Author Archives: Stuart Richards

About Stuart Richards

Stuart Richards is a 26-year-old land surveyor based out of Portland, OR. He is a left-leaning geolibertarian and (theologically) liberal Christian, and has been blogging on and other libertarian sites since 2004.

Some New Englanders talk secession…

…but it’s not the Free State Project for once.

Yeah, apparently some Vermonters want to stamp upon the cursed alliance too.

From the Boston Globe:

A car parked outside the State House bore a bumper sticker saying, ”Regime change begins at home.”

Inside, about 100 Vermonters gathered in the House chamber for the Vermont Independence Convention — devoted to Vermont creating a regime of its own.

If participants have their way, the state whose former governor was laughed out of the 2004 presidential race after the infamous Iowa scream is going to take what some call its wackiness and others call its sanity in a crazy world and go home.

Go home to the 14 years in the late 18th century when Vermont was neither a British colony nor one of the original 13 states but was an independent republic.

Texas gets more notice as a Lone Star State, but Vermont shares with it the distinction of having gone it alone for a while. Friday’s event was steeped in that history, and an urge to try it again.

The funny thing is these bad boys aren’t even libertarians so much:

”Vermont still provides a communitarian alternative to the dehumanized mass production, mass consumption, narcissistic lifestyle which pervades most of the United States,” said Thomas Naylor, a former Duke University economics professor who retired to Vermont and has written a book called ”The Vermont Manifesto — The Second Vermont Republic.”

”Vermont is smaller, more rural, more democratic, less violent, less commercial, more egalitarian, and more independent than most states,” Naylor said. ”It offers itself as a kinder, gentler metaphor for a nation obsessed with money, power, size, speed, greed, and fear of terrorism.”

These are, well, leftists to say the least. While none of that stuff directly contradicts with liberty, they’re buzzwords of socialism or populism moreso than libertarianism.

At any rate, it’s good to see that we’re not the only ones talking about secession within American politics. Much as I think it’s silly for a political party to start agitating for it now, it’s definitely awesome to see groups like these (and our own Free Talk Live and Free State Project) getting the discussion rolling. Who knows? Maybe when my children are grown up and posting articles on their own blogs, secession will be a major issue and a realistic possibility. Maybe not, but we can hope.


A Message From Badnarik

Note: this article contains dead links, the url is still in the hover/alt text. Keep the web working, curate content well!

Michael Badnarik put out the following press release on his blog yesterday. Apparently they’re running so much good stuff down in Texas that they’ve got a problem pretty much any campaign would love to have: too much volunteer support. Here’s their idea of how you can help put idle Libertarian hands to work:

Wes Benedict is a true, Texas hero! There isn’t a single person in Texas, myself included, who has done more to promote Liberty and the Libertarian Party of Texas, than our Executive Director, Wes Benedict. I never knew Davey Crockett or Sam Houston, but I am very proud to include Wes among my close, personal friends. As you read the eMail that Wes mailed out, please notice how much personal time, treasure, and talent he has selflessly devoted to the cause.

For the Cause of Liberty in Texas, I implore you to contribute money to the LPTX doorhanger campaign. When you call, please tell him “Michael sent me” so he knows that my blog entry is what motivated your donation. I have exactly $90 to my name. I am giving $45 of it to Wes.

Texas Libertarians: Urgent Request

Volunteer support for our “Quiz Across Texas” campaign has surpassed our expectations. (That’s good news!) We are well on our way to distributing our stock of door hangers. These door hangers feature the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz,” which has proven to be one of the most successful ways to get voters to find out they are Libertarians. We’re rapidly blowing past our original goal of 100,000 door hangers and need to place our next order of 100,000 or more immediately, before it’s too late. But to order the additional door hangers, we need funds!

Please visit our campaign materials page to see our outreach materials:
and make a $500 contribution if you can. If you can only afford $200, $100, $50, or $20, please do that.

You can also mail a check (payable to “Libertarian Party of Texas”) to:

Libertarian Party of Texas
Attn: Quiz Across Texas
PO Box 41059
Austin, TX 78704

If you use the mail route, please send me a note ( or call me at 512-442-4910 between 8 AM and 10 PM any day of the week to let me know your contribution is in the mail. Or call me and I can take your credit card information over the phone.

In August, we purchased 100,000 door hangers. We only have 28,800 left! That’s a great problem to have so early in the campaign.

Now, we haven’t actually put up all of the other 61,200 yet. In fact, about 20,000 are in the hands of county chairs and a few distribution points in Dallas, Harris County, and a couple of other locations. Plus many others were recently sent out to volunteers who have not yet had time to distribute them. But they will soon! And when they’re done, they’ll be asking for more because this is such a great way for our many willing volunteers to get the Libertarian Party message out to voters. see more…


Markets better than hierarchy?

I found this article to be pretty fascinating.

From CNN Money:

Jawing about tomorrow’s weather for an hour might sound more intriguing. But at HP, the DRAM powwows often turn into shouting matches for a simple reason: After each meeting the managers vote and then put out an official forecast that 70 HP buyers rely on to price more than $50 billion in HP computers and other hardware-often months before the chips that go in them are bought. If the forecasts miss by even a few cents, the difference, which can add up to millions of dollars, comes out of HP’s slim profit margin for hardware.

Bernardo Huberman, a senior fellow at HP Labs, believes there’s a smarter way to make predictions that affect a company’s bottom line – and he and Fine have made guinea pigs of the DRAM squad to prove his point.

These days, after each meeting, the 10 managers and 10 other colleagues from around the world log on to an internal website and enter bets on chip prices. Each “player” gets 100 tickets to place bets on different price ranges. At the end of the quarter, the winning player gets up to $250.

Huberman’s experiment is just a few months old, but already his betting market for DRAM prices is batting .750 against the status quo. So far it’s beaten the official HP forecast six out of eight times, and tied on the other two.

Removed from the closed-door setting of executive meetings, where personality and ego can skew honest opinion, the new forecasting tool “works better than the best person,” Huberman says.

More important, it’s lending credence to the notion that online betting and similar types of so-called prediction markets aren’t just for Wall Street and Las Vegas. They’re evolving into a potentially powerful management tool for making calls on everything from new hit products to next quarter’s sales numbers.

This isn’t about government so much, but the principle is the same: a free market of people making personal decisions based on their own knowledge and desires is a far better allocator of resources than a hierarchical decision-making structure, be it a government planning bureau or a corporate management structure.

And, like their fellows in government, the hierarchs in the business world are apparently jealous of their unnecessary power:

With blue-chip goliaths showing people how to mobilize brainpower, you’d think more would be racing to push ahead. Problem is, the better the markets get at performing business tasks, the more they make managers look expendable.

“If you have a culture in which vice presidents have been making the decisions for decades,” says Thomas Malone, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Business, “the very idea that you would let just anybody participate threatens a lot of people.”

Naturally though, I feel that the free market in business will correct this lack of a desire for a free market in decision-making. If you as a corporation can allocate resources better, then you can manufacture a better, cheaper product. If you can do it while skipping the padded salaries of management, then that’s even more true. The hierarchs of the economy will find themselves out of jobs one day. They can slow down this inevitability, but they will never stop it, so long as the free market remains free.


Swastika crawls up Air Force chief’s ass; dies

UPDATE: CNN MISQUOTES, MAKES SHIT UP, WHATEVER… It seems Secretary Wynne never actually said that, it was just CNN’s way of spicing up their story by using wild-ass out-of-context quoting in the lede. Cut and paste journalism is this month’s photoshop, natch. Then again, the blogosphere reaction shows how very little we trust the government these days. /UPDATE

As an American citizen guinea pig, I simply cannot stand for this.

Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.

The object is basically public relations. Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions from others about possible safety considerations, said Secretary Michael Wynne.

“If we’re not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation,” said Wynne.

Yes, let’s test out these brand-new weapons on American citizens at protests. It’s better to potentially kill/disable those stupid anti-war anarchy lefto fucks anyway, because who’s gonna protest? Their government? Pshyeah.

Here’s a crazy idea: why don’t we test things out humanely? Pay some willing adults good money to stand there and be subjected to this weirdass Star Trek shit. That sounds like a good idea. We can pay for it by, I dunno, telling all those pork-eating congresscritters to piss off and die when they try to pull stunts like this:

He said he can’t cut more people, and it would not be wise to take funding from military programs that are needed to protect the country. But he said he also incurs resistance when he tries to save money on operations and maintenance by retiring aging aircraft.

“We’re finding out that those are, unfortunately, prized possessions of some congressional districts,” said Wynne, adding that the Air Force will have to “take some appetite suppressant pills.” He said he has asked employees to look for efficiencies in their offices.

God I hate our government.


Hmm… :\

These charges could hurt Stanhope’s campaign. From CNN:

The entertainment company that produces the “Girls Gone Wild” films and its founder pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges they failed to document the ages of female performers in sexually oriented productions.

Mantra Films of Santa Monica, California, entered a plea agreement in a federal court in Panama City, Florida, the Justice Department said.

Authorities said Joseph Francis, founder of Mantra Films and a related company, MRA Holdings, also agreed to plead guilty to charges to be filed later in Los Angeles, and to pay fines and restitution totaling $2.1 million.

Fortunately, the article doesn’t mention his name, and Stanhope wasn’t involved in the suit as far as I can tell. But the fact that he worked on the project could be spun some really hideous ways and the Stanhope campaign’s gotta be prepared for this. I’m sure Doug knows way more about all this than we do, and already has plans in place to counter it, but nonetheless this is a potential propaganda blow for the other side (most likely for conservatives) and we’ve gotta be prepared for it.


8% is the new 2% for Libertarians

Apparently Libertarian Garrett Michael Hayes is polling 8% for the governor’s race down in Georgia. According to Ballot Access News, the Libertarian results for that race have always hovered in the 2-3% range. So a breakout candidate like Hayes is awesome and I hope he keeps his numbers up and climbing.

Similarly, I heard tell that Badnarik’s numbers were around 7-8%, according to a poll taken by the Democratic challenger in the race, Ted Ankrum.

We’re also forcing our way into the debates more often, as has happened in Indiana and Colorado. And when we get an eloquent speaker in the debates, we clean house.

I dunno just how many high-level Libertarians we’ll be electing here in 2006, but if these upwards trends are permanent, it means that libertarian values are finally resounding with voters, we’re finally speaking to the issues they care about, and we’re probably gaining ground for good with a lot of people.

Remember, the Socialist Party changed the face of American politics forever when they only grabbed 10% a small portion of the Presidential vote. This means, if nothing else, that we’re starting to change the face of local politics. By 2008, we might even be seeing a few higher-level elected Libertarians, if this trend continues.

Rumors of the slow death of the LP have been greatly exaggerated. We’re surging ahead full steam into the future.


New LP Candidate Tracker Released

The LP’s got a shiny new toy for all of us to play with.

Instead of talking about this bad boy myself, I’ll let the LP e-mailer do the job:

Last night, we officially launched the LP’s Candidate Tracker!

The Candidate Tracker (CT) is an online tool that reports on our candidates from around the nation and ranks then according to objective data. This data includes, funds raised, media appearances, opposition, etc.

We have an initial 25 candidates currently loaded into the system and over the weekend we will be adding the remaining candidates that have sent in their data.

Take a look for yourself by visiting You can also access the CT from the main page of Note that candidates are listed by highest score (their CT Score) but you can also view candidates by state.

If you’re a candidate and want to be sure you’re included, please send an e-mail to and let us know. Our consultant, Sean Haugh, who has been a great help in collecting this information will get back to you and create your profile.

This looks like a really sweet tool that’ll help us pinpoint our funding towards credible races, quite possibly leading to some real breakthroughs in the next few election cycles. Way to go, National!


New York Times Picks Up State Of World Liberty Story

Remember how we broke the story on the State of World Liberty and pretty much all of Eastern Europe picked it up?

Well, now the New York Times is doing so. They put an article out on September 5 about Estonia’s ranking in Nick Wilson’s index, and the reason for it and what it’s done to Estonia. I think this is pretty much an airtight case against socialism, too.

Since you have to register for the article, I found it reprinted here. But here’s the relevant portions:

Economists call Estonia the Baltic Tiger, the sequel to the Celtic Tiger as Europe’s success story, and its policies are more radical than Ireland’s. On this year’s State of World Liberty Index, a ranking of countries by their economic and political freedom, Estonia is in first place, just ahead of Ireland and seven places ahead of the U.S. (North Korea comes in last at 159th.)

It transformed itself from an isolated, impoverished part of the Soviet Union thanks to a former prime minister, Mart Laar, a history teacher who took office not long after Estonia was liberated. He was 32 years old and had read just one book on economics: “Free to Choose,” by Milton Friedman, which he liked especially because he knew Friedman was despised by the Soviets.

Laar was politically naïve enough to put the theories into practice. Instead of worrying about winning trade wars, he unilaterally disarmed by abolishing almost all tariffs. He welcomed foreign investors and privatized most government functions (with the help of a privatization czar who had formerly been the manager of the Swedish pop group Abba). He drastically cut taxes on businesses and individuals, instituting a simple flat income tax of 26 percent.

These reforms were barely approved by the legislature amid warnings of disaster: huge budget deficits, legions of factory workers and farmers who would lose out to foreign competition. But today the chief concerns are what to do with the budget surplus and how to deal with a labor shortage.

It’s obvious: socialism can’t hold a candle to the free market insofar as the creation of wealth, or its equitable distribution, goes. They have no argument.


Starchild? Arrested For Solicitation Charges? Muh?

Yes that’s right, sadly it appears that the most fabulous Libertarian of all has been on the business end of the omnipotent state.

From the Bay Area Reporter:

Starchild, a candidate in the District 8 supervisor race, is fighting prostitution charges after he was arrested in a police sting operation last winter in a Fremont hotel. Already struggling to be taken seriously as a political contender, the perennial candidate could face jail time if a jury convicts him.

Despite his arrest, Starchild said he saw no reason why he should not enter the supervisor race. He first ran for the District 8 seat in 2002 and made his first foray in politics when he ran for state Assembly in 2000. Two years ago he tried to win election to the city’s school board.

On the one hand, this is probably not the best thing to be doing if you’re going to be running for public office, even if you lived in an area where prostitution is perfectly legal. On the other hand, I do admire his stand for civil rights, and given that he’s in the San Francisco area, his hardline stance on sex worker’s rights might actually resonate well with voters. I guess we’ll just have to see how well this works out for his campaign, as far as this issue goes.

At any rate, I think we can all agree that how he was arrested is pretty much horrible, political candidate or no:

His legal troubles began on the morning of December 6 last year when a woman responded to his escort advertisement on According to various accounts of his arrest he posted online and provided via a friend to the Bay Area Reporter, Starchild received a call from the woman, who identified herself as Sara, asking him to meet her and her friend, Tiffany, at the Best Western Garden Court Inn on Mowry Avenue in Fremont.

After taking BART from San Francisco to the inn, Starchild said he arrived at the hotel and met the woman he had spoken to on the phone, who gave her name this time as Heather. He said he questioned her about the name change ““ she said she did not want to use her real name on the phone ““ but was not overly alarmed by the discrepancy.

Once inside the room, he noticed cash on a bedside table but declined at first to take it from the women. He began to undress, lit several candles and opened a bottle of wine he had brought, while the women peppered him with questions about what kinds of activities they would engage in.

According to the accounts, at this point Starchild heard a voice shout “Fremont police” from outside the door and six officers barged into the room with a canine officer followed by a television cameraman who identified himself as a KRON 4 employee. The police placed him in handcuffs and charged him with soliciting prostitution.

It was a setup, which is all too common in that industry. He hadn’t even done anything illegal yet before the police charged in and slapped cuffs on him. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? And on the nightly news? Whoever the hell “KRON 4” is, they as an organization can eat a bowl of dicks and die, if they get their kicks out of seeing human rights violations.

Nonetheless, I still think the timing of this was pretty bad, so let this be a lesson for all future Libertarian candidates: Take a temporary break from your sex worker job while you’re running for office. You can preach just as well about the evils of sex worker rights violations from outside of the clink. Thank you.


Coburn Smells Bacon… In The General Direction Of Alaska

It looks like Captain Bridge To Nowhere is at it again.

From the Fort Smith Times Record:

Still, those senators have ways to stymie things. One of the senators most criticized for his personal projects, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, has a hold of his own on Coburn’s bill to make public the spending patterns of the government. Called the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, the legislation calls for the creation of a database open to the public where citizens can track government spending.

“He’s the only senator blocking it,” Coburn said of Stevens.

Coburn and Stevens sparred earlier this year when Coburn attempted to block the so-called “bridge to nowhere,” a transportation project in Alaska to build a bridge that less then 60 people a day would use that would have received $223 million from the federal government.

Coburn said the purpose of the transparency act is to open up government so citizens can hold officials accountable.

“What we need is transparency and sunshine,” Coburn said.

For a while, Stevens refused to confirm that he was the one placing the anonymous hold on the legislation, but he finally admitted it today.

While I hardly agree with Coburn on everything, he does strike me as one of the last few honest Senators left in America. We need that Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act to pass if we’re to have any hope of reclaiming the nation from its debts.


More News From The Smither Campaign

Smither’s picking up some major MSM coverage lately.

The New York Times noted his campaign:

The bleak prospects for Republicans in the 22nd District has prompted some to consider an alliance with the Libertarian candidate, Bob Smither, an electrical engineer, who does have a place on the ballot. “I’m not convinced a write-in will succeed,” said Jerry Patterson, commissioner of the Texas General Land Office and a Republican running for re-election. At least Mr. Smither, he said, would vote with the House Republican leadership, “denying Nancy Pelosi a vote for speaker.”

Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle had this to say about Smither:

The write-in campaign is a long shot even in the Republican-leaning district, and party leaders have said they want to unite behind a single contender to improve GOP chances of beating Democratic nominee Nick Lampson. Libertarian Bob Smither also is on the ballot and says he is receiving support from some Republicans who want to keep the seat out of Democratic hands.

In an open letter Monday to voters in the 22nd District, Smither wrote that he “firmly subscribes to the Libertarian ideals of small government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility. But I have decided that if elected I will vote for a Republican speaker of the House.”

Smither, the co-founder of the Laura Recovery Center for missing children, has lived in the Friendswood part of the district since 1990.

“It will be in the best interest of Republicans to throw their support behind our candidate rather than giving this seat up to Democrats,” said Shane Cory, executive director of the Libertarian National Committee.

“Republicans’ only shot at retaining a conservative vote is to back Bob Smither. We have a chance of taking this seat with their support.”

No Libertarian has won a congressional seat during the party’s 35-year existence.

The outpouring of MSM coverage for Smither’s campaign is a good sign-I’d say that his campaign has a rather good chance of succeeding at this point, if we keep the momentum up.


Angela Keaton Is Hilarious

It’s a slow news day, so I decided to reprint this for its humor value alone. I guess Angela Keaton’s gotten fed up with the Libertarian Party of California and released a letter saying as much.

From Freedom’s Phoenix:

No, I don’t mind that each and every member past and present of the LPC ExCom possesses a personality defect or some completely untoward eccentricity. What I mind is that every faction insists that its vision of the LPC is the true and only heaven. Meanwhile, I’m just some anarchist crank who gets elected merely because I possess a vagina.

Granted, I am developing a fondness for this collection of kooks, hence, I am issuing not so much a fatwa but a guide to how and why I will vote any goddamn way I want for the remainder of my term.

Please: No emails, no plaintive phone calls. I’m done with the plots, the therapy sessions, the tormented revelations. Like the rest of you, I am voting based on my values and if you don’t like it you can vote me out in 2008 when we have our convention in an efficiency off of Wilshire or a cargo ship off of Novaya Zemlya.

*snicker* That’s awesome.

1.) Operation Breakthrough–It is distasteful however well meaning to create a professional class of libertarian bureaucrats through elections to non-partisan administrative boards. While I maintain the deepest respect and affection for our chair, Operation Breakthrough is antithetical to the goals of a libertarian society and merely adopts the strategy of our oppressors.

Finally, as we slide toward a moderate platform with an increasing reluctance to stand by our radical principles, we demonstrate no understanding of the Hegelian dialectic, human psychology or recent political history. Those yet unknown fellow travelers among us crave, “a choice, not an echo.”

This… is a different type of funny. Anytime we take power anywhere, we’re clearly betraying our long-held principle of never actually holding any political power. The voters are going to feel hurt and betrayed, especially the mighty, um, Hegelian dialectic lobby. Oh, they’re going to hate us.

Major props to Angela Keaton for a few minutes of hilarity.


Skepticism Alive And Well In Britain

I guess the British trust their government just about as much as we trust ours. I’m normally not one for conspiracy theories, but the circumstances around this supposed “9/11 2” plot do make me wonder.

From The Guardian:

Suspicion and (often internet-fuelled) talk of conspiracies is no longer the prerogative of the young, it seems. According to Khan, it has been noticeable that older Muslims, traditionally engaged in mainstream politics in a way that their children are not, have talked openly of their anger and distrust of the government in recent months.

Scepticism about the plot is shared by many in the area and not just by Muslims, says Qurban Hussain, a local resident and the deputy leader of Luton borough council. “People are definitely sceptical. They are not sure whether these claims are just to clamp down on British Muslims. Is it scaremongering tactics by the government or another reason to harass more innocent people?

I do confess that as much as Bush fills me with distrust, Blair fills me even moreso. Labour has a lot of explaining to do to the British and American people, if they want our confidence.


Someone Offer The Pope A Cookie; Freedom Made Him Cry

They’re at it again.

You’d think that Europe, long famed for generally being a place of civil libertarian badassery, wouldn’t succumb to shit like this. Alas, no.

From CNN:

Prosecutors plan to keep an eye on Madonna’s weekend concert in Duesseldorf to see if the pop diva repeats the mock crucifixion scene that has drawn fire from religious leaders.

Johannes Mocken, a spokesman for prosecutors in Duesseldorf, said Tuesday that a repeat of that scene during Sunday’s concert could be construed as insulting religious beliefs.

Madonna, who is known for her theatrical, action-packed shows, wears a crown of fake thorns while performing on a mirrored cross.

The stunt, which has been included from the outset of her worldwide “Confessions” tour, has been criticized as an act of hostility toward the Roman Catholic Church.

Oh boo fucking hoo. I’d expect guys with funny hats to be all over the banning freedom thing in, say, Iran. But it’s happening here in the West; and moreover it’s coming from the same source. Remember that the Catholics were knocking the right of free expression back during the whole Mohammed cartoon thing.

No offense, Catholicism, but this Ratzinger dude sucks at freedom. Give us John Paul II back-at least he was more of a moderate. And get with it on the whole “freedom of speech” thing. The Inquisition was so 16th century.


Nebraska ACLU Stands Up Against Wiretappings

Here’s an interesting take on the whole wiretapping thing: what happens when an action may or may not violate the federal constitution (according to the SCOTUS interpretation) but it violates a state’s constitution? Can a state ban private collusion with the government on wiretapping?

The ACLU of Nebraska is set to find out. They filed an FOIA request asking about FBI monitoring on anti-war groups in Nebraska. Two formal complaints were filed with the Nebraska Public Service Commission, one against AT&T and one against Verizon.

Enclosed with this letter are two formal complaints against Verizon and AT&T
that ACLU Nebraska files on behalf of its members regarding reports that these
companies violated their privacy as well as Nebraska state law.
In filing these formal complaints, ACLU Nebraska also wishes to share a key
legal decision regarding a telecommunications provider and the state secrets privilege,
delivered Thursday, July 20, 2006. In the case of Hepting v. AT&T Corp a federal judge
refused to dismiss a lawsuit against AT&T, arising out of the company’s cooperation
with the National Security Agency’s surveillance program. In the first ruling on this issue
anywhere in the country, the court affirmed that the NSA program itself was not a state
secret nor was AT&T’s cooperation with that program. The court further ruled that the
privilege did not require that the lawsuit be dismissed and ordered the parties to go
forward with discovery regarding the non-secret information in the case.

Even if, by some miracle, SCOTUS rules wiretapping okay on the federal level, it’s possible to throw fifty separate wrenches into the system by taking this to the state level. If anyone’s interested in this particular case, you can keep up with it here. It might be a smart idea to get together any and all civil libertarian groups to start things like this in all fifty states, and strip the secrecy bare until we’re certain our privacy is safe.