There often seems to be a candidate on the ballot that is considered the "spoiler candidate," there was Ralph Nader, there was Ross Perot, and now, to many news agents, it seems there is Gary Johnson. But will he really be a spoiler to the election, or is he merely the representative of a growing liberty movement?

In poll after poll, Libertarian candidate for President Gary Johnson has appeared around 7%, including recent polls in New Hampshire, and 9% in Arizona.  Are these supporters voters who don't care for either Obama or Romney, or is this a sign of the changing times?  Perhaps it is both.

 While there are likely some who find Romney and Obama too bland or uninspiring for their tastes who are willing to support the third name on the ballot, there is also the question of the Ron Paul faction.  As we heard many times throughout the campaign, many Ron Paul supporters refuse to vote for Romney or Obama in the upcoming election, insisting on writing in Paul's name in November.  Perhaps, however, if Johnson's numbers pick up (and considering Johnson endorsed Ron Paul for president in 2008), they may be encouraged to back him.  And what Gary Johnson needs right now is their support.

According to the Johnson campaign, 15% is the national threshold in polling to get on the debate stage in the fall.  If he is only polling around 7% because of disgruntled voters, the 10% (give or take) of the country that seems to support Ron Paul could push him beyond the 15% that he needs.

There is obviously an already-present liberty faction, the Ron Paul faction.  And then there is the smaller faction that is actually associated with the Libertarian Party.  The Republican and Democratic parties, however, have been losing members, and independent or unaffiliated registration is growing fast.  Perhaps these individuals are supporting Gary Johnson and the liberty movement?

We may not have an answer to this question until the 2014 Midterm elections, or the 2016 elections.  But in the meantime, the primary victories of non-traditional liberty candidates in congressional races such as Thomas Massie and RJ Harris is evidence for a growing movement.  Gary Johnson may, in fact, be the first liberty candidate for President, representing the growth of a new faction, the liberty movement.


Help Us, Obi Wan...

From this NPR piece: "But it's also been driven by a push from professions themselves. Licensing rules make it harder for new people to enter a field. That's good for people who are already in the profession, because it limits competition and allows them to raise prices. So professions go to lawmakers and say: You need to regulate us."

Notice: This isn't capitalism at work. In a capitalist society, you can't petition the government to create rules so that nobody can compete with you. That's what happens in mixed economies. If you want more of this sort of thing, you can vote on the status quo. If you want a better alternative, vote for Gary Johnson for president.

To add spice to the pot, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama want to continue the War on Drugs and neither support the federal ability for marriage equality while Gary Johnson does.
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They did what?

The Obama administration has added Focus on the Family to the upcoming immigration panel.

I'll just let that fact float out there.

Check your premises.

Apple Hate

I will never understand the people that take hatred for Apple to irrational levels of religious fanaticism.

So  remember that if you decide to put on your postmodern jaded face, slick your emo hair back and whine at me about how horrible Apple is--- I can't hear you, because I've got my plugs in my ears and my iPod on 'loud'.

We are not always what we seem.

"There is much misjudgement in the world... the magic on you is only magic and will vanish as soon as you are free, but the enchantment of error you have put on me I must wear forever in your eyes. We are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream." - Schmendrick, from Peter Beagle's book "The Last Unicorn"

I know I have said unpopular things in the past, and I've always noticed that some people's images of me will always prevent them from seeing me in a different light. But the most interesting thing I've seen is how something I did or said five years ago is held up almost as an image that is more real than myself.

I'll explain-- five years ago I had a rather vocal disagreement with someone on how a character of mine was used in one of their creations. It escalated into an argument, and all communication was severed.

Looking back on it, I thought that there was a lot of silliness on both sides, and I messaged the person in question to put things behind us a couple of days ago. I wanted to reestablish communication channels and see if perhaps this time around we'd get off better. I was friendly and courteous, and all throughout this person remained completely frigid. Finally I asked what the deal was with the standoffish attitude, and they replied "Because I don't like talking to you."

I hadn't said anything offensive or controversial or impolite- my conversation was very civil, even friendly. The person wasn't reacting to the person that was talking to him at that point- he was reacting to the person he remembered five years ago.

I'm not saying that people should be excused from the consequences of their actions-- but there are other elements to be taken into consideration. Time is one of them- a person can grow and mature over a period of time. It's also true that a person can grow thoroughly rotten in that time, too. Our past knowledge of who a person was is only that: data that has not been updated. People can come around over a period of years, but you'll never know that if you never take a chance to update your information. If someone's coming around to contact you, it's for a reason.

Whether they mean you harm or not can be assessed over a short period of time, and it doesn't cost you anything.

As for my past... I know people like to keep things to themselves for the price of being popular- so there are things they never say. But you have to ask yourself-- do people like you because of what you are, or do they like you because of what you don't let them know about yourself? If it's the latter... what sort of friendship is that?

Over the years I have said things that have rubbed some people the wrong way. While I still believe the things I believe, my approach may be different or has changed because there are more important things to me than arguing over the internet (unless someone's asking me directly to answer them.) When the cards are down, though, what's me in a nutshell?

I'm someone who doesn't steal, and who doesn't pretend stealing is ok. I won't deceive you, and I won't cheat you, and you can always count on me being honest to you. Even if what I have to say isn't what you'd like to hear. If true friendship comes from knowing what a person is truly, and valuing them for that... why do so many people put so much value on creating false images of themselves for others to value? After all, doesn't it mean that they value everything you are not, and therefore not you?

Ah, well...

Evil inspiration

Evil inspiration.
Why do you hit me at 12 AM telling me "you know, you've always wanted to draw some gift art for X... why don't you start on something now that you're finally getting comfortable with your art?"

And so I go, and off I go, drawing, and it's now 1:25 and I've finally reached a stopping point.

Dear Evil Inspiration, why couldn't you hit me earlier?
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Yarr! Ye be a pirate!

 WordOfMausLet me be candid here for a bit,

I have read entries in gaming forums all over the internet that can be summed up as: Party A complains about companies that institute DRM to prevent piracy and cracking, such as Blizzard's (admittedly dumb) DRM for Diablo III. But if you also look around enough in those forums, you'll find Party A often admitting to pirating software themselves.

This doesn't seem strange to the parties involved. I blame this on the fact that critical thinking is no longer a skill that is being taught as such in schools, because otherwise it would be easy to recognize that Party A has, in fact, a contradictory stance. They are complaining about the methods that some people are resorting to to defend their intellectual property (be it physical or electronic), while they are also the party that is causing the problem in the first place.

And let's not go into the idiotic stance of "if it's electronic, nobody is actually STEALING anything." You're grown human beings. You have a (hopefully) fully developed frontal cortex. You know the nature of what you are doing- otherwise you wouldn't jump through such hoops to justify and rationalize it away. The problem is that most people who understand critical thinking see through that flimsy mish-mesh of excuses and justifications. Epistemology isn't just a pretty word.

In the land of reason, when a problem crops up, the logical course of action is to attack it at its root and end the cause that is bringing about the effect. So in this case, it boils down to only one possible option:

Stop pirating. Stop supporting pirating behavior and sites. What you're seeing is what people do when what they own and create are under attack. It is precisely this sort of attack that has led companies to adopt such ridiculous measures. And no, there is no such thing as "an acceptable loss" in terms of principle, when that loss comes from someone stealing. Bottom line: someone's still stealing from you. It doesn't matter if the person has a lot or a little-- abundance or lack do not change the nature of the action.

So what is Maus' candid point on this issue? Stop pirating, or stop bitching that someone is reacting to you stealing from them.

Word of Maus-- Amen!