The Fretts Perspective

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The Fretts Perspective

The Fretts Perspective will be a source for articles, addresses, position papers, responses, and other observations from Calen.

[watch on YouTube]

I am Calen Fretts. People tell me I must be mad to run for Congress in the First District as a Libertarian. They say the Republican Party armor is far too thick to make a dent.

I don't like attitudes like that. They make people who deserve better settle for less.

You see, I'm a blessed man. I have a home, a business, a wonderful fiancée, and I live in the greatest country in the world - a country that flourished by protecting individual rights, free markets, and limited government. I want my neighbors and future family to prosper.

I can't stay silent when I see the best parts of America withering away. A lot of that comes from Congress doing things it shouldn't.

Take the debt ceiling, for example. Just this past August it was raised again by $2 trillion. Numbers have gotten so big, it's tough to completely understand them, but $2 trillion means about $7000 in new debt, forced by the government, at interest, forever, on every man, woman and child in the country. Mind you, the federal government has spent $15 trillion already, and is set to spend a lot more.

Another example is Congresspersons giving up their powers to a "Supercommittee" so that they don't have to make tough decisions. It is dead wrong for a member of Congress to give up power to such a group. He may as well not be in Congress at all.

There is more. Most of my neighbors detest the thought that government is everyone's nanny. The resistance to Obamacare, with its obvious costs and personal restrictions, instantly comes to mind. But the Republican Party doesn't want to repeal Obamacare, they want to "repeal and replace" it with their own version that will also have costs and personal restrictions.

Add the Patriot Act to the list. Enacted without time to be read, it was sold to a frightened public as the way to keep us safe. It led to secret lists, government permission to travel, abusive searches on airlines, warrantless searches of Americans, zero financial privacy, and soon will lead to checkpoints in train stations, bus stations, and even open roads. This is America, the land of the free? What good is it for a country to gain the whole world, yet forfeit its own soul?

Even the rule of law is now in question. Congress has actually exempted itself from insider trading laws, meaning acts that we lowly citizens would go to jail for make them rich. The government uses fake accounting methods. Large financial companies, supposedly regulated by the government, repeatedly violate the law (some even get bailouts), and no one goes to jail.

Don't take my word for it. Read the news yourself. These things are already happening, and happening by the hand of those in Congress.

In a land founded on individual rights, our government, at all levels, taxes us, limits us, regulates us, commands us, and threatens our way of life more than ever. These assaults on liberty are branded as keeping us safe, or investing in the future, or the lesser of two evils, or being fair, or even compassion for our fellow citizens. No one can feel secure in their property, papers, or personal effects anymore. The abuses are everywhere, and are being enabled by Republicans and Democrats alike.

I may be young, but I know when I am being taken advantage of, and I don't like it.

Congress is the key. I am about standing firm on no new debt. I am about political competition. I am about fighting the nanny state and all its ills. I am about maintaining our liberty instead of trading it for the illusion of security. I am for free, not managed, markets. Most of all, I am for the rule of law. We are not a country of truth and justice for some.

The proper role of government is to defend the country, impose justice on those who use force or fraud on others, and act within the limits of our Constitution. It is not to own businesses, or grant favors.

It won't be fixed by choosing the same politicians again either.

This is what I am about.

[watch on YouTube]

Another important concern was raised this week in response to last Friday night's Campaign Kickoff address, regarding my criticism of the Republicans' "Repeal and Replace" plan. The question: "Isn't the Pre-Existing Conditions mandate necessary to protect us from fraud by the insurance companies?" Let's start with some background.

For months leading up to the House Republicans' landslide victory last November, all they could talk about was "ending" Obamacare with their "Repeal and Replace" plan. And for good reason; ending Obamacare was probably the marquee element of the perfect storm. But since that time, those same Republicans have gone silent on the issue. They said they'd made "A Pledge to America". They've gone back on that pledge.

Some argue that other issues such as the debt limit have come up, relegating socialized healthcare to the back burner. No doubt, the debt limit is extremely important. But one would be hard pressed to believe that Republicans have spent all their time contemplating these important issues. One only has to flip to C-SPAN for 10 minutes to hear our supposed "representatives" waste massive amounts of time dedicating post offices and honoring sports teams to realize the truth. The truth is, Republicans campaigned on Repeal and Replace because it was politically expedient for them. Now that they've successfully retaken the majority, all bets are off.

And why should they continue to press the issue, anyways? Obamacare contains a number of mandates which, should the Republicans attempt to repeal, might lose them favor in the public eye. It just might not be a popular move. And why should Republicans stand on principle and true conservative values when the status quo is so comfortable?

Take the Pre-Existing Conditions mandate, for example. This mandate is arguably the most dangerous Obamacare stipulation in the first place, and will inevitably lead to a single-payer system. Here's how:

Imagine buying a brand new car. For whatever reason, you decide not to insure it (couldn't afford it, had a bad driving record, or maybe you just thought you could beat the odds), so you drive it around uninsured for a few years. Eventually you get in an accident, and you’re stuck with the bill. You could try to get insurance on the car at this point, but the insurance companies will have none of it. Now imagine if the insurance companies were legally required to accept your wreckage and buy you a new car at this point. People simply would have no incentive to pay for insurance until the benefit is higher than the cost. The amount of money going into the pool would cease, premiums would necessarily skyrocket, and in no time, the private insurance industry would look just like your car: crashed.

Of course, once the private insurance industry was erased, the government would have "no choice" but to step in and provide a public option. Insurance is a hedge against your odds of eventually needing it – you pay in when things are good and it pays out when things are bad. But the Pre-Existing Conditions mandate creates an environment where people only purchase insurance once they need it. In a way, this mandate is oddly reminiscent of Social Security - it creates a condition where money is being sucked from the pot at a much faster pace than it is being added - Ponzi scheme, anyone? And we all know where Social Security is headed.

Now for the stunner, in case you weren't aware: the Republicans' "Repeal and Replace" plan maintains the Pre-Existing Conditions mandate! How can the Republicans perpetuate the most massive private industry intrusion while touting the free market, you ask? Isn't that anti-conservative? Doesn't it sound oddly "progressive"? Ah... the Elephant in the room.

The US people demand a complete repeal of Obamacare, NOT the Republicans' plan for "Repeal and Replace". If America wishes to avert a public, rationed system the likes of other second-rate countries, it must deregulate and free up the healthcare industry and let the free market drive costs back down. If Republicans truly believe in the free market, then why "replace" Obamacare with anything?

What is the proper role of government? To preempt and intervene in contracts and individual choice, or instead to protect the individual against force or fraud, merely enforcing contracts if broken? It is the Constitutional responsibility of the judiciary, not the legislature, to arbitrate and enforce contracts. So what do the contracts say? If the individual signs a contract with a health insurance company stating that the insurance company cannot terminate the contract as long as the bill is paid, then the judiciary should enforce that contract. If, on the other hand, the contract states that it can be terminated at any time, then the judiciary should enforce that contract (but who would sign this contract?). It is not the role of government to assume responsibility for the individual, but instead, to enforce contracts.

Conservatives should take many Republicans to task over this. The first question that must be asked is "Why didn't you keep your promise to continue fighting Obamacare?". The second is "Why not repeal Obamacare and replace it with nothing?" Lastly, "Since you support the Pre-Existing Conditions mandate, I take it you support socialized healthcare?"

Not to mention, many Republicans also voted to override President Bush's veto on an additional expansion of Medicare, choosing to add even more greasy bureaucratic hands into the government healthcare pot. For self-proclaimed defenders of "free markets", many Republicans' actions certainly seem to endorse government control of them. This harms everyone with increased healthcare prices, both in the short and in the long run.

Libertarians, on the other hand, are consistent on limited government. We want government out of all aspects of our lives - not arbitrarily, where the politicians get to pick and choose. The Libertarian Party is the party of true conservatism.

Or, stick with the Republicans, and they'll stick with going back on promises and increasing failed government welfare programs. What's new?

More Info:

[watch on YouTube]

After Friday night's Campaign Kickoff address in which the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)'s naked body scanners and aggressive touching techniques were called into question, an excellent concern was raised by an attendee: without such practices from the TSA, how would we remain safe in airplanes?

To answer this, we must first examine the event which brought about the TSA in the first place: namely, 9/11. In the wake of 9/11, there was a mad dash by many in our government to step in and ensure that it (the government) would never allow something like this to happen again. One such action was to require that impenetrable cockpit doors be installed in all commercial airliners, and remain locked for the duration of all flights. This was in fact a legitimate function of the U.S. government; since by doing so it ensured that airliners were no longer susceptible to hijacking, it consequently ensured that the United States was no longer susceptible to a terrorist attack from within its own borders in the form of airliners as missiles.

With that, though, we reach the end of the federal government's legitimate (that is, Constitutional) authority over the private sector. Private airlines should be allowed to choose for themselves what level of security and screening they will provide. Customers, then, are given the choice: do I want to fly on the airline that uses only a standard metal detector and x-ray machine, or do I want to endure naked body scanners and touching for a perceived added level of safety?

Yes, a terrorist would be more likely to try to board the airline with less intrusive screening procedures. This is the risk that should be left to the customer. However, the customer also takes the exact same risk when boarding a train, or a bus, or attending an event, or doing any number of things that require equal or less security. We as American citizens have kept airplanes in their own isolated category of perceived danger, mistakenly; after the cockpit doors were added, airplanes returned to the same level of risk as any other method of transportation.

We are forced to draw a distinction; it is not the federal government's duty to preemptively protect each citizen from every possible danger; rather, it is the federal government's purview to secure the national defense, and to then protect the individual's right to choose how and to what extent he will either subject himself to risk or protect himself from it.

Additionally, through the TSA, the federal government (and therefore, We the People) assumes moral, legal, and fiscal accountability in place of private industry. Note that, since the federal government subsidizes airplane security, it does so at a cost to the taxpayer of millions of dollars per year. And, if and when there are lawsuits, the taxpayer is on the hook. In the economic sense, it is just another case of corporate welfare to the airlines.

And let's not kid ourselves; the TSA has not been a shining example of excellence in doing its job. Just recently, a man accidentally brought his handgun through security and onto an airplane - twice - and was only discovered when it fell out of his bag and onto the airplane floor. A perfect example of your tax dollars at work! There's a theory called "tragedy of the commons." It says, in short, that no man (or business, or government) takes care of another's property as well as his (or its) own. Who do you expect to take better care of the airlines - the government, or the airlines?

Fortunately, we here in Northwest Florida are not forced to be subjected to the naked body scanners and aggressive touching techniques, as our airports use more conventional security methods. But I personally have had these experiences in other airports across the U.S., and they are demoralizing. For that matter, why are these techniques so essential at some airports, but not at others? If they were really critical for our safety, wouldn't they be in place everywhere? The TSA may give the illusion of security, but unfortunately, it is just an illusion.

So, "cui bono?" Who benefits? The airline industry. The security industry - Michael Chertoff (former DHS Secretary) and his company, Rapiscan (this is actually what the company is named). Statists and authoritarians.

Who loses? The American citizen. The taxpayer. Liberty. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." And they will end up with neither, as well.

When deciding on this issue, ask yourself this: do we as individuals have the responsibility to decide for ourselves (as long as we harm no one else, of course) what level of "safety" vs "freedom" we each desire? Or does the federal government have the authority to "protect" us from ourselves, at the expense of becoming a nanny state? Let the Constitution be your guide.

[watch on YouTube]

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for coming out tonight. My name is Calen Fretts, and first I'd like to quickly tell you a bit about myself, and why I'm here. I am a Christian. I graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Computer Science and I currently run a small web development company called Alpha Web Presence. I can't wait to be married to my beautiful fiancee, Allison, in a few short months. I currently serve as the Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County, or LPOC. I have been engaged in politics for years now, and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that the US government is a mess. I'm fed up with the course this great country has taken, and I'm ready to do something about it.
The Constitution was written with the intent to put chains on the government, restraining it to only a small number of specifically enumerated powers. Now, though, the roles have been flipped; the government has put the chains on the people and small business with mountains of debt, taxes, authoritarian encroachments, paperwork, and bureaucracy. I am on a mission to reverse that trend, so that my children and grandchildren may enjoy the blessings of growing up in a free society.
In the Declaration of Independence, the founding fathers declared that the king had sent "swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance." In other words, the government had put its boot on the neck of the American people. The people rose up together and cast off those chains. The Spirit of Liberty was revived, and it is that Spirit of 1776 that I wish to restore.
That's why I have decided today to declare my intent to run for U.S. House of Representatives right here in Florida's First Congressional District!
Now if I may, allow me to explain some of the reasons I decided to run for Congress.

The national debt has risen to meteoric and unsustainable levels. Just paying the interest on the debt alone consumes a huge percentage of the budget. My opponent has been complicit in almost tripling the national debt since taking office only 10 years ago. Let me put this in perspective: From the time the Constitution was signed in 1787 until the time my opponent took office in 2001 – that's 214 years - the national debt was only about 5.6 trillion. But since then, the national debt has grown to a whopping 16.7 trillion - and my opponent has voted to do so almost-if-not-every time! The share of this debt is over $48,000 for every man, woman, and child. Not to mention the un-Constitutional Super Congress! When I am elected, and I plan to be, I will not be bullied into voting for a single additional debt limit increase, at least until the budget has been balanced and deficit spending eliminated. And I certainly won't abdicate my Constitutional powers to a bipartisan "Super Committee."

Most people understand the inherent flaws in Obamacare. What you may not know is that my opponent wants government healthcare too, only in a different manner than Obama. He continues to support the Republican "Repeal and Replace" bill. Now, at first this may sound like a good thing to many – but – did you know that the Republicans' plan keeps the Pre-Existing Conditions mandate? If you go look at their "Pledge to America" website, it says, quote, "We will make it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition." Well this was the whole point for Obamacare's individual mandate in the first place! So the first question we must ask is "Why replace it with anything? Why not replace it with free markets: private insurance, private churches, charities, like a real conservative?" The second is "Why, of all things, maintain the Pre-Existing Conditions mandate?" This mandate was arguably the single most dangerous Obamacare stipulation from the start, and will inevitably lead to a single-payer system.
If you want to see how my opponent truly feels about the free market, look no further than the Issues page on his own website, under Telecommunications. What he calls for is tantamount to a complete government takeover of the telecommunications industry – state-run television – all because he believes, in so many words, that parents are just not responsible or capable enough to decide for themselves what they or their children should be able to watch on TV.
There's a simple philosophical question at play here: do you believe in the free market or not? When I am elected, I will be consistent on free markets; NO government involvement where it doesn't belong.

Lastly, we come to the Patriot Act and its blatant disregard of Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The  government no longer needs a warrant to seize your personal information... OR assets.
Then we have the TSA. I think of my fiancee, my sisters, my mother. In many locations, if they need to take a flight somewhere, the government either forces them into naked body scanners, or to endure a groping that would be illegal if the government weren't doing it. We here in the Panhandle had our own national debacle with the TSA this past year, with the story of Ms. Jean Weber's mother. And now they're doing this randomly at train and bus stops as well. And pretty soon, any time you want to travel, you'll have to go through naked body radiation scanners, or be searched, or groped.
My opponent not only subjected them to this, but has been one of the most ardent supporters. To me it is unconscionable how can anyone in Congress can allow their spouse, daughter, or mother to be subject to this sort of physical and emotional abuse! When I am elected, I will vehemently take a stand against this sort of authoritarian, Orwellian action. Does the government work for the people or do we work for the government?

So if you're wondering why I'm doing this, that's why. I'm going to do everything in my power to ensure that in five or ten years, when I have children, they are still blessed with the opportunity to grow up in a free society, as I was. I want to walk into Congress and instruct them that George Orwell's 1984 was meant to be a work of fiction, not an instruction manual. I want to restore the Spirit of 1776 in what's becoming the age of 1984. I plan to overturn the moneychangers' tables and be a voice of reason calling out in the wilderness.
What's the common thread here? The rule of law has been broken down - deteriorated and ignored at a rapid pace over the past decade. This is how all great nations have fallen throughout history. Everything the government does, it does by force; either directly or indirectly through the barrel of a gun. Libertarians want to minimize the use of force, and consequently, minimize government. We also want to eliminate the government-enabled fraud on Wall Street. We need to stop the looting, start the prosecuting!
So why vote Libertarian? For your wallet. For justice. For your way of life. Libertarians want to ensure this great nation will still be around in 50 years. The more of your money that is taken from you by the government, the more the rule of law is ignored and fat cat white collar banksters and criminals are left to pillage the citizenry without consequence, the longer our civil liberties are violated, the less opportunity the future will have. It is my mission to restore the Republic. Let it not be said that we did nothing.

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