Posted below is a letter I have written to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. The letter requests a pardon for Michael Holmes, a black man who, when he was 23 years old in 1993, received a 200-year jail sentence for a non-violent drug offense. He has been incarcerated for 25 years.
Public officials tend to pay attention to a matter when more people write them about it. If you are as outraged as I am about Michael Holmes’s plight, please write your own letter to Gov. Cooper requesting a pardon. You don’t have to be a resident of North Carolina. Please keep it nice and respectful.
Also, please send me a copy of your letter so that I can forward it to Greg Fray, the reporter who first wrote about Michael’s case at the Carolinian newspaper in Raleigh. I am confident that Greg will let Michael, who was a friend of his in high school, know about it.
Here is Gov. Cooper’s website, where you can send your letter:
My email address is email@example.com
I understand that Michael Holmes is just one black man among many whose lives have been ravaged by the drug war. But a pardon for him would sure be a good start in restoring justice to the criminal-justice systems of America.
Thank you for your consideration.
Yours for liberty,
Dear Governor Cooper:
I am writing to respectfully request that you add an African-American man named Michael Holmes to your list of people you are considering for pardon.
I am a candidate for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination. I am also the founder and president of a non-profit libertarian educational foundation in Virginia named The Future of Freedom Foundation (which is not endorsing my candidacy), where we have published countless articles, books, and videos showing the horrible destructiveness of the war on drugs. I am also a former trial attorney in the state of Texas, where I practiced law for 12 years and witnessed first-hand some extremely long and unjust jail sentences in the 1970s and 1980s meted out to people for non-violent drug offenses.
I learned about Michael Holmes in the course of campaigning in North Carolina as part of the upcoming Libertarian Party presidential primary on March 3. He grew up in a family, including both his parents, that was heavily involved in the drug trade. From the time he was a kid, pushing drugs was what he learned.
In 1993, when Holmes was 23 years old, he got sentenced to a 200-year jail sentence for a non-violent drug offense involving the distribution of cocaine. He has served about 25 years of that sentence.
I learned about the Michael Holmes case from a reporter named Greg Fray, who writes for The Carolinian, a black-owned newspaper in Raleigh that orients toward African-Americans. Posted below is a copy of the article that Fray wrote about the Holmes case. If you would like to see a photo of Michael Holmes, please let me have an email address and I will send it to you.
In an era in which people who have received extremely harsh jail sentences for non-violent drug offenses are being considered for mercy and clemency, I am writing to respectfully request you to consider placing Michael Holmes on your list of people who are being considered for a pardon or a commutation of sentence. There is no doubt that as a very young man he made a very grave mistake, but I would respectfully submit that the 25 years of his life that he has served in jail is more than adequate punishment for that mistake.
If you would like to learn more about Michael Holmes from Greg Fray, his telephone number is 919-827-3648 and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
1504 New Bern Ave
Raleigh, NC 27610
November 7, 2019
Holmes Got 200 Years For His First Offense
by Greg Fray
I recently pulled up a file on Michael L. Holmes #0189284 who is currently serving 200 years at Nash Correctional Institute for his role in trafficking cocaine.
He was arrested in 1990 and subsequently convicted in 1993 on five counts; all but one offense originating on the same day. He’s only accrued five infractions over the course of 30 years. His projected release date, as a first-time felon at age 23, is 2073. With his arrest at age 23, he’s serving what amounts to a death sentence.
Mike’s case is unique when you look past his actual guilt in participating in a large drug distribution ring. From early childhood, he was being indoctrinated by his parents to run the family enterprise.
Author Julia Layton wrote in her book, How Cults Work, ‘’…a cult uses countless techniques to get its members to stay, commit themselves, and take part in what may be harmful activities.
Some of these techniques constitute what some people call mind control.”
She also says, “ it’s also known as thought reform, brainwashing and coercive persuasion, and it breaks down systemically a person’s sense of self.”
One of the most famous cases in our nation’s history concerning mind control was the kidnapping of Patty Hearst. At age 19, Patricia Campbell Hearst was kidnapped by a by a group of radicals that billed themselves as the Symbionese Liberation Army.
From the moment of her capture, this band of domestic terrorist abused and brainwashed her to the point where she barked orders, carried semi-automatic weapons, while playing critical roles in several bank robberies.
She was captured in San Francisco on September 18, 1975 and charged with bank robbery along with several other crimes. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison which was later
reduced to seven.
Her sentence was commuted after serving only two years by President Jimmy Carter, and she was later pardoned by President Bill Clinton.
Again, Patty Hearst was 19 when her troubles began. Notwithstanding, Mikael Holmes’ brainwashing began at birth. The state provided detailed evidence showing how the sale of cocaine was the family business in that his farther Vinston Holmes, and his mother Laurie Marie Autry Holmes ran it economically.
According to court records, Mike participated by retrieving cocaine and delivering it to buyers for his farther and sold it when his father wasn’t available. His mother’s role was primarily collecting and counting the money. Sometimes she stepped in to make sells too.
Make no mistake, Vinston Holmes was the mastermind of the operation. He was a professional drag racer, owning a garage near Vander. The drug money was laundered through garage operations.
On August 18, 1990 Vinston Holmes was killed in auto accident. On the same day authorities swooped in to arrest Mike and Laurie. They were charged with conspiracy to sell cocaine. Mike faced additional charges.
For conspiracy, Laurie was sentenced to 40 years in prison; she served approximately seven. Mike was sentenced to 40 years for conspiracy, 40 years for selling, 40 years for possessing, 40 years for transporting, and 40 years for delivering. All to run consecutively.
As the scapegoat, he was sentenced to a term his father didn’t live to serve.
In a 1989 speech to the nation, President George W. Bush said, “ …the war on drugs cannot be won on a single front alone. It must be waged everywhere, at every level of government, federal, state, and local, and by every citizen in every community across the country.
‘‘We will take back our streets, neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block, child by child.”
Mike and his mother were prosecuted in an era when politicians declared war on crime. Judge Lynn Johnson wasn’t immune to the political atmosphere created by the president and others. So giving Mike the maximum penalty for each offense then tacking on a fine of $1.25 million didn’t cost him any political points.
We are usually shaped by the role models placed in our lives. For example, if you grow up on the farm, Pop and Grandpa will teach you everything they know. It wouldn’t be a surprise if you turned out to be a farmer because of early indoctrination or programming.
Mike was transformed into what he was taught. He was a product of his environment. A cult type of brainwashing shaped his life.
For that reason, Mike needs our sympathy. We should be appalled at how Michael Lynn Holmes received 200 years for a non-violent crime. It only took officials two years to come in and conclude Patty Hearst was de programmed. Mike has had 30 years of deprogramming. Where’s the presidential pardon?
Last Thursday, I appeared on Judge Napolitano’s Liberty File on Fox Nation to discuss President Trump’s and the U.S. national-security establishment’s assassination program, foreign interventionism, the Constitution, and my candidacy for the 2020 Libertarian Party presidential nomination. Several years ago, the judge hosted a great program called Freedom Watch on the Fox Business Channel, where I, along with lots of other libertarians, regularly appeared as guest commentators. It was an honor and pleasure to be back with the judge especially because we are on the same wavelength when it comes to moving our country in the direction of liberty, peace, prosperity, and harmony with the people of the world. Here is the video of my appearance on the judge’s show last Thursday.
The Carolinian, Raleigh, North Carolina
An African-American newspaper founded in 1940
Column by Carolinian reporter Greg Fray
Wednesday, January 8, 1940, print edition
I have always considered myself to be one of the most liberal people you will ever meet. I jokingly say that Barack Obama was a conservative compared to my far reaching leftist ideals. With our current state of affairs in Washington, I am considering voting for a different party rather than continue to endorse Democratic or Republican partisanship that does nothing to fix our country’s problems.
I wasn’t very familiar with the libertarian party until I had the privilege of meeting Jacob Hornberger. Jacob filed for his presidential run on October 29, 2019. He’s the founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation, which Is a non-profit educational foundation, whose mission is to present principled Libertarian party philosophy, he spoke at drug war conferences held at three HBCU, and he’s the author/editor of twelve books, including Jacob’s newest book,” My Passion For Liberty.”
Born in Laredo, Texas, and raised on a farm on the Rio Grande, Mr. Hornberger went to infantry school at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1973. From 1975-1983 he was a trial attorney in Laredo, Texas and from 1983-1987 he practiced law in Dallas, Texas.
In 1996, he was the keynote speaker at the 1996 Libertarian party national convention. He was awarded the Thomas Paine Award for outstanding communication of Libertarian principles. In 2002, he ran as an Independent candidate for U.S. Senate in Virginia which now leads to a presidential run.
What really made me take notice of Mr. Hornberger was his commitment to exposing injustices within our criminal justice system. Notably his strong reaction to the insane sentence of 200 years inmate Michael Holmes received for a non-violent crime.
Since reading the article I wrote about Mike, Mr. Hornberger has joined the fight to bring attention to cases like his. I’ve watched his videos denouncing the disproportionate treatment of African Americans when it comes to drug offences. He and the libertarian party strongly believe that we shouldn’t criminalize drugs use or even institutionalize offenders for possessing, distributing and selling drugs when the solution lies in its legalization. So among other things, Mr. Hornberger went to Wilmington Saturday and Sunday, January the fourth and fifth to do a door knocking campaign. They passed out 400 fliers with bold letters stating, “Free Michael Holmes,” “End Jim Crow mass incarceration and the drug war, the most racially bigoted government program since segregation.”
I’d be the first to admit that I’m uncomfortable with the concept of legalizing all drugs to solve the problems associated with minority incarceration rates. I personally don’t think giving our community more rope to legally abuse drugs, that have been a cancer in our communities, will all of a sudden transform them into safer places to live.
However, why do we tolerate a two party system that won’t work together on anything? If a bill (which would be great for the country) is introduced by one side, it surely will be obstructed by the other. My dissatisfaction with this allowed me to take a strong look at Mr. Hornberger and the Libertarian beliefs for our country’s future.
In sum, politicians come out of the woodwork and make promises they would be able to fulfill if it wasn’t for partisan politics. Why are we continuing to endorse Republicans and Democrats after they’ve shown us h ow unworthy they are of our loyalty?Libertarianism is indeed different from the norm. All things considered, actions speak louder than words. Jacob Hornberger has a steep mountain to climb in this Presidential race, but he has shown how he will get involved in social issues affecting our community when he went door to door in Wilmington this weekend. His numerous videos depicting the injustices blacks encounter in the criminal justice system warrants a following of this guy. We are always looking for someone special to vote for. Perhaps the alternative candidate is Jacob Hornberger. Look him up or settle for less. —GREG FRAY
The Libertarian Party’s Mises Caucus has advised me that they have endorsing my candidacy for the 2020 LP presidential nomination.
The Mises Caucus is one of the most prestigious caucuses within the Libertarian Party. Given that Ludwig von Mises and Austrian economics have played such a big role in my intellectual development as a libertarian, the endorsement comes as an enormous honor for me.
The caucus’s Statement of Purpose states in part:
Our purpose is to promote economic literacy within the Libertarian Party as taught by the Austrian school of economics, to stress the importance of sound economics as critical to the Libertarian Party message, and to advocate applying the science of human action — praxeology — in Libertarian Party efforts to counter the statism of both Democrats and Republicans.
Various planks of the caucus’s Platform emphasize the importance of property rights, Austrian economics, separating money and the state, freedom of association, ending empire and intervention, and living one’s life the way he chooses so long as he doesn’t violate the rights of others — all core principles of the libertarian philosophy and ones to which I wholeheartedly subscribe.
A few weeks ago, members of the caucus subjected me to an extensive interview involving questions about libertarianism, Austrian economics, Mises, Murray Rothbard, and others. I was told that the caucus was conducting the same type of interview with several other LP presidential candidates. One of the questions I was asked was, “What is your favorite Rothbard book?” My answer: “Man, Economy, and State.”
Thank you, Mises Caucus! I am very appreciative for your endorsement, and I will do my best to merit your vote of confidence. Keep up the great work spreading the principles of the Austrian school.
Part 1: A Grand Event in Wilmington
Last weekend, we had our door-knocking campaign in Wilmington, which (see here and here) turned out to be an absolutely fascinating success. There were about 10-15 LP members who showed up to participate. The neighborhoods were among the poorest in Wilmington, with predominately African-Americans living there.
What was fascinating is the unbelievably positive response we received from most every person to whom we spoke. When we returned to our original meeting place for a recap of our efforts, every LP member had positive stories about the reactions we received from people.
I would introduce myself to people, hand them two items, and ask them to consider voting for me in the March 3 Super Tuesday Libertarian Party primary. The two items (see below) were: (!) my campaign card, which includes biographical information about me, along with the following quote: “End Jim Crow mass incarceration and the drug war, the most racially bigoted government program since segregation; and (2) a flier titled “Free Michael Holmes,” with details how Holmes, an African American jailed in North Carolina, is serving a 200-year jail sentence for a non-violent drug offense.
People were totally in agreement on the rotten nature of America’s criminal-justice systems, owing in large part to the drug war. As I have pointed out before, unlike the well-to-do elites in American society, the people in this lower economic echelon of American life totally get it. They clearly see what Democrats and Republicans, as well as the mainstream press, refuse to see—that the mass incarceration system, which is driven by the drug war, is just another variation of Jim Crow.
But that wasn’t all. One man condemned President Trump’s and the Pentagon’s recent assassination in Iraq. Others agreed wholeheartedly with the Libertarian Party’s condemnation of licensing laws, given that they are nothing more than a protection racket for the elites with money who can afford to pay the high costs of licensing requirements.
One man said to me, “Mr. Hornberger, the fact that you are here in this neighborhood tells me everything I need to know about you. You care about us here. Not only am I going to vote for you, I’m going to get everyone I know to also vote for you.
A few of us did the same thing on Sunday morning and had the same positive responses. Then, Sunday afternoon we regrouped at our meeting place where I, along with other LP candidates, gave a short talk on libertarianism and my campaign.
I should point out that I wasn’t the only candidate campaigning at this event. So was Spike Cohen, a LP vice-presidential candidate from South Carolina, and Steve DiFiore, the LP gubernatorial candidate in North Carolina. Also participating was Susan Hogarth, the state party chairman, along with several Libertarians from around the state, including Joe Garcia who came all the way from Charlotte. Special thanks to those of you who helped distribute my campaign materials, including Stratton, Ryan, Kim, Denice, and Jonathan.
All in all, it was an absolutely fantastic weekend. Thanks to the Pender County Libertarians, especially Brent DiRidder, for putting it all together. It was an honor and lots of fun to participate in such a fantastic event. Photos are posted below.
Part 2: Television coverage in Wilmington
Our Wilmington door-knocking campaign received nice coverage by Wilmington television station WWAY 3. See the station’s online article about our efforts here.
Part 3: The Stump Podcast at the Charlotte Press.
On Tuesday morning, I was over in Charlotte to do a podcast interview at the Charlotte Post. Established in 1878, the Post is one of the leading voices in the African-American community in the Charlotte area. It has a sister newspaper called the Tribune that shrives the Raleign-Durham area.
The Post offers a multi-channel network of print, digital, and social media marketing platforms. Among these is a political podcast called “The Stump,” which is hosted by the paper’s editor in chief and award-winning journalist Herbert White.
White conducted one of the most impressive and thorough interviews I have ever encountered. His questions were direct and pertinent. and he provided me with ample latitude to explain why I decided to run for president, my overall libertarian philosophy, and how I differ from Republicans and Democrats on a variety of issues, including foreign policy, the drug war, immigration, and education.
If you would like to listen to the interview, it is posted here. You will need to download the Spotify app to listen to it.
Part 4: Stratton-DeRidder Podcast.
At the conclusion of the Wilmington events, LP members Stratton and DeRidder conducted their first podcast of what promises to be many more to come. I was honored to be the featured guest on the show. The interview was fun and provided an excellent recap of our door-knocking campaign, along with lots of other areas involving inside-the-party affairs. I know you’ll enjoy it. You can listen to it here.
Commenting on the CIA’s repeated attempts to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro during the Cold War, former President Lyndon Johnson bluntly observed that the CIA “had been operating a damned Murder Inc. in the Caribbean.”
For all his faults, Johnson got that one right. That is precisely what those repeated assassination plots against Castro were: attempted murder.
Oh sure, no one ever got indicted for the crime. And if some out-of-control federal or state grand jury had indicted CIA and other officials for conspiracy to murder Castro, every single federal judge in the land would have, immediately and without hesitation, summarily dismissed the indictment. That’s because ever since the U.S. government was converted into a national-security state after World War II, it has been established and accepted policy that the CIA and the Pentagon, as a practical matter, wield the omnipotent authority to take out any threat to “national security,” foreign or domestic, without having to fear any legal consequences for their actions.
Like the assassination plots against Castro, murder is precisely what the Pentagon committed with its assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani a few days ago in Iraq. Of course, like the CIA’s assassination attempts against Castro, no one will get indicted for the murder. Even if they did, the federal judiciary would immediately dismiss the indictment. No one is permitted to interfere with the omnipotent power of assassination that has been wielded by the CIA and the Pentagon since the latter part of the 1940s.
In fact, the national-security establishment’s power to conduct state-sponsored assassinations has become such an established part of America’s governmental structure that hardly anyone questions it anymore.
Just look at the “damned Murder Inc.” that the Pentagon and the CIA have been conducting for years in the Middle East as part of their forever “war on terrorism.” Assassinations by drone have become so ordinary and commonplace that hardly anyone gives them a second thought. The only reason that Soleimani’s murder has hit the front pages is because of his prominent position within the governmental structure of Iran, a country with whom the United States is not at war but that the CIA, Pentagon, and NSA consider to be a “rival” or an “adversary” or an “opponent” or an “enemy.”
During the Cold War, the justification cited for the conspiracy to assassinate Castro was that he was a “communist,” one who committed the unforgivable “crime” of establishing friendly relations with the Soviet Union, including Russia (yes, that Russia!). That’s why the CIA repeatedly tried to murder him.
It was the same with Guatemala’s democratically elected president Jacobo Arbenz. That’s why he had to be the top of the CIA’s still-secret list of people to be murdered as part of the CIA’s secretly orchestrated coup against him. It was the same with the CIA’s murder plot against Congo leader Patrice Lumumba. And don’t forget the CIA-orchestrated coup in Chile, where Chilean national-security officials attempted to assassinate the country’s democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, with missiles fired at him from the military’s jet planes.
Today, it’s no different. Oh sure, the term has changed from the “war on communism” to the “war on terrorism,” but the principle is still the same: murder. A “damned Murder Inc.” in the Caribbean and a “damned Murder Inc.” in the Middle East.
Four important points
There are four other important points to keep in mind about this sordid murder spree.
First, none of the people they have killed in the Middle East, including Soleimani, was invading the United States and trying to conquer America. Every single person they have murdered was “over there” — i.e., several thousands of miles away from the United States.
Thus, when U.S. officials claim that their assassinations are for “self-defense,” they are being false and disingenuous. Their “war on terrorism” murders are not defending the United States because the murder victims weren’t invading and trying to conquer the United States.
Instead, every single U.S. state-sponsored assassination in the Middle East has been to defend the “right” of the U.S. national-security establishment to engage in empire and intervention in the Middle East. That’s what all those murders are all about–the defense of empire and intervention, not the defense of the United States.
Second, we must never forget that the U.S. government’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 was an invasion of a country whose government had never attacked or invaded the United States. The U.S. invasion was what was described by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal as a “war of aggression,” i.e., one in which one regime attacks and invades another country.
Why is that important in the context of the Soleimania’s murder? Because the events in Iraq that led up to Soleimani’s murder revolve around the 5,200 U.S. troops that are still in Iraq some 17 years after the initial illegal U.S. invasion of the country. It was recent protests by Iraqi citizens against the continued presence of foreign troops in their country that led to the current crisis, which culminated in Soleimani’s murder.
Assassination and the Constitution
Third, state-sponsored assassinations are not authorized by the Constitution, the document that brought the federal government into existence and that set forth its powers. One will search the Constitution in vain for any authority to assassinate people. In fact, on the contrary, the Fifth Amendment expressly prohibits the federal government from depriving any person of life without due process of law.
Due process means notice and a trial. The Pentagon’s and the CIA’s decades-long assassination spree, both during their forever “war on communism” and their forever “war on terrorism,” involves murdering people without notice and without trial.
Fourth, the federal judiciary has upheld the omnipotent power of the Pentagon and the CIA to assassinate not just foreigners, but also American citizens. In fact, assassination is a power that the national-security establishment has actually exercised against American citizens, something that people who are reveling in the murder of Soleimani don’t like to talk about. There is no way to reconcile the omnipotent power of a government to murder its own citizens with impunity with the principles of a genuinely free society.
It’s all just further confirmation of what the conversion of the federal government from a limited-government republic to a national-security state has done to our country. The conversion of the federal government to a national-security state, which is a totalitarian form of governmental structure, effectively nullified the Constitution, which the federal judiciary permitted to happen with its passive deference to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA on all matters relating to “national security.” That was when America embarked on the road to state-sponsored assassination, torture, coups, alliances with dictatorial regimes, and other dark-side, sordid practices that are inherent to communist and totalitarian regimes.
Unfortunately, President Trump, who has been a fierce advocate of the Pentagon’s and CIA’s assassination program ever since he became president, has been absorbed by the national-security establishment and its forever “war on terrorism.” By joining up with the Pentagon in its murder of Soleimani, Trump has shown that he has become part of the swamp he once decried.
Dear Fellow Libertarians,
This weekend a group of North Carolina Libertarians and I will be campaigning in Wilmington. On both Saturday and Sunday, we will be waging a door-to-door campaign among some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. We will be asking people to avoid the Republican and Democrat Party primaries on Super Tuesday, March 3, and instead come and vote for me in the Libertarian Party primary.
Posted below are the campaign brochure and campaign flier that we will be handing out to everyone we meet.
We will definitely not be “preaching to the choir.” We will be talking to people who are outside our movement and outside our party, asking them to come and join us Libertarians in our quest to bring liberty to our land.
I am running a low-cost, person-to-person, guerrilla campaign, and I need your help. Will you join us in this effort by making a donation to help us pay for these brochures and fliers, motel, gasoline, and other expenses?
Please let your friends, relatives, and people on your email lists know of our need for help.
Thank you for your support. I am very grateful.
Yours in liberty,
Wow! I have received a very nice endorsement from the Liberty Herald. It can be read here. What a great way for me to start the New Year! Thank you very much to the editorial board at the Liberty Herald. A very big honor for me, and I will do my very best to merit your confidence.
In his article announcing its endorsement, the Herald’s founder and CEO Robert J. Bentley provides an excellent summary of libertarianism, which I wholeheartedly endorse:
As Libertarians we believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.
Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.