Libertarians to Democrats: Call off the thugs

Press release posted at

White House orders Dems to ‘punch back’ as union organizers attack citizens

WASHINGTON — America’s third largest party Friday called on Democrats to end what appears to be a budding campaign of union violence targeted at citizens who differ with the White House at town hall meetings across the country. Libertarians oppose not only the White House’s plans for government-run medicine, but the use of violence to achieve political or social goals.

A Tampa Bay Tribune story and a video posted to the Drudge Report both report physical assaults on dissenting citizens by union organizers brought to meetings by Democrats. In Tampa, union organizers blocked citizens who differed with the White House from entering a public town hall with Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL,) and allegedly scuffled with some of them. A video posted to YouTube appears to show union organizers physically attacking citizens who disagreed with the White House.

“The Libertarian Party is founded on one principle. We do not support the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals,” said Donny Ferguson, Libertarian National Committee Communications Director. “Democrats seem to think differently. When the Obama administration ordered Democrats to ‘punch back twice as hard’ against citizens who question them, Democrats responded. This Chicago-trained White House has brought Chicago-style union violence to small towns across America.”

“The White House told Democrat leaders Thursday to ‘punch back twice as hard’ when citizens express disapproval. That kind of irresponsible rhetoric is never proper when discussing popular dissent. They also made it clear they will bend Senate rules and force through government-run health care whether or not America supports it. That is a frightening departure from the traditional American practice of governing though popular will,” said Ferguson.

“If bringing in union thugs is an attempt by Democrats to scare citizens into not questioning them, it won’t work. Union violence may be how communities are organized in Chicago, but the American people won’t stand for people who think violence is the proper response to the fact they no longer have majority support.”

“Americans still believe in the consent of the governed. Libertarians urge Democrats to listen to the American people, call off their union enforcers and drop their wildly unpopular scheme of government-run medicine,” said Ferguson.

For more information on this issue, or to arrange an interview with the Libertarian Party, please call Director of Communications Donny Ferguson at 703-200-3669, or email

The Libertarian Party is America’s third-largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.

45 thoughts on “Libertarians to Democrats: Call off the thugs

  1. Kimberly Wilder


    Thank you for posting this piece from the Libertarian Party.

    To all,

    I have been meaning to comment on this situation here or on my blog.

    The situation is: Congresspeople and other politicians are trying to hold Town Hall meetings. Activists from the “anti-single payer healthcare” and also activists from the “anti-immigrant” groups are showing up and disrupting loudly.

    The Democrat/major party position seems to be: These people are not genuine activists. These people are haters (especially in the anti-immigrant camp). These people are paid by lobbyists, corporations, etc. Therefore, the elected officials can “dismiss” them and treat them as saboteurs of democracy.

    The position of people in general on the right seems to be, “Why are you bothering some of our people with different ideas.?They should be allowed to protest.”

    I think that there is some truth on both sides.

    And, I do think everyone should be careful when elected officials start to criticize–but worse, push around or sic security on–people expressing dissent. This will not be a good precedent when we want to do a peace action.

    If Democrats are stirring up union workers to shove back, that is very wrong. And, I am interested in hearing more about evidence of that situation allegedly happening.

    The bottom line, as the Libertarian Party notes, is there are some people who think it is okay to use physicality and violence in a political discussion. And, I do fear that some regular old Democrats have had a tradition of thinking their cause is so right, it is okay when they do the initimidating. That is the ugly side of polarized politics: Left/Right, Democrat/Republican, Good/Evil, defending your own camp like a ferocious beast.

    (But, we still have to figure out how to stop paid protesting by anti-immigrant groups, insurance companies, and the Republican Party – a la 2000 election recount protests by Republican Party hacks. Paid protesting does happen, and it is very frustrating to regular citizens, grassroots activists, and third party volunteers.)

  2. Steve Real

    If healthcare goes down in flames
    it’s good for the people of Connecticut, where I live.
    The bulk of insurance companies are run out of my state.
    If you are anti-healthcare reform?
    You are pro Connecticut and that’s the way I like it.
    Now I ain’t rich
    and reform would probably be good for all of us,
    but I have to look out for my people’s too.

  3. robert capozzi

    while employing paid protestors may not play optically, I must say I’ve got no problem with it. ObamaCare is at once unpeaceful and hastily crafted. If turning it back requires paying people to speak truth to power, I’m for it!

  4. Kimberly Wilder

    I do not think it is a good idea to pay people to go to a public meeting and be unruly. There are probably levels at which paying people to participate and speak up happens and is good, though.

    I wanted to say this:

    On many Democrat and progressive lists, people are saying how to deal with disrupters, saying that is makes sense to have security deal with them, and that the healthcare disrupters are unfair, etc.

    But, in fact, if allegedly progressive Congressperson A is holding a meeting supporting his watered down healthcare proposal, and 10 disrupters from the right can stop the meeting in its tracks, it probably means that Congressperson A’s plan stinks. And, that the plan did not entice enough people from the LEFT to come be a crowd and overwhelm the handful of paid protestors.

    Democrat Elected officials are failing partly because they are not willing to slow down and listen to/compromise with the dissent.

    But, those same Democrat elected officials are also losing because they are not willing to offer the progressive side anything genuinely bold or wonderful enough to inspire support and a crowd.

    We lack visionary leadership. So, a handful of screamers can bring down events where the supposed leaders are hawking their milquetoast wares.

  5. George Phillies

    Once again, our worthless National Committee reiterates right-wing lying points, showing that they are acting as nothing other than unpaid Republican flacks.

    As is painfully visible from large amounts of video coverage, what is happening in the vast majority of cases is that Congressmen are holding meetings to explain what may be in the bill, and to answer questions, and right wing thugs are trying to prevent them from being heard by screaming like psychotics.

    It is extremely easy to tell apart rallies to support the Obama plan from Congresspeople trying to interact with their constituents, and this is interaction.

    And if the Democratic Party is encouraging the supporters of its sides to show up and be just as loud, within the limits of the law, which is what they are doing, that’s sound, appropriate politics. And if they are calling the other side names, well, welcome to politics, boys and girls.

    As the Republican stooges the LNC is deploying neglect to mention, it is the Republicans who are doing almost all of the disruption. After all, the Republican Party is the Party of torture, launching wars of aggresion and other fascist acts, so why should we be surprised that the Republicans are trying to bring fascist tactics home to America?

  6. libertariangirl

    they arent paying anybody here in Vegas , the RP meet-up and other conservative groups are , they came and asked the LPNevada to show up to .
    we are contemplating .

    on one hand we love to get our protest on and this is a great recruiting opportunity and media event,
    on the other hand if bad shit goes down we will almost certainly get the blame and our 1 primetime news appearance for the year:)

    George , why are you such an apologist for the Obama administration? you defend Obama and his socialist policies almost as much as the Whitehouse spokesman.

    is it possible , just like any other time there is REAL , cognitive dissent the establishment media reporting is biased against them ? what about there being a few bad apples or a few gov. sabatuers making scenes that inevitably make the 5 oclock and paint opposition as violent and crazy and smoke cover for the real opposition.

    It happens ALL THE TIME . think about the immigration rallies , the WTO protests and others . The official news reports depicting violent angry protesters always differ from the peoples reports on the ground . they always underscore the numbers of dissenters t0o , another popular trick.
    the only difference this time is they arent blaming the anarchists:)

  7. libertariangirl

    incidentally this is one of Donny’ releases that I like.
    god knows i dont love all of them , but this one is good IMO.

    anytime we disagree with the Obama administration IS NOT repeating GOP talking points.
    It is disagreeing with the Obama administration .

  8. George Phillies


    Why do you think I am apologizing for the Obama administration. I am discussing the LNC and its lack of honesty, and I am attacking Republicans, a party America can survive without.

    With respect to town halls, let me suggest that there are a lot of cameras and newspeople there, so it would be a fine time to have a peace demo on the theme “Obama continues Bush War Crimes”, “Bring the Troops home from Asia”, etc. or a money demo on the theme “Obama/Bush means America is Broke” “Uncle Sam spends, our grandkids pay”.

  9. paulie Post author

    With respect to town halls, let me suggest that there are a lot of cameras and newspeople there, so it would be a fine time to have a peace demo on the theme “Obama continues Bush War Crimes”, “Bring the Troops home from Asia”, etc. or a money demo on the theme “Obama/Bush means America is Broke” “Uncle Sam spends, our grandkids pay”.

    Good idea.

  10. Morgan Brykein

    I agree George. Ever since we got Donny, the LNC has been sounding very right-wing. Overall I wish they would be quiet, instead of acting like they’re high and mighty with all these press releases, they need to get serious.

  11. libertariangirl

    George I say that because everytime Donny says anything about Obama , you say he regurgitating right-wing talking points .

    usually i agree with you on that but on this release I think he did a good job and I agreewith everything he said.

    a peace demonstration is a GREAT idea , im gonna run it past my peeps . thanks for the idea

  12. George Phillies


    That’s because when I notice Donny talking about Obama he *is* regurgitating right wing lying points.

    Now, if he were to put out a press release condemning Obama for continuing the Bush Republican War Crimes Party campaign that murders the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, or condemning Obama for refusing to end Republican Drug Warrior Bob Barr’s campaign against some drugs and not others, or condemning Obama for continuing Bill Clinton’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell campaign, I would be more laudatory.

    Well, if he named other Republican drug warriors, I would be accepting.

  13. libertariangirl

    George , what exactly in the release do you disagree with? just because some in the gOP might be saying it too , doesnt make it untrue . No one person or group owns a stance on a topic .

  14. JT

    Shouting during political town hall meetings is rude. But I can’t say it’s terrible given what the Democrats are trying to do now to our already overmandated, overburdened healthcare system and how that will negatively affect care for millions of people.

    And saying such disrupters are being “fascists” because they don’t stay silent for medical socialism–or the interim step to medical socialism– is only something the left-wing George Phillies and his ilk could think.

  15. Michael H. Wilson

    I certainly oppose the plan this is making its way thru the sausage factory, but what do libertarians propose as an alternative and most importantly how will that plan benefit people? Can we explain that in simple terms and do we have the details available for the membership to access so they can write to the congress and editors? Have LP news releases mentioned any of our ideas in some detail?

    I have a hard time accepting criticism of the Obama plan when won’t don’t have much of our own available.

  16. paulie

    Now, if he were to put out a press release condemning Obama for continuing the Bush Republican War Crimes Party campaign that murders the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, or condemning Obama for refusing to end Republican Drug Warrior Bob Barr’s campaign against some drugs and not others, or condemning Obama for continuing Bill Clinton’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell campaign, I would be more laudatory.

    If you can write some of these up we can put them out via CLIPR

  17. Steven R Linnabary

    As I pointed out on an earlier thread:

    These so-called “town hall” meetings are frauds. They are NOT about discussing issues and concerns. They are about republicans and democrats telling us what they are going to do to us. They resemble the arrogant, condescending way your junior high school principal would have a “discussion” with you rather than any real discussion of issues.


  18. Dave Schwab

    I read some reports that Elston McCowan, SEIU official and 2009 Green candidate for mayor of St. Louis, had participated in attacks on tea partiers. The writers identified him as a ‘union thug’. Concerned, I did a little searching. What I found was a video of the event, in which Elston McCowan appears to be thrown to the ground and stomped before walking away, holding an apparently dislocated shoulder. George Phillies’ concerns would appear to be justified.

    Here is the link, altho apparently youtube and google are now down… what is the world coming to…

  19. Leymann Feldenstein

    I also agree with George Phillies that the LP has become nothing more than the “me too” party when it comes to echoing Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich talking points.

    The LP needs to differentiate itself from Republicans as well as Democrats, and becoming a very minor junior partner in a rightwing “coalition of the willing”, like Bulgaria joining the invasion of Iraq, is not the way to go about it. Taking sides with rightwing thugs against leftwing thugs will not gain one vote for LP candidates.

    And I might add that so far the only threats of violence I’ve seen are those posted by rightwing bloggers. I also think it’s a safe bet that many of the rightwing protestors who complain they were beat up by union “thugs”were the same rightwing thugs who beat up antiwar protestors.

    I have no objection to nonviolent civil disobedience and other peaceful means of protest when it comes gto ending the war on people who use drugs or the war on people who exercise their first amendment right to hate America. I do believe, however, that these “Townhalls” have become nothing more than a motley collection of circus side-show acts complete with all kinds of freaks, weirdos and whackjobs. Any self-respecting Libertarian would be well-advised to stay away from them.

    If the LP wishes to involve itself in the healthcare debate they should separate themselves from the rightwing nutjobs and organize their own forums and protests.

  20. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 19 paulie I aware of those, but what do we do about the new Libertarian somewhere who wants to write a letter to the editor and is looking fo concrete examples. I certainly don’t find much at the LP website under issues.

    Then I have my own list: product licensing laws, occupational licensing laws, certificates of need, state medical boards, McCarran-Ferguson Act, etc.

  21. Thomas Knapp

    Quoth George Phillies,

    “It is extremely easy to tell apart rallies to support the Obama plan from Congresspeople trying to interact with their constituents, and this is interaction.”

    No, it’s usually not. It’s usually a matter of stage production in which the participation pools are pre-stuffed, and/or the participation mechanisms pre-rigged, so as to create the illusion of “interaction.”

  22. George Phillies

    I shall point out that I have managed to find one case of an event in which six people were arrested, at least one being an SEIU member if his TShirt was honest — not a wise bet — and I am certainly not claiming that Democratic Union supporters of Obama’s Bill are any more saintly than there opponents.

    I heartily endorse @22s idea that the LP should stand aside, by demonstrating for something else…
    Peace Now!
    Our Uncle Sam! He’s broke and maxed out his credit cards!

  23. Thomas Knapp


    On that last point, we agree — the LP should create its own opposition presence rather than helping the GOP promote its own agenda.

    My point here — and it’s one I make from actual experience and real observation — is that the “town halls” these days are, for the most part, heavily “astroturfed” by both parties.

    The congresscritters who hold the “town halls” aren’t looking for real interaction, they’re looking for visible public ratification of their policies.

    The organizers of the protests aren’t looking for a two-sided discussion either — they’re there to visibly oppose the congresscritters’ policies.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with “getting the troops out” on either side, but we should recognize it for what it is — theatre — and establish our own troupe instead of letting the other organizations deceive us into thinking that they’re just talented amateurs who appreciate our help.

  24. Eric Dondero

    I heard Donny Ferguson quoted twice today during the Rush Limbaugh show on the news breaks on KTRH 740 here in Houston. It’s the largest station in the Metro area.

    Good job Donny and the LP!

  25. Eric Dondero

    Umm, the Libertarian Party and the modern Libertarian movement were founded by “nutty Rightwingers.”

    Dana Rohrabacher
    Barry Goldwater
    Roger MacBride
    Dr. John Hospers
    Jack Wheeler

    Kind of funny 35 years later to see some LPers curse the LP for being “too Rightwing.”

    But ironic, none-the-less.

  26. Tom Blanton

    Here’s the problem with Donny’s Republican Talking Point of the Day:

    1. If I was an independent rube, I would conclude that the LP stood for the same things the GOP stands for and if I agreed, I would throw my support to the GOP.

    2. If I was a liberal rube, I would conclude that the LP stood for the same things the GOP stands for and reject the LP as an enemy to all wonderful progressive people and never listen to anything else coming out of the LP.

    3. If I was a conservative rube, I would think the LP stood for the same things the GOP stands for and, after becoming disillusioned with the GOP, I would go to the LP bringing my pro-war, pro-police state, and crypto-fascist economic ideas with me.

    4. If I were a LP member, I would be embarrassed that decent people might think the bullshit talking points of the GOP had something to do with the LP.

    Even if the GOP talking points had a grain of truth to them.

    But debating about how a government program is being debated is not debating the government program. And what self-respecting libertarian wants to debate government programs – the debate should be that government should not be involved in health care and there are many many reasons why this is true.

  27. Gene Trosper

    Protesters shouting at congressfreaks are just the proverbial chickens coming home to roost. For too long, the “peaceful” and “tolerant” Democrats have used force against individuals and after decades of this, people are starting to push back. I say: good for them.

  28. Tom Blanton

    Hey Dondumbo – if those 5 guys founded the modern libertarian movement, which 5 guys founded the post-modern libertarian movement?

    Which 5 guys founded the post-9/11 neolibertarian movement?

    Bonus Question:

    What warmongering nationalist founded the Guiliani-Is-A-Libertarian Movement?

  29. George Phillies

    @29 Being quoted favorably by Rush Limbaugh is, I suppose, modestly better than being quoted favorably by Stormfront.

    @30 A list of Party founders that does not include David Nolan, in whose living room the party was founded, but does include several fine people never associated with our Party is, well, strange.

  30. George Phillies

    And here, courtesy of is an issue” Geithner wants debt limit raised
    August 8, 2009 – 10:18am.

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner formally requested that Congress raise the $12.1 trillion statutory debt limit on Friday, saying that it could be breached as early as mid-October.”

    Obama will reduce our children to debt slavery.

    The image is a half-dozen children of mixed genders and races, dressed in rags, pulling a plow, with various persons standing behind the plow wielding a lash.

  31. Bill Strong

    Those who are so infatuated with Obama they can’t see the truth ,keep wanting so desperately to believe these protesters are paid . They cannot fathom that many Americans have read the proposed legislation , and it stinks . If the dems want to give the government access to thier bank accounts , by all means let them . If the Dems want to pay for abortions , then by all means let them . If the Dems want to give the government total control of every facet of thier lives (Cap and Trade, Health Care) then let them . Just do not expect the rest of us to do it . I myself am an Independent . What I am waiting for is when these blind followers , find out Pelosi and others have down right lied about who these protesters are . I do have one question , why would Dems approve of Union Thugs beating up a man with cancer issues who just so happenned to be a Democrat ?

  32. George Phillies

    @36 Your software when the file reaches my machine is putting a space *before* every period and comma, which is killing readability of your otherwise interesting message. That sounds like an odd default that can be fixed.

  33. Ayn R. Key

    According to wikipedia, Dondro is full of it once again.

    Founders of the LP are:

    David Nolan
    John Hospers
    Edward Crane
    Manuel Klausner
    Murray Rothbard
    Roy Childs
    Theodora Nathan
    Jim Dean.

    Only one person in common between the two lists. I guess Dondero excommunicated the rest because they support defense instead of offense with the military.

  34. Michael H. Wilson

    Gary @ 28 & paulie @ 41. That’s a great piece by Gary and yes we need something like that.

    What i would suggest if I was designing the piece and I may draft one in the near future, is to use five bullet points with short examples of the problem and the solution, i.e. licensing laws: were used to drive midwives out of business. and many states still make the it difficult for midwives to practice. Today in parts of Europe midwives deliver 70% of children and do so with better results and lower costs than physicians (specifically that it is in Denmark that midwives deliver 75% of children). Btw the AMA has agreed to use its influence, as I understand from reading, to outlaw home births.

    Here’s another point. I was told a few days ago that you can get the same vitamins that you might use yourself for your pets only they are less expensive. So you can take doggy vitamins at a fraction of the costs and get the same results.

    Here’s one to appeal to the seniors. Many of them wear dentures and to get them repaired they need to go to dentists, but denturist do the same work cheaper, but can only practice in eight states thanks to licensing laws. Something like this used as an ad in AARP, or elsewhere might help us get votes from the seniors.

    Just thinkin’ out loud.

  35. MN Indy

    If anybody had paid/controlled protesters, it was the Dems. Just look how horribly the leftist anti-war movement collapsed after Obama was elected. With few exceptions, they totally shut down.

    And now these Marxoid creeps have the nerve to call others paid operatives of insurance companies and the GOP? BS! Anyone who reads this bill with a sound mind can conclude it’s nothing but socialism with a small dash of eugenics thrown in. But hey, when you get goons from Congress bragging about how they can’t take the time to read bills anymore, it must be inconceivable to the Dems that real Americans really would take the time to read their bill and storm out to rage against it.

  36. MN Indy

    Just to reinforce the point, watch this video. Then tell me this fellow shows signs of being anything other than a citizen against the socialized medicine being crammed down our throats:

    I refuse these to believe these town halls are being filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of paid insurance/Republican operatives.

  37. Robert Capozzi

    This thread brings up an interesting point: Should Ls engage the “issue of the day” directly, or should we always broaden out the subject?

    It seems an odd use of resources and opportunity to use the current healthcare debate to agitate against the Iraq War.

    OTOH, being part of the Amen Choir for the right also seems contra-indicated.

    Still, most voters seem more interested in engaging the debate where it is. If we wish to attract more to our cause, it seems indicated that we Ls be willing to join the discussion, but to reposition our critique.

    Off the top of my head, perhaps that would entail a theme such as:


    Add in Bush’s prescription drug benefit to the mix. Combined with Obama’s plans, the country is heading for a cliff. etc. etc.

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