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.

Bob Smither Needs Your Phonecalls

Normally I don’t rock the whole straight-up copypaste of a press release, especially one from LPHQ (which most of you would have likely read anyway), but I figured this was justified. This is time-sensitive and I haven’t found anything on the LP site (do correct me if it’s on there) about this-so yeah. Help out the LP, and let’s see just what kind of an edge that our new GOTV tool can give us. And let’s get Bob Smither in Congress.

Here’s the press release. see more…


CNN Has Really Screwed-Up Priorities

To recap, let’s take a look at recent world happenings. Let’s see here-we’ve got the war in Iraq, the war between Israel and Lebanon, a massive debt, scandals all around. So let’s take a look at what’s on CNN’s front page today, Monday, August 7, 2006, at 7:18 PM Central Standard Time.

Yes, that’s right. Paris Hilton deciding to try not to fuck anyone for a year is not only news, it’s apparently front-page news. With everything else going on in the world, they report on this.

I’m not one of those “OMG LIBERAL MEDIA” types, but very clearly something’s fucked up inside Ted Turner’s little cash cow.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Just a little bit of clarification, CNN was sold by Ted Turner quite a while ago and is owned these days by AOL/Time Warner. As a side note, I can hardly blame CNN for covering stupid news like this when it’s their viewers that clamor for it.

Hell, I even clicked on a link this morning because who isn’t curious to know what a Hello Kitty + Paris Hilton mash-up doll looks like… and you’ll probably click it too.


Europe Undergoing Pro-Capitalist Sea Change?

Apparently there’s a growing trend in Europe: capitalism. From Newsweek:

Europe could use more people like Ehssan Dariani. The 26-year-old entrepreneur runs a hot Internet start-up called studiVZ””Europe’s fastest-growing social network for university students. Since setting up in a cheap Berlin loft only last fall, he’s already hired 25 people. Yet when Dariani looks back at his high-school days, a decade ago in the west German city of Kassel, he remembers his teachers warning against exactly what he’s doing. “They taught us the market economy was a dangerous wilderness full of risk and bankruptcy,” Dariani says. “We never learned how prices affect supply and demand, only about evil managers and unjust wages.” If he’d listened to his teachers, he’d be among the vast majority of German students who dream of becoming civil servants or fitting into the comfortable hierarchy of a traditional corporation. Instead he set out and created some desperately needed jobs.

Such blatant disinformation sheds new light on the debate over why it is that Europeans lag so far behind Americans in rates of entrepreneurship and job creation. It also helps explain widespread resistance among Europeans to accepting even the smallest reforms of their highly regulated economies. But recently there appears to be a small but growing backlash against the popular vilification of capitalism. Unthinkable only a decade ago, business associations, think tanks and a whole slew of capitalist and libertarian activists, many only in their 20s and 30s, are leading a tiny but noisy counterattack. Their common goal: making sure the next generation of Europeans is less in tune with Karl Marx and more with Adam Smith.

Good news to hear about the birthplace of capitalism.


More Goodness From Nick Wilson

Now he’s seeking your, yes, your opinion on whether the Libertarian Party should try to reach out to other libertarian political groups (the Republican Liberty Caucus, the Democratic Freedom Caucus, minor libertarian parties, et cetera). He’s considering making this his next big project after the Freedom Index, if there appears to be enough support for it. You can vote here. Purists, pragmatists, and everyone in between-let your voice be heard.

This guy has a history of doing good things for liberty-he’s gotten insane amounts of coverage in Eastern Europe and the BBC with the Freedom Index, he helped co-found the Libertarian Reform Caucus, and so forth and so on. So let’s help him out with this.


French Freedom French Fries Served On Capitol Hill

The Republicans are switching it back. From the official LP blog and the Washington Times:

The fries on Capitol Hill are French again. So is the breakfast toast in the congressional cafeterias, with both fries and toast having been liberated from the appellation “freedom.” Three years after House Republicans trumpeted the new names to get back at the French for snubbing the coalition of the willing in Iraq, congressmen don’t even want to talk about french fries, which are actually native to Belgium, and toast.

And so ends one of the most absurd aspects of American politics for the past few years.


Bush Wants To Expand Military Court Authorities

Yeah, this is no good.

A draft Bush administration plan for special military courts seeks to expand the reach and authority of such “commissions” to include trials, for the first time, of people who are not members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal.

The plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court’s jurisdiction. The two provisions would be likely to put more individuals than previously expected before military juries, officials and independent experts said.

Once again, our Fearless Leader demonstrates his uncanny ability to turn chicken soup into chicken shit.


Another Take On The Russell Kanning Situation

Frequent HoT junkie Seth Cohn just offered another view on the whole Russell Kanning deal that Ian already covered. From the Concord Monitor:

“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!” according to the late Barry Goldwater. I’m sure Russell Kanning agrees with that sentiment, and because of that belief, he is sitting in a jail cell. He’s likely on a hunger strike by now, and protests calling for his release are already in the planning stages. I won’t be at any of those protests though, because as much as I like Russell as a person and fellow liberty activist, he’s in the wrong, this time, in my opinion.

Last week, Russell was arrested while attempting to pass out flyers to IRS agents, which compared Bush to Hitler and asking them if they wanted to be a part of that evil, or if, instead, they would quit their jobs. Released right away, he went back, this time without his flyers, and attempted again to enter the IRS office. Arrested yet again, he then publicly announced that he would not attend a court hearing the next day. On Monday, federal agents came to his home, where Russell was seized and taken forcibly to a Federal Court in Concord, to answer to an arraignment hearing. Russell made clear he would refuse to cooperate with the proceedings, he didn’t want a lawyer, and if allowed to leave, he would not voluntarily return to the court. As a result, the trial was held right then and there, and after being found guilty on 4 of 5 charges (essentially disobedience of the officers and disruptive conduct) he’s now being held in jail until his sentencing, in early September. The sentence could be as high as 4 months in jail and twenty thousand dollars.

Russell has a history of doing non-violent civil disobedience activism. He’s taken to dressing in overalls and bearing a pitchfork, evoking some archetypal farmer, yet formerly, he was an accountant, and among other things, now publishes a small newspaper. He holds protests and events without permits. He burns flags and hold up picket signs along the roadside. He refuses to argue before a judge or post bail, and pleads guilty when charged with a crime, rather than fight it, because he refuses to acknowledge the court’s right to try him in the first place. When he attempted to board an airplane, without any identification and without submitting to a secondary search by security, while carrying his Bible, Constitution and an airline ticket, he was arrested and pled guilty to trespassing. No one was hurt, and if he’d been allowed to pass, his flight would have been uneventful. When he and his wife were holding signs protesting eminent domain and President Bush, in Manchester on a public street corner, they refused to move to a ‘free speech zone’ and were arrested. Those charges were later dropped.

Russell wrote before going to the IRS offices: “I don’t plan on hurting people, but I am resisting them and might mess up the office. I don’t think it is infantile, but maybe I am wrong. I do call it tilting at windmills. I have chosen to begin with the IRS. Jesus Christ overturned the moneychangers tables. I will try to turn over the tax collectors desks. I might even use a big magnet (a weapon of mass destruction). I am trying to break laws and certainly disturb the peace.” This potential threat of violence is why the officers were waiting for him in the first place last week, and at the first sign of his intent to commit that act, they stepped in and arrested him.

I think Seth has a point here. There’s nothing wrong with civil disobedience, and there’s plenty wrong with the notion of “free speech zones.” But going so far as to threaten property damage? In the name of God? Maybe if Kanning was Jesus Christ Himself. But that’s pretty much against Christian Anarchism, in just about every meaningful sense of the term. And it’s certainly not libertarian.

Seth’s got the right idea here. We shouldn’t be apologists for this sort of thing; we should apologize for it instead, lest we be associated with mayhem, property damage and extremism.


Estonia Owns Us, Dudes

freest_countries_on_earthWho would’ve thought that a former part of the USSR would kick America’s shiny ass when it came to liberty?

Nick Wilson of the LRC compiled a list of the world’s freest countries. The research was derived from four separate studies measuring economic freedom, personal freedom and freedom of the press. According to the research, Estonia is the world’s freest country, followed by Ireland and then Canada. The United States of America? Eighth.

We’ve got some work to do, folks.


Democrats Co-Opt Libertarian Iraq Exit Strategy

The old maxim once again rings true: all the best ideas belong to the Libertarians. The jackyderms might malign us, call us radicals or nutcases, but in the end they have no option but to implement our ideas to save the country and their own sorry political hides. From CNN:

House and Senate Democratic leaders have joined together to urge President Bush to start bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq this year.

The move is part of an effort to shake the notion that Democrats are split on the Iraq war and keep the focus on what they see as a winning issue against Republicans.

Twelve Democrats, including the Senate and House minority leaders and ranking members of key committees, wrote President Bush on Sunday about the matter.

“In the interests of American national security, our troops and our taxpayers, the open-ended commitment in Iraq that you have embraced cannot and should not be sustained,” said the Democratic letter, which CNN obtained.

Democratic senators and aides said the letter was intended to illustrate a unified position on the war after June debates in the House and Senate exposed differences inside the party, which Republicans tried to exploit.

The Democrats will be adopting an exit strategy that the Libertarians put out almost, what, a year ago now? And they’ll be claiming it as their own, of course. Hagel, a Republican senator from Nebraska, has already acknowledged the wisdom of going Libertarian on this issue. Now, the Democrats are realizing that a coherent anti-war message is the only thing that will save their party from oblivion come November, and they’re forced to give the American people what they want at long last.

We’re the only party making any sense these days. Whether anyone in the political world wants to come out and admit it or not, we truly are the party of ideas and it will only be the implementation of libertarian ideas, whether by elected Libertarians or by statist jackyderms afraid of the consequences, that will save this nation.


Fidel Castro Temporarily Relinquishes Power

And in other news, 2 feet of snow is predicted for the Hell metro area. No, really. It surprised me too.

From the Miami Herald:

Cuba’s official media and government representatives, reacting to speculation about Fidel Castro’s prognosis after a serious operation, said Tuesday afternoon that his recovery was underway and his demise was in no way imminent.

It goes on to elaborate that control over the nation was given over to Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother. It covers the reaction of the Cuban-American community in Florida rather well, however.

At the same time, top Cuban exile leaders in Miami urged dissidents inside Cuba to ignite a nationwide movement of civil disobedience to protest the succession of power.

”It’s time for the military not to shoot” at those who mount peaceful protests, said Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Miami.

Speaking during a news conference in his Miami office, he said that the dissident community within Cuba has been appealing to exiles in South Florida and elsewhere to serve as its mouthpiece to promote passive resistance.

Castro’s regime is ”historically dead,” Diaz-Balart said, even if Castro is still alive after his emergency surgery for intestinal bleeding.

Diaz-Balart’s not exactly the awesomest congressman ever, but nonetheless I do share his sentiments in this instance.

I hope that Cubans take to the streets in their own country and protest the continued dictatorship and the undemocratic transfer of power. I hope they manage to institute real democracy, that they liberalize the country and establish freedom there.

Despite all that, I also very much hope that the American government does not get involved, and leaves Cuban sovereignty alone. To quote John Quincy Adams:

The United States goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is a well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.


Libertarians Do Politics, Local Newspaper Does Yellow Journalism Against Us

Oh, that crazy Libertarian conspiracy.

Yes, those devilish Libertarians are conspiring against us all to protect property rights. High Country News talks about a brilliant new plan to reverse the Kelo decision in a few Western states and actually go even further-to roll back zoning regulations. And the voters are eating it up, too:

We shook hands, and Dondero grinned, animated and immediately likable. I stepped back and watched him work. Locals wheeled their pickup trucks into the parking spaces around the Conoco, and as they walked into the store, Dondero asked them politely, “How are you doing (ma’am or sir)? Are you a registered voter?”

He seemed like an ordinary concerned citizen, not a part of an orchestrated, multistate campaign. But the libertarian movement he belongs to “” broader and more powerful than the anemic Libertarian Party “” has a growing reach in American politics. The movement’s mission is to maximize individual freedom by limiting government power in everything from taxes to judges’ rulings. One of its national leaders, Grover Norquist, has said that he wants to reduce government “to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

Can you see the slant here? First off, the Libertarian Party is “anemic” even though it’s growing quite well out West. Second off, even though we’re “anemic” we’re apparently strong enough to be part of some vast sinister conspiracy?

Read the whole piece… it’s yellow journalism but they can’t deny the facts-that private property rights are being protected, and the voters love it. I liked what one commenter said in the comments section:

I know you guys are a left wing publication and think that Government has all the answers but I can tell you all these propositions are the direct result of people being sick and tired of having their property rights taken. Blaine County Idaho’s 2025 is an example of an out of control County Commission.
If you don’t like these measures you only need to look in the mirror as it was the Kelo decision led by the liberals on the US Supreme Court that got the ball rolling. Rhenquist, Scalia and Thomas all voted against.

Also this article is pure propoganda. These sinister Libertarians who can never seem to get a percent or two of the vote have somehow hyptonized Oregon voters (Hardly a bastion of conservatism) and pulled the wool out from under everyone? Huhhhh??

All of these measures are going to pass and pass big. Prop 2 in Idaho is a big winner.

Personally I think Government actually works best with a broken leg.

At any rate, it’s good to see Libertarians doing politics more and more these days. They can’t hold us back forever.


These Guys Are Probably Terrorists Too, Minnesota

The latest in Minnesota’s string of bizarre serial arrestings involves the father of a Minnesota Congressman being picked up after shagging a 38-year-old woman outside of a pizza shop. From Reuters:

The Minnesota Republican lawmaker issued a statement saying he does not condone his father’s actions or behaviour. “I am deeply disturbed by what I have learnt. He clearly has some issues that need to be dealt with, and I will encourage him to seek the necessary help,” the statement said.

Oh, I wish I could have seen the dude’s face. C’mon now, this old guy just rocked his shit with a girl half his age. That doesn’t require “help,” that requires a celebration. I don’t think anyone’s gonna not vote for this PC twitwad because his dad got off in public. This isn’t an “issue,” it’s funny.

Politicians need to just get out and breathe in the real world once in a while, I swear.


A New Lesser Evil? Libertarian-Minded Guys Deciding Elections? WTF?

Ryan Sager wrote an excellent article about the impact of the libertarian movement in the West.

In fact, it’s looking more and more likely that the eight states of the Southwest and the broader interior West — Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — are on their way to becoming the next great swing region in American politics. As the Republican Party tilts on its South-West axis, increasingly favoring southern values (religion, morality, tradition) over western ones (freedom, independence, privacy), the Democrats have been presented with a tremendous opportunity. If the Republican Party doesn’t want to lose its hold over all of the West, as it lost hold of once-reliable California more than a decade ago, its leaders are going to have to rethink their embrace of big-government, big-religion conservatism.

We’re seeing some cursory outreach to libertarians through some major Democratic outlets, chiefly through Daily Kos’ advocacy of “libertarian Democrat” ideology. Yes, it’s largely going to end up being bullshit in the long run and we’ll just be the battered wife of the left instead.

However, there’s some reason for hope. The sorts of people the Democrats will be needing to court will be the sorts of people we Libertarians need to court: moderate libertarians. To gain control of the West and therefore to gain control of the country, the Democrats will need to appease our moderates. This is the group of people that we will have the absolute best chance of winning over, the sort that the Democrats have had a long long history of pissing off.

The Republicans don’t look to be seriously trying to court their votes, leaving them as a fading power among these people. It’s just us and the Democrats-meaning that the Democrats will have to co-opt many of our positions, at least in the short term, in order to get their votes.

We can become an even bigger power out West… we can be the winner in a few races, the spoiler in many more. We’ll be “in play” and a hot commodity. The Libertarian Party needs to be in position to capitalize on this rare political condition. We’ve already done some housecleaning to welcome moderates, we just need to go the rest of the way. More than anything, I’d say we need a Political Director able to capitalize on this situation.


Good News From Colorado

I got this in my inbox. One of our candidates, Bert Sargent, is running for Colorado’s Third Congressional District… and it looks like he should be getting into the debates. Here’s the press release in its entirety, since I can’t find it posted on the internets anywhere.


Persistence pays off!

As most of you know, I am serving as campaign manager for Bert Sargent, LP candidate for 3rd Congressional district (western Colorado).

Bert was initially barred from the “real” debates with John Salazar (D””incumbent) and Scott Tipton (R””challenger) at Club 20 (the smoke filled back room powers that be lobbying group of western Colorado) John Salazar made it plain when I asked him in person that he would ONLY debate at Club 20, and that he “had no control over who could participate” (oh, sure). The executive director of Club 20 initially told us “only Democrats and Republicans”

But persistence pays off. I emailed and called the executive director repeatedly until he relented.

Bert is confirmed to be a debate participant on September 9th.

This is what the LP has been striving for for a LONG time! This is a congressional debate with the R’s and D’s.

There will be no other debates in western Colorado for state or federal level other than those put on by Club 20. There will be major media there, as well (Club 20, like them or not, are quite powerful). If Club 20 legitimizes our candidate, through acceptance to the debates—something they have NEVER done before—then so will the media. Now the catch (of course). Club 20 requires a $500 donation from each participant in the debates to cover the costs of the debate (they will also sell 1100 tickets to the event, which will be snapped up since there are no other debates). Each participant will also receive 100 tickets to sell or give away.

We need your help!! This not just about our candidate, it is about the foot in the door for the LP. We need $500 by the end of august for the LP to break into the debates with “the big boys”. Even a couple of dollars will make a difference!

Please help us take our Party to the next level.

Contributions of ANY amount accepted, and can be accepted from anywhere in the U.S. and for those who contribute and would like to attend, we will give you a ticket.

Please send contributions to:
Sargent for Congress

P.O. Box 1115

Cedaredge, CO 81413

Or call me at 970-234-8056

To those of you have already contributed, THANK YOU, and please consider just a little more!
Debbie Schum


Minneapolis Declares “War On Undeath;” Jack Chick Creams Himself

They arrest the dead.

I know that there’s been a lot of bigotry against Undead-Americans lately, a lot of racial profiling. Apparently a lot of people are lumping them in with the terrorism crowd, too:

Six friends spruced up in fake blood and tattered clothing were arrested in downtown Minneapolis on suspicion of toting “simulated weapons of mass destruction.”

It’s an understandable overreaction; I mean, there were seven ghouls among the 9/11 hijackers, after all. We have to put our foot down as a nation at some point.

One group member said the “weapons” were actually backpacks modified to carry a homemade stereos and were jailed without reason. None of the six adults and one juvenile arrested have been charged.

“Given the circumstance of them being uncooperative … why would you have those (bags) if not to intimidate people?” said Inspector Janee Harteau. “It’s not a case of (police) overreacting.”

We had to arrest these people without charging them, you see. We’re in a war for the safety of America! Since Minneapolis isn’t terribly close to Gitmo, however, I’m sure they’ll just toss them in a foreign ship in Duluth and call it good.

In fact, we need to start rounding up the undead sympathizers here at home. We need to arrest any kids wearing black and listening to goofy angst music. I’d say we should probably chuck the remaining members of the Grateful Dead in Gitmo just to be safe.

Anything less and the zombies will win.