Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fight Facebook Censorship in China

From DemandProgress.org:

Facebook will do anything to get China to accept its friend request. As China cracks down on dissidents and Google condemns that country's authoritarian leadership, Facebook is considering a partnership with Chinese censors.

Will you tell Facebook to start respecting civil liberties? Just click here to sign our petition to Mark Zuckerberg.

And let's make this campaign go viral on Facebook: click here to share it with your friends.

Facebook's lobbyist Adam Conner just told the Wall Street Journal, "Maybe we will block content in some countries, but not others....We are occasionally held in uncomfortable positions because now we're allowing too much, maybe, free speech in countries that haven't experienced it before."

Astounding. And this disregard for civil liberties is nothing new: Facebook has consistently dodged hard questions about free speech. Last year they refused to attend a U.S. Senate hearing on "global Internet freedom" and the company won't join the tech industry's Global Network Initiative, which promotes human rights and free speech.

Thanks for taking a stand against censorship.

-- The DemandProgress.org team

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ron Paul to Announce 2012 Presidential Run

The National Journal reports:

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, whose outspoken libertarian views and folksy style made him a cult hero during two previous presidential campaigns, will announce on Tuesday that he's going to try a third time.

Sources close to Paul, who is in his 12th term in the House, said he will unveil an exploratory presidential committee, a key step in gearing up for a White House race. He will also unveil the campaign's leadership team in Iowa, where the first votes of the presidential election will be cast in caucuses next year.

Paul, 75, ran as the Libertarian Party candidate in 1988, finishing with less than one half a percent of the vote. After more than a decade as a Republican congressman, Paul gave it another shot in the 2008 presidential election, gaining attention for being the only Republican candidate calling for the end to the war in Iraq and for his "money bomb" fundraising strategy, which brought in millions of dollars from online donors in single-day pushes.

Read the entire article.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rachel Hawkridge Quits Libertarian Party

Washington state LP officer Rachel Hawkridge (who two years ago addressed the LNC's attempted purge of Lee Wrights) joins the long list of activists and leaders who've left the Libertarian Party.

Hawkridge gives her reasons in the below email, which was forwarded to me.

Hawkridge writes:

Dear State Chairs, Friends & Allies –

Most of you know by now that I have abandoned you, disappeared, and you have probably heard that I have left the LP.

It's all true. I'm finished. Life member of the LP. LPWA's "Activist of the Year -– 1999". I'm not going to be silent, nor take any more BS from this bunch of misogynists.

Several months ago, [LP national chair] Hinkle demanded that I step down from the Convention Oversight Committee. He said I wasn't participating, that furthermore, "everyone tells him" that I hadn't done anything last term on COC.

Except the Admiral (last year's COC Chair), who when asked if this was true, said "Absolutely NOT"!

I said I had been participating –- just about one week before this demand, I had been on a conference call WHERE HE WAS PRESENT, where I talked a lot!

For most of the conference calls, I had been present, but muted, as they were invariably scheduled during dinner time with my Hugs. I listened to the discussions, sometimes unmuted and commented, but mostly eMailed in between.

I told him this, and he continued to insist that I resign, or he would remove me. He said it would "be better for me" if I resigned.

Former treasurer James Oaksun told me that most COC correspondence was not being distributed to me (nothing that went through the Secretary, Alicia Mattson). Mattson confirmed that she was not sending me the information on a conference call when David Nolan asked.

I provided proof of my presence (hours of damned conference calls from my phone bills, and eMails), and also told him that the conference call reports listed participants.

Hinkle then called me a "bald faced liar" to a friend of mine.

Then there was the Oregon debacle -– Hinkle, Mattson and Carling showed up at an Oregon convention, and Carling and Mattson intimidated the State Chair into canceling due to lack of quorum. They maintained that the quorum requirement (according to RONR) was not met, as it required a percentage of the entire membership.

Another Registered Parliamentarian provided an differing opinion, as Oregon's conventions are NOT conventions with "elected representatives" as in the RONR requirement, they are "mass meetings" where everyone who is a member is welcome. Hinkle threatened Oregon officers with "We'll be watching."

The LNC's secretary, Alicia Mattson, established a secret discussion list from which I was excluded, apparently on the basis of untrue allegations that I couldn't be trusted with confidential information. This list is used to conduct business, as the Vegas binder had printed pages from it on agenda items.

In Jan, it came to my attention that Pat Dixon was actively sabotaging the LSLA conference.

At that point, the health problems that I had fighting for a couple of months became a crisis, and I went into surgery. The result of putting off surgery for a couple of months meant that I was seriously run down, and hellaciously anemic. I spent several days in the hospital just getting TPN BEFORE I could have surgery. (TPN is nutrition by IV; in my case by a line directly to my heart.) I was in the hospital for a total of 2 weeks, followed by a long and very tough recovery.

My Hugs demanded answers from Hinkle, and has never gotten any response other than "Tell her to resign."

Hinkle is a liar, and will cut out any representative that he doesn't like. As State Chairs, we are not important enough for him to respectour State autonomy, nor our representative. He refused before his election to vote against "his friend, Aaron Starr", and now Starr has a firm hand on the puppet strings. Starr's paramour Mattson is Secretary, and taking over much of the decision making on agenda and RONR, since Hinkle is incompetent.

Finally, the "data dump" sent to State Chairs more or less monthly, most recently in April 2011, did not list me as a member, even though I'm still officially the state chair of the Libertarian Party of Washington, and a Life Member of the Libertarian Party. (Headquarters claims to know nothing about why my name wasn't on the April "data dump" for the LPWA, and claim that I'm still listed as a member).

Hinkle will lie, with no compunction, even about things that can be proven.

My Hugs and I are leaving the LP completely. He's been a member since his original member number of 324. I've been a member since 1995.

Please accept my gratitude for allowing me to be your representative, and forgive me for quitting on you. I cannot continue to be part of the disgrace that much of the LNC has become.

I urge you to elect Vicki Kirkland to Rep., and elect a new Alternate on Monday evening. Don't let the seat fall to someone who will misrepresent you.

I appreciate getting the chance to get to know all of you, and would love to continue to have a social relationship with you, even though I will not be involved in the Party.


Rachel Hawkridge
Sovereign Woman, Nama Waycho & Lover of Hugs

Libertarian activists are abandoning the dysfunctional LP (which increasingly behaves as a subsidiary of Wayne Allyn Root Enterprises), and are instead investing their time and money in Antiwar.com, Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty, or really, anyplace other than the LP.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Afgahn War Worsens; Amputations Increase

Some Libertarian vote-getters and chickenhawks say that we should focus on the economy -- that our current wars (three, so far) are no longer an issue.

Yet as Tea Party chickenhawks whine about taxes (while screaming their "support" for our budget-busting wars), the Los Angeles Times reminds us that our current wars will remain a lifelong issue for young Americans who were unfortunate enough to believe in war propaganda of chickenhawk bureaucrats and media pundits.

In this shocking article (with photo by Carolyn Cole), Tony Perry reports:

"A study by doctors at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where most wounded troops are sent before returning to the U.S., confirmed their fears: The battlefield has become increasingly brutal.

"In 2009, 75 service members brought to Landstuhl had limbs amputated. Of those, 21 had lost more than one limb.

"But in 2010, 171, 11% of all the casualties brought to Landstuhl, had undergone amputations, a much higher proportion than in past wars. Of the 171, 65 had lost more than one limb.

"Injuries to the genital area were also on the increase. In 2009, 52 casualties were brought to Landstuhl with battlefield injuries to their genitals or urinary tract. In 2010, that number was 142.

"Dr. John Holcomb, a retired Army colonel with extensive combat-medicine experience, said he and other doctors involved in the study were shocked by the findings, which he labeled as 'unbelievable.'

" 'Everybody was taken aback by the frequency of these injuries: the double amputations, the injuries to the penis and testicles,' said Holcomb, now a medical professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. 'Nothing like this has been seen before.' "

Read the entire article with complete photo.

Our current wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya) have been going on for nearly ten years now. And during those ten years, some so-called "libertarians" have either cheered these wars, or said the Libertarian Party should not address the war issue because it was "divisive" and "libertarians of good faith" could disagree about the war.

By remaining silent and timid over this past decade, or paralyzed into inaction by infighting with liberventionists, the Libertarian Party has failed America. It doesn't deserve to win elections.

Shame not only on liberventionist chickenhawks, but on opportunistic vote-getters who quietly "oppose" our wars while focusing on "more voter-friendly" issues.

And remember, in 2008 Wayne Allyn Root called for an Afghan surge, before he flip-flopped on it in 2009.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Miral: Jewish Filmmaker Julian Schnabel Shows the Palestinian Side

Rarely does Hollywood make a pro-Palestinian film, but now director Julian Schnabel (Basquait, The Diving Bell) has released Miral, a film based on the novel by his Palestinian wife, Rula Jebreal.

Miral has already stirred controversy in the Jewish community. Some Jewish leaders are slamming the film for being "one-sided." Schnabel admits that Miral shows Palestinian experiences from a Palestinian perspective. (Why is such "one-sidedness" never a problem when only the Israeli perspective is shown?)

Miral is not yet released on DVD in the United States, but it will likely happen. It is currently available as a PAL DVD import, which can be viewed on any region-free DVD player

You can read an interview with Rula Jebreal at Alternet.org, and read more about the controversy here.

Among other controversies, Miral depicts the torture of Palestinian women by the Israeli State, something that Jabreal says she suffered and which continues today to other Palestinians.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Hollywood, Congress, Still Pushing for Internet Censorship

DemandProgress.org reports:

We stole it right out from under them: This week, the special interests pushing the Internet Blacklist Bill called a big press conference with their allies in Congress, trying to create the illusion of broad support for Internet censorship. But our team caught wind of it and scrambled to make sure you were heard. Teaming up with conservative bloggers who also oppose the bill, we stole the story right out from under them:

* POLITICO: Groups blast Leahy piracy bill

* THE HILL: Groups slam online piracy effort

It was a great success, but we need your help now more than ever. Hollywood is dead set on passing a bill this year. Their lead sponsor has pledged to ram it through: "inaction is not an option, and we must pass online infringement legislation in this Congress." That's why an anonymous activist has agreed to match the donations of anybody who becomes a monthly sustainer, but only if you donate this week.

Become a sustainer today and help us defeat COICA and anything else the Hollywood executives throw at us. Your first two months' donations will be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis. (You can cancel your monthly contributions at any time.)

Will you become a monthly sustainer of Demand Progress?

* Yes, I'll click here to become a monthly sustainer and have my first two contributions matched.

* Sorry, I can't, but I'll donate $5 or $10 today.

Check out some of this week's press coverage of our opposition to Internet censorship:

"In their attempts to reign in online file sharing, Hollywood moguls are once again willing to risk massive censorship," said Aaron Swartz, executive director of Demand Progress, a liberal-leaning group. (Congressional Quarterly)


But the progressive activist organization Demand Progress and a group of conservative bloggers lead by Republican National Committee Internet Director Patrick Ruffini are staunchly opposed to the bill and the administration's recent moves to seize and shut down domains linking to pirated content. (The Hill) We won the press war this week and made sure Washington knows we strongly oppose these noxious bills. But as Hollywood ramps up their attacks, we need your support so we can keep fighting for Internet freedom.

Thanks so much for your help: We're a 100% membership-funded organization and need your support to keep up our work.

-- The Demand Progress Team

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Libertarian Party of California's Convention Problems

I have written before about the Libertarian Party of California's declining attendance at state conventions -- and that it appears intentional.

The LPC seems to want to
discourage attendance by longtime activists (often povertarians) as a way to rig the outcomes (e.g., its notorious 2006 cruise convention (opposed by the Orange County LP), and its current 2011 convention located in Nevada).

This, on top of other convention dirty tricks.

Now longtime LPC officer and activist, Gail Lightfoot, writes this open letter stating her own complaints about the LPC's crappy convention setups.

Gail writes

This is an open letter to the LPC XC [Executive Committee] listing my reasons for not attending a convention since the LPC went to Sea.

1. Changing and inconsistent dates prevent advance planning.

2. Locations are often out of the way for air, train and bus.

3. Locations isolated so you must stay at the hotel with no option for less expensive lodging.

4. Having to pay an increasingly hefty fee to vote as a Delegate!

5. Allowing and encouraging even the newest members to be Delegates over the time honored (by all political parties) of having Delegates represent a county (or region) so they have been "vetted" as being familiar with LPC history, Bylaws and Platform prior to serving as a Delegate.

We don't live in a Democracy so why are we being more democratic? How can we educate the voting public about the advantages of a Republic over a Democracy and end the insanity if we fail to set an example of how it works.

The LP and the LPC have failed their members and voters repeatedly over time. Here in California, the number of voters registered LP grows, not by our efforts, but by the effect of the few libertarian thinkers and media types who bring them to us. We consistently fail to reach out to them in meaningful ways.

We cannot blame the lack of numbers and funds when the truth is any one who is active locally is ignored by the party leaders, given no accolades or even respectful treatment or invited to share their experiences with others. These local activists are the ones who should represent our voters at conventions, not just anyone who can pay the fee. They should be the speakers at workshops designed to teach activism to new members.

Unless and until the LPC recognizes where its real strength lies, it will continue to flounder. With Prop 14 our members have no justification for spending time and energy being a candidate. Our free publicity as candidates is now lost and I don't see the LPC fighting back, hard and heavy!

How can we consider acquiescing to Prop 14 instead of working night and day to overturn it? Newcomers will not know the dangers inherent in such acquiesce just as they did not see the danger in making changes to the party than dilutes its purpose -- providing candidates for the politically homeless freedom lover.

Without radicals, we have no base for Liberty in America. May as well join the parties in power.

All of these insult long time party members, activists and candidates such that they see no need to waste time watching the LPC dissolve into nothingness.

If we do not provide a political home for the radicals for Liberty, we have no reason to exist.

If we do not reward the hard work of our activists and candidates, they will soon give up the battle for more productive means of getting out from under too much "other gov't".


Gail K. Lightfoot

LPC Chair 1995-96, 1990
LPC So. Vice Chair 1993-94
Convention Cmt., Bookkeeper 2002
Convention Organizer 2003
Convention Oversight Cmt Chair 1992-1995
LPC Sec, 1989
LPC News Editor, 1990, California Liberty, 1994-95
LP Candidate for U.S. Senate 2010, 2000
LP Candidate for Sec of State, 2006, 2002, 1998
LP Candidate for Congress, 23 rd CD 1992, 33rd CD 1990, 1986, 1984
Regional Chair East San Gabriel Valley, L.A. 1980 to 1988
Charter Member of the LP, 1972

PS: No, I won't organize a convention to prove it can be done. Been there, done that, offer advice, no one listens. Like all old Libertarian activists, I have become a curmudgeon as I grow older and wiser. GKL

Monday, April 04, 2011

Karen Kwiatkowski Slams Libertarian Warmongers, Vote-Getters, and Wayne Allyn Root

Karen Kwiatkowski has written an open letter to Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle.

Kwiatkowski writes

Dear Mark,

Your email to me on March 30, 2011 expressed concern that in a speech I gave a few days ago, I criticized the Libertarian Party for becoming associated with pro-war rhetoric, and not sticking to libertarian principles. You asked, "…why level a critique against the Libertarian Party for the pro-war support of a minority within the Party?" and wanted me to name names.

Because the LP has taken a very public stand that it is a party founded and based on principle, not popularity, it makes itself vulnerable to criticism for appearing unprincipled. The 2008 LP presidential nomination of well-known conservative Bob Barr, and the promotion to Chair of the LP National Congressional Committee of the rabidly pro-war Wayne Allyn Root caused people of all political stripes to look at the LP and wonder whether the principle of the party was peaceful libertarianism, or just political experimentation and number-crunching.

These less principled Libertarian figures may have represented the minority view of the party, but their names are strongly associated with the LP, hence my criticism. In fact, even before the Barr and Root elevations within the party, in 2005, the LP published an "Iraq Exit Strategy" which called for troops leaving gradually, not coming home but instead being redistributed throughout the Middle East, and pouring in direct aid to Iraq's nascent state-building efforts. This proposal was not at all libertarian. Shockingly, it was as interventionist and imperial as anything put forth by either a Left-Progressive or Right-Conservative think tank.

Wayne Root, in particular, is allowed by the LP to speak for the party, and honest libertarians throughout the American population and within the LP are turned off. You suggest that my criticism of these anti-liberty, pro-state LP voices are the same as criticizing the GOP for being pro-life because some minority members of the GOP are pro-life. But when the GOP fields candidates and spokespersons, particularly at the national level, they toe the party line, and they don't suggest that there is "room" at the philosophical table. Our own LP table is already small. Embracing statists and nationalists quietly within the party is one thing; making them front and center as a leading voice of recruitment and policy means that these types of unprincipled non-libertarian perspectives become the LP in the minds of everyone.

Why haven’t we, as a party, asked Wayne to simply join one of the war parties?

I have a suggestion for the LP HQ strategists. The focus on vote-getting at the national level has led the LP into precisely the situation that you are noting today (a criticism of the party within liberty circles). I would love to see the party concentrate on supporting local elections of libertarians (which it does nicely), and in DC, to serve primarily as a rating and clearance site for Congressmen and Senators. Take your issues (http://www.lp.org/issues) and create a liberty friendliness rating on each issue for each congressman, much like the John Birch Society does on conservatism. (See http://www.votesmart.org/issue_rating_detail.php?r_id=2151 ) or as the Heritage Foundation does for economic freedom in countries around the world. This type of approach would make our positions politically applicable and measurable, and a "Liberty" rating will be something many Congressmen will welcome and seek (or angrily react to). It would also allow many of us in the field to jump on it, further making the LP relevant. This way we remain a "party of principle," with the added benefit of being a party that is listened to, and donated to, because it is loud, proud, and principled.

I also think, that beyond the fleas the LP gets from lying down with characters like Root, and promoting him, we should be careful about our other bedfellows in DC. The Cato Institute does fine work, but it is not as effective in gaining Libertarian friendly legislation and votes as is Jim Babka's interactive and aggressive DownsizeDC, and nothing Cato has produced on constitutional foreign or domestic policy comes even close to what is done daily over at the Bumper Hornberger’s Future of Freedom Foundation in Reston, VA.

Mark, my fundamental sense of betrayal and anger at the LP for its 2008 shenanigans and for its lack of creativity in the fight for freedom at home is far deeper than anyone would imagine from my limited criticism of the party, mentioned briefly in a long talk. May I take your note as an opening for real change within the LP Central Committee and a real commitment to win the battle for hearts and minds across the country?

Karen Kwiatkowski


Naturally, Kwiatkowski's open letter is being discussed at Independent Political Report.