Monday, December 15, 2008
Barr/Root finished 4th among 2008's national tickets. As of November 15, 2008, Barr/Root have 510,447 votes, behind Nader/Gonzalez's 697,128.
Barr/Root also rank 4th among LP national tickets to date, percentagewise. A few days after the election, Alexander S. Peak at the Last Free Voice blog crunched some numbers. He reports the following vote percentages: Ed Clark in 1980 (1.06397%); Harry Browne in 1996 (0.50468%); Ron Paul in 1988 (0.47137%); Bob Barr in 2008 (0.40145%).
Barr improved on Harry Browne in 2000 (0.36472%) and Michael Badnarik in 2004 (0.32491%), but Barr failed to bring the LP back up to 1996, 1988, or 1980 levels.
Root, who's already running for 2012, stresses in a press release that Barr/Root got the second highest number of votes among LP national tickets. Browne pulled the third highest number of votes: 485,798 in 1996.
But that was 12 years ago, when the U.S. population was smaller. Do those 12 years really matter?
The Census Bureau estimates the U.S. population in July 1996 at 265,189,794. The July 2008 estimate is 303,824,640.
That's 38,634,846 more Americans. The LP should get more votes just by standing still and doing nothing. Thus, the better measure of success is not vote numbers, but vote percentages.
Some provisional, absentee, and write-in votes remain to be counted. The 2008 vote totals may change slightly. The percentages shouldn't.
* No Perfect Storms
Root adds that Barr/Root "achieved that success [their vote total] under perhaps the most difficult circumstances ever -- a media PERFECT STORM of interest, hype and adulation for Obama."
Yet at the Denver convention, Barr, Root, national LP leaders, all were saying that 2008 was the perfect storm for the LP to get millions of votes. They promised big, despite the Obama phenomenon already being well established.
Were Barr, Root, and LP leaders so politically clueless? Or were they intentionally over-promising to encourage support and donations?
Root now says: "I was aiming for the one million vote threshold."
This is rewriting history. While campaigning for the nomination, Root repeatedly guaranteed two million votes, minimum.
I've observed the LP for thirty years. Every national election is supposed to be the perfect storm. Truth is, every election is the same. There are economic woes. Foreign turmoils. Demopublicans who hate their party, but hate the other party more. Competing third parties. Unpopular incumbents. Biased media. New media. Young people seeking change.
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
I wish LP officials and candidates stopped over-promising. I recall some national LP junk mail in the 1990s, promising a Libertarian majority Congress by 2010. Short term, slick salesmanship may squeeze out a few extra donor dollars. Long term, it breeds disappointment, cynicism, and members walking out when utopia fails to materialize.
* Ron Paul
Ron Paul was an officially certified write-in presidential candidate in California.
LPC activist and former state chair Gail Lightfoot recruited 55 libertarians to file as electors for Paul with the California Secretary of State. Gail was Paul's certified VP candidate in California.
This means that write-in votes for Paul will be counted.
Paul was on the Montana ballot, on the Constitution Party line. "Pollster" at ThirdPartyWatch.com offered some telling insight: "In Montana, with 74% of precincts reporting, McCain is leading with 49.6% to Obama's 47.2. Ron Paul, who didn't run an official campaign at all, and tried to get his name removed from the ballot, is sitting on 2.1% of the vote. Barr has 0.3%."
With 100% of Montana reporting, the vote totals were McCain (241,816), Obama (229,725), Paul (10,499), Nader (3,649), Barr (1,341).
* Herding Cats
On November 4th, I attended a libertarian election night gathering in Culver City. Nine libertarians came. Some were registered Libertarians, but not dues-paying LP members. Some visa versa. Some were "philosophical libertarians" with no party ties.
I polled everyone on how they voted. The results:
Bob Barr ..... 1
Alan Keyes ..... 1
Barack Obama ..... 1
Ron Paul ..... 2
Did Not Vote ..... 4
The Barr voter is a registered Democrat. The Obama voter is a registered Republican. Both Paul voters are registered Libertarians.
I don't know how that Keyes voter is registered. He's a dues-paying national LP member, though he's not in the state party.
Among the four non-voters: One never votes, out of principle. Another didn't vote because her registration was screwed up. (She didn't ask for a provisional ballot; I gathered that she would have voted for McCain.) The other two sounded apologetic for not voting, as if they knew they should, but couldn't find time. They didn't tell me who they would have voted for.
I was one of the Paul voters. California has yet to count write-in ballots.
* Pro-War Obama
Obama has picked Congressman Rahm Emanuel for Chief of Staff. Congresswoman Jane Harman is being considered to head the CIA. Both are pro-war Democrats. Google them.
Emanuel also sponged off Freddie Mac. Says Wikipedia: "Emanuel was named to the Board of Directors for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ("Freddie Mac") by then President Bill Clinton in 2000. His position paid him $31,060 in 2000 and $231,655 in 2001. During the time Emanuel spent on the board, Freddie Mac was plagued with scandals involving campaign contributions and accounting irregularities."
Idiots, including some "libertarians," had accused Obama of being a Marxist, Muslim terrorist. I'd always told such idiots that, no, Obama was just another pro-war, corporate socialist, in the McCain/Palin/Clinton mold.
Already, Obama has proven me correct.
* 2012 Presidential Race
Angela Keaton is running for the 2012 LP presidential nomination. Michelle Shinghal is her running mate. Their campaign has a Facebook account.
Tom Knapp is running for the 2012 LP and Boston Tea Party presidential tickets. His website: Knapp2012.com.
Wayne Allyn Root, Barbara "Joy" Waymire, and Robert Milnes have announced intentions run for the LP's 2012 presidential ticket. Milnes also ran in 2008, but few people were even aware that he existed. His campaign was limited to blog postings. He has yet to update his 2008 site for 2012.
I've heard that Mike Jingozian plans another run, though that's unconfirmed.
Blog rumors have it that Bob Barr may run again, but he has yet to say so.
Ron Paul is also rumored to be mulling another presidential run. But on which party?
Friday, December 05, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Among other gems:
* "Wayne's house was a shrine to Wayne. The walls were adorned with posters of him, photographs of him, newspaper and magazine articles about him. There were copies of his books, 'Millionaire Republican' and 'The King of Vegas’ Guide to Gambling,' everywhere."
* "Wayne appeared, smiling, a small man dressed in a black shirt, black slacks and black dress shoes. Johnny Cash crossed with Liberace."
* "According to Wayne, when fans bet they form an emotional relationship with the men and the team they’re betting on. That's where they get their pleasure. The money won, or lost, is only incidental. That's the way Wayne likes it. 'For me, it’s all about the money,' he said. 'I live for it.'"
* "I asked him if he ever felt guilty about making his money by gambling. He looked up at me as if I had used a word in a language he didn't understand and said: "Guilt? I don’t have any guilt. I think zero about why things are. I just accept what they are and find a way to take advantage of them.'"
* "When the check came, I reached for it. Wayne made a feeble pass at it, too. 'I was gonna pay,' he said, but he didn't."
Friday, November 07, 2008
And apparently, Root doesn't remember Obama.
Who cares? Root does!
For much of his campaign, before and after his Libertarian Party vice presidential nomination, Root harped about how he'd never met Obama at Columbia, and how nobody Root knew at Columbia had met Obama at Columbia.
So what? Big deal!
It is to Root, who hinted darkly, for insufferable months on end, that Obama never went to Columbia.
It was always a silly insinuation. Idiotic, even. Hillary Clinton's vast vetting machine would have unearthed such a false note in Obama's public history.
But Root imagined some sort of vast left-wing conspiracy covering up for Obama. Root also fantasized that his Columbia connection would be a "great talking point" which would compel the media to latch onto it, and perhaps expose Obama.
Well, Columbia has now publicly congratulated Obama on his presidential win, providing a class photo and all. And Root (once again) has made himself publicly look like an idiot.
Root is still threatening to run for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination in 2012, and again in 2016, 2020, and 2024. As he's said in the past to Libertarians, "I want to be your leader."
Go away, Root. Go cook up some more bizarro conspiracy theories, write a book about it, and leave the LP alone.
More details here.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
"In California, you must have 55 declared electors filed with the Secretary of State's office before you become an 'official' write-in candidate for president. Unless a voter writes in an 'official' write-in candidate for an office, his or her vote doesn't count.
Gail Lightfoot has been spearheading a drive to get the required number of electors, and I just got an email from her that Evelyn Mendez, Program Manager Candidates & Elections in the California Secretary of State's office, indicates we have 70 completed elector forms! Gail is working with her to finalize the 55 electors.
Ron Paul will be an official write-in candidate for the office of president in California! If you write in 'Ron Paul,' it WILL count!"
Details at the Daily Paul.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I knew David to be one of the good libertarians. Principled, friendly to all, generous, helpful, without ego or malice.
He was a Vietnam War veteran who last year spoke of his war experiences and how he became an antiwar libertarian.
David was about 60 years old. He was overweight, led a sedentary lifestyle, and had long suffered from diabetes. I expect those were contributing factors to an all-too-early death.
Like the late Samuel E. Konkin III, David died all too soon. He will be missed by his many friends and compatriots.
Details on his memorial services pending.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I beat Chris Buckley by six and a half years. I canceled my National Review subscription in Spring 2002, after they turned into war-crazy neocons.
(Some may say they were already walking that road, but they actually resisted nation building while Clinton was president.)
I'd been a loyal subscriber for about 15 years, but it was time. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan: "I didn't leave National Review. National Review left me."
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
"The Republicans aren't stupid... They went out and got the female version of Wayne Root to be vice president."
In which case, why not just vote GOP? If Root and Palin are the same, you may as well vote for the one who can win.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Paul has responded to the LP's admonishment. By endorsing the Constitution Party's Chuck Baldwin.
"The Libertarian Party Candidate admonished me for "remaining neutral" in the presidential race and not stating whom I will vote for in November. It's true; I have done exactly that due to my respect and friendship and support from both the Constitution and Libertarian Party members. I remain a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and I’m a ten-term Republican Congressman. It is not against the law to participate in more then one political party. Chuck Baldwin has been a friend and was an active supporter in the presidential campaign.
I continue to wish the Libertarian and Constitution Parties well. The more votes they get, the better. I have attended Libertarian Party conventions frequently over the years.
In some states, one can be on the ballots of two parties, as they can in New York. This is good and attacks the monopoly control of politics by Republicans and Democrats. We need more states to permit this option. This will be a good project for the Campaign for Liberty, along with the alliance we are building to change the process.
I've thought about the unsolicited advice from the Libertarian Party candidate, and he has convinced me to reject my neutral stance in the November election. I'm supporting Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate."
Full article here.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
This was in response to a joint press conference attended by Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, the Constitution Party's Chuck Baldwin, and the Green Party's Cynthia McKinney.
The Libertarian Party's Bob Barr had been invited to attend, but was a no-show. Why this is so remains a matter of controversy.
Monday, September 08, 2008
WHEREAS the government of the United States should return to its historical libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, foreign quarrels, and military adventures; and
WHEREAS the stability and security of Afghanistan lie outside the jurisdiction of the government of the United States; and
WHEREAS the Libertarian Party recognizes that the only legitimate role of the military is to defend America against direct attack or the imminent threat of attack;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Libertarian National Committee calls on the government of the United States to withdraw the armed forces of the United States from Afghanistan, without undue delay.
Ironically, only a few weeks before the LNC passed this resolution calling for a troop pullout from Afghanistan, LP VP candidate Wayne Allyn Root called for a troop surge in Afghanistan.
Aaron Passman, interviewing Root for the Jewish Exponent (August 14, 2008), reported: "'I felt Iraq was always the wrong war, and if there is such a thing as a right war, Afghanistan was [it],' said Root. He said that he had supported the surge in Iraq, and that the government should 'do the same thing in Afghanistan, and make plans to get out quickly.'"
Although Root now says that he'd "always" felt that Iraq was the wrong war, less than two years ago, he'd reportedly supported the Iraq War. (One year ago, he'd opposed the Iraq War, but supported an Iran War.)
Whatever Root's new position, the LNC's resolution makes it official: the LP opposes a "troop surge" in Afghanistan.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
The Economic Policy Journal is speculating that Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr will step aside for Ron Paul next week, allowing Paul to run on both the Libertarian and Constitution Party lines.
What wrong with this rumor?
1. It's not on any LP officer's radar. The LNC just had its meeting this weekend, and no one knows about this, or was discussing it.
2. Barr's campaign people are aggressively working on Barr's campaign -- and not for Paul's sake.
3. I can't imagine egos as big as Bob Barr's, much less Wayne Allyn Root's, stepping aside for anyone.
4. I don't know that the LNC could order a substitution. Or would even want to.
5. I don't know if state laws would allow it. The LP is having a hard enough time substituting George Phillies with Bob Barr just on the Massachusetts and New Hampshire LP ballots.
6. I know less about matters at the Constitution Party, but I imagine there'd be similar problems. Their California affiliate (American Independent Party) just got through a court case over whether Alan Keyes or Chuck Baldwin was the rightful nominee.
7. Ron Paul has repeatedly said, for many months, that he will not run third party. He's kept his word, eschewing both the LP and CP nominations when they were his for the asking. Why would he change his mind now?
In the past, the Libertarian Party ran purist libertarians. But the Barr/Root ticket is designed to appeal to conservatives. That was the Reform faction's Big Plan this year. Conservatives were dissatisfied with McCain, so nominate a sort of conservative ticket that will "get votes" from the GOP.
However, every November, most voters "go home" to the major party of their choice. And now, Sarah Palin provides a big incentive to conservatives to go home. Conservatives love Palin.
Palin will cost Barr/Root votes. Big time. Even as Barr/Root lose radical libertarian votes.
It will be interesting to see just how badly Palin hurts Barr/Root come November, but the pain will be significant.
Come 2012, I hope the LP nominates some real libertarians. No more Barr or Root.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
This part is not unreasonable.
Assimilation helps prevent the U.S. from breaking apart into tribal factions. Learning English should be encouraged, albeit not required.
While not making English "official," neither should the State subsidize other languages. The State should not make it easy to get by without English.
Govt business should be transacted in English. Multi-lingual ballots should go. So too multi-lingual state education.
My position on assimilation.
Open borders will only work if we encourage assimilation. Without assimilation, we become another Balkans, Beirut, or Northern Ireland.
Most humans are tribal. They are not philosopher-anarchists. If you want open borders and liberty, you must support assimilation. Without peaceful assimilation, we degenerate into tribal, socialist Balkanization.
We needn't make English "official," requiring everyone to learn it, but govt business (including ballots) should be in English.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Among his many critiques, Davis complains that Biden "Voted against making English the official language of the United States."
That's right. Davis has implied to the world that making English the official language of the U.S. is the Libertarian position.
Essentially, Davis has attacked Biden for being too libertarian.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
"I worked for Wayne Root for the football season in 2001. ... His operation is a boiler room. You are given a script. You sell up front then one day after the sale the reloaders work on getting the customer to sign up for Wayne's eight other level's of games. We lied about Wayne's record all the time. ... Wayne was a bigger liar than the salesman. If he had a newspaper guy on the phone he would say stuff that was totally untrue. He once told a guy that we had over 100 salesman at that time. I counted desks and office staff. It was 45 people. ... He wrote and published a book within the last year. I talked to someone at the Gambler's Warehouse last month and asked how many copies were sold nationally. His answer was they had three copies of the book a month ago and still had three copies. I said "could he have sold more than a thousand copies nationally?". His answer was, "probably not". ... He doesn't even bet the games he gives to his clients. Once in an interview he even admitted it. ... Wayne Root is a pathological liar who loved himself. He's not an idiot and can sell a deal and make things happen for a while."
To read the whole post click here.
Swell candidate the Libertarian Party chose for its Vice President this election season.
I hope so. I hope it will be anyone but Hillary Clinton. But I'm a pessimist. I can't believe Obama would play it so close to the vest, only to have Biden's name leaked. I suspect that in a few hours he'll announce that his VP pick is the Hildebeast.
1. Imagine the huge news story if everyone is reporting it'll be Biden, then it turns out to be Hillary. The pundits will spend the entire weekend asking "How did the media get it wrong?"
2. Imagine the thrill (and poll numbers boost) among the Hildebeast's psycho-fans. First the letdown that it won't be Hillary ... then the elation that it is.
3. Obama will come off as "clever, shrewd, smart." Real "presidential timber" for fooling the media.
4. Plus, the news media is complicit, willing to be "fooled." The news media does not care about accuracy, but about "breaking" "shocking" news stories. Announcing Biden as VP is a ratings bump. Announcing that they got it wrong, and that it's Hillary, are two ratings bumps. Why wait to get it right (and get only one ratings bump), when you can get it wrong, then get it right (and hence, get two ratings bumps).
I hope it's not Hillary. I'd prefer anyone over Hillary. Obama, McCain, Biden, even Bush or Cheney.
Of all the Republicans and Democrats running this year, my top choice was Ron Paul. My second choice was "any of the others who are not Hillary." Gravel or Kucinich were better than Giuliani, but at least none of them were Hillary.
Anyway, we'll see in a few hours if I can breathe a sigh of relief, or if it turns out that Obama "fooled" the news media (with their complicity) and it turns out to be Hillary.
UPDATE: It seems I was wrong (thank God!). Obama chose Biden. I can live with a President Obama, so long as the VP is not Hillary.
I hope I was wrong. There's still the chance of a Hillary coup at the Democratic convention. You see, Hillary is a vampire. Even after you ram the stake in its heart, the Hildebeast can still arise. Much like Christopher Lee kept returning in all those Dracula Hammer film sequels.
Oh no, I'm by no means 100% certain that Hillary won't be president in 2009. Did I mention that I was a pessimist?
Not that I have high hopes for Obama, or McCain, but at least neither is the Hildebeast.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Don't blame me. I campaigned for Karen Kwiatkowski. And then for Ron Paul. Then I campaigned and voted for Mike Gravel. Then I voted for Mary Ruwart.
Then when it came time to nominating a VP candidate, I campaigned and voted for Steve Kubby.
So don't anyone blame me for Barr/WAR.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Among other things, I discussed the Libertarian Party's opposition to hate crime laws. I said that hate can best be fought through private means. As an example, I cited how the Kentucky LP dumped their U.S. Senate candidate, Sonny Landman, after Landham's bigoted, anti-Arab remarks.
Yet it now appears that I may have spoken too soon. The Kentucky LP is still considering what to do about Landham.
This is shameful and disturbing behavior on the part of the Kentucky LP. I was proud to tell the college kids at L.A. Trade Tech that the LP cleaned its own house--is that not so?
As far as I could see, there were maybe two white kids in the entire class. The rest of the students were Asian, Latin, Indian, black, etc. Los Angeles is the future face of America. (One student asked about the LP's immigration policy; I said most of us favor open borders.)
Are we telling future Americans that we oppose hate crime laws, and accept bigots into the LP?
On the day I spoke, the Green Party, and Peace and Freedom Party, also sent representatives. If the Libertarian Party does not demonstrate its opposition to racism and religious bigotry, these other third parties will be more appealing to future Americans.
I urge the Kentucky LP to dump Landham, whatever the consequences. If they, or some of their candidates, lose ballot status, so be it.
To paraphrase L.A. Libertarian officer Bob Weber (who posted at Independent Political Report): the Kentucky LP made this shit sandwich, now they must eat it.
Monday, July 28, 2008
"In a pair of interviews on The Weekly Filibuster Wednesday and Friday, Sonny Landham expressed support for genocide against Arabs and Muslims, whom he called repeatedly, 'camel dung shovellers,' 'camel jockeys' and 'ragheads.' He also called for an end to all immigration from Arab and Muslim nations, nationalization of businesses which employ 'illegal' immigrants, and nationalization of rental property of landlords who rent to them.
Other opinions which Mr. Landham expressed in those interviews include: high oil prices are a form of 'terrorism,' support for the trade union activities of Eugene Debs, John Lewis and Jimmy Hoffa, and a call for economic nationalism and protectionism, particularly of the steel industry. Landham said that the federal government should reorganize the economy as a partnership between unions and corporations while erecting barriers against the international flow of goods and labor and using total war - including weapons of mass destruction - to acquire resources it considers 'vital' on behalf of its corporate-trade union-military-industrial axis.
Landham also defended his role in producing a video for the Council of Conservative Citizens and said the message of the Libertarian Party is 'States Rights Now, States Rights Tomorrow, and States Rights Forever,' evoking a famous line from George Wallace's inaugural speech as Governor (replacing 'segregation' with 'States Rights'). However, Landham also said he is not qualified to explain or defend the views of the Libertarian Party, repeatedly saying 'ask them.'"
Landham's racist, anti-Arab remarks should require no condemnation; denying Arabs their individualism is obviously anti-libertarian. I've written about this problem in the LP before in the May 2008 California Freedom, page 5.
But consider Landham's claim that "high oil prices are a form of terrorism." Few LP members would (at least, openly) support Landham's racist remarks, yet I have heard self-proclaimed libertarians and conservatives say that high oil prices give the U.S. moral ground to invade nations, if it's in the "national interest," and thus a form of "self defense." Objectivists are especially prone to such lunatic remarks.
Yet when Ayn Rand appeared on The Phil Donahue Show, about the time of the late 1970s gas shortage, Donahue asked Rand what is to be done about high oil prices and "windfall profits" for the oil companies? (Remember President Carter's "windfall profits tax"?)
Regarding the oil companies, Rand replied, "You must pay their price, and say thank you!
It was classic Atlas Shurgged. I'm sure conservatives, libertarians, objectivists all cheered. But when the Arabs raise their prices, many on "the right" see it as justification for war. Apparently, Americans can morally raise their prices (Hail John Galt!), but foreign Muslims cannot.
There sure are plenty of racist, anti-property rights hypocrites among objectivists, conservatives, and libertarians.
More details on Landham's remarks may be found here.
Lance Brown is circulating an online petition to compel the Kentucky LP to remove publicly disavow the LP's endorsement of Landham.
That such a petition is necessary, that neither the Kentucky LP, nor the LNC, have acted as yet, says shameful things about the state of our party.
One week after Landham made his anti-Arab remarks, the Kentucky LP has officially disassociated itself from Landham. Good news.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
"America should just let Israel alone, defend itself, and go nuke the heck out of those Iranian cockroaches. Blow ‘em all up... just nuke the place for a thousand years."
Full report here: Treg Loyden.
UPDATE: I contacted Root through his website, seeking clarification. On July 20th, Root responded as follows:
"NOT accurate at all. Ask Steve Kubby. He was a witness. He backs up that this was NOT what was said. So ridiculous. I'm busy Thomas traveling the nation and winning over non-Libertarians, Republicans, Reagan Democrats, independents to our message.
"6% poll numbers nationwide (translating to 6 to 7 million voters) certainly prove the value of our message.
"And by the way I've done dozen upon dozen of radio interviews (certainly more than any LP VP ever)...my responses on Iraq and EVERY issue have been well received by the American public. I take live calls across USA from total strangers...and to date EVERY single caller has been won over by my appearances. We're winning lots of fans!
Have a nice day.
I will contact Steve Kubby, and see what he says.
My own observation: I've heard many libertarians and conservatives complain that America is "preventing Israel" from defending itself.
This is not true. Israel is always free to do as it pleases. The only way that America "interferes" with Israel's actions is by placing conditions on its foreign aid to Israel.
Israel is always free to reject U.S. foreign aid, and do as it pleases. Israel's dilemma is that is wants its Welfare Check, but without any strings.
However, welfare always comes with strings. Welfare always debilitates the recipient, and breeds resentment rather than gratitude. This is classical libertarian/conservative economic theory. Yet for some reason, libertarian and conservative supporters of Israel imagine that Israel is immune to universal economic laws.
It's not. No nation or individual is. The hundreds of billions of dollars we've given to Israel over the decades has made Israel into an ungrateful dependent. At least, I've heard little gratitude from Israel for our aid; only complaints that we don't support them enough.
In the long run, it'd be in the best interests of both Israel and the U.S. to end foreign aid to Israel -- immediately and completely.
And Israel would do well to make peace with its neighbors. Yes, it's possible. Both sides are guilty. No simple answers, but libertarian philosophy (rather than imperialist philosophy) provide helpful tips. For instance, encouraging economic interdependence between Israel and the Arab states. Israel might offer non-military technical aid to the Arab states (such as irrigation, etc.). The Arabs state can repay with oil.
But that won't happen so long as Israel imagines that it can always rely on America's unquestioning military and financial support. Israel needs to stand on its own feet, and try to deal with its neighbors as an equal.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Reformer: “Hey, we were tired of losing! We wanna win!”
Radical: “Well, congratulations. You just elected a Libertarian majority Congress.”
Reformer: “WHOOO! We won, we won!”
Radical: “Yup. And the Libertarian Congress just increased income taxes, banned handguns, invaded Syria, increased the FBI's domestic spying powers, and suspended habeas corpus.”
Reformer: “So what, you radical! We won, we won, we won! WHOOOO!”
Monday, July 07, 2008
"Is it not common knowledge (my understanding is that this is accurately documented) that Starr personally ordered Mary Ruwart's Short Answers to the Tough Questions in April from Laissez Faire Books? That this order was placed with "extreme rush", with shipping cost no object, for the express purpose of getting it into the hands of, i.e. was “rush” shipped to, Mark Schreiber (W.A.R.’s campaign manager) in Lexington, Kentucky? That this book purchase was revealed by Schreiber publicly at the Indiana Convention (including, that an extremely expensive “rush” shipping cost was paid) for the express purpose of “revealing” the page 43 “tough” question about how a libertarian could argue against child pornography? (Mind you, Mary Ruwart was giving reasons for libertarians to argue against child pornography, not FOR it!)"
LaBianca's comments may be found here.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
"I hope they have ambulances parked outside," joked one reform delegate at the 2008 LP national convention. I knew what he meant. Many of us were expecting long and acrimonious floor fights. Instead, the convention turned out to be surprisingly civil, despite some angry moments.
Like when those Barr delegates held an impromptu placard parade, marching past the C-SPAN cameras in the middle of Bill Redpath's speech. Anti-Barr delegates hissed and booed. Barr campaign higher-ups later blamed the parade on over-zealous delegates, acting on their own.
Presidential contender Christine Smith returned the favor during her "concession speech," lashing out at Barr. Now it was the Barr delegates' turn to hiss and boo.
At least C-SPAN viewers weren't bored.
Smith also thanked her supporters. All five of them. She'd gotten six votes on the first ballot, one presumably her own.
Rumors abounded. Some said that Barr would bus in bogus delegates. A similar rumor reportedly circulated about Kubby. Neither rumor materialized into fact.
It seems Mary Ruwart suffered a last-minute dirty trick. I'd asked Senator Mike Gravel's daughter, Lynne Moiser, to vote for Ruwart after Gravel fell from the ballot. Lynne agreed, since I'd assisted the Gravel campaign. But Lynne confided an unsettling rumor she'd heard on the floor: the Washington Post was about to break a story on the LP nominating "child pornographer" Ruwart.
That false smear was old news, based on an out-of-context quote from Ruwart's book. Both Wayne Allyn Root and Christine Smith had pounced on Ruwart months earlier, demanding she withdraw. Yet Ruwart's candidacy survived.
But Lynne was new to the LP, unfamiliar with our blogs and channels of communication. The smear was news to her.
And this Washington Post twist was entirely new. The Post "was about to break a story" about the LP nominating a child pornographer? Really? Where did that come from?
It seems someone (or a group of someones) was spreading lies on the convention floor, during the voting. Of course, by the time lies are refuted, the balloting is over.
Barr/Root won. It's no secret, they're the reformers' preference. Will radicals support this ticket in November?
Radical is a broad term (not all of us are purists), encompassing several factions, mostly supportive of each other, but with different priorities. Mine, as everyone knows, is antiwar.
I spoke with Barr before the voting. I said I'd heard that he supported war with Iran. He denied this. He said he'd lived in Iran, he knew the Iranian people, and he did not believe war was necessary.
That was good to hear.
Even better, weeks after the nomination, Barr continues to speak publicly against war with Iran. He's called for negotiations. So far, so good.
Outright Libertarians caucused after Barr/Root's victory. These gay libertarians were less than happy. While in Congress, Barr authored the Defense of Marriage Act (a position he recanted during Saturday's C-SPAN debate). Likewise, Root opposed gay marriage before he supported it.
"How can I ask my non-Libertarian gay friends to vote for Barr/Root?" lamented one OL member.
Nevertheless, OL Chair Rob Power proposed a motion to invite Barr and Root to "personally attend" future OL events. Gay libertarians are ready to support Barr/Root, provided that support is publicly reciprocated.
Still less happy are LP pagans. While in Congress, Barr urged the Pentagon to deny recognition to Wiccans. I saw several pagan delegates wearing anti-Barr buttons.
Pagans remain upset weeks after the convention. A longtime LPC Wiccan told me he may not vote LP, explaining, "I'd contacted Barr's campaign several times since the convention, asking for his current views on religious freedom. No one's responded."
While Barr/Root have offered partial loaves to peaceniks and gays, pagans remain unfed. As for the open immigration and anti-drug war radicals, from what I've seen, they consider Barr/Root less than "pure," but will mostly give the ticket a chance.
To paraphrase one radical blogger: "The reformers got everything they wanted. The president. The vice president. The platform. If the LP doesn't get votes, reformers can't blame radicals for holding them back. If the LP fails, it will be the reformers' strategy that failed."
Some troubling news: An LNC member wants the 2010 convention held in Hawaii, despite complaints that this would price out many povertarian radicals. One blogger says current round-trip air fare is $1,500 to $2,000.
Some suggest that if there is a Hawaii convention, povertarians hold an alternate convention. If more delegates attend the alternate than the "official" convention, it will (1) throw into question the "official" convention's legitimacy, and (2) potentially split the party.
This past convention leaves the LP not broken, but cracked. I urge the LNC not to risk breakage by holding the next convention at a location beyond the means of many loyal Libertarians.
Newly re-elected LNC rep Angela Keaton dishes "inside scoops" about the LNC at: AngelaKeaton.com.
Angela's blog is still silent, but I hope it would be for long.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Denise had invited all of California's third parties to come and speak. I was to speak alongside reps from the Republican and Peace and Freedom Party (the Democrats and Greens spoke yesterday). But the GOP sent no one and the expected PFP rep was a no-show. So it was just me (the Libertarian) and a student who spoke for the GOP.
I distributed much radical LP literature (mostly antiwar material) and radical pro-freedom buttons. The State Sucks was an especially popular button. Thanks, Lawrence K. Samuels, for providing the literature and buttons!
I photographed some of the class (I couldn't get all of them to fit). Denise said the class had 42 registered students. That's Denise kneeling in the photo.
I also distributed a list of LP websites, including this one. So if you're one of the students who heard me today, and you're here and have more questions, please ask away!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Here's an excerpt:
Do you know much about the “status for forces” agreement the U.S. is trying to hammer out with – i.e. hammer upon – Iraqi lawmakers? The U.S. press hasn’t reported much on it, and what little detail they’ve provided has been entirely due to reports in Britain’s Independent newspaper by Patrick Cockburn.
While the Bush administration has been saying “it’s just routine, nothing to see here, folks, move along,” Cockburn revealed that it could well lock us into Iraq for McCain’s 100 years, with the U.S. maintaining 58 permanent bases, controlling the airspace, and able to conduct military operations and arrests without regard to the Iraqi government, while all U.S. personnel and contractors would be immune from prosecution (as apparently are the Blackwater forces who shot 19 innocent Iraqi citizens in one incident last year).
Iraqi leaders balked at this, since – as Cockburn pointed out onDemocracy Now! – it requires the ostensibly sovereign nation to relinquish every aspect of its sovereignty to its occupiers. Cockburn also broke the news that the U.S. is blackmailing Iraqi legislators, threatening to permanently withhold access to tens of billions of dollars in Iraqi funds that have been locked up in the Federal Reserve since the first Gulf War.
Again, read the entire report.
Monday, June 16, 2008
My LTE was in reply to Barbara Ehrenreich's article on how "the rich" are pushing normal
folk out of desirable areas.
Friday, June 13, 2008
1. War brutalizes. Without excusing his actions, it must seem bizarre to this Marine that we train him to be a lean, mean, killing machine, our media cheers the slaughter of thousands of civilians in shock and awe bombardment, our society relishes the slaughter of humans on TV in what is called a turkey shoot, -- and then we condemn a Marine for killing one tiny animal.
This lean, mean, killing machine must be wondering "Huh? What'd I do wrong? What happened?"
2. I'm disturbed that many Americans will feel greater remorse for one puppy than for the hundreds of thousands of people killed in the Iraq War.
Stressing that Muslims are not monolithic, Kira said that different planks of the LP platform appeal to different Muslims, including economic freedom, foreign policy, less government, separation of church and state, and "especially civil rights."
Do some Muslims agree with the entire LP platform? "Absolutely, yes," said Kira.
One California Muslim, Maad Abu-Ghazaleh, ran for Congress on the Libertarian ticket in 2002 against Democrat Tom Lantos. Abu-Ghazaleh got 7% of the vote. The Republican got 25%.
The AMTF is non-partisan and encourages Muslims to participate in the political process, whether as a Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian, or whatever party best represents an individual Muslim's principles.
Kira added, "There is a verse in the tradition of The Prophet that says, 'Follow the law of the country that you are in.' We want Muslims to be part of every party. [This booth] is our attempt to get them to know what the LP stands for."
Thursday, June 12, 2008
One notable exception was Sherman Ball, who is perhaps unique in being the only delegate at any LP convention ever to sport a more colorful appearance than Starchild.
"I was wondering who he was," said Ball of Starchild, while telling me his own story.
Ball was discharged from the U.S. Air Force with the rank of captain in 1972. He was active in the early years of the LPC, then left. He only recently rejoined, inspired by Ron Paul and Bob Barr.
Explaining his support for Barr, Ball said, "I want to do some damage to the Republican or the Democrat party. The one-party system we got now is basically statist. We have a chance with Bob Barr to bloody at least one of the parties, and get ourselves established as a real party. He has national name recognition. He's been a member of the Libertarian National Committee for a couple of years.
"Almost everything is haywire in this country. The increasing regulations. The phony climate change thing, which mankind has nothing to do with. It does it by itself. The sun is responsible. The orbit of the Earth. We have no control over it. McCain has proposed an agenda to control every aspect of our lives in the name of this mythical, man-caused global warming."
Ball wears a Sumerian Libertarian t-shirt because, he says, "all of our Western civilization came out of Sumeria," making it the birthplace of liberty.
Regarding his piercings and tattoos, does he prefer to be called a body artist, or a member of the body alteration community, or what?
Ball laughs. "I'm just who I am. I don't have any group."
Friday, June 06, 2008
It's also still not up on the LPC website, so I put it up on mine.
Here's the editorial itself:
In 1977, a high school buddy and I entered the West 38th Street headquarters of the Free Libertarian Party (as the NY affiliate was then called). I was visiting all the third parties that year, my curiosity piqued by the citywide elections. The FLP's office was occupied by some half dozen middle-aged white guys (some things never change), sitting around a table, drinking coffee and shooting the breeze.
Knowing nothing about the LP, I tried to understand it by first locating it on the political spectrum. I asked these guys: "Are you left-wing or right-wing?"
"Weeeeell...," one of the men pondered. "We're both. And neither."
In over thirty years, I've yet to hear a better reply to that hoary question. Those few words sum it all up.
We are both. And neither.
Consider this issue of California Freedom, which features both CodePink and the American Enterprise Institute. Antiwar socialists and pro-war neoconservatives, respectively. Where else can you find that?
Yet it's not so strange. Most libertarians are antiwar, as is CodePink's Hanan Shawar [page 1]. Most libertarians disbelieve in a manmade global warming crisis, as does the AEI's Kenneth P. Green [page 5]. Where libertarians find common ground with other political groups, Left or Right, it makes sense to cooperate--provided we never forget or compromise our own principles.
Of course, some libertarians support the war. And some libertarians not only believe in manmade global warming, they think government should do something about it. Not just "left-libertarians"--I've met a pro-war "eco-libertarian" who thinks so.
I've often said, there are more factions in the LP than actual members.
I'm writing this on May 10th, before the Denver national convention. By the time you have a paper copy of this issue in your hands, you'll likely know who is our presidential candidate. Conventional wisdom on the libertarian blogosphere and supper club circuit says that, of the over dozen LP contenders, only six have a real chance of winning: Bob Barr, Mike Gravel, George Phillies, Steve Kubby, Wayne Allyn Root, and Mary Ruwart.
Conventional wisdom adds that, of the Likely Six, the Most Likely Three are Barr, Root, and Ruwart.
It will be interesting to see if there are any upsets. In 2004, Gary Nolan and Arron Russo were the Most Likely Two. The winner was Michael Badnarik.
Conventional wisdom (which is very talkative) also says that on the libertarian spectrum (as opposed to the traditional left/right spectrum), Barr and Root are preferred by the LP's reformer/pragmatarian wing, Kubby and Ruwart are favored by the radical/purist wing, and Phillies and Gravel are the "libertarian moderates" occupying some space between the pragmatist vs. purist extremes.
I don't yet know how I'll vote at the convention. As of today, I plan to cast my token for Mike Gravel.
You see, each delegate will receive a token, to cast for the candidate he or she would like to see participate in Saturday's presidential debate, to be broadcast on C-SPAN. A candidate must collect tokens from at least 10% of the delegates to be included in that debate.
This doesn't mean I'll vote for Gravel on the following Sunday, when we select our presidential candidate. I may. Maybe not. But I'd like to hear more from this antiwar former Democrat, and I figure Ruwart won't need my token, so Gravel gets it. As of today.
Of course, Kubby or Phillies (or even Ruwart) may yet persuade me to surrender my token. We'll see.
This issue of California Freedom marks my one-year anniversary as editor. June 2007 was my first. Although everyone's welcome to submit, much of the material in this issue comes from the usual suspects. It seems not an issue goes by without Lawrence K. Samuels reporting on his activism--no wonder he won a Bray Award! Laura G. Brown's back with another film review. And we've two articles from Albert J. Segalla. Barbara "Joy" Waymire is a newcomer, but she'll likely remain a presence for many issues to come.
The July issue should contain many articles and photos about the Denver convention -- but only if you provide them!
And in case you're wondering, I did give my token to Mike Gravel. I also voted for Gravel on the first three ballots.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Then I read this in The Nation's comments section:
"Israel is not an ally of the US. All the US candidates know that there is no alliance treaty between the 2 countries, because when LBJ offered a treaty to Israel after the 6 Day war in '67, Israel refused. Why? Every alliance treaty requires that signatories define precisely the borders of their country and bind themselves to notifying all other signatories of any military action about to be taken against a 3rd nation. Israel still finds these traditional alliance requirements unacceptable, hence no alliance treaty exists between Israel & the US."
Is this true? Does anyone know?
It'd be pretty astonishing if, after all these years of hearing that Israel is "America's greatest ally," that Israel is not technically an ally at all.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Like Obama, Paul has a devoted following among the young, antiwar, and change-oriented. I know of one young, female Paul libertarian who's already supporting Obama.
Many antiwar Libertarians are unhappy with the LP ticket. They would enthusiastically support Obama/Paul.
We hear about "Obama Republicans." Paul would bring more Republicans to Obama.
Clinton Democrats are threatening to shift to McCain. Obama needs Paul Libertarians and Republicans to cancel out unhappy Clinton fans.
Paul is a team player. He's spent his life working cordially with people he disagrees with (virtually everyone in Washington). I've read that Paul admires Obama. Paul would be a respectful Number Two (unlike Clinton).
Paul is in his seventies. He would not plot behind Obama, planning his next presidential run.
Obama/Paul would overturn paradigms and unite the country. Black and white, Democrat and Republican, progressive and libertarian, will enthusiastically support Obama/Paul. McCain and Clinton will be history.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
"Notice that I wrote we suck," said Bowers, stressing that his message was inclusive of both the Reformers who supported Root, and the Radicals who stayed home rather than attend the Denver convention. This latter group includes Bowers's own brother, Los Angeles County LP Secretary David Bowers.
Curiously, though Root is the self-proclaimed "King of Las Vegas," Root, his wife, and their 16-year-old daughter were all California delegates.
Even more curiously, not one of the six Nevada delegates voted for Root. All six voted for Mike Gravel, later switching to Mary Ruwart.
I asked the Nevada delegation why none of them supported their fellow Nevadan, Root. The delegates smiled and said that everyone was asking them that question. They then explained that they knew nothing about Root. Root had not bothered to attend the Nevada LP convention, and never asked them for their support.
I asked the delegation about rumors that Root might run for mayor of Las Vegas, or for Nevada's Senate seat, on the LP ticket. The delegates knew nothing of such plans and seemed unexcited about a potential Root candidacy.
Considering the Nevada delegates' cool attitude toward Root, I suppose I can understand why Root carpet-bagged his family into the much larger California delegation.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Someone (or a group of someones) was spreading ugly and outlandish anti-Ruwart rumors on the convention floor during the voting. Before the 5th ballot, after Senator Mike Gravel was dropped, I asked Mike's daughter, Lynne Moiser, to vote for Mary Ruwart.
I'd been supporting and advising the Gravel campaign during the previous week, since they were new to the Libertarian mindset and convention process. Lynne said she'd go along and vote for Ruwart, since I'd been nice to the Gravel campaign.
But Lynne also told me an unsettling rumor. She said she'd heard on the floor that the "Washington Post was about to break a story that the Libertarian Party was nominating child pornographer Mary Ruwart." That false and ugly accusation about Ruwart was old news, based on an out of context quote from a book by Ruwart that had been unearthed by George Phillies. Both Wayne Allyn Root and Christine Smith had pounced on Ruwart at the time, asking for her to withdraw. The rumor was known and disregarded by Ruwart's supporters. However, Lynne was new to Libertarianism. She was unfamiliar with our blogs and channels of communication. This false rumor was news to her. And this Washington Post twist was entirely new. So, the Washington Post was "about to break a story" about the LP was nominating a child pornographer? Really? Where did that come from? Well, an effective lie needs to be specific. It's more believable that way. Clearly, someone was spreading lies on the convention floor, when only Barr, Ruwart, and Root remained on the ballot -- in that order. Which camp was spreading these lies? Barr or Root? Root was in last place (behind Ruwart) and his campaign has a history of playing the "child pornographer " card against Ruwart. But there's no hard evidence either way. That's how lies work. They emerge, do their damage, then disappear down the memory hole. Sadly, there's no price to pay for spreading lies late in the game. By the time the lies are exposed and confronted, the balloting is long since over. Yet for the record, it seems likely that at least one of the candidates on the LP's Barr/Root ticket (or their campaigns) was playing dirty tricks on the convention floor. Which of these men wanted the nomination that bad? Either way, it's sad. Very sad.
Thus, the LP must now spend money on professional signature gatherers in MA, when previously they'd relied on volunteer signature gatherers.
I wonder how many Libertarian voters Barr/Root will lose? Many Libertarians are saying that they will not vote for Barr/Root.
If Republicans "go home" to McCain by the time November rolls around (as usually happens), it may be that Barr/Root underperform Badnarik.
Bruce has now emailed me his resolution, as passed at the national convention:
"Whereas the War in Iraq was sold to the American people based upon lies, exaggerations and half-truths,
Whereas the War in Iraq was prosecuted for the private interests of the Administration and its cronies and was not, and is not, in the national security interests of the United States,
We call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq as quickly as can be safely accomplished."
So it's official now. The LP is an antiwar party. I especially like the wording. Very strong and uncompromising.
Curiously, I've not seen this antiwar resolution in any LP press releases. I hope that "oversight" will be rectified.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
For months, Smith had been claiming to be "the frontrunner by any metric." Yet she got only 6 votes on the first ballot. Talk about a reality check!
During her "concession speech," Smith went ballistic, attacking Barr for "hijacking" the LP. I'd have enjoyed seeing Smith's psycho performance. She always irritated me, her being a newbie yet presuming to lecture to Purists on what it means to be a Purist.
Sadly, much of the California delegation was out in the hallway voting on the next ballot while Smith was freaking out live on C-SPAN. So I missed the show.
I wish I had some photos or videos of Smith's meltdown. All I could find was this post-meltdown video:
Smith's performance was boo-worthy. But the Barr contingent who did the booing were the proverbial pot calling the kettle black.
Prior to Smith's antics, the Barr people led a placard parade past the C-SPAN cameras while LP Chair Redpath was speaking. Very rude. The Barr folks were behaving just like ... well, like Christine Smith.
I'll post more on the convention later. I haven't had much time while at the convention itself. I made my last post from a molasses-slow Verizon "high-speed wireless broadband" internet connection. (High speed. Yeah, right.)
Meanwhile, Smith continues her immature tantrum on her blog. (I suspect she herself wrote those "emails of support" from her imaginary fans.)
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Storms in Denver. My American Airlines plane sits on the LAX tarmac for nearly an hour before takeoff.
The LP arranged for a shuttle to take us from Denver airport to the hotel. $22 round trip -- cheap! Our driver got lost briefly; seeking a shortcut, I guess. We took a bumpy ride along a dirt road, cows to one side, before we reached a dead end. Two cars were (idiotically) following us, and were likewise forced to turn around at the dead end.
* Thursday night.
The 9/11 Truth movement sponsored an unofficial debate. Lots of free popcorn. Three flavors.
Daniel Imperato came off as a real loon. Here is his explanation of 9/11, as best I remember it (not an exact quote, but a condensed paraphrase): "9/11 began when Jacob grabbed Esau's heel, thus did the Jews steal the Arabs' birthright. Since then, Arabs have been trying to regain their birthright. Christopher Columbus was a Jew who discovered America. When Washington was inaugurated, he established the United States as a Judeao-Christian nation. The Jews worked hard to control international finance. The Arabs "woke up" to this Jewish control, realized they'd built nothing, and so they established the United Arab Emirites. The Saudis launched 9/11 and attacked the U.S. at the exact spot where Washington was inaugurated in order to divide the U.S. from God (making it no longer a "nation under God"). As a result, the Saudis now control American finance, having taken it away from the Jews."
Imperato bragged of all his international connections, and how as president he can use that to help the U.S.
George Phillies runs a great hospitality suite. Great sandwiches. Free alcohol and soda (although I only drank water and coffee). Someone praised the jelly beans.
Imperato's statement made for much fun gossip at Phillies's hospitality suite, everyone passing it on and laughing about it. One wonders, does Imperato have a clue as to how "out of touch" he is with the LP?
Also at Thursday's debate, one of the presidential candidates (Jeffers? Johnson?) refused the sign the 9/11 Truth group's pledge (basically a call for further investigation). He was thus asked to leave, then ordered out. "I paid for this event," one large woman said as she had the candidate escorted out.
Starchild challenged Mike Gravel, asking if any of the candidates supported "initiation of force." Gravel didn't understand the question, answering if someone got unruly (alluding to the ejected candidate), it was proper to throw that person out of the room. Starchild clarified, redirecting Gravel to his position of using state funds for education. Gravel got snappish, saying that (a paraphrase), "Sure, if you want an uneducated country, you could have that, but to have a functioning democracy you needed an educated citizenry." Libertarians challenged Gravel, saying that the free market can provide that. Gravel didn't agree. "Sure, if you want to go back to the 18th century."
Gravel also suggested that the LP hadn't achieved anything in all its years, and thus we needed to get real (and by implication, nominate him). Ruwart stepped in and listed the LP's achievements, mainly that of "changing hearts and minds."
I later spoke with Gravel's people, noting that Gravel needs to show more respect to his audience. He must learn to "respectfully disagree."
Ruwart came off well, and I shifted closer to her after the debate.
[Just now, Alicia Mattson was giving a pitch for the Platform Committee's majority report. Angela Keaton demanded to know whether the minority report would get equal time. So Redpath allowed Rob Power to give a one minute pitch.]
As of Saturday morning, I still haven't given away my token. A presidential or VP candidate needs 30 tokens to be get time for nominating speeches. And tokens from 10% of delegates to be permitted in Saturday night's C-SPAN debate.
Also at the Phillies hospitality suite, last night, I met a delegate from Massachusetts. A Druid neo-Confederate. His sister is a lesbian, and so he can't stand Bob Barr. This delegate hates "religious bigots and homophobes. But he also thinks the Confederacy should have won the war!
I insisted that, even allowing for all the arguments against the North and Lincoln, the increase in government, the "unconstitutionality of the war," that the slaves "would have been freed anyway in about 40 years," that some blacks owned slaves (and I've heard all the -- often irrelevant -- neo-Confederate arguments) the result of freeing the slaves immediately (1863 or 1865, either way) morally justified the Civil War.
This delegate countered by saying that Lincoln "enslaved the South" -- and that blacks were better off under slavery -- !!!
A Druid who hates religious bigots and homophobes -- but who thinks blacks were better off under slavery. Only in the LP!
I should have known better than to argue with this man. Neo-Confederates are as stubbornly closed-minded as global warming believers.
By-Law stuff in the business session.
Bruce Cohen has been sitting in the Wayne Allyn Root booth. All the presidential candidates have booths. Even Alden Link. (Well, not Robert Milnes.)
Bruce has been scowling at me whenever he sees me. He also has a dog. A big white thing. I asked Bruce how me manged to get that dog into the hotel ballroom.
"We walked," said Bruce. "You should try it sometime." (A joke?) Then Bruce added, "My dog is even more pro-defense than I am."
That evening, I met Mike Binkley and Richard Venable at the hotel bar. Richard has been collecting Vice Presidential tokens for Gail Lightfoot. Gail showed up, and I gave her my VP token.
* Friday night.
Another unofficial debate. Ten candidates. A large crowd (must be over 100), cramped in a hot room. Virtually everyone except Bob Barr. I speculate this will backfire on Barr. Others agree. Libertarians don't like candidates who act "above it all."
Gravel's performance has improved. Friendly, not snappish. Jim Burns came off very well. Stately, less doddering, wisely libertarian. Christine Smith was hyper, her attitude matching her new "purer than thou" attitude. Kubby came off well.
Ruwart knows current events and history. So does Gravel. Ruwart mentioned that the Taliban had offered to turn over Osama bin Ladin to Bush, on condition that bin Ladin receive a fair trail. Bush declined, he invaded Aghanistan, and to date Bush has still failed to bring bin Ladin to justice.
Gravel observed that the Patriot Act has not drafted overnight. It had been waiting in the wings.
Root was energetic as ever. He reiterated that Obama was in his Columbia graduating class. Root also said that, were he to be nominated, he'd be the first Jewish presidential candidate from a major political party. Root suggested that this too would be a great media talking point.
I don't see that the LP is a "major political party." Bob Weber said to me that Marrou was Jewish, so Root wouldn't even be the first Jewish LP presidential candidate. Root's ignorance is matched only by his willingness to say anything if he thinks it'll win him the nomination. He's grasping at every imagined advantage, however irrelevant. I think Root is getting desperate, now that Barr is in the race.
Anthony Gregory, ever the ultra-purist anarchist, even found problems with Ruwart and Kubby (such as Kubby's reverence for the Constitution, a statist document). Gregory said that, of all the candidates, he thought Jim Burns was the best; the most libertarian.
After the debate I wandered through Bob Barr's reception. Barr was sitting by a table, chatting with people as they came up. He saw me, and invited me to have some food. I sat and talked with him.
Barr seems better in person than what I'd heard about him. I'd read (on BadBarr.com, I think it was) that Barr was open to war on Iran. Barr denied this, saying that he'd been to Iran, he knew Iran, and war was unnecessary. He also denied wanting to send U.S. troops into Latin America to fight the war on drugs. Barr thought the only reason to send troops into Latin America would be to liberate Americans captured by terrorists.
I then went in search of the Ruwart party, held "outside, across the street." By the time I found it, all the food was gone. So I went to Phillies suite. Only fruit and jelly beans left. People from all campaigns congregating here. Root and Gravel buttons in evidence.
Outright Libertarians told me that Barr was busing in about 300 delegates for Saturday. "It's not a conspiracy theory," I was told. "It's a fact."
As of Friday, there were about 520 credentials delegates. About 550 Saturday morning.
* Saturday morning.
Platform debate going on. Scott Lieberman joked that he hoped that there were ambulances waiting outside, due to the expected bloodbath. Everyone expects much contention. Not so bad so far. At least it's civil.
I'll decide who gets my token in a few hours. As of last night, I'd heard that Phillies has about 40, Gravel 25-30, Barr over 100. Smith was asking for tokens at the debate, so that a real libertarian would be able to participate on C-SPAN.
One of Ruwart's people told me this morning that it's close; he's not sure yet. I'll check with them later today. If Ruwart sill needs tokens, I'll likely give it to her. If not, I may give it to Gravel.
Monday, May 19, 2008
War without end is the big issue of our time. This Orwellian "decades-long war" against a shifting laundry list of nations to "rid the world of evil" itself. After 9/11 nearly all the world sympathized with us. We've since thrown away that goodwill, creating new enemies, stretching our military and weakening our security.
Antiwar is pro-defense.
Civil liberties is another big issue. But that ties into the war. James Madison wrote: "If tyranny and oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." And: "No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."
American voters overwhelmingly oppose our current and (now being planned) future wars. The LP must market itself as the antiwar party. This would be popular with voters and pro-liberty. Pragmatic and principled.
George Phillies, Steve Kubby, and Mary Ruwart are all excellent on peace and civil liberties. I've voted for Phillies and Kubby in the past. I can enthusiastically support any of these three should they be our nominee.
Mike Gravel is equally good on peace and civil liberties. But he surpasses them on media and voter credibility. He is a past US Senator from Alaska. And though he is new to the LP, he is not new to effective peace activism.
To quote Gravel: "In 1971, I waged a one-man, five-month filibuster that forced an end to the Vietnam War draft. I released The Pentagon Papers, the top secret Pentagon study about how three presidential administrations lied to get us into Vietnam. I risked my political career and possible jail, but I decided that if our democracy is to survive, Americans must know what their government is doing. The Supreme Court sided with me."
The media knows and respects this. Other LP candidates can't match such credibility.
Gravel sought the Democratic presidential nomination earlier this year. Likely voters (the sort who watch early presidential debates) saw Gravel share the stage with Clinton and Obama. These likely voters already perceive Gravel as a "real" candidate.
Here's what Gravel said during one televised debate: "This is fantasy land. We're talking about ending the war. My God, we're just starting a war right today. There was a vote in the Senate today. Joe Lieberman, who authored the Iraq Resolution, has authored another resolution, and it is essentially a fig leaf to let George Bush go to war with Iran.... I'm ashamed of you, Hillary, for voting for it ... Obama was not even there to vote."
Ever want to tell off Hillary to her face? Or Obama? Gravel did. Before a national audience. See it on YouTube:
Wayne Allyn Root says that Obama was in his Columbia graduating class, and that, although he never met Obama, this is a good talking point. Yet Root's ancient "Obama connection" pales beside Gravel recently debating Obama face-to-face. Before millions of Americans.
Root endorsed McCain/Lieberman before joining the LP as a pro-war candidate in 2007, then "converted" to non-interventionism. Yet at the California LP convention in February 2008, he said he'd emphasize economic issues. So even if his conversion is sincere, he still won't (unless he's changed again) make antiwar his flagship issue.
The LP should discuss the economy. But the economy ties into the war. Wars have bankrupted nations. Federal borrowing has ballooned. Fat chance of any tax cuts with those looming debt and interest payments.
We cannot discuss the economy without mentioning the war. We cannot attract voters by nominating Basil Fawlty.
Only Bob Barr approaches Gravel in terms of media and voter credibility. Yet while Barr has grown since joining the LP, he's still not "pure enough" for many libertarians. We need a candidate who's both pragmatic and pure.
I regard Gravel as Purist Lite. Not perfect on every issue, but excellent on those that matter. A pragmatic purist.
If you're a delegate to the upcoming LP convetion, and you have your own "dealbreaker" issues, please visit Gravel's campaign at the convention. He may already support your key issues. He's pro-choice on abortion, pro-gay marriage, anti-drug war. He wants to abolish the IRS, and the personal and corporate income tax (and replace them with a Fair Tax, i.e., national sales tax).
Pretty damn pure. But not so "extreme" as to "scare away" voters.
Undecided? Please give your token to Gravel, so he may participate in the Saturday debate. Hear what he has to say.
When it comes to ending our wars (thus strengthening our security and economy) and protecting civil liberties, I believe Gravel is as principled and more effective than any of our other candidates.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Below I also reprint one of the articles in this May issue:
Libertarians Protest 4,000th U.S. Troop Killed in Iraq
by Lawrence K. Samuels
Monterey Libertarians for Peace, Monterey CodePink, and the Peace Coalition of Monterey were among the estimated thirty participants in an antiwar protest on March 24 at Windows-on-the-bay, in Monterey, CA.
The protest was organized in response to the death of the 4,000th U.S. soldier in the ongoing Iraq War. Large signs displayed on the grass mourned the mounting casualties, while Hanan Shawar, coordinator for Monterey CodePink, wore "bloodied" bandages to emphasize the horrors of war.
Protesters urged support for the troops rather than the war. They hoped to prevent the U.S. government from further betraying the idealism and bravery of U.S. service men and women by sacrificing their lives in a needless and unconstitutional war.
Passing motorists honked their approval of the protesters' antiwar message.
Shawar has for the past several years been a key partner with Monterey Libertarians for Peace in organizing antiwar efforts.
Lawrence K. Samuels is Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Monterey County. He co-chairs Monterey County Libertarians for Peace with Prof. David R. Henderson, an economist with the Hoover Institute. Samuels's email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Until recently, Gravel was running for the Democratic presidential nomination. He got in some good jabs against pro-war Hillary Clinton.
Some people have titled his below video as Hillary Cackles. People Die.
See, I'm no purist. Mike Gravel, Steve Kubby, George Phillies, and Mary Ruwart would all be acceptable LP presidential candidates for me.
But no Root, please. And no Smith or Barr, either.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I first heard it before 9/11. It’s supposed to have occurred in the LP’s “early days,” in the post-1960s student rebellion era. Maybe the 1970s?
Here’s how it goes:
One day, the LAPD sent a police intelligence officer to one of the LP’s many Los Angeles supper clubs. His assignment was to infiltrate the LP, and see if it was planning terrorist or revolutionary activities.
When the police officer returned to LAPD headquarters, his captain asked him, “Well, how did it go? Did you infiltrate the LP?”
“I guess so,” the officer replied. “They elected me Chair.”
The point of this apocrypha is that the LP is not worth infiltrating, and that the authorities have long since figured that out. We do everything in the open, and most of what we do is complaining. Ineffectual complaining. Like on this blog of mine.
So, does this joke have any contemporary relevance? Yes, in that some LP members (e.g., LP presidential candidate Robert Milnes) still fantasize that the FBI, CIA, or whoever, wants to infiltrate or sabotage the LP.
Nonsense! The LP isn't worth the effort, and the "The Man" knows it.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Root's problem is that, while his core belief seems to be self-promotion, he does seem to be a sincere interventionist. His early statements were extensive and consistent on that point; a worldwide "war on terror" sounded close to his heart.
Before running in the LP, Root endorsed
McCain/Lieberman for 2008. Even in 2007, after announcing his LP bid, Root was a supporter of war. ("Iraq was the wrong war, Iran is the right war," he'd said in 2007. (In February 2008 he told me that what he'd really said was that "Iran might be the right war," but that he no longer supported that position.)
Root's "official" positions keep "evolving" ever closer to classic libertarian non-interventionism. But is he sincere? His evolution is suspiciously quick and convenient.
And even now, he can't let go of his support for foreign aid.
I checked his website a few weeks ago, and found: "Drastically reduced foreign aid -- stop funding countries that aren't our friends -- utilize the carrot vs. stick."
So he still wants to fund "our friends." (Why don't our friends ever fund us?) Root still doesn't get it. "Carrot vs. stick" is intervention. Demopublicans have used carrots and sticks for over a century. They only disagree on who's currently a friend, who's an enemy.
And in an April 28 press release, Root wrote: We must rapidly and dramatically reduce foreign aid and U.S. military bases around the world. In particular, it is time to end our defense of wealthy countries such as Japan, South Korea and the nations of Western Europe.
Again, he wants to "drastically reduce" foreign aid, but not eliminate it.
He also writes: "Let’s start by eliminating financial support to dictators, with the ultimate goal of cutting foreign aid to a bare minimum everywhere and only if absolutely required for national defense.
Why "start" anywhere? Why an "ultimate goal"? Foreign aid is not something that can only be achieved in increments. One can eliminate all of it, with one stroke of the legislative, or presidential veto, pen.
Why does Root not support an immediate end of all foreign aid, to all nations, rich and poor, "friend" and foe?
Not only is foreign aid an aggression on U.S. taxpayers (who are forced to pay it), but a true libertarian understands that welfare is crippling and corrupting. Thus, foreign aid is crippling and corrupting to nations -- all nations -- friends and foes alike.
Does Root wish to cripple and corrupt "our friends"? Or does Root not believe in the libertarian principle that welfare is crippling in corrupting?
Furthermore, if a foreign nation is truly our friend, surely they'll continue to be so if we stop paying them? What sort of friend is it that always demands a handout every time you see him?
Certainly Japan and South Korea, Western Europe and Israel (not on Root's list), are all wealthy nations. All have money to burn -- as evidenced by their socialist economies. (More so in Western Europe and Israel, but even Japan and South Korea have domestic government spending -- who doesn't?)
Military foreign aid is a form of foreign economic subsidy, since U.S. military aid allows foreign nations to divert their own "defense money" to "social services." Thus, eliminating military foreign aid would not endanger any of "our friends." It would simply require them to divert their domestic spending to their own militaries.
A foreign nation that's a true friend would understand that the U.S. has its own serious economic problems, and would stop demanding handouts. A foreign nation with integrity would want to stand on its own feet, and pay its own way. A foreign nation that was wise would understand that it was in their own interests to do so. And a true libertarian would understand all of the above. And say so. And mean it.
I suggest that all Libertarian presidential candidates be required to sign a pledge: I support the immediate and complete elimination of all foreign aid, to all nations, no exceptions.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
"Gosh, you're asking a lot!" said the Republican. "But I guess I call sell my soul. Only, I don't sell cheap. Let's see. Two years ago, I ran for State Assembly and lost. This coming November, I want to win that State Assembly race. I want to hold my seat for ten years. Then I want to be elected governor, then re-elected. Then I want to be elected President, and hold that for two terms. And when I retire, I want a minimum $10 million a year from consulting fees and corporate lobbying, all of it legally secure from the IRS, thanks to my tax attorneys."
Satan said, "Done!"
Then Satan went up to a Democrat and said, "I want to buy your immortal soul. How much will you sell it for?"
"Wow, that's pretty greedy of you!" said the Democrat. "But I suppose I can sell my soul. However, I drive a hard bargain. Let me think. Two years ago, I ran for Congress and lost. This November, I want to win that Congressional seat. I want to remain in Congress for ten years. Then I want to be elected to the Senate, then re-elected. Then I want to be appointed Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. And I want at least $10 million a year on the side from speaking fees and book deals, none of it subject to ethics or conflicts of interest probes."
Satan said, "Done!"
Then Satan went up to a Libertarian and said, "I want to buy your immortal soul. How much will you sell it for?"
"Man, you're asking for everything!" said the Libertarian. "But, yeah, I'll sell you my soul. Only, it's gonna cost you big time. Let me see. Two years ago, I ran for a seat on the Fifth District Sewage & Drainage Board. I only got 1% of the vote. This November, when I run again, I want 2%."
You liked my joke? I thought it up after I sent an email off to a purist, in which I'd said:
Demopublicans sell their souls to win wealth, power, and glory. Libertarians sell their souls so they'll lose, but with an extra 0.5% in their vote totals.
And it's true. Some Libertarians will sell out all their principles, just so they can lose by a slightly higher vote total.
Or as Parker Posey said in Clockwatchers: "Isn't it a shame when friends betray friends? And for what?!"