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Gary Johnson and Students for Liberty 2016

28 Feb

Students for Libertarian 2016, the 9th annual international Students for Liberty, felt a bit smaller than the 8th, which had nearly 2,000 attendees from every inhabited continent.

Held, like last year’s conference, at the Wardman Park Hotel in Woodley Park between the National Zoo and downtown Washington, D.C., there seemed to be fewer students from African and Asian chapters than in 2015, though eastern European and Latin American chapters were well represented, and activists and chapters and events from Latin America were nominated for and won many awards.

Friday night began with an excursion for gay libertarians to a local gay disco, a panel on the election with columnist George Will and reason magazine editors Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie, as well as an interview with a founder of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot, who wore a Bernie Sanders T-shirt and asked the attendees to support Bernie Sanders.

The Koch brothers partially funded the conference, donating $100,000 toward its budget.  So in a way, besides Charles Koch’s recent op ed on how Bernie Sanders is right that the system is rigged, ISFLC16 represented a kind of donation from the Kochs to the Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

The pro-Bernie theme continued during the annual taping of a John Stossel show at ISFLC.  Stossel’s show (to air this coming Friday) will be much more lackluster than usual, with 5 segments, with a mainly female guest list, most discussing the campaign including Sanders.  One, Jerry Taylor of the not-so-popular, “liberaltarian” Niskanen Institute, will be promoted in teasers as a libertarian endorsing Bernie (there is such a person, Terry Michaels, a former DNC spokesperson and contributor to reason).  But Taylor really argued that libertarians should give up being principled and should become advocates of an expanded welfare state combined with a reduced regulatory state, like northern European countries that now outrank the U.S. on the various indices of economic freedom.  In another segment the glamorous Emily Eakin (PhD) discusses poling results, millennial voters, and Sanders.

Overall ISFLC was somewhat muted.  Besides Will, the major dinner speaker was P.J. O’Rourke.  Other speakers included imprisoned internet entrepreneur Ross Ulbricht’s mom Lynn, NSA whistle blower Thomas Drake, Vermin Supreme, and the Prince of Lichtenstein.  (Previous year’s speakers or Stossel guests included Mexican President Vincente FOX, shock jock Ann Coulter, civil liberties martyr Edward Snowden, and film maker Oliver Stone.)

Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders – Progress?

24 Sep

Back in 1980 there was also a junior varsity table at the presidential debates, not within the GOP primary, but for the “third” parties.  Barry Commoner, presidential candidate for the Citizens’ Party (precursor to the Greens), debated Ed Clark, the Libertarian.

I was something like 19 and I attended.  I believe it was in Madison, Wisconsin. (I worked on the Clark campaign).  But there is no internet evidence (there was no internet then).  (If anyone has video I’d love to upload it.)  The high point was when Clark, an ARCO lawyer, accidentally said something about reducing the military budget and abolishing regulatory agencies so “America could be a prosperous company again.”  To which Commoner said “Thank you Dr. Freud.”

Barry Commoner

Today there is a petition to have an update of this event with Republican Rand Paul and now Democrat Bernie Sanders.  From Ben Swann’s TruthInMedia website:

I’d tune in for this!  Petition!

“As debates for the 2016 presidential election ramp up, one question on the minds of many liberty lovers is this: what would a Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul debate look like?

It was just two weeks ago at a meeting of the Kentucky Republican Party that Sen. Rand Paul reportedly told activist Donald Meinshausen that he was willing to debate Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders “anytime, anyplace.”

Discussions are bubbling up across the Internet about getting Sanders and Paul on stage together for what many expect would be a lively discussion on topics ranging from NSA mass surveillance to the drug war, health care to net neutrality.

We at Truth In Media have tuned into these discussions and hear you loud and clear. That’s why we’ve taken matters into our own hands to prepare what could be the most influential dialogue of the 2016 presidential election— a town hall event this fall in an important battleground state, New Hampshire, with these two candidates.

We are actively in dialogue with both candidates, but we need your help to make this happen.”

Want to see it happen too?!  Sign the petition 

And then share the link! For Liberty!

Democrats demand more debate

17 Sep

This was published earlier today at Breitbart.

A few hours before the second GOP presidential debates were scheduled for this evening, over 50 Democrats protested  outside the Democratic National Committee’s multi-million dollar office complex on South Capitol Street on Capitol Hill, demanding that DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz allow more debate.

The crowd was about two-thirds supporters of former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, whose administration lost his state to the GOP in 2014, and one third supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, with a couple of Lyndon Larouche fans on the sidelines to promote their arcane economic theologies.

The crowd had only a few chants, “1, 2, 3, 4…debates we want More!…” and “No debates, no peace!” offered with self-conscious irony.  Finally they settled on “We want debates, not GOP hate!,” indicating that they may not know which party’s national committee is keeping them from having more debate.

Sponsored by a group called AllowDebates, founded by Ben Doernberg, a 2013 Wesleyan grad (sociology) (whose interim work was for a non-profit at Harvard studying the internet), the group demanded that the DNC allow more than 6 debates, noting that in 2008 there were 28 face offs between John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the other Democrats aiming for their parties nomination.

No mainstream or liberal media covered the protest of the attempted Hillary coronation, with the most visible media presence being the tea party television channel, One America News Network, which has limited availability in only 15 million homes.

Doernberg said his group wanted to meet Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz to give her petitions signed by 23,000 Democrats demanding more debates.  After 30 minutes of chanting, the largely pajama boy (and girl) crowd of bearded, mainly white, grad student types, had only seen armed security guards posted at the DNC entrance preventing them from taking their petitions inside.  Democrats seem to be having the same rebellion against their party establishment seen in the GOP, thought pitchforks and torches haven’t appeared.  Yet.

Can the Empire Strike Back? Has the Two Party Duopoly Began to Unravel?

19 Aug

Leftovers on Bernie Sanders

10 Aug
From a fundraising solicitation:

Bernie, speak up!

When we surveyed RootsAction supporters nineteen months ago, more than 80 percent said they wanted Senator Bernie Sanders to run for president.

That wish has come true. With a strong grassroots campaign, Bernie is eloquent as he denounces corporate power, economic inequality and “oligarchy.”

But he’s saying very little about crucial issues of war, militarism and foreign policy.

Militarism and oligarchy go together. Click here to urge Bernie Sanders to say so.

As of now, on his campaign’s official website, the page headlined “Bernie Sanders: On the Issues” says nothing at all about foreign policy, war or any other such topics.

So far, Bernie’s stump speech hardly mentions the huge military budget — and does not talk about how it is a massive roadblock for the scale of public investment in education, infrastructure and jobs that he is advocating.

Click here and put your name on the petition we’re launching today — “Bernie Sanders, Speak Up: Militarism and Corporate Power Are Fueling Each Other.”

While invoking the name and spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., so far in this campaign Bernie has detoured around Dr. King’s essential antiwar message.

Just days ago, Bernie addressed the organization that King led, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The long speech was eloquent, but you’d never know from it thatthe United States is now in its fourteenth year of continuous warfare. In fact, the only time Bernie’s speech used the word “war” was in the phrase “war on drugs.” The only mention of the war industry was a two-second reference to the “military-industrial complex.”

Bernie’s speech to the SCLC paid resounding tribute to Dr. King but made no mention of his antiwar leadership. From Bernie’s speech, you wouldn’t have a clue that King explicitly and emphatically linked the issues of economic injustice at home with war abroad.

Bernie Sanders is one of only two sitting U.S. senators who joined the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King spoke about his dream. King’s life was cut short five years later as he campaigned for expanded federal programs and a “poor people’s bill of rights” — not only organizing for economic uplift but also an end to what he called “the madness of militarism.”

Click here to urge Bernie Sanders not to bypass this pivotal truth: Adequate funds for programs of economic equity and social justice will require an end to the “madness of militarism” that persists today.

Ongoing war and huge military spending continue to be deeply enmeshed with basic economic ills from upside-down priorities. As the National Priorities Project has documented, 54 percent of the U.S. government’s discretionary spending now goes to military purposes.

To urge Bernie to make clear on the campaign trail how corporate power and the nation’s war machinery are fueling each other, click here.

Overcoming militarism is just as vital as overcoming oligarchy. We won’t be able to do one without the other.

Thank you!

After signing the petition, please forward this message to your friends. You can also share it from the webpage after taking the action yourself.

This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $3 now. 

— The Team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.

Bernie Sanders campaign website: “On the Issues”
National Priorities Project: “Military Spending in the United States”
Bernie Sanders: Speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Bernie, Black America, and Leftover Paranoia and Conspiracy Theories

9 Aug
As Texas libertarian activist Corie Stephens observed weeks ago “Bernie Sanders: The candidate of far-left ideologues imbued with infinite amounts of white privilege and shielded from the economic impact of their socialist fantasies.”  And Bernie Sanders campaign events, largely attended by white yuppie leftovers, are now being protested by #BlackLivesMatter activists.  (It’s kind of rich that this Sanders event is held in front of a Starbucks.)

How much this is because BLM peeps are attention whores, how much because they are upset the Democrats only have old 70 year old white candidates running, and how much because they are concrete-bound sheeple who think socialism served up by their party must focus specifically on racially inflected programs I don’t know.  Perhaps they even have some cognition that issues like police brutality or mismanaged state schools and lack of economic opportunity in urban areas have been persistent failures of the Democratic Party.

On social media, Bernie supporters and other pro-regressives are now claiming #BlackLivesMatter is funded by the Koch brothers.

Thursday’s recommended reading – #Koch digest

30 Jul