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Typical journalism in the year of fake news?

12 Dec

So while journalists who produce fake news are still running about producing fake news, and putting an unsourced press release from some subset of CIA agents at the top of the fold on page 1 (claiming that the Russians were involved in all 6,000 state, local and federal elections that the Democrats lost), Will Sommer, a former Washington City Paper columnist and a frequent radio quest, has now been hired to cover campaigns and Congress by TheHill.com.

We’re sure he will be objective.

But he may need a good copy editor.

Note the sentence below in his personal email newsletter where he “covers” “right wing” news people:

“Dave Weigel from fired from The Washington Post

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.

DC corporate media censoring news coverage of Libertarian candidates

17 Sep
It does seem like there is going to be a local DC media blackout of the Libertarians, by

WMAL — where most of the on air talent claim to be libertarian-leaning, but never mention any DC or Virginia Libertarian candidates, except to attack them the day after the election, as they did Robert Sarvis when he ran for Governor in 2013.  WMAL seems to have orders from its corporate owners to push Cuccinelli, Gillespie and Catania and never mention or interview Libertarians.  Is it a Republican thing or do they just like Italians?
Washington City Paper – ran a long article when we only had three candidates recruited, perhaps mainly so they could say Libertarians are all nerdy white guys.  Now that we have 9 candidates, including black and brown and gay and female candidates, they don’t cover them much, especially any Libertarian candidate of color;
The Washington Post – where pretty much every reporter except Michael DeBonis reports that there are are only 3 candidates (including my friend Carol Schwartz who has little chance of being elected), and occasionally even mentions the Green Party candidate, but have stopped mentioning Libertarians especially me.
(The gay press, MetroWeekly and the Washington Blade, are covering us.  I believe the Washingtonian is going to as well.)

Of course, most local coverage is essentially sports coverage — who is up, who is down.  Or it’s just about who is white or black or gay or unmarried.  Nothing about ideas or policies.  These are the same people who never exposed any corruption in DC until Tim Day and other private citizens brought it to light.  Who have never looked at who donates hundreds of thousands to all our incumbents from Eleanor Holmes Norton down, and whether it correlates with committees they sit on and votes they take.

So, we have to raise money and bypass them.  We’ve distributed around 6,000 brochures and I just got another 4,000 door knockers on school choice that we will be going door to door with.  Our MajorsforMayor.com website goes live this week (if you don’t get a snail mail fundraising letter you can give there when it is up).
We will be campaigning mainly on 5 issue areas (vaguely in order of emphasis) :
1) radically expanded school choice to address DC’s failed schools.  DC currently budgets $29,000 per pupil for public school students, but only $17,000 for charter schools and even less for students who use an opportunity voucher to attend an independent school.  This is the subject of the door knocker we are distributing now.  We want voters to vote Libertarian to signal to the DC political class that they want unequal and discriminatory funding against charter schools to end.
2) refocusing criminal justice on real crime – people are being assaulted for appearing to be gay, for having an Iphone, etc. all over town – a libertarian just last week in NoMa – while DC prosecutes alleged prostitutes and other victimless crimes and sets up ticket trap surveillance cameras.  In addition DC residents who go to federal prison are shipped around the country where their relatives cannot find them (we have no local prison), and we have DC residents who cannot get jobs because of their criminal record for involvement in victimless crimes.
3) pointing out all the ways DC keeps people without law degrees from getting a job, starting a business, or becoming wealthy, by making it illegal for them to start a school, cook and sell food, braid hair, provide day care, etc. etc.
4) encouraging voters to vote for the marijuana legalization initiative, including people who are usually non-voters, and while they are at it voting Libertarian for candidates who would push that issue.
5) calling for an end to DC policies that restrict the supply of housing, driving up rents and causing homelessness, including limiting the height of buildings (so the city is filled up with 10 story buildings to meet our growing housing demand, since no once can build a 40 or 50 story one) and regulating owners of smaller multi-unit buildings with moderately priced apartments so that they sell out to condo and apartment developers and leave the DC market to invest in Virginia.
If we end up getting more donations this month we may do internet and radio ads, as well as more door knockers.  We will also be doing more substantial responses to and alternatives to the welcome platforms some of the other candidates have finally put out.
As always, the dollars per vote spent by Libertarians will be far less and far more efficient than the incumbent candidates.  They’ve already spent $4 million, which means they’ve already spent way over $10 per vote, which is even more than Democrats and Republicans usually spend (often around $3 per vote).  Libertarians typically spend less than $1 per vote, since we don’t receive corporate, union, or PAC donations.

Protest media blackout of Libertarians

10 Sep

Virginia (and other) Libertarians.  WMAL radio, which shamefully didn’t cover Robert Sarvis in 2013 and then repeated a blogger’s lies about him the day after the election, is again having a rather obvious systemic policy of blacking out all news on Libertarian candidates in DC and Virginia.  Even though so many of their on air talent describe themselves as libertarians or libertarian leaning (Chris Plante, Larry O’Connor (formerly of Bretibart.com), Mary Katherine Hamm (of HotAir.com), Austin Hill, etc. etc.), they again desperately want to make sure the Republicans they favor don’t even lose a fraction of a percent of the vote, stupidly assuming Libertarians don’t get votes from Democrats, independents, and people who would otherwise not even vote.  Today at 8:35 am they interview Republican Virginia Senatorial candidate and long term establishment national GOPster Ed Gillespie.  I’m sure they will invite the Democrat and again ignore Libertarian Senatorial candidate Robert Sarvis.  You can call in at 1-888-630-WMAL.  You can also listen on line at WMAL.com.

I actually think someone should organize a web based boycott of all the regular advertisers on news media that do this.

WMAL’s advertisers include:

dentist Abe Katz
Hadeed Carpet Cleaners,
Counter Intelligence,
Web.com,
and Sedation Dentistry).

Why Ken Cuccinelli deserved to lose

7 Nov
Another version of this was published at VA Right.

I spent the last two weeks handing out literature door to door in Arlington, Virginia and the last few days going to events in southern, central, southwest and far west Virginia for the Sarvis for Governor campaign.  I’ve been to Bedford, Chesterfield, Chesapeake, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Annandale, Norfolk, Hampton Roads, Harrisonburg, Reston, Winchester and Roanoke.

I’ve met a lot of Ron Paul supporters who supported Robert Sarvis, who was polling at 8-13%.  The polls were all very inconsistent, some showing the Democrat, Terry McAuliffe, at 51%, some at 45%, and the Republican, Ken Cucinelli, anywhere from 39% to 44%.  Cuccinelli closed the gap toward the end, when his handlers finally let him take his balls out of the box, awakened by the public outcry against Obamacare as it was implemented.  MSNBC’s Chuck Todd said given another week of campaigning against Obamacare failure, Cuccinelli might have won; but it is also true that if he had started being aggressive a week or two earlier he might have as well.  Rather than own up to this GOP failure, the consultants and the talk radio spinners are blaming the Libertarian.


Libertarian Robert Sarvis got the biggest chunk of his vote, over 40%, from people who said they would otherwise not vote, probably not unlike the kind of vote Ron Paul turned out for primaries and caucuses.  This is important to note since in reply to this discussion, Norman Singleton, a longtime staff economist in Ron Paul’s Congressional office and a current staffer at Campaign for Liberty, insisted that it is “conventional wisdom” that Libertarians take Republican votes.  Warning Bell #1 – a Paul functionary approvingly quoting “conventional wisdom.”  In one poll, one third of Sarvis voters had Cuccinelli as a second choice and a fifth had McAuliffe as a second choice.


In the last two weeks, a somewhat desperate Cucinelli campaign attacked Sarvis, usually with weird and irrelevant picayune issues: that one of his unpaid staff tweeted a response to a Ron Paul organizer pointing out that she was a devotee of a recherché Beckian conspiracy hypothesis; another Ron Paul organizer posted 6 seconds, not even a full sentence, from a wonky Sarvis answer, onto YouTube, making it seem that Sarvis favors a new tax (Robert Sarvis has three policy papers on the Mercatus Center website calling for less spending and less regulation); others charge that Sarvis is not really a libertarian because he said he studied all schools of economic thought, not just Paul approved Austrian economics;  or just the general cry that Sarvis is a spoiler causing McAuliffe to win.  On this last point the Cucinelli Paulistas were so desperate to get another 2% for Ken from the Sarvis vote that they ignore the evidence that if Sarvis weren’t there some of his voters would also increase McAuliffe’s total.  In the end, the Libertarian spent less per vote than Cuccinelli did since all spending for Sarvis was $380000 and Ken spent $15 million. He spent almost 45 times what they did. But he got less than 7 times their vote. And he didn’t have to first spend his money to collect 18,000 signatures to get on the ballot.


So apparently Republican candidates aren’t cost effective.

On the last day of the campaign Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze reports that an Obama supporting high tech donor gave money to a PAC that gave to the Sarvis ballot drive, and every conservative chattering monkey from Hannity and Chris Plante on down has called this a dirty trick and said Sarvis is created by the Democrats to hurt the GOP.  Even though the Virginia Libertarian Party always gets on the ballot, including for gubernatorial races, with or without a donation from a Democrat.  And even though the biggest independent expenditure for Sarvis was from the all libertarian Purple PAC, $300,000 for radio and TV ads in the last two weeks of the campaign (and overlooking that Sarvis gave his own campaign twice as much as this Obama affiliated donor).  As one Paul organizer said of why she is supporting Cuccinelli, “personnel is policy.”  She’s right.  Ken Cuccinelli deserves to lose; the GOP infrastructure supporting him is shot through and through with liars and smear merchants.  Note well by the way all the conservative media outlets, The Blaze, Breitbart, and DC’s WMAL that spread last minute questions for and charges against Sarvis never interviewed him earlier or had him on their air.  And their friends kept him out of the debates where these issues might have been aired.  Should such a Nixonian GOP be rewarded with victories?

As to Rand and Ron Paul, it’s funny that Paulistas assume that they know how voters will vote, and how they will vote given their changing expectations about the outcome.  Their own Austrian economics says they don’t and that their attacks on Sarvis represent, as their hero FA Hayek entitled two of his books, “a fatal conceit,” and “a pretense of knowledge.”   Surely some voters change their vote, giving it to or taking it from an independent candidate, depending on who they think is winning.  The Paulistas assume that votes are static and a zero sum game, in direct contradiction to their Austrian economics, which would instead suggest that competition and markets are dynamic and a discovery process, where a new “firm” or a new “product” like the Sarvis campaign, actually increases the size of the market and the number of market participants, and where these new entrants as well as everyone else discover what they want to “buy” during the process of the campaign, not before entering it.  But the Paul’s assume they possess this knowledge, and that they can centrally plan the liberty movement. Norm Singleton has told me that my use of the phrase “central planning” is a smear on the Paul’s.  But the problems of central planning related to decentralized information are known to apply to large firms in a market economy, which may be so big that their internal operations, no longer run by prices, become dysfunctional. And since Paulistas encouraged us to get behind the GOP, now once again shown to be unpopular, shot through with liars, and a flailing failure (unwilling to really fight, until the very end of their campaign, when it was too late), it looks like this is a case of dysfunction.  This hubris led them to waste a lot of time attacking, and even lying about, Sarvis, instead of competing for votes with McAuliffe.  Including ironically charges that Sarvis is not sufficiently Austrian (is Ken?) or is too moderate and wonky and doesn’t oppose taxes (didn’t Ken Cuccinelli’s administration and governor just raise taxes?)


Now the Pauls no doubt have good reasons to support Ken Cuccinelli.  He quashed a move to change the election rules during the Virginia primaries last year, when only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul did the onerous work to make it onto the Virginia ballot and Newt Gingrich and other slackers asked for special favors to be put on without collecting signatures and doing the work.  (That is, all the other Republicans in that primary were kept off the ballot by the same restrictive ballot access laws the Libertarians face every election, which is why Robert Sarvis aimed for 10%, to get the Libertarians permanent ballot status and free them from annual petition gathering, by complying with the Republican co-authored ballot access law which requires them to get 10%.)  This “favor” (of obeying the Virginia law) that Cuccinelli did Ron Paul must be repaid.  And presumably a Governor Cuccinelli would have been helpful to a 2016 Rand Paul presidential effort.


The Paul’s and their groups, like Campaign for Liberty, have decided that they must centrally plan the liberty movement.  They know best, and like Obama or some other statist, they want to collectivize our eggs and invest them all in one basket, the GOP.  As anyone who knows me knows, I am only supportive of Paulian efforts, from Rand’s anti-NSA petitions, to C4L kids protesting Syria, to recruiting candidates like Thomas Massie and Justin Amash.  And I would support any William Proxmire or Eugene McCarthy type Democrats who try to liberate Democrats from the Borg that controls them, should these extinct species reappear.  And the Paul’s and others are free to PERSUADE us that their strategy is the best, or even only, one.  But when they start lying and spinning, though it is not coercion, it is akin to the demand of the central planner that they know best and we must invest all in their 5 year plan, even if we think it may fail.

Logic 101 with Ann Coulter

23 Oct
On this morning’s popular Chris Plante show in DC on WMAL radio:

“The RINOs shoot the conservatives, and the tea party shoots at the party establishment.  Let’s start shooting Democrats.”

“Their base is crazier than our base.”

“In the Virginia polls McAuliffe is 10 points up over Cucinelli, and surprise, the Libertarian is at 10%.  Thanks Libertarians!”

Logic 101 with Ann Coulter

23 Oct
On this morning’s Chris Plante show on WMAL radio:

“The RINOs shoot the conservatives, and the tea party shoots at the party establishment.  Let’s start shooting Democrats.”

“Their base is crazier than our base.”

“In the polls McAuliffe is 10 points up over Cucinelli, and surprise, the Libertarian is at 10%.  Thanks Libertarians!”