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.
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.
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)