Friday, December 21, 2012

Chuck Hagel -- A Pro-Peace Defense Secretary?

Okay, not as "pro-peace" as I would like. But Carol Moore forwards the following message from Robert Naiman:

President Obama wants to nominate Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. Hagel wants to end the war in Afghanistan, prevent war with Iran, and make reasonable cuts to the Pentagon budget.

Some right-wing groups are trying to scuttle the nomination by making up lies about Hagel's record. Show President Obama you have his back in nominating his first choice, Chuck Hagel, by signing this petition.

That's why I signed a petition to President Barack Obama, which says:

"President Obama, we have your back. We support your choice of Chuck Hagel to serve as the next Secretary of Defense. We will urge our Senators to vote for his confirmation."

Will you sign this petition? Click here.


Well, it sounds like Hagel might not be as bad as some other potential choices -- especially if you read Doug Bandow's piece in The Huffington Post (Dec. 21, 2012): Neocons Against Chuck Hagel.

So you may want to consider signing the above petition.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ron Paul Earns 21,416 California Write-In Votes in 2012

The California Secretary of State reports that Ron Paul got 21,416 write-in votes for president in 2012.

This is remarkable, considering that Ron Paul only got 17,006 California write-in votes in 2008, when he ran against the Libertarian Party's unpopular Barr/Root ticket.

Despite the LP's 2012 presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, being more popular among libertarians than the Barr/Root ticket -- and a stronger overall candidate -- Paul still increased his vote totals in California.

Perhaps part of the reason was the Johnson was too pro-war. Peacenik libertarians can feel proud denying the LP those additional 21,416 votes.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Wayne Allyn Root Predicts Mitt Romney Landslide

It's been a while since I posted. I'm losing interest in electoral politics. I've also lost much interest in Wayne Allyn Root, ever since he left the Libertarian Party to support Mitt Romney.

But here's something funny...

On November 1, 2012, Root wrote an article for his website, entitled: WAYNE ROOT’S ELECTION PREDICTION IS LOOKING LIKE MOST ACCURATE IN NATION, in which he wrote:

"The media frenzy created by a Las Vegas oddsmaker (Wayne Allyn Root) predicting a Romney landslide…might be of interest to your viewers.

"Wayne's prediction (below) was made at a time when Obama led in EVERY poll in the country. His exact prediction (as you can read below) was Romney by 5 to 7 points and 100 to 120 electoral votes.

That's Root, writing about himself in the third person. Self-proclaiming himself as "a Las Vegas oddsmaker" (i.e., an expert), whose prediction of a Romney landslide is looking to be the "most accurate in the nation."

Now that Root is no longer in the LP, one can laugh at his hilariously hyperbolic bloviating.

If you're in the mood, read the rest of Root's article.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My 2012 Write-In Vote for Ron Paul

If you write-in Ron Paul's name for president in 2012, your vote WILL count -- at least in Alabama, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, California, Vermont, New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Maine (so far -- more states may yet be on the way).

That's according to an October 5, 2012 posting on The Daily Paul.

I live in California, and I cast my write-in vote for Ron Paul this past week!

Even if my vote didn't count, I'd still vote for Paul. A vote that's not counted is like not voting -- and not voting is better than voting for one of the lesser evils on the California ballot. quotes Libertarian Party candidate Gary "lesser of three evils" Johnson as saying that a write-in vote for Paul is "meaningless."

Thanks for the tip, Gary. But how "meaningful" would a vote be for your confused and contradictory message, including your support for wars.

Sure, Paul won't win. But neither will Johnson. It's likely that Johnson won't even get 1% of the vote. Contrary to the LP's big hopes and daydreams, Johnson didn't get into the debates, and the race tightening such that Romney looks to have a fighting chance of beating Obama.

Since this is "the most important election in history" and "too important to lose," Americans will once again be "going home" to the major parties that actually have a chance of winning.

If I'm going to vote for a candidate who can't win, I'd rather vote for someone who is uncompromisingly antiwar -- or even not vote at all -- than vote for Gary "lesser of three evils" Johnson.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

2012 California Ballot Propositions -- Libertarian Recommendations

Here's something from the LPLAC [Libertarian Party of Los Angeles County] Yahoo Group:

I realize that Tom McClintock is not a big el Libertarian, but his philosophy is very close. Here is his take:

Prop 30: Your Wallet or Your Kids -- NO

Either approve $36 billion in higher sales and income taxes or else Gov. Brown threatens to shoot the schools. Don't worry, the income taxes are only on the "very wealthy," but it turns out the "very wealthy" include many small businesses filing under sub-chapter S, meaning lower wages, higher prices and fewer jobs. California already has one of the highest overall tax burdens in the country and yet has just approved a budget to spend $8 billion dollars more than it's taking in. Moral of the story: it's the spending stupid.

Prop 31: Rotting Mackerel by Moonlight -- NO

This one shines and stinks. On the shiny side, it moves us toward performance-based budgeting, restores certain powers to the governor to make mid-year spending reductions and requires new spending to be paid for. On the stinky side, it provides a two-year budget cycle that makes fiscal gimmickry all the easier and locks into the Constitution an incredibly anal process for local communities to adopt "Strategic Action Plans" serving such open-ended new age objectives as "community equity" and nudges them into establishing regional governments to push this agenda. The purpose of local governments is to provide basic services, not to pursue utopian four-year plans.

Prop 32: Cutting The Piggies Off From The Trough -- YES

In the "It's About Time" category, this measure would finally prohibit unions, corporations, government contractors, and state and local governments from deducting money from employees' paychecks for political purposes without their express written consent. As Jefferson wrote, "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." This puts an end to this despotic practice.

Prop 33: Rewarding Responsible Drivers -- YES

Here's a no-brainer: should car insurance companies be allowed to offer a discount to drivers who maintain continuous coverage? No, it's not a trick question. Under California's convoluted law, if you switch auto insurers you can't qualify for the continuous coverage discount. This measure says you can.

Prop 34: Lifetime Room and Board (and Sex-Change Operations, too) for Murderers -- NO

This abolishes the death penalty for first-degree murder. Enough said.

Prop 35: Red Light on Human Trafficking -- YES

Prop 35 greatly expands the definition of "Human Trafficking" (already illegal), and greatly increases existing penalties. The problem is real and growing and needs stronger sanctions, although there are some provisions in Prop 35 that make it ripe for prosecutorial abuse, including limiting the ability of defendants to cross-examine witnesses and broadening the definition of trafficking to include those who never had contact with the victim. On balance, though, the good outweighs the bad.

Prop 36: Gutting Three Strikes -- NO

After many years of rising crime rates, Californians finally struck back with the three-strikes law. It is actually a two-strikes law: after two serious or violent felonies -- in which one has murdered, assaulted, raped, robbed or pillaged his fellow citizens -- he is on notice that any further misconduct will remove him from polite society. Prop 36 would require that the third strike also be a serious or violent crime, giving dangerous criminals yet one more opportunity at atrocity. The Left predicted that "Three Strikes" would have no effect on crime -- in fact, crime rates have plummeted. When it ain't broke, don't try and fix it.

Prop 37: Spit it Out - NO

This is the latest effort of the Nanny Left to tell us what to eat. It requires foods that contain any ingredients resulting from biotechnology advances to carry the scary warning: "GENETICALLY ENGINEERED." There is not a shred of evidence that biotechnology is the least bit dangerous -- it often reduces the need for pesticides. To avoid branding their products with the Scarlet Warning, food processors would have to prove that every scrap and crumb in their fare is devoid of biotechnology or face crushing lawsuits. Grocery prices high enough yet?

Prop 38: Pay More, Get Less - NO

Not to be outdone by Prop. 30, this measure heaps $120 BILLION of new income taxes on those earning more than $7,316 (the new millionaires and billionaires of California's impoverished economy). It's for the schools, of course. No doubt these dollars (which families would just waste on necessities) will be as well spent as the staggering fortune that we're already shoveling into the sclerotic school system.

Prop 39: Tax Us Before We Hire Again - NO

This is a $1 billion per year tax increase on California businesses to subsidize a whole new generation of Solyndra scams. But remember, businesses don't pay business taxes; they only collect them from employees through lower wages, from consumers through higher prices, or from investors through lower earnings. Prop 39 might be bad news for California's employees, consumers and investors, but it's great news for the Nevada Chamber of Commerce.

Prop 40: Your GOP Donations At Work -- YES

This is a monument to the stupidity of some Republican Party leaders, who spent nearly $2 million of party funds to qualify -- and then drop -- this referendum to overturn the Senate reapportionment because several state senators didn't like their new districts. They had hoped to run in their old seats, but after qualifying the initiative found out they couldn't anyway. A "Yes" vote affirms that the new non-partisan Citizens Redistricting Commission works.



Los Angeles County Libertarian activist Ted Brown differs with some of McClintock's recommendations. Brown writes:

Prop 34 -- YES on getting rid of the death penalty; the government has no right to kill people, as far as I am concerned.

Prop 35 -- NO on the sex trafficking measure; this will pass with 75% but it still has many bad provisions; our own Cop to Call Girl author, Norma Jean Almodovar, is one of the opponents.

Prop 36 -- YES on modifying 3 strikes, so that the 3rd strike must be a serious or violent one.

Measure B on the L.A. County ballot should be a resounding NO -- especially since my wife and I wrote the argument against it. This measure would force adult film actors to wear condoms.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Lesser of Three Evils Is Evil

Libertarians often say that The Lesser of Two Evils Is Evil.

The phrase is aimed at people who believe that the Democrats and Republicans are both evil, but that one is less evil. And so they'll vote for they party they consider the "lesser evil." One of the two major party candidates will win, so it's pragmatic to lessen the damage they'll do in office by voting for the less evil candidate.

Libertarians have long countered that people should not vote for a lesser evil, but for a candidate that's actually good. The implication being that the LP candidate is good.

But how often is this true?

The LP's 2012 presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, has his good points. He's better than the LP's Bob Barr or Wayne Allyn Root in 2008. Yet for all that, Johnson remains a lesser evil.

Johnson waffles on foreign policy, making confused and contradictory statements. Yet despite his foggy ramblings, one discerns that Johnson is weak on peace, supports Gitmo, supports aid for Israel, and is pro-intervention.

Johnson also advocates a Fair Tax, which offends some libertarians, but doesn't bother me -- I support the Fair Tax if it means replacing the current system. So for me, the Fair Tax is a "lesser evil" I can live it -- but war and empire are no-compromise issues.

I think most libertarians agree that Johnson is imperfect. But they'll add that Johnson is still "much better" than are Obama or Romney, and so we should vote for Johnson.

Essentially, defenders of Johnson are saying that we should vote for the lesser of three evils.

But if it's now okay to vote for a lesser evil, why not vote for a lesser evil who can actually win?

At the very least, to avoid hypocrisy, defenders of Johnson should stop telling Americans that the lesser of two evils is still evil. Instead they should say, Please vote for the lesser of three evils.

As of now, I plan to write-in Ron Paul for president, as will many other Americans.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mormons on Israel and the Palestinians

Since Mitt Romney is the likely GOP presidential nominee, his Mormon faith, and how it might influence his policies on war and peace in the Mideast, will likely be key issues in the 2012 race.

There is reason to believe that Romney, like most past U.S. presidents, will be blindly pro-Israel. The New York Times has reported on the close friendship between Romney and Bibi Netanyahu ("A Friendship Dating to 1976 Resonates in 2012," by Michael Barbaro, April 7, 2012):

[I]n 1976, the lives of Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu intersected, briefly but indelibly, in the 16th-floor offices of the Boston Consulting Group, where both had been recruited as corporate advisers. At the most formative time of their careers, they sized each other up during the firm's weekly brainstorming sessions, absorbing the same profoundly analytical view of the world.

That shared experience decades ago led to a warm friendship, little known to outsiders, that is now rich with political intrigue.

Mr. Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, is making the case for military action against Iran as Mr. Romney, the likely Republican presidential nominee, is attacking the Obama administration for not supporting Mr. Netanyahu more robustly.

That's not good news for peaceniks.

But if Romney is elected, I hope he will recall that the Mormon faith advocates an even-handed approach to Jewish-Israeli/Muslim-Arab relations.

I'm no expert on the Mormon faith, but I was pleased to find this on an LDS website ("Orson Hyde's 1841 Mission to the Holy Land," by David B. Galbraith, October 1991):

It was perhaps inevitable that the gathering of the Jews and the creation of their modern nation would lead to a clash between political zionism and Arab nationalism. Few members of the Church fully appreciate the dimensions of this confrontation. In what has become a classic address, President Howard W. Hunter observed:

"Our Father loves all of his children. He desires all of them to embrace the gospel and come unto him. Only those are favored who obey him and keep his commandments.

"As members of the Lord's church, we need to lift our vision beyond personal prejudices. We need to discover the supreme truth that indeed our Father is no respecter of persons. Sometimes we unduly offend brothers and sisters of other nations by assigning exclusiveness to one nationality of people over another.

"...Both the Jews and the Arabs are children of our Father. They are both children of promise, and as a church we do not take sides. We have love for and an interest in each. The purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to bring about love, unity, and brotherhood of the highest order."

Some of our Arab/Palestinian friends express concern about Elder Hyde's prayer because they feel anything that favors the Jews must oppose them. On the other hand, some of our Jewish friends have a tendency to interpret the prayer as conferring political support for their cause. Even members of the Church are sometimes confused as to how the prayer is to be understood.

The scriptures and the modern prophets clearly teach that all father Abraham's children have a place in the Lord's plan, and our Arab/ Palestinian friends are a part of this group.

Latter-day Saints need to be more sensitive to the hurt, disappointment, and even anger created among our Arab/Palestinian friends when we blindly attribute divine approbation to all that takes place in that part of the world we call the Holy Land.

Also read the Catholic Church's position on Islam.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How Political Third Parties Can "Win"

I've long argued that political third parties should not worry about offending voters with "extremist" positions -- because (barring societal collapse) no third party will ever supplant one of the two major parties in the U.S.

There are structural reasons why this is so. For one thing, if a third party's position on an issue becomes popular, then one or both of the major parties will co-opt that position. The Democrats and Republicans both began co-opting the various socialist parties' economic policies after 1933.

If third parties wish to influence public policy, they must focus on changing the culture. On changing attitudes and opinions. This means fearlessly promoting their principles (i.e., the dreaded libertarian macho flash). Once such uncompromising promotion influences enough voters, one or both of the major parties will implement that third party principle into a concrete policy position.

I've cited the socialist parties' successes as an example. Richard Winger, at Independent Political Report (comment 18), offers the Prohibition Party as another example:

In the period 1872-1920, all political observers agreed that virtually all people who voted for the Prohibition Party would have voted Republican if the Prohibition Party had not been running.

Prohibition Party cost the Republicans two presidential elections, 1884 and 1916. After the 1884 election the Prohibition candidate, John P. St. John, was hung in effigy or burned in effigy all across the north, but angry Republicans.

But after the 1916, when the Republicans again lost the election due to "spoiling" by the Prohibition Party, the Republicans in Congress decided to pass the prohibition amendment, which had been pending in Congress since 1875 but which had made no headway. The Republicans were sick of losing over the prohibition issue.

This shows the power of minor party voters. "Spoiling" is a stupid name but it is a potent weapon and voters should not be intimidated into being afraid to use it. It is one of the few ways a small minority can have some leverage.

Also never forget, in 1776 only a minority of Americans supported independence from Britain. You don't need a majority to change history.

Friday, July 13, 2012

When George Bush Was a Man of Peace

Back in 2000, I made the mistake of voting for George Bush when he ran for president. I did so because I was sick of Bill Clinton in general, but mostly because of Clinton's many wars and military invasions (e.g., the Balkans, Haiti, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan).

Sure, I preferred Harry Browne. But I didn't want to "waste my vote" on a third party. (Although I was long a card-carrying Libertarian Party member, I wasn't active in the LP -- apart from supper clubs -- until 2004, when I attended my first Libertarian convention.)

People forget how good Bush sounded on foreign policy in 2000. Here, take a look:

Seems silly now to have voted for Bush. Possibly the worst vote I ever cast.

Yet Al Gore was of the Clinton regime. Clinton, whose Secretary of State, Madeleine K. Albright, said in 1993, "What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?"

But what cinched it for me was that both sides claimed that Bush would ignore foreign policy. Progressives like to forget that today, but in 2000 they attacked Bush by saying that he would be a "do nothing" president.

I figured if both Democrats and Republicans claimed that Bush would be a "do nothing" a president, then it was likely true.

Yup, progressives meant that as an insult.

Unfortunately, Bush did what progressives originally wanted, and took an active foreign policy. Ironic, no? Someone should have told those progressives to be careful what they wish for.

Consider that C-SPAN clip, above. Bush sounds almost like ... a radical libertarian.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Libertarian Party Membership Is Shrinking

According to George Phillies, the national Libertarian Party's (i.e., LNC) membership numbers are falling.

Phillies reports the previous eight months as follows:

November 2011 ..... 13,691
December 2011 ..... 13,468
January 2012 ....... 13,492
February 2012 ...... 13,538
March 2012 .......... 13,406
April 2012 ........... 13,179
May 2012 ............ 12,923
June 2012 ........... 12,870

A slight uptick from December to February, but an overall steady decline.

Phillies's remark may be found at comment 16, at Independent Political Report.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Gary Johnson Weak on Peace

Gary Johnson has a new video in which he promises to bring home US troops from Afghanistan "immediately" (i.e., in 2013), as opposed to 2014 (which is what Obama and Romney are promising).

Sounds good -- except that this is a major retreat for the Libertarian Party. At the 2004 Libertarian Party convention, Michael Badnarik advocated withdrawing all US troops from every foreign nation, and closing all US military bases overseas.

Badnarik said, "[T]he best way to eliminate terrorism for the United States is to bring our soldiers home from 135 countries around the world. Stop influencing other governments. Stop influencing other economies. And stop poking other countries in the eye politically, and just mind our own business the way we would like other people to leave us alone."

Badnarik advocated withdrawing US troops from "135 countries" -- not just from one. Quite a bit more than Johnson's position: A withdrawal from one nation, one year earlier than the Democrats' and Republicans' timetable.

Also, compare Johnson's wishy-washy above video to this Ron Paul video below:

Ron Paul's video makes boldly clear that US foreign occupations and war are evil.

Johnson's video dares not morally judge US foreign policy. He says the US should leave Afghanistan, but does not say why. At most, he implies that it's economically unsound for the US to stay there.

He even engages in a bit of tough talk, from which one may infer: "Don't worry, we'll still have lots of troops elsewhere in the world, so we'll still be the biggest badass on the block."

Friday, June 29, 2012

Hollywood Threatens Internet Freedom


Today's the big hearing. We told you that we're beating back Hollywood's attempts to take over the Internet again.

Today's court hearing on the MegaUpload case will decide if Hollywood will be able to use the courts to undermine Cloud storage and social media platforms. Will you help us fight back (again)?

If you haven't yet, please click here to sign on to our legal brief, and make sure the court understands that millions of Internet users will be impacted by the judge's decision.

Whether you've signed or not, please use these links or forward the email below to urge your friends to get involved right away. If you're on Reddit, please post a link to, or vote up any such links that have already been posted. We need as many people as possible to sign on to the brief so that the judge understands the broad impacts of his decision.

If you're already on Facebook, click here to share with your friends.

If you're already on Twitter, click here to tweet about the campaign: Tweet

For more background, or to forward to your friends, here's the email we sent yesterday:


It's us versus THEM again.

Hollywood attorneys are trying to use the courts to circumvent Congress and implement a backdoor SOPA/PIPA scheme.

Fight Back: YOUR FILES ON Google, Dropbox, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr, etc. and even your emails are in jeopardy.

We need to make sure the judge understands that his decision will affect millions of people.

Demand Progress is fighting back in the courts and standing up for Internet users. We are taking on the United States and the MPAA. Please click here to support our legal brief -- the court will be hearing the case THIS WEEK.

BACKGROUND: One day after the Internet staged a massive blackout to protest Congress's Internet censorship legislation (SOPA/PIPA), the United States responded by seizing millions of ordinary user files hosted on the popular website

With an aim of shutting down Megaupload and other Cloud-based hosting services (like Dropbox, YouTube or even your email provider), the government is trying to claim website operators should face decades in prison for the misdeeds of some of their users.

But while they pursue trumped up criminal charges against the companies' founders, they are shutting down dozens of websites, and leaving ordinary Internet users without any way of retrieving their files.

Please click here to sign on as a supporter of our legal brief: The judge will be hearing the case THIS WEEK, and we need to make sure he understands that his ruling affects millions of us.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak called the case against Megaupload a "threat to innovation". Wozniak likened the Megaupload site to a highway and those who shared pirated movies and songs to speeding motorists.

"You don't just shut down the whole street because somebody is speeding," he said.

Numerous laws on the books already give copyright holders plenty of avenues to stop actual infringement, but that's not enough to satisfy Hollywood's lawyers and lobbyists.

And get this: The prosecutor in the case, Neil MacBride, previously served as the Anti-Piracy Vice President of the Business Software Alliance, where he represented the intellectual property interests of countless multinational corporations.

Now Hollywood's lobbyists, represented by the Motion Picture Association of America, want him to make it nearly impossible for ordinary Internet users to get their property back.

Please click here to sign on to our legal brief, and make sure the courts understand that millions of Internet users will be impacted by the judge's decision.

And please use these links or forward this email to urge your friends to get involved right away -- we need as many people as possible to sign on to the brief so that the judge understands the broad impacts of his decision.

If you're already on Facebook, click here to share with your friends.

If you're already on Twitter, click here to tweet about the campaign: Tweet

One last thing -- Demand Progress's small, dedicated, under-paid staff relies on the generosity of members like you to support our work. Will you click here to chip in $5 or $10? Or you can become a Demand Progress monthly sustainer by clicking here. Thank you!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

California Police Are Electronically Tracking All License Plates

Los Angeles County police depts. -- and most likely cops across America -- are electronically monitoring wherever you drive, using a computer network that tracks license plates on streets and highways.

So says Jon Campbell, who reports in the L.A. Weekly (June 21, 2012):

Using a vast and automatic electronic tracking system that is all but unknown to the California public, on the day of Robles' murder, police in Los Angeles County cities had made a detailed record of the alleged getaway vehicle's movements.

The information came complete with GPS coordinates — even photographs.

In a situation evoking the hit movie Minority Report, the suspects were being watched even before they were considered suspects.

L.A. Weekly has learned that more than two dozen law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County are using hundreds of these "automatic license plate recognition" devices (LPRs) — units about the size of a paperback book, usually mounted atop police cruisers — to devour data on every car that catches their electronic eye.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department and the Los Angeles Police Department are two of the biggest gatherers of automatic license plate recognition information. Local police agencies have logged more than 160 million data points — a massive database of the movements of millions of drivers in Southern California.

Each data point represents a car and its exact whereabouts at a given time. Police have already conducted, on average, some 22 scans for every one of the 7,014,131 vehicles registered in L.A. County. Because it's random, some cars are scanned numerous times, others never.

Read the rest of Campbell's report.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dirty Tricks at the 2012 Libertarian Party National Convention

Dirty tricks are the usual fare at Libertarian Party conventions -- state and national. They've included false rumors against Mary Ruwart during the 2008 national convention, disruptions and dirty tricks during the 2010 California LP convention and again in 2011, attempts to price out povertarians from the 2006 CLP cruise convention, and other instances too numerous to list.

Kudos to Massachusetts LP activist George Phillies (right) for exposing some of the sleazy tricks at the 2012 national LP convention. In his Liberty for America newsletter (May/June 2012), pages 8-9, Phillies reports the following:

"I have been attending National Conventions since 1998. More often than not the party establishment has worked very hard in more or less subtle ways to optimize the likelihood that their friends would win elections. However, in all that time the superficial process was usually mostly honest. The 2012 Convention stands out as an exception to that generality. Unprecedented steps were taken to maximize the likelihood that the governing clique would retain control of the party.

"The most dramatic abuse of power was, of course, barring the delegation appointed by our Oregon affiliate from the convention floor. One of their would-be delegates was Wes Wagner, who was a National Chair candidate. Readers may look for a comparison with 2000 and the Arizona state party, but in 2000 there had actually been an LNC vote not appealed to the Judicial Committee determining who our Arizona affiliate was. The recognized affiliate was seated. The recognition decision made no sense, but it had been made. In 2012, the recognized affiliate was not seated.

"Floor fees were another substantial mechanic for tilting the convention in favor of the Gang of Ten. Various Californians have been well known for their snide comments about party radicals as 'povertarians'. What better way to discourage libertarians of limited means from voting than charging them for the privilege?

"The convention site, an expensive hotel on the outskirts of Las Vegas, did nothing to incent attendance by the same povertarians. After the convention I took my tax accountant, who had just saved me a considerable sum of money, to a restaurant near the Vegas Strip for dinner. Cab fare each way was $60; a first rate dinner for two was $80. That was still cheaper than a dinner for two in one of the hotel’s quality restaurants.

"Readers who have never attended an LP National convention will not have seen the massive leafletting, in which various candidates and positions try to sell their views to the delegates by distributing fliers, trifolds, and on at least one occasion CD disks. Those leaflets are how you reach voters.

"Friday evening, in an unprecedented attack on our voter outreach, the Convention Committee had the tables stripped bare of fliers. I had soon before put out my Treasurer literature. Chuck Moulton had his literature on voting patterns. The Wagner campaign had put out its literature. Wes Wagner’s five fliers were there. All gone!

"All that literature vanished. Post facto, the Convention committee generously gave people a chance to sort the literature out of the trash. Of course, there had been cups of coffee, etc., dumped on some of it.

"Come Saturday morning, the folks advocating for the election of Rutherford, Redpath, Mattson, Gary Johnson, Brett Pojunis, Jillian Mack, etc., showed up with their very impressive, very glossy flier. Somehow, the unprecedented great literature purge had happened before they distributed.

"We now reach the LNC elections. On the third ballot, Mark Rutherford visibly lost to NOTA. Rather than eliminating Rutherford, acting convention chair Bill Redpath claimed that the candidate eliminated was the one write-in vote. The effect of this absurd decision, contrary to all precedent, was a vain attempt to save Mark Rutherford from defeat.

"Now knedlerization enters the English language. After ballots two and three had found Rutherford losing to NOTA, Ohio State Chair Kevin Knedler started screaming, claiming that there was extensive vote fraud, and demanding that the Secretary poll individually the members of several delegations. His performance, analyzed as a theatric display, was spectacular. In my state delegation, there was feeling that he had just eliminated his chances for re-election to the LNC, and had likely taken down everyone associated with him.

"Polling individually is a very slow process; the delegates had to line up in alphabetical order so that the Secretary could ask each of them how they voted. It was apparent to some respected people within the California delegation that during the poll the people voting were not the same as the people who had actually voted earlier, and we were seeing a re-vote rather than a re-count. There was a poll of California, the largest delegation on the floor, after the second ballot. Further calls were ruled out of order as dilatory.

"However, polling had its effect. It postponed most officer elections until Sunday, when it might have been hoped by the Gang of Ten that the povertarians would have left early. They didn't.

"In officer elections, candidates and their nominators have always spoken from the podium, so that everyone could see who was speaking and who was supporting them. Not this year. This year, candidates spoke from the floor, so that voices boomed out across the room, and no one could tell who was speaking. Except, in a futile act of favoritism (she lost) Alicia Mattson was allowed to speak from the podium in support of her candidacy, while every other candidate had had to speak from the floor.

"You are seeing here massive corruption to rig the convention, and it was our good fortune that massive corruption was defeated.

The May/June 2012 issue of Liberty for America is filled with other great news reports. I don't know that the issue is available on any website, but you can download a PDF copy here.

Phillies will also send you a free pdf subscription of his Liberty for America, filled with libertarian news. To subscribe, go to Liberty for America and click the Subscribe button.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Internet Defense League Fights Threats to Free Speech

Some libertarians believe that censorship can only be practiced by a State.

That may (or may not) be the correct definition of "censorship," but as a practical matter, large corporations (indeed, all huge concentrations of power) do pose serious threats to free speech.

When a few huge corporations own and control a major share of the world media, and increasingly, of the internet, then freedom is imperiled.

Some libertarians claim that the State causes all media monopolies; that monopolies can never occur in a "true free market." I'm not convinced about that.

Either way, I think libertarians should beware of both State and Corporate (whether free market based or not) threats to internet free speech. I thus direct you to Josh King's article on ("How to Protect Free Speech, June 16, 2012):

The Stop Online Piracy Act may have been shut down at the eleventh hour, but free speech on the Internet continues to come under attack. In addition to "son-of-SOPA" (which we will surely see in the coming year, under a different name), the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and a host of proposed regulations at the state level have taken aim at the open Internet.

In response to these threats, the Internet Defense League is launching in the coming weeks. Building on the efforts that brought SOPA to a screeching halt, the league aims to fight against bad laws and restrictions on online expression, wherever they may arise.

As general counsel for Avvo, a social media startup that offers an expert-only Q&A forum and profiles and ratings of lawyers, doctors and dentists in the U.S., I've seen firsthand how those with the means to do so will exploit any opening possible to try to silence speech they do not like. I've responded to hundreds of lawsuit threats and lawsuits against Avvo on grounds ranging from privacy to commercial misappropriation to unfair competition to copyright or trademark infringement — all for activity that is soundly protected by the First Amendment.

The takeaway is simple: any attempt to regulate speech online — whether in service of "stopping piracy" or "defending against cyberattack" — must be ruthlessly interrogated for how it will be abused. Because it will be abused. Those with censorious impulses will push the four corners of the law as far as possible to silence speech they don't like.

It is depressingly common to see the mere threat of a lawsuit cause a withering of speech online. It's vitally important that we recognize and call out the certainty that even well-intentioned laws that impact expression will be used as a bludgeon against the open expression of information and ideas online. In addition to opposing SOPA and its ilk, here are three areas where companies can take a stand to protect free speech on the Internet.

Read the rest of King's important article:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Stewart Flood Exposes LNC Control Freaks

Libertarian Party watchers have long suspected that a group of pro-war/Republican Lite control freaks (sometimes dubbed The Starr Chamber after former LNC treasurer Aaron Starr) have conspired to dominate or manipulate the LP.

Their goal was to advance their petty power and pro-war/ Reform faction policies.

Their methods included purges (e.g., Angela Keaton, Lee Wrights, Rachel Hawkridge), takeovers of state LPs (e.g., Nevada, Oregon), and slick gamesmanship in misusing Robert's Rules of Order.

Now, the May/June 2012 issue of George Phillies's Liberty for America has published Stewart Flood's following exposé:

Former LNC Member Stewart Flood writes on Independent Political Report the comments currently numbered 525, 532-535 [Ed: here are only short bits from much longer posts. Emphasis added here.]

"Now that I [Ed: Stewart Flood] am not on the LNC, I believe it is time to set some of the record straight, and blow the lid off several of the greatest conspiracies the Libertarian Party has seen...

"The Starr Chamber is not gone. They have quite a few members on the LNC and they will do their best to follow the marching orders they have been given. Yes, they actually hold secret meetings...

"I am no longer on the LNC, so I have no reason to not admit that there are secret meetings where a majority of the LNC decide in advance how to vote and where motions are written and given to members on cue cards. Mr. Starr was usually the chair of the meetings that I attended. He continued to do this (over my objection) after he was defeated in his re-election bid for office...

"Remember, I know the real plan. A few other people have figured it out on their own without being told. It is really quite clever, but this convention was a major setback for them. I have never supported or agreed with what they want to do to the party...

"The major hooded key holders of the inner circle are gone, leaving only five or six of their pawns on the LNC.

Flood does not state this group's goal. But from my own observations, these people are mostly Party Cultists, supporters of Wayne Allyn Root, and generally pro-war.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Ron Paul Gets 10.2% in California GOP Primary

In California's 2012 Republican presidential primary, Ron Paul pulled 147,893 votes -- 10.2% of the total -- and placed second in a field of six candidates.

The final tally as reported by the Secretary of State are:

Mitt Romney .... 1,151,197 -- 79.6%

Ron Paul ..... 147,893 -- 10.2%

Rick Santorum ..... 75,802 -- 5.2%

Newt Gingrich ..... 54,944 -- 3.8%

Charles E. "Buddy" Roemer, III ..... 9,714 -- 0.7%

Fred Karger ..... 6,482 -- 0.4%

In the November 2008 general election, in which any registered voter could vote, Paul pulled 17,006 write-in votes, despite his desire that people not vote for him. Last night, in a race wherein only registered Republicans could participate, and in which Paul was on the ballot, he got 147,893 votes.

Make of that what you will.

The Libertarian Party's primary election results were as follows:

Gary Johnson ..... 5,244 -- 49.4%

Barbara Joy Waymire ..... 1,669 -- 15.7%

Scott Keller ..... 949 -- 8.9%

Bill Still ..... 538 -- 5.1%

R. J. Harris ..... 523 -- 4.9%

Roger Gary ..... 456 -- 4.3%

James Ogle ..... 443 -- 4.2%

Carl Person ..... 414 -- 3.9%

Lee Wrights ..... 379 -- 3.6%

Joy Waymire is a nice lady, but I assume she only did as well as she did (placing second) because hers was the only female name on the ballot.

It happened before, in California's 2008 Libertarian presidential primary, to Christine Smith. Smith won that primary, only to be trounced at the 2008 LP national convention, culminating in her infamous meltdown.

Facing a slate of mostly unknown candidates, registered Libertarians (who are less informed than are LP convention-goers or pledge-signers) will often vote for the coolest name (by whatever standards they have). Top LPC vote-getter, Gail Lightfoot, has theorized that her female, Native American-sounding name, has helped in her runs for office.

I assume that Lee Wrights would have done better had this primary been held before the LP national convention. Wrights lost then and threw his support behind Johnson. Wrights likely polled last in this primary because his supporters heeded Wrights's call to support Johnson.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Libertarian Party's 2012 Antiwar Ad

Former Libertarian Party presidential candidate, and current LP Vice Chair, L. Lee Wrights has long tried to rebrand the LP as the antiwar party. Toward that end, he has donated this antiwar ad to the LP.

According to Thomas Hill:

The national LP has accepted our video as a gift from the Wrights 2012 staff. A blog post with more information will be posted at later today.

The main goal of the Wrights campaign was to make sure that the LP presidential nominee would have a strong anti-war message.

Both the Johnson campaign and the national LP appear to be committed to the message of peace.

I believe Lee Wrights has had some influence on both.

Hill's above comment (#1) can be found at Independent Political Report.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Gary Johnson on Afghanistan, Libya and Non-Intervention

Gary Johnson's foreign policy is a confused and confusing mixed bag. Some of his proposals are specific and positive, others vague and troubling.

He's clear about wanting to end some current wars and decrease the Pentagon's budget, yet he also leaves the door open for future interventions and foreign aid.

In a Huffington Post article (May 25, 2012), Johnson says:

We should bring our young men and women home -- and vow to never again fight an 11-year war when our mission was complete in six months.... It took [Obama] three years to bring our troops home from Iraq. And Afghanistan? We're still there, ten years, too many lives and hundreds of billions of dollars longer than necessary.

Johnson advocates an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. He thinks we should have left earlier. But as he later makes clear, he still supports the initial invasion.

[W]e spent hundreds of millions launching missiles into Libya to topple the leader of a sovereign nation. Gaddafi was not a guy I would want running my country, but we took him out with no clear understanding of what -- or who -- might follow.

Johnson sounds ambivalent about the Libya intervention (as were many conservatives). He implies that he's uncomfortable with Obama's Libya war, but that he might have supported it if the outcome were assuredly beneficial, but that we had "no clear understanding" of the possible outcome at that time.

Americans are looking for a non-intervention choice [in the 2012 election], and there is one. I opposed the Iraq war from the beginning.

That's good, but it doesn't make Johnson a purely non-interventionist choice. Rather, it means he was non-interventionist on this war.

Every politician is non-interventionist regarding at least some conflicts. A Libertarian candidate should clearly and specifically go beyond that.

There was no threat that required an invasion [of Iraq], and there are a host of unintended consequences -- from an empowered Iran to a loss of standing with long-time allies.

Not specifically bad, but vague and troubling between the lines.

Johnson worries about "an empowered Iran." Does this mean he thinks a war against Iran is likely more justifiable in the future?

Also, what does he mean by "a loss of standing with long-time allies"? Does he mean that some of our "allies" are displeased with the U.S.'s invasion of Iraq? Perhaps, but which nations does he mean?

The Israeli government (if not all Israelis) lobbied for a U.S. invasion of Iraq. Britain and the Anglo nations (Canada, Australia, New Zealand) were enthusiastic allies of America's invasion.

The "Arab street" likely opposed America's war, but Arab states were at least nominally backing the U.S.

While the U.S. suffered a "loss of standing" in the eyes of many people across the globe, I truly don't know which nations Johnson means by "long-standing allies"?

I supported going in to Afghanistan to uproot al Qaeda. We did that, quite successfully, in a matter of months. The Taliban was humbled and al Qaeda scattered to the winds -- all within a year.... A President Gary Johnson would have declared mission achieved in 2002 and brought our troops home.

Johnson supports ending the Afghan war now, yet he still supports the initial invasion. Contrast this with former LP presidential candidate (in 1996 and 2000) Harry Browne's proposals after 9/11, which focused on ending U.S. interventions and warned against invading Afghanistan.

I pledge to reduce military spending by 43% -- to the disbelief of those who refuse to let go of interventionist, nation-building foreign policies.... if we stop playing offense and focus on defense, a 43% cut in military spending is not only feasible, it will still leave us as the preeminent military power on the globe.

This is good as far as it goes.

Do we need hundreds of thousands of American troops in Europe and Japan? Can we not get by with only enough nukes to eradicate mankind 8 or 10 times? Do we need to have a military base in every nook and cranny of the world?

Johnson specifically cites Europe and Japan as places from which to withdraw U.S. troops. That's good -- but what about U.S. troops in the Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia? Johnson implies that he might have other nations in mind for withdrawal, but I wish he were more specific.

I advocate the use of strategic alliances to allow military obligations and needs to be more equitably shared.

I don't like the sound of "military obligations." Does the U.S. have military obligations to other nations? What does Johnson mean?

We are bankrupt. We cannot continue to bear the burden of protecting the entire world.

True. We cannot protect the "entire world." Not that the U.S. ever tried to protect the entire world, just those nations with economic value or powerful lobbies.

The only foreign aid we should offer is that which, in fact, produces savings and a positive cost-benefit for America.

I don't see how giving money to foreign nations can create "savings" for the U.S. Rather, every beggar nation (no matter how rich) will say, "Subsidizing us will save money for you!" Johnson is providing a "libertarian" talking point as cover for foreign welfare clients.

A principled policy of non-intervention does not require pledges to never ever send the military into conflict beyond our borders. I would like to think America would act to stop a Holocaust.

The Holocaust is an emotional button, often pressed to end debate. Yet this century has seen many Holocausts (e.g., Rwanda, Uganda, Bosnia, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Persia, and the former USSR), albeit by other names. There will be more. If Johnson wants the U.S. to stop them all, then he wants the U.S. to be the world's policeman -- an empire, with all the requisite costs in treasure and blood. If he only wants to stop some of them, then by what principles will he pick and choose?

Johnson has advocated keeping Gitmo open, and offered confusing statements on foreign policy in general.

Read Johnson's entire Huffington Post article.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cops Lie on Tape When They Say "Stop Resisting"

It's routine for police to repeatedly say, "Stop resisting! Stop resisting!" when making an arrest -- even if the arrestee is not resisting. This is because police are often audio-recorded on tape, but not video-recorded.

Police are trained to repeatedly say, "Stop resisting. Stop resisting!" An audio recording of an arrest during which they say "Stop resisting! Stop resisting! is a helpful piece of "evidence" at trial should they ever be charged with police brutality.

It's an especially neat piece of "evidence" if the arrestee was not resisting and the police were brutal -- such as the Fullerton Police beating of Kelly Thomas.

But don't take my word for it. Witnesses -- civilians and police officers -- all say that this is standard operating police procedure.

On May 11, 2012, a caller to Los Angeles's John and Ken Show, on KFI-AM, described how, when he was arrested -- and complied -- the officer nevertheless kept mindlessly repeating, "Stop resisting! Stop resisting!" You can hear that portion of the show here.

Then a week later, on May 18, 2012, a caller who described himself as a former police officer, told John and Ken that the police are indeed trained to say "Stop resisting! Stop resisting!" whenever making an arrest. You can hear that portion here.

So the next time you're on a jury, and the prosecutor introduces some audio recording of a police officer repeating the magic phrase, "Stop resisting! Stop resisting!" -- don't be so quick to believe it. It's possible the arrestee was resisting -- but it's equally possible the cop was lying for the tape -- and to fool you, the juror!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Starchild Challenges Wayne Allyn Root

I've written previously about how rich Neocons are trying to purge the Libertarian Party of antiwar radicals.

Now Carol Moore is distributing a telling conversation between San Francisco libertarian activist Starchild (newly-elected to the LNC at the 2012 national convention) and Wayne Allyn Root (re-elected to the LNC at that same convention).

Their exchange occurred on the LNC listserv, which Starchild apparently distributed (on May 12, 2012) to other listservs, which Moore then further spread.

Starchild summarizes the gist of his conversation with Root by saying:

"I bear no malice toward W.A.R., but he really doesn't belong in our party's leadership. He doesn't believe there's room for us (and by 'us' in this context I mean radicals, anarchists, Libertarians who are for opening borders, eliminating foreign aid, legalizing all drugs, etc.), any more than I think there's room for him."

Read the entire exhange.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tea-O-Conned Exposes Neocon Infiltration of the Tea Party Movement

I've previously written about how the Tea Party was initially heavily antiwar and libertarian, only to be infiltrated by Neocons.

Los Angeles libertarian activist Jason Gonella reported on how the GOP hijacked the Tea Party in Lancaster, California.

Monterey libertarian Lawrence K. Samuels reported on the Neocon's purging of antiwar libertarians from his local Tea Party.

Those were brief observations and on-the-ground reports. But there's also a book on the subject. It came out in 2010, but I only recently discovered Jake Shannon's Tea-O-Conned: The Hijacking of Liberty in America. Exposing the Neoconservative Infiltration and Takeover of the 21st Century Tea Party Movement.

That's a mouthful of a title. The book hasn't received much publicity, perhaps partially because it's self-published. But neither can you expect the Neocon media to promote antiwar Tea Partiers. The latter challenge the approved narrative of pro-war rightists vs. antiwar leftists.

I haven't yet read Shannon's book, but its topic is both under-reported and critical. His book seems worth a look.

Infiltration and sabotage is normal behavior for the pro-war crowd, as demonstrated by Aaron Biterman's admitted sabotage of the Ron Paul campaign on Facebook.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Libertarian Judge Jim Gray Supports Two-State Solution

Last weekend, retired Judge Jim Gray, from California, was nominated as the Libertarian Party's 2012 Vice Presidential candidate.

A few days earlier, on May 1, libertarian activist Carol Moore circulated a nugget from Jim Gray's political past. When he ran as the California LP's candidate for US Senate in 2004, Gray supported an Israeli/ Palestinian Unity Resolution.

It's a balanced document. It condemns all terrorism -- suicide bombers and state terrorism. It calls for a two-state solution. (As opposed to the more controversial and "extreme" one-state solution.) It takes no sides, and advocates peace and dignity for all partied in Israel/Palestine.

Despite this balance, Gray's position was condemned as anti-Semitic by a few posters on this May 2nd Indepdendent Political Report thread.

Here is Gray's 2004 statement:


Whereas, the situation involving the Israelis and Palestinians has been steadily deteriorating into open warfare; and,

Whereas, all of the nations of the world still have not stood up together to guarantee the right of the State of Israel and the State of Palestine to exist in security and peace; and,

Whereas, there can never be a full and lasting peace in any land that does not afford and provide justice for all of its people, regardless of race or religion; and

Whereas, people of all faiths, backgrounds and nationalities have not stood up together to condemn all acts of terrorism of every nature; and,

Whereas, the people who live in the Israel/Palestine area should have the self-determination to decide the historical and emotional political issues that presently divide them; and,

Whereas, further bloodshed in the Israel/Palestine area is unacceptable and unnecessary;

Therefore be it resolved that each one of us individually and with all of our strength and fortitude guarantee, and recommend that our country and the world community guarantee, the existence and security of the State of Israel and the State of Palestine; and

Further be it resolved that all people in Israel/Palestine area be afforded and provided justice for all claims and grievances; and that reasonable compromises be reached by parties; and,

Further be it resolved that from this day forward, each one of us will decry and condemn all acts of terrorism, which are defined as the use of force by individuals, groups and/or states for the intentional injury, destruction and/or killing of civilians, which includes all forms of suicide bombings, but also includes acts like firing missiles out of helicopters to kill or injure people below, whoever they may be, and which intentionally clouds people’s ability to think and maintain an open mind; and,

Further be it resolved that questions as to the future existence of the Israel/Palestine area, such as the issue of where borders are to be drawn, and the status of Jerusalem, are to be decided primarily by the people who live there, with other countries and world bodies playing a neutral role under the guidance of the Geneva Accords.

While I'm disturbed by Gary Johnson's foreign policy, Jim Gray has a long history of promoting peace. I continue to support Ron Paul -- and have already voted for him in California via absentee ballot -- but I am pleased with the LP's vice presidential pick.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Los Angeles Republicans for Ron Paul

Registered Republicans in California will be voting for Republican Party Central Committee members in the upcoming June 5, 2012 election.

I live in California's 50th Assembly District. I've been Googling the 13 candidates for Republican Party Central Committee.

The below five candidates appear to be pro-Ron Paul:

* Mary C. Willison

* Vrezh Zatikyan

* Brooke Loesby

* Nels Hefty

* Gavin William Greer

* Mary Mottahedeh

Here's a video of candidate Vrezh Zatikyan registering Republicans to vote for Ron Paul in the June 5, 2012 primary:

Please support the above five pro-Ron Paul candidates for Republican Party Central Committee if you're a registered Republican in California's 50th Assembly District.

You can vote for up to seven candidates, but I recommend only voting for these five. Voting for two other, non-Ron Paul candidates will dilute votes from these pro-Ron Paul candidates.

You have until May 21st to register (or to re-register) Republican in California, so that you can vote for Ron Paul.


I've since been sent this list of all libertarian candidates for Republican Central Committee throughout California:

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Gary Johnson Supports Gitmo

Many libertarians already know that Gary Johnson is pro-war and pro-US tax dollars for Israel, even though Israel is wealthy and can easily pay for its own military. (But why should it, so long as socialist Israel can bilk US taxpayers for money?).

But since the 2012 Libertarian Party national convention is underway, it's worth reiterating Johnson's anti-libertarian views on war, foreign policy, and "national security." Among his other anti-libertarian views, Johnson supports keeping Gitmo open:

Much has been made about Johnson being a libertarian on economic and social issues. His supporters claim -- "See, Johnson is libertarian across the board!"

Well, no, because even if you're "fiscally conservative" and "socially liberal" -- you're no libertarian if you still support war, empire, and torture.

Here's another video that bears repeating:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Boot Root at the Libertarian Party Convention

I've long blogged about the Clintonesque (even Stalinesque) Libertarian embarrassment that is Wayne Allyn Root.

So have many others. The problem with Root is not in digging up his dirt, but in keeping track of it all. (So much slime, so little time!)

Now longtime libertarian activist Carol Moore has amassed and organized Root's misdeeds from around the internet, compiling them into a webpage and PDF pamphlets. She urges delegates to the 2012 Libertarian Party convention to print and distribute her material.

Moore's Boot Root webpage begins by saying:

Since the mid-1990s various groups and factions of Libertarian Party members have been pushing for the Libertarian Party to become more "respectable," "mainstream," and "middle class," and less radical, outrageous and/or low income.

The party is being destroyed by people who don't care if they drive out members and reduce the number of candidates as long as those remaining are respectable, mainstream, middle class - or as Wayne Root puts it "high quality."

These people have fought to continue gutting the platform of meaningful libertarian content, including the non-interventionist foreign policy planks, and to drive more "hardcore" libertarians out of leadership positions on the national and even state levels.

They have tried to centralize power so that a small group of mainstream, middle class libertarians could control the whole party from the national level. They have been increasingly successful, using their higher incomes, allegiance to power over principle, and attendant political machinations to get their way.

That's just the beginning. Read it all at Moore's Boot Root page.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Are Rich Neocons Buying the Libertarian Party?

One of the Libertarian Party's many factional splits is that between its Povertarians (libertarians with little money) and wealthier members. Exacerbating matters is that these two groups tend to have different political priorities.

Povertarians are more likely to be Radicals, emphasizing peace and civil liberties. Rich Libs are more likely to be Reform types: pro-war, pro-Root, and more interested in economics. Thus, they are more likely to find common ground with Republicans, conservatives, and even Neocons.

I'm sure there are rich Radicals and poor Reformers. Ron Paul is no Povertarian, yet many (most?) Radicals love Paul.

But as a general rule, wealthier libertarians are less Radical. As radical activist Carol Moore once told me in an email, it does seem the pro-war libs have all the money.

For better or worse, money does help one excert influence beyond one's numbers in the LP.

Now, if you're crying "class warfare" or "Communist!", kindly stuff it. I know about true Communism firsthand. Trying to level the playing field, so that all libertarians have an equal voice in the LP irrespective of their wealth is not Communism. If you think it is, go back to searching for Obama under your bed.

How do wealthy libertarians buy excess influence within the LP? Here are some examples:

1. Joining more than one state LP.

Yup, I just learned that it's possible for someone to belong to more than one state LP.

At Independent Political Report, Marc Montoni writes at Comment 139:

"Carling is a member of several state parties, and in every one where he participates, it seems controversy follows.

"Not due to Carling, who showed up at our Virginia convention in 2003, but due to an attempt at sabotaging our presidential ballot-access in 2004 by a disgruntled former member, the Virginia LP eventually adopted a qualification for members that they must both reside in and be domiciled in Virginia. In other words, now, if someone moves out of state, the mere act of moving out of state is an ipso facto resignation of membership. Not being a member disqualifies one from holding LPVA office, also.

"In any case, I would advise all state LP’s to adopt requirements for members to be resident and domiciled; and probably registered to vote as well.

"Pick a state, and stay there!"

Montoni is referring to M Carling, an LP stalwart with many state and national titles under his belt, and (I believe) a Root supporter.

At the 2008 California LP convention, Wayne Allyn Root flew his entire family in from Nevada to get them credentialed as California LP delegates, including his then under-age daughter.

I second Montoni's suggestion and agree with the Virginia LP. You should be domiciled in the state whose party you wish to be a member of, and should only be a member of that state's party.

2. Expensive convention locals.

Perhaps the most infamous example of this is 2006's controversial California cruise convention.

Another example is the aborted 2010 Hawaii convention. Aaron Starr approvingly posted that his significant other was so thrilled that she did "cart wheels" upon learning the 2010 LP convention might be held in Hawaii. (Honolulu ranks as one of America's most expensive cities on many lists, and that's not including travel expenses to get there.)

Fortunately, more sober heads prevailed and the 2010 convention was held in St. Louis.

Then there's the 2012 Las Vegas convention, with is actually in a hotel outside of Vegas. Radicals have complained that cheaper cities, and even hotels within Vegas, were available, if one had tried to find them.

Instead, the LNC not only chose a venue that was more expensive than need be, but one that was most convenient for Root's supporters (Las Vegans who might drop into the convention and fill up empty delegate slots).

Expensive convention locales are a great way to price out Povertarians, who are more likely to be anti-Root Radicals.

3. Convention floor fees.

Some Povertarians say that it should be free for delegates to attend a convention. Delegates are already paying for their travel expenses and hotel room, and should not have to pay extra to do party business in the convention hall.

Others say that "There's not such thing as a free lunch." It's unlibertarian for wealthy libs to subsidize Povertarians' use of the convention hall.

That makes sense on the surface, but as one person (I think it was George Phillies) observed, the LNC's only task within the Bylaws is to run the national conventions. LNC membership fees should fund the convention. Only if there's any money left, should the LNC fund other stuff. Delegates are already "paying" by attending, and should not have to pay double for a convention hall that their LNC fees should already have covered.

Someone else (I think it was Thomas Knapp) wrote that by holding conventions at expensive venues, it's really the Povertarians who are forced to subsidize the hotel expenses of delegates who wish to vacation at pricey venues. (Because hotels offer discounts if you hold a convention there.)

Floor fees, like expensive convention venues, are another way to price out Povertarians. Some will come and subsidize the vacationers, but others can't afford it, and thus can't participate as equals in running the LP.

4. Bribery

I'm not talking about anything illegal or against the rules here. But sometimes, a wealthier lib will offer a large donation to the LP, provided that delegates vote his way. Aaron Starr did it at the 2007 California LP convention and 2010 national convention. I'm sure others have done likewise.

Povertarians, naturally, can't buy votes with cash. They can only hope to persuade with principles.

Perhaps some libertarians will see this post as class warfare or Communism. And I suppose that an argument can be made that "the market" should decide whether party rules that allow for the above behaviors should be permitted.

Fair enough. And to the LP's credit, Starr's offers were rebuffed.

But my commentary is part of the "marketplace of ideas." And I think the LP has a moral obligation to keep its expenses down, and its rules written, so that people of every economic background can equally participate in the LP.

Isn't that the best way to "grow the party" -- which most Reformers claim they want to do?