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Posted at IPR. See comments/discussion there.



From: Robert Kraus
Subject: LPHQ Attendance at Left of Center Conferences

All:

Please feel free to share this email.

We have been asked by several LP Members to look at “left of center” or “alternative” conferences in the DC area which we could attend to counter the image that we only attend CPAC like events (8,500 attendees).

We have assigned several interns to review the more than 700 such conferences and conventions in the Mid-Atlantic area to determine what might be best for us to attend.

The list includes:

· Powershift 2010 (Powershift 2009 had over 10,000 attendees)

· ACLU Membership Conference (over 5,000 attendees)

· Netroots 2009 (over 2,000 attendees)

· America’s Future Now (formerly Take Back America which had a little under 2,000 attendees)

· National Young Women’s Leadership Conference (500-1000 attendees)

We estimate the cost of attending one of these events at $1500-2500 including booth and materials. We are looking for sponsors who will at least pay for the booth or arrange for a free booth. Obviously the better attended events, which in turn draw more media attention, would be our preferred option.

We are currently scheduled to attend these two “alternative” events (which we already have a sponsor for):

· Capital Pride in DC (200,000 attendees)

· Equality Forum 2009 in Philadelphia (75,000 attendees)

We encourage our regional reps to ask their state chairs to also look at events other than the typical gun show or “CPAC” type conventions as well. The office is here to support them in promoting their event to our email and media lists, on our events page, and enlisting volunteer support. Please remind your states to let us know about their events by simply sending an email to events@lp.org and to email Austin at Austin.petersen@lp.org if they need assistance in staffing their booths.

Thank you!

Robert

Robert S. Kraus

Acting Executive Director

Operations@LP.org

Libertarian National Committee

2600 Virginia Ave NW #200

Washington, DC 20037

Ph: 202.333.0008 x 231

Fx: 703.935.8015

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bill-clinton-in-esquire1

In a move that few, if any, people saw coming, former US President William J. Clinton is set to announce today that he is joining the Libertarian Party. Clinton first hinted at his new political direction back in 1997, but Libertarians didn’t believe him, and not long afterwards called for his impeachment.

“What really did it for me this time was the recent “Monday message” from LP communications director Donny Ferguson that said winning is the most important principle,” President Clinton told IPR’s Paulie over a few lines of coke in a Bessemer, Alabama truck stop restroom. “That’s been my view for many years, and I’m glad to finally find a political party with the balls to say it openly.”

Clinton acknowledged that people may be skeptical of his conversion, but he pointed out “look at my old nemesis Bob Barr. Back in 2002 y’all were working to get him out of Congress. By 2006 he was on your national committee, and two years later he’s your Presidential candidate. If Ol’ Bob can do it, why can’t I?” He also pointed out that former Democratic US Senator Mike Gravel switched from running for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination to that of the Libertarian Party just last year while remaining consistent in his views.

Bill mentioned that he is working on getting his wife Hillary to switch as well, pointing out that she was a Goldwater girl in 1964, and that her best bet to beat Obama in 2012 will be in the general election rather than in the primaries. He also sent a shout out to Alan Greenspan for introducing him to the works of Ayn Rand.

Asked about his future political plans, Clinton told Paulie that he was considering running for LNC as well as a future run for US Congress, and will be starting a new civil rights organization to repeal the 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution. “I was hoping to be appointed Ambassador to the UN, but Obama’s being a total dick about it,” he said. “Just because I was the real first black President doesn’t mean he has to be that way.”

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The poll is at

http://www.lp.org/poll/should-more-troops-be-sent-to-afghanistan.

The LNC resolution which “calls on the government of the United States to withdraw the armed forces of the United States from Afghanistan, without undue delay”, is at http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/lnc-passes-afghanistan-resolution:

At the September meeting of the Libertarian National Committee, the following resolution was passed:

WHEREAS the government of the United States should return to its historical libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, foreign quarrels, and military adventures; and

WHEREAS the stability and security of Afghanistan lie outside the jurisdiction of the government of the United States; and

WHEREAS the Libertarian Party recognizes that the only legitimate role of the military is to defend America against direct attack or the imminent threat of attack;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Libertarian National Committee calls on the government of the United States to withdraw the armed forces of the United States from Afghanistan, without undue delay.

At LewRockwell.com blog, Eric Garris writes:

Today the Libertarian Party national website, LP.org, has posted a poll on their front page:

Should more troops be sent to Afghanistan?
Yes
Maybe
No

The correct libertarian position is, of course, withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. This is not an option on the poll. Someone who holds the correct libertarian position must be satisfied with voting “no,” along with those who want to “stay the course” in Afghanistan.

Does this mean we can expect coming LP polls like this:

Should income taxes be increased?

Should penalties against marijuana users be increased?

If you are an LP member, you might want to tell the national office and the national national committee members (two totally separate entities) how you feel about this:

http://www.lp.org/contact-us

http://www.lp.org/leadership

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I’ve told bits and pieces of this story in response to comments on various threads in various places. Having done so over and over, I feel the need to go ahead and put it all out there now so that everyone has one place to turn to for my perspective as state chair. I’m going to go over this first in timeline format, then share a few additional facts about WV and the ballot access situation for us and other parties. If something in the timeline is a bit confusing, see the facts section for clarification.

December 2007: Bill Redpath approaches then-chair Kirsten Milligan about assisting WV with national party funds for ballot access. I was secretary of the party at that time. Kirsten discussed it with the executive committee, and the concensus we reached was that since we did not have a gubernatorial candidate for 2008, national party funds would be better spent elsewhere, and that we would pursue ballot access in 2012 when we had a gubernatorial candidate so that we could achieve major party status and never have to petition again.

March 2008: Kirsten Milligan resigns, and I become interim chairman.

April 2008: Russ Verney contacts me about the possibility of the Barr campaign going for ballot access in WV if Barr wins the nomination. He seems enthusiastic, and I am as well. Mr. Verney comes across very well, and I’m genuinely looking forward to working with him on this together at that point.

May 2008: I’m elected chairman for a full term. Tad Britch is elected to replace me as secretary.

May 2008: Several Barr campaign folks speak to me about the possibility of ballot access in WV while I’m in Denver as a delegate, both before and after Barr receives the nomination. Shane Corey and Russ Verney are among them. I ask them to keep in touch moving forward, and state that I’d love to bring out whatever volunteers the state party has available, but that we have very little in the way of funds, and not enough to really pay for petitioners. I state that we would like some training for our volunteers who primarily reside in the north-central area of WV. This is the last time I would be in contact with any Barr campaign staff, however. I mention to Paulie and others that I’d like to have them come petition and party with me in WV if the Barr campaign sends some funds to the state party for ballot access.

June 2008: Towards the very end of June, Jake Witmer contacts me, and says they are petitioning. I mention that I’d like to get some volunteers trained from the state party’s volunteer base. Jake states that he is in Charleston (a few hours south of the north-central area, where we have very few activists and likely no volunteers.) Jake tells me Shane Corey is coming to the Charleston area, and that he’ll be contacting me. I ask if any petitioners are active in northern WV. Jake doesn’t know. Jake sends me some documents including petitions.

July 2008: I’m still in contact with Jake every once in a while. I offer to house petitioners in my home since Morgantown/Fairmont/Clarksburg/Bridgeport is a good area for petitioning. He says he has a friend who might take me up on it if his friend is brought in by the Barr campaign. That never occurs. I also mention that several other members of the state party would likely volunteer couch space or an air-bed. Later on, Jake gives me contact info for Shane who is apparently in Charleston. I am never able to get in contact with Shane, and he never attempts to contact me.

August 2008: The Barr campaign fails to meet its deadlines. Our state party volunteer base was never utilized. Barr also fails to register as a certified write-in candidate, so that write-in votes for Barr would be counted.

September 2008: A state party member calls me, asking about the Barr lawsuit. This is the first I’d heard of it.

Now for some facts. Ballot access is a 2% theshhold of prior-election voters in WV. To achieve major party status (which means you get free ballot access without petitioning) you must have a gubernatorial candidate who receives 1% of the popular vote. After the national convention, the only person who I was ever in contact with regarding the ballot access efforts was Jake Witmer. Jake was not equipped to really do what needed to be done, as a petitioner and not someone with any real authority. In the future, ballot access efforts will be undertaken by the LPWV. I firmly believe this will better serve the interests of LP candidates throughout the state as we move forward.  The Constitution Party achieved ballot access by petition in 2008 for their presidential candidate, as did Ralph Nader as an independent.  The Green Party affiliate, which is called the Mountain Party, had major party status and did not need to petition.

- Matt Harris, LPWV Chair

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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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Copied from IPR:

This resolution is going to be brought up at the upcoming LNC meeting in Sandy Eggo, Saturday, December 6 and Sunday, December 7, 2008.  Here’s some more info on that, including the agenda, courtesy of Rachel Hawkridge. The charges are being presented by Stewart Flood, and a summary is attached. Supporting evidence is expected to be made available later in the week.

Resolution of Discipline

Whereas, Angela Keaton has engaged in conduct injurious to the Libertarian Party and
its purposes; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That Angela Keaton’s membership in the Libertarian National Committee is
suspended pursuant to Article 8, Section 5 of the Bylaws of the Libertarian Party; and
further be it

RESOLVED, That the aforementioned suspension is hereby rescinded, contingent upon
a determination by the Secretary that Angela Keaton has submitted within seven days of
the adoption of this resolution a letter for publication in LP News including (and limited
to):

· An apology for being in breach of a board member’s fiduciary duty of loyalty to
the Libertarian Party, publicly declaring her disinterest in the party, providing
material support to another political party and seeking to undermine the success
of and attempting to injure the Libertarian Party and its public image. The
contents of the apology to include the following:

o An apology to the members of the Libertarian Party for seeking to undermine the success of and attempting to injure the Libertarian Party
and its public image by posting on her blog in July 2008, “Friends don’t let friends join the LP” and on September 5, 2008, “The LP is hopeless”

o An apology to the members of the Libertarian Party for violating the fiduciary duty of a board member by joining and providing material
support to a competing political party while serving on the board of the Libertarian Party

o An apology to the members of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire for attempting on August 21, 2008 to sabotage the party’s attempt to win the right to candidate substitution for future elections

o An apology to Wayne Allyn Root and the Libertarian Party for attempting to injure their public images by knowingly publishing on June 13, 2008 false assertions that an indictment on charges of fraud was pending against Mr. Root

o An apology to the members of the Libertarian Party for publicly offering on her blog on June 28, 2008, sexual services in exchange for donations to the Party, and suggesting in Internet interviews on June 20, 2008 and
June 26, 2008 that the Libertarian Party asks her to offer sexual services in exchange for donations to the Party

o An apology to the members of the Libertarian National Committee and to the members of the Libertarian Party for numerous blog posts and
Internet interviews with officers of a competing political party in which the Libertarian Party’s image was harmed with broad-sweeping general
hostility towards the LP, numerous broad insults of her fellow LNC members as being inept, unqualified and not “real” libertarians, and impugning the motives of fellow LNC members for serving on the LNC

o An apology to Bill Redpath for repeatedly asserting in an Internet interview and on blog postings that he has undergone a “lobotomy”

o An apology to Admiral Colley for asserting in an Internet interview on June 20, 2008 that due to his age he is incapable of handling special LNC
projects involving staff management

o An apology to Bob Sullentrup for calling him an “ass” and a “goofball whose activism days were long behind him” in an Internet interview on June 20, 2008

o An apology to Dan Karlan for saying in an Internet interview on June 26, 2008 that he isn’t qualified to be on the LNC

o An apology to the members of the Libertarian Party for asserting in an Internet interview on June 26, 2008, that most LP members who are
concerned about border security are racists

o An apology to the members of the Libertarian Party for misusing donor data to contact major LP donors and falsely telling them that the
Libertarian Party had defrauded them

· An apology for exhibiting a pattern of reckless behavior and poor judgment, potentially exposing the LP to harassment lawsuits, creating an uncomfortable environment for staff and fellow LNC members, and potentially discouraging groups of people from joining the LP. The contents of the apology to include the
following:

o An apology to LP staff member Casey Hansen for violating the LNC Policy Manual Article 1, Section 8.D and risking sexual harassment
accusations by blogging on September 6, 2008, “Nice staff piece of ass, Casey. Dark, young and easy prey for a cougar like myself.”

o An apology to Aaron Starr and the Libertarian National Committee for violating LNC Policy Manual, Article 1, Section 8.D (which prohibits
harassment of LP staff or fellow LNC members with racial epithets and derogatory posters, pictures, cartoons, or drawings) by posting on her blog on June 16, 2008 a photo-shopped image of herself and Mr. Starr portraying him in Darth Vader costume and Hitler moustache and
identifying him as “Darth Herr Vader”

o An apology to the Libertarian National Committee for violating LNC Policy Manual, Article 1, Section 8.D and risking sexual harassment accusations by posting on her blog on September 6, 2008 sexual comments regarding Julie Fox, Heather Scott, Executive Director candidate Donny Ferguson, and Admiral Colley

o An apology to Southerners and Christians for violating LNC Policy Manual Article 1 Section 8.A which states, “All collective deprecation, whether alluding to sex, race, color, national origin, disability, age, religion, or any other protected category, must be avoided. Every person is a unique individual, and as the Libertarian Party is the Party of Individual Liberty, this injunction should doubly apply”, for posting on her blog on June 13, 2008 referring to an LP member from the South as a “hillbilly” and further stating, “All those Christian types married to their uncle cousins look the same to me.”

o An apology to the Libertarian National Committee for offering sex to the LNC officers conditional on the performance of our Presidential candidate by stating in an Internet interview on June 26, 2008, “If Bob Barr breaks
1%, the officers of the national party can pass me around like a pu-pu platter.”

· An apology to the Libertarian Party for violating the confidentiality of the September 7, 2008 Executive Session with a blog post on the same date and also for violating the confidentiality of a February 2008 Executive Session with a blog post on June 15, 2008

· An apology to Stewart Flood for threatening by phone on November 6, 2008, “I could have things done to you.”

· A promise not to commit similar offenses in the future while serving as a member of the Libertarian National Committee

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OK, so this is a bit off-topic, but since Paulie graced me with the ability to post here, I figured I might as well use it to promote something good.  And it is good, and free, and once complete, will benefit our movement.  So perhaps it’s not that off-topic after all.

Anyway, George Donnelly and I have started a project to create a set of web-based tools for pro-liberty organizations, with a specific focus on LP state and local affiliates.  It should also be easily portable to the needs of organizations such as pro-liberty PACs, other pro-liberty parties, etc.  This will be based on some existing open source software projects, tie them together neatly (single sign-on via a unified authentication backend and use of the same AAA cookies), create a single frontend for installation and management, and add some additional tools targetted at our specific audience.

What we need specifically are volunteers who can write PHP code, XHTML/Javascript/AJAX/CSS, folks with extensive MySQL development experience, and possibly some additional Perl and Ruby experience.  PHP developers with user interface experience are probably the highest priority, followed by folks who can do front-end user interface coding.  Let me know if you’re interested. If you post here, I’ll reply via email.

You can check out the project over at http://developer.berlios.de/projects/lptools/

Thanks!

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Over the years, I’ve met many libertarians in different places. In July 2000, it was my pleasure to drive from Texas to London, Ontario (yes, driving to the one in UK would have been more difficult) to meet quite a few. It was there at a conference of the International Society for Individual Liberty that I met Lynn Atherton and her husband Roger Bloxham.

As with most libertarian relationships, our friendship has waxed and waned. We’ve been out of touch for times, and back in touch at others. Nevertheless, we’ve always had a pleasant relationship, based on mutual respect and trust.

Among my many regrets with respect to my ventures in Somalia going so badly awry, due to NATO intervention, was not getting a chance to put Roger’s dry dock technology to work for mutual benefit. The airport we were planning near our sea port would also, likely, have gotten a visit from Roger in one of his home built airplanes. These things were not to be. Many of our conversations include reminiscences.

But, recently, one was about a friend of Lynn’s from Oklahoma. Angela O’Dell had been hired to do ballot access work for the Barr campaign in West Virginia. I gather she is owed several thousand dollars for work actually performed. Moreover, she had contacted Shane Cory of the Barr campaign, who attempted to assure her that she would be paid.

Thus far she has not been paid. Lately, she has come to regret her choice in not making an issue of this matter during the campaign. Happily, just because the election is over doesn’t mean that the Barr campaign wraps up and goes away. They still have money – possibly even some donations still coming in. After they pay their debts, my understanding of federal election law is that the candidate gets to put in his pocket the remaining money. I’ve no idea how much that might be.

Anyway, it seems likely that this obligation doesn’t go away even if the campaign does. So, I am doing my part to help Angela get her money. It is also my intention, here, to continue to make clear to the libertarian community what kind of a guy Shane Cory is. I think we all know he was asked to resign as executive directrix of the LP when he began campaigning against Mary Ruwart while still in his job. He did resign, though the payments to him didn’t stop. I don’t believe he was ever censured for his part in the Andrew Davis press release calling for more federal spending.

As well, I think we all know what Shane said to one of the Campaign for Liberty organisers after the Barr snubgate fiasco. Those words were “go f#ck yourself.”

So, I don’t think he’s much of a man. I doubt he has anything like honor. But, he does have other people to report to. And he might be shamed into paying Angela. That would be nice.

Obviously, she’s asked to be paid. She’s offered to accept a partial payment with more to come later. She’s tried to work with the campaign on a payment plan. It isn’t much money to them – they had money to spend on limousine services to quite a hefty figure. But it is a lot of money to her. And wouldn’t it be nice to see her get paid?

Volunteers and paid petitioners do a lot of the heavy lifting for this community. They go out and get signatures on petitions. They go out and get voters to register for our parties. They go out and face the cops in places, get arrested at times, and do a lot of actual physical work – manning tables, moving things around to set up petition tables, talking for hours on end to people who are interested. They are our faces to the public.

So it would really be nice to treat them decently. It is really shameful that wretched men like Shane Cory get to screw decent, hard working individuals like Angela out of their pay. It is fraud, it is theft, and it is initiatory force.

It isn’t like Shane can do the right thing at this point without apologising for his misconduct and making an act of contrition. He got paid by the campaign, right? For all we know, he was hired and working for the campaign while still executive directrix. We certainly know that he was acting on behalf of one of the candidates for the nomination while he was paid to work for all the members of the party. So we know he’s unethical and sleazy in this way. And we cannot expect that he’s missed a pay check from the Barr campaign.

Angela has suffered. She did the work to get the money, not because the work is grand, not because West Virginia is a desirable destination resort community, but because she needed the money. And she hasn’t been paid. That’s wrong. And it is Shane’s fault. Shane should not only apologise, he should reach into his pocket to pay her interest on the funds she has had to make do without.

For my part, I would like to see him crawl on his hands and knees over broken glass from his home to hers as a thorough going act of contrition. Since I don’t expect him to do so, I don’t intend to forgive him. But I’m tough that way.

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Maybe the LP will nominate this guy next time around.  Seems like a modest improvement to me.

Old, Grizzled Third-Party Candidate May Steal Support From McCain

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I’ve heard a number of genuine, dyed-in-the-wool Libertarians lately talking about *not* voting for the party’s presidential candidate, Bob Barr.  There are a lot of folks who just don’t think he was a good choice and I can understand that.  That said, it’s important to consider all of the facts before making a decision like this one.  In this case, one important fact is that the number of votes for a presidential candidate impacts the number of delegates that one’s state gets to the LP national conventions.  This means that states with more people who support, and hence vote for, Barr are likely to get more national convention delegates than states with Libertarians who will refuse to vote for Barr on principle.  Think about it! Personally, I want the most principled individuals serving as delegates to the LP national conventions.  Of course, this advice is only what it is.  I’m not necessarily urging anyone to take any specific course of action.  What I am doing is urging everyone to consider all of the facts in this, as in any situation, prior to making a final decision.

I’ll be back later to read comments.  For now, I’m off to go vote for Bob Barr.

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I’ve previously listed the LP candidates here, here, here and here. Now, George Donnelly has turned this list into its own website with graphics and continuous updating. George explains:

An Effort to List all LP Candidates

We Libertarians need to know how many candidates we’re fielding for office. Which states are fielding full slates? no slates? Who are the candidates, what do they look like, what is their history, what are their positions and motivations?

This is all very basic but, before Libertarian Party Candidates (LPC), you could not find all this information in one place.

It’s important to see how well (or poorly) we Libertarians are doing at challenging the Republicrat duopoly at the ballot box. Hopefully LPC will serve as a measuring stick and as an incentive to run more and better candidates in 2010, 2012 and beyond.

Background

When Paulie pointed out in July of 2008 that LP.org doesn’t list all the Libertarian Party candidates running for office, it piqued my interest. How can we expect people to support and vote for Libertarian candidates if they don’t even know who they are – or even that they exist?

So, after chatting with Paulie, I decided that Libertarians might like a website where they can find all LP candidates in one convenient place.

Thanks to Paulie, the state parties and others that have collected the raw information presented here. All I did was design the site and enter the data.

Future Years

The site was built in a hurry during my spare time in the last couple weeks of July 2008, but I plan to significantly improve it for 2010 and beyond. Your sugestions and comments will help make that a reality.

Please Share your Feedback

Please feel free to contact me, George Donnelly, at me@georgedonnelly.com with any suggestions, ideas, complaints or whatever. I’m open to developing the project in new directions. I’m also interested in other strategies to advance the cause of liberty.

According to the site, the LP is running

* 15 for US Senate
* 109 for US House
* 5 for State Governor
* 4 for State Lt. Governor
* 1 for State Treasurer
* 3 for State Attorney General
* 2 for State Auditor
* 22 for Other State Offices
* 42 for State Senates
* 216 for State Houses
* 3 for Local Executives
* 26 for Local Legislatures
* 6 for Judge
* 12 for Sherriff or Constable
* 78 for Other Local Offices
* 546 Total LP candidates

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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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Press release posted on the LP Radicals yahoo group. Starchild has had various offices in the San Francisco and California LP, and is one of the spokespeople for this initiative.

The San Francisco Department of Elections announced today that the measure prohibiting city officials from spending money arresting and prosecuting people for prostitution, and mandating equal legal protection for sex workers, has qualified for the November ballot. Of 500 signatures randomly sampled and checked by department personnel, 80 percent were found to be valid. “This is a happy day for San Franciscans who want government to focus on fighting real crimes like homicides and robberies, and are tired of seeing resources wasted in a futile effort to police consensual sex between adults,” said Starchild, a sex worker activist and spokesperson for the campaign. “We’ve cleared the first hurdle.” By the Elections Department’s tally, supporters had turned in 12,745 signatures of registered San Francisco voters on July 7.

The campaign to decriminalize prostitution will hold a kickoff rally and press conference to formally announce the results on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. in front of the Polk Street entrance of City Hall, with
speakers to likely include Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who was a signer of the petition to put the measure on the ballot along with two of his board colleagues. “It is way past time that the
recommendations of the Board of Supervisors 1996 Prostitution Task Force were implemented,” said the measure’s proponent, Maxine Doogan. “Criminalizing sex workers has been putting workers at risk of violence and discrimination for far too long.”

The prostitution reform measure joins two other voter-submitted measures on the local Nov. 4 ballot, along with eight measures put on the ballot by the mayor or members of the Board of Supervisors, with many others expected to be added in the next several weeks.

Starchild – (415) 621-7932 / (415) 368-8657 / RealReform@…
Maxine Doogan – (415) 265-3302 / MistressMax@…

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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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Kn@ppsterI found this entry on Thomas Knapp’s blog, Kn@ppster, and found it quite interesting. Here is an excerpt; you can read it in its entry in its entirety at the link:

I’m not one for silver bullets—no one thing will put third party candidates into contention for the presidency—but some changes just make sense. One of those changes is nominating earlier. My recollection is that the Libertarian Party used to nominate its presidential candidates the year before the election. Andre Marrou was nominated for president in 1991. Ron Paul was nominated in 1987. And so on, and so forth. It was only in 1996 that the LP moved its nominating convention into the year of the election itself.

Late nominating conventions handicap third parties. We can’t expect the kind of pre-nomination media coverage that “major party” candidates get. The sooner a party positions itself behind a nominee, the sooner that nominee has access to the party’s full pool of presidential contributors and can get to work reaching beyond the party to the American public. It’s all well and good to hope that a pre-nomination third party candidate will “break out” and catch the mainstream media eye … but it seldom works out that way.

I think Tom Knapp makes a very good point. As far as I can see, the only downside to nominating earlier is that third parties won’t get any media attention at all during the primaries. Right now they don’t get much, but it does get them at least mentioned in many newspapers.

Then again, can the third parties overcome that negative, and list their presidential nominee on the primary ballot, as just one candidate for that office? I’m honestly not sure. If so, it would look in the press as if that one candidate has a great deal of support within the party, rather than as it is now when it appears to the public that each candidate receives a little support here, and a little support there. Making third party candidates appear to have overwhelming support during the primaries can only be a good thing.

On the other hand, many third party voters wouldn’t even bother to vote during the primaries, if they knew their candidate had already been chosen, so there may be no reason to mention them at all in the mainstream media.

It’s a complicated issue, and one which should be thoroughly explored.

_________________________________

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

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

It is very interesting to see the “political courage test”, which pins the candidates down on the issues. Unfortunately, it appears that most mainstream candidates (including all of the presidential frontrunners from both major parties, and including Ron Paul) have refused to complete the quiz portion. However, Barack Obama did complete the questionnaire when he was running for the Senate, which gives a good insight into how he views the issues; while Hillary Clinton and Ron Paul both refused to complete it even when they were running for Congress. There is no older questionnaire information for any of the other frontrunners.I think it’s obvious why candidates wouldn’t want to complete it, since it can later easily be used against them. Accordingly, I think any candidate which refuses to answer those questions should be viewed with suspicion.

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

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

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

Originally posted on Adventures in Frickintardistan

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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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