Steve G.

Archive for May 23rd, 2008|Daily archive page

Will Gravel get to speak at Denver?

In Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 23, 2008 at 10:38 pm

I’m writing notes on the Bylaws debates in another thread, but this was interesting enough to warrant a separate thread. About an hour ago, one of the Gravel guys made a motion to expand the amount of time for Bylaws debates until later on in the evening. I raised an eyebrow, but that motion failed and I didn’t think any more of it.

However, we’re running close to the end of the session, and now the Gravel folks are scrambling around like crazy (Gravel himself’s on the floor)… and made a motion to skip directly to a proposal for changing the threshold for Presidential candidates being entitled to give nominating speeches and/or enter the debates. From the chatter I’m overhearing from his volunteers, they don’t yet have enough delegate tokens to get in the debate under current rules.

They still have time to gather more, but they better hustle… their motion failed, so they’ll have to work with the rules as they currently stand.

**UPDATE** As laid out in the comments by G.E. and myself below, the actual text of this proposal would have raised the required threshold of tokens. I’m not sure if that camp was hoping to defeat it and then offer more favorable amendments (as is the parliamentary procedure), or if things just got really mixed up.

Jacqueline Passey: Credentials fight at LP Convention?

In Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 23, 2008 at 10:11 pm

This article is reproduced with permission of the author, Jacqueline Passey.

Delegates: Robert Stacy McCain reports that delegates are being seated for states other than their home states, noting that Libertarian Party convention rules allow for this.

Note: This is pretty significant. Most state LPs do not fill all of their delegate slots for the national convention prior to the convention. This means they have extra slots to give away at the convention, if they so choose. If a candidate can convince one or more existing state delegations (or just their chairs?) to seat additional delegates, the candidate can effectively stuff the ballot box with extra voting delegates who favor that candidate. This news, combined with a pre-convention report of Bob Barr’s campaign recruiting supporters to make a day trip to the convention for the nomination vote, suggests to me that Barr and his supporters have indeed found an effective strategy to “take over” the convention and win the Presidential nomination as some have feared.

I predict a credentials fight on Sunday.

___________________________________

Jacqueline Passey is the former Executive Director of the Washington state Libertarian Party, and former LP candidate for Washington Secretary of State. Blog enthusiasts likely remember her from her 2006 blog entry covering the Nevada LP presidential debates, amusingly titled “Two whackjobs, a convicted felon, and George Phillies”. That blog entry set into motion a short-lived “memogate”, in which a memo from then-LP Executive Director Shane Corey, referencing her blog and asking whether the LP can offer better candidates, was leaked into the blogosphere.

Ms. Passey lives in Las Vegas with her husband and dachsunds, and is currently working on her Master’s Degree at UNLV. Her current blog is “Jacqueline Gets Her Geek On”.

Be sure to bookmark this link to to her political posts, and check back often for her continuing convention gossip updates.

Tucker Carlson NOT seeking LP presidential nomination

In Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics on May 23, 2008 at 6:56 pm

From ABC News:

In any case, Carlson tells me he was never running.

He’s right now with his family in Maine rather than in Denver with the Marijuana Policy Project and the like.

“I probably should have done it,” Tucker emails me.” Imagine the bus trip.”

Voices from LFV comments: Steve Perkins at LP convention

In Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Wayne Allen Root on May 23, 2008 at 5:36 pm

Things are turning out to be a lot more murky and less clear-cut than I was expecting (not that I really knew what to expect). I stopped by a get together of Barr supporters, and was pretty surprised by the number of hardline anarchists who turned out. It seems that some delegates reason that hardline downticket candidates could have a better opportunity to spread their message with Barr at the top of the ticket than they would be able to at the top of the ticket themselves. I thought it was notable that the Barr camp is stressing strict neutrality on platform and bylaws debates.

On the flipside of the coin, the Ruwart ranks are starting to turn out. I’ve heard secondhand reports that at the David Nolan speaking event there was a “vocal straw poll” of sorts, and Ruwart drew the loudest response… followed by Barr, followed by Root. Of course that WAS a Nolan event, so I’m not shocked… but there were more “I (heart) Mary” lapel stickers in the lobby when I headed back upstairs. I’m seeing more Gravel signs as well, and the Root folks have been hyper-aggressive so far. I don’t have any sense yet as to who people’s second picks are, if and when the race goes to multiple rounds and their first-pick falls out. Tomorrow should be interesting.

One last thought before I head to bed… I don’t know WHAT the chatter is all about with Tucker Carlson. No sign of that whatsoever here in Denver.

Friday LP Business Meetings

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics on May 23, 2008 at 5:09 pm

Part of the upside of being in law school is that I’m actually dork-enough to ENJOY procedural debates, so I’m sitting in on all the General Business sessions. I believe that today is all platform and bylaws debates, and the convention hall seems 10-20% full AT BEST. I’m pretty stunned by the low level of participation. No matter which “faction” you lean toward, you have basically no cause to gripe about whatever comes out of these sessions. With a body this small, ANY faction could “hijack” the agenda by simply being organized enough to show up in full. Over half the LP delegation is out wondering around the vendor exhibits… waiting to complain later about whatever comes out of this meeting that they COULD have helped determine themselves.

Unbelievable.

Anyway, I’ll be updating this thread throughout the day as business proceeds.

[9:45 am] At the opening, David Nolan made a motion to basically cut the platform / bylaws debate time in half… shifting the unused time over to Presidential / Vice-Presidential selection. I’ve been hearing that the radicals intend to try to minimize platform discussion as much as possible… and/or have the “majority report” and “minority reports” discussed at a general high-level, moreso than on a plank-by-plank basis. Here comes the opening salvo. M Carling spoke in opposition to the motion, and then a series of delegates made “me too” comments on both sides. Nolan’s motion failed… and a subsequent motion passed to proceed with the agenda as originally planned.

[11:00 am] We just spent FOREVER debating the proposed amendment to Article 8 of the Bylaws (allowing the Judicial Committee to hold a hearing based on appeal by 10 percent of convention delegates… the current rule requires 3% of sustaining Party members). Good LORD… no one here has any knowledge of parliamentary procedure at all! After dueling amendments from Nick Sawark and Guy McClendon, what we came up with was adopting the new “10% of convention delegates” method… while lowering the old method to 1% of sustaining Party members.

[11:30 am] We’re debating the proposed change to Rule 9 of the Bylaws. I get the feeling that around 95% of the room has NO IDEA what this proposal is about. I just finished a year of Civil Procedure class, read the proposal in advance, communicated about it by email with the committee… and **I** barely understand what this proposal is about. I think the general thrust is that no more Vice-Presidential nominations can be made once the Presidential debates start. The motion ultimately passed. It seemed like the Barr, Gravel, and Root crowds seemed to favor it… the Ruwart, Phillies, etc crowds were opposed. Don’t ask me WHY it broke down along those lines… I voted “no” simply because I didn’t really understand the problem this is supposed to address. I’m off to lunch.

[12:00 am] After poking fun at Michelle Singhal on Reason Hit & Run, for confusing Richard Viguerie with Russ Verney, I was just introduced to Verney a few minutes ago. I immediately proceeded to blurt out, “Yes, I know you… you just took over Third Party Watch!” Doh… sorry Michelle.

[2:00 pm] Richard Viguerie is giving the Keynote Address. He kinda oscillates between appeals to the base and to disgruntled Republicans, saying “We libertarians…” in one sentence and “We conservatives..” in the next. Still, the crowd has been surprisingly positive. Turnout is not as high as it was for other morning sessions, but the rumored “protests” haven’t happened.

[3:00 pm] Amendment to Article 8, to provide for removing National Committee members who miss too many meetings, passes easily.

[3:30 pm] Debate on Article 9, setting up staggered terms for the Judicial Committee. Nick Sarwark rose to point out that this proposal would essentially expand terms from 2 years to 14 years. Also, the intention was to block a potential hostile takeover… but a hostile takeover would go through the LNC rather than the Judicial Committee. This goes down in flames, and the body votes to suspend the rules to move on without bothering with amendments.

[3:40 pm] Debate on Article 11… basically setting up former elected officials as “superdelegates” for life. I can’t believe that I’m 100% on board with Starchild on an issue… this is a bad proposal in my opinion. However, the body seemed pretty overwhelmingly in favor of it.

[4:00 pm] Debate on Article 12… establishing certain thresholds (i.e. endorsement, raising $5000 in funds) before a Presidential candidate can get access to LPHQ resources. Seems like a no-brainer to me (best line from the floor: “If you can’t raise at least $5K for a PRESIDENTIAL race, what the heck are you doing?”)… but it generates significant debate and requires a hand-count of the vote.

Ugh… a bunch of new faces ran in from the exhibit hall during the hand-count, and was able to get just over one-third… blocking the motion.

[4:20 pm] WHOA. The Gravel crowd just made a motion to skip over directly to debate on Article 6, changing the rules for which Presidential candidates get to give nomination speeches and/or participate in debates. Gravel himself is on the floor, and his volunteers are scrambling around. From the chatter I’m overhearing from them, Gravel doesn’t have enough delegate tokens yet. They better hustle… their motion failed, so they’re stuck with the current rules.

[5:00 pm] We’re switching over from pure Bylaws debate, to a mixed Bylaws/Platform session. The only two planks which have collected enough tokens for “speedy deletion” are the “Reproductive Rights” and “Immigration” planks. We’re about to have straight-up majority votes on whether to delete or retain those two planks.

The abortion plank of the LP platform has been RETAINED.

The immigration plank of the LP platform has been RETAINED.

[5:10 pm] We’re debating over whether or not to change the Bylaws… to lower the 7/8’ths majority requirement currently needed to alter the Statement of Principles. Are you sitting down? I actually agree with the radicals on this one. If a 7/8’ths majority is required to change the Statement of Principles, but a 2/3’rds majority can change the bylaws to lower this threshold… then there is no 7/8’ths requirement at all.

We spend what feels like forever arguing about this… the Reformers clearly don’t have enough support to change the SoP even with parliamentary tricks. The Chair’s interpretation of the rules ends up defeated. On the flipside of the coin, however, a motion to close the potential loophole is defeated likewise. The status quo on the Statement of Principles debate rolls on for future conventions to wrestle with.

[5:40 pm] Debating over a Bylaws change to appoint the convention committees (Platform, Bylaws, Credentials, etc) earlier.  Most of the debate is drifting off onto unrelated rants about big states having more clout than smaller states, etc.  Time finally runs out on the debate, and the motion to change fails.

[5:50 pm] Proposal for a Bylaws change to speed up Platform debates, by encouraging amendments to be written down in advance rather than thrown together ad hoc from the floor.  This looks to have about 80-90% support, but the radicals are throwing every procedural trick in the book out here to slow things down.  We’re now crawling through a hand-count of all votes.  (Best comment from the floor:  “The sole purpose of all this [radicals’ motions] are to deliberately obstruct things so we can’t conduct any platform business at all”).  Final vote count… it passes by about 10-to-1.

[5:50 pm] Debating a Bylaws change to allow the Secretary to make “stylistic changes” (e.g. fix typos). Ruth Bennett tries to hijack the agenda and resurrect the 7/8’ths-majority-for-the-Statement-of-Principles thing, but even the radicals have had their fill of that for the day and groaned that off. After some brief debate (everyone is getting tired), this gets voted down.

We’re done for the day.

Safety Alert from National Propane Gas Association

In Health, Media, Personal Responsibility, Science on May 23, 2008 at 4:59 pm

SAFETY ALERT

Anh Cylinder 3 - tankINTRODUCTION: Readers of this bulletin should consult the law of their individual jurisdictions for codes, standards and legal requirements applicable to them. This bulletin merely suggests methods which the reader may find useful in implementing applicable codes, standards and legal requirements. This material is not intended nor should it be construed (1) to set forth procedures which are the general custom or practice in the propane industry; (2) to establish the legal standards of care owed by propane distributors to their customers; or (3) to prevent the reader from using different methods to implement applicable codes, standards or legal requirements. The National Propane Gas Association assumes no liability for reliance on the contents of this bulletin. It is offered as a guide only to assist expert and experienced teachers and managers in training in service personnel in their organizations.

Caution!

The brass valve in a propane cylinder will be damaged if it comes in contact with anhydrous ammonia. This deterioration will lead to cracking of the valve body or its components and can ultimately result in a violent, unexpected expulsion of the valve from the cylinder, causing personal injury or death.

Background and Recommended Action

It has come to the attention of the National Propane Gas Association that propane cylinders are being used in the manufacturing of Methamphetamines. This drug is commonly referred to as ‘crank’. Manufacturers of this illegal substance are using propane cylinders for the storage and the use of anhydrous ammonia. These cylinders have been found in many states at cylinder exchange and refilling locations as well as in hotel rooms and mobile laboratories, where the manufacturing of this illegal substance takes place.

Anh Cylinder 1 - valveAs observed in the illustrations, a blue-green stain on any brass portion of a service valve is evidence that it may have been in contact with anhydrous ammonia*. The pungent odor of ammonia on or near the cylinder is also an indication. If you suspect that a propane cylinder contains or has contained anhydrous ammonia, exercise extreme caution and restrict access to the area.

It can be dangerous to move the cylinder due to the unknown integrity of the cylinder’s service valve. If you determine that it must be moved, keep in mind that hazards due to valve expulsion can be reduced by pointing the end of the container in which the valve is placed away from yourself and others and towards the most safe direction.

Anh Cylinder 2 - valve & tankImmediately contact your Fire Department, Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Unit or the nearest office of the United States Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for information on properly disposing of the cylinder. If these respondents are not sure what to do, for assistance call 1-800-728-2482, which is the contact number for PERS, an independent hazardous materials information resource.

*Note: Sherwood valves contain a green coated valve stem. Additionally, a green thread sealing compound is used on some valves. These valves should not be confused with those that have been exposed to anhydrous ammonia.

Jim Casarjian-Perry: LP Convention Update version 1.0

In George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 23, 2008 at 4:49 pm

The following was written by LFV contributor Jim Casarjian-Perry, and originally posted on his blog. It is reproduced here, as he was kind enough to send the link to me via email.

Good morning everyone!

I’m writing to let you know how the convention is going thus far. We haven’t had our opening session yet so no business has been discussed.

There is quite a buzz about the Bob Barr campaign both for and against him and it seems there isn’t a single delegate here without an opinion on Barr. As you all know, I am actively campaigning for George Phillies and against Bob Barr.

Things are going well for George and we’re hoping to have enough “tokens” to get him into the debate and to speak on the floor.

The Massachusetts delegation is going to hold a delegation meeting shortly and will discuss the issues at hand. The delegates are Mr. Phillies of Worcester, Mr. Torrey of Billerica, Dr. Santos of Charlton, Mr. Blau of Brookline, Ms. McMahon of Munson, and myself. All MA delegates have endorsed Mr. Phillies for President.

I’ll update again just before Shabbat, MDT.

Jim Casarjian-Perry photo in Reason Online

In Libertarian on May 23, 2008 at 3:20 pm

LFV Contributor Jim Casarjian-Perry’s photo made it into Reason Online, with the following caption:

Anti-Barr Massachusetts delegate Jim Cassarjian-Perry smiles after asking Barr about DOMA. He wasn’t satisfied with the answer: Barr didn’t apologize for the provision that allows the DMV to reject his marriage certificate and refuse his hyphenated name change.

Jim Casarjian-Perry

Attempting To Kick A Bad Habit

In Health, Personal Responsibility on May 23, 2008 at 3:13 pm

I have so much respect for anyone who can quit smoking or quit whatever it is you may be addicted to. I use to smoke and I was given some advice. If you want to quit smoking, start chewing tobacco (or “snuff” in my case) and you can get off that very easily. Well 10 years later, instead of a pack a day smoker, I’m now a can a day “dipper”.

I’ve tried to quit a few times cold turkey but that didn’t last very long. My wife has always been pretty supportive of me and wants me to quit, but she understands how tough it is. Anyways, this week I decided to quit again, this time with a different method. I bought some “Hooch Herbal Snuff” online because someone told me it helped him kick the habit. I was a bit skeptical because I’ve tried “mint snuff” before and it tasted like ass. But, anything is worth a shot.

The 12 cans I ordered arrived yesterday. I tried it out and let me say this, this stuff tastes like the same tobacco I chew. Thats great actually, tricking the mind is half the battle. It has a bit of cayenne pepper as well, so it gives it a bit of a kick. You can even work up a good spit with this stuff!

Anyways, my plan is to alternate between the real stuff and fake stuff for awhile and slowly ween myself off. The only problem is, the guy who recommended this to me has been hooked on the fake stuff for like 3 years now. Guess the oral addiction is hard to break as well. But if I end up only chewing this fake stuff for 10 years, hell, I’d be willing to do that if it means extending the time I get to spend with my wife in the years to come.

I’m a bit jittery, but I think I can do this. Much respect to anyone who has kicked a bad habit, it’s not easy at all.

LP Deathblog Update

In Daniel Imperato, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Steve Kubby on May 23, 2008 at 2:58 pm

In case any of you have been wondering, I am not really actually dead.

Just extremely sleep deprived and without a laptop, or money for the Sheraton business center. Just found a free cybercafe by the exhibitor booths. Standing room only, unfortunately. Anyone with a laptop I can borrow, come see me or give me a call. My number is on my facebook.

Floorspace to crash always appreciated. Thanks to several of you who offered, but I lost y’all. when the time came. I was not supposed to be allowed to sleep where I got my two hours, so I won’t say where, but thanks.

In answer to a question on my last deathblog, best dressed at the masquerade: my award goes to Mr. and Mrs. Pimperato. Dannyboy was sporting a white ice cream suit with an open collar shirt straight out of Scarface, and Mrs. Imp had on all-black leather zippered get-up with a gold chain and Carmela Soprano hairdo. It reminded me of partying on Long Island in the 1980s. Speaking of which, anyone know if there is any snow left in the Rockies this time of year? I haven’t been outside much. Let me know.

Skipping ahead around 36 hours, I tried to go for a run with Michelle this morning and lasted about a block and a half. Reminded me why I’m no longer in crime for a living. Outrunning cops is pretty much not going to happen. I’ll fill you all in later on the 36 hours or so. Someone please fix my spelling, I do not have my glasses on.

Oh yeah, come see me if you want Kubby buttons and signs or if you want to give a token to the tokin’ candidate.

And thanks to GE for saying I’m cool. Actually I used to be a lot cooler, I’m kinda lame now. But I appreciate the compliment.

G.E. in Denver III: Gravel vs. Starchild (and Andy)

In Economics, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Mike Jingozian, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Steve Kubby, Wayne Allen Root on May 23, 2008 at 5:28 am

Next was Q&A. One of the first questions was asked by Starchild. I don’t know the proper pronoun to use here, and I don’t want to be offensive, so I’ll say SC. SC asked the candidates, [note: please assume all quotes are paraphrased], “Do you believe the core of libertarianism is that you should be able to do what you want with your own body, life, and property, so long as you infringe on no one else?” They (Link, Mary Ruwart, Kubby, Gravel and Jingo all raised their hands). “Okay, then how can some of you support coercive taxation to fund education.” It was targeted to Gravel, of course.

I’ll skip the blow by blow and tell you that Gravel and Starchild had a rather length exchange. Stardchild kept SC’s cool, but dismissively (and deservedly) shook SC’s head and smiled at some of Gravel’s outlandishly statist propositions, but Gravel got fuming mad, shouting down SC. Gravel said you can’t have liberty without education and that without government schools, everyone would be dumb. And of course, we are too dumb now precisely because government schools are too decentralized. SC pointed out Gravel’s many contradictions which made the old man rage. “What do you want?” he asked, “voluntary education?” YES!, the crowd roared. “Show me where that has worked,” Gravel demanded.

At this point, Andy got into the act. “Right here in this country,” he said. Gravel disagreed. Andy set him straight. “FINE!” Gravel barked. “You want to go back to the 18th century, go right ahead.” Andy rejoined: “It’s not going back to the 18th century, it’s going back to freedom.” (That was a direct quote). The crowd erupted in cheers while the Maoist Gravel cohort sat on their hands.

Finally, Jim Duesning made Gravel shut up and let Steve Kubby speak. “There’s never a justification for using force to achieve goals,” he said. Short and sweet. Jingo said the same thing (he may have said it before Kubby, actually), and I waned to ask him how he saw protectionism as non-coercive.

There were a lot of questions on which Gravel’s anti-libertarian colors were exposed. At one point, he literally ridiculed libertarians for never getting anything done. Mary Ruwart pointed out that libertarians have changed people’s attitudes. This did not register with Gravel, who thinks change can only come through coercion.

A gentleman asked a question about the Fed and central banking. Link had disappeared by now and no one noticed. Jingo recalled a conversation with the Liberty Dollar founder (Bernand something) and agreed with him that a competing currency would destroy the Fed in a less tumultuous manner than an outright abolition. Jingo pointed out that saying “let’s allow competing currencies” seems completely logical to average voters.

Kubby and Ruwart gave predictably sound answers. Kubby pointed out that the dollar’s value, when compared to the loony, has halved. Ruwart blamed regulations for gold-standard-era depressions.

Gravel’s answer was thoroughly statist. He said gold and silver were dumb because Russia and South Africa had all the gold and silver (as if that matters). He then lionized that great libertarian, Abe Lincoln, as the pioneer of fiat money, with his government-issued greenbacks. Gravel thought it was great that these helped fund the War Against Southern Independence. He wants more authority for the government over money.

Oh, and I should mention that Jim Duesning said, “I wish George Phillies were here to answer this question.” Phillies, of course, supports the Fed’s monetary fascism. It was the second potshot at Phillies. Earlier, someone asked, “Where’s Bob Barr?” Duesning said all candidates had been invited and that anyone who did not think 9/11 needed an investigation, who trusted the government, was not a libertarian. He specifically mentioned the names Phillies, Root, and Barr (although allowed for as how they may have had legitimate commitments to other events).

Andy asked the next question: What do you think of the Fair Tax and the NAU. No one really talked about NAU, but a FairTax debate erupted, with Gravel supporting it strongly. Kubby made a whole new set of arguments against the FairTax that I had not even considered — as if that even needed to be done! Mary Ruwart said, “the only FairTax is NO TAX.” The crowd liked that. Gravel rambled on about how the LP was a “half-percent party” because of things like this. He is Dear Leader, and if we only follow him, we will win. What a hollow victory that would be.

There was some other mild drama, although I don’t remember when. A weird guy tried to take the stage, and Jim Duesning had to have him thrown out. “Don’t make me come off this stage!” he yelled at the dude. I felt bad for Duesning. He put on a good event.

G.E. live from Denver: Part 2 – Libertarians for Justice

In Daniel Imperato, Humor, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Mike Jingozian, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Steve Kubby on May 23, 2008 at 5:02 am

I left off last time just as I was about go to to sleep, having had only four total hours the past two days. I did, and woke up four hours later, just in time for the Libertarians for Justice event. I chatted with some nice “Truthers” (I hate that word but don’t know a better one). There is no doubt that there are unanswered questions that need answering.

Anyway, I lost track of time, and when I went into the actual event, Mary Ruwart was speaking. I had missed Jim Burns. Ruwart gave a nice Ron Paulian speech, but the crowd had not warmed up yet.

Next up was Imperato. He was wearing some kind of papal knight accessory. He said he had an office next door to the Twin Towers and that he had friends who jumped out of windows. He said his employees heard bombs go off in the basement, but that he thinks they were planted by the terrorists. The cover up, he says, is to protect the bureaucrats who failed. Plausible enough. Then he goes into how the reason Muslims hate America has to do with Jacob and Esau, and that Christopher Columbe, a Jew, consecrated America as a Judeo-Christian land (no mention of the fact that “Columbe” never set foot on North America). George Washington also took his oath of office on the exact spot of the Twin Towers, according to Imperato, and Muslims attacked out jealousy . . . Jealousy over the Jewish people’s “shrewdness” at “controlling Wall Street.”

I can’t remember who came next, but I’m pretty sure it was Jingzian. Mike Jingozian is a really good speaker, and he did a great job. Seems like a nice guy. Not 100% libertarian, though. Also puts on airs. Presents self as expert on foreign policy and finance and is mildly condescending.

When Gravel came to the stage, there were cheers all over the place. I thought maybe the general audience “Truthers” were fans of his, but in reality, he had packed the crowd. He went on about his Maoist “Direct Democracy” and offered a free signed copy of his book, Citizen Power, to any delegate who agreed to read two chapters. Gravel’s big message was that the Libertarian Party is full of overly principled morons who’ve never accomplished anything, and that he can win if we give him the nomination. We have our heads in the clouds, he argues. Gravel is big on “power” (his word). He says Nixon should have been put in jail, and wants to use subpoena power (presumably on citizens as well as government officials) to get to the bottom of 9/11. When he was done speaking, there was huge applause and then, when he left, so did about 1/3 of the crowd.

This was unfair to Steve Kubby who went on next. Wow, Steve looks a lot better (not to sound Donderian) in real life than in his pictures. He looks very healthy and he is an excellent public speaker. He got the crowd riled up unlike any of the others before him, despite its smaller size. He dealt with the matter at hand, and limited his comments to the demand for an investigation. The crowd liked that.

Then came Alden Link. Yeah. He talked about socialist energy policy — he approves. Bragged about the solar panels he’s having installed on his house. Said the military-industrial complex was a good thing, for it kept us safe. But then talked very libertarianly and knowledgeably about ending the Drug War.

DRAMA ALERT!!!

That was supposed to be it, but then John Finan arrived. He seemed normal enough. He’s a handsome guy (I swear this is not Dondero posting under my name) who would be a believable as a business titan in a movie. His speech was fairly straight forward — although he did say he would get on Oprah, Letterman, and Conan O’Brien if made the nominee. He didn’t really address the issue at hand. Then, when he was finished, Jim Duesning (leader of Libertarians for Justice) stood next to him on the podium and, completely innocently, said (I’m paraphrasing) “I’ve just been informed that John Finan has not signed our pledge calling for an investigation. I have this glossy page right here, and this fancy marker, would you like to sign right now?”

It seemed to be that Duesning was giving Finan a nice little publicity opportunity here, but Finan did NOT take it that way. He took the mic from Duesning, he gladly gave it to him, and said (again, paraphrasing), “What do you think of me being put on the spot to sign this? Should I sign it?” The crowd was, surprisingly mixed. “I WILL NOT BE AMBUSHED! I WILL NOT BE PRESSURED!”

I should also mention that, while Finan’s speech seemed normal enough, after the following events, some of his gestures and facial expressions took on a Mussolinian context.

Duesning snatched the mic back from him and was like, “I’m giving you a chance to sign this or not.” Finan tried to grab the mic, but Duesning wouldn’t let him have it. Finan screamed in a booming voice, “I DON’T NEED A MICROPHONE! I WILL NOT BE PRESSURED!” And then made was looked like a Nazi salute and walked off stage, still carrying the apparently precious silver marker. “Give back the marker,” Duesning demanded. “I’m keeping the marker!” Finan declared.

Wow.

Eventually, a little lady in a red shirt stormed across the room saying she had paid for this event and the marker and demanded it! Finan passed it to a guy sitting down, who gave it to the lady. He was then escorted out of the conference hall.

And that wasn’t the end of the drama… (to be continued)

Jacqueline Passey’s LP Convention roundups

In Libertarian on May 23, 2008 at 2:16 am

Jacqueline Passey is posting daily roundups of LP Convention information and rumor on her blog. Be sure to check her blog for the newest juicy convention gossip, compiled from around the net.

NOTE:  Updated with direct link to her political posts – thanks, Jacqueline!

Voices from LFV Comments: Steve Perkins convention update

In Daniel Imperato, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Wayne Allen Root on May 23, 2008 at 2:12 am

Just got back from dinner, to change clothes and take a break before seeing what’s happing with hospitality suites. Other candidates are starting to show a presence… Root in particular has been wandering around working the floor pretty hard. I just met Gravel, and it’s kinda funny… usually with make-up and lighting and so forth, people look better on TV than they do in real life. Gravel, however, looks about 10-20 years younger and healthier in person than he does on TV. He also has a booth running now that’s about as large and professional-looking as Barr’s.

The approximate order in which I’m seeing buttons and signs is: Barr, Imperato (?), Root, Gravel, Ruwart, and Phillies. I’m not sure who’s running against Dixon for LNC, but it seems like three-quarters of the delegates are wearing Dixon stickers.

It seemed like almost all the volunteers and workers with the Barr camp are either: (1) Ron Paul activists who moved over, or (2) Stephen Gordon.

It’s really strange running into people that I only know from the blogosphere, and noting the difference between that and the real world. I’ve argued a ton with Knapp online, but met him in person and found him to be really cool guy.

I found out about an hour after I checked in that my state affiliate could have gotten my press credentials if I’d thought to ask (oh well).

Tucker Carlson to announce last-minute LP presidential candidacy?

In Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 23, 2008 at 1:58 am

A number of sites, including Reason Hit and Run, are reporting that delegates have received calls from a polling firm today, and the LP options they were offered included Tucker Carlson as a presidential candidate.

Is Tucker going to throw his hat in the ring for the LP presidential nomination?  If so, why did he wait until the convention to do so?

I have criticized Bob Barr for announcing a last-minute candidacy, and I cannot help but also wonder why Tucker would also wait until the last minute to announce, if in fact that is what he is doing.

Can he walk away with the LP presidential nomination?  Given the fighting between factions and Tucker’s name recognition, I think he could.

What do you think?

Voices from LFV Comments: Steve Perkins at the LP Convention

In Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Politics on May 23, 2008 at 12:10 am

I just finished getting credentials downstairs, and am settling into my room from the travel out here. The vendor/candidate area downstairs is just ridiculous. Barr has a huge oversized booth staffed by attractive girls collecting delegate tokens and giving out Bob Barr cowboy hats. It has video projectors, an array of buttons / stickers / signs, and Barr himself is roaming the floor flanked by two or three camera crews filming him. On the table is a list of pledged delegates that’s starting to run into multiple pages.

All the other candidates’ booths are either completely unmanned, or have one person standing there twiddling their thumbs. Granted, it’s Thursday and people are still traveling… but sheesh. I’m almost worried that the Barr presence is “too much” and might alienate people. I’m a supporter and it still gave me a weird vibe. Then again, maybe a true professional campaign DOES look a bit out of place at an LP convention.

I bumped into Root in the elevator. Came across nice, but obviously had a ton on his mind.

My “Anyone who doesn’t buy me a beer isn’t a ‘REAL Libertarian’” t-shirt has not earned me a single beer since my arrival. There’s no principle left in this Party, I suppose.