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by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor.  [June 24, 2004]




* Party of Peace


Despite 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.

Below 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.

(Libertarian Solutions):  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.

(Libertarian Action/Transition):  Voluntary cooperation with any economic boycott should not be treated as a 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.


The red 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 by politicians.

The original 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 the 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, peace, Mideast issues, secession, and opposition to war and neocons.

In addition 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 floor.

One of the most popular pro-peace 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 at Lew Rockwell and Military Week.

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 These Times.

Kwiatkowski's 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 media."

"There's 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."

The Investigator 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.

The wars "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 a 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.

Failing 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 the war on drugs.

Dr. 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?"

Audience 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.

"I'm not 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 filled the room.

Ruwart 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."

Then another 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.

Although 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.



Manhattan Sharks



* 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 prescription plan!

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."

Although 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."

Asked 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."

Nicholas 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."

Asked 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


While all 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, "Starchild" -- supported Russo.

Libertarians 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 better 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.



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