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Message from the Chair 12/11/2018

If you’ve not already heard, I have some very exciting news. Jeff Hewitt, California’s Region 4 LNC Representative and longtime Libertarian activist, won his election for Riverside County Supervisor! The Riverside County Registrar of Voters certified the election just before the deadline of December 6th, and announced the results on December 7th, that Hewitt won by a margin of 3.8% and now will hold a position that represents almost 2.5 million residents in the 11th largest county in the United States.

This is the most exciting victory in the Libertarian Party’s history, and happened because Jeff played the long game by being in local politics for many years, serving on local boards and then being elected the Mayor of Calimesa. During his tenure as Mayor he did the unthinkable for most municipalities and rid his city of Cal Fire and the unsustainable CalPERS pensions that would have ultimately bankrupt the City of Calimesa. He showed that there are solutions that don’t involve additional government waste. He showed that a principled Libertarian can use common sense, free-market solutions to improve the lives of his constituents. He proved that a Libertarian can WIN!

I personally want to congratulate Jeff and his team, which was led by another longtime LPC activist, Boomer Shannon. They ran an amazing ground game, even with being outspent three to one in the period after the Primary Election, but still went on to be victorious .

The Hewitt Team wants everyone know they are invited to celebrate this victory on December 29th at the The Station Tap House Bar and Grill at 8:00 p.m.

41 West Ramsey St, Banning, CA 92220

Also, mark your calendars. The next Libertarian of California Executive Committee meeting will be held on February 9, 2019, in Long Beach, and there will be a special event that evening which will include Jeff Hewitt as our featured speaker. More details will be posted soon, but this will be an event you won’t want to miss!

And don’t forget that the 2019 Convention is fast approaching. Our Convention will be held in Concord at the Crowne Plaza and you can still take advantage of special pricing until the end of the year. There will be many amazing speakers, which will of course include Jeff Hewitt and Boomer Shannon. You can find out more at https://ca.lp.org/convention/.

In Liberty,

Mimi Robson,

Libertarian Party of California

chair@ca.lp.org

The post Message from the Chair 12/11/2018 appeared first on Libertarian Party of California.

Annual Libertarian Holiday Party

photoGreater Los Angeles Libertarian Party Meetup Group

Join the Pasadena Libertarian Party meetup next Wednesday from 7 - 9:30. This lively group meets at Villa Catrina Restaurant in Arcadia, CA. Bring a liberty-themed book for a gift swap. Dinner at 7, speaker at 7:30, and white-elephant style gift exchange at 8pm! Guaranteed to be fun!

Arcadia, CA 91106 - USA

Wednesday, December 12 at 7:00 PM

1

https://www.meetup.com/LALibertarians/events/256990976/

Libertarian in High Office – Jeff Hewitt Pulls Away – He Can’t Lose

A Winning Race by Radical Libertarians in California is Now all but Decided. This may be the most significant WIN by the LP since it stole an Electoral College vote.

Zooming By

Libertarian Jeff Hewitt has pulled away further into the lead in his race for county supervisor in Riverside, California. “The world upside down,” is the only way to describe it. The Libertarian took a losing race against an establishment Republican and actually flipped the score, sending both major parties into a scramble. As of November 30th, Hewitt is over 2500 votes ahead out of over 100,000, putting him at 51.3%. Depending on how many of the remaining county-wide provisional votes count towards his race, it may now be impossible for him to lose.

Votes for Jeff Hewitt in the Riverside County 5th District Supervisor election in 2018 changed over time. Absentee ballots were counted in the same order voters sent them in over the nearly 2 months California allows. The trend in voters shows distinct and massive changes in voter propensity towards Jeff Hewitt.

Votes for Jeff Hewitt in the Riverside County 5th District Supervisor election in 2018 changed over time. Absentee ballots were counted in the same order they were sent in. The trend shows distinct and massive changes in voter propensity towards Jeff Hewitt.

The race he is in is for one of the most prized political positions in the country and easily among the top 20 most influential positions in all of California. The result will likely mean that for the first time in history, the Libertarian Party will have a solid member supervising a significant county seat. Riverside County is the 11th MOST populous county in the US and has a geographic area the size of New Jersey. The five person board decides administrative and enforcement policy for all law in their county and it controls an annual budget of over $5,000,000,000.

What few votes remain to be counted in this race are a tiny portion of the Vote-By-Mail ballots that needed extra verification and then also about 30,000 provisional votes cast on election day.  The remaining votes will not all be applied to this race. Because the counting has now prioritized precincts within this particular race, it is believed that there are only 2500 to 7000 votes left. The final results will not be certified until Dec. 6th, but only an impossibly improbable showing could make him lose at this point.

The Hewitt campaign didn't pull any radical punches. On tax day, people got a humorous and hard to ignore post card in their mail box.

The Hewitt campaign didn’t pull any radical punches. On tax day, people got a humorous and hard to ignore post card in their mail box.

County elected officials are reportedly calling Jeff Hewitt to congratulate him on winning. It is said that many have specifically complimented his campaign for a spectacular job moving voters. There is also apparently some level of having to admit surprise. Not a lot of the establishment politicos in the area had bet on the dark horse. To ensure that he can ramp up his office in time, the county has even issued Jeff Hewitt an exclusive access pin identifying him as Supervisorial Staff in administrative offices in the county seat.

A Full Tilt Assault by Libertarians

This was no “gimme” of a win for Libertarians. Jeff Hewitt’s campaign was a full tilt assault on traditional party politics. According to the campaign manager, Boomer Shannon, the approach was to do, “good ole’ fashioned politicking.” He says that the establishment parties have become so entrenched that they no longer know how to solicit votes; they only remain in power on the momentum of their “now broken machines.”

Another radical and hard hitting mailer questioned the voting record Hewitt's opponent had as a GoP hatchetman: Authoring bills that targeted immigrants and frustrated LGBT equal protection under the law.

Another radical and hard hitting mailer questioned the voting record Hewitt’s opponent had as a GoP hatchetman: Authoring bills that targeted immigrants and frustrated LGBT equal protection under the law.

The day following the election, Mr. Shannon reported to activists and observers at the campaign office the results of the night’s counting and predicted a win by 2000 votes. Though at the time they were still down several hundred votes, he pointed at the 56% performance at the polls and said this statistically represented, “the world turned upside down,” from the 44% of the early absentee returns. He felt that the Democrats and Republicans did not know what was coming and said that as votes come in, “there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Afterwards, I got a minute to ask Mr. Shannon what he meant by people not knowing what is coming, and what that meant to other libertarians.

This mailer warned that the other candidate, a true crony, was being sued by his own city for failing to build schools to code. This sir... we Libertarians call this a petard... up you go!

This mailer warned that the other candidate, a true crony, was being sued by his own city for failing to build schools to code. This sir… we Libertarians call this a petard… up you go!

“They have gotten worse than lazy,” Mr. Shannon said about the major parties. “They are indolent in representing the people that vote for them. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are attracting new voters because the generations following the Baby Boomers have completely lost faith in them.”

Hewitt's opponent called himself a Regan Republican and then took over $650,000 from public employee unions. He did not have a cartoonist on staff, but Jeff Hewitt did and this Republican targeted mailer generated a LOT of phone calls... not only to the Hewitt's campaign, but reportedly some angry ones made it to GoP leadership as well.

Hewitt’s opponent called himself a Regan Republican and then took over $650,000 from public employee unions. He did not have a cartoonist on staff, but Jeff Hewitt did and this Republican targeted mailer generated a LOT of phone calls… not only to the Hewitt’s campaign, but reportedly some angry ones made it to GoP leadership as well.

“Over the last 15 years that we have been doing street level activism in Southern California we have seen a significant shift in the way people approach society. It is testimony to the decades of education work the party has done. When we canvass people with an OPH (Operation Politically Homeless) kit, the results today are striking. In parts of Los Angeles that trend towards Democrats, there is a swing. The little red dots we put on the graph have shifted up on the Republican side towards Libertarians. Conversely in more Republican areas like where Jeff is running, we see the registered Democrats shifting up into the Libertarian quadrant.”

Libertarians using OPH kits are seeing surprising yet telling shift in public attitudes towards self-ownership.

Libertarians using OPH kits are seeing a surprising yet telling shift in public attitudes towards self-ownership.

Operation Politically Homeless is a long running education tool invented by the much revered and missed David Nolan. Once known as the Nolan Chart, the device is a small ten question test that inquires on a respondent’s view on some hard hitting freedom issues. Five of the questions are on “personal freedoms”; the rest are about economics. The chart is purported to correctly identify which political alignment a person has. The alignment is based not only on the familiar Left to Right axis, but also on a up-down scale of Libertarian to statist. An organization called The Advocates for Self Governance makes pre-printed tests of the World’s Smallest Political Quiz and display ready scoring posters available online. These kits are a regular gift among Libertarians to new activists.

“What this shift means to us is that on each side of the pseudo-divide between the two major parties, the side that feels disempowered, sees Libertarian thought as the solution. But that is not the strongest sign we see. What we get really excited about, the thing that seems to be the most significant change in those charts, is the fading away of the red and blue dots.”

“When I first started doing activism using the OPH kit, the respondents were a different sort. Most people who took the test were registered in one of the big parties. The chart would just have a smattering of yellow stickers we used for people registered in a 3rd party or had declined to state a party preference.”

Over six weeks over a dozen workers knocked on over 22,000 doors, talking to voters and soliciting sign placement.

Over six weeks over a dozen workers knocked on over 22,000 doors, talking to voters and soliciting sign placement.

“Gradually, and then significantly, those dots began to change. Each year, and universally across the various neighborhoods we canvass, red dots and blue dots began to be replaced by independent voters. Now nearly half of the respondents to the World’s Smallest Political Quiz we talk to are independents.”

“What is interesting is that the change isn’t just a replacement. We are getting a lot more people to stop and talk to us, take the test, and discuss society. Younger voters, who were once disenfranchised, are taking ownership and an interest in the political process. And let me tell you, they are a cynical lot too!”

“In areas that are Progressive strongholds in Los Angeles for instance, we get a lot of voters that understandably trend on the left side of the chart. The blue dots push far over, but the independents and Republicans score strongly Libertarian. When we talk to these guys, they still tend to be most interested in the issues that their neighbors and old progressives traditionally held up as ensigns like social justice and the environment. What we found though, is that they do not trust government to do these things. Until they talked to us, they just didn’t have any idea that these problems might be solved without ‘pointing guns at people.’ They tend to agree that government is not the right solution for society’s most important problems.”

Politics is about People

Boomer Shannon explains that these observations about the trajectory of political interest in voters was strong in shaping Jeff Hewitt’s campaign. The campaign sought to distance itself from politics as usual by throwing out the bold and blocky style now universally recognizable as political signs.

Warm desert colors and a confident smiling face got voters to look and then pay attention to Jeff Hewitt's campaign.

Warm desert colors and a confident smiling face got voters to look and then pay attention to Jeff Hewitt’s campaign.

“A leader in the GoP here in Riverside called us ‘gutsy’ for putting Jeff’s face on our print media. Like most politicos, he has no clue what marketing looks like. As part of our volunteer army we had Hollywood PR and design people advising us and a staff artist. We knew that what we needed to do was set ourselves apart from politicians in general. We used warm desert colors in our advertising and plastered Jeff’s smiling confident face all over the county. It was friendly. It felt very personal and Jeff was very well received.”

“We have a saying around here that guides our attitudes: ‘Politics is about people; and the number one skill is making friends.’ Jeff and his amazing political track has represented the epitome of this. We would never have had this level of success if Jeff had not first volunteered for the planning office in his hometown, ran for the city council and then been promoted to mayor. His reputation was the foundation the campaign was built on. When we walked into a forum, as outsiders we were always walking into what normally would have been enemy territory. But it didn’t matter if it was a liberal church, a hispanic business coalition or a conservative club of GoP regulars, Jeff had a friend welcoming him and making introductions.”

Activists, a very large majority under 30 years old, flocked to Riverside to help the Hewitt campaign. Not only did they help with the ground game, IT services and media generation were also largely volunteer efforts.

Activists, a very large majority under 30 years old, flocked to Riverside to help the Hewitt campaign. Not only did they help with the ground game, IT services and media generation were also largely volunteer efforts.

“With this ability to make friends, our outreach became a funnel for people to meet Jeff. We had a dozen people canvassing neighborhoods, knocking on doors and making friends. People would see Jeff’s face on the extended literature and say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen him,’ and the rest was easy. Our number one goal was to put Jeff in front of people on a personal level, the second was to get signs on lawns. If they showed some active interest we set them up for coffee with Jeff. Jeff wound up drinking a LOT of coffee. Campaigning was two shifts a day for him – seven days a week.”

“Not only did we get a lot of positive feedback for the personal contact, we littered the district with thousands of signs. You would drive around town, and at busy intersections there was [the opponent’s] sign nailed to a pole where a signage company was hired to put them up. Ours were there too, but when you turned into the side street of a neighborhood, it was all Jeff, Jeff, Jeff. The GoP doesn’t know how to play a ground game. For them it is all about the party approved vendors.”

The Failure of Parties

Boomer claims to have studied the art of political persuasion, “before Tammany Hall,” when violent enforcement of party lines became prevalent. He says he can identify concretely where the Republicans and Democrats are failing. Their model is still based on control they no longer have. He also says he knows how to exploit that weakness and that it is easy to illustrate so that Libertarians do not make the same mistake. It is his theory that the major parties are no longer really political parties.

A very busy office run by millennials moved the vote over 12 points propelling a Libertarian to victory.

A very busy office run by millennials moved the vote over 14 points propelling a Libertarian to victory. They set up IT infrastructure to rival a tech startup, wrote custom software and even produced the campaign’s media all in-house.

“This is hard for some, especially the establishment, to understand. For over a hundred years, politics has been monopolized by teams on a playing field that is completely corrupt. Look,” he said, “a political party, by its organic nature is the opposite of a control structure. Political parties are actually defined by a set of people, having a common social goal, coming together to realize it in the electoral process. You wont find any actual social goals except as window dressing in the establishment parties. The purpose of the their parties is completely manipulated to maintain access to graft. People know it and they hate corruption. What they need to know is that Libertarians are different, that we are sincere. That means being bottom up and decentralized as a movement and as a party so that activists and candidates stick around, and it means being locally relevant and radical in our messaging so that people hear us with definition.”

“As soon as the parties became centralized, they stopped being… Parties. After nearly 100 years, their unyielding grip on government is slipping because they do not know how to talk to the public. In those hundred years, they became Leviathan, and now under the weight of their own narcissism, they are collapsing. The massive swelling of voters who do not choose a party, to me is a plowed field ready for planting. We will use the rotting corpses of the old parties for fertilizer as we sow seeds of Liberty and irrigate it with the tears of broken and destitute bureaucrats.”

“Republicans and Democrats settle your mortal affairs. Jeff is just the beginning. The Libertarians are coming.”

 

Disclosure:
As a So Cal Libertarian, I was naturally very invested in seeing Jeff Hewitt win this election from a number of angles. I helped on the campaign as a volunteer anywhere I could, and more. I was not alone and have a great love and appreciation for the dozens of fellow Libertarians that similarly took massive amounts of their free time and valuable skills and devoted them to this race. I pretend no lack of personal bias in this blog post. I am really proud of what those guys did.

The post Libertarian in High Office – Jeff Hewitt Pulls Away – He Can’t Lose appeared first on Alive Free Happy.

California Republican Collapse: A Generation in the Making

Tuesday November 6, 2018 was a Red Letter day for Republicans in Indiana, Missouri, Florida, North Dakota and a few other states. In California “R” was the Scarlet Letter. California Republicans had their worst showing since the FDR landslide year of 1936.

In physics, Orange is created by mixing red light with yellow light. In California Congressional races, all the red drained out of Orange County. Not a single Republican was elected to Congress in Orange County, a long-time conservative stronghold.

Rep. Ken Calvert (Perris), elected in 1992, is now the senior Republican Congressman from California. Republicans lost Orange County, but they will always have Perris.

The election of 2018 was almost universally seen as a repudiation of President Trump. But the collapse of the California Republican Party was a generation in the making. In 1994 Republicans backed Proposition 187, directed against “illegal aliens” and saw short term political gains, including the re-election of Governor Pete Wilson, vulnerable after his support for hikes in the state sales tax. But the campaign for Proposition 187 demonized Mexicans, and the millions of Californians of Mexican descent, many of them Republicans, saw the Republican campaign as an attack on their communities. Republican support among Hispanic voters has never recovered.

The decline accelerated with the election of George W Bush as President in 2000. California rejected Bush, as did a majority of voters nationally. Taking office as a minority President, George W Bush pushed America into an aggressive war on Iraq.

The Iraq War resulted in the deaths of more than 5000 American soldiers and contractors. More than 40,000 Americans received life changing wounds. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, mostly civilian, were murdered by American weapons of mass destruction, and many more were wounded, made homeless and impoverished by American WMD.

The initiation of force by order of President Bush put a stop to the work of weapons inspectors who were searching for WMD; inspectors left the country to avoid becoming casualties of U.S. bombs. After a complete occupation of Iraq, more than 2 years of inspections by U.S. government inspectors found now evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died because of Bush’s war based on lies. California voters rejected George W Bush when he sought re-election in 2004. California Republican leaders continued to loyally support President Bush, heedless of the wishes of most voters in California.

In 1996 California voters passed Proposition 215 to legalize Marijuana for therapeutic use. A few Republicans supported compassionate use, but most Republican officeholders and party organizations opposed Prop. 215. In 2016 California voters passed Proposition 64, to legalize marijuana for personal use and to establish a framework for the legal production and sale of Marijuana. A few Republicans backed legalization, but most Republican officeholders opposed Proposition 64, again alienating most voters in California.

California voters support a pro-choice position on abortion. Many California Republican candidates have stressed a pro-choice position – Ed Zschau, Tom Campbell and most recently Meg Whitman in her 2010 campaign for Governor. But the anti-choice policies promoted by national Republican leaders alienate California voters.

The parties in the various states have a responsibility to represent the voters of those states. The California Republican Party has instead tried to represent the national Republican policies and national Republican candidates to the people of California. California voters know that Republicans do not represent them, and in 2018 California voters asked Republicans to stop representing them in Congress.

Message from the Chair – 11/11/18

Over the last year we have all put a lot of time and energy into the Midterm Elections, and I know that on Wednesday many Libertarians were discouraged, but we shouldn’t be. I have spent the last few days reflecting on this and realize we actually have a lot to be proud of! Nationwide we have 16 newly-elected Libertarians and had 833 Libertarians run effective campaigns. Here in California, even with our top-two “jungle primaries,” we had five partisan candidates on the November Ballot for State Assembly.

We have proven that a Libertarian CAN progress past the primary in a contested race; I was the first third-party candidate to make it to the General Election, beating a Democrat and a Green Party Candidate to go head to head against the Democrat incumbent. This prompted my opponent to face off with me in a candidate panel, which traditionally wouldn’t have happened. If I can do it, so can others!

We had four additional candidates, Brandon Nelson in the 4th District, Justin Quigley in the 21stDistrict, Christopher Stare in the 51st District, and Autumn Browne in the 69th District, that ran as write-in candidates against incumbents that were running unopposed and they all progressed to the General Election as well.

All of our State Assembly candidates did exceptionally well with most garnering close to 30% of the vote, which is higher than most Libertarians throughout the county. Brandon Nelson was able to get approximately 40% in two different counties in his district. And this was with campaigns that had limited financial support; our candidates raised and spent a collective total of about $40,000, and collectively our opponents raised about $3.9 million and spent about $2 million.

We have also proven that Libertarians running in non-partisan races can do amazing things! Jeff Hewitt is currently within 600 votes of winning the Riverside County Supervisor, 5th District election, with 40,000 votes still to be counted. He was able to raise close to a half million dollars and ran an outstanding campaign.

In addition, between September 7 and October 22 the number of registered Libertarians increased by 5.5% which means we’ve grown 6.5% since January! The Libertarian Party is the only party to increase in registered voters this year, but the number of No Party Preference voters has increased 14.4%, up to 5,419,607 voters. This tells me the #WalkAway movement is working, and many of those leaving the two major parties are finding a home in the Libertarian Party.

So what does this mean? It means we have an amazing opportunity to grow the party in California! It also means that we need to use that growth to raise money to support our candidates. If we had the funding to truly go up against the incumbent candidates who knows what could have happened last Tuesday.

So my first priority is to reach out to the registered Libertarians in the state to increase our donors! In the next few days I will be sending an email to over 50,000 registered Libertarians, and from there I hope to raise the money necessary to be able to reach out to all 150,000 as well as the 5.4 million No Party Preference voters.

I’ll also be working closely with the Convention Committee to get the best speakers that will resonate with people that don’t yet know they are Libertarians. My goal is to have people come to hear what we have to say and leave as registered Libertarians and members of the Libertarian Party of California. To do that we need to focus on our message; people need to know what LIBERTY means and how our party intends to bring liberty to all of the people in California.

My next priority will be to start working with the candidates that will be running in 2020. We need to identify races where we have a good chance of winning and focus our volunteers and money on those so we get the wins! Many of these may be non-partisan local races, such as city and county councils and boards, but will also include partisan state senate and assembly races.

I am going to need everyone’s  help in making these things happen. If you’re not already involved in the state or county organizations, please think about giving us a bit of your time. We have several committees with openings for volunteers at both the state and local levels. If you would like to get involved please don’t hesitate to contact me directly, and I will work with you to find the right fit for your efforts. If you are unable to volunteer, please think about helping us with funding, either to the state party or the candidate support committee. As little as $5 or $10 a month will go a long way in getting us to the place we need to be; a place where we’re taken seriously as a viable political party.

Also, be sure to attend our 2019 Convention in Concord California. The Convention will be held April 5-7, 2019 and there are still discounted packages available until the end of the year. You can find out more at https://ca.lp.org/convention/.

That’s all for now, but I will be keeping you updated on the progress as we approach the Convention.

In Liberty,

Mimi Robson,

Libertarian Party of California

chair@ca.lp.org

The post Message from the Chair – 11/11/18 appeared first on Libertarian Party of California.

My Report Q4 2018


My Report Q4 2018. I bear sole responsibility for its contents.

It is early November, and already I am writing a report. Events compel me. One of Jeff' Hewitt's donors hosted a party for volunteers last night. The energy there opened my heart. Talented, energetic, passionate young people filled the house. Fireside stories had us all laughing and proud of what we had accomplished together. The Hewitt campaign brought organizing to a level beyond anything I have experienced before in campaign activism. To a level that has the moneyed establishment afraid and lashing out. Just being at that one gathering validated all my investment in Jeff's campaign, and then some. I can't keep quiet about it. This is what positive political change looks like.

One of our own, a passionate libertarian and former LP officer is on the cusp of winning one of the most powerful elected offices in Riverside County. That County is bigger than a lot of countries. The Supervisors control a multi-billion dollar annual budget. Jeff is in a classic David-versus-Goliath fight, a grassroots campaign against a big money candidate supported by developers and public employee unions. But his campaign has real traction, and many pundits are thinking Jeff has a decent chance to win a close race. I'm so proud of that whole crew. Every vote counts. To help out or just get your name on the list of supporters, sign up at www.votehewitt.com.

Another close race of a similar type is the race for Mayor of Oxnard. Aaron and Alicia are shaking up the Oxnard establishment. Again. But now, the people might win for a change. Sign up at www.starrforoxnard.com

The Starr and Hewitt campaigns are both grassroots campaigns against establishment money-backed politicians, for offices powerful enough to attract serious money. These two will stick around. Whether they win this cycle or next, they have already raised effective challenges to Big Money. Once they prove Big Money can be beat, watch out! We'll see more successful challenges following similar campaign strategies. Cracks in the Big Money dam are springing leaks.

Many other campaigns are going on. Hewitt and Starr are the only two I know running close races for prominent offices in Southern California. Other races are more "Phase One" type campaigns, raising public awareness but far behind in the polls. These campaigns can still succeed by bringing new members, making their campaigns as appealing as possible to the widest diversity of potential libertarian voters while exposing the electorate to libertarian principles of non-aggression in governance.

Whatever type of campaign you are running or supporting, it's great that activists are putting aside their differences and focusing on campaigns. When the campaigning is over we need to get back to the job of repairing our networks.

In any endeavor we will face frustrations and setbacks. Work is work, and the biggest obstacle we face is ourselves. One of our senior members for whom I have much respect made a remark in an online forum. Something to the effect that the LP has its own legislature, which is the executive committee, its own administration, which are the officers, and its own judicial system, which is the judicial committee. I hope that's not an unfair characterization; if you think me wrong please point out my error in the comments. Perhaps I misunderstood her meaning.

For whatever reason the remark stuck with me--as an object lesson, helping me realize that our members aren't here to subject themselves to another layer of government. Our members are here to network and do activism for liberty under a state-sanctioned banner with access to the ballot box. It's the only essential purpose of having a Libertarian Party in the first place. Fulfilling that purpose is our highest duty as officers. 

We can't fulfill our purpose with respecting different viewpoints. Sometimes that requires pointing out differences, with respect and humility. We have to understand and respect one another to work together. 

Another discussion on the Ex Com message board stuck in my head. I made a remark about officers not being more important than other activists. Others disagreed with passion. Perhaps I misunderstood the intent, but the notion (intended or not) that non-officers need to shut up and obey officers triggered me. Not only because I favor individual responsibility over authority. Also because in a democratic institution run by Robert's Rules, the notion is exactly backwards. Members do not serve the officers. Officers serve the members.

Our officers' job is simple. Keep house so we don't lose our political party status under the California Election Code. Hold a great convention every year that attracts new members and builds networking connections. Avoid power plays and actions that divide the membership. Don't use our offices as personal fiefdoms. Remain neutral in the performance of the office and help make the LPC a safe and rewarding place for everyone who advocates for liberty. Leave our activists alone to run their own activism and campaigns.

Sometime we lose sight of our purpose, and get distracted by conflicts between members. The worst thing we can do is get involved as officers, trying to determine winners and losers in personal contests for dominance and validation. We abuse our offices when we use them that way, and undermine the purpose of the Party. We will not succeed by emulating the top-down strategies of the parties in power.

Ignoring our own mistakes is a losing strategy. Apologizing is important and effective, and so is cleaning up the messes we make. Let's clean up one of those messes now.

At LPC's last Ex-Com meeting, we passed judgment on actions of former officers of an affiliate--activists who were out working on campaigns. They weren't there, we hadn't invited them to our meeting nor had they asked for our input. We can pretend we never made a ruling, or minimize the outcome by calling it "just a recommendation." Either would be a mistake. Our recommendations enable fair solutions, or they are a waste of time, a liability for the Party, an invitation to future conflict, an injury to our dedicated activists, and a frustration of our purpose. Our motion did not enable any solutions.

So let's retract our last motion on the San Bernardino controversy. Acknowledge that the process and result were wrong. Nullify our own edict. Apologize to the membership.

What do you think?





My Report Q4 2018


My Report Q4 2018. I bear sole responsibility for its contents.

It is early November, and already I am writing a report. Events compel me. One of Jeff' Hewitt's donors hosted a party for volunteers last night. The energy there opened my heart. Talented, energetic, passionate young people filled the house. Fireside stories had us all laughing and proud of what we had accomplished together. The Hewitt campaign brought organizing to a level beyond anything I have experienced before in campaign activism. To a level that has the moneyed establishment afraid and lashing out. Just being at that one gathering validated all my investment in Jeff's campaign, and then some. I can't keep quiet about it. This is what positive political change looks like.

One of our own, a passionate libertarian and former LP officer is on the cusp of winning one of the most powerful elected offices in Riverside County. That County is bigger than a lot of countries. The Supervisors control a multi-billion dollar annual budget. Jeff is in a classic David-versus-Goliath fight, a grassroots campaign against a big money candidate supported by developers and public employee unions. But his campaign has real traction, and many pundits are thinking Jeff has a decent chance to win a close race. I'm so proud of that whole crew. Every vote counts. To help out or just get your name on the list of supporters, sign up at www.votehewitt.com.

Another close race of a similar type is the race for Mayor of Oxnard. Aaron and Alicia are shaking up the Oxnard establishment. Again. But now, the people might win for a change. Sign up at www.starrforoxnard.com

The Starr and Hewitt campaigns are both grassroots campaigns against establishment money-backed politicians, for offices powerful enough to attract serious money. These two will stick around. Whether they win this cycle or next, they have already raised effective challenges to Big Money. Once they prove Big Money can be beat, watch out! We'll see more successful challenges following similar campaign strategies. Cracks in the Big Money dam are springing leaks.

Many other campaigns are going on. Hewitt and Starr are the only two I know running close races for prominent offices in Southern California. Other races are more "Phase One" type campaigns, raising public awareness but far behind in the polls. These campaigns can still succeed by bringing new members, making their campaigns as appealing as possible to the widest diversity of potential libertarian voters while exposing the electorate to libertarian principles of non-aggression in governance.

Whatever type of campaign you are running or supporting, it's great that activists are putting aside their differences and focusing on campaigns. When the campaigning is over we need to get back to the job of repairing our networks.

In any endeavor we will face frustrations and setbacks. Work is work, and the biggest obstacle we face is ourselves. One of our senior members for whom I have much respect made a remark in an online forum. Something to the effect that the LP has its own legislature, which is the executive committee, its own administration, which are the officers, and its own judicial system, which is the judicial committee. I hope that's not an unfair characterization; if you think me wrong please point out my error in the comments. Perhaps I misunderstood her meaning.

For whatever reason the remark stuck with me--as an object lesson, helping me realize that our members aren't here to subject themselves to another layer of government. Our members are here to network and do activism for liberty under a state-sanctioned banner with access to the ballot box. It's the only essential purpose of having a Libertarian Party in the first place. Fulfilling that purpose is our highest duty as officers. 

We can't fulfill our purpose with respecting different viewpoints. Sometimes that requires pointing out differences, with respect and humility. We have to understand and respect one another to work together. 

Another discussion on the Ex Com message board stuck in my head. I made a remark about officers not being more important than other activists. Others disagreed with passion. Perhaps I misunderstood the intent, but the notion (intended or not) that non-officers need to shut up and obey officers triggered me. Not only because I favor individual responsibility over authority. Also because in a democratic institution run by Robert's Rules, the notion is exactly backwards. Members do not serve the officers. Officers serve the members.

Our officers' job is simple. Keep house so we don't lose our political party status under the California Election Code. Hold a great convention every year that attracts new members and builds networking connections. Avoid power plays and actions that divide the membership. Don't use our offices as personal fiefdoms. Remain neutral in the performance of the office and help make the LPC a safe and rewarding place for everyone who advocates for liberty. Leave our activists alone to run their own activism and campaigns.

Sometime we lose sight of our purpose, and get distracted by conflicts between members. The worst thing we can do is get involved as officers, trying to determine winners and losers in personal contests for dominance and validation. We abuse our offices when we use them that way, and undermine the purpose of the Party. We will not succeed by emulating the top-down strategies of the parties in power.

Ignoring our own mistakes is a losing strategy. Apologizing is important and effective, and so is cleaning up the messes we make. Let's clean up one of those messes now.

At LPC's last Ex-Com meeting, we passed judgment on actions of former officers of an affiliate--activists who were out working on campaigns. They weren't there, we hadn't invited them to our meeting nor had they asked for our input. We can pretend we never made a ruling, or minimize the outcome by calling it "just a recommendation." Either would be a mistake. Our recommendations enable fair solutions, or they are a waste of time, a liability for the Party, an invitation to future conflict, an injury to our dedicated activists, and a frustration of our purpose. Our motion did not enable any solutions.

So let's retract our last motion on the San Bernardino controversy. Acknowledge that the process and result were wrong. Nullify our own edict. Apologize to the membership.

What do you think?





Jason Ditz:”Jeff Bezos Puts the Pentagon on His Monopoly Board”

Speaking at the Wired 25th anniversary last month month, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that his company will continue to accept Pentagon contracts. That includes a very controversial cloud-computing contract that Google and Microsoft have already backed out of due to vocal employee opposition to working with the U.S. military.

Amazon was long considered the front-runner for this contract, but Bezos’s rationale for taking it goes well beyond its being low-hanging fruit. He’s argued that the government’s job is to “make the right decision, even when it’s unpopular,” and that large tech companies should support those decisions irrespective of politics.

The $10 billion tied to the contract can’t hurt either. Whatever his motivation for sucking it up and taking one for team tech, Bezos’s public justification is a poor one, and it isn’t hard to see why. The Pentagon has a long history of immoral and reckless behavior, actions that objectively aren’t beneficial to the defense of the United States. Any company that blindly works with them does so at its own peril.

Employees at Google and Microsoft have already made a powerful case for why tech giants shouldn’t collaborate with the Defense Department. They don’t want to be responsible for developing technology that causes substantial harm, surveils others in violation of international norms, or contravenes human rights. The Pentagon can be counted on to do all three, and more.

Furthermore, the Pentagon’s growing interest in artificial intelligence (A.I.), particularly as it relates to warfighting, sounds out of the preamble for a dystopian novel. Hence why Google employees forced their company not to renew a controversial Pentagon contract in June involving A.I. While Amazon will be signing on to cloud computing, not A.I., it’s still more than a little concerning that Bezos was so adamant about the virtues of the DoD. (For what it’s worth, Amazon already works with the CIA.)

But Amazon has an interest that extends far beyond this single deal. The real prize is to become the military’s sole procurement source for off-the-shelf components. Disdainfully labeled Amazon.mil by critics, this initiative is a result of a congressional mandate that the Pentagon shift procurement to a single online marketplace.

The mandate is supposed to save the Pentagon money when buying run-of-the-mill items like bottled water. It would also give Amazon, the presumptive facilitator, a virtual monopoly on selling a vast array of items to a government department with nearly limitless money that’s notorious for overpaying for things.

Amazon is one of very few online companies that could even claim to provide this sort of service. In eagerly contracting with the Pentagon elsewhere, Bezos is laying the groundwork for this much bigger relationship.

Full Commentary by Jason Ditz @ The American Conservative https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/amazon-joins-the-military-to-further-its-dominance/

Ron Paul: Liberty Is Still Popular

Listening to the media, one would be forgiven for thinking that the “Libertarian Moment” has passed. After all, few candidates are running on a platform of limited government, individual liberty, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. Instead, both parties push expansions of government power, whether nationalized health care, increased surveillance, or tariffs. And for all the partisan invective coming out of D.C., both parties are more than willing to work together to increase spending and debt.

However, a poll from last month conducted by Liberty Government Affairs and Gravis Marketing, shows that liberty is still popular. It also shows that a growing number of Americans are rejecting the D.C. consensus on many issues.

For example, the foreign policy establishment insists that America must stay in Afghanistan for as long as it takes to achieve victory—even though no one can define what victory would look like. The Liberty-Gravis poll found that 46.1 percent of Americans favor withdrawal from Afghanistan. Only 29.1 percent of Republicans support continuing to stay, while 37.4 percent of Republicans disagree with President Trump, and agree with candidate Trump, that the U.S. should end its longest war.

The drug war is another issue where grassroots Republicans disagree with most Republicans politicians. Forty-seven percent of Republicans in this poll support ending the war on marijuana, compared to 34 percent of Republicans who support continuing marijuana prohibition. Ending the federal war on marijuana is also overwhelmingly popular with Democrats and Independents. Legalizing marijuana is yet another issue where voters side with candidate Trump over President Trump—or at least his authoritarian Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The poll does not just contain bad news for the authoritarians of the right. The survey found that 46.6 percent of Democrats answered “yes” to supporting politicians who would “seek to reduce the size of the federal government, lower federal taxes, and end continuing conflicts abroad.”

Full Commentary by former Congressman Ron Paul @ Reason https://reason.com/archives/2018/10/29/liberty-is-still-popular

Gravis Marketing Poll @ https://www.libertygovernmentaffairs.com/news