Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Kubby on Iraq


A letter worth reading (and feel free to pass it around!):

Dear fellow Libertarians,

Since I declared my candidacy for our party's 2008 presidential nomination back in August, one of the most frequently asked questions of me has been "where do you stand on the war in Iraq?" Some of you have found my answers unsatisfactory. I apologize. I've been thinking through a problem and haven't found an answer ... so I'm just going to bring it to you. We need to talk about it.

First, let me make my own position on the US war in Iraq crystal clear: I oppose it. I opposed it when it was proposed, I opposed it when it began, and I oppose it now. If the American people put me in the White House, I'll end it immediately with a unilateral and unconditional withdrawal of US forces from that country.

But that's the easy part. The hard part is re-uniting a country and a party that's been divided by this war, and that's the part that has to start NOW. If you haven't found my previous answers satisfactory, please understand that I've been giving a lot of thought to the hard part.

It's easy to be against the war now. A majority of Americans oppose it, and it's even possible -- although I admit that the possibility is slim -- that America will be out, or on its way out, of Iraq before the next presidential election. But it wasn't always that way. The majority supported the war at the beginning. They regarded it as necessary and proper. Opposition to the war has been the majority sentiment within the Libertarian Party from the beginning, but majority and unanimity are two different things. A number of Libertarians also regarded the war as necessary and proper.

Over the past three years, it has become increasingly obvious that the war in Iraq is a doomed project. It can't be won. It can't be salvaged. It can only be abandoned. Unfortunately, those of us who realized this at the beginning have, all too often, hanged ourselves with our own rope. We gloated. We used the issue of the war as a political bludgeon to beat our fellow Americans and our fellow Libertarians over the head with their errors.

When I say "whatever you think of the war in Iraq ..." (this seems to have been the problematic part of my previous answers), I'm not saying that all points of view on the war are or were equally defensible. What I'm saying is that it's time for Americans -- and most of all Libertarians -- to unite and move forward instead of beating each other up over past mistakes. I'm not saying that we shouldn't learn from our mistakes. Far from it. The war in Iraq validates the non-interventionist ideals which our party has long held high, and in the future we will point to it when we say "never again." But ...

I know many Americans who supported the war at the beginning but who now understand that it's a lost cause. I know many Libertarians who regarded it as necessary and proper, but who have since become persuaded otherwise. These people are GOOD Americans and REAL Libertarians. Were they mistaken? I think they were, but I don't hate them for it. We all make mistakes. We need those good Americans and real Libertarians with us now ... and we won't have them with us if we insist that they come on their knees, wearing hair shirts and vocally denouncing themselves. As Ben Franklin said, "we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." And we must hang together as equals, not with some portion of us designated second-class citizens on the basis of an argument that is, or at least should be, over.

In the early 1970s, it became de rigueur among Democrats to "grade" each other, and especially primary candidates, on the question "when did you come out against the war in Vietnam?" That habit persisted long after the war ended, and it cost the Democratic Party dearly. I don't want the Libertarian Party to fall into the same trap. As a candidate for our party's presidential nomination, I will do my best to clearly articulate our opposition to the war in Iraq -- and to any expansion of that war to Iran, Syria or any other country -- and to offer a sound non-interventionist prescription for the future conduct of American foreign policy. What I will not do is subject my fellow Americans or my fellow Libertarians, including my opponents for the nomination, to a "just when did you get right on this issue?" litmus test.

Our party and our nation face critical challenges in the coming years. Among those challenges are disentangling ourselves from a disastrous foreign military misadventure; reclaiming our civil liberties from a White House and Congress which has spent them even more wastefully than it spends our tax dollars; securing each and every one of our rights as Americans and as free human beings; and making America once again a beacon of liberty toward which the world turns -- and to which many of the people of that world come to live in freedom and are welcomed. We must face these challenges together, as a party and nation united in purpose, not divided by past quarrels.

Let freedom grow!
Steve Kubby


You can find out more about Steve Kubby's campaign -- and support it -- at www.kubby.com.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Semper Fi!


"We stole the Air Force's eagle, the Navy's anchor and the Army's rope. On the seventh day, God rested. We overran his perimeter and we've been running the globe ever since." -- seen on various t-shirts, etc.


Happy 231st birthday to the United States Marine Corps and to all of my brothers and sisters in arms who have served, are serving, or will serve in its ranks.

To those of you in harm's way at this very moment: Hold on. Watch each others' backs. Bring yourselves and your buddies home in one piece. As you've probably noticed, it's a royal clusterfuck back here -- but we're trying to get things straightened out for your safe return.

First to fight for right and FREEDOM
And to keep our honor clean

Thursday, November 09, 2006

An open letter to libertarian Republicans


Dear libertarian Republicans,

It's been some time since I've used the term "libertarian Republicans" without quote marks around "libertarian," but Tuesday's election results opened a window of opportunity for reconciliation between the libertarian movement and its errant Republican offshoot -- a window that I hope both sides will hold open and use for the purpose of friendly communication and mutual support. For now, at least, I'm removing the quote marks, in the hope that libertarian Republicans will re-evaluate their priorities, place principle before party, and exploit the golden opportunity which the 2006 elections have placed before them.

Most of you, I suspect, are less than happy with what transpired on Tuesday. You shouldn't be. Yes, the Republican Party took a beating -- a beating it deserved in spades. But if you look at the results, what Americans rejected was NOT the residual libertarian strain in Republican thought, but the corruption and statism recently displayed in Republican action.

To put a finer point on it, libertarian Republican casualties on Tuesday were the exception, not the rule. Toby Nixon, Ken Lindell and others were taken down by stray shots; they were not the ones in the voters' sights.

Ron Paul handily won re-election versus an NRA-endorsed opponent.

At least two known friends of libertarianism in the GOP -- Butch Otter in Idaho and Sarah Palin in Alaska -- are now governors-elect of their states.

Of 12 states with initiatives on the ballot to rein in government abuse of eminent domain, nine passed them.

Anti-war-on-drugs measures passed in numerous localities, and although they failed at the state level, they garnered considerable support (and who, ten years ago, would have dared dream that they'd make the ballot, let alone command the votes of double-digit percentages of the electorate)?

What did libertarian Republicans lose on Tuesday?

You lost some "friends" who had exploited the libertarian label but who never deserved it. J.D. Hayworth in Arizona. George Allen in Virginia. Jim Talent in Missouri. In losing them, you lost ... baggage. These were folks you never should have been in bed with in the first place -- and in your hearts you know I'm right. Know-Nothingism, Mrs. Grundyism, crony "capitalism" and jingoism may make for a nice wave to ride in the short term, but the undertow's a bitch when that wave collapses. Thank your lucky stars that for the most part those who got sucked under were the ones who deserved it -- and that they didn't take the whole libertarian Republican movement down with them.

Right now, libertarian Republicans are the only faction in the GOP left standing. Everyone else has been drowned in the deluge or is still cowering on the beach, coughing up water and trying to figure out what the hell hit them. You guys are the only ones left with any credibility, any muscle, any ideas that resonate with the public. If the Republican Party has a future, YOU ARE IT.

I'd like to talk to you about the Libertarian Party for a minute. No, I'm not going to ask you to desert the GOP for the LP -- some of you may do exactly that, and you'll be welcomed with open arms if you do, but I'm going to take it as given that you're not ready to give up on the Republican Party, at least yet. And I'm going to tell you how the LP has made your position more tenable -- how Libertarian candidates put you in the catbird seat.

Get set for the whining to start, guys, because it's coming. Your fellow Republicans are looking for people to blame, and in the next week or so they're going to find two scapegoats: Frank Gilmour of Missouri and Stan Jones of Montana. Both of these gentlemen ran for US Senate on the Libertarian Party's ticket. Both of them lost -- and both of them garnered more votes than their Republican opponents (Jim Talent and Conrad Burns) lost by.

Your wounded friends are going to tell you that those damn Libertarians cost the GOP control of the US Senate. To the extent that I can speak for the LP (which is minimal), I'll answer that accusation: You're right. We did cost the GOP control of the US Senate. Now, do you want to straighten up, fly right and start earning those votes back, or do you want to wander in the desert for another 40 years like you did from the 1950s to the 1990s -- if you survive, which is unlikely? Those are the two choices the GOP has. There are no others. Blaming the LP for the GOP's failures may feel good, but it isn't going to accomplish anything productive.

Like I said, libertarian Republicans, this moment is YOURS. What are you going to do with it?

If you walk away from the GOP, it will circle the drain for awhile before disappearing into the sewer of history, and the Libertarian Party will be left with the challenge of trying to become America's second political party. I can think of worse things, but I doubt that your minds are turned in that direction.

If you continue to give the anti-libertarian elements in your party the support that they've never deserved, that they've never earned and that they've continually betrayed, you'll go down with them. I sincerely hope you won't do that. Your movement needs you more than you need your party.

The third alternative is to GO ON THE OFFENSIVE. There's never been a more opportune time to do so. A libertarian takeover of leadership within the GOP is the only thing that can possibly save it. Yes, your party will take some more losses in 2008. That's inevitable. But you can minimize those losses, hold the line in 2010, and lead a Republican resurgence in 2012 and beyond.

Mind you, I'm not talking about signing on with placeholders and fakes like Pence and Shadegg until the old "Play for K Street" crowd gets itself reorganized. I'm talking about a full-court press to take over the congressional minority leadership with the most libertarian Republicans you can find. House Minority Leader Ron Paul. House Minority Whip David Dreier. Senate Minority Leader Judd Gregg. Insert your own names, but make sure that you're sponsoring a real revolution, not just new wallpaper.

In the past, libertarian Republicans have freely applied the carrot, but hardly ever the stick. You've stuck with a party that has betrayed you time and again. Sometimes you've kept your silence; sometimes you've even cooperated in the charade. On Tuesday, the American people -- with a little help from the Libertarian Party in places -- applied the stick, hard. Are you going to whine and rub your asses ... or are you going to make the most of the opportunity?

For liberty,
Tom Knapp

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Did it to Julia


I'm usually one of the first 3 or 4 voters at my polling place. This morning, I arrived 15 minutes before it opened, and was still voter #12. By the time I got out of there, the line going in was getting fairly long. Looks like it may be a record turnout day.

Then again, it could be due to the delays. Missouri outlawed "straight ticket" voting last year. All over the state, half-blind oldsters who are used to just looking for the picture of the donkey or the elephant, punching their ticket and getting the hell out of there are now having to laboriously um, read their ballots. I don't really see it making a difference in terms of an informed electorate, etc. It's just another annoyance.

Also, we've got the touch screen machines now -- that's slowing down voters and election workers both. Something about them feels ... sinister. In theory, you can request a paper punch card ballot instead, but those didn't arrive at my polling place until about the time I finished casting my votes on the touch screens.

Frank Gilmour for Senate, Charles Baum for State Auditor, Robb Cunningham for US House, Ted Brown for County Executive. Since those guys are all Libertarians and friends of mine, those votes were easy.

The votes for State Senator, State Representative and County Council were easy, too: The only candidate for each seat was the Democratic Party's nominee. And to be honest, we could do worse than Rita Days, Esther Haywood and Hazel Erby. Any Republican district in the state does so on a routine basis.

I wouldn't have felt bad voting for Lacy Clay for Congress, either, if he hadn't had a Libertarian opponent. He voted against the war on Iraq, against the Enabling Military Commissions Act, and against making the Anti-American Gestapo USA PATRIOT Act permanent. He opposes amending the US Constitution to make discrimination against homosexuals the Supreme Law of the Land -- and his response to my constituent inquiry on that issue was not pro forma. He's not good on every issue, but he's good on most of the ones I care about lately.

After that, it was "no" right down the line on the question of retaining various judges in office, and that was it. I made one mistake (almost let one of those judges creep back in with my support!), the touch screen let me correct it and then chattered a bunch of stuff on the "paper trail" tape, and I was done.

If you haven't voted yet, read Jim Henley's Election Day article before you go. Remember: A vote for a Republican, at least 99% of the time, is a vote against America.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

No apologies necessary


Every time I turn around, someone's opining that John Kerry "owes everyone who's ever served in the military an apology." I don't presume to speak for "everyone who's ever served in the military," but I can speak for myself, so I will.

As a veteran of the 1991 war (Marine Corps -- infantry), I don't desire an apology from Senator Kerry. I didn't find what he said offensive. The line as it was allegedly intended to be delivered would have been better, but what he actually said worked okay.

I do, however, have something to ask of the Democrats who are running for cover: Stop. Please. Show some goddamn backbone, for the love of Harry Truman. If you want a party line to cling to, try this one on for size:

"We'll gladly apologize for John Kerry blowing a line in a speech -- just as soon as we've heard George W. Bush's apology for the nearly 3,000 American deaths, the tens of thousands of American injuries and maimings, and the virtual disintegration of the US armed forces caused by his military incompetence, moral bankruptcy, and treasonous abuse of executive power."

Some campaign notes


[Note: This is not an official communication from the Steve Kubby for President campaign. Yes, I'm working with that campaign. Yes, this is most definitely pro-Kubby propaganda. But it's just me talking here. The candidate hasn't authorized or approved of anything I say here - TLK]

Two years out from the 2008 election, the campaign for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination is in full swing. As most of you know, I've endorsed Steve Kubby for that nomination; as I may or may not have mentioned here yet, I'm now working as a volunteer on his campaign. Time for an update on what's going on and a little more of my hypnotically persuasive argument about why Kubby deserves your support. But first, a disclaimer:

There are a number of candidates for the nomination. Don't let me choose yours for you. Check them all out. See what they're doing. Think long and hard about who would best represent your party versus the candidates the duopoly puts up. For a reasonably comprehensive and regularly updated list of declared and prospective contenders, point your browser at Politics1.

I endorsed Steve Kubby on the basis of several key factors: Personal charisma. A firm grasp of libertarian ideas and how they might be translated into public policy. Political experience and success. Life history and "credentials." Name recognition. Roots in constituencies outside the LP. What I didn't have to go on was personal acquaintance. I'd met Steve once and heard him speak once (at the LP's national convention in 2000); we'd briefly corresponded a few times, but that correspondence was not about a prospective presidential campaign.

Since endorsing Steve, I've had the chance to talk with him a number of times and begin working with him to make his campaign a success ... and I have to say that I'm more impressed than ever.

As I write this, Steve is on the ground in Colorado, where he'll be campaigning with SAFER for the passage of Amendment 44 (a marijuana legalization proposition), as well as with Daniel Ong, the LP's candidate for Colorado University Board of Regents, and possibly other candidates. The schedule is in continuous flux, but it looks like he'll be in Denver and Aurora today, and probably Fort Collins and possibly Boulder tomorrow.

One reason for telling you this is simple promotion of the fact that we have a candidate who's out there already ... who's campaigning to voters, not just inside the LP ... and who's already reaching out to constituencies beyond the existing LP base. But there's another reason:

This campaign is just getting started, and money's not exactly rolling in yet. When the possibility of doing something productive in Colorado came up, there just wasn't money to make it happen. Many candidates would have said, "no problem -- we'll get there sooner or later. Let's wait until the fundraising takes off."

Not Steve Kubby. After he had looked over the situation and decided that he might be able to contribute to a win for freedom, he said "I'm going. If the money's not there, let's figure out how to get it there."

I roughed in a budget. I set a fundraising goal, and we started contacting prospective donors. An angel donor came through for us in a big way, but we still stalled at half the rough budget. This is where some candidates would have balked and decided to write the thing off.

Not Steve. The money was now there for airfare and for gas for a campaign volunteer to drive him around -- so he booked the flight and told Kristen Peskuski when he'd be arriving so she could pick him up and get him into the fray. He's wading into said fray at this very moment.

Listen now, because this is important. There are different kinds of candidates. There are different kinds of campaigns. Some candidates seize opportunities; other candidates wait for opportunies to seize them. I had no doubts about which kind of candidate Steve Kubby would be, but it's energizing to see my judgment confirmed so early in this campaign.

Steve is the kind of candidate who doesn't mind sleeping on an activist's couch instead of in a comfy hotel bed (as a matter of fact, he prefers it!). He's the kind of candidate who does the difficult jobs instead of waiting and hoping that they'll get easier. Like Vincent, Ethan Hawke's character in Gattaca, who beats his brother in a desperate swim for an ocean buoy: "You want to know how I did it Anton? I never saved anything for the swim back."

This early in the race, with no scientific polling and insufficient data to make valid comparisons, it's impossible to tell who's "ahead" or "behind." But in my opinion, Steve Kubby is leading in the most important way: From the front.

If you agree, there are all kinds of ways to support Steve's campaign. The most obvious is with a financial contribution -- you can do that here.

In terms of "Internet buzz," a few minutes of your time can make a big difference:

- Vote for Steve (or the candidate of your choice) in the straw polls at The Next Prez. The polls are in the right sidebar. Steve won last month's LP nomination poll, and appears this month in both that poll and the "overall" poll versus the most popular candidates from other parties. He debuted on The Next Prez's "top five third party candidates" list in October at number 5 and moved up to number 4 last week.

- If you're a MySpace member, visit Steve's profile and add him as a "friend." We also have a MySpace Group for the campaign. Sign up!

- Several LP candidates for various offices have done well in the "My Rockin' Profile Awards" in past months; we're just getting started there. You can vote for Steve up to once an hour.

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