Archive for the ‘libertarian’ Tag

Now Available as 2-Book Series   Leave a comment

Two Cover MontageTransformation Project (Books 1 & 2). You can now purchase Life As We Knew It and Objects in View for $5.98

Life As We Knew It

Chaos changes everything!

Shane Delaney, a burned-out mercenary with a troubled past, returns home to small-town Kansas to heal his scars and quiet his demons, not planning to stay long enough for the townsfolk to reject who he has become.
He never expected the town to need his deadlier skills.

When a terrorist attack on distant cities abruptly transforms life as they knew it, the people of Emmaus must forge their own disaster plan to survive.

What would you do if the world as you know it ended today?

The people of Emmaus will find out.

 

Two Cover MontageObjects in View

Thirty million people died in the initial attacks. How will the survivors live in the aftermath?

The rain passes and the people of Emmaus emerge to find the world looks much the same as when they hid behind concrete.

Then reality sets in.

Death crept in while they hid. Signs of returning normality offer hope, but the transformation of the United States is underway and electricity and food supplies are the least of their problems.

If your world suddenly spun out of control, where would you go?

#Free #Giveaway Continued   Leave a comment

Hullabaloo Front CoverThe giveaway for Hullabaloo on Main Street continues through the weekend.

For a committed democrat, it sure does suck when you lose an election.

You know what I mean?

Nearly half the country refuses to listen to the other half. We think we know what the other side means, but we never venture outside our own bubbles to actually find out.

#Libertarian Connor infiltrates both bubbles in a Midwestern town on Election Wednesday 2016 and brings readers along for a wry non-partisan tour of the “Bubble Battles.” He even offers a solution … not that any bubble dwellers will listen.

This #novelette is a work of #fiction based upon real-life events. Any resemblance to yourself or people you know is purely coincidental.

#Political #satire from a #nonpartisan perspective.

Welcome to the Bubble Battles   1 comment

Take a walk through America’s “bubble battles” with someone without a dog in the fight.

 

Hullabaloo Front CoverFor a committed democrat, it sure does suck when you lose an election.

 

You know what I mean?

 

Nearly half the country refuses to listen to the other half. We think we know what the other side means, but we never venture outside our own bubbles to actually find out.

 

Libertarian Connor infiltrates both bubbles in a Midwestern town on Election Wednesday 2016 and brings readers along for a wry non-partisan tour of the “Bubble Battles.” He even offers a solution … not that any bubble dwellers will listen.

 

This novelette is a work of fiction based upon real-life events. Any resemblance to yourself or people you know is purely coincidental.

Amazon

What’s on My Kindle?   6 comments

Do You Have A Reading List For The Year? What is it and why?

 

Let’s start with the fact that I don’t have a Kindle. I still prefer to read books that have that paper and ink aroma to them. Amazon might make more ebook sales if they attached an aroma therapy app to the books. But I do read some non-fiction and ebooks that lack physical copies on my laptop.

But I do read some non-fiction and ebooks that lack physical copies on my laptop.

So, what’s on my reading list for 2017? I will dispense with the bits and pieces I read as research for novels and blog posts. You have other things to do today than read about my reading list and that’s just too big of a library.

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In 2017, I’ve already read North to Alaska, a history of Alaska Statehood by my former editor, Dermot Cole, and Ravi Zacharias’ Jesus Among Other Gods (this is a re-read).

I’m currently finishing Mockingjay, third book in the Hunger Games trilogy.

If George RR Martin comes out with another book in the Song of Fire & Ice series, I’ll read that. It’s not that I love Martin, but having come so far in the series, I want to know how the stupid story ends.

Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer“, third book in the Stormlight Saga, comes out in November. I’ll pick it up as soon as it’s available, because I love this series, but November is kind of late in 2017 to make the list.

Image resultI am having another go at Terry Brooks’ Shanara Chronicles. I couldn’t get into them in the past, but the television series has made me think I’m being unfair, so I bought The Elfstones of Shanara because that was available at Barnes & Noble, not realizing that The Sword of Shanara comes first. (Could it be that I couldn’t get into this series because I tried to read them out of order? Distinct possibility). I will read that before I read Elfstones. I just picked it up at the bookstore a few days ago. That’s a huge series, so that could easily overlap into 2018 … assuming I can even get into the first book because I’ve failed to connect with his story in the past.

I’m also trying to read Kate Elliott’s “Black Wolves” series, but might not get to it until 2018. Kate Elliott is a favorite author, though not all of her series get my attention.

Over on the non-fiction side, I’m planning to read Frederic Bastiat’s Economic Sophisms and Henry Hazlitt’s The Foundations of Morality, but I am currently reading Lawrence W. Reed’s Great Myths of the Great Depression. Expect to see some blog posts on that in the near future. I also pulled out On Walden Pond the other day and am thinking it would be a great time to renew my acquaintance with Thoreau.

I also found a couple of Agatha Christie books at the used book store a while back. I’ve been trying to write a mystery and it might help to really get into the mindset.

And then there are all the books my writer friends ask me to read and sometimes review.

My reading list is not set in stone. I revise my goals depending on all sorts of variables. For now, though, these are what I hope to read this year.

REVISION: I should also add that I get a lot of indie requests and I belong to an author’s cooperative publisher, so I will definitely be reading some indie books this year, including folks from this blog hop. I am notoriously glacial at reviewing, so I don’t like to list people who covet my reviews on their toes so to speak while I take months to post a review. I owe too many authors reviews now without making promises for 2017.

 

Understanding the Native Housing “Crisis”   5 comments

I ran across this article on how Native Americans are a large percentage of the homeless population because they are often couch surfing and live in a secession of overcrowded homes. The article comes from the UK publication The Guardian, so I read it with interest and then felt compelled as a tribal member to comment.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/06/americas-forgotten-crisis-50-percent-native-american-tribe-homeless?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=220667&subid=11404366&CMPToday

Image result for image of cherokee indian reservation housingThe federal government is responsible for managing Indian affairs for the benefit of all Indians. It has largely failed in that responsibility, resulting in Native American reservations being are among the poorest communities in the United States. Here’s how the government keeps Native Americans in poverty.

Chief Justice John Marshall set Native Americans on the path to poverty in 1831 when he characterized the relationship between Indians and the government as “resembling that of a ward to his guardian.” With these words, Marshall established the “federal trust doctrine”, assigning the government as trustee of Indian affairs. That trusteeship continues today, but being treated like minor children has not served Indians well.

This doctrine rests on the foundational notion that tribes are incapable of owning or managing their lands. With the exception of Alaska, government is the legal owner of all land and assets in Indian Country and is required to manage them for the benefit of Indians. Hawaiian Native land is held in trust by the State of Hawaii. Alaskan Native land is not held individually, but is controlled by Alaska Native Corporations.

Because Indians do not generally own their land or homes on reservations, they cannot mortgage their assets for loans like other Americans. This makes it incredibly difficult to start a business in Indian Country. Even tribes with valuable natural resources remain locked in poverty. Their resources amount to “dead capital”—unable to generate growth for individuals within tribal communities.

If the tribe discovers resources to develop, it isn’t free to make use of that opportunity. All development projects on Indian land must be reviewed and authorized by the government, a notoriously slow and burdensome process. On Indian lands, companies must go through at least four federal agencies and 49 steps to acquire a permit for energy development. Off reservation, it takes only four steps. This bureaucracy prevents tribes from capitalizing on their resources.

It’s not uncommon for years to pass before the necessary approvals are acquired to begin energy development on Indian lands—a process that takes only a few months on private lands. At any time, an agency may demand more information or shut down development. Simply completing a title search can cause delays. Indians have waited six years to receive title search reports that other Americans can get in just a few days.

Thanks to the legacy of federal control, reservations have complicated legal and property systems that are detrimental to economic growth. Jurisdiction and land ownership can vary widely on reservations as a result of the government’s 19th century allotment policies. Navigating this complex system makes development and growth difficult on Indian lands.

One such difficulty is fractionated land ownership. Federal inheritance laws required many Indian lands to be passed in equal shares to multiple heirs. Any Indian who didn’t win clear title to land by 1934 was left with a fractional share of the reservation’s land held in trust. With every generation, each share was divided among more family members and today hundreds of people may have a partial claim to one share of trust land. Often there are no records of where many of these people are. On the Crow reservation, 1 million of the 2.3 million acres are held in trust for such individuals. The Dawes Act created another problem: The non-Indian owners of privatized land in a reservation have always faced legal questions over whether they come under the jurisdiction of the tribal authority. The checkerboard pattern of private and trust land in some reservations make it tough for tribes to provide services and do land-use planning. After several generations, some of these lands may have hundreds of owners per parcel. Managing these fractionated lands is nearly impossible, so much of the land remains idle.

The result is that many investors avoid Indian lands altogether. When development does occur, federal agencies are involved in every detail, even collecting payments on behalf of tribes. The royalties are then distributed back to Indians, if the government doesn’t lose the money in the process.

Prosperity is built on property rights, and reservations demonstrates what happens when property rights are weak or non-existent. Because the vast majority of land on reservations is held communally under federal trust, residents can’t get clear title to the land where their home sits … which explains the abundance of mobile homes on reservations. This prevents Native Americans from establishing credit so they can borrow money to improve their homes because they can’t use the land as collateral. Besides, investing in something you don’t own doesn’t make a lot of economic sense.

This leads to what economists call the “tragedy of the commons”: If everyone owns the land, no one does and that results in substandard housing and the barren, rundown look that comes from a lack of investment, overuse and environmental degradation. It’s a look that’s common worldwide, wherever secure property rights are lacking. We’ve all seen pictures of Africa and South America, inner city housing projects and rent-controlled apartment buildings in the U.S. that look similar to Indian reservations.

Interestingly, more than a third of the Crow reservation’s 2.3 million acres is individually owned, and the contrast with the communal land—often just on the other side of a fence—is stark. You should Google view it. Terry Anderson, executive director of the Property & Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana, co-authored a study showing that private land is 30-90% more productive agriculturally than the adjacent trust land. The land isn’t better: A study of 13 reservations in the West put 49% of the land in the top four quality classes, while only 38% of the land in the surrounding counties was rated that highly. For the Crow reservation, 48% of the land made the top four classes; only 33% of the adjacent land did.

“The raw quality of the land is not that much different, it’s the amount of investment in that land that’s different.” Terry Anderson, Executive Director, Property & Environmental Research Center, Bozeman, Montana

Any land reform effort must go through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which isn’t about to pave the way for its own demise by signing off on an effort to privatize reservation land. Under the 1887 Dawes Act, land could be allotted to individual Indians (and my ancestors took advantage of this in Kansas), but by 1934 so much land had been privatized that Congress reversed course and returned to a policy of communal tribal property.

“Allotment threatened the bureau so it had an incentive to end the process.” Dominic Parker, an economics professor at Montana State University.

Image result for crow indian reservation montanaI can guarantee you that my tribe’s council is like most other councils and have no intentions of giving up the patronage and power that comes with controlling vast amounts of land. Washington DC spends $2.5 billion a year on Native American programs, which is a powerful deterrent to change.

“For the bureau and other narrow interests, staying with the convoluted system of land ownership is safer than improving property rights,” Dominic Parker

And then there’s that fractionated land, again.

Anderson puts the choice for tribes in sharp terms:

“If you don’t want private ownership, and want to stay under trusteeship, then I say, ‘fine.’ But you’re going to stay underdeveloped; you’re not going to get rich.”

It’s more than reservation residents not having the right incentives to upgrade their surroundings. With some exceptions, even casinos haven’t much benefited the dozens of reservations that have built them, which includes my own. Companies and investors are often reluctant to do business on reservations—everything from signing up fast food franchisees to lending to casino projects—because getting contracts enforced under tribal law can be iffy. Indian nations can be small and issues don’t come up that often, so commercial codes aren’t well-developed and precedents are lacking. Indian defendants have a home court advantage.

“We’re a long way from having a reliable business climate. Businesses coming to the reservation ask, ‘What am I getting into?’ The tribal courts are not reliable dispute forums.” Bill Yellowtail, former Crow official and former Montana state senator

Many reservations are rich in natural resources, but there’s no big rush to develop them, given the tangled issue of property rights and the risk of making a big investment without a secure legal footing.

“We have 9 billion tons of high-quality coal sitting under the reservation, going largely untapped. Natural gas, too. Potential development galore, but that potential is never realized.” Yellowtail

Some tribes are taking steps to improve their legal structures, such as adopting new commercial codes to make their laws more uniform. Over a 30-year period, reservations that had adopted the judicial systems of the states where they’re located saw their per capita income grow 30% faster than reservations that didn’t, according to a study by Anderson and Parker. A separate study by Parker showed that Native Americans are 50% more likely to have a loan application approved when lenders have access to state courts.

“Putting reservations under the legal jurisdiction of the states, and facilitating better legal codes and better functioning court systems, would assist tribes in developing their land,” Anderson

Personally, I think a larger obstacle to these reforms isn’t logistics or special interests, but the culture of the reservations and the generational dependency. I don’t know a lot of tribal members who donate their “per capita payment checks”—derived from tribal nation trust income — back to the tribe.

“Privatizing land is fine but it falls far short of the answer. Our people don’t understand business. After 10 or 15 generations of not being involved in business, they’ve lost their feel for it. Capitalism is considered threatening to our identity, our traditions. Successful entrepreneurs are considered sell-outs, they’re ostracized. We have to promote the dignity of self-sufficiency among Indians. Instead we have a culture of malaise: ‘The tribe will take care of us.’ We accept the myth of communalism. And we don’t value education. We resist it.” Yellowtail

Yellowtail believes that the situation is improving. I agree with him in part. There are more reservation entrepreneurs than 20 years ago as networks of Native American business people have sprung up in Montana, Oklahoma and elsewhere.

“We have to start with micro loans, encouraging small businesses. Then we have to make it okay to leave the reservation because the most successful are going to want to branch out. Entrepreneurs are going to have to stick their neck out, be a role model. We Indians are going to have to do it.” Yellowtail

What it really comes down to is that we have these enclaves of the 3rd world inside the richest country in the world and it’s mainly because of government regulations designed to “protect” Indians, but that actually treat them like children and prevent them from making decisions in their own best interests.

Yeah, there’s alcoholism and a horrible past of white people misusing Indians in past generations, but the current system doesn’t work because it can’t work. Lack of private property rights is the single-largest driver of poverty worldwide, so why should we be surprised that it’s the single-largest driver of reservation poverty?

You’re not going to hear every Native American say that because so many of them believe the lies that the reservation protects their culture and keeps them from being exploited. They’ve been mislead that in the past Indians didn’t believe in private property. I know members of my own tribe who believe that even though history shows they had private property rights that were somewhat similar the American colonists.

If we want to fix the reservations, the best way to do it is for the government to turn the land over to the tribes with the proviso that the land be allotted into private hands by a certain date and then white people just got out of the way and let Indians figure it out.

Watch! There’ll be a McDonald’s on the corner across from the casino by Friday and a Walmart opening before Christmas. Maybe there will be few failed businesses and mistakes made along the way. That’s the price of being treated like an adult.

 

 

Chaos Changes Everything   Leave a comment

lela-markham-book-cover#free 1 day only Life As We Knew It. “Terrorist attacks on distant cities forces a small town to forge its own disaster plan. What would you do?” Book 1 of Transformation Project

Interview with Wolf DeVoon   2 comments

Today’s interview is with Wolf DeVoon, who I met through the radio program Patriot’s Lament, where the topic was not his fiction, but his writings on the constitution and libertarian thinking. Tell us something about yourself. 

 

Wolf Devoon Author PicI started in a small Rust Belt village, got out as soon as I could, went to the nearest big city. Not very good at paying bills. Married four times.

 

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I wrote and produced a class play in 3rd grade. Wanting to become a writer was never a goal as such. I got beaten into it, more or less, when I realized that I wasn’t going to make it as a film director. I wrote screenplays in the 1980s, some of them work-for-hire, others on spec, worked on and off as a film editor, freelance film & TV director, kept at it doggedly until the mid-90s. Then one day I found myself in a cubicle at Disney, spending Mickey’s money to transfer other people’s movies to home video, and it was over. They say when a great director dies, he becomes a cameraman. I became a writer instead, started a novel.

 

Tell us about your writing process.

I start with a character in a difficult situation, a vague idea of where it’s going, but it seems to unfold in unexpected ways. I wrote an essay about it, spoke of it as a temple with its own mad logic of dramatic necessity – and I’m incapable of doing anything else when I write, until it’s finished, writing every day for months.

 

 

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

 

I admire Scott Fitzgerald, read him and marvel, but Chandler and Hammett shaped how I see the world — a lone wolf who survives by the skin of his teeth, because he knows what makes people tick. For fun, I re-read Robert Louis Stevenson. I write a genre that I call “bang-ow, with sex scenes.” Not hardboiled pulp, although a lot of people die. The foreground is always an adult romance.

 

 

What are you passionate about?

 

Wolf VALOR COVER 600px (1)That’s a tough question. When I started as a teenage filmmaker, I loved the smell of raw stock. I got lucky in Hollywood, had a brilliant mentor who taught me how to direct actors, and there’s a special sort of exaltation in an editing room, to make the screen come alive. There was a sign in the Australian Film Academy that said: When the shooting stops, the filmmaking begins. That’s how I build scenes in a novel. Words became my raw stock and action and sound.

 

I love that metafor. What is something you cannot live without?

 

Truthfully? I haven’t been lovingly touched in years. It’s killing me.

 

 

When you are not writing, what do you do?

 

Promote my books, read financial news, do physical work. I spent a year clearing land and supervising construction of a house. Took a long time to clean up, do finish carpentry. At the moment I’m staring at a blank future, nowhere to go and nothing to do, except write.

 

 

Ooo, the infamous blinking cursor. Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

 

My latest was a real breakthrough. Previous books took every ounce of my energy. ‘A Portrait of Valor’ was easy to write, but I went through a dozen boxes of tissues, cried my eyes out in triumph and tender admiration for Chris and Peachy.

 

 

Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

 

Life on life’s terms. That’s the short answer. When seconds count, the police are doing something else, unable to save life or stop a bad guy.

 

 

So true! What sort of research do you do for your novels?

 

‘Mars Shall Thunder’ required a lot of technical research, architectural design, utility engineering, maps, etc. ‘A Portrait of Valor’ needed place-name and spelling verification. I asked an FBI pal to read the draft of a chapter for authenticity, and she suggested certain weapons that a professional killer would carry.

 

 

So it varies. If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

 

There are better writers.

 

 

Do you have a special place where you write?

 

Desk, keyboard, ashtray, coffee pot, music, a place to lay down. Alone. It’s always been that way from the beginning. There had to be a room no one else enters. ‘A Portrait of Valor’ was written in a small tin barn. Years ago, one of my first projects was written in a tack room, 6V lantern on a hook over a manual typewriter.

 

 

 

Sounds atmospheric. Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

 

The answer is slightly embarrassing. The goal of my work is to show that freedom matters, that people have to act, come hell or high water, win lose or draw.

 

 

Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

 

Ray Chandler gave me permission to forget about plot (although I like intrigue, action, seemingly hopeless predicaments). Believability is a matter of style.

 

 

Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

 

I try to plan, always need to see where it’s going, yet two-thirds is discovery. The business of writing is forcing characters to discover what matters, and it’s usually not what anyone expects. None of my people remain unchanged. It was drilled into me by critic Bill Kerr (How Not To Write A Play). Show the transformation on stage. There is no drama unless we see someone transformed. Very difficult to predict that in advance. It has to be discovered as the characters move and grow.

 

 

Absolutely. What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

 

I’ve settled on first-person for a series with Chris and Peachy.

 

 

Do you head-hop?

 

Yes – and got complaints from editors I pitched. When Chris goes to prison, I jump to Peachy first-person (“Mrs. Blount’s Chapter”) because she has all the interesting obstacles and decisions to make.

 

In previous stories, I’ve used third-person, first-person, head-hopping, at times a sort of blurt heat / image / mind fire, to render great passion. Worse: commentary on the human condition, to say: Look at this, see what it means.

 

 

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

 

Laptop, solar charger, tools. Tender Is The Night, The Fountainhead.

 

 

Talk about your books individually.

 

FIRST FEATURE (2007)

autobiography, subtitled ‘A Rake’s Progress in Downtown Gomorrah’

my first, perhaps best literary work, written 1988, revised 2004

 

LAISSEZ FAIRE LAW (2007)

a collection of essays, evolution of my thought on liberty and justice

In prison, I vowed to do something about government. It took 25 years.

 

THE GOOD WALK ALONE (2007)

16-chapter serial fiction written for Laissez Faire City Times

main character is a female cop, homicide investigator, warrior

 

MARS SHALL THUNDER (2008)

first draft 1998, rewritten and tightened 2002

Harry and Laura destroy a colonial paradise

 

THE CONSTITUTION OF GOVERNMENT IN GALT’S GULCH (2014)

compares utopian fiction and real-world experience

 

AN EGGSHELL ARMED WITH SLEDGEHAMMERS (2015)

https://www.amazon.com/Eggshell-Armed-Sledgehammers-Wolf-DeVoon/dp/1532984243

collection of essays, satire, anecdotes, and dream fiction

 

ROCK AND ROLL REST HOME (2016)

anthology of silly stories

 

A PORTRAIT OF VALOR (2016)

http://www.lulu.com/shop/wolf-devoon/a-portrait-of-valor/paperback/product-23015202.html

detective novel

 

RUBE (to be published posthumously)

memoirs

 

 

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

 

Hot water seeks its own level. It’s possible to find each other, mate for life, unquestionably worthy of each other, destined to love, price no object.

 

 

 

 

 

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

 

That they lost awareness of author, text, typography – immersed in story.

 

 

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

 

No choice.

 

 

If you have experience with both traditional and indie publishing, compare the two.

 

In 1990 I co-authored a reference book that sold well, 6,000 hardcover and 4,000 paperbacks, with foreign rights revenue and a Simon & Schuster offer, quite a lot of publicity, book signings, good reviews in library journals, radio interviews.

 

Self-publishing is no money, no publicity, no sales.

 

 

There are people believe that traditional publishing is on the ropes, that self-publishing is the future. Do you agree? Why?

 

It works for some authors, especially celebrities, fantasy/horror, thrillers.

 

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishng?

 

None.

 

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

 

Distribution, chain bookstore sales, radio and TV chat shows, bestseller lists

 

 

With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

 

I can’t and don’t. A few people know my work.

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