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




* Sellers & Activists, Left and Right


Just off the convention floor, all manner of merchandisers and activists engaged in the free market exchange of goods and services -- and of ideas!

Libertarians and liberals both advocate free speech, yet libertarians believe that no right is separable from property rights, whereas the ACLU often attacks property rights. For instance, libertarians believe shopping malls should decide who distributes flyers on their property, while the ACLU has sued malls to force them to permit anyone to distribute on their premises.

Challenged by the Investigator about their poor record defending mall owners' property rights, ACLU rep Gabe Rottman defended by saying that malls are "public domain" (sic).

Libertarians cherish they right to keep & bear arms, so they'll be thrilled to vote for gun rights author & advocate Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff now running for governor of Utah!

Speaking exclusively to the Investigator, Mack said he was the "first sheriff in the U.S. to sue an existing administration on a gun control issue, except using the Tenth Amendment, state's rights. I sued that the federal government had no authority to tell me, or any other state official, what to do, and that they could not commandeer us for federal bidding.

"I won on the 10th Amendment. Basically, the U.S. Supreme Court said that the U.S. Congress had exceeded their authority when they passed the Brady Bill."

Ruling in favor of Mack in Mack vs. U.S., the Supreme Court handed down its decision on June 27, 1997.

Apart from campaigning for governor of Utah, Mack spent much of the convention hawking the many books he's authored (some self-published, some not), including From My Cold Dead Fingers: Why America Needs Guns.

With both major parties continuing to promote the war on drugs, no one was surprised to see marijuana rights advocacy group Norml at the LP convention!

The groovy folks at Norml also brought along one of the funkier booth displays: A life-size cutout of George Bush -- sporting a wreath of hemp!

Like, far out!

Libertarians take tax-cutting so seriously, they make Republicans look like ... well, like big-spending, pork barrel Republicans. That's why both the National Taxpayers Union Foundation and Fair Tax set up shop at the LP convention.

Fair Tax is promoting an especially intriguing concept: replacing the income tax with a consumption tax (i.e., a national sales tax). Imagine never again having to keep tax records or complete a W2 form! You may say he's a dreamer, but he's not the only one -- and he's got a petition full of names to prove it!



Beware those Skull & Bones! This elite secret society counts both George Bush and John Kerry as members -- and is not to be trusted!

But you don't have to tell it to author Garland Favorito, who spent the convention plugging his conspiracy-busting book, Our Nation Betrayed: From Impeachment to Infinite War, and his Just Say NO to Skull & Bones bumperstickers!

Speaking exclusively to the Investigator, Favorito revealed one of the bombshell exposés in his shocking book: 

"Back during the Clinton impeachment, the Republicans had very serious evidence against Clinton that they did not use, and turned the impeachment into a sex soap opera! And the reason was because Bill Clinton had serious evidence regarding the Bushes, what they had been involved in. It's sort of a mutually assured destruction type of a scenario."

The theory that Clinton has dirt on the Bush family was more recently raised on radio's Michael Savage Show, as a way to explain both: (1) Bush's insistence that the Clintons not be pursued for alleged theft and vandalism of White House artifacts in January 2001, and (2) for Bush's praise of Clinton during the June 2004 unveiling of Bill and Hillary Clintons' White House portraits.

Why would anyone accept a crummy Federal Reserve Note (i.e., a U.S. dollar), when they can instead be paid in Liberty Dollars? That's the question asked by Ken Evans, "Regional Currency Officer" of "The Liberty Dollar of Wilmington," a Liberty Dollar "Associate." 

The Liberty dollar is a privately issued, free market-based alternative currency, backed by and redeemable for its full face value in silver and gold. You can "exchange" your U.S. money for Liberty dollars (as with any other currency exchange) or obtain Liberty dollars "at a discount" by becoming an Associate!

According to their National Office:



The Liberty Dollar is the fast-growing and second-most popular currency in America, and has been since it was issued in 1998! Over 100,000 people use the Liberty Dollar through a national network of Liberty Merchants who accept the Liberty Dollar and Liberty Associates who distribute the new currency.

The Liberty Dollar is real money. You can use it just like cash anywhere it is accepted voluntarily. Use it for everyday purchases at the grocery store, the dentist, or the gas station as payment for goods and services. It's a silver-based currency, an alternative to using the Federal Reserve Note.


Evans admits that a $10 Liberty coin only contains an once of silver (current value about $6.) But then he shows a U.S. quarter and asks, "How much silver is there in that? Which would you rather have?" 

Evans says nine out of ten times, merchants prefer to be paid in liberty dollars over U.S. money.

Liberty dollars are available as notes, or as silver or gold coins ($1, $5, and $10 silver coins, or a $500 gold coin).

However, according to Evans, "The Silver Certificates are not 'notes.' Notes are debt instruments and ALD (American Liberty Dollars) are the exact opposite of debt. ALD are commodity money actually owned by the people. And the one ounce Silver Libertys are not 'coins.'  Coins are issued by the government. I refer to them as Silver & Gold Libertys or pieces."



Libertarians love the free market, and Liberty Dollar was not the only MLM type operation seeking profits and associates!

And because many libertarians take personal responsibility for health, alternative medicine and healthful food have long been products that libertarians love -- as does Russo!

Thus it was no surprise finding MLL miracle health food Xango for sale at the convention.







Manhattan Sharks


Libertarians who are tired of losing elections because they're a small minority have a new idea -- encouraging 20,000 "liberty-oriented" people from around the U.S. to move into a small state that they can then take over!

That's the goal of the Free State Project, and they've targeted New Hampshire! 

Leave Free or Die, indeed.

"Liberty is cool," says Ann Cason, which is the message behind the Liberty Penguin merchandise licensing sub-phenomenon.

Cason says the Liberty Penguin helps sell liberty, because people are curious about it, creating an opening to discuss the LP. Besides which, she adds, "Everybody loves penguins!"

(Sounds to us like the Liberty Penguin is a "liberty ice-breaker.")

Also for sale was Steve Cason's political fable, Frogg Pond.

Plenty more books were for sale at Laissez-Faire Books, the legendary indie bookseller that has amazingly survived the rise of the Barnes & Noble and Borders superstores, and!

Even better for bargain-hungry libertarians, Laissez-Faire Books promises to meet or beat Amazon prices!

Celebrity authors were also present! The Advocates for Self-Government sponsored a book-signing by two-time Libertarian presidential candidate Harry Browne for his new book, Liberty A to Z. Only last April, the prolific Browne released The War Racket: The Lies, Myths, and Propaganda that Feed the American War Machine.

Former presidential candidate (and current Republican Congressman from Texas) Ron Paul also spoke at the convention, though he had no books to sign.

Libertarians respect other people's property so much, booths were left unattended during the convention, sponsors having no fear that items might be stolen! (Such as this booth from the Heartland Institute think tank.)

Some booths even left jars or cashboxes full of money out in the open, with a nearby sign listing the prices of items and asking people to simply pay via the "honor system."

Wonder if it's safe to leave cash lying around at the Democrat convention?

Nobody can say Libertarians don't know how to party hardy!

At a Thursday night reception, delegates were welcomed by this kick-ass live band while munching on all-you-can-eat waffles, fruits, and ice cream!

(Liquor was available for an additional charge.)

But the wild & crazy partying that opened events was nothing compared to the excitement of finishing a weekend of hard deliberations and coming away with a choice they were proud of. With Badnarik, Libertarians believe they are offering a real difference to America, as Bush and Kerry agree on all major issues. Both of them support (either by word or deed) the war on drugs, war in Iraq, fewer civil liberties, and increased socialism. Whatever their official ideologies, the two major parties' polices are nearly identical. Their sole dispute: who gets to be in charge?

Despite some squabbles amid the diversity, the 2004 Libertarian Party national convention ended with optimism, exuberance, and unity. Everyone rallied around Badnarik, seemingly full of hope for November. Russo urged everyone to donate generously to Badnarik.

Someone shouted from the stage, "Doesn't it feel great to be a libertarian?" The convention floor erupted with cheers and applause.



Copyright 2004 by


What to know more about libertarians? Read our archive reports on libertarian game show host (and Harry Browne associate!) David Ruprecht, Los Angeles's libertarian supper club, anarchist playwright Ben Pleasants's anti-Stalinist play, libertarian sci-fi author Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers post-9/11, libertarians at the 2003 peace rally, New Yorkers under Patriot Act siege, Objectivist candidate Darrow Clements, and homeschooling.
How do WE compare? Read convention reports from Reason magazine and Carol Moore.


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