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Archive for the ‘Libertarian National Committee’ Category

On March 3, 2009 the Libertarian Party website issued a press release and published a blog clearly stating that earmarks in the 2009 Omnibus Spending Bill were pork, and the politicians responsible for them were not fiscal conservatives, nor libertarians.

LP Press Release – Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Libertarians urge Obama to veto pork-ridden spending bill
Libertarians stand with taxpayers against earmark abuse

LP Blog – March 03, 2009, by Donny Ferguson
Six of the top ten Senate ‘porkers’ are Republican
Taxpayers for Common Sense released a database Monday of the 8,570 earmarks, totaling $7.7 billion, in the FY09 omnibus spending bill.

Ferguson’s March 3 blog post cited the H.R.1105: Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, earmarks data codified by The Taxpayers for Common Sense. The Taxpayers for Common Sense’s latest release of this data is the March 13, 2009 Update, Version 5 (xls file). Here is the listing of the top 10 earmarkers by total dollars in both The Senate and The House from that update:

Senate

  • 1. Thad Cochran(R-MS) – $473,707,775
  • 2. Roger Wicker (R-MS) – $396,012,300
  • 3. Mary Landrieu(D-LA) – $332,099,063
  • 4. Tom Harkin(D-IA) – $292,360,036
  • 5. David Vitter(R-LA) – $249,182,063
  • 6. Kit Bond(R-MO) – $248,160,991
  • 7. Dianne Feinstein(D-CA) – $235,027,932
  • 8. Daniel Inouye(D-HI) – $225,077,157
  • 9. Richard Shelby(R-AL) – $219,398,750
  • 10. Chuck Grassley(R-IA) – $199,144,486

House

  • 1. Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI 2nd) – $139,720,002
  • 2. Rodney Alexander (R-LA 5th) – $128,628,563
  • 3. Chet Edwards (D-TX 17th) – $117,926,271
  • 4. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI 1st) – $111,434,800
  • 5. David R. Obey (D-WI 7th) – $98,802,000
  • 6. Marion Berry (D-AR 1st) – $90,001,643
  • 7. Mike Honda (D-CA 15th) – $87,703,143
  • 8. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) – $80,955,928
  • 9. Ron Paul (R-TX 14th) – $75,175,750
  • 10. James Moran (D-VA 8th) – $74,754,928

Six of the ten biggest Senate earmarkers, and eleven of the twenty listed are from the South. Even more remarkable: Ron Paul is the ninth largest earmarker in the House of Representatives. Is this why the LP has stopped firing away at Congressional earmarks?

Here’s Ron Paul’s rationalization for his rampant earmarking: Earmarks Don’t Add Up, although he doesn’t mention why he publicly grandstands his opposition to funding bills he knows damn well are a shoe-in to pass, while he works like a busy beaver behind the scenes assuring his district gets more than their fair share of his earmarking largesse.

Wake-up Paul Sheeple and smell the abattoir’s entrance straight up ahead…ROTFLMAO

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I’ve returned from the great adventure I call “LP-SPAN” and here are my thoughts on the technical side of the issue. It is my hope that we can take this and build on it to make the next round of LNC insanity even better in terms of the broadcast quality. All suggestions are definitely appreciated. This is most definitely a work in progress.

The equipment:

I was using a Microsoft LifeCam either attached to a clip on the top of my laptop or on its independent pole. The camera allows pan and zoom IF you use the Microsoft software. However, the Justin.tv feed doesn’t allow that. No idea if Ustream does. I also had trouble with lighting issues in the room, especially the projector screen glare.

For future, I’d recommend a real videocam on a tripod, which should be able to create a better view and video quality. Personal experience suggests a bird-watching scope tripod over a camera tripod for lightness and ease of use. Plus mine has super-high elevation so it could pan over the crowd. Background lighting

The laptop was sitting on a tray table I had brought along since the room didn’t have any tables except for catering or the meeting table. It caused shaking of the cam at times when I tweeted, and the hunchover caused havoc on my back over time. I was hurting badly until Rachel gave me a much-needed back rub. “Bitchin’!” J

I’d recommend not having the camera attached to the laptop or at least set up in a way that it doesn’t shake. That and having a good setup so the laptop is the proper height to the user.

I’d also recommend a good omnidirectional microphone set up where everything can be caught well. The mic built into the webcam also caught my comments and occasional whispers, and a lot of extra noise. At SD the board table was in a cube with an open center, and the mic in there would have been best. I didn’t have that and it would have been a big help.

The testing:

I made sure that I understood how it all tied together and I did some test runs at home to make sure. That made a big difference come show time. However, the differences between my den and the meeting room were vast. I’d recommend testing in the meeting room if at all possible, because of the acoustics and lighting.

I tried the Justin.tv feed with the laptop’s webcam, then the external one recording, then with outside people and trying to embed.

Embedding the live feed was also a challenge. I had Todd Barnett on the phone helping to troubleshoot on his end. It helps to have someone on the receiving end to evaluate the reception. Ditto during the meeting. The justin.tv feed had a chat room built into each feed window, and that made getting the feedback easy, which came in handy when the connection got bad. Justin.tv does NOT work with WordPress well, unless Todd and I just missed something, which is certainly possible. I got it to embed at blogger/blogspot just fine. Other embedding notes are appreciated.

We also encountered a horrible screeching when we were testing, until we figured out that it was caused by the laptop speakers output being picked up by the webcam mic and creating a nasty feedback loop. The solution was to mute the speakers. Wear headphones when adjusting the microphone volume.

The Feed:

First, I was on the hotel’s wireless connection, which at times was very slow. The more people that were logged into the network, the slower it got. If you can, use a wired connection to ensure the connection rate stays consistent.

Second, it is extremely important to have someone on the other end provide feedback on the reception. On my end, the display on the popout window was far different than the one in the main window. Here the chat box was invaluable, and I was lucky to have multiple people giving me feedback.

Third, Justin.tv gave me the option to record as we broadcast. Do it. It saves off the pieces online for later download. I’d suggest stopping and restarting the recording at various spots to break it up into manageable segments instead of one long one. I always made sure to check the bandwidth between recordings because of the wireless, but I don’t think that may be necessary on a wired connection.

The twitter:

It’s a great tool to do this live. Yes, the 140 character limit can be an issue at times. I’d recommend two tweets, both in the gallery rather than on the board, who should focus on what is going on anyway. Plus, it removes any issue about “decorum” or “executive session”, but the tweets should be as neutral as possible. The advantage of two is that one can pick up what the other missed, which is an area I had trouble with at times. I’d also suggest that if you can’t get on a wired connection, then see if the tweet can be done on a Blackberry. The wireless connection problems that plagued the feed connection also slowed down the tweets. It may be advisable to have whomever is tweeting be different from the camera operations.

All in all, my rig was a little crude, but it was something. I don’t see this as too difficult, just taking a little getting used to. If you test beforehand and practice, it goes better.

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So a few of us – namely Paulie, George Donnelly, Mike Seebeck, and myself, along with a few others who have expressed an interest, have been talking a lot about forming an LP Transparency Caucus.  At this point, we’re sure that we’re moving forward with this, so we thought it a good time to start soliciting thoughts and ideas from the community at large instead of just talking amongst ourselves.  We’ve got the internet site stuff set up, and just needs some design/content/etc – anyone interested in helping out, please let us know.

Here’s what we’re thinking so far: The LP Transparency Caucus is completely non-partisan in terms of reformers, radicals, etc.  All we do is try to bring greater openness to the LP.  This includes everything from the LNC (we plan to push for live video from every LNC meeting from now on) to bylaws and platform committees, etc.  We will be putting out reports or pushing to have reports put out in as timely a manner as possible.  We want as much information as feasible to be available to the entirety of the LP membership without in any way compromising the goals of the LP.  Certain things are supposed to be public – and we’ll always be lobbying to make sure they are.

Beyond that, we’ll be sending candidates for internal positions such as the LNC and various committees surveys.  We will publish the results of these surveys, as well as endorse the best candidates.  Once elected, we will help to ensure that these candidates comply with the campaign promises made in terms of transparency and a culture of openness within the given committee.  We believe that this will foster such a culture by encouraging candidates to take up pro-transparency positions as well as stick to them once in office.

So have at it – what other ideas and suggestions do you folks have?  What else can be done?  Keep in mind that bonus points are awarded for doers, not for talkers.  Over the coming months and years, we’ll be putting our boots on the ground to try and achieve the goals we’re working on here.  If you want to help by doing stuff, don’t hesitate to say so!  All are welcome, and we hope you’ll find this idea worthwhile.

Thanks, Matt

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Daniel ImperatoThere has been a discussion over at Third Party Watch, regarding whether Daniel Imperato should be listed as a Libertarian on the official Libertarian Party website. Among other statements by Stephen Gordon, owner of TPW, he didn’t call the media to cover a Libertarian presidential candidate debate, due to the participation of Mr. Imperato.Just as some brief background, Mr. Imperato is either a liar of unimaginable proportions, or insane. I haven’t decided yet, mostly because I honestly don’t care one way or the other about his candidacy since he will never in a zillion years become President, or even the Libertarian Party’s nominee. Yet his wackiness also isn’t interesting enough to keep my attention for more than a minute or two.I started to respond on that blog, then decided to do so here instead, so my thoughts on this issue aren’t buried in the comments section of someone else’s blog. I am so disgusted with the Libertarian Party and its powers-that-be that I don’t care if they know it. What follows is that response.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If it were not for “Liberty Decides“, Imperato would still be just the butt of jokes among those of us who follow the lunatic fringe in politics. Without “Liberty Decides”, he would have forever remained an obscure Independent candidate whose only supporters were the voices in his head.

The Libertarian Party, however, recognized Imperato as a fully qualified Libertarian presidential candidate on their website, in “Liberty Decides”, which is nothing more or less than a moneymaking scheme for the LP since it does not stop candidates from buying their way to the top; and there is absolutely no accountability regarding the dates, amounts, or identities of contributors. Yet Imperato is not even a Libertarian candidate, even by his own admission, since he filed with the FEC as an Independent.

It is pathetic that no one invited the media just because Imperato was there, since it robbed the legitimate Libertarian candidates of much-needed exposure (especially true when it cost them $500 to participate, not to mention travel and lodging costs). Wackjob or not, I think Imperato would only have made the other candidates look even better, so perhaps you should have invited the media anyway. It’s not like it’s going to be shown on the evening news, after all. The only people who would be interested at all are libertarians, and insomniacs.

However, since you decided not to alert the media due to Imperato’s participation, someone in authority at that event should have alerted the media themselves (again, because they charged the candidates $500 each for the opportunity to participate). If they and you both thought Imperato was just too far out in left field to invite the media, you could have simply said, “We’re sorry, Mr. Imperato, but you’re registered with the FEC as an Independent, and thus you are not qualified to participate in this debate as a Libertarian. Here is a refund of your participation fee”.

How hard is that?

In my opinion, the LP has made a mockery of the party’s entire presidential candidate process. Not only did they ignore their own candidates in order to support a candidate from another party who repeatedly said he was not interested in becoming the LP’s nominee, but they also rolled out the red carpet for a wackjob who isn’t even registered with the FEC as a Libertarian candidate (and did the same for a lot of candidates who aren’t filed with the FEC at all).

The entire situation is an embarrassing mess, but it didn’t need to happen at all. Nevertheless, no matter how I view it, the LP is entirely to blame by lending Imperato credibility where he otherwise would have none.

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

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moneydecides2.jpg

The Libertarian National Party has a new program, Liberty Decides ’08 designed “to promote our pre-nomination presidential candidates as they engage in a competitive process. To participate in the program, candidates must cross three thresholds: meet the LP bylaws requirements; file with the FEC; and raise at least $5,000 for the LP or LP state parties for ballot access.

Once qualified, candidates will be ranked by the funds they have raised for the program and promoted through the Internet, mail and LP publications.”

40% of all donations to this program will be set aside in a special fund to be used for expenditures coordinated with the candidate who does eventually win the LP nomination in convention. The remainder of the funds will be used to help the LP move forward with core issues such as media, ballot access and member recruitment.

One candidate has declined to participate, noting that the money does not go to help the candidates now, when they need help the most, and only 40% will go to the eventual nominee – whoever that may be – not necessarily the candidate that the donors click on to contribute in the name of.

Further controversy ensued when, in an early version of Liberty Decides, this candidate was included without his consent, and a silhouette of Ron Paul was used as a “Future/Unannounced Candidate.” The silhouette was removed, as was the objecting candidate, but in a controversial and widely talked about move, the LNC voted unanimously to invite Ron Paul to seek the LP nomination for President if he does not get the Republican nomination.

Some candidates are more positive about Liberty Decides.

Some other Libertarian activists have criticized Liberty Decides, notably Susan Hogarth, who wrote:

It would be a much more useful tool for Libertarian activists and likely convention delegates (you know, the folks who actually select the LP nominee) with two simple additions, which I mentioned yesterday:

1) some indication of how many individual donors each candidate has (and, ideally, how many of them are Party members).

2) some indication (other than a link to their websites) of positions.

Susan shares her thoughts about Liberty Decides here, here,
here, and
here.

Despite the criticism, the LNC expressed support for Executive Director Shane Cory and Liberty Decides at its recent meeting in Charleston.

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I’d like some help with setting up an internet forum of some sort to hook people up with shared rides, group rooms, camping, hostels, cheap motels, and other ways of getting to the Denver LP National Convention affordably.

A lot of what happened in Portland may have had to do with the fact that it was a long drive for most people, and one of the more expensive places to fly to, and partially as a result of that, the lowest attended LP national convention since the early 1970s. Furthermore, the people who are unable to afford these things are more likely to be radical and left-libertarians, although that is far from universally true.

Anyway, if anyone wants to help with setting this up, please let me know in the comments.

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Here is an organization I hope everyone will get more active in supporting…I received a notice
from its chairman, Mark Rutherford, through facebook.

July 23rd I’ll be flying to Atlanta and having dinner with current Libertarian Party of Alabama Chairman Stephen Gorden, Deborah Gordon and a very influential national political figure. Stephen and I will be introducing Atlas!PAC to this influential person. Please invite fellow libertarians to join Atlas!PAC. Although we just started, we’ve already sent four Libertarians for campaign training to Washington, D.C. and our sponsorship of the Region Three Convention will enable several student libertarians to receive fund raising training free of charge.

Spread the word! Atlas!PAC is finally helping libertarians do the practical things needed to get elected.

Remember, I’d rather have Libertarians on the inside then the outside. You can changes things easier from the inside.

Mark W. Rutherford
Chairman
Atlas!PAC

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