Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wayne Allyn Root's Latest Shameless Whooper

A source emails me the following: "Wayne Root announced that he was the leader of the Antiwar wing of the party at the LPGA convention."


Who elected the recently pro-war Root the "leader" of the LP's antiwar wing?

Pro-war liberventionists like Bruce Cohen, Brian Holtz, and Eric Dondero continue to praise and support Root. Surely, the pro-war wing recognizes its own.

Rachel Hawkridge Addresses LNC Purge of Lee Wrights

With her permission, I repost what Rachel Hawkridge, Washington LP State Chair, and LNC member, says about the LNC's purge of Lee Wrights:

"Dear gentle, yet ferocious, freedom fighters :o) -

Once again, some of our National Committee is trying to expel a lifelong freedom fighter, dedicated activist, and Libertarian National Committee member.

First, it was Angela Keaton -- TWO valuable meetings were consumed with abusing her. Now the target is Lee Wrights. If you haven't heard -- the posted eMails from Secretary and Chair to Lee are factually correct here.

Within one hour, Lee was notified, and then his seat was offered up to the StateChairs list. Staff claims to have sent 2 snail mail notices, but Lee has moved recently. Meanwhile, other members receive eMail notifications that their memberships are about to lapse. And Lee's eMail address and phone number haven't changed in some time -- both Staff and the Committee have those ... they were on the LP Leadership page. By the time I got to the eMail that announced a vacancy (1 hour later), Lee's name and picture had already been removed from the website.

It seems to point to a systematic purge. And sets a precedent -- if some of the Committee don't like you, no matter that you were elected by a majority at National Convention, that you have poured heart, soul, Time, Treasure and Sacred Honor into the movement, the party, the people -- you can be picked off, expelled by someone who feels that they have the authority to decide.

You, or your favorite activist, could be elected to LNC, dedicate vast amounts of Time, Treasure and Sacred Honor to Liberty, and then have staff either lose your contact information, or lose your dues check, or forget to change your renewal date, and open your eMail one day to find you've been expelled.

Whether you like Lee Wrights or not -- and those of you on the original distribution of this eMail all value him and/or Angela -- I am looking for contact information (names, eMail addresses (preferred), or phone numbers) for people who are sick of the controversy.

If you are someone who values the old LP, the current LP, the movement, or the activists -- I need to hear from you, and all your friends and contacts.

Please take some time to put together a list of contacts, and send it to me, AND then send this letter to them.

We need to build a network of people who are ready to help fix the LP. To return it to its roots, founding principles, to the vision of David Nolan ... to a place where free people can work together to achieve more freedom. Where acts of aggression are not welcome.

This is a tipping point, I believe -- the freedom movement is gaining speed again. We lost ground during the Campaign for Liberty/Ron Paul controversy, and lost a valuable opportunity. Let's not miss this one!

Help us to build a party, rather than destroy one?

Act In Liberty,

Rachel Hawkridge
Chair, Libertarian Party of Washington
Libertarian National Committee
Region 7 Representative

Office Hours: Wednesdays 10 - 2 p.m., 206-769-2492 cell

"When the truth is replaced by silence," the Soviet dissident Yevgeny Yevtushenko said, "the silence is a lie."

Why Radicals Resign, and Reformers Stick Around Like a Bad Cold

Radicals are more willing than Reformers to resign from the Libertarian Party, because Radicals care about principles, and you don't need a party for that.

But many Reform types are in it for personal validation. They want party titles, and respect from the outside world. That's one reason they'll sacrifice principles for votes; and why they're so mortified about being embarrassed by Radicals. "What will talk radio say? What will people think?"

Radicals can walk away from the LP. I don't think many Reform types can walk away. Their LP titles are their identity.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

LNC's Pro-War Faction Purges Lee Wrights

After harassing Angela Keaton to the point that she'd resigned from the Libertarian National Committee, the LNC's pro-war (ehr, excuse me ... "pro-defense") faction is now attempting to purge antiwar libertarian, Lee Wrights.

Details at this thread on IndependentPoliticalReport.com.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Peace and Glasnost

My editorial, in the April 2009 issue of California Freedom:

When Mikhail Gorbachev became Soviet dictator in 1985, he announced a policy of glasnost, which has been translated as "openness." He meant that Soviet media should freely promote a diversity of opinions, rather than parrot the party line. Party decision-making should be transparent. Criticism of party leaders should be welcome. Citizens' opinions should be heard, however "negative."

I've been told that I shouldn't discuss America's foreign interventions. I should only print material that "all libertarians agree on," otherwise I'm being "divisive." I shouldn't cover LNC meetings, or disagreements and embarrassments, or debate and discussion. I should only print "positive" stories. Doing otherwise violates CF's Mission Statement.

Yes, CF has a MS. Here it is:

"CF is the official publication of the LPC. Its purpose is to promote and enhance the political success of the party. To accomplish this it provides an informative and entertaining blend of political news, analysis, features and advertising for its members. Its content focuses on: 1. California events, rather than national; 2, Externally oriented politics, not internal debate; 3. Our successes, rather than our disappointments; 4 Libertarian analysis of political positions enjoying support from the mainstream of California voters; 5. Practical guidance on winning elections and changing public policy."

At the 2007 LPC convention, I asked Elizabeth Brierly about the MS's origins. She told me that Bruce Cohen had asked her to draft a MS to guide future editors. Elizabeth prepared a first draft, which went round robin between herself, Bruce, and Aaron Starr, with the two gentlemen offering changes until the MS met their specifications.

ExCom approved the MS on August 20, 2005.

Like a Constitution, a MS must be interpreted. To say that CF's content "focuses on" X rather than Y can mean either that X articles/LTEs should predominate over Y articles/LTEs (the free speech-oriented interpretation); or that X should exclude Y (the restrictive interpretation).

It's been suggested that my coverage of LNC activities violates the rule against "internal debate." Why? Perhaps because it's an "internal" (party business) rather than "external" (election campaign) matter.

But if we interpret "focus" so restrictively, CF could not promote or cover party conventions. Conventions are "internal." Yet I assume that, even post-MS, CF always covered libertarian conventions, state and national.

Clearly, there is no absolutist ban on covering "internal" matters.

Perhaps the problem is with "debate"? I may cover "internal" matters, but not debate about internal matters. Actions by party leaders may be reported, but not questioned.

No, I can't believe that's what the 2005 ExCom intended, despite some party leaders distaste for glasnost. (One reason the LNC persecuted Angela Keaton was for her live blogging the September 2008 LNC meeting to the membership.)

I interpret the MS's phrase "focuses on" to mean that X material should predominate over Y (comprising a majority of CF's content), but not exclude Y. Certainly, antiwar is a position "enjoying support from the mainstream of California voters."

I would like to print more about county LP events and election campaigns, but I'm getting few submissions. I assume we're in a post-election year doldrum. If you want to read about "California events," then write it. I can't publish what I don't get.

Finally, I was told that CF should not print discussion or debate about contentious party issues, because those are properly left to the conventions. The problem is, many members aren't aware of internal controversies unless they're reported. If they don't know, they may not attend the convention. This creates the risk that party business will be ceded to well-organized minority factions.

I have changed the tone of CF from two years ago. I hope I've brought glasnost to it. Transparency about party matters, and openness to debate, may bring "divisiveness" and "negativity." But it would be ironic if a libertarian publication had less glasnost than the late Soviet Union.

* We're All Demopublicans Now

On March 9, Donny Ferguson, LNC Director of Communications, sent out a mass email, writing: "the most important principle is winning" and "There is nothing more noble and principled than winning an election" and "winning elections is the most important libertarian principle there is." These sentences were boldfaced and underlined to emphasize his theme.

Winning is also the Demopublicans' most cherished principle; all other principles are negotiable. Seems the LNC has just equated Demopublicans with Libertarians.

Susan Hogarth reprints Ferguson's article, with her reply.

* Libertarian Muslims

In every war, The Other is demonized. I've never confused Russians with Communists, or Germans with Nazis, yet always, some self-styled patriots will conflate the actions of some with an entire race, religion, or ethnicity.

It needs repeating: most Arabs and Muslims are not terrorists. Some are libertarians. Their website: Minaret.org.

* Independent Political Report

A critic accuses me of insisting on the last word. He's miffed that I replied to one of his articles.

He's also wrong. Many of my editorials are sprinkled with urls. Rather than have the last word, I often give you "heads up" on key issues, then send you off to research further.

I often refer you to Independent Political Report.

This is the current "hot spot" for discussions (and flame wars) about the LP. Party leaders post here. LNC meetings are posted -- while in progress. The site is uncensored, unmoderated, and easy to post to. Anonymously, if you wish.

Glasnost indeed!

* Rob Power Resigns

Rob Power resigned from ExCom at the conclusion of their March meeting. He writes that he "went to Long Beach with every intention of resigning" and he "merely signed" his resignation letter at the meeting's conclusion. He adds, "I'm going to be writing a detailed explanation of why I decided to resign."

Power's term was to expire in 2010. Now there'll be an additional At-Large seat to fill at the Visalia convention.

* Late March Issue

The March CF went out late. I finished it in February, but I have no say when issues are printed or go online. Even so, I'm sorry the Riverside LP meeting notice ran late. I advise future LP event notices to be submitted way in advance.

* Libertarian Peacenik

If you can't get enough of my long, rambling, "antiwar obsessive" editorials, visit me at: Libertarian Peacenik.

Peace. Glasnost.