Friday, January 28, 2011

Ron Paul, the Antiwar Presidential Candidate for 2012

People are urging Ron Paul to run once again, in 2012:

I can't think of a better candidate.

If Paul runs, it will probably be for the Republican Party nomination. If he loses (as he probably will), he can then run on either the Libertarian Party or Constitution Party, if he wants.

But perhaps the smartest move would be for Paul to run as an independent, with a more progressive-leaning/antiwar (and anti-corporatist) candidate. A right-left antiwar fusion ticket.

I still like the idea of Karen Kwiatkowski as Ron Paul's VP pick, but Ralph Nader might be more attractive to those on the left.

Wayne Allyn Root Opposes Libertarian Muslim Outreach

At a recent Libertarian National Committee meeting, Libertarian Party chairman Mark Hinkle proposed increasing the LP's outreach to Muslims. LNC member Wayne Allyn Root objected.

Here are more details, are reported by Gold America Group:

Mark Hinkle announced he was going to present our party before the American Muslim Alliance, where he had been invited to speak....

Dan Karlan notes that Muslims are the one group that is persecuted [in the U.S.] "It makes sense for an outlying political organization to go after (seek common cause with) groups of similarly-trashed people," Karlan rationally argued.

Wayne Allyn Root went on at great length as to why the LNC should not be doing this. We believe an accurate quote of his message is:

"So with atheist Libertarians harshly criticizing Christians, do those same anti-religious Libertarians choose to equally criticize Muslims? Do they support Mark going to Muslim religious events?

"Because right now we risk looking anti-Semitic as a political party. Where is our outreach to Jewish groups? Or Christian groups? Seems one-sided and biased for our party to outreach to only Muslims.

"I'm sure it offends most mainstream American voters.

"I wonder if the views of this Muslim organization have been vetted in detail? I would not attend any religious event for any religious group without checking on what they stand for.

"The problem is that many Muslim groups do not agree to Israel's right to exist. Many do not denounce suicide bombers as murderers. Several seemingly innocuous Muslim groups in the USA have been indicted for raising money for terrorist groups....

"If the LP sends a rep to Muslim events we MUST send reps to Jewish and Christian events too. I volunteer to outreach to Jewish and Christian organizations. Atheists can outreach to whomever they want. We, as a group that should not show bias or prejudice, should be outreaching to every possible group of faith."

Mark Hinkle tried to restore sense with a question: "Wayne, in the United States, which religious group is more hated, more reviled, more persecuted: Jews or Muslims"?

Probably not expecting the responder, "Jews," from Scott Lieberman.


Some observations:

Outreach is generally aimed at under-represented groups (as per their percentage of the U.S. population). It appears to me, based on my decades of following the LP, that:

* Jews, atheists, pagans, and Christians are well represented. Yes, the LP has a minor reputation of being unwelcoming to Christians, but I've not found this to be so.

* Women and youth are under-represented.

* Muslims and people of color are heavily under-represented.

It's nice that the LP has so many older, white men of Jewish, atheist, and Christian background. But Libertarians have long griped about the lack of women, youth, and people of color in the LP. So what are they doing about it? How about increasing outreach to under-represented groups?

It's telling that I've not heard complaints about the lack of Muslims in the LP, but it make sense to increase outreach to them as well.

Imagine if a member of the Lily White Country Club suggested outreach to blacks? And someone said: "No, that looks anti-white! It's racist to outreach only to blacks! We shouldn't do outreach to blacks unless we do equal outreach to whites!"

That's Root's logic.

The flaw in Root's logic is that the LP's door is obviously open to Jews and atheists, Christians and pagans. It's not obviously open to Muslims (or to blacks, or Mexicans...).

As for Root's worry that Jews or Christians may be "offended" by the LP's "biased" outreach to Muslims, well, I suppose that in the 1950s some Lily White Country Club members were offended by outreach to blacks (and Jews, and Catholics, and Latinos).

But so what?

If LP members (or American voters) are offended by outreach to Americans of Muslim heritage ... let them be offended.

(I can't speak for other faiths, but I've done the research, and I know that good Catholics won't take offense at Muslim outreach.)


Thomas L. Knapp makes a good observation at Independent Political Report. "Left libertarians" have long griped about Root appearing on far-right, pro-war, and even homophobic shows (e.g., radio's Mike Savage). Knapp observes:

Root objects to the chair accepting the Muslim group's invitation, characterizing the chair's acceptance as an LNC activity that amounts to "the LNC sending a rep" ... Three guesses what [Root's] likely response would be if anyone on the LNC tried to tell him what shows/events he could or could not appear at/on.

Yup. Root demands the right to represent the LP anywhere he wishes (no matter how it reflects on the LP), yet he conversely wants to veto others in representing the LP in ways he disapproves of.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Starchild, of San Francisco Libertarian Party, Writes Pro-Wikileaks Resolution

Starchild, a former officer and current activist of the Libertarian Party of San Francisco, reports on Independent Political Report:

I recently wrote a proposed resolution for the Libertarian Party of San Francisco on the WikiLeaks issue, and sent it to members of the Libertarian National Committee and other email lists, offering it as sample wording others could use in crafting resolutions for their own bodies to pass on the topic:

* * *

WHEREAS WikiLeaks has provided an invaluable service to the cause of free speech and to helping keep governments and other institutions accountable to the people of the world; and

WHEREAS numerous politicians and other public figures in the U.S. have called WikiLeaks founder and Australian citizen Julian Assange a traitor (treason being punishable by the death penalty in the U.S.) and even in some cases for him to be assassinated; and

WHEREAS it is possible that if Julian Assange is extradited to Sweden, he could be extradited from there to the United States; and

WHEREAS the sex charges for which Julian Assange is wanted by Swedish authorities appear to be baseless, yet have been pursued in an unusually urgent and forceful manner by said authorities, in what can only be a result of Assange's role in WikiLeaks;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Libertarian Party of San Francisco calls on the British authorities who have arrested Julian Assange and currently have not released him in Britain despite bail being granted and posted, to immediately stop all judicial proceedings against him, and refuse to extradite him to Sweden, the United States, or any other country.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Libertarian Party of San Francisco thanks Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, as well as their sources including U.S. Army private first class Bradley Manning, for exposing what congressman Ron Paul called "the delusional foreign policy" of the U.S. government, and revealing government secrets wrongfully withheld from the American people.

* * *

Alas, this resolution may be too libertarian for the Libertarian Party.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Libertarian Party of North Carolina Condemns FBI Raids on Antiwar Activists

From the site of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina:

With a vote of 8 affirmative and one abstension, the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina passed the the following statement this week:

"The Libertarian Party of North Carolina condemns the September 24, 2010, raids by the FBI on the homes of 14 antiwar activists in Minneapolis and other cities and the issuing of Grand Jury subpoenas to the targeted activists.

"The right to speak is one of the fundamental human rights recognized by the First Amendment to the Constitution. It is now clear that these raids were simply intended to intimidate those who speak against the foreign wars that our country is currently pursuing, and constitute a 'fishing expedition' wherein the Department of Justice is using these Grand Jury subpoenas in an effort to discover or create actions or statements that will justify continued prosecution of these activists.

"We call on Attorney General Eric Holder, President Barack Obama, Congress, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to cease and desist from using Grand Jury subpoenas to intimidate people who are merely exercising their First Amendment rights, to immediately return all of confiscated items that were seized during these raids, and to pay for any required home repairs or damage done to confiscated items while in FBI custody."

Once again, I ask, where is Wayne Allyn Root?

Isn't Root a "Libertarian leader"? Doesn't he claim to support LP principles such as Free Speech and Foreign Non-Intervention?