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  • Candidate Gary Johnson Announces Debate Exclusion Civil Suits at Macalester College

    Gary Johnson, Libertarian candidate for President, appeared yesterday at Macalester College, Kagin Commons,  in Saint Paul, MN.  Organized by Macalester Young Americans for Liberty, there were approximately 200 interested voters attending, a mix of mainly students and  “third-party” supporters.  In a brief interview with PNC-MN as he left for the airport, Gary Johnson announced he had just learned he was officially excluded from the upcoming  Presidential Debates. He stated his campaign already had plans to file lawsuits in at least three states to contest the ruling.  Civil suits were reportedly filed late yesterday against both major parties and the Commission on Presidential Debates  based on violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, which prohibits monopolistic practices.

    Opening the afternoon was Murphy’s Midnight Rounders, a local folk pagan band, who were well received by the crowd. They played two songs with “hemp” themes which got a rise from supporters of the Grassroots Party , Libertarians,  and other groups who support decriminalization of recreational drugs.

    Andrew Ojeda, a Macalester undergraduate running for office  in district 64A as a Republican, and Ms Yer Lor, a representative from “Minnesotans United for All Families” , both gave opening remarks. Lor implored Minnesotans to defeat the marriage amendment. Several local Pagans are supporters of this group,  and the group was active soliciting signatures at Twin Cities Pagan Pride.

    During the band performance Gary Johnson slipped into the audience front row, to little notice from the sizable media contingent present. Later, as former Governor Jesse Ventura arrived and sat near the PNC-MN contingent, the main stream media all shifted to front stage, to get shots of the colorful former wrestler in his Jimi Hendrix  T-shirt. It appeared main stream media saw the story as Ventura’s appearance and implication of a 2016 run for President as the prime story over the visit of an existing candidate, polling 6% nationally at this point, Gary Johnson.

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    Ventura spoke next and praised Johnson’s efforts as a third-party candidate, and for his Libertarian, fiscally conservative but socially liberal, views.  He suggested Presidential candidates should be required to wear “NASCAR style suits”, with “patches from all their biggest donors, their biggest bribers” .  He said voters  should know, “Who owns them, who has bought them off?”  Ventura encouraged young Libertarians to fight for a constitutional amendment to remove a corporations ‘personhood”,  from having rights of free speech and spending in political campaigns. He said the American political system was threatened as long as unlimited and undisclosed money can flow into political campaigns. He tells people who say a third-party candidate vote is wasted that  “a vote for a Democrat or Republican is a wasted vote, because you are going to get the same thing. ” He encouraged the audience to support free speech even if the content it is not popular, because  the  protection is there to protect unpopular speech. He chided main stream media as being controlled by four major corporations, and no longer a  “watch dog'” of the three branches of government. While he personally is not a technology or even a cell phone user, Ventura supported the internet as the last place where the “truth” can get out, saying, “Thank goodness for the internet”. He encouraged Americans to get out and vote, and stressed the importance of voting for Gary Johnson who is paving the road for future candidates.

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    MMR to play at Presidential candidate’s rally at Macalester on Friday

     Gary Johnson is speaking to needs and changes that affect Pagans and sub-cultures that are related to it. Because the more we stand up and address those needed changes, the more will get done. Because it’s time for us all to get up off the couch and stop barking at the TV. – Brad Murphey, Murphey’s Midnight Rounders
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    Murphey’s Midnight Rounders are performing at a rally for Libertarian Presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson on Friday.  The rally is part of Gov. Johnson’s nationwide tour of colleges.  The event takes place at Hill Ballroom starting at 12:30 pm.  PNC-Minnesota will have coverage of the event and was able to catch up with Brad Murphey, of MMR, about how he feels about performing at a rally for a Presidential candidate and why Third Parties are worth taking a look at by Pagans.  The following is the full statement:

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    Murphey’s Midnight Rounders

    For me, this election is going to be decided by the issues. Yes, important issues come up in EVERY presidential election. But this time, there are issues that are important to the Pagan Community. There is a movement in this country, to marginalize Pagan thought, beliefs and practices. That, alone, tells me that we are making an impact. If we were not, there wouldn’t be such vocal resistance to it.

     
    The Wiccan Rede tells us “An ye harm none, do what thou wilt.” Whether one is Wiccan or not is not my point. It’s still a good philosophy. Paganism tends to embrace and defend many sub-cultures that have been marginalized by (dare I say it?) mainstream thought. “If it’s not hurting anyone, why not live the way you want to live?” It’s not an entitlement, it’s a right. There should be NO REASON why someone should not be allowed to live the way they want to, if it’s not hurting anyone. Who is it hurting if two men or two women (or more, for that matter) want to bond together as mates? According to the laws in this country, there are rights and privileges that are afforded them for this commitment.
     
    There are many who believe that any Pagan philosophy or religion should be, at best, a second-class belief system and therefore the First Amendment to the Constitution does not apply to them. There is no such classification in the Constitution. But, instead of accepting it verbatim, they want to CHANGE the wording so that Pagans are…again…marginalized. Acceptance is not taught or encouraged…let alone, defended. Instead, too many of the people who believe in this marginalization are our lawmakers and judges who were brought up to fear that which they refuse to understand. There’s an old song from the musical, ‘South Pacific’ that goes like this: “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear, You’ve got to be taught from year to year, It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear, You’ve got to be carefully taught.”
    We, as Pagans, tend to profess acceptance (or at least tolerance) of individuality and lifestyles that we may not subscribe to. Those lawmakers, judges, priests and ministers, politicians and just plain everyday folk who are so vocally resistant are really saying, “We will not tolerate acceptance. We will not embrace any who do not live like us. We would rather re-write law and society in our image than allow change and evolution of that same society.”
     
    There is a war on drugs that has been actively waged in this country for many decades. It’s been waged on legal grounds, economic grounds, social grounds, medical grounds and religious grounds. The trend in this war has been to pick on Marijuana as the leading culprit and responsible for all the societal ills we can name; addiction, divorce, educational dropout rates, homelessness, joblessness, laziness and anything else you can think of. This war on marijuana has been based on four things: misinformation, outright lie, ‘power over’ and greed.
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    We have pumped TRILLIONS into this war when there’s no way to win it. When I say trillions, I’m not exaggerating. 25% of this country’s population is currently or has been incarcerated. A HUGE percentage of that population is there on drug-related convictions. I’m not talking about the heroin addict who robs someone to pay for his habit; I’m talking about someone who was arrested with an ounce of pot in his pocket. Our taxes go to law makers, law enforcement, prisons, court personnel, attorneys, medical labs and more, just to pay for this war. But substance prohibition does not work. That was proven in the US in the 1930’s.  To make matters worse, the health and economic benefits of marijuana HAVE been studied and proven. Now, we can bandy all day about who is to blame for the war; who benefits from the war and the prohibition…big pharma, the cotton industry, myopic religious leaders, whatever. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the American people have been lied to for generations about marijuana and only a relative few benefit from this war. It hasn’t stopped people from smoking it…just like Prohibition didn’t stop people from drinking. I could go on and on. But, legalizing it and federally taxing it would help the economy to the tune of BILLIONS every year. And that’s just ONE of the benefits.
     
    The two-party system is broken. That is proven every time a candidate other than a Republican or Democrat is elected into any office. People vote for whomever they believe will defend their needs and rights as citizens. That has been proven by the fact that there are more than two political parties. Period. Having more than the two ‘major’ parties is proof that democracy CAN work…as long as we stop trying to break it. If we are to evolve, as a civilization, we must have a government that evolves with us. But what seems to happen is that the two-party system is more concerned about keeping the status quo, rather than changing to meet the needs of the people. What worked 50 or 100 years ago only continues to work through more stringent regulations and formidable resistance. But if we have a Constitution that says we have an effective voice, it’s time to use it. Sitting at home and barking at the TV set does not bring change. Getting on Facebook and barking about politics does not bring change. Historically, the only way change has been effected in this country is to get out in public and change it. When enough people stand up and say, “we demand change,” government will listen. The stronger that voice; a) the more initial resistance there will be to change and b) EVENTUALLY, those who govern will listen and change with those needs.
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    So, why did I agree to play for the Gary Johnson Rally? Because Gary Johnson is speaking to needs and changes that affect Pagans and sub-cultures that are related to it. Because the more we stand up and address those needed changes, the more will get done. Because it’s time for us all to get up off the couch and stop barking at the TV.
     
    Murphey’s Midnight Rounders is not a Pagan Band, per se. We are a Folk Band (we like to call it ‘Power Folk’). Our music addresses what we feel and who we are. At the same time, all of us in the band are Pagan, so a big percentage of our music speaks to that subject: honoring Deity, tradition, and approaching the goddess with mirth and reverence. That being said, for a band that is all Pagan and sings about Pagan issues, it was an honor to be asked to sing at a rally for a presidential candidate. It says a lot about him, that, as a candidate, he is more open and supportive of the Pagan religions.
    Rally for Jobs, Opportunity, and Diversity
    Featured Speaker:  Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gov. Gary Johnson
    Macalester College, Hill Ballroom, Kagin Commons
    12:30pm to 3pm
    The event is free and open to the public
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    Editor’s note:  PNC-Minnesota Co-Editor Cara Schulz is a Johnson volunteer for this event.

    GOP Presidential candidate impresses with pro-Pagan stance

    If you are a fiscal liberal and wish for more governmental intervention in your daily life, then GOP Presidential hopeful Johnson is not the candidate for you.  If, however, you are like most Americans and are looking for a President who leans more socially liberal/fiscally conservative you may want to give Johnson a further look.  Couple this view with an unabashed pro-Pagan, pro-human rights outlook and clear openness to alternative views on a whole host of issues and you may have as close to an ideal candidate for President as the Pagan community has yet seen.

    Last night’s video conference between Gov. Johnson and Pagan and Hindu media was unusual and groundbreaking.  Unlike most every other candidate for political office at any level, Johnson not only agreed to speak publicly with Pagans, he promoted the event openly on his official Google+ page.   In talking with other Pagan media after the conference, many of us related personal experiences with politicians, even those sympathetic to us in private, who refuse to be seen speaking with us in public.   They don’t want an association with ‘people like us’ to damage their credibility and truth to tell, they don’t care enough about our concerns to address them.  This was not the case with Johnson.  During the interview he showed no discomfort addressing issues specific to our community and never flinched from saying the word Pagan.  An example of how supportive Gov. Johnson is to Pagan rights, and basic human rights, can be summed up in a message he had for Pagans and Wiccans serving in the US military,“It should be about equality, it’s not, and I appreciate their service  even though you are not being treated equally.”

    It could be easy to dismiss Johnson’s decision in speaking with Pagans while seeking election as the actions of an unknown candidate low in the polls, but that would miss the mark.  Johnson is a successful two-term Governor of New Mexico and is the only GOP candidate who scores positive approval ratings in his home state.  He is not a ‘nothing’ candidate, but a qualified candidate with executive level experience.  What has hampered his candidacy is the mainstream medias’ inexplicable exclusion of Johnson from televised debates.  They have set up criteria that bars Johnson’s inclusion in the debates, a candidate must reach 2% in their polls, but ensures he can never meet that bar by excluding him as an option in their polls.  This sets up a scenario where Johnson is a longshot for the GOP nomination, unless people vote for him in the GOP primaries.  So while we finally have a Presidential candidate who is willing to listen to Pagans and supports us on many issues important to our community, we may never have the opportunity to vote for him.  What makes it even more bittersweet for some Pagans is that such an outspoken candidate for Pagan rights is running on the Republican ticket, not Democratic.

    Click HERE to watch the video conference with Gov. Johnson courtesy of KeithBarrett.tv.

    A full transcript is available at the Staff of Asclepius blog.

    The hour and a half interview covered a wide range of questions about GLBT rights, Pagan military chaplains, raw milk, teaching yoga in schools, TSA and the Patriot Act, economic, and environmental concerns.  Many of the questions were submitted by Pagan community leaders like Rev. Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary and by your average Pagan on the street.    Below are just a few of the highlights from the hour and half Q&A with Gov. Johnson, but I strongly encourage everyone to view the entire interview.

    Cara Schulz, PMC-MN:  It is commonly thought in the Pagan community that Republican candidates are hostile to minority religions such as ours.  What message would you like to get across to Pagan voters about how you would represent them if elected president?

    Johnson:  There should be a separation of church and state.  I happen to think the world looks down on Republicans for their social conservative views which include religion in government.

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