by Alan Korwin
The political conventions and
primaries are behind us, the candidates are no longer "presumptive,"
and the elections loom on the horizon. It's time now to start asking tough
questions that media pundits typically overlook, and find out what sort of
leaders we are about to elect.
Although news outlets often appear to play
hardball with candidates, truly fundamental questions are rarely part of the
mix. The Liberty Poll makes this dramatically clear -- it is a fresh approach
designed to examine candidates' knowledge and views of:
1 - The United States constitutional form of
2 - The separate powers of federal and state government, and
3 - Constitutionally guaranteed civil and human rights.
Politicians have tended to express shock, or to
simply stammer when asked about such things. Some suddenly find they're late for
a meeting, and hurriedly duck out. But they can help us better understand their
views of the Constitutions they will take an oath to preserve, protect and
defend if they are elected to public office, by taking The Liberty Poll.
Reporters do the public a great service by injecting these revealing questions
into the national forum.
You should ask your local news media to use
questions from The Liberty Poll. Next time you see a "newsmaker"
yourself, instead of asking about corruption, or progress on project X, try
asking some of these questions instead, and see what happens.
In these days of expensive sound bites and
slogan campaigning, this is an eye-popping opportunity for voters to see their
future representatives' views on the public offices up for grabs, and to avoid
the wedge issues and glossy funding promises that politicos are eminently more
1 - If you are elected to the office you seek:
2 - Would you support criminal penalties:
a) what laws will you repeal;
b) what taxes will you reduce or eliminate;
c) what government agencies will you shrink or close?
3 – When did you last read the state and federal
a) for politicians who violate their oath of
b) for bureaucrats who act outside the powers delegated to them?
4 - Should someone who has sworn an oath to
preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, but who then votes to allocate
tax funds to programs or departments not authorized by that Constitution, be
removed from office?
5 - Can you name any current areas of
government operations that are outside the authority delegated to government?
6 - Can you name areas where government might
serve the public interest, but where it has no authority to act? If not, is it
still accurate to say we have "government of limited powers"? Does
7 - As a candidate for a state or federal
office, can you think of any ways to improve enforcement of the 10th Amendment
(the states and the people retain powers not delegated to the federal
8 - With regard to jury trials, should judges
be required to inform jurors that they have the power, in the sanctity of the
jury room, to decide whether a law in question is just, or constitutional?
Should schools teach this?
9 - With regard to due process, should judges be
allowed to prevent defendants from presenting a defense on constitutional
grounds if they so choose?
10 - With regard to the war on drugs, is the
war succeeding? When could it be declared a success, the expense of waging it
cease, and the tax-based infrastructure surrounding it be decreased or
dismantled? If it can't be declared a success, when might it be declared a
failure and brought to a close?
11 - With regard to law enforcement, are you in
favor of police being allowed to use deadly force when absolutely necessary to
protect innocent lives from criminal attack? Do you believe that people, even
people with no training of any kind, have less right to defend themselves than
the authorities do?
12 - With regard to the right to keep and bear
arms, would you support gun laws that would specifically disarm religious
individuals, either on the way to or at religious services?
13 - With regard to establishing a federal ID
number for every American, would you vote to enable or block such legislation if
it were proposed? Which part of the Constitution would authorize such controls?
14 - With regard to asset forfeiture laws and
policies, describe how these are permissible under the Constitution. If elected,
would you do anything to change current asset forfeiture law?
15 - If elected to the office you seek, would
you support legislation to license writers or register printing presses? Would
you support legislation to license publishers to help control "hate
speech?" Why would an honest writer or publisher object to such a program?
A followup module of The Liberty Poll, with
detailed questions for reporters to consider for extended interviews, appears
The Liberty Poll was developed by attorney
Michael P. Anthony, author Alan Korwin and syndicated columnist Vin Suprynowicz.
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Phoenix, AZ 85032
602-996-4020 Day phone
602-494-9320 Evening phone
Do you wonder why you typically don't hear
Liberty Poll style questions on the nightly news? For the same reason the
nightly news is so tame compared to the Internet. Why is that? Because
broadcasts in America are state controlled (and the web isn't, yet). You should
hear broadcast executives agonizing over programs that might jeopardize their
government license, and you'd think anew about how free is free speech.
THE LIBERTY POLL
The one-page Liberty Poll is distilled from a
range of questions proposed by three prominent writers on the American scene.
Here is the full range of questions, designed to make reporters and the public
think, and to inject fresh air into current political discourse.
(Proposed by attorney Michael P. Anthony)
Do not be surprised if you notice relevance in
these questions, even though little if any of this has appeared thus far in
standard American news reports.
The idea of The Liberty Poll was first proposed
by attorney Michael P. Anthony with the following set of questions.
1. Do you believe government is the right size?
Please answer separately (circle your response) for your state and federal
Your State: (a) too large, (b) about the right
size, or (c) too small.
Federal: (a) too large, (b) about the right
size, or (c) too small.
2. If elected, identify up to five laws, if any,
that you would seek to repeal or restrict, or circle: None.
3. If elected, identify up to five agencies, if
any, that you would seek to reduce or eliminate, or circle: None.
4. If elected, identify five laws, if any, that
you would seek to enact or expand, or circle: None.
5. If elected, identify five governmental
agencies, if any, that you would seek to create or expand, or circle: None.
6. Do you believe that if you are elected to
the office you seek, you should be sworn to preserve, protect and defend your
state Constitution (if elected to state or local office) and/or the U. S.
Constitution? (circle your response)
7. When did you last read the U.S. Constitution
and its Bill of Rights?
8. When did you last read your state's
9. List by number the Articles of the
"Bill of Rights" of the United States Constitution that you believe
should be preserved in the 21st century.
10. List by section numbers the sections of
your state Constitution's Bill of Rights that you believe should be preserved in
the 21st century.
11. In your understanding and view, which of
the following is correct?
12. If you are elected to the office you seek,
will you support and defend your state and U.S. Constitutions, including those
portions with which you might disagree?
_____ The states derive their power from the
_____ The federal government derives its power from the states and the people.
THE LIBERTY POLL
"So where do you stand, Senator..."
(Proposed by author Alan Korwin)
In part 2 of the Liberty Poll, author Alan
Korwin pursues issues in depth, primarily concerning balance of power, designed
for use in direct questioning of politicians during debates and public
In an introduction, Alan notes:
People complain about media bias when they see
constant distortion and misinformation that routinely passes for
"news." But perhaps the greatest bias results from news that never
appears, because important questions are never asked. Next time you see a
"newsmaker" try asking some of these questions yourself, and see what
Where do you stand, Senator, on deterrence
You know, is it legal for a person caught in
one of these media-hyped killing sprees to shoot back if they are able? Is there
any limit on the number of bullets they could use? Do you think they should be
charged with something if they manage to stop the attack and the attacker dies
in the process, or if they use a type of gun not on an approved list?
Where do you stand, Senator, on tax credits
You know, with all the accidents and costs
associated with gun violence, do you support a tax incentive to encourage
Americans to take courses that teach safe handling and use of firearms? Do you
think this statement is true: "Gun-safety training would cause accidents
and cost lives"?
Where do you stand, Senator, on poor
people's right to self defense?
You know, do people living in substandard
housing have the same right to protect their families as suburban homeowners, or
even politicians? Do you believe politicians or police officers are entitled to
armed protection that poor people are not? Do you support outlawing guns that
are affordable for poor people -- often derided as "junk guns" -- and
how do you respond to charges that this is a racist policy with blatant effects?
Where do you stand, Senator, on the civil
right to self defense?
You know, do you believe a person can legally
fight off a mortal attack by using lethal force? If a person is truly innocent
and survives such a confrontation, is the type of firearm or ammunition they use
any sort of legal problem after the fact?
Where do your stand, Senator, on gun laws
that would disarm Jews?
You know, like vice president Al Gore's plan
that would make anyone attending religious services a criminal if they also keep
and bear arms? Do you think a law that disarms Jews would be OK as long as it
disarms other religious individuals as well?
Where do you stand, Senator, on armed
intervention by police?
You know, are you in favor of the police being
able to use deadly force to protect innocent lives from criminal attack? Do you
believe a person, even one with no training at all in self protection, has any
less right to defend themselves than the police do? Would you support ammunition
limits for police firearms, or do you believe this might jeopardize police
safety? How high or low would you set those limits?
Where do you stand, Senator, on Sunshine Gun
You know, gun laws that encourage decent
behavior, and support training, as opposed to laws that seek to restrict the
civil rights of gun owners? Do you support laws that protect people who
legitimately defend themselves against crime?
Where do you stand, Senator, on a
Presumption of Innocence Act for abused women?
You know, when a woman shoots a man already
convicted of abusing her, within a court-ordered protective zone he's not
supposed to enter, should her actions be illegal? Would you support a legal
presumption that her acts are self defense, if there's no concrete evidence to
the contrary? Would you support awarding such survivors with a civilian medal of
Where do you stand, Senator, on the 240
felons the FBI and BATF ignore every day under the Brady law?
You know, the 240 criminals denied guns daily
by the national background check. The FBI has direct personal knowledge of
felony after felony, yet does not enforce the law and apprehend them. Do you
support that? How do you as a politician answer the complaint that, after $250
million spent on the Brady law, you don't arrest any of the criminals you find?
Do you think the "official" numbers are inflated, or did we really
identify and turn loose 800,000 crooks trying to buy a gun? What purpose does it
serve to leave these criminals on the street? If these criminal were arrested,
would crime drop? If you seek money for new gun laws, yet admit you do not
arrest gun criminals you already find under expensive existing laws, do you
think the public should see this as unwise public policy? Does failure to make
arrests under the Brady system help perpetuate the system's existence, and how
do you respond to charges that the system is, in large measure, a federal jobs
program for more than 1,000 people?
Where do you stand, Senator, on a federal ID
number for every American?
You know, a number required by the federal
government, without which you could not get or give money, make purchases,
travel or be employed. Do you think this is something the government should be
working on, or might this be the overbearing role of central government the
founders warned us about? If not, what would be? Where exactly in the
Constitution do you find language authorizing federal numbering of all people?
Do you support Ron Paul's bill to prohibit federal numbering and registration of
the general public?
Where do you stand on registering writers,
Senator, if you stand in favor of registering gun owners?
You know, would you be able to justify equal
procedures for all the rights under the Bill of Rights? If you don't favor
registering writers, why not? If a writer is honest, why would they care?
Where do you stand, Senator, on how much gun
law we should have?
You know, we have over 88,000 words now at the
federal level, how much do you think we need? Is there an outside limit we can
look forward to? When do you believe we'll have enough? Can you name any gun
crimes that have victims and are not already illegal?
Where do you stand, Senator, on a total gun
ban for anyone who voluntarily wants to sign up for such a ban?
You know, would you support a federal pledge
that people could make, to be forever banned from any access to firearms, under
penalty of felony charges? Do you think people who want guns banned would
register to ban themselves? Would you support such a no-gun-rights class of
citizenship in America if a majority in your district wanted it?
Where do you stand, Senator, on encroaching
on the Bill of Rights?
You know, is it OK to give up some of our
freedoms if it's to help prevent crime? Can you name any laws on the books take
this approach? Would you support or fight such laws is you are elected? Does the
government have any power to outlaw armed response to an armed attack, and if
so, where is that found in the Constitution?
Where do you stand, Senator, on a
marksmanship component for National Gun Safety Training Week?
THE LIBERTY POLL
"Hi, what is the purpose of
(Proposed by syndicated columnist Vin Suprynowicz)
Nationally syndicated columnist Vin Suprynowicz
produced a set of questions in response to his editors' request for a politician
questionnaire. His work builds upon the directions of the Liberty Poll, and are
useful for a more thorough analysis of a candidate's position on liberty and
In an introduction, Vin writes:
"If you get a chance to chat with one of
your local politicians at a picnic in your hometown this summer, don't fall into
the old trap of asking "What are you going to do to get more funding for
(insert your favorite government program here)?"
"Instead, try one or two of the questions
below. If you still believe this is the "land of the free," the
answers you hear -- or the look of horror that flashes briefly across that face
before he or she spots someone across the way he just HAS to go see -- may shock
1) Can lawmakers enact legislation for any
purpose "in the public interest," or are they limited to those
functions for which they've been delegated specific powers? Can you name some
areas where government could probably do some good, but where it has no
delegated power to act? If you can't name any such areas, is it still accurate
to say Americans have a "government of limited powers"? Does this
2) Can you name any departments or programs not
specifically authorized in the state's (or the nation's) founding documents?
Should someone who has sworn an oath to protect the Constitution, but who then
votes to allocate tax funds to programs or departments not authorized by that
Constitution, be punished? If not, why not?
3) Can you name a current tax that you would
repeal? A fee?
4) Are residents of our state free to engage in
any business they choose? Is operating any local business for profit a
privilege, for which a citizen should apply for a permit, paying a fee or tax?
Would you favor any changes in this regard?
5) Do residents of this state have a right to
buy and keep machine guns? Why or why not?
6) Do residents of this state have a right to
carry handguns openly on their hips without applying for or receiving a
"permit"? Why or why not? Would you change current law enforcement in
this area? In what way?
7) Should judges tell jurors they have a right
to decide whether the law in question is constitutional? Is it a fair trial if
the judge tells the jurors they do NOT have a right to decide the
constitutionality of the law? Should judges be allowed to prevent defendants
from presenting any defense they choose? If not, what is the proper recourse in
the case of a judge who refuses to let the defendant do so?
8) Should judges exclude prospective jurors
after questioning them and determining they do not favor the law which the
prosecution seeks to enforce? If so, why do we still call them "random
juries"? Does that mean the John Peter Zenger jury should have been stacked
with crown sympathizers? Should juries have been stacked in the 1850s to
guarantee convictions under the Fugitive Slave Act? Should judges be punished
for thus excluding jurors based on "voir dire" questioning? Alfred the
Great summarily executed judges who replaced jurors who refused to convict.
Would this be a good solution for us to adopt, today? Why not?
9) Should it be legal for police to search
automobiles without a warrant? Is it OK for police to tell drivers they have to
consent to such a search? If a police officer searches a car without a warrant,
should the police officer be arrested and put on trial? If not, why not?
10) If a police officer stops a car in which
the driver is carrying a legal pistol, with a permit, should the officer disarm
the driver before proceeding to write a ticket? Why or why not?
11) If police serve a search warrant which does
not list any firearms, but they find firearms in the house being searched, is it
OK for them to seize the firearms anyway? Why or why not? Would you favor a law
to alter current practice in this regard? If so, specify.
12) Do we need more "gun control"
(victim disarmament) laws? If so, name one new "gun control" law you
would favor. If not, can you name a current "gun control" law you
13) Can a tax rate be so high that it's not
acceptable? If so, name a tax rate so high that citizens would be under no moral
obligation to pay it. If you can't name such a rate, are you saying the
government has a right to take 100 percent of what we earn and what we own?
14) Is the war on drugs succeeding? Can it
succeed? Should all drugs be legalized? If not, why not? Should recreational
drug users be committed for psychiatric treatment?
15) Whose powers are limited by the 10th
Amendment? Can you think of any ways to improve enforcement of the 10th
Amendment? No, you can't look it up.
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Phoenix, AZ 85032
602-996-4020 Day phone
602-494-9320 Evening phone