Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Military Commissions Act’

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.

What positions does Bob Barr support?

In Congress, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Torture, War on May 14, 2008 at 8:10 pm

In politics, you can tell a lot about a candidate based upon the positions they champion. This is true whether they support the positions directly, or indirectly.

Bob Barr’s PAC raises money under his signature, and he supported a number of Republican Congressmen and Senators during the current election cycle. Supporting the campaign is the same as supporting the positions the Congressman or Senator takes, obviously.

The fact of the matter is that nine of ten Congressman Bob Barr supported oppose leaving Iraq, and support military kangaroo courts. Eight out of ten Congressmen he supported want Uncle Sam in your hospital bed, a’la Ms. Schiavo. Eight of ten Congressman he supported are in support of warrantless wiretaps, and want to ban flag burning. A majority support torture.

Here is a listing of ten Congressmen Barr has supported during the current election cycle, after Barr joined the LP. The numbers beside their names indicate their extremely unlibertarian votes in Congress; specifics are below.

CONGRESSMEN
Gingrey Georgia 1 2 3 4 5 6
Ros-Lehtinen Florida 1 2 3 5 6
Jeff Flake Arizona 1 2 3 4
Robin Hayes North Carolina 2 3 4 5 6
Jeb Hensarling Texas 1 2 3 4 5 6
Jack Kingston Georgia 1 2 3 4 5 6
Pryce for Congress Ohio 1 2 3 5 6
Rehberg for Congress Montana 1 2 3 4 5 6
Walter Jones North Carolina 5 6
Christopher Shays for Congress Connecticut 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.

Since 2007, Barr’s PAC supported nine U.S. Senators. Every one of the Senators he supported has voted to allow warrantless wiretapping and monitoring of virtually every form of communication in America; and every one of them voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act when it expired. Eight of nine voted for war funding. Seven of nine voted against an antiwar withdrawal motion. Every one of them voted for a Constitutional Amendment to ban flag burning. Six of nine voted to advance a constitutional amendment against gay marriage.

Again, supporting the Senator is showing agreement with the positions the Senator takes. How can Bob Barr claim to be a libertarian, when he supports so many Senators who vote for such incredibly un-libertarian stances?

SENATORS
Saxby Chambliss Georgia 1 2 3 4 5 6
Arlen Specter 1 2 3 4 6
Norm Coleman Minnesota 1 3 4 5 6
Larry Craig Idaho 1 2 3 4 5 6
Lindsey Graham South Carolina 1 2 3 4 5 6
Hagel for Senate 1 2 4 6
Jeff Sessions Alabama 1 2 3 4 5 6
Gordon Smith for US Senate Committee 1 2 4 5 6
Team Sununu New Hampshire 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.

With the above in mind it is completely reasonable – based upon Barr’s own record in Congress and his continuing support of Congressmen and Senators who take those positions – to assume Bob Barr would vote in the same manner if he were still in Congress, despite his claim to have converted to libertarianism. After all, he has been supporting people making extremely un-libertarian decisions, even as he sat on the LNC and pondered seeking the LP’s presidential nomination. To believe otherwise would be to close one’s eyes to the painfully obvious truth, which is that we can put a hat on this Republican pig and call him Tillie, but that still won’t make him a Libertarian.

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!