Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘candidate’

The Libertarian Party’s Quest for Ballot Access and The Sin of Onan

In Activism, Candidate Endorsement, Corruption, Democracy, Democrats, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Local Politics, Politics, Republican on February 3, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Onan… spilled his seed on the earth, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

Ballot access is a major goal of the Libertarian Party, so much so that we seem to be more concerned with keeping or gaining ballot access for whatever election is next rather than with any Libertarian actually winning in whatever election is before us today. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballot_access) Ballot access seems to have become that tail that wags the dog in third-party politics. Yes, it is important to have our candidates on ballots, but doing that should not come at the cost of using our resources, time and efforts to actually get Libertarians elected to higher offices than city councils, county commissioners and Justices of the Peace.

Without actually quoting any specific messages or e-mails to me by others, I will say that when I have asked my state Party Leadership for Party help with my own election, I have been told that, rather than focusing resources on any specific race, they don’t want to show “preference” for any candidates or any particular races because “it wouldn’t be fair”. I was told that “with 193 races, we can’t play favorites”. I say that it is because of attitudes like that which have resulted in NO major or significant election wins in almost 40 years. When election results are tallied, we crow about how significant we are because Libertarian candidates got 5% of the vote here and 7% of the vote there. Getting 5% of the votes in an election is still losing that election.

The reason I used the infamous line about Onan is that what we are doing as a Party is “spilling our seed on the earth” instead of creating any actual elected officials. I have a feeling, in fact, that Libertarians have been telling each other for so long that is it so important to view the percentages of our loses as victories that I think that there will be a lot of anger, resentment and even hatred showered on the first Libertarian to actually win a notable office. In Irving Janis’ ground breaking book on ‘Groupthink’, he tells us this story:

Twelve middle-class American men and women wanted to stop smoking, and attended weekly meetings at a clinic to discuss the problem. Early in the sessions, two people stood up and declared that cigarette smoking was an almost incurable addiction. The group agreed. The, one man stood up and said “I have stopped smoking and, with a little willpower, so can the rest of you.” Immediately, the other group members began to abuse him verbally, and the meeting ended in chaos. The following week, the dissident stood up again and said that he could not both attend all of the required meetings and stop smoking; so he had returned to smoking two packs of cigarettes as day. The other members welcomed him back into the fold with enthusiasm but no one mentioned that the original purpose of the group was to help each other stop [emphasis in original] smoking. Their new aim was maintaining the status quo at any cost.

I think that, deep down in their subconscious minds, the leadership and long term activists in the Party have become so inured to losing elections that they have accepted a cognitive dissonance in which they delude themselves that they are accomplishing great things by simply showing up to the ball, as it were. Ballot access in NOT what we need to be working for; getting Libertarians elected to significant offices IS what we need to be working on. We HAVE to “fertilize some eggs” and then nurture them maturity, so to speak. If we do not and cannot accomplish that, then what the Hell good are we to America, our states and our communities?

Maybe the Libertarian Party’s candidates NEED to be spending time standing in front of the local Wal-Mart and grocery stores collecting signature to get ourselves on ballots. Maybe we need to be holding open meetings to let people who aren’t Libertarians talk to us instead of holding rallies that are only open those who already think like the rally organizers do. Maybe we need to create “Election Coordinators” to be officers on, if not paid staff of, both our state and our national executive committees? Maybe we need to start from the ground up, do the necessary work, and use the necessary resources to get electable candidates INTO office. Maybe we need some humility instead of fancy offices in Washington. We do not need to attract the rich and powerful even though doing so makes us proud of ourselves; we need to make it where everyday people can walk in off of the street and ask us who we are and what we stand for.

Onan spilled his seed on the earth because he did not WANT to make his brother’s widow pregnant with his child because it would then be his brother’s child instead of his own. The Libertarian Party is spilling its seed on the earth and, whether or not we admit that don’t really want “progeny”, that is the reality that comes with distributing our resources far and wide without there being any chance of those resources paying off for us in the end. We throw our seeds on “rocky barren places where they can find no purchase”.

The current Libertarian Party Bylaws state that:

The Party is organized to implement and give voice to the principles embodied in the Statement of Principles by:

(F)unctioning as a libertarian political entity separate and distinct from all other political parties or movements;

(M)oving public policy in a libertarian direction by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office;

(C)hartering affiliate parties throughout the United States and promoting their growth and activities;

(N)ominating candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States, and supporting Party and affiliate party candidates for political office; and,

(E)ntering into public information activities.

Notice that the bylaws say that the method authorized by the Party to move public policy is BY getting Libertarians elected to public office. Without getting Libertarians elected we, by our own words, cannot try to move public policy simply by existing as a Party. In addition, the burden of “chartering affiliate parties” falls on the organization itself, NOT upon the people. It is a requirement of our bylaws that the Party itself create (a pre-requisite for chartering, I assume) the affiliate parties. Simply hoping that people will come to US and want to form local Party affiliates is neither effective nor in line with what our bylaws say. As with an elected candidate, the burden is on us, as a Party, to earn the votes / support of the people. It is not THEIR responsibility make things easy for us. By the way, note that maintaining ballot access is NOT one of our stated purposes.

In Texas, the charter for our state Party says that the State Executive Committee will be composed of the elected state Party officers and two representatives from each of our state’s 31 Senatorial districts. That means that there should be 62 district representative members sitting on our state Executive Committee. Instead of 62, there are (according to the available information on the LP of Texas website, http://lptexas.org/content/state-leadership) only 19, with only 6 of the 32 districts being fully represented by two members. This means that only 13 out of 31 districts have ANY representation on the Executive committee at this time and that ALL of the current representatives on the LPTEC are from high population areas of the state. Not a single representative member of the LPTEC speaks for rural area or even moderate population centers.

Like the government of the State of Texas, it seems as if both the National and, at least, the Texas Parties exist simply because they have existed and they function on nothing more than their own small inertia. As one of my political heroes, Pat Paulsen, said;

Vote or get off of the pot.

I have said before that, until we get serious about ACTUALLY being a contributing part of the American political scene, until we actually manage to win some real elections we have become and will remain nothing more than a lunatic fringe wandering in the wilderness telling ourselves that we matter. So, I ask every Libertarian and libertarian who reads this to ask themselves one simple question… “Will I be content to just “spill my seed on the earth” again this year?

Rhys M. Blavier
Romayor, Texas

“Truth, Justice and Honor… but, above all, Honor”

© Copyright 2010 by Rhys M. Blavier

Thank you for reading this article. Please read my other articles and let me know what you think. I am writing them not to preach or to hear myself think but to try to create dialogs, debates and discussions on the nature of our government and how we can build upon and improve it based on what we have seen and learned over the course of the 225+ years of The American Experiment.

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HOW SERIOUS IS THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY ABOUT BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY?

In Congress, Democracy, Democrats, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Local Politics, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, US Government on November 25, 2009 at 1:53 pm

When I was 20 years old and preparing to vote in my first Presidential election, a man came to speak on the campus of Texas A&M University about his new party and his campaign for the Presidency. That man was Ed Clark, the first Libertarian candidate on the ballots of all 50 states. He spoke of a vision of government which combined fiscal responsibility with social humanism. Ed Clark made such an impact on my personal view of politics that now, 30 years later, I still call myself an Ed Clark Libertarian. Unfortunately, since then I have watched the Libertarian Party move to the far-right with no coherent message to the point where, instead of creating a viable third party in American politics, it has become seen a ‘lunatic fringe’ of the extreme far-right, religious conservative wing of the Republican Party, a neo-Republican Party, if you will. After 30 years, it has still never made a serious impact on American politics at either the national or even the state level. The fault is our own but, I personally believe that could be realistically changed… starting with the 2010 elections.

Right now, politics in America might be more volatile than it has been at any point in its history since 1860. The Republican Party faces the real possibility of splintering into two or more parties; divided by their extreme far-right Christian conservatives who view politics as a religious struggle with them battling for the glory of heaven by exerting “his will’ on Earth. Because this faction is fighting what they see as a battle for the next world, they see those who “oppose” them as inherently evil. They cannot compromise in what they see as a very real battle between “good” and “evil”. As such, they can be counted on to focus their efforts on stopping the “advance” of “ungodly” issues in America. They will even turn on their own, on other Republicans, who they see as weak in the face of their enemy… and make no mistake, they see those who do not agree with them as true enemies.

This internal conflict within the Republican Party, however, offers the Libertarian Party a very real chance to become a viable alternative party for the American voters. To do that, however, requires us to change ourselves into a viable party. Over the course of the last 30 years, the Libertarian party has moved backwards instead of forward. What was once seen as party with an interesting view of what government could be has become a perceived lunatic fringe of right-wing tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists. We, ourselves, have marginalized our Party in American politics. We have no one to blame for our lack of achievement other than ourselves. As such, only we can change the perceptions of us by the American voters. To do that, we need to develop a strategic plan for 2010 and the following decade. We cannot possible devise winning tactics if we do not have an overall strategy for ourselves. We also need to give the American voters confidence that if they do elect any of us that we can participate and function in a real world government.

So, what are some things that the Libertarians need to do or change to become a viable third party in America? One is that we need to move beyond having a general philosophy about what government should be and become a political movement with an actual vision of what government can be AND an actual plan for how that can be accomplished. The question isn’t why SHOULD voters support us, it is what keeps them FROM supporting us. Remember, no voter owes a candidate or a party their vote; it is up to a candidate or party to earn their votes.

Another is that we need to stop running candidates for Executive offices until we can support those candidates by holding enough Legislative seats to help them. Politics, like life, is a gamble. Not only should you never make a bet you are unable or unwilling to lose, you should never make a bet you are unwilling or unable to win. Realistically, if ANY third party or independent candidate were to win the Presidency or a Governorship without having any Legislative support, their administration would be a complete failure. In addition, that failure would become generalized as an argument against ever again voting for candidates who are not party of one of the governing parties. It would actually damage us rather than help us.

Yet another is that we have to stop spreading our very limited resources so thin that we accomplish nothing. Imagine that we are farmers trying to grow a crop, like roses. Roses require a LOT of water in order to grow and become something that can be sold. What we have is a very limited amount of water. It would be better to focus on a few plants instead of trying to raise all of the plants by spreading our water so thinly that NO plants have enough to grow. Now, let’s ask ourselves “What is the quality of the roses that we raise?” In order to increase the resources we can use to raise more roses in future years, we need to be able to sell a few today. We need to develop a “long game” strategy for the future.

On the national level, we need to be focusing on a realistic few races for Legislative office, and we need to start doing so immediately. It would also be better to win seats in state legislatures this year than it would be to win Congressional seats in 2012. Why? In one word, the answer is ‘redistricting’. Most states with more than one member of the US House of Representatives seem to have mostly gerrymandered safe districts, which makes it almost impossible for candidates who are not from the two main parties to win. We need to have legislators at the state level that can fight for non-partisan maps with NO safe districts. This is a very real way to tell the voters that their legislators work for THEM. I advocate a map which starts in each corner of a state and only looks at numbers of voters to create compact, regularly shaped districts without regard to race, creed, color or party. This would create districts that cannot be seen or used to promote ANY specific person or party. The reasons for this should be obvious. Not only will it help us in the future by giving third-party candidates a fair chance to win, it will also allow us to demonstrate that our primary interest is in giving power back to the voters.

We also need to understand that it is not necessary to win a majority, or even a plurality of seats to make a difference. Let’s look at Texas, as an example. Texas is in political turmoil right now. It functions on inertia… there is a government because there has been a government and it operates because it has operated. It is too big of a juggernaut to stop and it is simply rolling over everything in its path. The Texas Republican Party is eating itself right now. Our sitting Governor, Rick Perry, will have to fight against one of our two Senators, Kay Bailey Hutchison, just to win his own party’s nomination. This is not only internally destructive, when you understand how Texas operates; it is absurd because, constitutionally, Texas has a weak Governor system. The two most powerful offices in Texas government are the Lt. Governor, who presides over the Texas Senate, and the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. So, Texas has a strong legislature to really run the state, but that legislature only meets every other year and for a very limited number of days. In addition, the 2009 legislature threw out the sitting Speaker and chose a new one in a tough internal battle. At the state Senate level, our Lt. Governor is likely to try to get Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat in the US Senate. Texas is in political crises and, as the White House Chief of Staff so famously said, never let a crisis go to waste.

Right now, the 150-member House is almost evenly divided between the Republicans and the Democrats. The Texas Democratic Party right now is going to make a serious effort in the 2010 elections. They are actively recruiting candidates and have already held week-end long ‘mini-camps’ to educate potential candidates AND campaign staffs on how to campaign, how to fundraise, what the legal requirements are, fill out the forms, etc. These camps also allow potential candidates and the state party staff to get to know each other. They only need a few seats to wrest back control of the state House and they are determined to accomplish that. In a situation like what is facing Texas in the 2010 elections, if we could elect just 5 members of the state House, neither party would be likely have a majority. If we could elect just 2 members to the state Senate out of the 31 seats (half of which are up for election in 2010), we would have almost 7% in that body. If we could accomplish those two challenges, we would have a say in what happens in Texas AND the chance to work for a politically neutral district map.

The LP needs to be PRO-active about the 2010 election. If we wait until the state conventions in July 2010 we shouldn’t even bother. We need to get out AHEAD of the political season and start the discussions ourselves so that they will take place on our terms. We need to lead the discussions rather than respond to them. We need to have state and national party leader who are actively speaking around the state and promoting what our party offers that is different than what the other parties offer. All of our focus needs to be on the state legislatures this election. To make a difference, we have to be able to say WHAT we will do, and then DO what we say. It isn’t enough to be against what the other parties do, we have to offer a vision of what we CAN do. We need to find 5 – 10 House candidates and 1 – 5 state Senate candidates in 3 – 5 states to put our national efforts behind. It isn’t enough for these people to become known in their own districts… all of them must become known statewide. The people need to have speaking engagements across the state now, and they need to be speaking to full houses, not nearly empty rooms. They need to be where people are. This will not only help recruit new members and other potential candidates, it will get these people in the news where they can be seen by the voters in their districts as BEING recognized throughout the state.

We need to formulate strong, serious and realistic plans and timelines for what will be done between now and the election. We cannot keep operating on the serendipitous hope that voters will choose us because, gosh, we aren’t the other guys. We need to find a few key issues that the state candidates will uniformly speak to. Beyond that, we need to find candidates who cover different interest areas, different experiences and bring different skill sets to the table. We need to offer our disparate candidates as a real slate, working together. Even if we do this, however, we still must operate with the recognition that we can NOT win more than a handful of seats, at best. That is ok, though, because it GIVES us a message and a strategy.

Our candidates must offer very real differences between our party and the status quo. Remember, we are fighting inertia here. Without an extreme effort to shift that inertia, voters will continue to do as they always have. We need to also remember, we that cannot beat the Republicans by being Republicans. Right now, we have more in common with the Democratic Party than we do with the Republicans. We need to find common areas upon which to build cooperation. We have to make the voters see benefits to bringing us to the table. I think that in districts that are represented by good men and women of the Democratic Party, we should consider not running candidates against them and, instead, do what we can to help them. For the bulk of the legislatures, we just want to be allowed in… which will NOT happen with Republican wins and/or majorities. WE need to be seen as a unified and MAINSTREAM team that is working to make a better government than what we currently have. We need to also be seen as the team that can bring the other loose members of the political community (greens, independents, etc.) to the table where, through us, they can be part of the process. If we do that, for example, then we can garner statewide support (particularly financial support), and possibly nation support for simple district elections.

Libertarianism must end its stunted childhood. To become meaningful, we must move it beyond a simply philosophy into a practical vision for realistic government. As we move forward, we must ask AND ANSWER some difficult questions, including:

  • There WILL be government, so how can we improve it?
  • There WILL be taxes, so how can we make them beneficial rather than draconian?
  • A movement can NOT succeed simply by being against things, so what are we FOR?
  • What IS the role of government?
  • What IS the purpose of laws?
  • FOR whom do we speak?
  • TO whom do we speak?
  • How do we become perceived as BEING inclusive and NOT exclusive?

Ronald Reagan famously stated that “Government is not the solution to our problems; it IS the problem.” When he said that, he identified government as something that CANNOT be seen in any kind of a positive way. The idea that we need to promote is: “Government is not the solution to our problems; it is the problem, WHICH WE MUST LEARN TO SOLVE.” That change turns it from being a negative declarative statement into a positive challenge which we can all be unified behind as we work to build something better for the future. Our challenge, as a party, is to figure out how to make the government change so that we will have one that serves the people rather than one which terrifies them.

Sincerely,

Rhys M. Blavier

Romayor, Texas

P.S. – I asked my step-father, a center-right Republican, to look over my first draft of this. He gave me this comment from his perspective:

As an outsider to the Libertarian party, I would be more likely to vote Libertarian if the candidates did not look like mass murderers. The male candidates that I remember had long necks with Adam’s apples that looked like basketballs. The women were over 300 pounds with greasy, stringy hair. They had jobs like gooseberry farmers or manger of a gecko rescue center. What I’m trying to say is that they looked like some kind of fringe people and had no background for the positions for which they were running. Granted, there are some in Congress that makes me wonder what the people who elected them look like.

P.P.S. — Since I originally wrote this, on a recent Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert demonstrated his mastery of satire as a way to point out how ridiculous things in this world or or my seem to be. In one of his stories this week, he was talking about candidates and the third one he named (the spot of shame in comedy) was “… and the Libertarian Party’s last Presidential nominee… Drinky Bird” while behind him flashed a picture of a classic Drinky Bird in a top hat toy and the caption “Drinky Bird ’08”

Press Release: LPNC candidate Christopher Cole advocates non-intervention

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, War on August 11, 2008 at 7:38 pm

The following is a press release from LP Senatorial candidate Christopher Cole.

In a speech to the US House on September 5, 2002, Texas Congressman Ron Paul announced a deadly prophecy: “Russia, now licking its wounds and once-again accumulating wealth, will not sit idly by and watch the American empire engulf this region. When time runs out for us, we can be sure Russia will once again be ready to fight for control of all those resources in countries adjacent to her border.”

Then-Russian President warned in April that he would consider US policy in Kosovo as a template for his own policy in Abkhazia and South Ossetia (see this BBC story, http://tinyurl. com/5nuweu).

Those two speeches alone gave clear evidence that the policy of the American government to interfere with ethnic and political conflicts far from our shores would lead to an increase in death and instability was easily foreseeable. Yet the warnings were ignored. And now, Georgians, Russians, Ossetians, and probably soon Abkhazi, watch their homes burn, their neighbors die, and their homelands descend into anarchy.

In contrast, Libertarian Christopher Cole advocates a policy of non-intervention, the longheld Libertarian position of foreign policy, which was also the policy of historical American governments, as the ONLY path to peace and international amity. For example, two-time US president Grover Cleveland said, “It is the policy of peace suitable to our interests. It is the policy of neutrality, rejecting any share in foreign brawls and ambitions on other continents, and repelling their intrusion here. It is the policy of Monroe and of Washington and Jefferson: Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.”

The US Senate plays a special role in foreign policy, since all ambassadorial appointments and treaty commitments require Senate confirmation. In addition, the Senate shares with the House control of the fiscal purse-strings. Cole is committed to using those Constitutional powers to push for a foreign policy in the interests of Americans in peace, prosperity, and international amity.


Christopher Cole
Libertarian nominee, US Senate
Huntersville, NC
http://www.lpnc. org/2008/us_senate. php
http://www.votesmart.org/bio. php?can_id=12999

“The left has a massive agenda for the state at home, and yet complains bitterly, with shock and dismay, that the same tools are used to start wars and build imperial structures abroad. The right claims to want to restrain government at home (at least in some ways) while whooping it up for war and global reconstruction abroad.”
— Llewellyn Rockwell

Worst candidate actually on the ballot this year?

In Politics on July 25, 2008 at 3:38 am

A message I received on facebook:

Who are the worst candidates actually appearing on the ballot this year? Send your picks to info@politicsmagazine.com today.

We’ll keep your suggestions anonymous.

The floor is open for nominations. I haven’t given it much thought yet. So far, this guy appears to be in the lead for the LP candidate for this dubious honor.

George Phillies: An Open Letter to Libertarian Activists

In Activism, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 18, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Fellow Libertarians!

A week from today, our Libertarian Party reaches a fork in the road. We’ll choose a Presidential candidate.

On the plumb-line/libertarian/radical side are Jim Burns, Steve Kubby, Mary Ruwart, and Christine Smith, with Mike Gravel giving very different yet very radical positions. On what Reason magazine called the right-leaning/pragmatic/celebrity side are Wayne Root and Bob Barr.

We have huge opportunities this year. John McCain champions the statist war philosophy that is conservatism, and Barack Obama‘s Party voted to go along. To seize our chance make our party stronger, we need to stay together. If we choose either a radical or a right-leaning Libertarian, staying together will be a challenge.

Staying together is the problem, and

Libertarian centrism is the answer.

I’m George Phillies, Libertarian centrist. I’m not a radical and equally I’m not right-leaning. Like our party, I’m in the middle. That’s not the faint-voiced, compromising middle. Our Libertarian Party is the party of the outspoken, principled middle, and I am an outspoken, principled centrist candidate.

I’m your best choice to become our Presidential nominee, because I’m the candidate that most radicals and most pragmatists can come together to support. I happily work with people more radical than me, and happily work with people who make me look radical.

Then there’s the second-best reason I should be our candidate. I have a campaign up and running. If nominated, I have over $100,000 in the bank ready to go to launch my campaign. I was Badnarik’s national volunteer coordinator, so I’ve seen the practical limits of Libertarian resources.

For more on me, please go to http:/ChooseGeorge.Org

Being a centrist doesn’t mean that I don’t take radical stands. I do. That’s why Outright Libertarians endorses me. That’s why I call for an army of special prosecutors to send to prison the Bush administration people who illegally wiretapped every telephone in America.

Being a centrist doesn’t mean I don’t take right-leaning stands. I do. That’s why I denounce the national debt as the grandchild tax. We spend. They’ll pay for life. That’s evil.

Being a centrist does mean I take issues that concern real Americans, issues like medical care costs, education, energy, and the environment. I give sensible libertarian answers that Americans will support.

I support fellow Libertarian Party candidates, because when you support a candidate, your support counts twice. Your support counts once for him, and once for his party. I don’t support Democrats or Republicans, because when you help one of them you help their party avoid extinction.

A closing thought. The Nolan chart has four corners. The two party system means two corners govern, and two corners are ineffective. I want to change the world, so the “Republican conservative” corner is an ineffective joke, and “libertarian” is the governing corner.

Please make me our nominee.

George Phillies
http://ChooseGeorge.org
phillies@4liberty.net
508 736 7333

P.S. To read my strategic plan to start changing the political world, go to http://phillies2008.org/files/qwerty.pdf

P.P.S. I am hearing rumblings about ballot access. I’ve pledged 20% of my donations, up to $300,000, to pay for ballot access, and have already spent thousands. If I am the nominee, I have a hundred thousand dollars in place not already committed for office rent, high-paid consultants, or television production; that money could go to ballot access right away if need be.

Candidate Endorsement: Susan Hogarth for LNC

In Activism, Candidate Endorsement, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics on May 17, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Susan Hogarth, a longtime liberarian activist and founding member of the revived LP Radical Caucus, is seeking an At-Large position on the Libertarian National Committee. I hereby endorse her candidacy for the following reasons.

Susan’s libertarian (and Libertarian) bona fides are beyond question. She has worked on ballot access, outreach, and forming issue coalitions. She is currently the Outreach Director for the Libertarian Party of North Carolina, and the Chair of the Wake County LP. She has run for public office twice; once for state legislature, and once for county commission. She plans to run for Congress as a Libertarian as well.

Her goals, from her website, are as follows:

Offer voters a chance to vote for their hopes rather than their fears

Shift the political discussion in the direction of freedom and non-aggression

Help form coalitions among various freedom-oriented individuals and groups

Constantly reduce the size and scope of government when elected

Grow the Libertarian party and the freedom movement by stirring an interest in the message of freedom and limited government

Better develop myself as a critical thinker and clear speaker

While Susan and I have not always seen eye to eye, and in fact got off on the wrong foot altogether, she is nothing if not passionate about libertarianism, and the Libertarian Party. Despite our disagreement on some issues, we do agree that “there is never a time when the rights of one person, properly understood, conflict with the rights of another person”. We also agree that the Libertarian Party can best establish itself by maintaining its basic ideology, and by remaining separate and distinct from either of the two major parties.

She and I see eye to eye on many important “insider” issues as well, despite the fact that we come from different sides of the libertarian coin. For that reason, I believe that Susan is capable of bringing together the libertarian factions, through the important common ground issues.

Susan’s immediate goals as a freshman LNC member are as follows (from her website):

Changes to region formation and representation: Regional composition and representation must be stabilized so that regions and their representation aren’t something scrambled together in the heat of a busy convention. Regions should not be constantly shifting, and representatives should be chosen well in advance of the national convention.

Streamlining LNC meetings and strengthening Party management: The LNC should be required to meet more frequently using conferencing, and less frequently using travel. The current travel requirements take large expenses of staff time and Party funds, and discourage the participation of younger, older, and less established activists. Having a rough meeting schedule as part of the bylaws will allow those interested in serving on the LNC to evaluate the requirements of the commitment realistically before campaigning. The LNC should explicitly have – and should use – the power to make resolutions concerning events of the day, rather than allowing the LP’s public policy face to be created by default by staff-prepared press releases.

Advertising and Publications Review Committee: The APRC should be made a standing committee of the LNC, and I would like to see it actively involved in the creation, review, and dissemination of literature and other materials, including the LP News and a detailed legislative agenda to complement the platform. Development and expression of the Party’s message is of paramount importance, and has been handled in a haphazard fashion resulting in outdated and often conflicting materials and releases.

Life Membership – not for sale: The current purchasable ‘life membership’ category should be done away with. I believe that membership in a political party should be an ongoing commitment to activism, not a one-time purchase to be used for party newcomers for campaigning purposes. We should acknowledge committed supporters who have shown sustained and significant support via activism and/or financial contributions for the Party in ways that distinguish them from folks who simply have some extra cash to spread around.

While some may view Susan as somewhat brash, and occasionally I share that viewpoint, the truth is that she has proven her value to the Libertarian Party, she can get things done, and she refuses to set aside her principles regardless of the personal consequences. For those reasons, above all else I respect her even when I disagree with her.

For the above reasons, I hereby respectfully offer my endorsement of Susan Hogarth for LNC At-Large.

Bob Barr proves he’s a Republican. Again.

In Congress, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, US Government on May 17, 2008 at 4:37 pm

On the Keith Larson Show on WBT in Charlotte, NC (Tuesday, May 13, 2008), Bob Barr explained why Republicans should vote for him.

… so in a sense, the Republicans ought to embrace my effort, because we’re going to be pulling people out to vote who otherwise wouldn’t be voting and some of them might vote for Republican candidates on the down-ballot.

The entire interview can be found on iTunes in Keith Larson’s collection. It is in the 10 am segment, and the interview (about ten minutes long) is right after the 10 am news break.

Here is the audio link, for those who wish to hear the statement for themselves.

Barr does not mention supporting Libertarian candidates, and of course that is because he actively supports pro-war, pro-torture, pro-wiretapping Republican candidates, even while sitting on the Libertarian National Committee.

Barr clearly has no interest in promoting the Libertarian Party; it is just a vehicle for him. His true interest lies solely in repairing his own damaged reputation as a “conservative values” Republican, after he was thoroughly humiliated when seamy details of his personal life were revealed following the Clinton impeachment.

You can read more about Bob Barr’s strange Libertarian candidacy at the following LFV links.

Barr still “exploring”, with convention just 18 days away. Why?

Bob Barr’s “emotional distress”

Jim Casarjian-Perry: Bob Barr hits home

Bob Barr: An Enemy of Libertarians

How will Bob Barr spend your money?

What positions does Bob Barr support?

________________________________

Source: Susan Hogarth blog

Becky Isais’ substantiation of Gravel compensation claims

In Courts and Justice System, Democrats, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 8, 2008 at 9:55 pm

Covered before on this blog, the Becky Isais claims for compensation from the Mike Gravel for President campaign appears to be more and more credible, though at first even I discounted them as possible dirty tricks from another campaign (after all, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time someone posted a negative comment on a blog about an opposing candidate, and as a result all hell broke loose).

After reading the many emails Becky sent to me, substantiating her claim, I can come to only one conclusion: she was indeed supposed to be paid for her work on the Gravel campaign, several people in the campaign knew it because it was discussed multiple times, and some of those emails were forwarded to Senator Gravel so there can be no doubt that he was aware of it as well. In fact, one of those emails states that the promise of “compensation” was made by Senator Gravel, in their presence.

The Gravel campaign, of course, previously released a statement saying that Becky was a volunteer, and therefore not entitled to any payment.

I leave it to each reader to reach their own conclusions about what happened, and why.

Don’t miss the special edition of LFV Live! at 6:00pm EST today. We will be talking live with Becky Isais, and she has some voicemails as well, proving her claim that she is supposed to be paid for her work on the campaign. Representatives of the Gravel campaign are, as I have previously informed the campaign by telephone earlier today, welcome to call in at (646) 478-4638, so they can give their side as well.

In the meantime, here are some of the emails she sent me, in chronological order. As you will see, these emails were exchanged with regard to this specific matter within the campaign; anything not directly related has either been redacted, or simply not included. I also have not included full email addresses, for the protection of the parties (from spam, if nothing else). However, it is important to note that these emails were being exchanged between official campaign email addresses.

*********************

Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 20:50:59 -0800
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick
Subject: URGENT!!
CC: beckynevada; senator.gravel

CHRIS,
Please see Becky’s email below and [redacted]

And, please get BEcky Paid-she is tireless committed and Mike made the promise face to face in front of me.

Thanks
Stacy

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Becky Isais
Date: Dec 11, 2007 1:10 AM
Subject: ???
To: Stacy standley

Hey Stacy

[redacted]
Stacy I have to constantaly nag to get anything done with the camapaign.
Honestly I am done, I will do my best till you get back but after that it’s all you.
I haven’t even been paid for last month.
[redacted]
I am at my wits end Stacy for real.

*********************
From: Becky Isais
Sent: Friday, December 14, 2007 4:32 PM
To: April Shapley
Subject: RE: weekend of jan 12

I’m stepping down April.
[redacted]
I have to beg to be paid my tiny 500 a month & that isn’t cool.
I have been sacrificing with nothing in return except excuses.
[redacted] lives here in Vegas you should contact him to keep things going here.

*********************
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2007 23:28:05 -0800
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick
Subject: Re: Becky from Nevada
CC: whitney; beckynevada

Chris,
Can you update me on the status of BEcky getting paid?
I have asked Rob to try and come up with an effective appeal to raise funds.
Have you heard back from him yet?

On Dec 20, 2007 8:06 AM, Becky Isais wrote:

Dear Chris,

I still haven’t been paid nor have I received a response to my begging to be paid. If you aren’t going to pay me at least have the couth to tell me so. I have sacrificed allot for the campaign. Please be professional with me & let me know if you don’t plan on paying me. I REALLY feel that I’ve been taken advantage of. It’s very sad to see how this campaign has been run.

*********************
Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2007 21:59:54 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Re: Becky from Nevada

Hi Becky,
You will get paid and you should cash the check-I am unpaid and that is my choice and my ability to contribute, but you, chris and several others came on board with a promise of compensation-so it will happen and you are entitled to it.

*********************
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 09:29:55 -0800
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick; senator.gravel
Subject: Becky [redacted] for Mike, and are we getting closer to paying her?

Chris,
Becky sent me the following. [redacted]

And, really importantly, Becky is still hanging out there with NO funds. Everyone is promising to get her paid, but nada.

Can we get this done-please?

Thanks
Stacy

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Becky Isais
Date: Thu, Feb 14, 2008 at 8:30 PM
Subject: RE: [redacted]
To: Stacy standley

Hey Stacy,
Am I going to get paid any time soon? We are really really in need of it.
Thanks, Becky

*********************
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 11:47:57 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Chris is going to get $500 for you ASAP

HI Becky,
Chris and I have discussed getting you some funds.
He says he can send you $500 ASAP, which I said will help a lot.
Does he have your address?

*********************
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 16:19:04 -0800
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick
Subject: Fwd: BEcky’s address

Chris,
Below is Becky Isais’ address to make it easy for you.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Becky Isais
Date: Feb 15, 2008 3:37 PM
Subject: RE: Chris is going to get $500 for you ASAP
To: Stacy standley

I’ve given it to him twice but just in case. [redacted].
Thanks Stacy.

Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 11:47:57 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Chris is going to get $500 for you ASAP

HI Becky,
Chris and I have discussed getting you some funds.
He says he can send you $500 ASAP, which I said will help a lot.
Does he have your address?

*********************
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2008 07:49:09 -0800
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick
Subject: Becky has not received the check?

Hi Chris,
Becky still has not received the check you told me would go out over a week ago. What’s up?

And, as I am sure you see from emails, she is still hard at work keeping our name in front of the NV delegation, in fact today-SAT. she is at the dem convention where we are airing Mike’s video at noon.

Please confirm that the check has gone out.

*********************

Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 10:16:37 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Check and [redacted]

Hi Becky,
I confirmed that the check is in the mail-no fooling-wait til Thursday to see it I am told.

*********************
Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 11:16:33 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Re: Check and [redacted]

HI Becky,

I did call Chris, and he swears that the order for your check has been given to [redacted], which is Mike’s personal bank-so just hang a bit longer-I really don’t think their is a deception going on, just slow banking.

On Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 6:31 PM, Becky Isais wrote:

Still no check Stacy.
If I’m not going to be paid just tell Chris to be straight up with me.
If I’m not going to be paid it would be better to just be honest instead of stringing me along…..for 3 months.

Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 10:16:37 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Check and [redacted]

Hi Becky,
I confirmed that the check is in the mail-no fooling-wait til Thursday to see it I am told.

*********************

Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2008 11:48:38 -0800
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick
Subject: Still NO Check for Becky

Chris,
I am embarrassed now. Becky has not received her check, and now I am looking the guy who makes promises and doesn’t keep them;
What is going on?

*********************

Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2008 09:22:48 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Re: [redacted] fundraising

Hi Becky,
My last email to Chris got Mike’s attention, he called me last night and explained the problem-simply there is no money in the bank.

When Chris said he authorized payment-he did, but the bank will only issue checks if there is sufficient funds-and there weren’t.

Mike, swears that you will be paid, he is doing paid speaking engagements and book signings to raise funds.

On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 7:41 PM, Becky Isais wrote:

I still don’t have the check.

Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 09:07:20 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: [redacted] fundraising

PS. did you get your check?-

*********************
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 10:23:25 -0700
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick; mgrant
Subject: Becky has reached the breaking point

Mike/Chris,
Please see the attached.

And, Please communicate with Becky and cc; me.

Becky Isais wrote:

From: Becky Isais
To: Stacy Standley
Subject:
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 09:31:58 -0700

Hey Stacy,
I hate to bother you with this unpleasant news.
I need to be paid & I feel I have no other route to go but to file a small claims suit.
It’s nothing personal it’s just business.
My family is in a very bad situation & I have been more than patient.
The campaign should’ve NEVER asked me to work for them if they couldn’t pay me.
I don’t know what else to do, I’ve got to think of my family right now.
Very Sorry, Becky

*********************
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 10:25:19 -0700
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Fwd: see what you can do about this.

Becky,
I sent this last week to Mike after he called me.
I really am at a loss as are you as to what more I can do.
I have forwarded your email of today to Mike and Chris.
I know you are hurting.
Stacy

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Stacy standley
Date: Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 10:35 AM
Subject: Good to catch up, and see what you can do about this.
To: mg

Mike,
I explained to Becky the funding situation and told her she was high on the list.

Here problem is, and I feel for her, Jose, her husband got laid off this week. So they are seriously in the dumps. If she can be a priority to get paid the $500 you will have really helped out someone who deserves it.

She is still on the front line with us here in Nevada.

*********************
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2008 08:31:43 -0700
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Mike will call you today

BEcky,
I talked with Mike last night. I explained the situation you are in, and asked that he try and come up with a way of paying you. He understands, and is working on it. There is no money in the campaign, so that is not an option, but he is going to try another route and he said he would give you a call.

He does want to honor his commitment and to help you out.
So hang in there.

*********************

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:49:50 -0700
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick; senator.gravel
Subject: Becky has contacted me, and still has not been paid-any update?

Mike/Chris,

Becky got in touch with me today. She has not received anything, though the promises kept coming.
What is the status of her getting paid? She was promised, and did perform. I have no knowledge of the current status of the campaign, so I cannot enlighten her at all.

*********************

Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2008 11:29:23 -0700
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: getting paid

Becky,
Mike returned my call on Sat. He is still committed to paying you, but there is no money. The office is shut down, no paid staff, and the phones are shut off due to non-payment. So he isn’t BSing when he says there is no money.

But, he remains optimistic that he is going to get federal funds and then he will get people caught up. Just so you don’t think you are the only one hanging, Mindi paid her own way to WDC and her hotel room to give a speech for Mike-she is owed alot for that and she is out of pocket.

All I can say is be patient, which is not easy when you need money, I know. I will stay on top of the campaign to ensure you get paid when the funds come in.

*********************

Date: Thu, 1 May 2008 18:17:38 -0700
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: follow up to try and get you paid

Becky,
I am trying to get you paid, Mike has his priorities, and obviously staying on the campaign trail is his. Though this is not necessarily what you think he should focus on with limited resources.

What is the amount that you figure you are owed? I will try another tact at getting you paid and see what I can do.

Candidate Endorsement: Thomas Knapp for Congress

In Activism, Candidate Endorsement, Congress, Drug War, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Medical Marijuana, Politics, US Government on March 30, 2008 at 2:12 am

Thomas KnappThomas Knapp (to some better known as Kn@ppster) a longtime participant at Last Free Voice, has announced that he is running for the US House of Representatives in Missouri. Below is his “About” statement from his website; I would strongly suggest that others visit and read his issues sections (and bookmark it, since it’s still under construction).

Instead of one of those dry third-person candidate biographies, I’m just going to ramble a bit about who I am, where I’m from and why I deserve your support this November.

I was born on 10 November, 1966 (the 191st birthday of the United States Marine Corps) in Memphis, Tennessee. I spent most of my formative years in southwest Missouri, graduating from Lebanon High School in 1985 and living in the Lebanon and Springfield areas until 2000, when I moved to the St. Louis area.

I joined the US Marine Corps Reserve immediately out of high school and served as an infantry NCO in Southwest Asia in the 1991 Gulf War with my unit, Weapons Co., 3rd Bn, 24th Marines (the battalion is headquartered here in St. Louis). I left the Marine Corps as a Sergeant with an honorable discharge in 1995.

In civilian life, I worked at various factory and construction jobs until 2000, when I became a full-time writer, editor and political activist. I live in Greendale with my wife, Tamara, and our sons Daniel (9) and Liam (6). I also have a daughter, Caitlin (17), who lives with her mother in the Kansas City area.

I serve as the St. Louis County Libertarian Party’s Normandy Township committeeman, and as a federal appointee to my local Selective Service System board.

Why am I running for Congress in a district I don’t even live in?

The easy answer is that I stepped in to offer the 2nd District’s voters a Libertarian alternative when another candidate was unable to file his candidate paperwork due to a family emergency.

But I’d like to offer you a better answer than that.

I believe in America.

I believe in the values of individual freedom and unlimited opportunity that made this country great.

I believe that the Republican and Democratic parties have betrayed those values, and that in so doing they have failed in their duty to the American people and to the American Dream.

I believe that those values, and that dream, can be restored.

And I believe, as did Thomas Paine — author of the pamphlet which launched the American Revolution — that “those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”

My candidacy is an attempt to make good on that obligation — and in November, I ask that you cast your vote with that same obligation in mind.

Yours in Liberty,
Tom Knapp
Libertarian for US House of Representatives

Though it is no secret that Tom and I have butted heads more than once, I have a great deal of respect for him, and I believe him to be a principled libertarian who understands how the political system works. Furthermore, Tom is very well known in the libertarian community as an activist and campaign organizer, and he is passionate about the issues. Last but certainly not least, he is an extraordinarily good writer and an excellent communicator, who is able to clearly explain libertarian principles even to the uninitiated.

I honestly believe that Tom Knapp will never act in contradiction to what he believes to be right, regardless of the consequences. I therefore believe that he will represent his constituents – and the Libertarian Party – with honor.

For those reasons, I offer my full endorsement of Thomas Knapp for US House of Representatives, Missouri Second District.

Candidate Endorsement: Chris Bennett for Vice President

In Activism, Candidate Endorsement, Chris Bennett, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Drug War, Economics, First Amendment, George Phillies, Iraq War, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Minorities, Politics, Second Amendment, Steve Kubby, Taxation, US Government, War on March 26, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Chris BennettAs you are hopefully all by now aware, longtime LFV contributor Chris Bennett is seeking the LP’s Vice Presidential nomination. While he would have my support simply for being an LFV contributor and a great guy, there is so much more to his candidacy that I have decided to formally endorse his bid for the LP Vice Presidential nomination.

Chris is 35 years old (will be 36 on August 30th) and lives in Springfield, Illinois. He graduated from Heritage High School in Littleton, Colorado. As an interesting aside, Chris was classmates with Matt Stone, co-creator of “South Park”.

Chris has been married to Evonne Bennett for eight years, and they have two children, Brandon (age 7) and Charity (age 9). He will graduate in May from the University of Illinois at Springfield, with a degree in Political Studies, and a minor in Economics. As such, there should be no question that he has the education to back up his candidacy, especially when compared with other LP candidates (including many of those seeking the LP’s Presidential nomination).

Chris also has the actual experience to back him up. As a libertarian activist for the last 16 years, he has volunteered on four presidential campaigns, three of them Libertarians. He was Scheduling Coordinator for the late Aaron Russo during his 2004 presidential campaign, and was also heavily involved in the Marrou and Badnarik presidential campaigns. He is currently the Legislative Chair for the Libertarian Party of Illinois, where he has fought for better ballot access for third parties in one of the most difficult ballot access states in the country.

Chris announced his candidacy right here on Last Free Voice last year, and his platform is as follows:

I will not make promises I can not keep. I do not have 200,000 dollars in future contributions and I am not endorsed by a famous dead person. However there are some promises I will keep:

I am strongly against the invasion and the “police action” in Iraq and will help push for an anti-war resolution at the Denver Convention.

I am against a fair tax and I will continue to fight to decrease the tax burden for all Americans.

I will continue to fight to restore our civil liberties and constitutional rights and fight to eliminate the Patriot Act, the Real ID Act, the Military Commissions Act and the North American Union.

As an African-American, I will use my candidacy to recruit more minorities and women into the libertarian movement.

As a soon-to-be college graduate, I will continue to convince younger voters and non-voters that the Libertarian Party is the future not the two “boot on your neck” parties and use my candidacy to re-energize libertarian college campus and local organizations across the country.

If I am nominated, I will help/assist state parties on getting our presidential ticket on their respective state ballots.

If I am nominated, I will assist serious Libertarian candidates running for office in all facets of their campaign across the country.

The days of a dormant Libertarian Party VP candidate are over. Our VP candidate should be as active as our Presidential candidate and I will proudly work with whoever you choose as our Presidential candidate in order to spread our message of liberty and freedom to the American people.

Chris has been working hard to spread the word about his candidacy, and in fact he is one of the few Libertarian candidates to get attention from the mainstream press. Even better, he received FRONT PAGE attention in a major newspaper, the Springfield State Journal-Register.

By BERNARD SCHOENBURG
POLITICAL WRITER

Published Monday, October 15, 2007

At 6-foot-9, Chris Bennett is hard to miss. And his political aspirations match his height.

Bennett, 35, a senior at the University of Illinois at Springfield, is hoping to become the vice presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party.

“The days of a dormant Libertarian Party VP candidate are over,” said Bennett in a news release announcing his quest last week. “Our VP candidate should be as active as our presidential candidate and I will proudly work with whoever you choose as our presidential candidate in order to spread our message of liberty and freedom to the American people.”

Bennett was soft-spoken as he explained in an interview how he realized, after working on Bill Clinton’s primary campaign in 1992, that he didn’t really believe in Clinton’s platform.

“I just didn’t like how he wanted more government in more stuff,” Bennett said. “I didn’t like government having more control over the health-care situation, as Hillary tried to do and she’s proposing to do now.”

So, Bennett said, “I went soul searching.”

“The Republicans didn’t feel right,” he said. “They never really do reach out to minorities or a lot of women. And the Democrats, it just seems like they were taking the black vote for granted. So I decided ‘I’m going to search for another party.’”

Bennett had seen a Libertarian Party convention on C-SPAN. The convention included an African-American candidate for the presidential nomination, Richard Boddie.

“He was saying stuff that I really agreed with,” said Bennett, who is black.

Bennett now has been a Libertarian activist for more than 15 years, including working as scheduling coordinator during the late Aaron Russo’s 2004 attempt to be the Libertarian nominee for president.

“For the longest time, I used to carry a Constitution in my back pocket,” Bennett said, “so if anybody wanted to get in a philosophical, constitutional argument, I could whip out my Constitution.”

Bennett doesn’t think the country’s leaders are adhering to the Constitution, including going to war in Iraq without a formal declaration of war. Among his platform planks are “restore our civil liberties and constitutional rights,” including elimination of the Patriot Act and a proposed federal “Real ID” identification card. He said both invade people’s privacy.

He’d like to see lower taxes, with eventual elimination of the Internal Revenue Service.

Bennett frequently posts on Web sites, including one called

lastfreevoice.com, often in strong language.

“Jesse Jackson has taken up the anti-gun issue only because he failed as a ‘civil rights’ leader and pushes his new agenda to re-invent himself,” Bennett claims in one entry. “Just remember Hitler forced his people to give up their guns and look what happened; millions died in concentration camps. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; I’ll defend those values with my gun to protect my right to bear arms.”

Bennett said he actually doesn’t own a gun, but believes in the right to own one.

He’s also taken off on television preachers who get rich through their appeals.

“TV evangelists are the scum of the Christian community,” he said, writing about recent allegations of misspending by Richard Roberts, son of Oral Roberts. “Isn’t it immoral to steal from your contributors for your own lavish lifestyles …? Who do they think they are — the GOVERNMENT?”

And in an essay chastising Democrats for not doing more to get U.S. troops out of Iraq, he refers to the president as “Fuhrer Bush.”

Bennett is pro-life on abortion, which goes against the Libertarian platform. But he thinks other Libertarians may be coming around. He also thinks steps should be taken to legalize drugs.

A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Bennett moved to Littleton, Colo., at age 9. He’s been married to his wife, Evonne, for 71/2 years, and they have two children. He moved to Springfield in 2005 to attend UIS.

While he said rural or suburban Libertarians might not be keyed into the issue of race relations, those from urban areas are, and he thinks the party is good for African-Americans.

In addition to ending discriminatory drug laws, which he blames for too many blacks being in prison, the Libertarians’ anti-tax sentiment would also help, Bennett said.

“If we lower taxes, people would be more able to get the house that they want or be able to contribute to their church or their social organization a little bit more,” he said. People could also “save for a rainy day.”

“I know a lot of people who would like to start their own IRA account, but they can’t because they’re taxed so much,” Bennett said.

Clearly, Chris interacts well with the media, and is able to get across his point intelligently, but also in a way that the average person can easily understand.

For the above reasons, I endorse Chris Bennett, without reservation, for the Libertarian Party’s Vice Presidential candidacy.

This brings me to another point. Chris is in desperate need of donations, to help him get to the Libertarian Party Convention in Denver. As a family man working his way through college, with a wife and two children, he is far from wealthy. Not only will he need the funds for travel and hotel, plus incidentals such as food and beverage, he will also need the funds to print brochures, to hand out to the delegates in order to get the votes he needs.

We all give money to other candidates, whether Ron Paul or Steve Kubby or George Phillies, or someone else. We need to start giving money for Chris’s campaign, because unless he can afford to get to Denver, he will be unable to continue his campaign. It would be a travesty if a qualified candidate such as Chris was not seriously considered for the LP’s Vice Presidential nomination, solely because he lacks the funds to attend the convention. We can do much better than that, especially with a candidate who has proven his worth. If we all pitch in, we can get Chris to Denver.

You can make donations to Chris’s campaign by clicking here, or you can click directly on the “donate” link on his website, which will take you to the same place. You can donate by credit card, debit card, or by setting up other payment arrangements via PayPal.

While I normally would never ask anyone to donate to a specific campaign, I’m making an exception in this case. Chris is “one of us”, a valuable and respected member of the blogosphere, a valuable and respected contributor to Last Free Voice, and a valuable and respected member of the libertarian movement, who has given freely not only of his time and expertise on other campaigns, but also has managed to engage in hands-on activism while in college and trying to raise a family.

Chris is not just another libertarian on the internet, waxing philosophical about libertarianism, who suddenly decides he should be nominated to represent the LP in a lofty position; nor is is a Johnny-Come-Lately to the LP who suddenly decided he should be nominated for for the Vice Presidency; he has actually made many years of sacrifices which benefit us all, and he has the experience and education to back up his campaign for the Vice Presidency.

Unlike many candidates, Chris is not looking to raise millions. He has set a goal of $3000 to attend the LP Convention, and since I used to live in Denver, I can assure you that it’s a very reasonable goal, especially since it will also cover the costs of his campaign brochures.

I have made a commitment to donate $100 to Chris’s campaign, to help him get to Denver. If only 29 more people match that commitment (and I know there are many others who can afford to do so), Chris will have met his goal. However, even if you can only spare $10, or $20, or $50 – or if you can give the legal maximum of $2300 per person, or $4600 per married couple – you can rest easy with that donation, knowing Chris is a tried and proven libertarian, and a candidate who has actually earned that donation through his many years of activism on behalf of libertarians everywhere.

Please, help spread the word. Let’s raise the funds necessary to get Chris to Denver!

Dr. Mary Ruwart announces presidential candidacy

In Barack Obama, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, Presidential Candidates on March 22, 2008 at 1:53 am

Dr. Mary RuwartFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

03/21/08

Contact: R. Lee Wrights

lee@votemary2008.com

1-888-412-9903

THE DOCTOR IS IN

Ruwart Enters Presidential Race

Burnet, TX — Two months ahead of its national convention in Denver, the Libertarian Party’s already crowded field of candidates grew by one on Friday as Dr. Mary J. Ruwart announced her candidacy for the LP’s 2008 presidential nomination.

Responding to an informal draft effort conducted by party activists, the author of Amazon.Com #1 bestseller _Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression_ launched her campaign web site and announced plans to begin addressing state party conventions and other political events with the intent of challenging Republican candidate John McCain and the Democratic Party’s as yet unnamed nominee for the support of America’s voters.

“Libertarians have been waiting for a candidate who can change the tone of American politics,” says campaign manager R. Lee Wrights. “Dr. Ruwart is that kind of candidate. She’s a unifier and a motivator who can communicate our message of freedom and be heard.”

Running on a theme of “Healing America,” Ruwart — a Ph.D and former Assistant Professor of Surgery with a background in pharmaceutical research — proposes to withdraw US forces from Iraq, drastically reduce federal taxes and spending, and deregulate health care to increase access and quality.

“Only liberty can heal the rifts that divide and impoverish America,” says Ruwart, 57. “Freedom breeds compassion, tolerance and prosperity. Coercion breeds conflict, fear and poverty.” In _Healing Our World_ and _Short Answers to the Tough Questions_, she propounds a caring, rather than combative, approach to promoting the Libertarian Party’s political agenda.

Ruwart earned a BS in biochemistry and a Ph.D in biophysics from Michigan State University. She has served on the Libertarian National Committee, as well as the boards of the International Society for Individual Liberty, the Fully Informed Jury Association and the Michigan chapter of the Heartland Institute. She lives with her husband, Ray, in Burnet, Texas.

Visit www.votemary2008.com for more information.

‹ Media Releases

Is it just me, or does this not make sense?

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Science on March 15, 2008 at 3:38 am

Alden Link is a Libertarian candidate for the Libertarian presidential nomination. He’s an older gentleman, and his main emphasis seems to be on nuclear power. He claims that nuclear power plants can produce enough gasoline to end our dependence upon foreign oil.I’m no scientist, but I don’t understand how nuclear power plants can produce gasoline. Perhaps someone reading this can explain if the following is possible:

A nuclear power plant has the energy to produce about 15 thousand barrels of gasoline a day.

Given the following equivalents:
• 1 watt equals 3.4 british thermal units (BTU)
• 1 nuclear power plant produces 1,000,000,000 watts
• 1 barrel of gasoline contains 42 gallons
• 1 gallon of gasoline is equal to 125,000 btu
• 1 day has 24 hours

1) 1,000,000,000 watts / hour x 3.4 btu = 3,400,000,000 btu/hour
2) 3,400,000,000 btu/hour divided by 125,000 btu/gallon =27,200 gallons per hour
3) 27,200 gals./hour divided by 42 gallons per barrel = 647 barrels/hour
4) 647 barrels per hour x 24 hours = 15,542 barrels of gasoline per day

The raw materials needed for this process are carbon from recycled atmospheric carbon dioxide and hydrogen from water. This process is therefore non polluting and actually cleans the air

The United States imports about 13,000,000 barrels of oil per day. Some of it is used to run electric generating facilities. Most is used as motor fuels.

If the US builds 900 nuclear power plants for converting energy to fuel we would be energy independent. and not need ANY imported oil. More power plants than that and we could export petroleum products.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Democrats Gone Wild: Stabbing words edition

In Barack Obama, Crazy Claims, Crime, Democrats, Health, Humor, Law, Law Enforcement, People in the news, Politics, Shine on you crazy diamond on March 8, 2008 at 10:59 pm

According to The Smoking Gun, Jose Antonio Ortiz stabbed his brother-in-law, Sean Shurelds (who was flown to a hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition) due to a disagreement about Hillary Clinton vs Barack Obama.Yes, you read that right.

Apparently Shurelds supports Obama, and Ortiz supports Clinton. While the two were in the kitchen of someone’s home (it is unclear whose home) Shurelds told Ortiz that Obama was “trashing” Clinton, and Ortiz responded that “Obama was not a realist.”

While for most people that would be pretty much the end of the conversation, not so with these two, for whom those were not just fighting words, they were stabbing words. Ortiz and Shurelds argued, began to choke and punch each other, and eventually Ortiz grabbed a knife and stabbed Shurelds in the abdomen.

Ortiz then went back to doing the dishes, including, of course, the knife he had used to stab his brother-in-law.

Not at all surprisingly, Ortiz has a case of selective memory (not unlike the typical politician), and conveniently denies any memory of the stabbing incident. He has been charged with felony aggravated assault, as well as two misdemeanor counts. Bail has been set at $20,000.

I’m sure Clinton and Obama are proud to have supporters who are willing to go that far for their chosen candidate. Or not.

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Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

Project Vote Smart

In Barack Obama, Christine Smith, Congress, Democrats, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Republican on February 14, 2008 at 8:02 am

Project Vote SmartI just ran across a website called “Project Vote Smart“. This site gathers information from various candidates for office, so you can view it all in one place, and even very easily compare the candidates if you open them up in side-by-side tabs on your browser.

It is very interesting to see the “political courage test”, which pins the candidates down on the issues. Unfortunately, it appears that most mainstream candidates (including all of the presidential frontrunners from both major parties, and including Ron Paul) have refused to complete the quiz portion. However, Barack Obama did complete the questionnaire when he was running for the Senate, which gives a good insight into how he views the issues; while Hillary Clinton and Ron Paul both refused to complete it even when they were running for Congress. There is no older questionnaire information for any of the other frontrunners.

I think it’s obvious why candidates wouldn’t want to complete it, since it can later easily be used against them. Accordingly, I think any candidate which refuses to answer those questions should be viewed with suspicion.

Some third party presidential candidates did complete the “courage test” though, including libertarians. I was quite surprised to see that I disagree with some libertarian candidates on a few issues I thought we’d agree upon. For example, I was extremely surprised to see that neither Phillies nor Kubby have chosen to eliminate inheritance taxes (Phillies wants to slightly decrease them, while Kubby wants to greatly decrease them). Yet why should the government get any of it, since it’s a gift from one person to another? Christine Smith is the only libertarian candidate to propose eliminating that tax.

On the other hand, Kubby wants to greatly decrease gasoline taxes and certain “sin” taxes (alcohol, cigarettes, etc) while Phillies and Smith want to eliminate those taxes altogether. On those tax issues, I agree with Phillies. I would agree with Smith, but she wants to eliminate ALL federal taxes (including income taxes); and while that’s an idea I’d love to get behind, I don’t think it is realistic, at least not at this time.

I will have to study the candidates’ responses a lot more closely, and I strongly suggest others do the same. While it won’t help much with regard to mainstream candidates who have refused to answer the questionnaire (and personally, I hold that against them because it is to my mind proof that they plan to say one thing to get elected, and do another once they are in office), it does give quite a bit of insight into third party presidential candidates.

Originally posted on Adventures in Frickintardistan

UPDATE:  I received the following comment from Tom Knapp, Steve Kubby’s Communications Director:

I worked with Steve on filling out the Political Courage Test, and “eliminate” was not offered as an option on the document we got from VoteSmart. I sent them an email when I saw that it appeared on other candidates’ answers, but haven’t ever heard back from them.

Without going over the PCT line by line, I can’t say offhand that EVERY “greatly decrease” would actually have been “eliminate” had that option been visible, the inheritance tax would absolutely have been an “eliminate” item.

Thanks for that info, Tom!