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Clinton and ObamaAccording to The Smoking Gun, Jose Antonio Ortiz stabbed his brother-in-law, Sean Shurelds (who was flown to a hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition) due to a disagreement about Hillary Clinton vs Barack Obama.

Yes, you read that right.

Apparently Shurelds supports Obama, and Ortiz supports Clinton. While the two were in the kitchen of someone’s home (it is unclear whose home) Shurelds told Ortiz that Obama was “trashing” Clinton, and Ortiz responded that “Obama was not a realist.”

While for most people that would be pretty much the end of the conversation, not so with these two, for whom those were not just fighting words, they were stabbing words. Ortiz and Shurelds argued, began to choke and punch each other, and eventually Ortiz grabbed a knife and stabbed Shurelds in the abdomen.

Ortiz then went back to doing the dishes, including, of course, the knife he had used to stab his brother-in-law.

Not at all surprisingly, Ortiz has a case of selective memory (not unlike the typical politician), and conveniently denies any memory of the stabbing incident. He has been charged with felony aggravated assault, as well as two misdemeanor counts. Bail has been set at $20,000.

I’m sure Clinton and Obama are proud to have supporters who are willing to go that far for their chosen candidate. Or not.

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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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