Thursday, February 18, 2016

Austin Petersen for President – Caveat Emptor

As an author who writes fiction that follow Libertarian themes, I wanted to advertise.  Upon reviewing some options, I decided to advertise in Austin Petersen’s podcast.  This was in September; my first email was sent on 09/24/2015.  I had been following The Libertarian Republic for some time, and was aware of other work with Austen Petersen, in particular was when he worked with Judge Andrew Napolitano.  With the audience I saw possible from The Libertarian Republic, I saw a potential for a perfect target audience to market my books.  

My nonfiction eBooks are free, but my fiction are for sale and in order for them to be pitched appropriately through one of Austen Petersen’s podcasts, I sent him copies of each of my fiction books.  Inquiring as early as I did, my goal was to have two advertisements before Christmas, and I stated that in one of our phone conversations.  He said to give him to the end of the week and he would have copy for me to approve. 

At the end of the week, I received nothing.  I called and usually had to leave a message to inquire about the status.

It was weeks before he responded. 

In his response, he stated a point of concern he had was on my having multiple books and locations to reference.  Eventually I received one email from staff, and it had the initial copy for review.  I made my suggestions and returned it quickly.  After a couple more weeks passed without follow up from him, I finally contacted him in order to clarify the issue, reduced the references to ‘print at Amazon and eBook at Smashwords’.  More time passed, and he did not follow up.  After numerous calls (even on the same day) I finally spoke with him and we further clarified the issue and I agreed to create a website that was a one-stop spot (I should have done awhile ago), and he would send an email with links (he had saved) on his recommended sites.

Outside the copy (which was provided by staff), I received nothing more from Austin (and it was six weeks to receive the copy from his staff at The Libertarian Republic). 

I had spoken with Austin – most of the times were calls I initiated – numerous times, and each time he spoke well about what he would do and how he would benefit me.  In action, his inaction ensured if I was to have an ad with him, though there was space ready, it would not be available to me when I wanted it for he was not following through in a timely manner.  Ultimately, he would not follow through at all – not even an email with the links of his preferred websites in website creation.

I did my own research, created a one-stop site for anything related to my work.  This last step did not matter, for though I completed what he advised, he did not follow up with me again. 

When we were talking about still getting the advertisement, I asked him about the delays.  He was apologetic, saying he wanted to ensure I got the most for my money.  I did not get the most for my money for he failed to deliver what I wanted to purchase.

If he did not like my writing style, that would be fine; that is based upon appetite and you cannot appease everyone – I have had others praise my style.  If he was ‘intimidated’ by me, as he mentioned one of my emails sounded hostile (all I did was ask if he had a political problem as I know we differ on some positions), then he is too easily intimidated; if a simple email was enough to stop communication, what would he do on a debate stage when pressed? 

When my experience with Austin Petersen is summarized, three options are most likely; 1) simply, he is a liar.  However, that is far more of a claim than I am prepared to make.  Much more evidence is needed for that, and there is not anything to show his lack of follow-through was a lie.  2) He again felt intimidated from my calls and my emails.  He admitted my tone dissuaded him once; assuming it happened again is not outside the realm of possibilities.  3) I was just not enough of a priority to justify follow-through when he is running for president. 

I think the third option is the most likely.  I had given him more time in between contacts because of his presidential run and I was focusing on other projects (more books and a dissertation); however, I had also spoken with him – not staff at the Libertarian Republic, but Austin Petersen himself, and each time he said he would follow-up with me either later in the day or that week.  Those follow-throughs did not happen. 

When all is considered, his work speaks for him: The Libertarian Republic, Freedom Watch and the like.  The track record earned from those professional achievements is commendable.  What also speaks for him is the lack of follow-through.  I may just be a small-time author who may be brushed aside by one running for office, but regardless, I still expect someone to follow through with what they say they will do.  That such a one as myself may be brushed aside so easily speaks for him; if he is ready to disregard one who is not-too consequential in his mind, what would he do when it is more consequential? – Who would he ‘throw under the bus’ as he aligns others to something more akin to his desires?

From his completed works, he is a better producer (The Libertarian Republic and Freedom Watch), than he is a Presidential candidate.  I still enjoy the works he produces, but I would be remiss if I did not relay my experience with him.  In one of our conversations, he mentioned being for free market and building a reputation; he has built one he should be proud of as a producer, but he also earned a tarnished image as a candidate.

He may be a better candidate than any of the Republicans or Democrats, but that is such a comparison as asking whether one wants a sandwich or a malignant tumor.  I do not know or have interacted with Gary Johnson or John McAfee (the other two top Libertarian Party candidates), and from that I cannot say that they lack follow-through.  At least with the other candidates I cannot say it has been my experience that they make claims they do not follow through, which has been my experience with Austin Petersen.

Monday, February 15, 2016

On the ‘Criminal’ Bankers, and others

Much has been said by both activists and politicians who want to punish the ‘greedy bankers’ and the ‘corrupt Wall Street executives’ who caused the ‘financial meltdown’ and are currently manipulating the markets.  They are manipulating the markets in order ensure they are ‘able to rob from the poor and middle class’ in order to ‘deepen the divide between the rich and the poor’.  From the actions of the greedy bankers and the corrupt Wall Street executives that led to the economic downturn, the scorn is deserved, and possibly there should be some liability.  

However, that is where the activists and politicians stop: bankers and executives.  But that stoppage is not appropriate.

The crimes they committed is of wanting someone do something, or make some arrangement.
Making some parallels, we shall see who is the criminal, and who is the victim.
Three other types of exchanges that are criminal: soliciting a prostitute, buying drugs, and arranging an assassination of another (hiring a hitman).

In each of the aforementioned crimes, it is not just the one seeking the service that is deemed guilty of a legal offense; the one doing the act for hire is also guilty.  If a prostitute was waiting in a bar for potential clients, and in that bar, found one seeking her services, and the police found out, would they let the prostitute go free?  If there is someone selling drugs from his car, and another comes up and buys a bag of his choice drug, and the police catch them in the sale, do the police let the dealer go free?  If a spouse wants the insurance money from the new policy placed on the other spouse, hires a hitman to kill that insured spouse, and if the police found out about the conspiracy to commit murder, would the hitman himself go free?

The answer to each is: no.

However, the politicians who are being bought by these greedy bankers and corrupt Wall Street executives, are not only not being arrested, but are remaining in their positions of power – re-elected even with some – to continue to be able to offer their political clout as services to those who have the means of paying. 

In the three parallels, only the hitman was actually a violation of individual rights; one seeking drugs or sex is not harming anyone when each party’s actions are consensual.  If that one later violated another’s rights, it would be that act that is the criminal act, not the use of drugs or having sex.  The hitman kills; the politician using law uses the State and police to restrict the freedom and options of free individuals, and steal their money.

This theft can be direct, with taxes, or indirect with going into debt; either way, it is to fund that which the victim of State theft did not want to fund in the first place, such as the War on Drugs, War on Terror, and countless other government programs.

As the one purchasing drugs or sex harms no one, those criminal acts should not be criminal acts.  However, as murder and theft do involve harm to another, they should be criminal acts and punished accordingly. 

There is a point to remember with this: without the one who enacts the will of the one buying the sold product, there would not be a criminal act.  Without the hitman to commit the murder, the spouse will remain unhappy and spiteful, but those are not crimes.  Without the politician, the bankers and executives trying to buy favors will only have wishes that remain unfulfilled.  Try as much as the bankers and executives would like, without the State behind them, using the police and other legal means of force, customers would have an option and could go elsewhere (to a competitor); with the politician’s help, the options can be removed (e.g. licensing laws in areas that block competition like Uber or Lyft). 

The victims are those in society, for we are the ones who lose liberty, face fines, imprisonment and even death.  Resist the fines and arrest enough, even against unjust laws, and face the full force of legal punishment.

Let us stop prosecuting victimless crimes, and focus on the crimes where there are clear victims.  Just as having a hitman kill a spouse is conspiracy to commit murder, conspiring and then using force to arrest, detain, fine and kill people is racketeering and murder.  It is not any less of a crime when the government does it, though it may be overlooked – by those who would be guilty. 

Going after the corrupt bankers and executives is good, but not good enough.  To really enact change for society, go after the ones who make it all possible, are the points of interest that can be bought and sold by those who want favors to be done; go after the politicians.