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Training the feral Libertarian

19 Oct
The Libertarian Party national office offered a very fiscally prudent training to a few dozen Libertarian candidates and campaign managers and candidate recruiters this weekend, that they hope to reproduce around the country.

Toasted Libertarians:  Wes Benedict (far left); Virginia state delegate candidates
Carl Loser (Richmond) and Andy Bakker (Alexandria) (far right)

The two day weekend class, with a Friday night party at the LP national headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, a Saturday night Potomac cruise and restaurant and bar crawl in Georgetown and Foggy Bottom, and a Sunday post-workshop excursion to the National Mall, cost only $40 ($25 for extremely early bird registrants.)  Frugally held at a $99 a night motel just outside the Beltway, the LP’s fiscal austerity got it coverage in The Washington Times

Libertarian Party’s Carla Howell on the so-called "shutdown"

8 Oct

Libertarian Party Political Director Carla Howell on the NSA

23 Aug

Carla Howell on the 4th Amendment

23 Aug


5 Jul

Disgruntled citizens from around the nation’s capital gathered on Independence Day to rally against the U.S. government’s domestic surveillance practices at a protest inspired by recent revelations of the breadth of these programs.
“The abuse of power isn’t the problem,” Carla Howell, executive director of the Libertarian Party, told a crowd in downtown Washington, D.C.’s McPherson Square. “The problem is the power to abuse.”
The Libertarian Party was an official sponsor of Thursday’s Restore The Fourth protests, Howell said. Besides the one in Washington, Restore The Fourth saw events take place in cities around the country, including New York, Denver, Los Angeles, and Chicago, according to the organizers’website.
Howell and a roster of other speakers decried the National Security Agency’s now notorious PRISM program, the use of drones for domestic surveillance, and the FBI’s warrantless searches and seizures, among other alleged abuses. By turns, they commended whistle-blowers, including Edward Snowden, who have revealed what Thursday’s crowd viewed as violations of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin, who was arrested last week at a White House protest against the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, invited the crowd to send letters to Bradley Manning and attend his trial, in which he is being tried for multiple crimes after releasing government secrets to WikiLeaks in 2010.
IMG_2384She was seen later chatting with Thomas Drake, an earlier NSA whistle-blower who also spoke at the event.
“It’s very encouraging to know that we’re having rallies all over the country. It’s about time — I mean, my gosh,” Drake told The College Fix. “We have to shake the tree of liberty, and that’s what’s happening right now.”
Protesters came from around the region to demonstrate on Thursday, some carrying signs and wearing Guy Fawks masks. When helicopters flew overhead, eyes turned upwards, but police presence was low and no arrests were observed.
Julie Ershadi is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College
(Photos by Julie Ershadi)

Restore the Fourth rallies across country

2 Jul

Libertarians speaking at Restore the Fourth protests on July 4

Restore the Fourth
Protesters in cities across America will gather on July 4, 2013, to demand that the U.S. government adhere to its constitutionally dictated limits demanded by the Fourth Amendment.

The rallies are being organized by Restore the Fourth, a grassroots, nonpartisan, nonviolent movement spurred by revelations made by whistle blower Edward Snowden of the government’s widespread practice of spying on Americans without a warrant.
The July 4 demonstrations seek to demand an end to the unconstitutional surveillance methods employed by the U.S. government.
Libertarian National Committee Executive Director Carla Howell will speak at 12:30 P.M. at the Washington, D.C., rally being held at McPherson Square from 12:00 noon until 2:00 P.M. Libertarian candidate for Virginia House of Delegates District 53, Anthony Tellez, will speak at 1:15 P.M.
Here’s a list of other cities in the process of organizing rallies:

“Draw a line in the sand when it comes to our digital privacy rights”
That was me on CNN last week. I appeared on BloombergTV a few days before that to keep the heat on lawmakers who aren’t willing to defend our online privacy in the wake of NSA revelations.
That’s why I signed this:
I’d appreciate it if you’d take a look at my latest blog post, excerpting a passage from Without Their Permission that is eerily prescient…
Just this morning I found a polite note in my Dropbox from the federal agent who investigated a “suspicious” photo I’d privately stored there from a family vacation….click to read the rest
And that’s why I’ll be attending a Restore the Fourth Rally on July 4th in my hometown of NYC. I hope you’ll attends yours.

Wes Benedict returns to Libertarian Party national HQ

29 Jun
Mr. Benedict left the Executive Director position to move to Louisiana, get married, and run a political action committee funded by an angel donor that supported Libertarian candidates.  His new book on the Libertarian Party is now being published.

Wes was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He has lived and worked throughout the U.S. and overseas but recently moved back to Baton Rouge.

Wes served from July 17, 2009 to December 31, 2011 as Executive Director of the Libertarian National Committee in the Libertarian Party’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. He previously served as Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Texas. There he broke records and made Texas one of the best performing state Libertarian Party chapters. He recruited a record 173 LP candidates for office in Texas for the November 2008 elections, which was 29 percent of the nationwide LP total.

Wes holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Texas. He has previously bought and sold a kitchen and bath countertop manufacturing business, and he has worked as a management consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and a manufacturing engineer for 3M Company.

On Fri, June 28, 2013 at 4:05 PM, Geoffrey Neale wrote:
Nothing is final yet, but we are down to working out the minor details. At this time I’d like to let everyone know not only where we are, but where we are going.
Carla Howell will continue to serve as Executive Director through July 31, 2013.
Effective August 1, 2013, Carla Howell will take on the role of Political Director.
Also effective August 1, 2013, Wes Benedict will start as Executive Director.
First off, some caveats. We all have established all of the “bullet points” of the necessary contracts, but we have not yet worked out all of the contract wording, which will not take much longer.
Once we have the contracts worked out, they must be reviewed and approved by our legal counsel.
Then the contracts must be reviewed by the LNC EPCC committee (which is comprised of James Lark, William Redpath and Mark Hinkle).
Then the ED contract must be approved by the entire LNC.
I am very excited about the prospect of having two “heavy weights” on our staff. I hope all of you are as well.
I will now ask some questions that I’m sure you will be thinking of.
Do we have the budget for this staff change? Yes – the contracts will fall within our 2013 budget.
Was Wes involved in the decision to have Carla take on the PD role? Yes – this will not work unless all parties are on board.
Please feel free to ask more, though I will not divulge much of the contract terms outside of Executive Session.
Geoffrey Neale
Libertarian National Committee

LNC chair does not renew Executive Director Carla Howell’s contract

24 Jun

Libertarian National Committee chair does not renew Executive Director Carla Howell’s contract

24 Jun

“Please consider this to be my official notice to the LNC that, under my authority as Chair, I have decided to NOT extend or renegotiate the existing contract with Carla Howell.

I am currently evaluating my options regarding a replacement, and will update you all at some later point in time.

In the meantime, I will not disclose my reasoning for this decision in any public forum, but will be happy to do so during Executive Session during our upcoming LNC meeting.

For the record, I have offered to employ Ms. Howell on a month to month basis under the same compensation and benefits terms as are currently in effect during my search for a new Executive Director.
Geoffrey Neale
Libertarian National Committee”

 Mr. Neale’s term as national chair also ends in 11 months, when there is an election for a new Chairperson of the Libertarian National Committee at the 2014 Libertarian Party national convention in Columbus, Ohio.