Steve G.

George Phillies: In defense of Angela Keaton, Part 3

In Corruption, Iraq War, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Protest, Republican, Torture, War on October 6, 2008 at 9:17 am

The following was written by George Phillies, and is reproduced with permission.

In a prior post, I reminded readers that the Libertarian National Committee had voted to ask Angela Keaton to resign. They then considered a motion to expel Keaton from the LNC. It is inescapable that Keaton will soon need a coherent defense against the forthcoming motion of expulsion. In this and following messages, I offer such a defense. [With thanks to Elfninosmom for some text that I am borrowing.]

In the prior post, I proposed that Keaton’s acts were far less serious than the acts of Bob Barr, who while on the LNC had through his PAC supported Republican Federal candidates. However, the LNC did not subject Barr to any penalty. When Barr was not penalized for far more serious acts, it is transparently unjust to penalize Keaton.

Of course, for this defense to be valid, there is one key question:

Did Barr’s PAC actually support real Republicans?

Search the Bob Barr Leadership Fund filings for the current Congressional cycle. A list of Republicans running for Congress as incumbents and supported by Barr’s PAC includes the names Gingrey, Ros-Lehtinen, Flake, Hayes, Hensarling, Kingston, Pryce, Rehberg, Jones, and Shays. Barr’s PAC also supported incumbent Republican Senators, including Chambliss, Specter, Coleman, Craig, Graham, Hagel, Sessions, Smith, and Sununu.

Yes, that is the same Sununu who is running against my good friend Libertarian Ken Blevens for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire.

Every one of these Republicans was elected from a state with an organized Libertarian Party. A loyal Libertarian would want every one of those Republicans to face a Libertarian Party opponent. A loyal
Libertarian would never have dreamed of supporting Republicans, all of whom would hopefully have Libertarian opponents.

In fact, while Bob Barr sat on the LNC, Barr through his PAC supported every Republican I named above, yet faced no penalty from the LNC for his acts.

One might try to argue that some of these Republicans turned out not to have Libertarian opponents. If they had no Libertarian opponents, you might try to argue that support for the Republican made no difference, because the support did not cause a Libertarian to lose.

In 2007, you couldn’t predict which Republicans would not have Libertarian opponents.

Besides, when you donate to a candidate, your money counts twice. It counts once for that candidate. It counts again for the candidate’s party. When Bob Barr through his PAC donated to Republican candidates, he was strengthening his Republican Party, at the expense of our Libertarian Party.

The LNC did not respond to Barr’s actions by imposing any penalty, so therefore it would be unjust for the LNC to impose a more serious penalty on Keaton when her deed was less severe.

Finally, you might seek to argue that those Republican Congressmen were libertarians in disguise, flying a false flag to enhance their chances of election. Such a claim is devoid of merit.

Nine of those ten Congressman opposed leaving Iraq. Nine of ten supported military kangaroo courts. Eight of the ten voted to give Federal Courts jurisdiction over the Terry Schiavo case, voted to support warrantless wiretaps on your telephone, and voted to pervert the Constitution to install a ban on burning the flag. Torture is supported by a majority of these Congressmen.

These Congressmen were in no sense Libertarians. See Appendix B for more detail.

Every Senator I list as being supported by the Barr PAC voted to allow warrantless wiretaps and monitors of virtually every form of communication in America. Every Senator listed voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act. Every Senator listed voted for a Constitutional Amendment to ban flag burning. Eight of the nine voted to fund the war. Seven of nine voted against an antiwar withdrawal motion. Six of nine voted to advance a constitutional amendment blocking gay marriage.

These Senators were in no sense Libertarians. See Appendix C for more detail.

However, the LNC did not take punitive action in Barr’s case, so therefore it would be unjust for the LNC to take punitive action in Keaton’s less serious case.

APPENDIX A. Here, name by name, are the Congressmen Barr supported and a table showing their individual votes on some critical issues

Flake 1 2 3 4
Gingrey 1 2 3 4 5 6
Hayes 2 3 4 5 6
Hensarling 1 2 3 4 5 6
Jones 5 6
Kingston 1 2 3 4 5 6
Pryce 1 2 3 5 6
Rehberg 1 2 3 4 5 6
Ros-Lehtinen 1 2 3 5 6
Shays 1 2 3

(1) Vote 836: S 1927: The bill gives U.S. spy agencies expanded power to eavesdrop on foreign suspects without a court order. Civil liberties and privacy advocates argue the bill jeopardizes the Fourth Amendment privacy rights and allows for the warrantless monitoring of virtually any form of communication originating in the United States.

(2) 7/12/07 Vote 624: H R 2956: This bill would require the president to begin reducing the number of U.S. troops serving in Iraq 120 days after its enactment and would require most troops to be withdrawn by April 1, 2008.

(3) 9/29/06 Vote 508: S 3930: Military Commissions Act

(4) 12/14/05 Vote 630: H R 2863: Supported a ban on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees held by U.S. forces

(5) 6/22/05 Vote 296: H J RES 10: This vote approved the proposal of a Constitutional amendment to ban the desecration of the American flag.

(6) 3/21/05 Vote 90: S 686: Gave federal courts jurisdiction in the Terri Schiavo dispute.

APPENDIX B: Here are Senators the Barr PAC supported with a table showing individual votes.

Chambliss 1 2 3 4 5 6
Coleman 1 3 4 5 6
Craig 1 2 3 4 5 6
Graham 1 2 3 4 5 6
Hagel 1 2 4 6
Sessions 1 2 3 4 5 6
Smith 1 2 4 5 6
Specter 1 2 3 4 6
Sununu 1 2 3 4 6

(1) Vote 309: S 1927: This amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 passed 60-28 on August 3. Civil liberties and privacy advocates argue the bill jeopardizes the Fourth Amendment privacy rights and allows for the warrantless monitoring of virtually any form of communication originating in the United States.

(2) 5/24/07 Vote 181: On the Motion: Fund the war. This $120 billion dollar package was passed in the Senate by an 80-14 vote on May 24.

(3) 3/29/07 Vote 126: H R 1591: This $122 billion war spending bill calls for combat troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq this summer.

(4) 6/27/06 Vote 189: S J RES 12: This vote would have given Senate approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that would give Congress the authority to ban “desecration of the American flag”.

(5) 6/7/06 Vote 163: On the Cloture Motion: A Senate cloture vote on the gay marriage amendment failed, effectively killing the amendment.

(6) 3/2/06 Vote 29: H R 3199: Reauthorized a slightly modified version of the 2001 USA Patriot Act.

  1. The title of this should be:
    “2008 Loser Complains about Winner Again and Regurgitates.”

    Early reviews:
    The post disappoints. Angela Keaton’s name must have been invoked to increase ratings because people enjoy reading about Angela Keaton. But there’s nothing new in here (that’s a rhetorical statement or whatever, for all you nit-pickers). Readers already knew the Loser doesn’t like the Winner’s past voting record and contribution practices.

  2. How about “Sheeple losers nominate & apologize for candidate who makes many libertarians vomit”?

  3. Is the LP ever going to grow up?

  4. First, there is no reason why Angela Keaton should be removed from the LNC.

    However, it is asinine to claim that since one person got away with some stuff, then some other person should get away clean after doing some other, completely unrelated stuff.

    It’s like being pissed that your sister didn’t get caught sneaking out last week, but you got grounded for punching your brother in the arm. Should your sister also be grounded? Sure. But that is not a defense for punching your brother in the arm.

    George is just finding ways to continually bring up his grievances with Barr. That’s fine. However, I like George better when he sticks to logic and facts, which he usually does. This case … not so much.

  5. Chris, I think you might have it backwards.

    I don’t think George is stating that since Barr got away with stuff that Angela should too. I also don’t think he’s stating that since Angela did wrong that Barr should get nailed too. (George, correct me if I’m wrong here.)

    In either of those cases, the actions are inconsistent.

    If they are going to go after Angela, then they need to go after Barr for his admittedly more egregious actions. If they are not going to go after Barr for his greater actions, then they shouild not go after Angela for lesser ones.

    The issue is the double standard, inconsistency, and hypocrisy.

  6. I understand the inconsistency, and agree. However, it is NOT a very good defense for Angela. George’s title is: “In Defense of Angela Keaton,” not “The Inconsistency of the LNC.” Even “Why Bob Barr and the LNC are jackasses” would be better, and would be a title that fits the only real point George is trying to make within the text.

  7. I’d go with “Why Bob Barr and the LNC Are Jackasses”. This piece has nothing to do with a defense for Angela Keaton. I’m not so sure she even needs a defense. That would mean she did something wrong.

  8. Of course Angela needs a defense. She is under immediate threat of being expelled form the Libertarian National Committee.

    My position is that once there is a set precedent as to how LNC members are treated, relating severity of offense to severity of penalty, it is wrong to wander away and randomly inflict a much more severe penalty at a later date.

    In fact, there is a stated, well-defined reason endorsed by the LNC as to why Angela should be expelled from the LNC.

  9. re 7 I suppose that if one is charged with a crime but considers oneself innocent that, according to your reasoning, one would not need a lawyer. Unfortunately, if one followed that reasoning, the result could be tragic.

  10. There seems to be some confusion over whether the LNC is concerned with seeing justice done with regards to its own rules and internal party politics.

    By expelling Angela from the LNC, the LNC might be inflicting more damage upon itself than upon Angela. At this point, I’m not sure why Angela would even wish to be associated with the LNC.

    Now, if I was charged with a crime and the punishment for said crime was to be exempted from the jurisdiction of the court deciding the case, why would I need a lawyer? Hell, why even bother to show up at the court?

  11. It might also be a good idea to re-name the LNC. Maybe something like The Grand Circle Jerk Of Pomposity & Importance?

  12. By expelling Angela from the LNC…

    Hasn’t happened.

    Isn’t happening.

    Almost certainly won’t happen.

    George is just trying to capitalize on Angela’s popularity by ‘defending’ her long after (1) it would do any good, or (2) is an issue at all.

    She is under immediate threat of being expelled form the Libertarian National Committee.

    Provide evidence or please stop yammering about it – or, rather, yammering about Barr with the flimsy pretext that you’re yammering ‘in defense of’ Keaton.

  13. @Susan Supposedly she had 10 days to apologize, or else. She reportedly didn’t. So I don’t think it’s outlandish to expect some action against her to be on the agenda for the next LNC meeting.

  14. Susan:

    Apparently you are unaware of the LNC actions on this topic at the last LNC meeting. I quote from records that were forwarded to me of that meeting:

    Bob Sullentrup moved that the LNC suspend the membership on the LNC of Angela Keaton for breaching confidentiality in executive session. Pat Dixon moved to amend with the phrase ‘as denoted in Article 8 Section 5 of Bylaws’. The amendment was adopted. [GP: “Suspend” is a term of art in the LNC Bylaws referring to the process whereby which an LNC member is expelled from the Committee.]

    Aaron Starr moved to make this matter a mail ballot. There was no second.

    Aaron Starr moved to append ‘in the event she does not apologize with 10 days and commit to never repeating the offense again’. At this point, we amended the agenda to remove Jim Lark’s goals item from the agenda and move Rachel’s to the email list. When Aaron’s amendment passed, the main motion read:

    The LNC shall suspend the membership on the LNC of Angela Keaton for breaching confidentiality in executive session as denoted in Article 8 Section 5 of Bylaws, in the event she does not apologize with 10 days and commit to never repeating the offense again. [Editor: “suspend” is how the LNC expels an At-Large Member from the LNC. See LNC Bylaws, below.]

    At some point the Chair returned to the room after a brief absence and reported Shane Cory had sent a text message noting the Barr campaign did not want Keaton removed from the LNC.

    After some discussion that Mary Ruwart and perhaps others would talk to Angela to get her to understand her breach and how it affected LNC business, the body withdrew the motion, pending Mary’s report on her conversation. There was no objection.”

    The core word there is “pending”. When something is withdrawn, pending something else, it comes back.

    Of course, Angela his the misfortune to hope to expect the support of the libertarian radical faction, an expectation which is unlikely to be met.

    As for the rest of your whining, don’t worry, I will soon be moving to further examples of people whose acts are worse than Keaton’s.

  15. Of course, Angela his the misfortune to hope to expect the support of the libertarian radical faction, an expectation which is unlikely to be met.

    Oh, please. Quit with the histrionics already.

    Angela has plenty of support among radicals. If you haven’t noticed, Angela is not *asking* for support or rescue or defense.

    But don’t let me interrupt your fun. I refuse to play tug-of-war over the name of someone I consider a friend and ally, just so I can argue I’m more ‘on her side’ than you are. What-the-fuck-EVER.

    I will soon be moving to further examples of people whose acts are worse than Keaton’s.

    I can beleive it. That’s sure a good way for a presidential candidate (in your mind, at least) to spend the three weeks before the election.

  16. Susan,

    Among the radicals that mattered, the radicals on the LNC, Angela got *no* support. There was not a single vote opposing the motion asking her to withdraw from the LNC.

    I have been doing things to advance New Hampshire Libertarianism. I spent yesterday morning At a New Hampshire High School, doing an appearance. I spent yesterday evening writing and sending a memo to the cognizant New Hampshire state officials, exposing the many transparently false claims advanced in the LNC’s lawsuit. And I sent a press release on the matter to the New Hampshire press.

    I got back several interviews.



  17. Among the radicals that mattered, the radicals on the LNC, Angela got *no* support.

    That’s funny. The only radicals whose support ‘matters’ are those on the LNC? Does the same hold true for non-radicals? Are you suggesting your support for Angela doesn’t ‘matter’?

    Don’t sell yourself short, George. Lots of people think your opinions and actions matter.

  18. Susan, in the case at hand (tossing Angela) George is totally right, the only “radicals that matter” are the ones on the LNC, because only the votes on the LNC will determine whether she stays on it…

    I was TOTALLY disgusted with the behavior of the alleged “radicals” other than Angela on the LNC – the removal vote should NOT have been passed, or at least not without a BUNCH of dissenting votes.

    Angela also shouldn’t need to ASK for support from the “Radicals”, especially on such a fundamentally unfair issue – under the same situation, I’d try to hold down my dinner and support STARR if he had committed the offense that Angela had…

    But then I guess I’m just principled, not a “Radical”


  19. I was TOTALLY disgusted with the behavior of the alleged “radicals” other than Angela on the LNC – the removal vote should NOT have been passed, or at least not without a BUNCH of dissenting votes.

    This was not an exercise in high school us-versus-them-ism. The issue was not at all ideological, it was procedural. Not having been there, and really not having read any really coherent explanation of the proceedings, I’m not willing to say what the right thing was in the situation.

    But I do think it’s childish to expect ideological allies within an organization to support a comrade on a procedural question just because they -are- ideological allies. Let’s leave that sort of behavior back in high school.

    In other words, this thing should be considered on its merits as a procedural and organizational issue, not as a football between ideological cadres within the Party. Our ‘footballs’ as ideologues should be *actual issues* – whether the Party should call for an absolute end to interventionism, for instance, which would include a call to end government-imposed economic sanctions.

    And frankly I suspect this whole kerfuffle is a non-issue at this point. The assembly made its point – that information in closed sessions should not be made public; and Angela made hers – that there are way too many closed sessions with way too feeble an excuse. Angela’s moved on. The LNC has moved on. Perhaps we should move on?

  20. Susan, I think the “let’s move on” comment is either very prophetic or very premature. We’ll know in about 9 weeks.

    Since Angela has clearly said she isn’t apologizing, whether the motion is pending or not remains to be seen.

    The issue may likely come to a head at the next meeting, weekend of Dec 7 in San Deigo. I encourage all her supporters, and all the Radicalz in the LP, ESPECIALLY those of us in SoCal, to attend. With video cameras and mobile communication devices. Tar and feathers optional.

  21. Warning: this post addresses structural weaknesses within the LP, and is very long and detailed…

    “Of course, Angela his the misfortune to hope to expect the support of the libertarian radical faction, an expectation which is unlikely to be met.”

    Let’s add another perspective here:

    “If Keaton had supported those who were previously the victim of unjust persecution by incompetent employees of the LP, she would have the misfortune of hoping to expect the support of the libertarian radical faction.”

    My name and reputation and the names and reputations of several libertarian party activists is currently being dragged through the mud by Sean Haugh (for the benefit of Scott Kohlhaas). Several weeks ago, Keaton defended Haugh on LFV, and refused to support her friends and allies against these insane and unending personal attacks (basically asking that they just shut up and accept injustice). Essentially, she said all of our reputations were not worth defending, even though they were being attacked by one of the most shiftless, lazy, ineffective, venemous and worthless people that the LP has ever employed (Sean Haugh).

    She refused to “hang together” with all of us, now she faces the possibility of “hanging separately”.

    No big loss either way. The Libertarian Party is its own worst enemy. When they aren’t fighting amongst themselves and stabbing their friends in the back for no valid reason, they sit idle, too paralyzed with irrational fears to do anything productive.

    The Federal Reserve continues to manipulate the entire enslaved production of the USA. Their hegemony reigns supreme, while the few people educated in philosophy and economics enough to oppose them bicker among themselves like cranky grade-schoolers. We could be in ever bar in America, in every town hall, in every public setting where decisions are made. If we only set aside our differences, and decided that we were never going to miss another city council meeting, and all voiced our unambiguous opposition to the injustice that goes on there. I f we only took the time we spent fighting amongst ourselves and attended city council meetings, and began actively fighting the injustice we encounter there…

    The LP could be a huge force in politics, and instead LP donors are paying idiots like Sean Haugh to run the longtime activists out of the Party. It’s no wonder to those activists on the street that we are on the ballot in only 45 States in 2008, and no DC.

    The Libertarian Party could be a dominant force in American politics, but they have to learn how to use reason and logic, and they have to grow a set of balls and stand up for what’s right (This is something that Redpath was very good at in 2004. He is good at conflict resolution, but he was way too far from the center of the action in 2008. The solution is to have do-nothings in the LP who don’t want the LP on the ballot agree to fund ballot access anyway, and to allow Redpath or someone of his caliber to administer it.)

    Libertarians need to learn to stop initiating force against each other, and they need to always conduct themselves professionally and competently (It’s my best guess that Keaton thinks the LP is a joke and treats it like one. Her behavior looks to me like it was probably an innocent yet unprofessional time-waster. Yet when the LP execs take out the big guns to punish her, they look stupid, because it looks really petty. Moreover, it divides the LP further when it has enough reasons to be divided already.)

    George Phillies at least has balls. He at least looks at what is morally right before he makes a decision. I don’t agree with everything he’s done. I don’t agree with all of his political views. But he is on topic here, in pointing out the obvious: that expelling someone from the LNC for minor behavioral infractions is power-grubbing behavior that doesn’t belong on the LNC. It certainly doesn’t belong on the LNC if there is a lot of doubt about its justice or divisiveness.

    I don’t agree that Phillies should be on the ballot simultaneously with Barr. I believe that is the injustice of NH’s law. (But I am not all that well-informed of the nuances of Phillies views on the situation. Perhaps he wanted to have himself removed from the ballot, so the LP could run Barr as our chosen candidate. Any encounters with the insane “bull in a china shop” mentalities of Sean Haugh, Cory, Verney, or Kohlhaas could have reasonably soured him on working with any of them. As reasonably could any of their initiations of force –legal action or physical threats– against him.)

    …But in spite of any disagreements I have with Phillies, he is willing to stand up and be counted when he sees a political ally getting railroaded.

    This is a hell of a lot more than what Angela Keaton herself has done as her friends in the petitioning world were viciously attacked (in an attempt by Sean Haugh to protect Scott Kohlhaas’s reputation from the truth). She casually sided with Sean Haugh, without knowing any of the facts, because she “likes and respects Sean Haugh”.

    This is a lot like watching a man steal candy from a baby, and then push the carriage into the street, and then say to the mother “You should calm down lady, I have a lot of respect for this guy. He usually does a great job at the daycare where he works.”

    Angela Keaton may not be worthy of our respect, but even people not worthy of our respect are sometimes worthy of our defense. (I may not respect a common theif, but I also might believe that he deserves a defense against someone trying to mete the death sentence on him.)

    BTW: For anyone unfamiliar with the NE 2006 “truth” that Scott Kohlhaas’s reputation needs to be protected from, it is online here: (on page 14, the LNC pays off the petitioners who were defrauded by Scott Kohlhaas roughly one year earlier. Scott Kohlhaas was employed by Sean Haugh and the LP Exec Committee during the 2008 petition drive. He thusly was put into a position of power that APPARENTLY vindicated him of wrongdoing, and allowed him a position superior to those libertarian activists he defrauded in 2006. …Imagine all of a sudden that your paychecks for several weeks of work were suddenly delayed by one year to get an idea of the impact this had on these libertarian activists.)

    As long as the LP hires people who engage in fraud with no repercussions, they are not “libertarian”, and have no rightful claim to the title.

    The defining characteristics of libertarianism or of a libertarian government prohibit “force and fraud”. Why do we not hold ourselves to the same standard we hold mainslime politicians? Why kid ourselves that we would be better representatives than they are, if we cannot do that?

    The LP needs to learn that its representatives SHOULD give clear, written reasons for not hiring certain petitioners, when those petitioners have been hired many times in the past. It also needs to maintain clear guidelines of required minimum standards of acceptable behavior from their petitioners. This is especially true if the LP benefits from the hiring of those petitioners on a cyclical basis every couple of years. Otherwise their lackluster attitude towards the accountability of their employees means that the LP WILL regularly
    1) engage in counterproductive bahavior, such as slandering its most productive allies
    2) will violate the trust of those contract employees
    3) will operate in an inefficient manner, wasting donor resources (I have witnessed massive waste of donor resources from Sean Haugh, Shane Cory, Russell Verney, and Scott Kohlhaas on the 2008 petition drive.)

    To tie this all together:

    Like Phillies or not, he states clearly where he stands and why, and doesn’t go around stabbing people in the back like Scott Kohlhaas, Sean Haugh, Shane Cory, and Russell Verney do. We need more people in the LP like him, and fewer people like Eric Dondero, Sean Haugh, Russell Verney, Scott Kohlhaas, and Shane Cory for whom honesty and integrity mean absolutely nothing.

    It would be a mistake to throw out the entire “reform caucus” with those bad apples.

    I believe that Aaron Starr and Bill Redpath honestly want the LP to succeed, and I also believe that they also have a lot of fairly good political ideas.

    The key is discussing differences unemotionally and logically, and taking positive action via the vote. When any side loses respect for the other, it is a time-waster and minimizes productivity.

    Sean Haugh should be expelled from the LP as anything other than an independent contractor, as should anyone who has many instances of misconduct on their official record. All instances of misconduct should be recorded and clearly documented, and should contain statements to the contrary.

    “Losing one’s cool” is not a valid excuse for ordering signatures collected by a longtime libertarian activist burned without valid reason.

    Neither is “losing one’s cool” a valid reason to directly and specifically cuss out a fellow libertarian with a profane personal attack (which Haugh has also done on numerous occasions, and via email). This would be a less serious offense than the above, were it not for the fact that Haugh has often gotten upset with other people for using profanity (even when it was not used as a personal attack, but simply in general).

    “Losing one’s cool.” or even “receiving an order to do so from Scott Kohlhaas” is not a valid reason for banning people from employment on libertarian petition drives, when those people have stellar records of service to the Libertarian Party. (Unless we’re essentially sending the message: Libertarians should expect to be betrayed by the LP, even if they have cyclically worked for the LP for years, and always done high-quality work.)

    The prior three examples indicate structural weakness in the LP that needs to be repaired, if the LP is to be “libertarian” and not simply “mainstream political party #3”.

  22. […] you were laboring under the assumption that the scheme to remove Libertarian National Committee At-Large Representative Angela Keaton from […]

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