song, upon which we received several positive comments, though I'm sure it was terrible. BTW, I do have a link to John's website on my Links page if you want to see the words and possibly order the CD (It's kinda good). After hanging out a little over an hour, the five of us adjourned to Mo's Grill on west Temple for pizza, which I thought was pretty good. It was one of the nicest nights we have had weatherwise so far this spring, and I have to say we had a pretty good time.
While the whole thing was a bit of a spoof on Mr. Shurtleff''s $150/plate dinner, we really are serious about starting a warchest of our own with small donations. The suggested donation for this even was $20; and it is not too late to send yours in. See Donations page. If we wait another three years to get our next statewide campaign started, we are going to be three years behind the Republicans. If you are interested enough in what I am doing to read this blog, please consider being interested enough to send in a contribution. Those humorless people I met tonight reminded me yet again who is in charge here; and we need to do our best to change that. More soon.
April 24, 2005 -- The following is a reply I sent today to Dr. Ken Larsen, the head of Utah's Personal Choice Party, in respsonse to an invitation to consider running as the party's Attorney General candidate in 2008.
"Andrew McCullough" wrote:
Thanks for the thoughts and the invitation. I had intended to "retire" as a candidate last year, but when it was all over, I felt so much like I needed to stay involved. Ideally, we find a younger guy with the same ideas and fire, but I'm not sure that's possible. So, my website is still up, and I actually am still receiving a trickle of campaign contributions. Note especially my Law Day activity on May 4 in conjunction with John Ashcroft coming to campaign for Shurtleff. One thing I note from this is that it is NOT too early to work on the 2008 election. You and your friends are certainly invited. At this point, I see no reason to be anything but a Libertarian. I realize that there is much to be done to make the Party a real force, and I'm not sure it can be done. But the Party has donated money to my past campaigns, as have some of their members. I understand your reluctance to take State money, but as long as you don't, and as long as the party has no funds to help out a candidate, I will be glad for your moral support, but I would have to have more.
The County Attorney positions are up next year, 2006. I have suggested to Rob, my associate that he consider running in Sal Lake, but I think he has other things he needs to attend to. I am a resident of Utah County, but in Lehi, right on the border. Since I moved my office to Midvale in 2002, I have lost toucch with most Utah County attorneys. I did run as the ONLY alternative to Kay Bryson in 2002 and got just over 11% of the vote. I did not campaign at all becuase my sister was very sick at that time (and passed away 3 days before election day). If I still had contacts in Utah County and had time to campaign, that would have been more fun. but I don't intend to do that again, because I no longer have any base in Utah County.
My office has, in the last year, done legal work for the Green Party and the Libertarian Party, as well as a little donated work for you guys. I am thrilled to see the smaller parties working together, and am glad for my contacts. While I am not always completely comfortable being a Libertarian, I have no current desire to migrate. I do. however, look forward to working with you and the Greens and anyone else who would like to bring sensible change to our government, and especially our justice system.
"Dr. Ken Larsen" wrote:
I was writing the below to one of our candidates when I thought of you. I think the evidence below should be of interest to you. You have done well as a Libertarian. Now you can step up to a larger platform. I tell people the Personal Choice Party is libertarianism in a libertarian package. In my opinion, your personal platform is the embodiment of Personal Choice. Also, when the Tom Green case makes the Supremes and you get all that media, it will look even better if you are politically affiliated with the founder of the organization in whose name you wrote that excellent Amicus. In case you wondered, I'm seriously trying to recruit you as the PCP candidate. The numbers below should help you decide.
Although our party constitution forbids us from receiving tax checkoff funds, it doesn't mean we can't crow about the results. As of April 21, the totals show we are definitely THE third party of Utah:
Party Amount Percentage Odds
Republican $49,624 53.85% 1 in 2
Democrat $27,738 29.54% 1 in 3
Personal Choice $12,600 13.42% 1 in 7
Libertarian $1,474 1.57% 1 in 64
Green $1,410 1.50% 1 in 67
Constitution $1,052 1.12% 1 in 89
We are about ten times as popular among Utah taxpayer checkoffers as the other three "thirds". We have broken the barrier of insignificance and become a serious political force in Utah. Green, Constitution, and even Libertarian, candidates will be more successful if they take their campaigns to the Personal Choice ballot. Our party is tolerant enough to include them all, as long as they are willing to call their philosophy "Personal Choice". Serious candidates who care more about principles than power will have a louder voice on our ballot. We need to open our arms and recruit them all.
Good news, eh? Okay, Andy, let's make things happen and prepare Utah for an amazing 2008 campaign year. How would you like to walk away with 20 or 30 percent of the vote, forcing the media to notice you? As a Personalchoicer, you might give the Democrat a run for second place. I think, politically, we can be very good for each other. Whatever you choose, I wish you the best. Who knows? Maybe in May of 2008 you will share the speaker's podium with Marilyn Chambers. heh heh.
April 23, 2005 -- Lots going on lately. This week KSL radio hosted a big attack on "pornography" (I put it in quotes because I shudder to think of all the things they would include under this title). This is part of a new movement to convince the world, and ultimately the courts, that viewing images that they consider distasteful is not a legitimate free speech issue. Instead, it is a spreading "disease" which creates an addiction so powerful some have said it is worse than heroin. If that is the case, it becomes a public health issue, and it can be fought on the same basis that other diseases are fought. Worse yet, is the possibility that they will try and criminalize simple possession, as they do with drugs (the Supreme Court has previously ruled this unconstitutional). It makes no sense to put people in jail for drug usage, but the government does it regularly. Where the current campaign against porn is headed I don't know, but I know I don't like it much. I don't doubt that people can become "addicted",as they do to so many things -- obsessive use of computer games led to a fight which almost got an acquaintance killed last year. If someone has a personality disorder leading to such obsessive behavior, I urge them to get help. I do NOT, however, suggest we ban either computer games or images of which some do not approve. Let your voice be heard in fighting to retain the free speech rights we hold so dear in this country.
At the same time Congressional Republicans, led by House leader Tom DeLay and Senate leader Bill Frist are on an all-out push to stack our Federal Courts with judges who do believe the government should and must legislate "Christian" morality, and courts should not stand in the way. Please also consider writing or calling your Senator (in Utah, don't bother with Hatch, but Bennett might yet be convinced) and telling them you oppose the "nuclear option" allowing the Senate Majority to squelch debate on judicial nominees and push through some scary people as new Federal Judges.
And then, remember the Libertarian Party has its annual fund-raisng dinner on Saturday April 30. And my little campaign will be out to greet John Ashcroft on May 4 at the Wells Fargo Building when he is here to raise funds for out current Attorney General. Please consider sending in your donation of $20 (or bringing it on May 4) to counteract the $150 a plate dinner for Mr.. Shurtleff that evening. For more details, see my Events page. There is so much to do, but it starts with doing SOMETHING NOW!
April 9, 2005 -- Our Law Day activity, which is being held as an alternative to that of the Attorney General and his friend John Ashcroft has firmed up a bit. Check for specifics on my Events page. We will be meeting at the Wells Fargo building on May 4 at 6 PM to welcome Mr. Ashcroft to Mark Shurtleff's $150 per plae fund-raising dinner. Then we go for pizza. I do ask for contributions to the alternative campaign in the amojunt of $20, which can be brought with you or sent in -- see my contributions page.
Please see my Articles page for news of our recent court victory over the LDS church efforts to close downtown Salt Lake's only gentleman's club. The Crazy Goat will remain where it is for the forseeable future. Be sure to drop by for a drink and support the club and the dancers. Most cities realize that such a club is good for the convention business, but some in Salt Lake think our city should be known only as the home of the LDS Church. I respectfully disagree.
I got a new client recently from out of state who had some trouble with the Highway Patrol. Someone told him I enjoyed dealing with the agency, so he looked up this website. When he sent in his retainer, he included a campaign contribution. The fight is not yet over, and I encourage you to consider doing the same. Mr. SHurtleff is campaigning almost 4 years before the next election, and has invited John Ashcroft to help. Those who think there should be an alternative to those guys should be getting ready also. Let's do it and have some fun. More soon.
March 21, 2005 -- It's spring, and I just returned from baseball spring training in Arizona. I found on my desk an invitation for a Law Day celebration from Mark Shurtleff, Utah's Attorney General. Law Day is celebrated every year on or about May 1 by the Bar and others, as a means to promote the virtues of the rule of law. It is also, however, a political event. The Attorney General usually has some sort of social event for which tickets are quite expensive; and the proceeds go to his campaign fund. This year he is having former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft speak at a dinner on May 4. Details are not yet available.
But one thing is sure. I am not going to go and support either of these people or their cause. I am in the early stages of planning an alternative gathering, probably much smaller, and certainly much less expensive. I am guessing that some of us will gather to protest Ashcorft's appearance, and then perhaps go for pizza. I would like to make this also a political event, to be used for an alternative Attorney General campaign, for whoever may decide to run.
Please consider coming out to say "hi" that same evening, and expressing your support for an alternative to John and Mark. It is my personal opinion that anyone who would hold up John Ashcroft as a hero by inviting him to speak on Law Day is a bad cjhoice for public office.
Here is what I would like you to do: First, sit down right now and write a check for $20 to McCullough for Attorney General. The money will go into my campign account, and it will be used to "unelect" Mr. Shurtleff (whether I am ultimately a candidate or not). Second, watch for news of our alternative event on May 4 and come by, either for our little protest, or for pizza after. The $20 is a donation to particiapte in the events, or even if you don't participate. We need lots of them, so tell your friends also. You will still, however, have to chip in for the pizza, as the $20 will all go to the campaign. Let's have some fun for Law Day, and let's let them know they are not the only ones getting ready for the next time around. Thanks a lot!
March 6, 2005 -- To those who are still occasionally checking in to read my blog, thanks, and welcome. There is so much to do that this gets neglected sometimes. Nevertheless, it is my intention to continue blogging as I work on deciding what is next for my personal quest to "drive the establishment crazy".
First, please see my Events page for the latest news on what is going on. Also, keep watching my Articles page, as I will be adding articles of interest as I see them. I was honored on Friday to be asked to do an "Op-Ed" piece in the Provo Herald. When it comes out, it will be on the Articles page. The legislature recently passed another "anti-porn" bill, and the current Attorney General wrote a piece chastising the Herald for lack of enthusiasm. They agreed to publish it only with another point of view from me! I think that is pretty neat.
I have been overwhelmed lately doing appeals in the long process of contesting several laws restricting free speech; and I have recently been in Court in New York and Illinois. In New York, I represented a dancer who the court seems to think is not a fit parent, at least partly by virtue of her profession (which is financing her college education where she is on the dean's list). In Illinois, I represent a store which apparently sells products (perfectly legal) of which the City doesn't approve. So the City has held up their building permits because of the color of the walls! There is always a fight for the right to free expression.
Our new Federal Attorney General says he will fight pornography (free speech) as zealously as his predecessor, so there will continue to be much to do. Politically, we simply must convince others that the current trends towards the government making personal decisions for us are incorrect. Sometimes the task just seems so overwhelming. I continue to run into people who say they voted for me for Attorney General. It would be wonderful if there were a way to get them to contribute next time, to me or to someone else who sees the need for change, so that the message could really be heard. I continue to ponder on how to go about seeking real change. More soon.
February 10, 2005 -- Today I am a bit frustrated with the office of the Utah Attorney General, and this is a good example of how different things would be under my administration. I represent a man who had his professional license revoked by an administrative agency, for having been convicted of a felony. There never was such a felony conviction, and the notice of it was a clerical error. I was retained to fix the problem, and I filed an appeal and a request for a hearing immediately. The problem is that my client had to go back east to take care of his sick mother, and the notice of revocation did not reach him promptly. I have explained to the Attorney General's office the mistake which resulted in the revocation. All they want to talk about, however, is that, due to the move, my client did not received the letter and respond quickly enough. They do not care that someone lost his license because of a clerical error. To them, the fact that his appeal was filed late is most important.
This is STUPID! The attorneys who work for the State should be trying to reach a just and fair result -- they should not be trying to obtain an unfair advantage. This is one of many examples of the wrong attitude in the Attorney General's office. This should change, and State Attorneys who do not understand that they are working for the people, should be told to find another job.
If you agree, keep checking in, as there will be lots of chances to help fight back. Every year, the current Attorney General has a Law Day activity in early May to raise funds for his political campaigns. Look for an announcement for an alternative "Law Day" activity" for the first week of May, to raise funds for an alternative Attorney General candidate. The announcement will shortly be posted on the EVENTS page.
January 16, 2005 -- This week is the inauguration of our president for another four years. The people have spoken, and that is the way the process works. It certainly does not lessen the depression about what is happening to our country. At least I was happy to hear that Attorney General Ashcroft is leaving. But it seems that another man with an equally mean spirit is taking his place. He is intensely loyal to the President, and will follow him as far as approving of torture, if that is deemed necessary to accomplish the administration's objectives. As a lawyer in the criminal justice system, I tremble at the thought of what will happen win more judges and prosecutors chosen by Mr. Bush. Those of us who value our civil liberties know it is likely to get worse before it gets better. So, what do we do next?
I encourage everyone to participate in the day of protest scheduled for this next Thursday (Inauguration Day). See Events page for details. And then I encourage you to stay involved and keep up the fight. See suggestions in previous blogs and on my links page. I am considering starting a Utah Political Action Committee (PAC) to collect contributions for alternative candidates, especially in the legal areas. I still think of the waves we could have made last year with a sufficient war chest, and wonder if we could do better with some time. I ran into an old friend the other day who said he would have donated money to my campaign if he had been asked. but he never was. How frustrating it is to think of "what might have been". If you are interested in doing more, please contact me with ideas and support, and let's see what we can do. I just can't let myself quit now in my effort to bring reform to the legal system.
December 26, 2004 -- I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas yesterday. And I, of course, would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year too. That may, however be a bit harder. Shortly after the New Year celebration come the inaugurations of a lot of government officials who I fought to defeat. The wars in Iraq and those at home against drugs and our constitutional rights go on, and will get worse before they get better. I personally don't see the likelihood of much of a Happy New Year. Many of us did what we could do to help during 2004, and I urge you to continue to do what you can in 2005. Please consider joining the ACLU and the Libertarian Party. They are not contradictory, and both work to maintain our constitutional freedoms. See my "links" page for these, and other places, to get involved. It is still important to get your freinds registered to vote (see my "register to vote" page). This next year there will be local elections, and it is important to get people in the habit of voting. We know the "religious right" votes, and we need to do the same.
I keep running into people who congratulate me for my elections efforts. The most recent was a retired deputy district attorney I saw at Christmas Eve church services. She said: "You made a great run, and I voted for you". It occurred to me that most everyone who really knew what was going on and gave it serious thought did vote for me. If we had been able to get the message out more widely, we could have had some substantial effect. Ideally, it would be great to find a yonger lawyer (I will be 60 years old in 2008) who has some real fire and passion about individual rights, to run for AG next time. I don't know whether that will happen. but no matter who might run, it is imperative that we do more to support that candidate than we did this time. I also ran into a well known criminal defense lawyer at a Christmas party recently. He told me that all of the lawyers in his firm (about 7, I think) voted for me. I wondered aloud why none of them sent money or publicly endorsed me. The legal community needs to get more fully involved also, if they really do agree with me.
Anyway, I am not yet giving up my own efforts to bring about more freedom and to reform the justice system. If you are interested enough to be reading this, please don't give up either. Send me an e-mail suggesting what you might do to help and get involved, and I will put some ideas on this blog. I would be especially pleased if, even at this late date. you bought some things from my campaign store or pledged a donation. If I don't run, somebody will have to. And I am interested in ideas for new logos for my store merchandise -- things we can wear for the next four years to let people know where we stand. I have a graphics designer who will help me get them ready for sale.
Good luck to all of us in the coming New Year!
November 9, 2004 -- It has now been a week since the election, and we have had time to think about the state of things. It has been a frustrating one, as the national victory of the "religious right" threatens our civil liberties even more. Polls show that people voted their "moral convictions", which apparently means that they voted to maintain the right to tell others how to live their personal lives. A cartoon in today's Daily Herald (Provo) wondered why the issue of lying us into a war under false pretenses didn't seem to qualify as a moral issue. To me it certainly does. Today I will vent a little. My race for Attorney General was my third. I only decided to try one more time when I talked to a number of people who I thought would give me a greater level of support than before, and allow me to "get serious" about running. In the end, financial support did not come through, and I was limited in what I could do. I did get a decent amount of press coverage, however, and my vote total was easily the best of the three times. I have given in a bit to fantasies of what I could have done, "if only. . . " But I guess that always happens.
More frustrating by far is the total failure of the efforts to bring common sense back to our Federal government despite some strong efforts by many people. That has made me quite depressed for the last week (that and a little case of food poisoning I picked up last Friday). I keep asking myself what I (we) do now. The Libertarian Party does not seem to be making big gains in Utah in getting noticed, but then either is the Democratic Party. I almost feel worse for my Democratic opponent than I do about my own loss. I knew I would not win, though I did hope for a more sizeable gain. He actually went into the race thinking he could win, so he spent a lot of pesronal funds on it; and he never really had a chance. There are worse people who could be Utah Attorney General than Mark Shurtleff, but he is not on our side, and we deserve better. At least we are free of John Ashcroft, though I shudder to think who Mr. Bush will unleash on us next.
So, what DO we do next? I intend to continue to be involved in politics and the fight to preserve personal liberty. I will continue to fight in the courtroom for more liberty, and sometimes I will win. I have been asked to stay on as an ACLU Board member for another 3 year term, so I will also continue to support that wonderful organization. For those who groan and say "oh no", first learn more at www.aclu.org and you may realize they are an important force in protecting us from unbridled government power. The next congressional elections are only two years away, and perhaps some sanity will be restored to the country in time to do some good by then. And then there is the inevitable fight to prevent the President from appointing another Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, and that ought to be fun. I will probably continue to put my thoughts here from time to time, so check back and feel free to contact me by e-mail with your own thoughts on what we can do to keep this country free. And good luck to all of us.
November 5, 2004 -- The last few days have been so fascinating. I intend to make several comments on the election and its aftermath, and I hardly know where to start. Many of you have already read the e-mail I received from the daughter of an old friend, which I posted right after election day. I have had e-mails, phone calls and letters over the last few days which make it all seem (almost) worth it. On election night, I got a call from an old friend I had not talked to in some time. She was standing in line with several members of her family, to vote for me, even though the line was impossibly long. She later called back to report that she had voted. Another friend reported that she had gone to vote in a "caravan" of 17 people, all of whom supported me. Several people said this was the first time they had ever voted. I do hope they found it a positive enough experience that they will do it again. I received a formal "Thank-you" card from a former prosecutor who thanked me for a "principled" and clean campaign. The offers of help for my next campaign have started to come in. I do not, at this point, expect there to be a next campaign, as I am getting too old for this. (I will have more to say about this in the next few days for those who care enough to tune in). I have received phone calls from a number of well-wishers, who I do not normally talk to much. Everyone says they supported me, and told their friends and family. For the record, the preliminary results show I got 27,470 votes, about 3.3% That is better than four years ago, but not as good as I had hoped. I will post the final results in detail on my Results page in a few more days, when the official tally is in. I may pick up a few more votes by then (but still not enough to fill Lavell Edwards Stadium). I hope I have given many people the chance to express their unhappiness with the way things are. I learned a lot, and had many great experiences.
My own election defeat was dwarfed by the re-election of the President, a man that I truely do not like. I am disappointed that the people of this country did not see what I see. On the bright side, however, it appears that the United States Attorney General is going to leave office, possibly even before the new term begins. There is someone who really does not understand the Bill of Rights, and the necessity to protect those rights. Hopefully his successor will be an improvement; but the President is not likely to change course much.
Next I will discuss specifc frustrations in running my little Libertarian campaign. And then I will suggest ideas for the future. Do come back and check. I am not yet finished with what needs to be said.
November 2, 2004 -- Please stay tuned for additional blog entries, including thoughts on the election and thoughts about "What now?" For tonight, though, I wanted to share an e-mail I received from the daughter of an old friend. I nearly laughed myself sick, but she captures my own frustration also. More soon.
Warning: This letter contains some graphic language, but I decided that editing it would weaken its spirit!
I’m sorry things didn’t work out yesterday. I was a little upset that I didn’t even know you were running until about 2 days before the election, when I noticed you in the voter book. It is a whole lot of B.S. that the papers choose not to list you in all of the columns that they ran. I did yell at someone about it though (I’m not quite sure it was the right someone but, it was someone). After I voted I was walking out of the fire station and was asked to take a survey for KBYU, so my husband said “okay” and we started filling it out. The survey was just a list asking us whom we voted for on each topic. However, when we got to Attorney General, they listed Skordas, Shurtleff, and OTHER. Mind you about an hour before I had voted I had visited your website and had seen that you have had such a disadvantage, so I was fuming. So, I told the guy “Sir, I did not vote for either one of these parties” and he replied “Well, isn’t there a box marked other?” My husband and I just looked at each other with puzzled looks on our faces and then I lost it. I told the guy “Bullshit, If you had worked so hard on your campaign and every time you turned around somebody kept referring to you as “OTHER”, wouldn’t you be pissed?” (no response) “Well, I am, so fuck your survey and fuck KBYU.” I think I scared the kid. Oops! I think you have a lot of good valid points and it’s a shame that Utah is just closed-minded. I think they’re afraid to let you get out there cause you just might shake things up a bit and people just might like it. It reminds me of Footloose. I really do wish better things for you in the future, because you’re a good person with good ideas and you deserve it.
November 2, 2004 -- Well, it is just about over. Tonight my campaign manager and I hit several night clubs and handed out flyers. We got a generally positive reception, and hopefully picked up a bunch of votes. Tomorrow I will be on KTKK radio at noon, and that pretty much ends it. Tomorrow night, starting after the polls close, the Libertarian Party party will be at Brewvies club at about 900 South and 200 West. We will also play host to one of two Salt Lake Votergasm parties. So log on to http://www.votergasm.com and take the pledge and bring your pledge cartd to the party. Some of us will likely drop in on some other celebrations as well, so join us for an interesting and enteratining evening. For a brief survey of major Party parties, see http://www.utahpolicy.com
Thanks again to all those who have given support in whatever form. We have done our best to give the voters a real choice, and to deliver the message that there should be a reevaluation of policy at the State and national levels. Hopefully it will make some difference. And to the many new voters who will go to the polls for the first time, I sincerely hope that you find it a positive experience, and decide to do it again. Change will come only if we all get together and work for it. We can, and we must.
Stay tuned for some post-election comments in a coupld of days, after we see how it all shakes out.
October 31, 2004 -- Like most candidates, I will be glad when it is over, though I have had a lot of fun. Last night I visited several establishments where I have done legal work, and passed out brochures and talked with voters. There are still so many people who don't know that I'm running, but then there are lots of people who do, and who have been pledging support. I will be out at night clubs tomorrow night again. Anyone who wants to tag along, give me a call. I intend to work right up to the deadline, and get as many votes as possible.
Tonight I received a phone call from a distraught mother whose learning-disabled 14 year old daughter has been dragged through hell by misguided authorities. She went to vote early on Friday, and noticed my name on the ballot for the first time. She left and went home, got on my website, and decided to help me send my message to the powers that be: "Don't prosecute the victims". She will vote for me tomorrow and will call her family and friends and urge them to do the same. Last night I met a man who owns his own business, and will give out my brochures and urge his customers to vote for me. The latest poll (which did use my name) came out today and showed no particular movement in my race. The figures for the current Attorney General varied by 10% for the two published polls this week. There is a lot of uncertainty there, and a high "undecided" rate.. And today the newspaper reported that some of Mr. Skordas' supporters are leaving him (and some are considering me) because of his involvement with Nancy Workman. No, I am not saying a major upset is in the making, but I am going to surprise some people with the size of my support. This is going to be fun!
Over the last while I have been pledged personal support by some leaders of the Personal Choice Party and the Green Party. Last week a major candidate for the Constitution Party said he would vote for me, and thought many from his party would also. This is a wonderful coalition. Certainly not everybody in all these different political parties agrees with me on everything. but they do agree that a major change in attitude is necessary, and that I am the best one right now to deliver the message. Please do tell your friends and encourage them to join us in telling the government to stop flexing its muscles at our expense. and then sit back and watch the waves! More tomorrow, including news of our election night party.
October 29, 2004 -- Lots of news, as things heat up for the last few days. Yesterday I was interviewed for 30 minutes on KTKK radio (630 AM) at noon with Barbara Jean. Several people called with questions, and I picked up some support. They liked me enough to invite me back for a full hour next Tuesday, also at noon. Tune in and ask whatever questions you may still have.
Today the Salt Lake Tribune published a poll on my race in which the undecided vote was quite high, and support for the current Attorney General was noticeably down. Unfortunately, the polling company was instructed only to ask about my two opponents, and leave me out. See my Articles page for the letter I have sent to the newspaper protesting this treatment. Speaking of articles, note that the link on that page to the recent article on me by the Intermountain Commercial Record has now been changed to link to this week's lead story which feature the answers to five questions by all three candidates. Read and compare, and you will see that my answers make more sense.
We have been working hard to get out the last of my yard signs, and brochures. There are brochures still available for canvassing your neighborhood. Call us to make arrangements to get some out for us. There are also a few signs, though they are mostly gone.
I have certainly had fun and a continuing education throughout this campaign. Sometimes it has been rewarding when support has come through from so many people. Others have promised and not delivered, but that happens in all endeavors. And it has been quite frustrating at times convincing the media I should be treated fairly in their coverage of the campaign. But I think we have made waves, and progress in getting out the alternative message. Lastly, I would like to comment on the "nasty" element of politics in this State, as in other places across the country. Some of the ads I have seen in other races are so mean-spirited. This has not occurred in my race. In part that is due to the character of the candidates; and perhaps in part it is due to the fact that I am not perceived as a serious threat. Regardless, I thank my opponents for sticking to the issues which set us apart, and letting the voters decide based on what is important. I have said many times that I like Mark Shurtleff as a person, and that I enjoy hanging around with him. During this campaign I have also gotten to know Greg Skordas fairly well, and have also enjoyed hanging around with him. Only recently I have noticed his good sense of humor, which I rate as important in dealing with a political campaign. I wish both of my opponents luck after the election in whatever they do; but I admit that I hope next Tuesday is a particularly unlucky day for them both. See my Events page for information on our victory party.
October 27, 2004 -- Last night my two opponents had a second televised debate without my presence. I watched it and was going to make some comments, but there was little new in their discussion. Instead, I have added some new material to my FAQ page based on a recent Deseret News questionnaire which I also was not allowed to participate in. My continued exclusion from the press has grown more frustrating in light of the polls which show the Democratic candidate doing very poorly and having no chance of winning. If I had the press coverage afforded to his doomed campaign, I would beat him at the polls; and it is a shame I do not. Some of my supporters recently sent me an e-mail complaining of the lact of coverage and suggesting a legal action for "equal time". At least it gave me the opportunity to remind them of the First Amendment Freedom of the Press, and the fact they can write what they please. The newspaper reported today that recently filed campaign financial reports show the current Attorney General way ahead in the fund-raising race, and that disparity is one of the topics in the new FAQ material.
The news, however, is not all bad. Yesterday alone I was interviewed at some length on camera for Channel 13 news. I understand there were interviews with all three candidates; and I don't have information on when the footage will be broadcast. Keep your eye out. It should be interesting, especially since the reporter was a bit combative, and apparently didn't like what I had to say. That's fine, and perhaps it will make it more fun when it is edited and broadcast. I also spend some time on the phone with a reporter with the St. George Spectrum newspaper, talking about some of the frustrations of a "minor" party candidate. Speaking of such frustrations, an article published today in the Deseret News (there will be a link on my Articles page) features me and several other "third party" candidates, and also discusses the problems and frustrations of such candidacies. Most everyone who pays attention to the news should be aware of me by now; and I believe many of those who take time to learn where I stand will support me. I intend to surprise some people nest Tuesday,and there is still time to get involved in helping out.
October 26, 2004 -- My two opponents debated on KBYU televsion and radio tonight, and it was frustrating listening without being able to respond. They were asked, for instance, how to deal with prison overcrowding, and their answers had nothing to do with reality. The correct answer: stop the war on drugs! They were asked how to make Utah safer for children, and once again they missed the opportunity. The correct answer: stop taking them away from their families without a genuine emergency. They were asked about dealing with polygamy, and they neglected the opportunity to say that the practice of polygamy intself is, and should be, protected by the First Amendment Freedom of Religion. Not a single word was said about the government usurpation of individual rights, and the need to protect those rights from overzealous State officials. Without me present, there really is no debate, except to hear each of them tell what a great lawyer he is, and how many new programs they take credit for. The lone bright spot was at the beginning when the station aired material on the backgrounds of the candidates, and included my name and some material from my website. At least those who really want information have been made aware of my candidacy, and where to go to find out more. I will continue to get the message out as best I can for the next week. Tomorrow night will be the KUIED debate. I will try and listen and once again give my responses. Stay tuned.
October 24, 2004 -- Yesterday and today we got up a bunch of new yard signs, concentrating on Utah County, which will continue tomorrow. Anyone who still wants a yard sign needs to contact my campaign in the next day or two, or they will all be gone. We can deliver them in the Salt Lake-Utah County area. I also put out a considerable number of brochures; and we have started door-to-door delivery. If you would like some brochures for your business or neighborhood, please also consider this "last call". We do not want a large quantity of campaign materials left over, and will be doing all we can to get them distributed in the next week. We can use all the help we can get in this effort, so get out and get some exercise for a good cause.
There will be two televised debates this week on KBYU and KUED, and it looks like I will not be invited to either. Invitations are based on poll results, and I was disappointed to note that there have been no new polls over the last few weeks, so no invitations. You might express your displeasure with either station not inviting me, through their respective websites. Both stations rely on donations for much of their operating budget, and you can remind them that you are not seeing what you would like to see on their station, and may not want to donate. There will be a new poll this next (and last) weekend in the Deseret News, I am told. Keep spreading the word, so this poll shows that we are making progress. A sign of progress in the last poll will help us to a good showing next Tuesday.
Press coverage has actually been pretty good lately, and that will help us to keep moving up. My blog is being published, at least on some days, at http://www.utahpolicy.com and I just put up my candidate information on http://www.vote-USA.org. You might find this site helpful, as it features a good photo, some basic biographical information, and a short statement on why people should vote for me. It is quick and easy to view, and perfect for your friends who want that kind of information on me and other candidates.
One more reminder that Monday is the LAST DAY to get yoru friends registered. Hunt them down and offer to drive them to one of the many satellite registration stations. And then let's surprise some people next week.
October 22, 2004 -- Today an extensive interview was published by the Intermountain Commercial Record, a legal newspaper in Salt Lake City. The entire article will shortly be posted on the Articles page of this site, as the paper doesn't leave links up for more than a few days. It gives some good background on my candidacy and an in-depth look at some of my reasons for running. Consider passing it on to others who may not know much about me. Yesterday I talked on the phone to a client, and mentioned my candidacy, and was a bit surprised to hear that she had not heard. There is SO much more to do to get the word out. Please, if you haven't already sent out a note to your Utah e-mail list about this site, please do, and ask them to do the same. Unfortunately we have not had a lot of money to spend, but I have been reading a book about internet campaigning, and there is much power in this medium to spread a message very fast. I need your help. Not everyone will be impressed, but then I only need 35% to win in a close race. And thanks to that small group of supporters who really go the extra mile to help out.
Today I also talked to a few people who are STILL not registered to vote. I can hardly believe there are people like that. Monday is absolutely the last day, and registration is being conveniently held in satellite places all over the State. Hours on Monday are from 8 AM to 8 PM, and then it is over. In Salt Lake County, most of the registration places are in grocery stores, especially Smith's. The addresses of registration places in Salt Lake, Davis, Weber and Utah Counties are on my registration page. Ask your friends if they are registered, and if not, offer to drive them to the nearest Smith's (or Dan's or Harmon's) and get them registered. On the way, tell them about our campaign, and the need to send a message to the establishment that we want the government to stop telling us what to do. And then e-mail me on Monday night and tell me if you were able to get a friend or two to register. I will be doing the same.
October 20, 2004 -- Today was rather eventful. The high point was the debate at the law school with both of my opponents. I think the debate went well, though I noticed that Channel 5 Television was there before the debate to interview my opponents, and did not speak with me. That is a bit frustrating, as I have a valid point of view which the media does not report on. Hopefully you who read this blog will help send on the message, and we can get it out on our own. The number of hits per day continues to increase, and I thank those who do pass on this information to others. I believe we also added a new endorsement today, one which has been published in a libertarian magazine (see Endorsements for details). We have also continued to add articles and expand our FAQ section, so there should be something of interest for everyone.
Tonight I attended a get-together for Merrill Cook for Salt Lake County Mayor. We don't agree on everything, but we do like to take shots at the establishment, and I wish him well in that endeavor. He tells me that Dan Jones is working on a new poll which may be published this weekend. After all the work we have done, I would surely like to see that I have at least reached the level of support sufficient to be invited to the KUED televised debate next Tuesday evening. Well, we will be on pins and needles pending more poll results. While I attended this function, my campaign manager attended a Meet the Candidates night in Kearns; and I do appreciate his efforts to help when I cannot be everywhere at once. We also start a limited advertising campaign early next week, and are doing what we can to spread the message. I'm sure you all are doing the same. I'm still looking for people who are going on trips around the State to take some signs with them. Let me know if you can help.
October 19, 2004 -- Today I posted an article on my Articles page which tells of a new policy by the Cache County Sheriff, to take note of "pornography" found at crime scenes. This will be used, we are told, to determine "cause and effect". There have as yet been no decisions, apparently, on how and where the pornography will be collected, or how it will be defined. As one who has long campaigned for freedom of speech, I suggest to the sheriff that there will be little value and much potential harm in such efforts. Will the private reading materials of crime suspects be confiscated, and for what purpose? It certainly does not qualify as evidence. I see this as just one more example of state officials trying to obtain more power, and trying to interfere with privacy rights. Thankfully, the ACLU will be monitoring this effort, and will resist efforts to criminalize what is protected by the First Amendment.
Today I received a couple of interesting and helpful endorsements. See my Endorsement page for more information. It is not too late for you to add your own endorsement, and to pass on the message of freedom to your friends. In fact, they still can register at satellite stations (see my Registration page) until next Monday. A security guard at the court came up to me today and expressed his support, and mentioned that he was now registered to vote, as of yesterday. Better late than never, but time is running out!
We still need volunteers and donations from any of you who support our efforts. It is really quick and easy to make a donation by Paypal (see Contribution page). We are ready with our last advertisements, but still need money to get them out. Contibutions of $50 or less remain anonymous; and every little bit really helps!
Last night my "Free Speech Message", a 3 minute speech, was broadcast on KUED television, and I thought it was pretty good. For those who missed it, it can be found on www.voteutah.org website, both in straming video and in text only. Please view it and pass the link on to your friends. Thanks.
October 18, 2004 -- Tonight I have been working on a case where my clients are attempting to have a new tax law declared unconstitutional. This statute was passed with support from the present Attorney General after the legislature's own attorneys cautioned that there were serious constitutional problems with it. For several months now I have been trying to get a definitive ruling on the constitutionality of the tax. The Attorney General's office, which has been defending the law, seems to be determined to use procedural roadblocks to slow us down. During debate on the law, members of the legislature expressed concerns that defending the law in court could be very expensive. From my point of view, at least, the present Attorney General appears determined to make that prediction come true. This is a prime example of what I would do differently if elected. I realize that I may be called upon to defend a law I think is stupid (and there are many of those). I would instruct my attorneys, however, to cut through the procedural traps and get the issue before the courts in the easiest, fastest, and simplest way. Apparently the present Attorney General enjoys "playing the game", and is not as concerned as I would be with spending taxpayer funds to do it. This is a big part of the reason I am running for this position. If you agree with my philosophy, join me in my efforts to bring the government under control.
October 17, 2004 -- Wow, it is getting so close to election day. Last night I drove to Ogden and placed a few signs and some brochures. People were supportive, but not really aware. That leaves so much to do. I also got some inquiries by e-mail, which I hopefully answered intelligently. I will try and update the FAQ section of the site in the next day or two with issues which people have asked about. Watch for it. My webmaster just became a father, but he is hanging in there with me, and getting things posted pretty quickly. Thanks, Chris!
I have been trying to get signs out to people who want them, and posted around the State. If anyone in the Salt Lake area is making a trip to other areas of the State soon, and could post some signs, please let me know, and we will get coordinated. I would especially like to get signs up in the Logan, Price, Delta and central Utah areas. This is a fun and easy way to help. Speaking of Price, I received a request to put a candidate statement in their local paper. In my reply, I mentioned the "wars" on drugs, terrorism and pornography. That last word activated their e-mail filter, and the message bounced (I used "an inappropriate word"). So much for the First Amendment in Utah. Anyone in Price who reads this, contact the Sun Advocate and tell them you are disappointed in their censorship efforts.
Voter registration by mail is over, but there will be "satellite" registration stations around the State this next Friday and the following Monday. See my registration page for details. And Salt Lake County residents can register at the County Clerk's office at 2001 South State until this Thursday. If you have friends not yet registered, offer to drive them to get registered. We are running a "revolution" here, and we need EVERYONE to help bring real change.
October 15, 2004 -- A man on the radio said today that there are just 18 days left until the election. Boy, so much to do. Today I received a nice check from Equality Utah to help with the campaign. Perhaps they sent money to all three candidates, as we all oppose Amendment Three. Nevertheless, it was a great help to my little campaign, and it is an unusual gesture for a political action committee to make, as most such donations are made to "major party" candidates. I was pleased a couple of months ago that I was even extended the courtesy of an interview with the Board. They have made a long term friend of me, and I urge all of you to go out and vote "No" on Amendment Three.
I have been distributing brochures and signs as fast as I can. If you need some, please get hold of me soon, as I may run out. I do appreciate all efforts to help me get my message out. My website hits are increasing strongly, so hopefully at least some people care what I have to say.
I have received, over the last few days, a large number of identical le-mails seeking my support to "oppose big tobacco". I did notice a contribution from Brown and Williamson on the first campaign report for the current Attorney General. Needless to say, they have not sent me money, and I owe them nothing. On the other hand, I would certainly accept such a contribution if it were made, and it would not change my position. That position is that I agree that efforts should be made to educate young people on the dangers of smoking and to discourage them from smoking. Certainly the government should be part of these efforts. I do not support government imposed prohibition, however. It has been a disaster with drugs as it previously was with alcohol. For the record, I have yet to take my first drink or smoke my first cigarette. For those who are hoping to find a candidate who will expand the government's power to tell people what to do, they should consider someone else. I will point out this blog to those who send me future e-mails of this kind, and will not comment further.
October 13, 2004 -- I am back in the office after several days of traveling. Back to trying to balance my law practice and my campaign -- somtimes a difficult task. Tonight I attended a "Meet the candidates" night in Lehi, my home town. I was a bit late, coming in from Las Vegas, but I managed to meet a number of voters, and pass out a pile of brochures. My campaign manager Rob attended a different event in my behalf in Salt Lake City. There are so many, but we are doing what we can.
On the way up from Las Vegas, I stopped and left signs, brochures and bumper stickers with the new head of the College Libertarians at Southern Utah University. I will shortly post some additional places you can pick up such things around the State. I also left brochures at a bar in Beaver and posted signs in Beaver and Fillmore, before I ran out of them. I will try and make more such trips in the next short while.
I am told that there was a candidate forum at Utah Valley State College today, where I was not invited. If any of you hear of other such events, let me know, so I can try and sneak in, or protest my exclusion. I really can't get to everything anyway, but I would like to get to as many things as possible. There were questions about the decriminalization of marijuana, and obviously I would have liked to get my viewpoint across to this college crowd (I'm for it, pass it on!). Only three more weeks. Let's have as much fun with this as we can while it lasts!
October 10, 2004 -- This weekend we got some good press on our debate in St. George, and had two voter registration events in Salt Lake. There will be several events coming up, including meet the candidate nights, and we will be working hard to increase our visibility. There was a new Deseret News poll this week, which still has me at 3% and Mr. Skordas at 20%.
No change for either of us, and a strong indication that he will not win. Those who agree with me on the issues but thought he was more electable, now know otherwise. So, why not have some fun with me, and help me get my true alternative message out? Not too late to help us make some noise, so tell your friends, and look around this site for ideas on how to help.
Some of you have noticed that we are behind a bit in our blogging. Congratulations to my webmaster, Chris, who is the proud father of a brand new daughter this week. I think we can all understand that he has had other things on his mind than posting my notes. But hopefully we will soon be back at full speed here. You might have a quick look at my opponents' websites, and you will note that we have a lot more fun here (and Mr. Shurtleff says he is a regular reader). Pass it on, and let's raise that profile! Just less than 4 weeks left, and so much to do!
October 8, 2004 -- Just a short note today from New York, where I have been in court defending a mother's right to custody of her child against State power. My website continues to grow in popularity. Any new people reading this blog, please pass it on to other Utahns. We have picked up some new endorsements. If you support this campaign, please consider sending in your own endorsement. Tonight and tomorrow my campiagn will be holding voter registration parties. See Events page for details., And we have been showing up to as many Meet-the Candiate events as possible. We could use volunteers for those events as well. There is so much to do and so little time, but the "revolution" is doing well. Get involved, and help us with all the fun. See you at a number of events coming up.
October 7, 2004 -- Last night we had a great little debate on television at the Dixie College campus, and now I am on my way to New York to help out a friend with her Court case. She, like many others, is the victim of an overzealous Division of Family Services who has taken her child from her without adequate reason. Yesterday I was in Court in Salt Lake City for the same thing. When I am elected, we will impose some common sense restraints on when and how that is done (weclome to the present Attorney General, if he is reading this). The debate was fun, as always. And thanks to Jed and the others in Southern Utah who showed up to cheer me on. I guess I miss another opportunity to debate in Ogden by being out of town. Mark, Tell them I am busy fighting for justice, if I don't make it on Tuesday. I got rid of a lot of signs, bumper stickers and brochures to our Southern Utah Libertarians. And Mr. Skordas sais some of my answers were "off the wall". Well, more of the sam dumb policies (arresting victims of drug pushers, for one) seems pretty off the wall to me too. We will do what we can in the last few weeks to get the message out, and we will still have fun doing it. Keep up the fight.
October 6, 2004 -- This is being written just before I jump in my car and head south to St. George for tonight's televised debate. That should be a lot of fun, and I hope some of you will be able to see it. This weekend I am going to New York for a Court case (bad timing) and my campaign manager will hold voter registration and fund-raising parties at both Million dollar Saloon and Trails. Please drop by one or the other to say "Hi" and make a donation. Also it is a good time to get brochures, bumper stickers and yard signs. There is so much going on that it hard to even keep track of it; but we are mostly met with good wishes as we are out spreading the message. Not enough of you have joined in the effort, though I know many people do read my web entries. Please consider donating or volunteering as we get close to election day. I think it is safe to say that the Democratic candidate is not doing as well as he had hoped, and probably will not win. Therefore, we have a big opportunity to be heard. Let's do it.
More soon. Thanks for tuning in.
October 3, 2004 -- Life is staying very busy and interesting. Last night I held a voter registration and fund-raising party at one of the clubs I represent. We signed up a number of voters and made a few dollars for advertising. One guy said he didn't want to register, then came back in a half hour and said he had changed his mind; and he brought 4 friends. Another guy said he was in the military and felt he had to support his Commander-in-chief, but he would vote for me. A third said he is in the Reserves and has already voted for me, as he will be in Afghanistan on election Day. All in all, the evening made me feel pretty good.
Thanks to those who have written to the Deseret News to protest leaving me out of the recent stories on the AG race. Several friends sent me copies of their letters. Another reason to feel better. This morning's D News reports that the Salt Lake District Attorney, who has been the biggest backer of Mr. Skordas, has withdrawn his support , as a result of the tiff over Nancy Workman. Soon I may be in second place in this race! Keep watching, as things get more interesting.
October 2, 2004 -- (Second entry). Today the Deseret News published extensive stories on my two opponents, as well as their responses to a questionnaire on the issues. Needless to say, I was excluded. After being included in several joint appearances and stories, I am a bit shocked. I immediately sent a letter to the editor protesting my exclusion. Now I need your help. Please send your own letter to the editor expressing your disappointment that the paper excludes the only real independent voice on the important legal issues facing the State. Then ask your friends to do the same. We need to be heard, and now is the time. Send your letter to email@example.com and send me a cc at firstname.lastname@example.org
October 2, 2004 -- Yesterday was a very busy one. I started by speaking to a breakfast group of the Murray Chamber of Commerce at 7:30 AM. I rarely see that time of day, as I work evenings when it is quiet and I can get more done. Anyway, there were about 20 people there, and I got to give a 15 minute presentation and answer questions. Not everyone was convinced, but hopefully I made some converts. One lady said she had previously heard me at the Women's Legislative Council meeting, and that I was the most interesting part of the day.
Yesterday afternoon, I spoke for about 10 minutes at the Salt Lake City Free Speech festival, and followed the mayor. From what I could tell, I had the best audience of the day, and even got a small contribution.
We finally got our reprinted brochure yesterday as well, after a noticable typo in the first batch. So last night I brought batches around to a number of night clubs in the Salt Lake area. Most everyone was receptive, and a few treated me a bit like a hero. One place I went was to a new dancer bar, private club, called "Pinky's" on State St. in Murray. The doorman knew me almost immediately, and asked for news on my case against South Salt Lake on nude dancing. I also signed up 3 new voters, just in dropping by. There are so many people out there who still aren't registered, and who think it is difficult. If you know people like this, please help them get registered. Forms are online on this site as well as many others. If you have a favorite nightspot where you don't see my brochures, contact me to get some there.
We are fighting a revolution here, and we are not yet making enough noise. Help raise the volume, and let's wake people up! More tomorrow. Today's events include the Libertarian Pary fundraiser at Baja Fresh (all day) and the voter registration party at American Bush tonight. See Events page for details.
September 30, 2004 -- Today the Provo Herald published its story on the Attorney General race. See my "articles" page for a copy. It was fair in its space allocation, but not enough space to really say much of anything. Any publicity is good, though, and glad to have it. The Ogden Standard Examiner published its online edition of its voter guide today, which you can see by logging onto standard.net. Today I also answered questions for a newsletter affiliated with the polygamous community, and was interviewed for a documentary on the State Constitutional Amendment on Marriage. Tomorrow I have several events (see my "events" page). I am beginnning to feel like a real candidate. I sent out a note to some attorney friends on donations, and got one back through Paypal in a couple of minutes. Technology is so fascinating! (You can see how cool Paypal works also by going to my "contributions" page). If you support me but have little time or money to donate, try another easy and quick idea: Log onto my "endorsements" page and write a short statement of support. I know many people check that page, and I need more of you to "come out of the closet", so to speak and let the world know you support me. Thanks for everything. We are going to surprise some people this year!
September 28, 2004 -- Last evening I appeared with my opponents at a "Meet the Candidates" event sponsored by the NAACP. We all got a few minutes to state our position on hate crime legislation (which I think interferes with First Amendment free expression) and racial profiling. On that subject, I was clearly the favorite. While my opponents said they didn't approve, I was able to point to actual lawsuits I have filed against police officers who used this tactic to stop and detain innocent people. I was also able to point out that the current Attorney General may SAY he opposes it, but that he defended the police officers who had engaged in it without question. The crowd was not all that large, but several people came up to me afterwards and said they liked what I said, and asked for cards. I firmly believe that I am doing well when people can compare me to my opponents side-byside; and I hope there are more opportunities for this.
For those who may be leaning toward voting for the Democrat because he is more "electable", look at the polls, which show he really is not. Then support the one person you really would like to support -- me.
If you are reading this, please take a minute and send my URL (either www.andrewmccullough.org or www.andy4ag.org ) to your e-mail list in Utah. My site is being hit more almost every day, but now we have only a month left to get the message out. Tell your friends they should read my blog, and then ask them to tell thier friends, too. If everyone does this, we will see a substantial increase in hits right away, and the message will spread. This is quick and easy, and the message of freedom is important! thanks.
September 26, 2004 -- It has been a big week. On Wednesday, I spoke, with my two opponents, at the Utah Women's Legislative Council meeting at the Salt Lake library. We each got 7 minutes to speak, and then there was time for just two questions, on firearms and polygamy. I spoke about protecting our Bill of Rights, and I thought I received the loudest applause from the 75 or so people (could be wishful thinking).
Thursday night we had a fund-raiser party at the Crazy Goat Saloon. Thanks to those who came by. Not a huge success money-wise, but many people did donate at least a small amount, and we met and converted several people to our cause. One gentleman registered to vote, claiming he had never voted before, and he doesn't intend to vote this year for any office outside of mine. But if I am working to keep clubs like the Crazy Goat open, he will vote for me.
Saturday we had a little open house and bake sale here at the campaign office. Several friends donated baked goods, and a few came by and purchased some. Again, not a big financial success, but still fun, and every step counts. We did meet several people shopping in the store downstairs, and at least a few will probably vote for me as a result.
I am certainly keeping busy. We have started putting up yard signs. Come by for yours. And literature is here, though it has some typos. We will use what we have until we get the corrections, which we hope will be this week. We will be putting it out at businesses and wherever else we can get it in circulation. If you have an idea for that, grab some and do it.
More fun to come. Watch the events page.
September 21, 2004 -- Today is the first day of fall, and that means the election is coming up fast. Today I was interviewed for 20 minutes on KCPW radio this morning and for an hour this evening on K-Talk. If you heard either, send me an e-mail and tell me how I did. Tomorrow I speak to the Women's Legislative Council at the downtown library, along with my two opponents. I believe it is open to the public. I certainly am busy enough, and hopefully I am beginning to get some name recognition. My opponents talk about being tough prosecutors, and I fight for individual rights and freedom -- sometimes it is a lonely fight, but always fun.
Yesterday my campaign received a shipment of yard signs. Come by my HQ and get one. I also need people in other areas of the State to stock a few signs for people in those areas to pick up. If you can do that, please let me know. My brochure will finally be out tomorrow (I hope). So you can pick up some of everything on Saturday at the open house. Please do try and drop by for that. See my Events page for details of that and other upcoming events (which now are coming so fast I can't even keep track of them. Hope to see some of you out on Thursday evening as well.
September 18, 2004 -- This has been a busy week, and the next few will be more so. Keep an eye on the Events page, and come out and support me when and where you can. I especially would like to encourage people to donate something to the bake sale next Saturday, as a simple and inexpensive way to get involved; and, of course, I need people to buy things as well.
Yesterday I spent some time up at the University of Utah Redfest at a booth sponsored by the Liberty Society. I met several students, and introduced myself. Nearby booths devoted to keeping abortion rights and discussing the legalizing of marijuana for medical uses gave me a further opportunity to talk to those who are my natural allies. Hopefully they will pass on the news to their e-mail lists, and name recognition will grow.
Tonight I will attend Unity Utah's "Allies Dinner" at the Hilton Hotel. I received a free ticket in thanks for my joint statement with my opponents opposing Amendment 3. It will be interesting to see if Mark and Greg also attend.
I was in court this past week with a young mother who is having troubles with the State Division of Child and Family Services. They want her to take regular drug tests to prove she is not using drugs, and thus is a competent mother. I asked her if she had considered joining my efforts to register voters and to fight back against unfair use of State power. She said she had not. I remind everyone that I am attempting to run a bit of a revolution here; and it is not me who is harassed by the government. Anyone who reads this and who agrees that the government tells us what to do a little too often, please ask yourself what you are doing to fight back; and remember there is less than 6 weeks to do something!
September 15, 2004 -- So much to talk about. On Sunday and again tonight, I shared a booth at the State Fair with some people from the Personal Choice Party. We signed up many voters, and I got a chance to give them campaign business cards and bumper stickers. Tonight one of the voters who registered is a young lady who will turn 18 the day before election day, and she is an enthusiastic supporter of personal freedom. Thanks to my PC friends for their campaign help.
Yesterday I was interviewed for almost an hour by the legal newspaper, Intermountain Commercial Record, about my campaign. I will try and post the article here when it is printed.
My efforts to form a coalition with other "third party" people were also boosted by the request by the Utah Green Party to represent them in their court action to put their presidential candidates on the ballot. I was recommmended to them by Richard Winger, who publishes a newsletter on third party ballot access, and was aware of previous work I had done on ballot status for Utah's Libertarian, Independent and American parties.
There is much going on in the next few weeks. I will report on happenings here. To see events before they happen, see my events page; and come out to the events and support my campaign. It is beginning to take off, and it is great fun.
September 11, 2004 -- Today I visited the flag display at Sandy City Hall, with a flag for each victim of 9/11 and one for the soldiers lost in the "war on terror". Very moving, of course. But we are letting the government use our fears to keep the current administration in power. We need to remember what our freedom is about and do what is necessary to protect it, including a change in government officials.
This week has been busy. Our office also has been representing the Green Party in its efforts to get its presidential candidates on the Utah ballot. I hope to spend some time this next week at the Personal Choice Party booth at the State fair, with my old friend, Ken Larsen. Drop by and say "hi". I hope to build some bridges with others who are seeking change; and together we may accomplish something. Literature is at the printer, and yard signs will be out soon. Be sure to look elsewhere on this site for places to get yours. And plan on dropping by our campaign office on September 25 for our open house and bake sale. Do consider donating something for it -- an easy and painless way to help.
Septmeber 4, 2004 -- I attended a trade show in Las Vegas this past week and didn't get to watch a lot of the Republican Convention. What I did see, and the accounts of the proceedings in the newspaper, made it clear what George Bush is doing to win the election. He seems to feel that it is best to keep the people frightened, and this fear will be strong enough to re-elect him. He hopes that fear is also strong enough to bring support for the policies of Attorney General Ashcroft in curtailing our rights in the name of safety. Well, I AM scared that he will pull it off. I spent four years as the Treasurer of the Utah Young Republicans, and sometimes I wish I could still be a Republican. The party I supported, however, was for small government and individual freedom. Those policies have been twisted around to where I can't recognize them. If you are a "Small Government Republican", I ask that you send your party a message that this is still what you want; and that they should not try and frighten you into supporting their new brand of neo-conservatism which gives the government more control over its citizens. You can easily do that by supporting me this November, and I will pass on the message from the Utah Attorney General's office.
September 1, 2004 -- Today I am in Las Vegas for a convention. Yes, I know I have done a lot of traveling lately, but that is now behind me, and I am ready to give some real attention to this race. While here I have solicited monetary contributions with some success. I also spent 20 minutes on KRCL radio today by telephone in an interview. My two opponents also had time -- Mr. Shurtleff called in from the Republican Convention in New York. At least now many new people know who I am, and I am on my way to putting our issues of freedom in front of the voters. Things are going well, so get involved, and watch things take off.
August 27, 2004 -- After returning to Utah on Monday night, I am getting back up to speed on campaign activity. Yesterday I taped my KUED message which will be played several times before election day. It went well, I think. Keep your eye out for it. My brochure has been submitted to the printer and should be out in a week or so. I got somebody to agree to put up the big campaign sign in front of Doctor John's store in Midvale. And tonight I dropped in on several clients with bumper stickers, voter registration forms and campaign business cards. Generally everyone has been supportive and enthusiastic in offering help. There will soon be announcements of additional events and activities. We tentatively have a "bikini bakesale" scheduled at our office in Midvale on September 25, a Saturday. We will need people to provide food as well as to purchase it. Should be fun. contact us for more information, and watch our event page. So much to do, but we are having fun.
August 24, 2004 -- A friend reported this morning that, while I was on vacation, she took a cue from an earlier blog entry and spent some time on TRAX last weekend signing up voters. She signed up 45 new voters in one day, with the help of a friend. I thought it funny that they asked people if they were Republicans. If the answer was "yes", they told them to register on their own. All were also asked to vote for me. This is really great. If I had 100 more like her, I might win. Why not consider your own project to help out my campaign and get more participation. And please let me know so I can pass it on.
August 23, 2004 -- This is being written on the last day of my vacation in New York. Have had a great time, but anxious to get back to the fight. The other night I attended a small concert of Melanie, the lady who sang "I got a brand new pair of roller skates" many years ago. She joined the Libertarian Party several years ago, and I was hoping to be able to talk to her about an endorsement. Didn't get close, but will pursue that on the Net. A reminder that I am interested in endorsements from ALL of my supporters. So, why not send me one today. Doesn't have to be brilliant -- just a statement that you support my efforts to bring freedom to Utah. I would appreciate the help. And stay tuned for more interesting endorsements, much more news here, as I get back to active campaigning this week.
August 10, 2004 -- Yesterday I argued a Motion for Preliminary Injunction against the State's newest "sin tax" aimed at adult entertainment businesses. It will impose a 10% tax (some have called it "tithing") on adult businesses, and will send the money to help provide therapy to those convicted of sex crimes. The "link" between the two things is personally offensive, and we look forward to victory in this lawsuit. It is an attempt to impose censorship on businesses which one senator claims are "anti-family". The current Attorney General supported this bill in the legilsture and testified in the Senate committee that these businesses lead to sex offenses. We NEED a new Attorney General, and we WILL have one. Please do what you can to help. The judge will issue a decision in this case later in the week.
August 8, 2004 -- I just returned from Portland for a lawyers conference. It is a great city, and I enjoyed the visit. One interesting experience there was the organized effort to get new voters registered. As I rode on a light rail train, a young lady got on the train and walked through, offering to register voters. I met another young lady on a street corner doing the same thing. There is nothing to compare with this effort in Utah, and maybe there can't be. But we do need to make a bigger effort to register those who are not happy with the way things are going, but yet don't vote. There are thousands of them. One friend of mine has registered 27 voters in the last month or so. She even got someone to pull over and register, when they pulled up next to her and asked about my bumper sticker on her car (I think being cute helps). I would love to get more people doing similar things. This year, "The stakes are too high to stay at home".