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Archive for the ‘Thinking of Denver 2008’ Category

In this essay, LP radical and LPNY state chair Eric Sundwall advocates that radical libertarians avoid the BTP and stay in the LP. It is entitled Party Like It’s 1973, an apparent ironic reference to Party like it’s 1773 by BTP interim chair Jim Davidson.

I was somewhat intrigued when popular Libertarian blogger Tom Knapp started the Boston Tea Party soon after the 2006 Portland massacre. An online political party that hearkened to the radical sensibility with a savvy for the political seemed an interesting notion without any real threat to LP work and activities. A place where members could vent and fume within their own diaries and entries and perhaps still effect meaningful activism within the libertarian community in general. Fine. Sometimes a great notion . . .

The current self-flagellation from its members and current standard bearers for office is a greater reflection of petty narcissistic traits and ambitions that one finds within splinters of a small movement, than any real grassroots or political effort. To be sure, most of the current brouhaha is based on the success of reform elements within the LP and the eventual nomination of Bob Barr. But there has also been a disproportionate coverage of their activities within the small third party blogosphere and even some mention in the higher echelons of typical political coverage. I’m beginning to think about getting sixteen of my buddies together to form the American Anarchist Party so as not to be left out. At least there would be no compromise on real principles.

In my estimation the BTP became untenable, less credible and utterly ridiculous when the New York affiliate formed without my knowledge or possible input. I expressed my discontent about this to founder Tom Knapp and got a reply that membership wasn’t tracked on geographical basis and thus any notification about formation of an affiliate wouldn’t be forthcoming to members unless they kept abreast of the website and those postings. At the time I thought I had kept a current feed from BTP in my aggregator (Bloglines) and it was only another entry at the time that serendipitously showed up that brought me back to the site for a quick re-reference. It was at that time that I became knowledgeable of the NY affiliate startup.

Of course the elements forming that start up were no more radical in spirit than in truth ambitious for titles and accolades. In fact some of the players were in dispute with the LPNY about one of their affiliates and a factional shoot off from it in another arena wasn’t all that surprising. Having also expressed some insider concern to Knapp about this, he just shrugged it off and said something about long ropes and the like.

In the course of 2007 one saw a gradual decline of the website and eventually spam took it over and the case for neglect made itself very obvious if one visited the site. Again Knapp was shrugging it off as not his baby anymore since the formation of a national committee and control being handed over to the new principles. Any other misgivings about Knapp and his organizational abilities were already being sent to me through my association of other notable activists and to some extent LNC connections. After he was almost completely rejected for the Platform Committee in Pittsburgh that summer I figured any possible radical ally in this figure was improbable. At the time he was flailing for Kubby as the official or non-official this or that and it was obvious where his pre-occupation was at. Once he started running Ron Paul up the racist flagpole based on a Suicide Girls post, I was done. After the Sean Haugh attack after Vegas, I was disgusted, despite reassurances from Angela Keaton and Paulie that he wasn’t the drama queen I might have marked him as.

Enter the Independent Political Report. They started covering the mini-convention of the BTP in Denver and it seems like new life was born from it. Apparently that long rope came back to bite BTP and Knapp put the kibosh on any usurpation of his baby. Utilizing an administrative override on the former national vice-chair and asserting a violation of by-laws and original intent, he summarily dismissed the usurpers and rallied his original cabal and pressed ahead with their own convention online. I’m sure if I’m wrong about this and on any radar as such, I’ll be corrected on a dozen counts by TK or the like.

But my general point is this. The BTP is an operational and philosophical mess. Great, a one line platform states that they want to reduce government on all counts. So what?! While it’s not the contorted twistings of the Reformista’s tired ruminations and redefinitions, its just annoying at this point. When some kiddie script hacker represents some percentage of the actual vote of their convention and all former users are told to sign up again because their database got trashed, you don’t have to wonder. You just don’t take it seriously. Radicals ought to stay in the LP and exert what influence they can in a franchise which has stood the test of time for at least thirty years. Getting all huffy over one candidate in an impossible race to win is not the solution. There is plenty of room for spirited protest candidacies and meaningful activism.

So don’t get your panties in a wad because Brian Holtz won the platform or that Bob Barr said something about Fannie Mae on TV. Easy ballot access in Colorado and Louisiana may get you on the ballot there and might put you on a temporary pedestal amongst chortling colleagues, but seriously, get a life (or a sound card). Do what you can, where you can. Stop fantasizing about a greater liberty movement or party. Stay real. Stay radical. Stay LP.

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Candidate Endorsement: Chris Bennett for Vice President

Chris Bennett[NOTE: Originally posted on Last Free Voice]

As 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!

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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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Christine Smith put out a
somewhat controversial
essay which said that, unlike some other libertarians, she would not compromise principle.

The first time I saw it was on the LP Radicals yahoo group, and given that I have recently volunteered to help the caucus members make more informed decisions about the various LP Presidential candidates, I thought of a few questions to ask.

They have been up for several days, and I also since posted them on several other yahoo groups on which Christine Smith posted the same message. I am hoping that the candidate sees the questions and responds to them. Several people have said that she is not very good about getting back to people, but this is the first time I have personally tried to get a hold of her, so for now I will keep an open mind.

I’m guessing she’s just been busy, so I hope maybe posting them here will help bring these questions to her attention.

OK, here they are:

I have gathered there are no issues on which you think the 2004
platform was too extreme. Is my understanding correct? If not, what do
you think may have been too extreme?

Are there any issues on which you think the 2004 platform was not
libertarian enough? If so, what issues, and what was inadequate about
them?

Do you think the platform should be about the length of the 2004
platform or that of the 2006 platform? Somewhere in between? Longer
than both? Shorter than both?

What issues, if any, do you think are the most glaring omissions?

When did you join the Libertarian Party?

Prior to running for President, in what ways were you involved in the
Libertarian Party or libertarian movement? What other libertarian
movement groups have you been involved with, and what was the extent
of your involvement?

In what ways do you plan to be involved if you do not get the
Presidential nomination?

If you lose the Presidential nomination and are offered the VP
nomination, would you consider it?

Have you ever run for office with another party or as an independent
candidate? If so, where and when, and for what office?

Have your views changed during this campaign? If so, on what issues
and why?

Do you plan to share all contacts your campaign generates with the
national party? Would you characterize your present working
relationship with LPHQ and/or LNC to be friendly or somewhat adversarial?

Do you have any significant involvement in issue organizations or
political coalitions which intersect with libertarianism but also
include significant numbers of non-libertarians? (for instance, Steve
Kubby has been active in medical marijuana legalization and the drug
policy reform movement; George Phillies is active with his local ACLU
chapter; Wayne Root claims he can reach out to internet gamblers on a
large scale).

Steve Gordon has criticized your position on the middle east wars,
claiming that you said that you would evacuate the troops and leave
their equipment behind. Is that an accurate description of your position?

Do you believe the national party platform (past or present) would be
adequate to serve as your campaign platform, or do you plan to have a
separate campaign platform if you are nominated?

Are there any innovative ways in which you hope your campaign will
work to surpass all previous LP Presidential results, and what do you
think your chances are of doing that?

How much of an emphasis do you plan to put on working with local
candidates and building state and local LPs? Ballot access? Youth and
college outreach?

Have you spoken to large crowds not just of
libertarians? (For example, Steve Kubby spoke at Hempfest, estimated
attendance 50,000, and I believe George Phillies said he spoke at
MassCann, which is also a large legalization event).

Also: have you played a significant role in passing any legislation
that actually made people more free? (Steve Kubby helped write and
pass prop 215, California’s medical marijuana law).

UPDATE:

As I mentioned, Steve Gordon also has
some questions
for Ms. Smith which he has been trying to get her to answer through several phone and email attempts for several days.

Steve Kubby has some concerns, too.

Hopefully we’ll hear back!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10/09/07

CONTACT:
Thomas L. Knapp
kubby.communications@gmail.com
314-705-3042

TRAGEDY ON KUBBY VIDEO SET: CAMPAIGN RELEASES “DEATH OF DENNY” FOOTAGE

FORT BRAGG, CA — In a stunning turn of events, Libertarian presidential candidate Steve Kubby’s campaign organization has announced that it will release previously unseen shocking footage of an on-set death — the murder of the South Park, Colorado medical marijuana patient known to friends and loved ones as “Denny” by none other than Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani.

The footage is included in a “Director’s Cut” of The Kubby Chronicles, Episode One, which was released today on YouTube.com. The circumstances of Denny’s death are still under investigation by California authorities, but the footage clearly implicates Giuliani. The former mayor of New York — known for his rabid opposition to medical marijuana and for his city’s record-setting marijuana arrest rates, while he was mayor — apparently made an unauthorized entry, accompanied by fellow drug warrior and presidential candidate John McCain, to the cannabis dispensary where the video was being shot. There, he assaulted Denny during a break in filming, while the young patient was receiving his medical marijuana via IV. Denny was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Capitalizing on this senseless tragedy wasn’t in the playbook” says director Doug Scribner. “We just wanted the actors from our 1998 South Park commercial back together again for a screen reunion. But Denny’s grieving parents convinced us that publicizing it may help America stop Giuliani from killing again.” Friends say the young actor, who had been battling cancer for the past two years, had just gone into remission.

Kubby was unavailable for comment and rumored to be accompanying Denny’s body back to Colorado for burial but, says Scribner, “he approved the message before he left.”

Giuliani’s whereabouts are unknown. Local authorities have warned citizens not to approach Giuliani, as he is considered prone to bizarre, and it now seems violent, behavior.

-30-
about 290 words

The Kubby Chronicles, Episode One — The Director’s Cut:
http://www.kubby2008.com/cartoon

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Sorry folks, been too busy to post. But I thought I’d post this since no one else has yet. Our own Michelle Shinghal on Tucker Carlson, thanks to posts by our fellow blogger Steve Gordon.

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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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