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.

Indiana LP Screwed By Elections Division

The statist reactionaries continue to resort to illegal tricks and tactics to restrain our growing movement. From the blog of Mike Kole, Libertarian candidate for Indiana Secretary of State:

About 12 Libertarian candidate have had their candidacies declared invalid.

Are they felons? No. (Then again, a felon can still run for Congress…)
Have they made misleading statements with their filings? No.
Have they failed to file their papers? No.
Have they accepted a bribe? No.
Have they made threats against voters or opposition candidates? No.

So, what horrible crime have they committed against the people of Indiana? Nothing at all. They were bounced on a technicality.

What was this technicality? This is what the letter from the election goons said:

After their state convention, the LPIN was authorized by state statute to nominate candidates for offices listed in IC 3-8-4-2 and IC 3-8-4-10 if the LPIN did not nominate candidates for those offices at their state convention. IC 3-13-1-20 proscribes the process for filing these vacancies and provides, in relevant part:

“A candidate vacancy that exists following the convention of the party shall be filled by the state committee of the political party…. The chairman of the state committe shall file a notice of intent to fill the candidate vacancy with the official who is required to receive a certificate of candidate selection under section 15 of this chapter, The notice must be filed not later than ten (10) days before the chairman fills the candidate vacancy. (emphasis added)”

The “notice of intent to fill the candidate vacancy” described in IC 3-13-1-20 is a filing subject to SECTION 3 of House Enrolled Act 1011, which enacted a new statute, Indiana Code 3-5-4-1.9, that became effective March 23, 2006.

Damn them, damn their cheating ways, damn their illegal grasping of power. They cannot keep us down forever, though. The tide of liberty is rising mightily in Indiana and parliamentary bullshit tricks can only delay the inevitable.


Intra-Movement Split On Iraq War

The Volokh Conspiracy has posted an interesting article regarding the first political disagreement in the Friedman household. From the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Friedman here shifted focus. “What’s really killed the Republican Party isn’t spending, it’s Iraq. As it happens, I was opposed to going into Iraq from the beginning. I think it was a mistake, for the simple reason that I do not believe the United States of America ought to be involved in aggression.” Mrs. Friedman–listening to her husband with an ear cocked–was now muttering darkly.

Milton: “Huh? What?” Rose: “This was not aggression!” Milton (exasperatedly): “It was aggression. Of course it was!” Rose: “You count it as aggression if it’s against the people, not against the monster who’s ruling them. We don’t agree. This is the first thing to come along in our lives, of the deep things, that we don’t agree on. We have disagreed on little things, obviously–such as, I don’t want to go out to dinner, he wants to go out–but big issues, this is the first one!” Milton: “But, having said that, once we went in to Iraq, it seems to me very important that we make a success of it.” Rose: “And we will!”

I don’t know the exact percentages of libertarians who are pro- or anti-war, but I would imagine that the anti-war side is most likely in the majority, given that the LP takes an anti-war stance. I’m anti-war. But I guess this article is a good reminder that the philosophy of liberty is bigger than any of our individual conceptions, and we ought to welcome all who believe in greater liberty.


Ben Brandon Leaves LP

And may I just be the first to say :(…

Yeah, it’s a blow to the LPGA but it looks like he’s still another Ron Paul for the movement. From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

The state’s only Libertarian to be elected to a county leadership post is no longer a Libertarian.

Dade County Commission Chairman/Executive Ben Brandon said he is switching back to the Republican party, the Republican Liberty Caucus, to be exact.

“It’s essentially the Libertarian wing of the Republican Party,” Mr. Brandon said.

Once in office, he said, he found that his party label prevented him from contributing to some policy discussions, especially on the state and federal level.

“This in no way indicates any ill will toward the Libertarian party,” he said. “It’s just an admission that this is a two party system, and if you want to be effective and contribute something you need to be one of those two parties.”

Sad to see for the LP but I imagine Brandon feels that he’ll be able to strike a greater blow for liberty in the GOP.


Libertarian News Mash-Up: 7/19

Just a few juicy little links for our beloved readers.

First off, it appears that the Starchild story we covered just made Wonkette.

Also, apparently Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Bill Peirce is throwing a fundraiser that’s far cheaper than his opponents’. It looks sweet-if you’re in the Ohio area, definitely check that out.

They reprimand librarians for following the law in New Jersey. Police don’t need subpoenas or the rule of law, evidently. Props to the librarian for sticking to her Constitutional guns.


$5000 Reward For Killing Gays In Israel

A disturbing development is afoot in Israel, and it involves people blowing other people up. But for once, it doesn’t involve Palestine or Islam.

No, it looks like some wing-nut conservative group is planning on paying people to blow up gay pride marchers.

From Arutz Sheva (Israel National News):

( A leaflet distributed in several neighborhoods in Jerusalem offered NIS 20,000 to anyone who kills participants in the International Gay Pride Parade scheduled to take place in Jerusalem next month.

The flier also suggested that fire bombs be used to kill the participants and gave instructions on how to construct them.

The parade has generated much opposition from many religious groups in the city who are opposed to the holding of such a parade in Jerusalem. Public opinion polls show that the vast majority of Jerusalem residents are against the parade.

Later this week, a police report is expected to be issued as to whether the parade is considered a security risk. If the report determines that it is, the parade may be cancelled.

Now I’m all for free speech rights denouncing or supporting whateverthefuck you want. But this isn’t free speech, this is threatening violence. They need to find whoever published these leaflets and arrest them for intimidation.

Furthermore, I think it’s funny because the Orthodox Jews really don’t have any theological leg to stand on here. I’ll expound on homosexuality in the rabbinical Law after the jump, for those that want to learn more. see more…


Wiccans Don’t Count In Our National Cemeteries

Sad to say, too.

From WaPo:

At the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in the small town of Fernley, Nev., there is a wall of brass plaques for local heroes. But one space is blank. There is no memorial for Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart.

That’s because Stewart was a Wiccan, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has refused to allow a symbol of the Wicca religion — a five-pointed star within a circle, called a pentacle — to be inscribed on U.S. military memorials or grave markers.

The department has approved the symbols of 38 other faiths; about half of are versions of the Christian cross. It also allows the Jewish Star of David, the Muslim crescent, the Buddhist wheel, the Mormon angel, the nine-pointed star of Bahai and something that looks like an atomic symbol for atheists.

Stewart, 34, is believed to be the first Wiccan killed in combat. He was serving in the Nevada National Guard when the helicopter in which he was riding was shot down in Afghanistan last September. He previously had served in the Army in Korea and Operation Desert Storm. He was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

His widow, Roberta Stewart, scattered his ashes in the hills above Reno and would like him to have a permanent memorial.

She said the veterans cemetery in Fernley offered to install a plaque with his name and no religious symbol. She refused.

Anyone who dies in the line of duty is entitled to a military burial with full honors. The least we can do for our fallen soldiers is honor their right to their religion. They died for the Constitution, why doesn’t the Constitution protect them? Why can’t their faith be acknowledged?

It’s not a public establishment of religion, or an “attack on Christianity.” The military pays for the markers, yes, and they are government property. But they are an expression of a single man or woman’s faith or non-faith, not an expression of the country as a whole.

This is a double desecration-not only do we dishonor the religious rights of Sgt. Stewart, but we dishonor the very Constitution that he swore to protect, and that he died for. Can’t somebody in Washington rise above the partisan bullshit and simply do this man-and his widow-some justice?


Some LP History

Steve Perkins put together a pretty decent history of the LP on his site. I think it’s a good refresher to help all sides in the LP understand where the others are coming from. To boot, he had it fact-checked by some major figures in both the reform/purity bases and it’s solid. There is quite a bit of good information there to be had, so by all means check it out-especially if you’re new to the Libertarian Party.


Ed Thompson Defends Marriage

In fact, he gave a pretty sweet speech on it, so I hear.

From the Capital Times:

Libertarian Ed Thompson, the brother of former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, told a crowd at the 14th annual OutReach awards banquet Friday night that Wisconsin will “draw a line in the sand” in November against prejudice by turning down a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and civil unions.

Thompson, a Tomah City Council member and restaurant owner who ran unsuccessfully for governor, challenged the crowd of about 250 at Monona Terrace to stand up against the “incredible hatred and bias that is ruining our country.”

He also accused politicians and religious leaders of using their power to manipulate people and use gay marriage as a wedge issue to garner votes.

“What happened to the separation of church and state?” he said. “The phonies and hypocrites in office talk about the sanctity of marriage and can’t see the love in this room.”

It’s good to see Libertarians reaching out to minority groups. We need to do more of this. Nobody yearns for liberty more than those who have had it least.


LP Fundraiser In Kansas Stopped By Dirty Pigs

Kansas über alles, kids.

I’m too dumbfounded at such a fundamental violation of our First Amendment rights to give you guys anything but a copypaste. Just… read the sucker for yourself:

Topeka “” What started out as a fundraising weekend for the Kansas Libertarian Party turned into a showdown with the law.

A wall of Shawnee County Sheriff’s Officers met party members as they tried to enter the Lake Edun facility, where their event was scheduled to take place.

“It’s very simple. We have to stand up to the government when the government is wrong,” Rob Hodgkinson, Kansa Libertarian Party Chairman, said. “The government is wrong in this situation.”

Judge Terry Bullock placed a court order on the property in 2005. The order prohibited any activities from taking place on the property without a permit.

And of course, the silver lining:

Police did not arrest anyone at the confrontation. Members of the Libertarian Party said they will still hold their fundraiser this weekend, but they moved the event to Ron Lessman’s Truck Henge property in Northeast Topeka.

I did a little more digging and found out why the local government is giving them so much shit over this Edun place. Turns out that there’s a nudist festival on that property once a year. So, for daring to bring their “liberty” into the Bible Belt, they get a smackdown from the local theocratic funstomping apparatchiki. God knows what they’d do if the LPKS published a cartoon about Jesus.

Clearly these guys need a major fundraiser or six if this is the kind of local government they’re up against. So (and I’m not getting paid for this, I don’t even know them), give a bit if you can spare the cash.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Wonkette jokes “How many naked Libertarians can you fit in the back of a squad car?”

Okay, that’s pretty damn funny.


Actual Elected Libertarian Weighs In On Portland

We’ve heard from quite a few people so far regarding their opinions on Portland. VanDyke, Sarwark, and of course all the commenters. We’ve got the blogosphere weighing in pretty strongly on this. We’ve got purists and pragmatists galore.

Now though, I’m pleased to bring you the opinion of at least one elected Libertarian official on the mess o’ fun we call NatCon. Beatrice Jones has been getting her hands dirty in politics for over 20 years, and she speaks out of that experience. Naturally, your mileage may vary, but nonetheless I do feel it’s a valid opinion, and it’s about damn time that the class of Libertarians with the most to say-the elected ones-finally speak up. Her statement begins after the jump. see more…


Police Arrest Peaceful Anti-War Protesters In DC

Why? Apparently the military doesn’t get free speech.

From the article:

Ft. Lewis, WA-Today, July 5, 2006, First Lieutenant Ehren K. Watada was formally charged with three counts: missing movement, contempt towards officials and conduct unbecoming an officer. In a taped statement that was shown at his press conference on June 7th, Lt. Watada said: “It is my duty as a commissioned officer of the United States Army to speak out against grave injustices.”

I also got this in my inbox today:

Two peaceful demonstrators were arrested today, July 4, at 1:30pm on Constitution Ave at 17th st, while they tried to enter the Independence Day parade with a message of peace.

Geoffrey Millard, 25, an Iraq War veteran who served on active combat duty for 13 months, walked into a break in the parade with a sign that read: “Support the Troops, Bring Them Home Now.” He was dressed in his military jacket with “Iraq Veterans Against the War” on the back and his many medals pinned to the front. He was stopped by the police, and when he tried again to enter the parade with his anti-war message and was subsequently arrested. As he tried to explain to the police that he simply wanted to march in the parade with his message, the crowd chanted “He earned the right!” and “Let the vets in!” behind him.

It’s almost like the Bonus Army all over again.


The Boston Tea Party?

Thomas Knapp is contemplating launching a new party. The Boston Tea Party, as he’s named it, was announced with this press release:

“Cyberia” (PRWEB) July 5, 2006 – Citing the Libertarian Party’s “abdication of its political responsibilities to the American people,” activists have founded the Boston Tea Party ( as an alternative, Internet-based vehicle for libertarian political action.

“For various reasons, the ball got dropped in Portland,” says Boston Tea Party founder Thomas L. Knapp, referring to the Libertarian national convention, held over the July 4th weekend in Oregon. “Factional disputes led to a wholesale gutting of the party’s platform — a muddle in which the party was left without a mechanism for expressing its positions on several of the foremost public policy issues facing America’s voters.”

Rather than setting up the new party as a splinter group, Knapp says that he thinks of it as a “hopefully a pinch hitter, going to bat for America while the LP nurses its wounds and prepares to get back in the game. Until and unless that happens, the Boston Tea Party will fill in. Americans deserve — and desperately need — a pro-freedom party which forcefully advocates libertarian solutions to the issues of the day.”

Those solutions will be set forth in a program to be put together by the new party’s organizational convention, to be held online, Knapp says, in the next 30 to 60 days.

He has a rather simple idea for a political platform, one that in all honesty I wouldn’t mind the Libertarian Party adopting.

All in all, it looks like a lot of good ideas but losing Knapp and permanently splitting the movement would be a tragedy for the Libertarian Party. We need his ideas now in the Libertarian Party, working to make it better… just as much as we need everyone else’s contributing.

I really like the idea of a small, simple Statement of Principles for the LP like the platform Knapp proposed above, as well as a four-year platform that has five key points or so. A lot of people in the LRC would agree with something simple like that, I’d imagine-it lays out our priorities and eases in-factional fighting, and says nothing about purity vs. incrementalism, freeing our candidates to be either.

When the LP fixes its platform, I hope they go with something like this. It would be a permanent, effective fix that would finally unite our party for good.


Some Statist Tinfoil For Your Reading Pleasure

It looks like a bunch of guys up in Canada are trying to create a world government through an online poll. Taken from their site:


We can outlaw war!
All human conflicts can be worked out through law. We can live under law globally as easily as we do within our nations, provinces and cities.

Lower taxes globally!
“Collective security” will cost you far less than financing your nation’s defense against all other countries. Imagine if your city or town had to hire, train and equip a military force in case a nearby city or town invaded! We have “collective security” within our nations; now we need it among all nations.

Solutions for global problems!
With a globally enforced peace, we can actually defeat AIDS and poverty, get serious about everyone’s human rights, spread freedom and democracy everywhere, and build a truly sustainable future for our planet.

Oh yeah, let’s not forget their radical overconfidence. I guess the site started out in 2004. By 2006, they predicted:

…the writing will be on the wall. We expect that thousands of organizations will be collecting ballots, and people will assume that we are going to reach our goal of three billion “YES” votes on schedule (our target year is 2014).

So far, 1717 people have voted-and I’m pretty sure they haven’t tried advertising this to the national sovereignty demographic so much. The results of that would make them sad. :'(

Read on, it just gets funnier and more outlandish. This is like the Bill Clinton “New World Order” edition of TimeCube. Oh yeah, and see how many not-so-subtle disses on America you can find on the site, if you’re that bored. I’m up to three so far.


A Fair Idea For Jilted Purists

I really think that the LP needs the purists. Most of the purists I’ve seen are resolved to stay in the LP and fight for their ideals, but a few of them are thinking of cutting their losses. An LP they don’t control is an LP they want no part in.

However, there’s yet plenty of opportunity for them to further their ideals in the political realm, even outside of the LP. Purist Menno Troyer has the right idea, I think. Here’s what he had to say:

Up to now, I have been quite active in my local LP. The only reason I became politically involved in the first place is because I perceived the LP as a true Party of Principle regarding individual rights and sovereignty. It has now resoundingly lost that distinction. I now face the choice of either remaining affiliated with a political party whose platform no longer reflects my values, or opting for a path outside of politics altogether”¦

Thank goodness there exists an alternative for all of us who are newly disillusioned with the LP and the political system in general: Free State Project/ NH Underground! Please consider joining me in making a last (victorious!) stand for liberty in the Free State of New Hampshire, where the Second American Revolution has already quietly begun”¦ know what, maybe it’s not such a sad day for liberty lovers after all!

Seth Cohn, another FSP member who’s made the move, had this to add:

It’s pretty funny to me, Menno, that here I am in NH, cheering the LP platform changes, as a sign of progress and reform so that moderates now control the party, and we can make political headway everywhere including in NH, and here you are, jeering the LP platform and calling for people to join the FSP and take a stand.

It goes to show that _both_ sides are working within the FSP”¦ The FSP is NOT just for those who are upset with the platform, but also for those who approved heartily of the change.

I think this is a great idea for anyone who absolutely can’t stand where the LP is heading. In New Hampshire, there’s so much activism that can be done. If you can’t stomach any of the main political parties up there, you could always donate money and activism to one of the libertarian policy groups (NORML, Gun Owners of America, NH Underground, et cetera). Or if you’re fed up with politics in general, you can donate your time and efforts to scholarships for private schools, or write letters to the editor, or whatever.

I stand by my opinion that the libertarian movement needs all libertarians out there to join its ranks and agitate for liberty. If some can’t do that in the Libertarian Party, well, find one of the other libertarian groups out there and make a difference.


The First Portland Post-Mortem

First it was the pragmatists, getting angry about the pledge’s retention. Then it was purists, angry about the dumping of the pledge.

There’s been a lot of despair and hope felt by both sides. It’s been a wrenching, dramatic affair. However, if we all would just step back for a second and look at what’s been done, I think we all can be proud of what just happened.

The Libertarian Party just had a major upheaval without any major faction walking out of the party. Stop and think about that. This is the sign of a mature party-one that can handle its differences maturely and rationally. The clash between pragmatists and purists has produced much worse results than this. We set party precedent without upsetting party unity.

What’s more, I think that this has been the first truly cooperative convention we’ve ever had, where the various caucuses contribute to a greater whole instead of just taking whatever they can at the expense of the party as a whole. I’ll be the first to admit that the LRC isn’t always right. Yes, they are my “team” but we’re not the only ones with something to add. But the important thing is that both sides continue to add to the dialogue.

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