Steve G.

LNC = Lawless Narcissism Chamber

In Libertarian Party-US on September 7, 2008 at 11:19 pm

What more can be said?

They ejected a member of the body FROM the proceedings of the body.  There are no provisions that allow this.

They then conducted a secret vote on the status of that member of the body, apparently without allowing that member to actually cast a vote.

None of the so-called “leaders” in the room introduced a resolution to table this insane purge of a popular and well-supported member of the LNC and focus on the important business at hand.

As a result, 80%+ of the real business time was spent on a small clique’s agenda to isolate and exclude a duly-elected member of the committee.

No comment or action taken on the LNC’s financial situation.

No comment or action taken on any number of ballot access lawsuits threatening the status of state parties around the country.

No comment or action taken on the election.

No comment or action taken on the nationalization of Fannie and Freddie, and the $2.8 trillion in “guarantees” the feds added to our already staggering national debt.

Oh, some throwaway resolution about Afghanistan, issued three to five years late.

The LNC is a fool’s chamber.  In its current incarnation it serves no purpose.  It has no function, impedes the growth of liberty, and cannot adhere to basic principles of openness, accountability, or even its own bylaws for basic administration of a democratic body that is supposed to represent its constituents (who pay, lest we forget, to be members).

It is useless.  Stop sending it money and let it go out of business.  That will only aid the candidacies of folks like Dr. Munger who are actually doing exciting things, and it will eliminate most of the angst and roadblocks that make running for office as a Libertarian a difficult proposition internally.

Hopefully, the marketplace of ideas will provide something more useful and dynamic in its place.

  1. 100% agreement on all points.

  2. “None of the so-called “leaders” in the room introduced a resolution to table this insane purge of a popular and well-supported member of the LNC and focus on the important business at hand.

    As a result, 80%+ of the real business time was spent on a small clique’s agenda to isolate and exclude a duly-elected member of the committee.

    No comment or action taken on the LNC’s financial situation.

    No comment or action taken on any number of ballot access lawsuits threatening the status of state parties around the country.

    No comment or action taken on the election.

    No comment or action taken on the nationalization of Fannie and Freddie, and the $2.8 trillion in “guarantees” the feds added to our already staggering national debt.”

    OK. This pisses me off. What are they thinking?? No wonder the LP is in the toilet.

    And all because one of the officers was rejected romantically by the ejectee. Sheesh.

    No wonder no one takes us seriously.

    Check out Ron Pauls Campaign for Liberty. they seem to be doing some effective work.

    And there are a lot more of them so if there is an infighting, there’s a lot of fodder to take up the slack.

  3. “12. Upon appeal by ten percent of the delegates credentialed at the most recent Regular Convention or one percent of the Party sustaining members the Judicial Committee shall consider the question of whether or not a decision of the National Committee contravenes specified sections of the Bylaws. If the decision is vetoed by the Judicial Committee, it shall be declared null and void. The National Committee shall use roll call voting on all substantive motions. Additionally, the National committee must have a roll call vote upon request of any single Committee member present on any motion. On all roll call votes, the vote of each individual Committee member shall be recorded in the minutes.”

    Here is the Bylaws section that matters. You need about 80 delegates or about 140 sustaining members to petition the Judicial Committee.

    The list of LNC decisions to be appealed is a bit long, and failing to record in the minutes the vote asking Angela to resign looks like it may become the first one. Someone else gets to generate the list.

  4. Did the LNC get around to hiring an executive director?

    Or picking a 2010 convention site?

  5. I believe the convention site was picked (or at least bandied around).

    No word on an ED.

  6. I’m confused by this whole thread…

    Neither the author of the post nor any of the commenters up until me attended the meeting. Let me respond point by point to correct the factual inaccuracies.

    They ejected a member of the body FROM the proceedings of the body. There are no provisions that allow this.

    They did eject a member of the body from proceedings of the body. A provision of RRONR was quoted to justify it, which is incorporated by reference through our bylaws adopting RRONR.

    To be clear, I thought ejecting Angela was a horrible course of action, but I disagree with the assertion that there were no provisions for it.

    They then conducted a secret vote on the status of that member of the body, apparently without allowing that member to actually cast a vote.

    There was no secret vote. The vote was conducted in open session. I witnessed it along with 5-10 other LP members in the gallery.

    I agree with you though that even assuming it was appropriate to eject Angela during the discussion, she should have been called back into the room for the vote itself. However, if she had been present it would have been appropriate for her to abstain anyway.

    None of the so-called “leaders” in the room introduced a resolution to table this insane purge of a popular and well-supported member of the LNC and focus on the important business at hand.

    That isn’t true either. There was a motion considered to postpone consideration to the email discuss list — admittedly my recollection may be incorrect. Let me explain why I am a bit hazy.

    It’s difficult to pin this down exactly because there were numerous Angela-related motions considered through the course of the meeting. During their consideration, numerous procedural motions were considered to dispose of the substantive motions. This included many amendments, substitute motions, motions to postpone, motions to withdrawal, etc.

    It is hard to judge motives and thoughts as a mere observer, but I got the impression that several LNC members were trying to move on. Ultimately an even more severe motion under consideration was abandoned because it was clear that too many people opposed it for passage.

    As a result, 80%+ of the real business time was spent on a small clique’s agenda to isolate and exclude a duly-elected member of the committee.

    I agree an absurd amount of time was wasted on this. 80% is an overestimate.

    Between 1/3 and 1/2 of the meeting was consumed by executive session. I’m not in a position to evaluate how much of that time focused on Angela and how much focused on other issues, such as pending lawsuits.

    Of the new business probably around 1/2 related to Angela. But the officer and staff reports were less Angela-centric, which drag down the total meeting Angela-percentage.

    I think you could accurately estimate 1/4 to 1/3 of the meeting was related to Angela executive session, discussions, and motions.

    No comment or action taken on the LNC’s financial situation.

    That isn’t true. There was a treasurer report during which LNC members got up to speed on the LNC’s financial position. (This was before I arrived at the meeting.)

    No comment or action taken on any number of ballot access lawsuits threatening the status of state parties around the country.

    That isn’t true. The meeting contained a report from LP staff member Sean Haugh on ballot access. I wasn’t present for the chair’s report, but based on past experience with Bill Redpath I would be very surprised if ballot access wasn’t discussed then too.

    Additionally at least one (and probably several… I don’t recall exactly) executive session declarations indicated that the topics would concern lawsuits related to ballot access.

    No comment or action taken on the election.

    That isn’t true. VP candidate Wayne Root spoke to the LNC about the election. Arguably ballot access discussion related to the election. The released executive session summary from Angela that much of the fuss is about implies they spoke about the Barr campaign during executive session. And there were short discussions of the Barr campaign’s branding in open session. M Carling gave a report on the Barr campaign as a Barr liason to the LNC. Sean Haugh spoke during his report about candidates.

    No comment or action taken on the nationalization of Fannie and Freddie, and the $2.8 trillion in “guarantees” the feds added to our already staggering national debt.

    The LNC took no action on this. However, Media Director Andrew Davis sent out a press release from the Barr campaign on this topic on Friday evening.

    Oh, some throwaway resolution about Afghanistan, issued three to five years late.

    Yep.

    The LNC is a fool’s chamber. In its current incarnation it serves no purpose. …

    The rest is ranting and hyperbole.

    I disagree with the approach the LNC took towards Angela and I would like to see more openness. But I see no foundation for the assertion that the LNC serves no purpose.

    The LNC is responsible for overseeing the business of the Party. In that capacity it approves budgets, plans long term strategy for things like ballot access, schedules national conventions, and appoints convention committees. This LNC meeting included discussions of all those things.

  7. The list of LNC decisions to be appealed is a bit long, and failing to record in the minutes the vote asking Angela to resign looks like it may become the first one. Someone else gets to generate the list.

    I find it difficult to believe that you already have a copy of the minutes. Secretary Bob Sullentrup is very fast releasing the minutes, but usually even the LNC doesn’t get them until the day afterward.

    Given that the vote was conducted in open session and Bob seemed to by typing away, I would be flabbergasted if the vote is not recorded in the minutes.

  8. Word is that the vote was anonymous, except that Hawkridge, Wrights and Redpath abstained. Is this correct?

  9. I’m not sure what the vote was. My recollection is no one voted against and a few people abstained. I don’t want to speculate on who the abstentions were.

  10. … that will only aid the candidacies of folks like Dr. Munger who are actually doing exciting things, and it will eliminate most of the angst and roadblocks that make running for office as a Libertarian a difficult proposition internally.

    As someone who’s spent the better part of today (and a decent chunk of yesterday actually working on the Munger campaign, I don’t see the LNC as a ‘roadblock’ to that campaign. Had it not been for the LNC (and people’s contributions to it), Munger would in all likelihood be completely shut off the NC ballot.

    Are there problems with the LNC? Sure. But let’s not cut our nose off to spite our face, or throw the baby out with the bathwater, or engage in any other horrible cliche-ish behavior.

    I understand the frustration, but this reminds me of the ‘love it or leave it’ arguments of people who want to stifle real change in the US. I love it and *they* can leave it – and the same goes for the people who are being counterproductive in the LP.

  11. “…The LNC is a fool’s chamber. In its current incarnation it serves no purpose. It has no function, impedes the growth of liberty, and cannot adhere to basic principles of openness, accountability, or even its own bylaws for basic administration of a democratic body that is supposed to represent its constituents (who pay, lest we forget, to be members)…”

    And the LNC was different, when?

    There never has been an effective LNC. Never.

  12. This is so entertaining I can barely contain myself. I bet the tension in the room was pretty thick (especially with Ruwart and Wrights in the room at the same time….) Longing hearts beating faster…..sweaty palms wringing……..trying to focus on the issue of kicking out Angela Keaton…….trying not to look at each other…….the whole meeting was like a 2 day soap opera episode. Sell some advertising space for the next meeting—the drama will make some money for the party!!

  13. Why don’t we just get organized for the 2010 convention, ensure we are all on the same page, ensure we have a majority and then vote out of the office the persons who are spending too much time on infighting and not enough on constructive business.

    It’s not like they have long terms or something. Everyone is up for re-election at each convention.

    If some people don’t have travel funds, let’s take up a collection. I’m willing to donate.

    If a lot of people want cheap housing and food, we can organize that, too.

    Let’s come up with a slate of grey-beard or otherwise well-loved candidates and make sure we are all on the same page come July 2010.

    Let me know how I can help.

  14. […] …was ejected from a Libertarian National Committee (of which she is a member) meeting for livebogging the […]

  15. Neither the author of the post nor any of the commenters up until me attended the meeting.

    Using this standard, the Libertarian National Committee may not comment legitimately on any action of Congress unless an LNC representative is sitting in the gallery.

    It’s a red herring.

    They did eject a member of the body from proceedings of the body. A provision of RRONR was quoted to justify it, which is incorporated by reference through our bylaws adopting RRONR.

    Roberts’ Rules does not provide for the unilateral ejection of a member of the body by the executive.

    I’m surprised that a former vice chair and member of numerous state committees is not aware of this.

    As a finalist in the Northeastern Parliamentary Debate Society for several years in the mid and late 1990s, and a semifinalist in the world competition, I am quite familiar with Roberts’ Rules.

    The entire theory of parliamentary procedure is based upon the power of executives/chairs growing from the body (or in Britain, from the crown, which delegates its authority to the body). The executives may not unilaterally exclude a duly elected and seated member of the body from a vote unless the body votes to expel that member through its organizational provisions — a 2/3 vote, in the case of the LNC.

    This is not, incidentally, the first time that a bogus citation of RR was used to manipulate the LNC into taking actions counter to its mission. Not that long ago, RR was bogusly cited by M Carling to prevent the ejection from a key committee of a member who was a senior-ranking official in the Republican Party. How the LNC could be convinced that committees it forms cannot be changed, expanded, or dissolved outright under its purview blows me away.

    RR is not a difficult book. It’s about 90 pages long. Read the damn book and get to know it.

    I find it difficult to believe that you already have a copy of the minutes. Secretary Bob Sullentrup is very fast releasing the minutes, but usually even the LNC doesn’t get them until the day afterward.

    Sullentrup is a member of the gang antagonizing and disenfranching the LNC member in question — and her constituents.

    The vote taken by the LNC to destroy all independent confirmation means that he’s the sole source of the official record on what transpired. Having an antagonist in the debate serve as the sole source of the official record is, of course, a conflict of interest.

    Sullentrup’s “record” of the incident could state that Jesus himself demanded the expulsion of Ms. Keaton for challenging the Anointed Ones, at which point a fissure in the floor opened up and demons dragged Keaton down to hell for her mortal sin.

    Doesn’t make it accurate.

    And again, no leadership was shown by the so-called “radicals” on this point either.

    I understand the frustration, but this reminds me of the ‘love it or leave it’ arguments of people who want to stifle real change in the US. I love it and *they* can leave it

    Susan, your Radical Caucus demonstrated an exceptional failure of leadership here, starting with Mary Ruwart — who apparently lacked the spine to:

    1) Introduce a resolution ending this ridiculousness;

    2) Challenge the assertion that Roberts’ Rules allows for the executive to unilaterally expel any member of the committee that he desires;

    3) Vote “no” on the resolution in question.

    Further, the LNC doesn’t care about you (or me). They deprived me, as a member, of my at-large representation.

    They spent all their time on their petty personal crusade.

    And your Radical Caucus enabled the steamrolling of the only committee member who consistently fought for your interests.

    Lots of radicals are as pissed off as the centrists.

    Your power, ability to influence the process, and most importantly, credibility, are all in tatters. The lesson that people are getting, loud and clear, is that radicals on the LNC won’t stand up to defend or fight for the people who fight for them.

    It’s astounding to me that two members of the LNC claimed to have the leadership skills to run for president and lead the USA as its chief executive, yet folded like cheap suits under the high-school assembly politics of a beancounter from California, a socially inept computer programmer from Missouri, and a chair who needed an independent parliamentarian to audit his performance to keep from folding at the national convention.

    The LNC doesn’t speak for me, and it doesn’t represent me. A lot of other Libertarians — radical, centrist and reform alike — are coming to the same conclusion.

  16. Chuck Moulton wrote:
    “I’m not sure what the vote was. My recollection is no one voted against and a few people abstained. I don’t want to speculate on who the abstentions were.”

    I guess we will just have to take your word on it, since any electronic recordings will be destroyed. I have seen the difference between published minutes and the actual discussion. I’ll trust the real time recordings.

    If you don’t want openness you will just have to suffer conjecture with hyperbole.

    “Executive sessions” and ex parte agreements among subsets of the LNC are overused and unnecessary. The only excuse I have ever heard is that “we don’t want the Dems and Reps to know our secrets”

    This is insane for a supposedly libertarian organization.

  17. Chuck Moulton makes me proud to be a Libertarian. I wish there were more — heck, any — members on the LNC like him.

  18. “Executive sessions” and ex parte agreements among subsets of the LNC are overused and unnecessary. The only excuse I have ever heard is that “we don’t want the Dems and Reps to know our secrets”

    This is insane for a supposedly libertarian organization.

    It’s also very, very amusing, because it presumes that the Democrats and Republicans actually care about what the LNC deliberates on.

  19. The entire theory of parliamentary procedure is based upon the power of executives/chairs growing from the body (or in Britain, from the crown, which delegates its authority to the body). The executives may not unilaterally exclude a duly elected and seated member of the body from a vote unless the body votes to expel that member through its organizational provisions — a 2/3 vote, in the case of the LNC.

    That’s another ridiculous and untrue assumption being spread. Angela was not unilaterally removed from the room by the chair. There was a vote of the LNC on the matter, which indeed had more than 2/3.

    Again, I think the way Angela was dealt with was unwise and reflected very poorly on the LNC. But I don’t understand why people feel the need to make things up when the facts are damning enough.

  20. Things must really be in turmoil when a thirty year LP activist such as Ms. O’Brien starts recommending libertarians go work with Ron Paul’s new Campaign for Liberty. One will, of course, probably find the usual ineptitude there (like there was no plan at all to gather the RP delegates to the GOP convention and have them do anything as a bloc. As a consequence, only a few RP votes were recorded. How many millions of $$ and thousands of hours of petitioning sweat were allowed to expire worthless?)

  21. Well Chuck, I have heard differently — in fact, my understanding is that there was no vote until after Ms. Keaton was ejected from the room — and that she was not permitted to vote on her ejection.

    If 2/3 of the LNC did vote to remove her, well, that just underscores even further how useless to the cause of liberty the entire organization is.

    Who wants “allies” like that?

    I don’t.

  22. Things must really be in turmoil when a thirty year LP activist such as Ms. O’Brien starts recommending libertarians go work with Ron Paul’s new Campaign for Liberty.

    Libertarians should work on individual issues, not get tied up with bureaucratic groups. We should work in coalition with others who agree on us on those individual issues, rather than declare loyalty to an organization (or individuals). Eventually, the bureaucratic rot and high school politics sits in, and we get to see the spectacle of twenty-somethings lecturing 60-somethings on the ways of the world.😉

    The whole thing is dead, people just don’t realize it yet.

  23. If the LP is dead then what do you propose as a constructive way forward, _exactly_?

    And should candidates now run as Republicrats? Independents? Not at all?

    Speaking as a 30-something, we youngins do occasionally have something to add to the wisdom of the 60-somethings.🙂

  24. I don’t think he said the LP is dead, but he thinks it can function better without a national committee.

    I disagree.

  25. Well Chuck, I have heard differently — in fact, my understanding is that there was no vote until after Ms. Keaton was ejected from the room — and that she was not permitted to vote on her ejection.

    There were votes dealing with Angela after she was removed from the room and she was not permitted to participate in those votes. But they did not vote to remove her from the room with her not there — the vote to remove Angela from the room was done in her presence.

    They voted to ask her to resign with her not there and on several other things: a long line of amendments and procedural votes which ultimately resulted in no actual action but an informal consensus on how to proceed. That informal consensus seemed to be to have Mary Ruwart talk to Angela about respecting executive session in the future and to take further (undecided) action at the next meeting or by email if that talk doesn’t yield the results they wanted.

  26. Why would they trust Ruwart (who can’t be trusted in her personal life) do their dirty work for them? It’s like mama spanking the baby. They need to get over it.
    Angela–be very careful of trusting the duo of Wrights and Ruwart—take it from someone who knows that better than anyone.

  27. I’ve seen state and local efforts which are floundering in many areas.

    Only the basic organizational activities of the LNC/HQ keep the party alive at all in those areas.

    Even that is oftentimes woefully inadequate, it is better than nothing at all.

    That is like saying abolish the state parties and only have county or city parties. Or abolish the county and city parties, and only have neighborhood parties. Maybe just block parties?

    Or perhaps Brian means the HQ would continue to exist, but no committee to oversee it? That does not seem to me to be a good solution either.

    The contention has been made that state parties don’t do stuff because national already does it. Not true. With the end of UMP and dysfunction at national in the middle of this decade, state parties could have easily taken the lead; instead, many declined into actual or virtual non-existence.

  28. There were votes dealing with Angela after she was removed from the room and she was not permitted to participate in those votes. But they did not vote to remove her from the room with her not there — the vote to remove Angela from the room was done in her presence.

    Which is, as I noted, both a violation of Roberts’ Rules and the LNC bylaws.

    An individual sitting on the body cannot be “removed from the room” unless he or she is also removed from the body through a 2/3 vote. Otherwise, a majority of the body could remove a minority of the body (of any size), and then proceed with 2/3 votes leveraging a quorum.

    Basic, basic stuff. Why am I not surprised that nobody on the LNC got it? Hell, high school assemblies have more order and “decorum.”

    Unless the LNC voted to permanently suspend Ms. Keaton from the Libertarian National Committee, the LNC’s actions were improper and a violation of the bylaws.

    Not that it matters anymore. The whole thing is a joke at this point anyway. It has no legitimacy or interest in legitimacy, and all the e-mails going around from LNC members have “this is secret” and “we’re handling this internally” vibes, along with irritation that those damn paid members actually want some accountability.

    As for “can we survive without a national board?” I say, who knows and who cares. I’d hazard a guess that no national board, or a new organization that’s a grounds-up organization, would perform much better than the profound incompetence (and constant apologizing for that incompetence) that we’re witnessing today.

    It’s too late to make things relevant to the average voter, or even the average Libertarian anymore. The whole party’s purpose is to challenge the excessive role of government control freakism in our lives, but instead it’s turned into a clique of control freaks itself, with a bunch of remainders jockeying for position to be favored peons of the little boys who fancy themselves “in charge” and “power players.”

    Pathetic.

  29. Brian Miller, what makes you think that Mary is or ever has been an active member of the RC? Or that we have her ear? Ideological alignment and the caucus are entirely separate in this instance.

  30. This whole mess is a prime example of how Roberts’ Rules are Dungeons and Dragons for adults, with far less fun and even more dorkiness. Write up a simple one-page list of how the meeting is conducted and conduct the meeting.

    I used to be on the executive committee of my state and simply refused to partake in Roberts’ Rules. I was polite and didn’t obstruct, but I was firm when it came to substantive matters that I didn’t give a damn about RR. The LNC could jettison the RR, or actually get something done. Which do you think will happen?

    In the internet age, where phenomena like the Paul campaign can quickly self-organize without leadership, is there any need for RR? Or for the LNC? Or even political parties?

  31. In the internet age, where phenomena like the Paul campaign can quickly self-organize without leadership, is there any need for RR? Or for the LNC? Or even political parties?

    It seems like one of the greatest service the national LP renders is getting the presidential candidate on the ballot every 4 years, a concrete benefit of which being that in some states a certain number of votes for the presidential candidate grants the state party some special status that may allow them to save some time or money when they have to get ballot access again in the next election.

    If RP was running outside the 2-party-system I don’t think he would have a tenth of the success we saw.

    Standing up a third party – and keeping it going – appears to be a hell of a lot of hard work. A strong but not omnipotent national organization is a key part of that.

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