PART TWO OF FOUR ...
LIBERTARIAN CONVENTION ENDS IN UNITY DESPITE CONTROVERSIES
by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor.
[June 24, 2004]
* Party of Peace
Diket's speech, the Libertarian Party remains the party of choice -- and
the party of peace! A proposed platform plank that might have softened
the LP's anti-inverventionist position was defeated by a voice vote --
with a large enough margin that no roll call vote was needed.
is the proposed party plank. Delegates added the red portion, and removed the blue portion. (Thus, the final plank,
as approved by a resounding majority of delegates, contains the black and
red text, but not the blue text.)
IV.D.2. Foreign Intervention
(The Issue): Intervention
in the affairs of other countries has provoked resentment and hatred of
the United States among many groups and nations throughout the world. In addition, legal barriers to private and personal aid (both military
and economic) have fostered internal discord.
(The Principle): The United
States should not inject itself into the internal matters of other nations,
unless they have declared war upon or attacked the United States, or solid intelligence proves they
are about to launch a military attack on U.S. soil, or the U.S.
is already in a constitutionally declared war with them.
End the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including
military and economic aid, guarantees, and diplomatic meddling. Individuals
should be free to provide any aid they wish that does not directly threaten
the United States.
Voluntary cooperation with any economic boycott should not be treated as
crime. End all limitation of private foreign aid, both military and
economic. Repeal the Neutrality Act of 1794, and all other U.S. neutrality
laws, which restrict the efforts of Americans to aid overseas organizations
fighting to overthrow or change governments. End the incorporation
of foreign nations into the U.S. defense perimeter. Cease the creation
and maintenance of U.S. bases and sites for the pre-positioning of military
material in other countries. End the practice of stationing of American
military troops overseas. We make no exception to the above.
addition (proposed by a delegate) reaffirmed the LP's pro-self defense
stance, while rejection of the blue text (added by the LP Platform Committee,
but removed by the delegation) was a rebuke of the Bush administration's
intelligence claims. One delegate specifically cited the Bush administration
for an example of the danger that comes in accepting a "solid intelligence"
standard for war, such a standard being too vague and easily manipulated
proposed plank had passed the LP's Platform Committee by a vote of 18 to
0, with 1 abstention. Thus, delegates were more suspicious about
current administration's intelligence claims than the "party establishment."
Apart from campaigning against
Russo, D.C. delegate Carol Moore worked throughout the convention to keep the LP platform pure on all issues,
from abortion choice to peace.
Tackling many issues over
the years, Moore is perhaps best known for her Libertarians
for Peace website. She had dozens of "radical
buttons" for sale at the convention promoting choice,
and opposition to war and neocons.
to events "on the floor" covered by C-SPAN,
delegates and attendees (anyone who bought a ticket to the convention)
were also treated to a host of guest speakers in rooms just off the convention
One of the most popular
speakers was Karen Kwiatkowski, a former Pentagon-based Lt. Colonel who's
received much press over her eyewitness claims that neocons manipulated
the U.S. into war by subverting intelligence reports -- much of which appears
Rockwell and Military
Although Kwiatkowski has
been a "registered libertarian" since 1994 and "voted Libertarian in the
last three elections," her charges have been respectfully received by conservatives
and progressives alike, from The
American Conservative to In
Friday speech was one of the best attended at the convention, attracting
over 120 people to the standing-room-only event, where she reiterated her
recent (see above links) claims, and discussed the fallout from the "neocon
been some criticism [of me]," Kwiatkowski wryly noted. "I have a
'French ideology,' apparently. I am 'disgruntled.' There's
other things linking me to unsavory political organizations. Senator
Jon Kyl has been saying evil things about me. I've sent him a
letter asking him to cease & desist. Fox
News had me on for a 'public meeting.' I knew it was a setup. I
know how to take my beating, but that's not what they told me. It's
always a bait & switch."
Kwiatkowski is grim about life in post-war Iraq, with thousands of dead
innocents and a destroyed infrastructure. "Life has never been worse
for most Iraqis. It'll take them decades just to get back what they
had under Saddam."
asked Kwiatkowski if she intended to gather all the material from her articles
and interviews into a book. She replied that although many have asked
her to, she has no such plans at present.
"on terror" and Iraq remained divisive issues all during the convention. Atlanta radio talk show host Neal Boortz,
a self-described libertarian who supports Bush's war policies (and has
endorsed Bush over the LP's candidate) was invited to speak months before
the convention. Antiwar libertarians tried to "boot
Boortz" as a speaker, or in the alternative, to balance his talk with
peace panelist. Carol Moore put up an online petition to that effect, but
the "party establishment" stuck by its "big tent libertarian" decision
to grant Boortz an exclusive microphone.
to "boot Boortz," the Western
Libertarian Alliance organized an anti-Boortz, pro-peace protest in
the hall outside the room where Boortz spoke, attracting about 30 protesters,
plus Nolan, Russo, and local TV news. But while Boortz addressed
a filled-to-capacity room, his talk was anti-climactic. Boortz avoided
discussing Bush or the war, instead focusing on economic issues such as
eminent domain. How many in his audience supported his views on Bush
and the war is not known.
Boortz has also angered libertarians by defending elements ot the Patriot
Act and downplaying
war on drugs.
Mary J. Ruwart got a chance to practice her "non-judgemental" New Age
brand of libertarianism (promoted in her book Healing
Our World in an Age of Aggression and tape Why
Judgement is Not Libertarian) while moderating a discussion on the
Iraq War with audience members (about 70 to 80, by one rough estimate).
Stressing inclusiveness and
sharing, Ruwart opened by asking, "Is there anything about this war that
we can all agree on?"
members began sharing their views on the Iraq war, doves seeming to outnumber
hawks by roughly 2 to 1, when one woman said the reason the U.S. was in
Iraq was due to the "ethno-centric religious loyalities" of Jews. An outraged man jumped to his feet, denying the woman's charge and calling
her an anti-Semite.
anti-Semitic!" the women defended, adding, "I'm of Russian background,
but I don't automatically defend anything Russia does." (Implying Jews
automatically defend Israel's every action.) Tension and discomfort
tried to ease tensions by asking that everyone "be sensitive to how hurtful
our words may sound to others," and to phrase our fears and concerns in
a manner that "is respectful to the dignity of everyone."
woman interjected that people should not forget "those Christian fundamentalists"
who promoted the war, a charge that was seconded by a few people. Ruwart again urged that people voice their fears in a manner that is less
hurtful to Christians.
Ruwart eased tensions somewhat (aided in that no one else wished to pursue
the issues raised by the two women), it is unlikely that anyone left with
their views of the war changed, or their understanding deepened.
* Libertarian for Bush
Although he was not seen
at the Ruwart event, Washington delegate Larry A. Nicholas is not only
an unabashed supporter of the war -- he attended the convention wearing
a Libertarians for Bush sticker!
And not only does Nicholas
support Bush's war policies -- he also found some merit in Bush's drug
Asked in an exclusive Investigator interview how he squared his libertarian views with supporting
Bush, Nicholas said, "Because without defense of our country we have no
Constitution. If our Constitution's destroyed by attacks on our country,
if we don't have a free world anymore, then there's no way to be libertarian."
Nicholas said he'd like to "eliminate taxes completely," he forgave Bush
for expanding government. "I don't think George Bush has had a lot
of choice in what he's done," said Nicholas. "He's just these last
two years had control on the Senate, and he barely has control there.
He can't even get his judges through. He's gotten through the tax
cut, which was an amazing amount of work, to get the Democrats to vote
for the tax cut. And that tax cut has done much to help the economy
in the last few years. As a small business owner [of Accurate
Lock & Security] I get a tax cut, but also my customers get a tax
cut so they can buy from me."
if he blames the increased spending on the GOP Congress rather than on
Bush, Nicholas replied, "I blame it on political reality. There's
not much Bush can do to cut spending at this point. He might have
been able to be stronger on that, but then maybe he wouldn't have been
able to get other issues through. I don't know."
also found merit in Bush's prescription drug program, saying, "The medicare
bill, I hate, except for one thing; and this is another of those compromises
that Bush does. He inserted MSAs, Medical Savings Accounts, into
the prescription plan. As a small business owner for my four employees,
my health insurance has gone up 20 and 30% per year for those employees. Next year I won't be able to renew, probably. But the MSAs, I'm
gonna be able to buy an umbrella policy for my employees and give them
the deductible as cash into an investment vehicle, like a money market
or mutual fund. What they don't spend this year, they can keep building
in years to come. The MSA is a very powerful market tool which Bush
has introduced with the socialism of the prescription drugs. We still
don't know the whole ramifications of that bill."
if he intended to nominate Bush for the LP's 2004 presidential candidate,
Nicholas said, "Not at all. On the floor I will probably support
Gary Nolan. Maybe Bernard Nick. I'm not sure, one of those two."
* Gay Friendly
of the LP's major candidates supported gay marriage, or at least denied
that the government has authority to issue or deny marriage licenses to
anyone, the most visibly gay delegate -- who goes by the solitary name,
-- supported Russo.
are generally known as scruffy dressers, but Starchild, a California delegate
(from San Francisco), drew attention with his fashion changes, alternating
from fairy, to catwoman, to Druid. (Some delegates mistakenly referred
to the latter as "Moses" before being corrected.) Starchild is not
the only Druid in the California LP -- the party ran Druid priest Gary
Copeland for governor in 2002!
Delegates took Starchild's
costumes in stride, although one Californa woman groused that, "He looks
in that dress than I would."
However, Starchild saved
his formal wear for the main events. When delegates convened Monday
morning for party business (the day after the presidential nomination)
Starchild dressed casually in plain khaki shorts and a "Capitalism Heals"
t-shirt, presumably purchased at this Bureaucrash booth.
OF PART TWO. GO TO PART ONE,
PART THREE, PART FOUR.
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