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Ron Paul takes a shot at Gary Johnson?

3 Oct

People who viewed this on FOX tell me it was obvious that the interviewer deliberately interrupted Congressman Paul mid-sentence so it would seem like he was endorsing Jill Stein over Gary Johnson.

This is part of a pattern of media spin to attack Gary Johnson:  he didn’t recognize “Aleppo” as a reference to the Syrian refugee crisis and civil war (which obviously most people refer to as “Syria,” since millions then had to google “Aleppo” after the story was spun); he couldn’t recall Vincente Fox’s name (though he knew the only foreign leader he admired was the President of Mexico who has spoken around the world condemning the drug war) when asked about foreign leaders he admired – and this was spun as not knowing the names of ANY foreign leaders.  Likewise when William Weld said Hillary had paper-qualifications or Trump had not violated any tax laws, the press quoted these sound bites out of context as if they were endorsements.

Ron Paul: Jill Stein is more libertarian than Gary Johnson: Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein is preferable to Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson on at least some issues, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul said Monday. I said if the independents, who don’t know what to do and who should they pick, I say if you tend to lean towards progressivism and liberalism and you’re interested in expressing yourself, you can vote for the Green Party, he said on MSNBC. I think she’s probably best on foreign policy at the moment. But on Gary Johnson, he does not come across with a crisp libertarian message. Related Story: Paul, who was the libertarian nominee for president in 1988, stressed that he hasn’t endorsed anyone yet. I have not told any supporters who are interested for whom they should vote, he said.

Trump and the Libertarians

6 May

This was published yesterday at Breitbart.  Since it was published, Mary Matalin joined the Libertarian Party and rumors surfaced that Trump might select Rand Paul as his Veep.

Bill Kristol appeared on WMAL’s morning conservative talk radio show, “Mornings on the Mall,” Thursday morning, breaking news that he is trying to find donors for a conservative third party run against Donald Trump if he is nominated as the Republian candidate for president.

Among the liberal Republicans there is also splintering.
Breitbart broke the story earlier this week that Donald Trump’s impending success in winning the GOP nomination was causing fractures in Republican Party delegations, as one DC GOP delegate, Rina Shah, was decertified as a delegate to the GOP nominating convention for saying publicly that she planned to vote for Hillary if Trump was nominated.
The DC Republican Party is something of an outlier.  It’s national committee man and woman, lawyer Bob Kabel and real estate developer Jill Homan, are both (openly) gay, as is its chairman, financial manager Jose Cunningham.  It’s executive director, Patrick Mara, though a happily married heterosexual and new dad, was the first DC candidate some years back to endorse gay marriage over civil unions, and the DC Republican Party supports gay marriage in its platform, and did so before the DC Democratic party did.  (Only the DC and Delaware GOP affiliates supported gay marriage in their platforms before the Supreme Court enacted it).
Perhaps coincidentally, Homan and Mara both fall into another faction of the current GOP:  Homan, a former campaigner for Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich, the Republican precursor to Larry Hogan, says she describes herself as “trending libertarian,” and Mara has been known to use the “L” word (lower case) to describe his brand of socially liberal, fiscally conservative Republicanism.
The “libertarian wing” of the Republican Party has been having spasms this week over Trump, and google searches for “Libertarian Party” shot up after Trump’s latest win.  Membership applications and donations to the Libertarian Party have doubled since Trump won the Indiana primary, with 100 people joining daily.
Congressman Justin Amash, PACster Matt Kibbe, and former Congressman Ron Paul are libertarian Republicans on the list of those pledged to never support  Trump. Senator Rand Paul doesn’t have any plans to endorse Trump, though Senator Paul has had no difficulty in the past endorsing Mitt Romney or campaigning pointedly for Republican gubernatorial candidates like Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia in 2013, when unusually successful Libertarian Party candidates like Robert Sarvis started polling over 5%.  George Will, who has evolved into a libertarian fellow traveler, blurbing CATO Institute books and speaking to libertarianish groups (as I write this he is introducing transsexual Christian libertarian economic historian Dierdre McCloskey tonight at the American Enterprise Institute), wrote an editorial predicting Trump will cause the GOP to lose both the House and Senate.  Dave Nalle, the former national chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a group of libertarians inside the GOP, has switched parties at least temporarily, and will be a delegate to the Libertarian Party nominating convention in Orlando, May 26-30, where he hopes to help nominate former Republican Governor Gary Johnson, who has been appealing to GOP voters in the #NeverTrump movement.  Asked why he was switching parties, Nalle answered: ““Nominating Johnson gives Republicans who cannot stomach Trump an acceptable option other than Hillary. I blame the party leadership for its failure to support a reasonable alternative to Trump. They would rather let the party die at the hands of bigoted yahoos who do not believe in Republican values than accept the need for serious internal reform and platform changes which would attract new voters to the party. This completes a process of debasement of the party that began when leadership tried to expand the party base by welcoming radical groups which were driven out of the Democratic Party. Trumpism is the price we pay for not realizing that there are principles which are more important than winning elections.”
This week one of the DC GOP’s other 19 delegates (not Ms. Shah), invited me, as a local DC Libertarian, to lunch, to beg me to get Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party to run an aggressive, but ideologically moderate, campaign to appeal to Republicans who can’t vote for Trump.  This Republican delegate – DC’s delegates are all pledged to Rubio or Kasich  – had also tried to meet with Libertarian Party national director Wes Benedict, but had only managed to get a 15 minute phone pitch, where he made the same points.  When I told my lunch partner I actually thought Libertarian candidates for Congress should appeal to Trump voters (he may not have read my previous “Two Libertarian Cheers for Donald Trump”), he was horrified.  Supporting Donald Trump as a wrecking ball aimed at the political class and as someone who was energizing independents and non-voters is, according to my lunchmate, “anti-intellectual,” because Trump doesn’t always articulate the correct policy proposals.
So the libertarians, in the GOP and in the LP, are of two minds.  Some think Trump will drive many Republican voters to vote for Gary Johnson.  As Zuri Davis, an editorial assistant at the Rand Paulish webzine Rare told her friends, “My vote will be going towards the Libertarian Party in November.”  

But other Libertarians are supporting Trump.  Well known libertarian economist and author Walter Block, started a group of Libertarians for Trump., whose website aggregates pro-Trump articles by libertarianish authors like David Stockman.  The Chief Operating Officer for Libertarians for Trump is Martin Moulton, the 2014 Libertarian Party candidate for D.C. Shadow Representative to Congress, the top Libertarian vote getter in DC’s last election.   Moulton explains his support: “Now that Mr. Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee we seek to support the candidate most likely to win the 2016 presidential election and advance Libertarian policies. If a registered LP candidate does not gain the national attention and votes needed to beat Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trumps’s consistent calls to reevaluate NATO’s relevance, question interventionist disasters and financial losses, and his promise to audit the Federal Reserve in his first 100 days, make him the most likely 2016 candidate to successful enact and realize Libertarian solutions for all Americans.” 

At this date there are no known delegates to the Libertarian nominating convention supporting Trump.  So unlike the GOP, the LP may not have to take moves to decertify any delegates.

Two Libertarian Cheers for Donald Trump

26 Oct
This was published last night at Breitbart.

President Obama’s management of foreign policy – droning hundreds of innocent bystanders (more than did President Bush), bombing a hospital and killing 22 doctors and patients, arming ISIS terrorists  – may be precipitating a realignment of Americans in their views on foreign policy.

This week GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Jeb Bush debated whether George Bush kept America safe during his administration, since 9/11 did happen on George Bush’s watch.  It’s not the kind of thing you are supposed to say, just as you aren’t supposed to cast aspersions on Senator John McCain’s war record.  Saying things like that are supposed to get you chased out of American political life.  But Trump keeps saying them, and he doesn’t become any less popular.  His poll numbers may include a swath of that 40% of the electorate that had simply stopped voting in Presidential elections and that previously wasn’t being counted.

Trump’s argument is that Bush didn’t have policies to control the entry of would be terrorists into the United States.  (He could have added that we seemed not to have had anti-aircraft weapons protecting the Pentagon, and as Lawrence White wrote in his Pulitzer prize winning book on 9/11, The Looming Towers, the earlier Clinton administration had been offered Osama bin Laden by the Sudanese government, when it had detained him, and the Clinton regime had helped make 9/11 possible by preventing the FBI and CIA from sharing information).

So far Trump’s challenge has mainly been used by CNN’s Jake Tapper as the second part of his audition for a better paying gig at ABC, NBC, or CBS (the first part having been his GOP debate moderation).  Tapper is appealing to the Democratic Party broadcast organs by doing the regular progressive riff of invoking the oldest moral fallacy, “Eve did it too!”  How can we blame Hillary for letting an Ambassador and three other Americans be murdered in Libya if we do not criticize Bush for letting 3,000 people die in 9/11?

I don’t think many, outside of the hard core Democratic base of low information voters, will be fooled by Tapper’s sophistry, and Rush Limbaugh thoroughly discredited his attempt at an analogy this week, as a craven ploy to provide cover for Mrs. Clinton before she appears at the Benghazi hearing.

The longer lasting and more interesting aspect is Trump’s recurring support of parts of a non-interventionist foreign policy, including his attempt to cite evidence that he too opposed the Iraq war long before anyone else did and his call for getting out of the middle east and letting Russia be trapped in the quagmire.  Trump has actually adopted large helpings of Senator Rand Paul’s (and Congressman Ron Paul’s) foreign policy.  It’s just that he did it without an ideology and without seeming petulant or anti-American.  And perhaps because of this is leading in the GOP primary field with a plurality of the voters supporting him.

Let’s stop and reflect on an this.  Around the world we have people most American’s would like to help, in principle:  Kurds, Syrian and Iraqi Christians, Ukranians.  We’d like to help them though we are already trillions in debt and we don’t really want to be embroiled in foreign wars.  The only argument that would really move us to intervene is that if we don’t the forces attacking these people – ISIS or other terrorists, Putin and his surrogates – will find their way to the American homeland.

But what’s actually been happening?  We built a multi-trillion dollar military empire and it did in fact fail to prevent 9/11.  And now it is in the hands of an anti-American President who is using the resources of that empire to hurt American interests.  And all our allies have become reliant on American protection, which isn’t actually there for them, much as if they were on the dole waiting for Obama’s stimulus to finally produce for them a shovel ready job.  That protection has been outsourced to Russia.  Where the working conditions will not be nearly so pleasant.

Among the orthodox libertarian non-interventionists this week, there were several conferences on foreign policy.  Tuesday the Cato Institute hosted a panel, open to the public, for the book Perilous Partners, on how making allies with local tyrants may have hurt American foreign policy, followed by the second annual Cato conference on Surveillance  (at the inaugural surveillance conference last year Edward Snowden skyped in).  But there was also a panel NOT open to the public or the press, that almost no one knows about, on the threat posed by Chinese expansion, hosted by the Charles Koch Institute.  One of the participants reported to me that the information presented, by PhDs who are former marines now teaching at the various military colleges, was chilling.  China is building aircraft carriers and other craft, and building fake islands in international waters so it can claim those waters as part of its own territory.  It’s interesting that the Kochs (who do do business in Asia) sponsored this.  Earlier this fall they had a panel for Congressional staffers which mainly just covered survey data on how millennials were much less willing to support an interventionist foreign policy.

It may be time for a “deconfliction” among foreign policy factions within – and outside of – the GOP.  One would have to start by convincing some libertarians that supporting a smaller military and less military spending doesn’t commit one to Essenic vows of celibacy and austerity – if in the world as it is now the federal government has monopolized all the weapons and other resources one might donate to Kurds or Yazidis or Ukranians or Poles to defend themselves, then one might want to donate them, just as one might use the public library or the public school rather than stay home and be illiterate,  even while simultaneously working for expanded school choice.  And then you’d have to convince the foreign policy hawks that if they really care about America, and don’t want another Obama or Biden as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and American foreign policy, they have to agree to a smaller, less expensive military and a less interventionist foreign policy, in order to get those with libertarian or non-interventionist leanings – including the Trump supporters – on board.

It’s Ron Paul’s birthday today

20 Aug

The week’s libertarian coverage

10 Aug

Ron Paul field operative trains Kurdish fighters

26 Jun
I first met Zach Huff when he was 15, at Nellie’s, a gay sports bar in D.C.
I had organized some libertarians to join me in sort of crashing or joining a Log Cabin Republican happy hour.
Eileen, a libertarian woman I knew, then in D.C. to finish a master’s degree in public policy, was sitting with me at a tall bar table having burgers, fries and beer.  We were probably wearing some Ron Paul buttons, hoping to proselytize the Log Cabin peeps for Dr. Paul.
Then this young guy showed up, Zach Huff, about 5’7″ maybe.  He was an intern in the Ron Paul/Campaign for Liberty office in northern Virginia.  A woman managing the office, Allison Gibbs (now semi-retired from politics) had sent Zach to represent (maybe not realizing it was a bar more than a restaurant).
Young Zach told us he was a sophomore and all about his working for the Paul campaign and his life back home in the Pacific northwest.  We kept offering to buy him a beer, since he was not 21, and we were having beer.  He declined.  (When I was a college sophomore you could buy beer at 18, so, libertarian that I am, I don’t consider college sophomores to be underage drinkers.)  Toward the end of the evening we asked Zach what his major was, and I was horrified to learn that he was a high school sophomore and I had been offering to buy a 15 year old kid beer at a gay happy hour.
I’m glad he didn’t accept our offer.
Read the rest at Breitbart.

New Ron Paul movie seeks funding

1 Jun

My production company Spectrum Video & Film is working with N.Y. Times best selling author and national radio host Charles Goyette in crowdfunding an official documentary on Ron Paul. Spectrum traveled to Houston in January to get Paul on camera for the Kickstarter project, which launched Monday.

Ron Paul has been a national political figure for five decades and has only now agreed to participate in a documentary on his career and message of liberty. True to the man, he is humbled by the notion that he is deserving of such a film. With Congressman Paul’s input the documentary will highlight how he fought the policies that inhibit our freedom and how the Ron Paul Revolution brought young people to become interested in the state of the country. Paul is famous for his campaign money bombs and what better way to show that, than with a grassroots Kickstarter campaign.

We hope we can count on your support in this important cause, the cause of freedom and prosperity.

To get the details go to  Empire of Lies: The Ron Paul Documentary

Thank you,

Ken Liljegren