Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Republican’

LP tackles raging Boehner!

In Crazy Claims, Entertainment, Humor, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Politics, Republican on July 24, 2008 at 2:15 am

originally posted by GE at IPR. Headline by Fred Church in the comments.

In response to House GOP leader John Boehner’s comments to Reason‘s Dave Weigel — that conservatives considering a vote for Bob Barr “might as well vote for Barack Obama” — the LP has issued a press release with harsh words for the GOP and its leadership.

Libertarian Party spokesperson Andrew Davis said that Boehner’s comments “reflect the same fallacy of thought that has put America in its current situation, with neither Republicans or Democrats offering the solutions voters want to hear.”

Davis also said Boehner’s comments were “a symptom of the same delusion that cost Republicans control in 2006.”

Read the entire release here.

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Troy King reported to be dating Troy University homecoming king

In Corruption, Fraud, Humor, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Music, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Republican on July 18, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Back in November, I made the following comments at
Loretta Nall Sends Troy King Appropriate Sex Toy
:

But reasonable people would not include the Alabama legislature, which in is great wisdom passed a law banning dildos, vibrators, and other weapons of mass stimulation.

Not content with the law as it stands, Alabama Attorney General Troy King wants the legislature to make the law even more draconian.

I remember Troy from college. He was always a little weird. He used to write frequent letters to the CW, which described in detail his disgust with homosexuals hooking up in public toilets (well before Larry Craig), a subject he seemed to be intimately familiar with, and exhorted readers to go eat at Cracker Barrel, which at the time was under fire for a policy of discriminating against having gay employees. Troy always seemed just a little too obsessed with homosexual perversion.

Alert readers may remember that Loretta Nall sent Troy King a blow up pig:

My suspicion now seems likely to have been confirmed.

Loretta explains

This is not about being gay. This is about being a hypocrite…of the highest order

There is an official denial of the rumor about Troy King now….so I can say what the rumor is.

According to rumors flying around for the last week Troy King, our
rabidly homophobic
, anti-sex toy, Sunday School teaching, pro-execution Republican Attorney General is GAY! And I don’t mean that as in happy either. I’d bet he is anything but happy right now. In fact, according to two sources he is about to resign. [..]

I have been sitting on this story for about a week. Truth is I am SORE from having to sit on it so long….but not as sore as Troy King is.

Read the rest of this entry »

Chip-in for Kent Snyder

In Politics, Republican on July 3, 2008 at 8:43 pm
Kent Snyder

As many of you are probably aware, Ron Paul’s longtime friend and campaign chairman, Kent Snyder, recently passed away after a two-month battle with pneumonia at the all-too-young age of 49.  He was a mild-mannered, yet determined and tireless advocate for the cause of liberty who had a profound influence on everyone working alongside him.  He will be dearly missed.

Compounding the tragedy of this event, his family has been saddled with some $400K of medical bills in his passing.  While this may seem like an enormous sum of money, especially amidst our current economic climate, those of us who have been involved with Ron Paul’s presidential campaign over the past 1-1/2 years understand completely the power of numbers.  Tens of thousands of ordinary people making modest contributions twice propelled Ron’s campaign to record-breaking fund-raising days.

Please consider visiting the site linked below and making your own modest donation to this worthy cause and then passing the message on to other liberty-minded folks.

http://kentsnyder.blogspot.com/

“Classically Liberal” argues that Barr panders to racists and bigots

In Immigration, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Minorities, Politics, Republican on June 27, 2008 at 3:04 pm

From Classically Liberal:

This blog has argued that the reason Barr, Viguerie and other conservatives were trying to take over the (formerly) Libertarian Party was to turn it into a vehicle to attack the Republicans for nominating McCain. They want to strip votes away from McCain on the Right so that he will lose. This, they hope, will bring back the dominance that the far Right previously held in the party, but which they lost out to the neo-cons.

In other words their goal is NOT to build the (formerly) Libertarian Party but to use the party as a means of taking over the Republican Party. The LP is but a tool for their use, which shows the naivety of those Libertarians who argued that having Barr lead the ticket “would build the party”. Of course to accomplish that goal Barr can’t really run as a Libertarian. He doesn’t want the libertarian vote, he wants the conservative vote.

And one result is that we know have the spectacle of a Libertarian candidate playing up immigrant-bashing to pander to the racists that permeate the Right.

Click here to read the entire article.

Hat tip Brad Spangler

Steve Newton warns libertarians about “Freedom Slate ’08”

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Republican on June 26, 2008 at 11:13 pm

From Steve Newton’s blog, Delaware Libertarian:

It was wrong when Bob Barr, as a sitting member of the Libertarian National Committee, headed a PAC that donated thousands of dollars to Republican candidates who had active Libertarian opponents.

And if you unknowingly donate to Freedom Slate ’08, you will be doing the same thing.

Eight of the Republican candidates who will receive money from donations to Freedom Slate ’08 have ballot-qualified Libertarian opponents.

Here are the Libertarians you will be sending money to the GOP to oppose:

Lorenzo Gaztanaga, 2nd Congressional District, Maryland
Thibeaux Lincecum, 4th Congressional District, Maryland
Darlene Nicholas, 5th Congressional District, Maryland
Ronald Owens-Bey, 7th Congressional District, Maryland
Jim Duensing, 1st Congressional District, Nevada
Sean Patrick Moore, 2nd Congressional District, Nevada
Joseph P. Silvestri, 3rd Congressional District, Nevada
Edward Choate, 3rd Congressional District, Tennessee
[These names compiled from the list of ballot-qualified candidates reported in DC Political Report.]

About many of these candidates I know nothing, other than that they are fellow Libertarians who have taken the time and trouble to file for election.

Click here to read the rest of the Delaware Libertarian article by Steve Newton.

Steve also has another very enlightening article explaining more about Freedom Slate ’08, and why he will not donate to them.

Why the MSM Irks Me

In Democrats, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican on June 23, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Will Libertarian Bob Barr take conservative votes from McCain?

Jack Cafferty is the typical media elitist.  He thinks that only Democrats and Republicans are entitled to votes and that Bob Barr, Charles Jay, and other candidates are “taking” votes preordained for McCain and Obama.

If you go by Cafferty’s logic, one can assume that John McCain is stealing conservative votes from Bob Barr because many people feel that Barr is more conservative.

The only vote earned is the vote that is casted.

Can we pull off a miracle in Denver?

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Republican on May 24, 2008 at 4:39 am

As many of you know, I attempted to run for VP this year. It was quite an experience. Unfortunately, I didn’t have Bob Barr or Ron Paul type contributions to make it to Denver. I wish I could be there having a beer with Paulie, Michelle, Angela and Tom. Maybe 2010? We are at a crossroads this year. I am not an anarchist but I am a principled and practical Libertarian who does not like the direction this country is headed. Our party has been infiltrated by Republicans willing and capable of turning the party I have been an activist since 1992, into another wing of the “Torture Party”.

My preferred candidates in order are Ruwart, Kubby, Barr and Phillies. A Barr nomination will not destroy the LP but allow these Republitarians to control the LP for at least the next 2-4 years. A Root nomination will purge principled libertarians right out of our party immediately. So what do we do?

From the reports I have been gathering all day, Barr delegates are stacking state delegations. To make sure these people are legit, we need to question their credentials before the vote. We want to make sure that delegates are eligible to cast their vote as to what our bylaws say. If we do not succeed in doing this; we need to try to win as many of our LNC spots as we possibly can and that includes making sure that Bob Barr does not have a seat on the LNC, if he is our presidential nominee. The LNC will meet at least twice during the election and to have our presidential candidate as an LNC member is a direct conflict of interest and unethical.

What if we do not succeed in Denver and we get crushed? We need to take over our state parties one by one. We need to separate ourselves from those hostile Republitarians and become better organized for 2010. I want to see more libertarians elected but it’s impossible to get principled libertarians elected when we are invaded by those who do not share the same goals and principles the LP was founded on. However, in order to get elected we can’t get elected on ideas alone. A good campaign is organized and run like professionals. We need to be strategic, get out the vote, speak well, have a short campaign platform and look somewhat professional (I hate suit and ties but I got plenty of respect).

Those who will not support Bob Barr I have a proposition for you. Do not leave the LP, fight for your party. Support candidates across the country who share your principled libertarian values and ideals. Don’t give a dime to the Barr campaign but pull the lever for him on election day. If Root gets the nomination, don’t vote for him nor give him a dime; let the LP collapse, we can pick up the pieces and start over. Most of the Barr/Root infiltrators will not be around long after the election, very few will stay but many will go back to the “Torture Party”.

As for what to do with LPHQ; I have a solution that may or may not work. In the coming months the Chair will have to hire a new Executive Director. There is a rumor that Shane Cory, who admits he’s not a libertarian, could be re-hired but I think he’s done enough damage with his ill-advised press releases. They need to hire someone who will reach out not to just conservatives but to liberals as well. They need to hire someone who is able to bring in members from all walks of life, not just disgruntled middle aged white males. They need to hire someone who will put out press releases that toe the party line. They need to hire someone who isn’t already entrenched in the D.C. culture and will bring a new perspective to the party and headquarters. That person I believe can be me. I will explain what changes I would bring to LPHQ as the Executive Director in another post in the near future. Don’t give up, the fight has just begun!

New TPW owner revokes libertarian contributors’ convention press credentials

In Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Obituaries, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican on May 20, 2008 at 12:29 am

The following was posted on Third Party Watch today:

Over the weekend, Third Party Watch was acquired from Stephen Gordon by Richard Viguerie.

[snip]

Richard Viguerie, is known as the “funding father” of the modern conservative movement and is the co-author of America’s Right Turn and, more recently, author of Conservatives Betrayed.

Also today, Stephen Gordon received an email from Andrew Davis, saying that Viguerie had requested that Libertarian Convention press credentials be revoked for three libertarian writers, who coincidentally all dared to speak out against Bob Barr: Tom Knapp, PaulieCannoli, and Michelle Shinghal.

Welcome to my world, guys.

Paulie and Miche are also LFV Contributors, of course, and they were caught completely unaware; they didn’t even know that TPW was for sale, much less that it had been sold. One would think that Steve Gordon would have mentioned that to them, but apparently he didn’t, and they didn’t know anything about it until after the deal was done, and their press credentials had already been revoked by the new owner.

From: Andrew Davis [mailto:[email address redacted]
Sent: Monday, May 19, 2008 9:19 AM
To: Stephen Gordon
Cc: Shane Cory
Subject: Press Credential Removal

At the request of the new owners of Third Party Watch, I am removing three writers from your credentials request:

[snip]

Because the original request for credentials came from you, I am leaving it as your responsibility to notify [the contributors] as to their removal from the credentials list.

Thank you.
_________________________
Andrew Davis
National Media Coordinator
Libertarian National Committee, Inc.
[email address redacted]
Office: [redacted]
Cell: [redacted]

Incidentally, notice that Andrew’s cell phone number was in that message, but I redacted it.  He’s lucky he’s dealing with a principled libertarian, and not a fellow “radical Republican”, since they would not give him that consideration if they had the same valid complaint about him that I have.

At any rate, I can only just shake my head in amazement, not only that Vigueria revoked their press credentials so quickly, but also that Steve didn’t even let the contributors know the site was for sale, or even that it had been sold.  I have a lot of respect for Steve Gordon, so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt in this situation.  I’m not especially inclined to do that with Vigueria, though.

As if all that is not bad enough, Vigueria is already deleting articles which are not supportive of Bob Barr.  Though Steve Gordon is on Barr’s staff, he never deleted others’ articles, even if they were critical of his candidate; and that action by Vigueria shows that he refuses to cover the convention and its candidates in a fair and impartial manner.  That being the case, why does TPW even still have press credentials at all?  I cannot help but wonder why their credentials were not revoked as soon as Steve Gordon sold the site.

I was told today that Andrew Davis is just trying to keep his job, and that is why he refused to give LFV convention press credentials; after all, we are highly critical of Bob Barr, and Bob Barr sits on the LNC.  Of course, if Andrew Davis were really a libertarian, or if he even had principles, he would do the right thing in this situation no matter what the personal consequences.  Instead, he allows a site which is now nothing but another Bob Barr campaign site to retain its credentials, while refusing credentials for a site which actually earned those credentials by doing real journalism, even beating the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in the disclosure of the very serious problems with Bob Barr’s PAC.  For all anyone really knows, given that LFV is in the top ten Google hits for “libertarian convention”, the AC-J actually got that information initially from LFV.

But, I digress.

Obviously, Miche and Paulie are more than welcome back home here at LFV, and displaced libertarian writers (and readers) from TPW are, of course, more than welcome to make LFV their new home.

Atlanta newspaper (finally) looks into Bob Barr’s PAC

In Congress, Corruption, Fraud, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Media, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican on May 19, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Barr writes (or wrote) a column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but that didn’t stop the paper from doing a little digging into his PAC now that he has declared for president.

Here’s the story (which was previously covered by Last Free Voice):

http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/stories/2008/05/19/barrpac_0518.html

Barr’s group is a so-called “leadership fund,” a type of political action committee used by current and aspiring party leaders to collect money and disperse it to candidates and committees. …Barr’s use of donations for fund-raising and his own expenses is unlike most leadership funds, said Sarah Dufendach, chief of legislative affairs for Common Cause, the Washington-based nonpartisan public-interest advocacy group.

“It’s not supposed to be for the benefit of that particular person,” she said. “The leadership PACs are supposed to be for the support of other candidates. He is just sustaining himself. …

In the last five years the fund has given $125,200 — about three cents of every dollar raised — to federal candidates and other campaign committees, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has found in a review of reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Another $81,875 went to state and local campaigns.

On April 1, former Congressman Bob Barr wrote to rally conservatives across the country to stop liberals from solidifying control of Congress.“If we don’t act fast – I’m afraid conservatives may well lose out again!” he implored in a letter sent by his political action committee. …

The letter made no mention of Barr’s recent campaign for the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president, in which he has criticized many Republicans in Congress. Libertarians will choose their candidate at a convention this week in Denver.

Barr, a former federal prosecutor, defended the fund’s solicitations and expenditures in a telephone interview. He declined to answer questions about individual donations and the letter’s characterization of their importance.

“I won’t be cross-examined” about the fund’s finances, he said.

In an e-mail, the fund’s treasurer, Paul Kilgore of Athens, wrote that the letter was “in production well before the decision to form an exploratory committee was reached. … [T]here is certainly no requirement that we mention anything specifically in our letters.”

The story has also been picked up by other news outlets.

You can read LFV’s exclusives on Bob Barr at the following 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?

Bob Barr proves he’s a Republican.  Again.

______________________________

Hat tip Susan Hogarth

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

Bob Barr: An Enemy of Libertarians

In Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican on May 9, 2008 at 8:42 pm

Though he now claims to be a Libertarian, sits on the LNC and wants to be our Presidential nominee, Bob Barr continues to support Republican candidates through his Republican PAC, called “The Bob Barr Leadership Fund”.

He doesn’t just support Republican candidates; he supports Republican candidates even when there is a Libertarian candidate for that same office. Worse, this has happened too many times for it to be simply explained away.

Q: Why should Libertarians support Barr for President, when Barr doesn’t support Libertarian candidates?

A: We should not. Libertarians should never support a presidential candidate who regularly stabs Libertarian candidates in the back by supporting their opponents.

Here are some of the races in which Barr, since he joined the LP, has supported a Republican candidate to the detriment of a Libertarian candidate for the same office.

Update: I have added the exact dates the contributions were made. All of the below contributions were made during the 2007-2008 election cycle, according to FEC records.

Georgia Senate race

Libertarian candidate: Allen Buckley

Bob Barr supported
05/08/07 Saxby Chambliss for Senate $ 500
06/22/07 Saxby Chambliss for Senate $1000
09/28/07 Saxby Chambliss for Senate $1000
01/07/08 Saxby Chambliss for Senate $1000

Total to Republican candidate in George Senate race: $3,500

Total to Libertarian candidate in George Senate race: $ 0

New Hampshire Senate race

Libertarian candidate: Ken Blevens

Bob Barr supported
03/12/07 Team Sununu $1000
06/22/07 Team Sununu $2000

Total to Republican candidate in NH Senate race: $3,000

Total to Libertarian candidate in NH Senate race: $ 0

Virginia Senate race

Libertarian candidate: William Redpath

Bob Barr supported
12/04/07 Gilmore for Senate $1000.00

Total to Republican candidate in Virginia Senate race: $1,000

Total to Libertarian candidate in Virginia Senate race: $ 0

Idaho Senate race

Libertarian candidate: Kent Marmon

Bob Barr supported
05/08/07 Larry Craig for Senate $1000

Total to Republican candidate in Idaho Senate race: $1,000

Total to Libertarian candidate in Idaho Senate race: $ 0

North Carolina Congressional race

Libertarian candidate: Thomas Hill

Bob Barr supported
05/08/07 Robin Hayes $1000

Total to Republican candidate in N C Congressional race: $1,000

Total to Libertarian candidate in N C Congressional race: $ 0

Texas Congressional race

Libertarian candidate: Ken Ashby

Bob Barr supported
05/08/07 Friends of Jeb Hensarling: $1000.00

Total to Republican candidate in Texas Congressional race: $1,000

Total to Libertarian candidate in Texas Congressional race: $ 0

Bob Barr’s “emotional distress”

In Congress, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crazy Claims, Democrats, First Amendment, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, US Government on May 7, 2008 at 1:43 am

In 2002, Salon published an article detailing how Bob Barr filed a $30 million lawsuit against Bill Clinton,Bob Barr Larry Flynt, and James Carville, claiming “emotional distress”, on the same day he was championing a bill that would cap damage awards for pain and suffering (for everybody else, naturally) at $250,000.

As I’m sure you’ve already figured out, he didn’t win; the lawsuit was dismissed on the basis that he failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted; he appealed the dismissal, and lost again. The dismissal on appeal was even more embarrassing, since the court determined that he never even claimed the disparaging information to be false, or stated with reckless disregard for the truth, or with knowing disregard for its falsity.

Think about this for a minute. He was suing a man he had impeached and two alleged (but extremely unlikely) conspirators, unsuccessfully mind you, for causing him emotional distress; yet he still never once claimed that the dirt they dug up on him (and which Flynt eventually published) was even false.

I don’t know about you, but I find even the idea of that lawsuit incredibly amusing. Can you say “frivolous”? Or maybe the word I’m looking for is “paranoid”. Either way, the word “disturbing” also comes to mind, given that an appellate court ruled that he had sued three people for $30 million, when all they had really done was exercise their First Amendment right to free speech.

By the way ….. it’s only 17 days until the convention, and Bob Barr still has not announced his intentions, and still is hiding behind his Exploratory Committee rather than subjecting himself to voter questions and scrutiny like the other candidates have already done. Gee, I wonder why. LOL

Here’s an excerpt from the Salon article:

Jun 14, 2002 | When the news finally broke — because porn magnate Larry Flynt sent out his own press release — that Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., had filed a lawsuit in March against Bill Clinton, pundit James Carville and Flynt for $30 million, claiming “loss of reputation and emotional distress,” the timing couldn’t have been much more awkward for Barr. That very day, he was championing a bill that would cap damage awards for “pain and suffering” at $250,000.

This week, at a hearing of the House Judiciary Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee, which he chairs, Barr heaped praise on a bill that would limit so-called non-economic medical damages to $250,000, saying “a national liability insurance crisis is ravaging the nation’s healthcare system.”

So how can someone who wants to limit awards for pain and suffering sue the former president and others for a whopping $30 million in emotional distress?

The depths of the former House impeachment manager’s disdain for the former president should not be underestimated. Of all the House managers, Barr was perhaps the most gung-ho in his desire to get Clinton. Back in November 1997, before the world had ever heard of Monica Lewinsky, Barr tried to bring impeachment charges against Clinton, alleging violations of campaign finance laws.

Now, Barr has quietly filed a suit against Clinton, Carville and Flynt for “participating in a common scheme and unlawful on-going conspiracy to attempt to intimidate, impede and/or retaliate against [Barr]” for his role as an impeachment manager in 1999.

Behold: Bob Barr’s vast left-wing conspiracy.

The suit comes, however, as Barr has other things to worry about. Redistricting has placed him in a tough primary fight against Rep. John Linder, R-Ga. When asked on Thursday about Barr’s suit, Linder spokesman Bo Harmon offered a jab veiled in a no-comment. “A sitting congressman suing a former president for $30 million raises all sorts of serious questions,” Harmon said. “Until we know more about Congressman Barr’s state of mind on this, we’re going to refrain from commenting.”

Barr’s case is yet another bizarre coda to the impeachment saga. Among the documents submitted in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, was a section of The Flynt Report, the 1999 document by the Hustler publisher that shone a spotlight on the private lives of the House impeachment managers and other moralizing Republicans. The report calls Barr “a twice-divorced family values cheerleader … who condoned an abortion, committed adultery and failed to tell the truth under oath” in a 1986 deposition.

Flynt’s report was one of the blows struck in a tit-for-tat mud-wrestling match between investigators in the Office of the Independent Counsel and their congressional allies and Democratic attack dogs during the halcyon days of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Democrats pointed to stories like the ones contained in the report and to Henry Hyde’s extramarital affair to label Republican impeachment managers as hypocrites.

Barr has long talked of a conspiracy behind the attacks on him. At the time the Flynt Report was published, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Barr if the White House was behind the smear campaign. “Most people can’t even deny that with a straight face,” Barr told Blitzer.

The suit is not the first time Barr has tried to sue Clinton outside the confines of Congress. The new civil suit is a reprise of a criminal case Barr brought in 1999 against the Executive Office of the President and the Justice Department, claiming the White House was keeping a dossier on Barr and that the congressman “was subject to attacks and threats of attack by persons in the media, including Larry Flynt, James Carville, [investigative journalist] Dan Moldea and others.”

The new complaint charges that the White House kept “files on [Barr] and routinely disseminated the contents of those files to defendants Carville and Flynt and others, including members of the media, in an effort to intimidate and impede” Barr’s investigation of Clinton. The suit also alleges that the White House kept an enemies list that included all 13 House impeachment managers; Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind.; Sen. Tim Hutchinson, R-Ark.; Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff; and Judicial Watch’s Larry Klayman, who is serving as Barr’s attorney in the case.

The suit, however, includes no evidence of such collusion.

Read the rest of this article here.

LP/Green ballot access lawsuit in NC goes to trial

In Activism, Big Brother, Courts and Justice System, Democrats, Green Party, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Media, Politics, Republican on May 6, 2008 at 3:25 am
By JOEDY McCREARY
Associated Press Writer
Monday, May. 5, 2008 6:44 pm

RALEIGH (AP)- A Libertarian candidate for governor testified Monday that state law makes it “effectively impossible” to conduct a grassroots campaign in North Carolina.

Mike Munger, a Duke University professor, testified during a civil trial that could determine whether state laws are too stringent and unfairly limit the ability of third parties to get on the ballot.

The Libertarian and Green parties filed a lawsuit that claims state laws that define a political party are onerous and violate party members’ rights to free speech and association. The law also affects how party candidates can be included on ballots.

State attorneys defend the law, saying legislators approved rules that maintain the integrity of elections by requiring a political party to demonstrate it has adequate support from voters.

Under the law, a party must collect nearly 70,000 voter signatures to receive official party status. Party leaders said that’s one of the highest thresholds in the country. If the party’s candidate doesn’t get 2 percent of the vote for president or governor, the party must start over. The requirement had been 10 percent until the rules were changed in 2006.

The Libertarian Party has surpassed the signature requirement for all but one presidential election since 1976, state attorneys argued in court filings. The Green Party has never met the petition standard.

Special Deputy Attorney General Karen Long cross-examined Munger, who acknowledged only four Libertarian candidates have been chosen for the state House, which has 120 seats, and three Libertarians ran for Senate, which has 50 seats, for this year’s election. The party would be able to offer more candidates if it qualifies for the ballot by this year’s petition deadline.

Munger also admitted that since 1992, Libertarian candidates had enough signatures to get on the ballot but did not win any state elections. A party spokesman said later Monday the party has won nonpartisan elections.

But the lawsuit, filed in September 2005, said the Libertarian Party has paid more than $100,000 to hire solicitors to collect signatures along with volunteers for a successful petition. The process and money drain favors the state Republican and Democratic parties.

The signature deadline for this year’s general election is June 2.

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

In Congress, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican on May 5, 2008 at 10:21 pm

Bob BarrThe LP Convention is in 18 days.  Will Bob Barr announce that he is running for President, and if so, when does he plan to do that?

I’m beginning to believe that his real intention is to wait until the last possible minute to announce – possibly even at the convention itself – so libertarians don’t have time to subject him to the same level of scrutiny which the other LP presidential candidates have endured.  After all, Barr does have a long history of doing things which are very, very unlibertarian.

Recently – while sitting on the LNC – he sent out a letter asking people to help him defeat Hillary Clinton by buying his “Barr Report” for $50, and nowhere in that letter did he even once use the word “libertarian” when describing himself (though he did call himself “conservative”, and the envelope called him “Republican”).  He has continued to use his Republican PAC, and he has continued to support Republican candidates even when there is a Libertarian opponent.

Clearly, he would face a lot of very serious questions about his activities while sitting on the LNC – not to mention all the questions about his actions while a Republican in Congress, from wasting $80 million on the failed Clinton impeachment, to his authorship of the Defense of Marriage Act, to his support of the Patriot Act, among other things – were he to announce anytime before the last possible minute.

Personally, I suspect that fear of scrutiny is why he is still hiding behind his “exploratory committee”, and for that reason I have completely discounted him as a serious LP presidential candidate.  Any candidate who has not announced their candidacy at this point, with the convention only a little over two weeks away, is not worthy of the level of trust one must put into a Presidential nominee.

The Lonely Libertarian on the Gravel Factor

In Activism, Barack Obama, Democrats, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Protest, Republican, Terrorism, War on April 25, 2008 at 7:34 pm

From The Lonely Libertarian:

Mike GravelOne more X-factor in the general election- the possibility that the Libertarian party could actually be a factor. Particularly interesting is the candidacy of former Democrat Senator Mike Gravel, who, along with former Republican Congressman Bob Barr, is contending for the Libertarian nomination. In an election where even the Democrats seem basically unwilling to talk about the war, I think the libertarians could siphon off anti-war votes from both the left and the right and I think John McCain’s candidacy could open the door for Republican voters who care more about limited government than the war on terror.

George Phillies answers Marc Montoni’s questions

In Congress, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, Terrorism, US Government, War on April 23, 2008 at 10:09 pm

This past week, our very own PaulieCannoli posted “Marc Montoni has questions for Bob Barr. How about you?” on Third Party Watch.

George PhilliesWhile to my knowledge Barr has not answered those questions, his opponent Dr. George Phillies has answered them. Below is Dr. Phillies’ response.

12 Questions by Marc Montoni

Marc offers a baker’s dozen of questions. Of course, I’m not Bob Barr, so my answers are not the same.

1. Mr. Barr, while a congressman, you supported a lot of pork, including federal cash for Gwinnett, Bartow, and Cherokee airports and transportation projects. You also steered business to Lockheed-Martin’s Marietta, GA plant for the C-130 cargo plane and the gold-plated F-22 Raptor fighter. How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

Phillies: I’ve called for huge reductions in every part of the Federal budget. Those pork barrel contracts and corporate welfare schemes will face vetos in a Phillies administration.

2. Mr. Barr, you supported Bush’s military tribunals for Iraqis captured during the war (“Barr Stands Behind President on Tribunal Procedures” 3/21/2002). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government? And given that the Constitution doesn’t say its protections are only for citizens, how does your support of depriving individuals of their rights encourage government to properly respect the rights of people who are citizens?

George Bush claimed that as President he had the right to try terrorists before military tribunals. Of course, this is complete nonsense, because our Constitution guarantees the right of trial by jury. (Prisoners of War are not tried; they are detained.) George Bush made this claim this because he’s not loyal to the Constitution. As President, I will replace Federal officers who try to ignore the Constitution with loyal, patriotic civil servants who love our country, love our Constitution and its Bill of Rights, and are willing to make sacrifices to defend them.

3. Mr. Barr, you supported federal interference in assisted suicide (“Barr Praises Administration Stance Against Suicide Doctors”, 11/8/2001). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government? And have you ever sat at a patient’s bedside while he was writhing in agonizing pain for weeks on end, waiting to die, and explained to him why he couldn’t choose a dignified manner of death as the sole owner of his own body?

Two years ago, my mother died in bed, in her own living room, with my brother and I by her side. Fortunately, she was in no pain. Others are much less lucky as death approaches. I strongly support laws protecting compassionate care and laws that permit mentally competent persons facing imminent and painful death to choose the moment of their demise. Government should have no role in this matter of decisions made by mentally competent adults.

4. Mr. Barr, you supported federal meddling in contracts between HMO’s and their customers (“Barr Hails Passage of HMO Reform Legislation”, 8/2/2001). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government? What does abrogating the terms of contracts have to do with freedom?

I support the validity of non-fraudulent contracts freely entered into by knowing and consenting adults. I have called for interstate competition in the provision of health insurance, so that people have a wider range of choices in their medical care arrangements. I also call for putting all medical care costs on the same tax basis, to eliminate the Federal corporate welfare subsidy of some health insurance arrangements.

5. Mr. Barr, you supported giving money to religious organizations for charitable programs (“Barr Hails Passage of President’s Faith-Based Initiative”, 7/19/2001). How does this relate to fighting for smaller
government?

Phillies: I am entirely opposed to giving government money to religious organizations, when the charitable organization’s religious and charitable activities are irretrievably commingled. There should be an iron wall of separation ensuring that our tax money is not spent for the benefit of particular religious organizations.

6. Mr. Barr, you supported a wholesale expansion of the fed into schools with your cosponsorship of H.R. 1 in 2001—“The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001” (“Barr Cosponsors Bush Education Bill”, 3/22/2001). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

Phillies: I call for the immediate repeal of No Child Left Behind.

7. Mr. Barr, you supported a discriminatory ban on Wiccan expression in the military (“Barr Demands End To Taxpayer-funded Witchcraft On American Military Bases, May 18, 1999). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

Phillies: I have condemned Republican efforts to organize army persecution of Wiccans. Should soldiers should be allowed, on their own time and using their own resources, to conduct religious services at the base where they were stationed? Of course they should. The people in question did not even ask the army to construct a religious building for them, only to use an otherwise vacant field for worship.

And, while I am at it, I also condemn Republican efforts to revive school prayer. That was an issue in the 2007 Kentucky republican gubernatorial primary. One of the autodial tapes attacking Republican Anne Northrop, for having voted for school prayer only thirteen times out of fourteen, was according to recorded by… Bob Barr. While he was a sitting member of the LNC.

8. Mr. Barr, you supported summarily evicting students from school for bringing a gun onto school property — seemingly forgetting that millions of young Americans did this right into the seventies — regardless of whether they were simply going hunting after school or not. You apparently wanted to forget that the Constitution doesn’t just protect the rights of adults, but children too (“Testimony of U.S. Representative Bob Barr on The Child Safety and Protection Act of 1999, Before The House Committee on Rules”, June 14, 1999). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

I condemn this Federal intervention into the conduct of local schools. The only way to avoid this question is to work, as I do, for separation of school and state. When children are private or home schooled, the Federal question vanished, because it is purely a matter of parental and contractual discretion.

9. Mr. Barr, you voted with the majority to further socialize medicine by voting for H.R. 4680, the Medicare Prescription Drug Act of 2000 (June 28, 2000). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

America is flat-out broke. We don’t have the money for this program. We simply can’t afford it. It mostly has to go. Unsurprisingly, the Republican Congress failed to investigate effectively the cost of the program before voting for it.

10. Mr. Barr, you supported flag-waving nationalistic fervor by voting several times in favor of a constitutional amendment to prohibit the physical desecration of the United States Flag; in 2000 it was HJ Resolution 33 (June 24, 1999). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government? What does the flag-worship cult have to do with liberty?

I am 100% in support of freedom of speech. Nonetheless, the flag-burning amendment is a farce. If passed and put into effect, which I certainly hope will not take place, it invites opponents of the current Republican War Party leadership to burn objects that are look more and more like flags, without being flags.

11. Will you or have you openly, publicly, and clearly repudiated all of these previous nanny-state actions of yours?

See above.

12. Why did you wait until you’re no longer in congress to repudiate them? Shouldn’t you have thought about all of that Leviathan-state-building you were doing while you were in congress and it actually mattered?

I haven’t had to flip flop on issues. I have had people suggest to me ways of making my message more effective, generally by stressing the positive, good-news part of the discussion. The hope of the shining libertarian city on the sunlit hill of liberty is sometimes a more effective lure than other alternatives.

13. Oh, yes, that last question: “How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?”

I organized a Federal PAC and a Massachusetts State PAC. They’ve had to be inactive during my campaign, for legal reasons, but they will be back. I helped organize a libertarian 527 organization, Freedom Ballot Access, that raised more than $18,000 for Mike Badnarik’s ballot access. My organizations fund Libertarian candidates, not Republican candidates running against Libertarians.

I’ve written two books on our party’s tactics and history. My newsletters Libertarian Strategy Gazette and Let Freedom Ring! have brought Libertarian Party news across America. I’ve distributed the Libertarian Candidate Campaign Support disk, assembled by Bonnie Scott and I, for free to hundreds of fellow libertarian candidates. And I’m currently state chair of the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts.

That’s how I’ve worked for smaller government.

“The Little Party That Could”

In Civil Liberties, Democrats, George Bush, Green Party, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Media, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican on April 20, 2008 at 5:47 pm

From TownHall.com:

I like alluding to the classics. When I’m not referencing the great poets and novelists, I try to sneak in books I’m certain actually to have read. Like “The Little Engine That Could.”

Great story. Inspiring. A lesson for all time. Can a day go by when one does not think of that engine chugging “I think I can I think I can I think I can”?



U.S. Presidential Democratic Party candidate Mike Gravel smiles during remarks to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute public policy conference in Washington October 3, 2007. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)

I especially think of that story when the subject of the Libertarian Party comes up.

No political organization in America persists against all odds and all principalities and powers to . . . survive.

The party never quite gets up that hill, chugging as it does (note: allude to Sisyphus’s rock), but it never gives up.

You might think that a political party is there to elect people to office. And the Libertarian Party has elected a few people here and there. But, well, though in general LPers are not exactly the most “spiritual” of folk — they are not as apt as an incense salesman is to spout homilies like “it’s the journey that counts” — they do keep running candidates that, for the most part, get no more than 3 percent, 5 percent, or (occasionally) 10 percent of the vote.

The Democrats and Republicans, on the other hand, elect candidates every election day. Since the LP was formed in 1972, Republicans re-elected their glorious contender (Nixon) and elected three more: Reagan, Bush the Elder, and Bush the Younger. After LP candidate Prof. John Hospers (heavy-duty philosopher) and Mrs. Tonie Nathan (professional media person) received one renegade Electoral College vote for their first-time-out effort, the Democrats have elected two presidents: Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The Libertarians, however, have never even garnered a million votes for one of their candidates.

I mention all this merely to say that I prefer to think of the persistence of the Libertarian Party as charming, not pathetic. Everything is stacked against them. The two parties in charge have made sure that it is very hard for “minor parties” to challenge them. Just getting on the ballot is no picnic. The Libertarians have spent millions and millions of dollars and massive quantities of man-hours maintaining ballot status in the forty-odd states they have maintained it, over the years.

And now that persistence has paid off. In a way. The party has become a magnet — a magnet for disgruntled major-party players.

You can read this article in its entirety here.

Root’s “brain trust” has a brain fart

In Congress, Economics, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, Taxation, US Government, Wayne Allen Root on April 17, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Third Party Watch posted Wayne Allyn Root’s plan to end federal taxation.

It is tax day, April 15, 2008. What a perfect day to announce our proposal to dramatically reform the American tax system. During this campaign for our party’s nomination, several of my esteemed opponents have spoken in favor of imposing a 30% national sales tax on all goods and services- combined with a check paid to everyone in the country (in the form of an automatic annual tax rebate – whether you’ve earned income or paid taxes, or not). Our campaign has received hundreds of requests to comment on the “Fair Tax,” many of them proponents. But after studying the proposal, we conclude that the “Fair Tax” is a bad idea.

The so-called “Fair Tax” is not an advance for freedom; it is a prescription for tyranny and will relegate our descendents to being little more than welfare-dependent wards of the government.

Advocating a “Fair Tax” is bad for our party and bad for America, and we believe that having our party’s nominee advocate this would tarnish the Libertarian Party’s brand.

Our campaign offers a competing vision.

Imagine instead a country where businesses and individuals would no longer need to account to the government for their income. Imagine a country where we can be free from the Internal Revenue Service. Imagine in one instant eliminating individual federal income taxes, corporate federal income taxes, payroll taxes, death taxes, the marriage penalty, excise taxes, and even the dreaded AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) – all of it at once, gone forever.

No, this is not a dream. It can be a reality in a Root Administration.

Our campaign team’s economic brain trust has crafted an alternative approach that we believe will be attractive to America, consistent with our constitution and right in line with our libertarian ideals. Our plan completely rids America of federal income taxes and the I.R.S., while at the same time restoring power to the American people at the state and local level – just as our founding Fathers intended.

We propose eliminating the income tax and all other sources of federal tax revenues, including payroll taxes, excise taxes and import duties, and replacing it with only one tax: a tax on each state in proportion to its population, with each state deciding for itself how to raise its share of the money.

Not only would this eliminate taxes on income by the United States federal government, it would likely end taxation on income in virtually all states in this country. Most states calculate their own income taxes starting with the taxpayer’s calculation of Federal taxable income. It would be too costly for most states to enact their own income tax systems without being able to leverage the current system of W2s and 1099 filings.

To further reduce the likelihood of even some states imposing income taxes on their residents, if elected I will ask Congress to introduce legislation to update Public Law 86-272 to prohibit states from taxing the business activity of any person or enterprise engaging in interstate commerce, and define this broadly enough to include even the solicitation of customers in more than one state.

Our Founding Fathers understood the power of the purse as an instrument of tyranny. Today, because the U.S. Government taxes its citizens and then kicks back a portion of the money to the states (as it sees fit), the federal government exercises enormous unconstitutional power against the states through various federal mandates, ranging from No Child Left Behind to Real ID. Today’s regime of personal income taxation facilitates this mockery of our system of Federalism.

Our vision for dramatic change in U.S. tax policy is as simple as it is revolutionary in scope. With our plan there will be only 50 taxpayers in our country writing checks to the U.S. Treasury each year. With no other source of revenue to the U.S. Government, the balance of power would be forever dramatically reversed back to the states (just as our Founding Fathers envisioned).

Moreover, because these 50 states (and their taxpayers) will have a bias toward keeping tax dollars at home instead of sending them to Washington, they will have great incentive to mount enormous political pressure against Congress to reduce the size of government- thereby reducing both spending and taxes.

Some of the unnecessary and wasteful federal spending that would be first on the chopping block for this President (a perfect description for the son of a butcher) would be welfare, entitlements of all kinds including corporate welfare, dramatic cuts in foreign aid, a dramatic reduction in military bases across the globe, and dramatic cuts in wasteful pentagon spending. It’s high time to stop spending billions of our tax dollars to defend wealthy allies such as Japan, South Korea and Western Europe.

It’s time to de-fund and eliminate entire government departments and bureaucracies – starting with the Dept of Education (which is not authorized or mentioned in our constitution). The first step toward improving our education system (and saving our tax dollars) is to keep the money at the state and local level, giving less power to the federal government and teachers unions, and more power, freedom and choice to parents.

Under this plan, if Congress chose not to reign in out-of-control federal spending, it runs the risk that states could respond by withholding taxes from the federal government, which is the ultimate “check and balance.”

Power would be restored to the states, just as Thomas Jefferson envisioned when he authored the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson, arguably the most libertarian President in United States history, declared the primary responsibility of the American President was “to render ineffective and invisible the very government he is elected to lead.”

Jefferson and the Founding Fathers intended for taxes to be minimal and up to each state to decide. Jefferson said of taxes, “Government shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” Jefferson believed taxes were completely up to the discretion of individual states when he said, “The true theory of our constitution is that states are independent as to everything within themselves…” and even went so far as to recognize the right of states to nullify federal laws within their own borders, describing federal intrusion into state matters as “interference by a foreign government.”

Our founding father Thomas Jefferson would certainly approve of this plan to switch the power of taxation and spending decisions from the federal to the state level.

With this one sweeping change, devolving power from Washington to the states, tax and regulatory policy at the state level takes on greater importance. In this environment, competition amongst the states for business and residents would likely become fierce. States that impose high taxes or forms of taxation unpopular with their residents will be punished with losses in population. States that create an environment of low taxation and fair forms of taxation will be rewarded with population gains. Taxpayers will be better able to monitor how their money is spent up close and personal at the state and local level. A major shift of all taxation (and most spending) from the distant and draconian federal level to the state level can only be positive for the American taxpayer.

We believe this arrangement is exactly what our Founding Fathers intended – more power at the state and local level, less power at the federal level, and taxation determined by each individual state. This plan respects our Constitution, expands your personal freedom, restores power to the American people (and taxpayers), and increases the money you keep in your wallet. Please join us in this campaign to restore Federalism, returning power from Washington back to the states and to the people.

Root seems to be merely saying what he thinks libertarians want to hear, and not really thinking this through. He also uses a lot of words to say very little. Most of what he wrote seems intended to talk us into agreeing with him, as if we’re not smart enough to see right through his plan for what it really is.

Many of those posting comments on Third Party Watch pointed out that Root is still learning, and I think that’s wonderful. We should always encourage those who are interested in libertarianism to learn more about it. However, do we want someone who is still learning about libertarianism to represent the Libertarian Party as its presidential candidate? I should think not, especially when their background tells us that they are not a libertarian by nature.

Will his tax plan work? Of course not, especially since many states already tax income and he wants to take that ability away from them, while also placing a huge financial burden upon them. Congress represents the interests of the states, after all. No way will Congress ever go for that idea … unless of course they realize that they can make much, much more money by grossly overtaxing the citizens, and blaming it on the federal government.

The states will not be put off by the necessity of enacting a financial reporting plan similar to that of the W-2, as Root believes. They would just make laws requiring their own forms, and copy the federal forms. They could even just copy the federal laws, and change the specifics, and set up the computer program necessary to keep track of the information. If Root thinks they won’t do that, he has no business running for President, because it is proof that he has no clue how the real world works. Government does only one thing very, very efficiently, and that’s picking the pockets of its citizens.

His plan is setting up the American people for taxation at a rate which could only be described as financial rape. He may be getting rid of the IRS, but he is not really getting rid of income tax, because what states lack in income tax, they more than make up for in other taxes. Taxpayers are going to get hit for a predetermined amount, and it doesn’t matter what the government calls it, it’s still picking our pockets. In reality, his plan will make overall tax rates far worse than they already are.

His plan is not only poorly thought out, it’s dangerous to the American people. In states with a high number of financially disadvantaged citizens, it could prove catastrophic. If the states are required to pay the federal government based upon population, the taxpaying members of society will end up paying far more to the states than they pay now to the federal government, in order to make up for the indigent population. As a result, many working-class families will be taxed into poverty by the states.

I could go on and on, but in short, his “brain trust” had a brain fart. This is not the first time that’s happened. The last time Root put out an issue release, he wanted to bring the entire federal government to an abrupt halt by refusing to fund any federal agencies. He obviously has not thought that through, either. While some libertarians will applaud ideas such as Root’s, the more pragmatic among us will recognize that Root’s ideas are unrealistic. It took over two hundred years for the government to get the way it is today, and that cannot be undone overnight, by Root or anyone else.

Libertarians need to look beyond the facade which is Wayne Allyn Root. This is all part of a much bigger plan for him, which does not involve the Libertarian Party. He is doing exactly what Ron Paul did: getting a name for himself and some support by running for President as a Libertarian, then jumping back to the Republican Party so he can get a seat in Congress, and possibly run at a later date for President as a Republican. Libertarians are nothing but a stepping stone for this man.

Why he thinks no one will see through that is beyond me, except that he apparently believes libertarians are stupid.

LP Presidential Candidate, Senator Mike Gravel, Interviewed By Newsweek

In Barack Obama, Censorship, Democracy, Democrats, Iraq War, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Media, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, US Government, War on April 1, 2008 at 12:11 am

Senator Mike GravelSenator Mike GravelLP Presidential candidates normally don’t get this level of media exposure, ever. Senator Mike Gravel’s switch to the Libertarian Party is causing a great deal of positive mainstream media attention. Below is an excerpt from the Newsweek interview, posted today. I will note that Last Free voice beat Newsweek to the punch, interviewing Senator Gravel within 48 hours of his decision to run as an LP candidate.

After the crowded presidential primary shrunk from eight Democrats and 11 Republicans to only three viable candidates between the two parties, what’s a spurned presidential hopeful to do? Well, if you’re Ron Paul, you ignore John McCain‘s inevitability and keep running anyway. If you’re former U.S. senator Mike Gravel, you switch parties.

Last Monday, the former Democrat swung by the Libertarian Party‘s national headquarters and defected. “We handed him a [membership] card on the spot,” says Shane Cory, the party’s executive director. Two days later, Gravel formally announced he would run to be the Libertarian candidate for president, joining a field of 15 others. Cory wouldn’t comment on Gravel’s chances at the convention, which will take start in Denver on May 22, but he did say that Gravel’s party swap has garnered some much-appreciated exposure for the Libertarians.

Gravel spoke to NEWSWEEK’s Sarah Elkins about the 2008 race and why he’s still running. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: You’ve been a Democrat for your entire political career. Was it a tough decision to switch parties?
Mike Gravel:
It had been eating at me–believe me–ever since I was a senator [he served from 1969 to 1981]. When I was in the Senate, I was a maverick and, at the end of my term, I was not particularly happy with my progress in terms of partisanship with the Democrats and Republicans. So when I left office, I stayed away from partisan politics altogether. But when I decided to get back in the game and to get my message out to the American people about the National Initiative [a political movement that would allow ballot initiatives at the federal level], I had to pick a party that would allow me to get into the debates … But of all the parties I was probably closest to the Libertarians.

It sounds like you’ve been interested in leaving the Democratic Party for some time. Why didn’t you make the move sooner?
It wouldn’t have made any sense for me to enter the race as a Libertarian. [As a Democratic candidate], I got into the debates and got a fair amount of visibility up until General Electric [which owns NBC] along with the Democratic Party leadership, said they would get me out of the debates. And they did. GE said I did not meet their criteria for participating in the debates. I think it’s very interesting that a defense contractor said I had to meet their criteria in order to participate in the MSNBC debates. We’ve really come down in democracy when a defense contractor can decide what the American people hear from a candidate. It was a [Democratic National Committee] sanctioned debate, so we complained to the DNC and found out that Howard Dean had agreed to it and that not a single one of the other Democratic nominees raised a finger in protest, meaning that they were totally tone deaf to the censorship of the military-industrial complex.

So you didn’t consider running as a Libertarian from the get-go?
I would have preferred to run as an independent or Libertarian or Green Party, but I knew that none of those candidates would have gotten any traction. So I used my position as a legitimate Democratic candidate to get my name out there.

You still have to win the Libertarian primary in order to run as the party’s candidate.
I am probably the most well known and certainly the most experienced in terms of running for president and as a government official. I have 16 years of experience in elected office and have been a senator, and I have a great deal of foreign-policy experience.

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You can read the very interesting three-page interview excerpt with Newsweek here.

Tom Knapp Attacks The Fair Tax

In Congress, Economics, Republican, Taxation on March 29, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Tom Knapp (L) is running for United States House in Missouri’s 2nd district and he has already started to go after his Republican opponent, Todd Akin, for co-sponsoring Fair Tax legislation.

The following are concerns Tom Knapp has mentioned about the Fair Tax:

First and foremost, understand this: The “Fair Tax” is not a tax cut. Its proponents claim that it is “revenue neutral,” i.e. that Americans would pay just as much in taxes through the “Fair Tax” as they did through the taxes it replaced.

Secondly, the “Fair Tax” would put America on the dole. Every man, woman and child in the United States would receive a monthly check from the government. In theory, that check would represent an advance rebate (proponents call it a “prebate”) of part of the tax. In fact, eligibility for the check would be completely unconnected to actual payment of the tax.

Thirdly, while proponents claim that the “Fair Tax” would “eliminate the IRS,” exactly the opposite is true. A federal tax bureaucracy would still be required to administer the “prebate” program, and to police interstate tax fraud and “prebate” fraud … and fifty more bureaucracies would have to be created to assess and collect the tax at the state level.

Fourthly, proponents of the “Fair Tax” are deceptive in describing how large it would be. They characterize it as a 23% sales tax, when in fact it is a 30% tax.

He then goes on to give this opinion of what the Fair Tax could do to the American economy:

Finally, there’s a good chance that the “Fair Tax” would wreck the American economy in transition. The tax is assessed on new, but not used, goods. Care to guess what will happen to our nation’s automotive and homebuilding industries when the price of new cars and homes jumps by 30% and the price of used cars and homes doesn’t? Time and supply/demand will eventually bring the prices of used goods back into proportion with those of new goods … but until we get there, whole sectors of the economy will be, at best, on life support.

Click here to read Tom Knapp’s full post on the Fair Tax

Like Tom, I have many concerns about the Fair Tax. One concern is that those who have saved and invested their money are going to be taxed twice under a consumption tax. For example, if I have a Roth IRA I have already paid taxes on that money. When I spend the money I would once again have to pay taxes on that same money. In my opinion, we would greatly punish people who are being financially responsible.

While I would love to eliminate the IRS, I don’t think it is possible in the short term. I would prefer to cut spending, slowly cut taxes while at the same time paying down the national debt. The reason we cannot quickly cut taxes is that we have to cut spending first which is something the Bush administration failed to understand. The Bush administration and the Republican controlled Congress cut taxes, but refused to simultaneously cut spending and because of that we now have a huge deficit. Of course, many think a large surplus would be good, but that would result in less money going back into the economy which would not be good. When there is less money for the American people to spend there is less money to be invested in things such as new businesses which create employment. Instead, I prefer a small surplus each year to pay down the national debt. Until we cut spending and significantly lower taxes and the national debt I see no reason to give politicians any additional methods of collecting money.