Tom Knapp: Just say no to Libertarian Party convention poll tax

Posted at Kn@ppster:

The Libertarian Party’s official convention site is up at

In the category of “not especially surprising surprises,” see the registration page: The usual suspects are back at their perennial efforts to levy a poll tax on delegates.

The intent of the tax, which runs $99 and up ($49 and up after a kickback for patronizing a designated hotel) is to force all delegates to subsidize a luxurious venue and various extra-convention activities for the “privilege” of representing their state parties at the bylaws-required biennial business meeting which the membership has already paid for with its dues.

To paraphrase George HW Bush and The Dude, “this will not stand, this aggression …”

Resolved, that activities and amenities above and beyond the requirements for holding the required business sessions should be paid for by those who are interested in said activities and amenities. The Libertarian Party isn’t — or at least shouldn’t be — a welfare agency or an extortion racket.

I hate to ask anyone to put off registering for the convention, but it’s important that you do so even if you planned on buying one of the “extras” packages. Until the requirement to do so has been withdrawn, buying a convention package amounts to rewarding and encouraging bad behavior. For bonus points, let LPHQ know that you’d like to buy a package and that you’ll do so as soon as this poll tax nonsense is dispensed with.

Personally, I expect this matter to be resolved in the next few days. Since the poll tax is obviously in violation of the party’s bylaws, the chair can and should rule it so and put a stop to it, and he’s already been asked to do so by at least three Libertarian National Committee members.

If the chair declines to do his duty, presumably the thing can be done away with at the next LNC meeting in February. Make sure you talk with your regional representative about the issue before then.

I’ll update this article as the matter of smooshing the poll tax — or, if necessary, counter-acting it — proceeds. I’d much rather be encouraging people to buy packages than asking them not to.

59 thoughts on “Tom Knapp: Just say no to Libertarian Party convention poll tax

  1. Bruce Cohen

    On the other hand, most Libertarians I know would rather work within the system and change it for the better, instead of trying to spoil it.

    The matter of ‘charging’ a registration fee is addressed in our governing rules as the LP.

    There is nothing illegal, immoral or fattening about this, folks, it’s a business decision.

    If you don’t like the LP charging folks $100 a head, then go to the convention and vote on it.

    Vote to raise it or lower it, as you please.

    There is no such thing as a ‘free’ Convention.

    Interestingly, the California LP is doing the same thing, but where is the outrage.

    Clearly, this isn’t a policy dispute, but a personality crisis.

    Most Conventions charge a fee to attend.
    When I had my Bicycle Store, they didn’t
    charge because they had so many exhibitors, and they charged thousands of dollars for the three days for booth space.

    I’m just guessing that none of our exhibitors, not even those gold merchants will pay that kind of booth price when there isn’t enough roi then.

    I suggest folks who want to run and budget and charge in a different way should submit their plan and offer a bid on running this circus.

    Until then, I agree with Tom at least that there are ways to save money and go vote affordably.
    Food, accomodations and amenities can be had off the LP grid if you want. Go for it.

    But PUHLEEZE, don’t rain on this parade.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp


    You write:

    “On the other hand, most Libertarians I know would rather work within the system and change it for the better, instead of trying to spoil it.”

    And I’m one of them.

    If we want to charge a delegate registration fee, we have a system for doing so. It’s called “amending the bylaws to allow for or require a delegate registration fee.”

    At present, they do not allow for it or require it, nor does the passing mention in RONR trump the bylaws on the matter of qualifications, designation authorities, duties or powers of delegates.

    “There is nothing illegal, immoral or fattening about this, folks, it’s a business decision.”

    I suppose it could be called that.

    Hmmm … business decision ….

    1) Collect dues from members;

    2) Piss the money away instead of budgeting from it for the biennial business meeting they’re paying for;

    3) Put together a version of said meeting in a luxury hotel, book a circus around the business meeting, then demand that the delegates — whose meeting was already paid for by the membership — pay for your version of it again.

    Yeah, that’s a business decision.

    If you’re Bernie Madoff.

  3. David F. Nolan

    I’m sort of in the middle on this. I really would not object to a minimum registration fee of say, $20, to cover the per-capita cost of renting a room and providing delegates with badges and paperwork. But the folks in charge of the 2010 LP Convention are charging a LOT more, and then offering a “rebate” to to the relatively wealthy delegates who choose to stay at the convention site hotel. It’s a “tax the poor to subsidize the rich” scheme, and it’s reprehensible.

    I’ve been involved in running several LP convention (state and national) and have a fair understanding of convention economics. One big mistake that convention organizers make is overpaying speakers. IMHO, the major speakers’ expenses should be covered, but paying a speaker $thousands is a mistake. People don’t come to an LP convention to hear Neal Boortz or Wayne Root (or me, for that matter). They come because they want to have a say about the party’s future, and to socialize with libertarian friends.

    I will be urging the LNC to veto the “floor fee,” or to at least reduce it to no more than $20. If we are to grow the LP, we must not make it a club for well-off people only.

  4. Robert Capozzi

    No strong feelings on this one, but it seems kinda creepy to charge delegates to vote, even $20…seems like there’re better way to generate revenues. If there has to be a charge for the (presumably incidental) variable costs, it strikes me they should be borne by the state LPs.

    Speaker fees and whether speakers are in fact a draw IS more of a business decision.

  5. Bruce Cohen

    I don’t believe Wayne has ever been paid to speak at a Libertarian event. I can’t address Boortz, but #3 intimates Wayne is speaking for a fee and that’s why the admission cost is so high.

    Seems to me the NatCom cost is pretty good compared to California’s Convention fee (poll tax.)

    As far as Parliamentary procedure, I guess they probably have the votes to vote how you suggest anyway, no?

  6. David F. Nolan

    Bruce, I was not implying that Wayne is/was paid to speak. I’m pretty sure that Boortz is. But one reason package prices are high is that people are charged $40 or more for a breakfast worth $10 to hear a speaker – me, for example – that would not draw much of a crowd if the extra $30 were a stand-alone item. In these tough times, I would try to cut costs to the bone, to maximize attendance. No breakfasts. No high-priced speakers. And no “floor fee” above actual per-capita costs of materials.

  7. Starchild

    I am absolutely opposed to the Libertarian Party charging its delegates a poll tax in order to vote, no matter whether they are trying to collect $1 or $100. Here is the message that I sent urging people to contact the Libertarian National Committee about the misguided plan, including an analysis of how it violates party Bylaws.


    The Libertarian Party Convention Committee has proposed that
    delegates to the upcoming LP national convention in St. Louis (May
    28-31, 2010) must pay a $99 “floor fee” before being allowed to
    perform the functions assigned to them by the party’s Bylaws of voting
    on the Bylaws and Platform, electing officers, and conducting party
    business. The fact that the floor fee plan comes with the offer of a
    mail-in rebate of $50 per room to those staying at the convention
    hotel only presents additional problems with fairness. California LP
    member Carolyn Marbry has pointed out that it unfairly penalizes local
    attendees who would not be renting hotel rooms since they could easily
    get to the location from home, families with more than one delegate
    per room, and delegates who want to economize by sharing rooms.
    Delegates bringing more than two pets, which are not welcome at the
    convention hotel, would likewise be penalized, notes California LP
    member and greyhound lover Lidia Seebeck.

    I believe the whole scheme is not only an unjust and ill-advised slap
    in the face to less financially secure delegates, but a violation of
    the party’s national Bylaws. The Libertarian Party is not doing its
    delegates a favor by allowing them access to the convention hall at
    the hotel, any more than the party is doing its paid staff a favor by
    allowing them access to the national party offices where they do their
    jobs. The *delegates* are doing the *party* a favor by *volunteering*
    their time to fly or drive to St. Louis and incur the costs of lodging
    and meals in order to perform the functions assigned to them by the
    party’s Bylaws.

    Convention meeting space is normally provided free by hotels as a
    condition of the contract they sign with the Convention Committee, and
    I expect that is no different this time around. Advocates of charging
    a “floor fee” (really a poll tax on delegates) insist that the real
    cost of this meeting space is thus unfairly borne by those convention
    attendees who meet the terms of the contract by renting rooms at the
    hotel, even though:

    • hotel rooms are normally made available to convention attendees at a
    • it is being proposed in St. Louis that one must still pay a $49
    floor fee even if one does rent a hotel room
    • the cost of the hotel meeting hall where convention business
    sessions will be held is almost certainly *far* less than the
    conservative estimate of $19,600 which the tax would bring in even if
    there were only 400 paying delegates and all of them received $50

    Advocates of this poll tax claim that to allow delegates to be
    present and conduct party business in the meeting rooms used for that
    purpose without paying a separate charge amounts to a “subsidy” to
    those delegates. Some have even used insulting terms like
    “povertarian,” “freeloaders,” and even “socialist” to describe those
    opposing the tax.

    The *real* subsidy, which has received less attention, is convention
    attendees being forced to subsidize the preferences of those party
    members who want the party’s conventions to be held in hotels where
    free meeting space is only available with a contract guaranteeing the
    hotel a certain number of room night rentals. The party Bylaws do not
    require LP conventions to be held in hotels. Many members would be
    perfectly happy to meet in less expensive venues such as community
    centers, college campuses, or even outdoors under tents in parks
    during the summer, and to see the money saved go toward the cause of
    promoting liberty, which is what we are all here for.

    Some LP members, however, appear to believe the party must maintain
    an upscale or “professional” image, and/or that the party must offer
    convention attendees a certain amount of comfort and luxury in order
    to attract donors, or it will suffer. While this has not been proven,
    they are entitled to their preference for hotel conventions. But they
    should not force less well-heeled LP members and delegates, who may
    have trouble affording the cost of attending a convention in another
    part of the country at all, to subsidize that preference via a special
    fee or tax, or to feel they must accept charity if they wish to be a
    delegate. This is true more than ever during an economic downturn when
    many people are feeling a financial strain.

    Fortunately, the party’s Bylaws do not contain any provision for the
    national party to require delegates to pay fees in order to conduct
    party business. I believe some members of the party’s National
    Committee understand that a floor fee is wrong and not permitted, but
    others need convincing. Here is my analysis of the Bylaws on this
    topic — my letter continues below.


    To begin with, the Bylaws clearly stipulate that it is not national
    party officials, but the state party affiliates which get to select
    the methods by which delegates to LP national conventions are chosen:

    Section 3. Delegates:

    a. Delegates shall be required to be members of either the Party or an
    affiliate party. At all Regular Conventions delegates shall be those
    so accredited who have registered at the Convention. At all Non-
    Regular Conventions, any person who wishes to attend may do so.

    b. Any federal or state law to the contrary notwithstanding, delegates
    to a Regular Convention shall be selected by a method adopted by each
    affiliate party; provided however, that only members of the Party as
    defined in these Bylaws, or members of the affiliate party as defined
    in the constitution or bylaws of such affiliate party, shall be
    eligible to vote for the selection of delegates to a Regular Convention.

    Poll tax proponents will no doubt try to draw a distinction between
    “delegates” and “credentialed delegates” or “registered delegates” in
    terms of who is allowed to take part in floor votes and other
    convention business, but the Bylaws do not support any such distinction.

    The phrase “credentialed delegates” appears only once in the Bylaws,
    with regard to voting on platform retention (Rule 7, Section 2,
    subsection g):

    “As its first item of platform business, the convention shall vote
    whether to delete
    each of those planks that received a number of tokens for deletion
    equal to 20%
    or more of the number of credentialed delegates.”

    The phrase makes sense in that context, because unlike in other votes
    a delegate need not be present on the floor in order to vote on
    platform retention, but must merely have submitted the tokens given to
    him or her at the time he/she was credentialed.

    Article 8, Section 11, contains the similar phrase “delegates
    credentialed” (the only place this phrase appears in the Bylaws), but
    once again this refers to a procedure that would usually occur not on
    the convention floor:

    “Upon appeal by ten percent of the delegates credentialed at the most
    recent Regular
    Convention or one percent of the Party sustaining members the Judicial
    Committee shall
    consider the question of whether or not a decision of the National
    contravenes specified sections of the Bylaws.”

    The phrase “registered delegates” appears three times in the Bylaws,
    first in Article 4, Section 1:

    “The Statement of Principles affirms that philosophy upon which the
    Libertarian Party is
    founded, by which it shall be sustained, and through which liberty
    shall prevail. The
    enduring importance of the Statement of Principles requires that it
    may be amended only
    by a vote of 7/8 of all registered delegates at a Regular Convention.”

    It appears again in Article 14, Section 2:

    “Article 4, Section 1, shall not be amended by a vote of less than 7/8
    of all registered
    delegates at a Regular Convention.”

    And then again in Convention Rule 9, Section 1:

    “No person shall be nominated for President or Vice-President unless
    at least 30
    registered delegates join in the nomination in writing submitted to
    the Chair. No delegate
    may join in nominating more than one candidate for each office.”

    In each of these cases, it appears clear that the Bylaws refer to
    “registered delegates” to make it clear that the reference is to *any*
    delegate present at a convention, and not only those on the floor and
    able to vote on ordinary matters, or those who are credentialed, at
    the time of the action.

    Convention Rule 2, Section 1 (Voting Eligibility), states that the
    Secretary *acting on behalf of the Credentials Committee* shall report
    the number of delegates registered in attendance and eligible to vote:

    1. The Secretary, acting on behalf of the Credentials Committee, shall
    report the number of
    delegates registered in attendance and eligible to vote directly after
    the opening of the
    first business session, and at the beginning of each succeeding session.

    The language “acting on behalf of the Credentials Committee” is
    important, because the Bylaws do not empower the Secretary to
    independently say who can and cannot vote.

    Convention Rule 2, Section 2 (Voting Eligibility), states that “all
    delegates shall be eligible to vote on all matters,” and that in order
    to vote on a given matter, a delegate must simply be present on the
    floor when a vote is taken:

    2. All delegates shall be eligible to vote on all matters. In order to
    vote on a given matter, a
    delegate must be present on the floor at the time the vote is taken.
    Each delegate
    present shall have one vote. Use of the unit rule or unit voting is
    prohibited at national

    The Credentials Committee’s role is described as follows (in Article
    11, Section 5):

    “A list of the names and addresses of all delegates and alternates
    chosen by each
    affiliate party shall be sent to the Credentials Committee no later
    than one month prior
    to start of the first general session of the Regular Convention.
    Amendments to such lists
    may be made by the affiliate parties and submitted to the Credentials
    Committee until
    the close of the Credentials Committee meeting preceding the
    Convention. The number
    of alternates’ names submitted shall not exceed the greater of 50 or
    the number of
    delegates allocated. Failure to submit a listing of delegate/alternate
    names and addresses,
    as prescribed within these Bylaws, shall cause no delegation to be
    registered from that
    affiliate party.”

    In other words, the Credential Committee’s function is to receive the
    lists of delegates provided by state affiliates, make sure the persons
    on the list meet the membership requirements listed in the bylaw
    quoted by Lee below (Article 11, Section 3), and then at the
    convention, to issue delegate materials to those persons on the lists
    with valid memberships as they arrive, and to keep the Secretary
    appraised of how many such persons are present.

    Note also in the section quoted above that the failure to submit a
    list of delegate names to the Credentials Committee results in no
    “delegation” being registered from that state, i.e. the failure to be
    “registered” as a result of non-compliance with Credentials Committee
    procedures applies to *delegations*, not to *individual delegates*.
    “Registration” as the term applies to delegates appears to mean simply
    showing up and letting the Credentials Committee or the Secretary know
    that you are present. The phrase that appears in the aforementioned
    Convention Rule 2, Section 1, “registered in attendance,” reflects
    this understanding.

    Article 11, Section 8, uses the same phrase to define a quorum:

    “A quorum shall consist of 40% of the total number of delegates
    registered in attendance
    at the Convention.”

    Convention Rule 2, Section 3 (Voting Eligibility) also gives state
    affiliates the power to replace absent members of their delegations by
    any procedure they adopt and give notification of in advance, and does
    not specify that these substitute delegates must be approved by the
    Credentials Committee or registered in any way other than by the
    Secretary being provided with a list of their names:

    “Duly selected alternates may be freely substituted for any members of
    their delegation
    who are temporarily or permanently absent from the floor, provided the
    procedure has
    been clearly specified by the affiliate party in advance of the
    Convention, and the
    Secretary has been provided with lists of the affiliate party’s
    delegates and alternates as
    well as a copy of the affiliate party’s rules governing substitutions.”

    Indeed, Article 11, Section 5 clearly implies that if one has been
    properly selected as a delegate, all one must do to be credentialed is
    to submit one’s name and address to the Credentials Committee, because
    convention delegates themselves are empowered to approve additional
    delegates in this manner who have *not* been properly selected:

    “By seven-eighths vote, the Convention may approve additional
    delegates and alternates
    whose names and addresses are submitted to the Credentials Committee
    during the

    Poll tax proponents have also suggested that Robert’s Rules of Order
    makes it legal to charge such a fee. The LP Bylaws state (Article 13)

    “The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of
    Order, Newly Revised shall govern
    the Party in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they
    are not inconsistent with
    these bylaws and any special rules of order adopted by the Party.”

    However, California LP member Mike Seebeck has pointed out that while
    Robert’s Rules (pp. 593:13-21) describes such fees for the use of
    meeting rooms as ‘normal’, it does not say they are required as a
    rule. Since Robert’s Rules does not offer any *rule* on the subject,
    it would not meet the Bylaws criteria for providing governance in this
    matter even if other Bylaws provisions did not already make such fees
    illegal (which the arguments outlined above establish is the case).
    Therefore RRONR provides no legal authority for charging LP delegates
    a floor fee. “The absence of consent by the delegates does not imply
    consent is given by the delegates,” Mike points out. “In fact, the
    absence of consent implies NO consent.”

    Missouri LP member Tom Knapp has also pointed out that “While the
    matter has not been litigated in this specific context (an ‘off-year’
    national convention in which no presidential candidate
    is nominated), the courts have held in similar contexts that a
    delegate ‘floor fee’ constitutes an illegal poll tax.” So it is
    possible that legal authority to charge this fee does not exist under
    current U.S. law even if the LP’s Bylaws did allow it.

    In conclusion, here are three key points:

    (1) Nowhere in the Bylaws is the Convention Committee or any other
    body or individual authorized to charge delegates a tax or fee in
    order to vote on party business.

    (2) Nowhere in the Bylaws is delegate “registration” defined as
    anything other than simply showing up and letting the appropriate
    persons know you are present, nor is being “credentialed” defined as
    anything other than being certified by the Credentials Committee as a
    current party member who has been duly selected as a delegate by a
    state affiliate party.

    (3) Nowhere in the Bylaws is the Credentials Committee or any other
    body or individual authorized to refuse to “register” or credential a
    delegate who shows up at the convention having been properly selected
    by a state affiliate, or to thereby deny a delegate his or her ability
    to vote.


    The members of the Libertarian National Committee have been copied in
    the “cc” field of this message. They are also listed below along with
    their names, email addresses, and positions. They have the power to
    require their Convention Committee to eliminate the “floor fee”
    proposal. Please contact them, especially the LNC members who
    represent your state, and let them know you want them to comply with
    the Bylaws and eliminate this fee. If any of them write back to you,
    please share their responses — they are our representatives, and this
    is an important party matter — on as many of the lists to which this
    message was posted as you belong to, so that LP members can see where
    they stand.

    It is important that those who do plan to go to St. Louis know which
    LNC members are for this illegal, elitist tax, and which are against
    it, so that we can take this into consideration when electing LNC
    members in convention.

    Love & Liberty,
    ((( starchild )))



    Chair – Bill Redpath
    Vice Chair – Michael Jingozian
    Secretary – Bob Sullentrop
    Treasurer – Aaron Starr


    Mary Ruwart –
    Michael Colley –
    Pat Dixon –
    R. Lee Wrights –
    Alicia Mattson –


    Region 1 – Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New
    Mexico, Utah, Wyoming
    Representative – Tony Ryan
    Alternate – Rob Latham

    Region 2 – California
    Representative – Mark Hinkle
    Alternate – Scott Lieberman

    Region 3 – Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana
    Representative – Rebecca Sink-Burris
    Alternate – Bob Jackson

    Region 4 – Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina,
    South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas
    Representative – Stewart Flood
    Alternate – Heather Scott

    Region 5 (North) – Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New
    York, Rhode Island, Vermont
    Representative – Dan Karlan
    Alternate – Carl Vassar

    Region 5 (South) – Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland,
    Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia
    Representative – Jim Lark
    Alternate – Berlie Etzel

    Region 6 – Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North
    Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin
    Representative – Julie Fox
    Alternate – Jake Porter

    Region 7 – Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Washington
    Representative – Rachel Hawkridge
    Alternate – Steve LaBianca

    NOTE: Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma are not affiliated with
    any region.

  8. Michael Seebeck

    One point of clarification on what Starchild wrote: no pets are welcome at the Marred-riot, and the nearby Econo-Lodge allows only two.

  9. Geno Canto del Halcon

    The right thing to do is refuse to pay a fee in order to vote: boycott this convention. Soon the miscreant party leaders will be leading nothing…

  10. LP Observer

    The members appointed to the 2010 Convention Oversight Committee were: Michael Colley, Bob Sullentrup, Pat Dixon, Rachel Hawkridge and Stewart Flood.

    The position of the Deform Caucus (Starr, Redpath, Sullentrup, Colley, Mattson, Sink-Burris, Flood, Karlan) is that when the LNC created the Convention Oversight Committee, and authorized Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised to fill in the gaps, that Committee was authorized to impose a registration fee.

    RONR, V.10, Chapter 19, Page 593, discussing Credentials Committee responsibilities:

    5) Registration – which normally includes these steps:

    a) Submission, by the member intending to register, of evidence that he is entitled to do so;

    b) Verification by the committee, or a subcommittee of it, that the member’s credentials are correct;

    c) Recording of the member as officially registered, upon his paying the registration fee (which is sometimes sent in in advance) and signing the list of registrations; and

    d) Issuing of the particular badge to which the member is entitled, the official program, and additional necessary information, such as time and place of individual section or committee meetings or workshops. “

    It’s unclear how many of the remaining LNC members (Jingozian, Dixon, Ruwart, Ryan, Hinkle, Lark, Fox, Hawkridge, Wrights) oppose that interpretation of the LNC’s Bylaws and RONR, i.e., can the LNC grant authority that it does not presently have pursuant to its own Bylaws?

    A separate question is whether the Convention Oversight Committee is authorized to impose a fee, or may only collect a fee that the LNC has imposed.

    A game theory analysis of this development is that the Deform Caucus — which effectively communicates amongst its members through back channels — is attempting to discourage convention attendance by delegates not supportive of its agenda.

    Delegates may also be discouraged from attending out of uncertainty of being credentialed, despite paying the registration fee (perhaps the Convention Oversight Committee and/or the Credentials Committee will deny credentials to those who don’t adhere to a dress code, or decline to declare allegiance to the Deform Caucus agenda, or fail to provide proof of a campaign contribution to the Barr/Root campaign).

    The Deform Caucus attempted to populate the Credentials Committee with such gatekeeping responsibilities in mind.

    The Credentials Committee members are:
    Jeff Dimit (SC)
    Mark Bodenhausen (AL)
    Scott Lieberman (CA)
    Christiana Mayer (OR)
    Emily Salvette (MI)
    M Carling (CA)
    Gary Johnson (TX)
    Sean Concannon (FL)
    Michael Johnston (OH)
    Michael Houze

    A low turnout at the 2010 LPNatCon by those who want to take back the LP would be unfortunate because it would enable Deform Caucus to continue its efforts to maintain the catatonic state of the Libertarian National Committee for another two years so the Republican Party can complete its co-opting of the “tea party” movement.

  11. Rad1

    I friend just forward this from the state chairs list and as a fellow rad, I agree with Joe. If a state has a delegate who cannot afford the fee, then that state should raise the funds to pay for their delegate. Thank you Joe for your rational approach to this situation!

    Hello all,

    I’m all for a “floor fee”. While it doesn’t need to be prohibitive, it should (at least) cover the expense the party incurs for hosting a national convention. If specific delegates cannot/will not pay that minimal fee, they should be subsidized by their state affiliates who send them, not the membership at large.

    Additionally, I believe you should “put your money where your mouth is”, and paying a nominal fee (even $99, without the rebate) is a minor sacrifice to be a delegate at the national LP convention every two years.

    If you’re unwilling to give a measly $99 to our party to be a delegate (and decide our candidates, Officers, and direction of the party), I question your commitment. Our party struggles for lack of funds at all levels. I’ve found too many libertarians all-to-eager to talk about liberty, and too few willing to work for it, let any open their wallet and support their party.

    Joseph P. Silvestri
    Chair – LPNevada

  12. Michael H. Wilson

    Joe, here’s a real fast econ lesson. If we want people to attend the convention then the costs have to be low. Higher price equals lower turnout.

    Here’s a PR lesson. Lower turnout means less media attention. Less media attention means fewer will likely give a rat’s ass.

    Politics is a number game. Always has been. Always will be.

  13. whatever

    Are they actually paying scumbag Boortz to bloviate his Nazi BS? I thought there was a new guy from Texas who was gonna fix this crap? Wes something?

  14. Bruce Cohen

    I like Neil Boortz. Because he disagrees with Libertarians on some foreign policy stuff doesn’t make him a Nazi.

    That’s a misuse of the word.

    As a Jew who lost 6 million relatives to Nazis during World War 2, I protest this abuse of the name Nazi.

    As far as paying Mister Boortz, the Convention was being held by a Contractor that year, so it was up to them how to budget expenses.

    The new guy from Texas is a Director. He works as an employee of the LNC (LP Board of Directors) and specifically the Chairman.

    Wes Benedict has been rumored to have a political agenda, but we hope it’s not true, and that he’s only interested in running the office and outreach as instructed to by his elected Board.

  15. Brian Holtz

    Michael, here’s a reality check. When was the last time an off-year LP NatCon ever got an interesting amount of “media attention”? A quick Google News Archive search suggests that our 2006 convention got only 3 mentions in the mainstream media: two local Oregon articles, and one Atlanta article about Bob Barr’s attendance.

    Politics is indeed a numbers game. I’d like you to estimate for us: how many extra delegates would you expect to get from delegates being able to attend without paying for a share of the conference facilities? How many extra media impressions would this extra attendance garner for the LP?

    I predict you won’t give numeric answers, just like you wouldn’t tell us how much of the LNCC’s bank account should have been donated to Joe Kennedy, and how much it would have changed his 1% outcome.

    Talk is cheap. Facts and action, not so much.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp


    My recollection is that Boortz has spoken gratis at past LP conventions, and that may be the case this time as well.

    Wes Benedict is the recently hired executive director of the LP. He’s not the one who imposed the poll tax, nor do his powers extend to a veto on it. The poll tax was decided on by the convention oversight committee, and at present the chair is upholding their imagined authority to impose it. The chair and the convention oversight committee do not answer to the executive director; rather, the executive director answers to the chair.

  17. Thomas L. Knapp

    “how many extra delegates would you expect to get from delegates being able to attend without paying for a share of the conference facilities?”

    canard n : a deliberately misleading fabrication

    The LNC is empowered to collect dues from sustaining members, and is required to operate a biennial convention at which delegate apportionment is based on the number of sustaining, i.e. dues-paying members in each state.

    The conference facilities have already been paid for. What the convention oversight committee is demanding is that delegates representing the dues-paying members pay again a) because the LNC pissed the money away instead of budgeting for its obligations, and b) because some members don’t just want conference facilities, they want conference facilities surrounded by an expensive dog and pony show.

    Per 2008 convention committee member Tony Ryan, the cost of the facilities in 2008 was about $30,000. That’s 1/4th of what the LNC blows annually on rent at the Watergate office.

  18. Rad1

    I recall Portland had 400 delegates actually show up and there was even less in 2008. The LP apparently has been taking a bath since 2004 when it comes to conventions. So obviously the “freeloadin” thing ain’t workin too great. So why not charge and see what happens? Reevaluate for 2012? Stick to the good ole libertarian principle of TNSTAAFL!

  19. Brian Holtz

    Whether the LNC does or does not waste money on other things isn’t strictly relevant to the question of whether delegates should have to pay for a share of the conference facilities. Ditto for whether these conference facilities are overpriced. (“Overpriced” implies a comparison. Where has somebody compared this convention’s costs to a comparable past or alternative venue?)

    Tom, exactly where do you think rank-and-file dues-payer subsidization of delegate expenses should end? You apparently already say they should subsizide the room, P/A system, electricity, and A/V system. Should they also subsidize the convention packets and badges? What about internet access? food? parking? lodging? transportation? Why should a penny of LP dues be spent on an office as long as a single delegate can’t afford some of these things? After all, according to you, facilitating a convention of delegates is a core Bylaws mandate of the LNC, whereas the Bylaws say nothing about an office.

    I have to chuckle at the irony of candidates for Libertarian office/nomination boldly telling delegates that non-delegate dues-payers should subsidize some of their convention-weekend expenses. Quelle courage!

    When the Platform Committee met in Vegas in December, we didn’t ask for LP dues-payers to subsidize our meeting space. Should we have?

  20. Thomas L. Knapp


    You write:

    “I recall Portland had 400 delegates actually show up and there was even less in 2008.”

    The latter is incorrect. My recollection is that there were more than 600 delegates present at the time of the presidential nomination vote in 2008.


    You write:

    “Ditto for whether these conference facilities are overpriced. (‘Overpriced’ implies a comparison. Where has somebody compared this convention’s costs to a comparable past or alternative venue?)”

    I don’t object to any particular price that the LNC cares to budget for from dues to do the things it’s required to do in return for those dues (conducting the meeting being one of those things).

    Most LP members would probably prefer that their money be spent carefully and prudently, of course, but I know of no reason why this should not be a matter of LNC discretion so long as it’s within the means they’ve been given.

    For reasons that I don’t care to go into at the moment, I’ve been pricing venues for a meeting in the same timeframe and general area for a prospective meeting of roughly the same size. Rough guesstimate of the cost for three-day venue rental, PA system and other necessary or nearly necessary items — $3,000 tops.

    It is not an IDEAL venue by any means (for one thing it is outdoors, although it does have covered areas), and I have no problem with costs like those cited by Mr. Ryan (to the LNC-discuss list) of $30,000 for facilities in Denver. At 10,000 members, the LNC would need to budget $1.50 per year per member to make that happen.

    “Tom, exactly where do you think rank-and-file dues-payer subsidization of delegate expenses should end?”

    The party’s biennial business meeting (“convention”) proper is not a “delegate expense.” It’s a party expense, i.e. an activity which the bylaws clearly mandate be conducted (not “facilitated” — use your dictionary).

    From the mandate that the meeting be conducted, it ineluctably follows that the meeting must be conducted SOMEWHERE. Securing a venue is by definition part of fulfilling the mandate.

    The bylaws do not, however, mandate that any particular delegate, or for that matter any delegate at all, actually attend the meeting. If they did so mandate, perhaps there would be an explicit or implicit subsidiary mandate that said delegates’ expenses to do so be paid. But they don’t, so there isn’t.

    “where do you think rank-and-file dues-payer subsidization of delegate expenses should end? You apparently already say they should subsizide the room, P/A system, electricity, and A/V system.”

    Renting a place to get things done that you want done is not a “subsidy” of those you expect to do the things you’re wanting done. If a P/A system, A/V system and electricity are required for those things to get done, they’re not “subsidies,” either.

    “Should they also subsidize the convention packets and badges?”

    If the LNC judges that convention packets and badges are necessary to fulfilling the mandate to hold the business meeting, then it’s the LNC’s job to budget for them. They’re only “subsidies” if they are for the delegates’ benefit rather than for the purpose of getting the work done. I do like a nice badge to take home, but I’ll be glad to serve without one if having one is not necessary to conduct of the meeting.

    “What about internet access? food? parking? lodging? transportation?”

    Are any of these things necessary to the conduct of the business meeting?

    “When the Platform Committee met in Vegas in December, we didn’t ask for LP dues-payers to subsidize our meeting space. Should we have?”

    Did the bylaws require you to meet? If so, then they required you to meet SOMEWHERE — and when the bylaws require things to happen, the LNC is responsible for budgeting to MAKE them happen.

  21. Bruce Cohen

    Hey, can we just concentrate on having a good convention at this point? I think it’s just a little unseemly to have a public food fight over what the price of the Convention ought to be.

    Please, everyone with an opinion, contact your LNC rep and ask them to vote however you believe.

    And then please, let’s just team up on this thing.

    I am just guessing the Convention Committee (ConCom) might love to have some folks volunteer to help at the event.

    Save your energy, people and maybe work a few extra hours now, so you can volunteer to help later.

    This is going to be voted on and let’s live with the decision.

    Even in California, where the extremists have been running the LP there for three years now, is charging.

    Yeah, you heard me right.
    It’s not ok for national to charge a hundred bucks because it’s not the extremist caucus’ idea.

    But it IS ok for California to do it, because it IS the extremists idea.

    Did I miss something here?

    Philosophy aside, if you want it to run differently, get the votes together.

    Otherwise, go with the program.

  22. Morey

    Should they also subsidize the convention packets and badges?
    Weren’t those partially/completely/overly covered by sponsors? The ones I saw had advertising all over them.
    When the Platform Committee met in Vegas in December..
    Past platcoms managed to make do with one meeting, just prior to the con. And that was before the age of online videoconferencing! Not that I begrudge anyone a weekend away in Vegas, but come on…

  23. Robert Capozzi

    mhw, a NatCon isn’t “politics,” it’s political party’s administration. There are a limited number of delegate slots, so the elasticity of demand to be a delegate seems beside the point.

    Members join a party to support their party’s poltical activities, which require some level of administration. The cost of a convention has to be borne by someone, and those dollars crowd out actual political activities. When times are tough, overhead often gets second-guessed.

    Still seems kinda creepy to me to charge the individual delegates rather than the state LPs they represent.

    We should also keep in mind that a convention should be a fundraising event. A strictly business meeting would not likely attract bigger donors, but the speakers may, not unlike a concert for charity. The complaints about the “dog-and-pony show” ring hollow, an example of pennywise poundfoolishness.

  24. Scott Lieberman

    Hey Libertarians: They don’t call it the GREEN PARTY for nothing


    Some members of the National Libertarian Party, and some members of our state affiliate Libertarian Parties, have claimed that it is elitist and exclusionary to collect a mandatory registration fee from all Delegates to the 2010 Libertarian Party National Convention.

    I am here to tell you that the Green Party is really, really green. As in, you need lots and lots of green to be a delegate to one of their Conventions.


    2004 Presidential Nominating Convention Schedule Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 23-28th
    Green Party of the United States

    Convention Registration Times:

    Delegates need to first register at the General Registration Table and then be formally credentialed, as Delegates, at the Credentialing Table. To be clear: all delegates who will be voting on the Platform and in the Presidential Candidate process need to register for the convention as attendees and then be credentialed by the Credentialing Committee before they will be allowed into the Delegate voting area of the Midwest Center on Saturday.

    The above is from their 2004 Presidential Nominating Convention.

    As you can see, the Green Party recognized that all of their Delegates needed to be Registered first, and THEN Credentialed. If you look at the top of that web page, there is an arrow pointing to the register link, and the caption on that arrow is “Register Early, Save $$$.” So, I think it is fair to assume that Registration was not free for that Convention.

    I am fully aware that the Libertarian Party is not bound by the Rules and Bylaws of the Green Party, but since the Green Party has a reputation for being more “inclusive” than the Libertarian Party is, I find it interesting that some Libertarian Party members are saying that it is exclusionary and elitist to require a Registration Fee for all of our Convention Delegates.


    2008 Green National Convention: Live Green, Vote Green

    Registration Fee – $225.00
    Registration fee includes three meals: Saturday breakfast, Saturday lunch, and Sunday breakfast.
    For group reservations, please contact the GP office at 202-319-7191 or toll free at 866-41GREEN.

    Additional donations above the fee can be made to help support diversity waivers and more.

    Note: as of June 15, the late registration fee will be $275.

    The headquarter hotel for the 2008 GPUS Presidential Nominating Convention is the Palmer House Hilton, located in the heart of downtown Chicago, about 2 blocks from the Chicago Symphony Center, the site of the nominating convention to be held on Saturday July 12th.

    The majority of events are being held at the Palmer House Hilton, including National Committee meetings, platform hearings, workshops and a presidential candidate forum. Make your reservations for the Palmer House by calling them directly at 1-877-865-5321.

    Please use the Green Party’s code “GRP” and mention the Green Party of the United States.

    The Palmer House Hilton
    17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60603

    Hotel Room Information:
    Singles are $205 a night; Doubles are $230; Triples are $250 and Quads are $270. Prices do not include applicable taxes. The hotel requires the first night as a deposit in order to confirm a room reservation.


    So ladies and gentlemen, what have we learned from the above?

    We have learned that…

    1. The Green Party does not consider a $225, or even a $275 MANDATORY registration fee for all of their National Convention Delegates to be elitist, or exorbitant.

    2. The Green Party did not think it was extravagant to have their 2008 Presidential Nominating Convention at a hotel in Chicago where the room rate was over $200 per night.

    Special note to Green Party members: the above is not meant to make fun of nor insult the Green Party in any way. The Green party has every right to hold its Convention wherever they want to, and they have the right to charge whatever mandatory Registration Fees they feel are necessary for the financial health of their Conventions. Since I am not a member of the Green Party, it is not my place to comment on what they do with their member’s money.

    Scott Lieberman – Region 2 Alternate, Libertarian Party National Committee

  25. whatever

    The “poll tax” whining doesn’t interest me as much as the news that nutbag Boortz will be speaking yet again.

    They shouldn’t let him near the place unless he’s paying a delegate (and party membership) fee or for press credentials.

    Can’t Benedict get that pos Boortz off the dais?

  26. Bruce Cohen

    I love Boortz! What’s so bad about the guy? He’s smart, funny and Libertarian.

    As we say in Yiddish, ‘oy, what’s not to like?’

  27. Erik Geib

    I can think of a couple things not to like about Boortz, in his own words no less.

    (in justifying his support of the Iraq invasion) “some people would rather live like slaves than fight for their freedom.”

    Also, just about everything he says about interventionism in this piece (among other things):

  28. Erik Geib

    Also, this from wikipedia:
    “Boortz tends to advocate Conservative platforms. Boortz’s post-9/11 politics include support for the US-led War on Terror, a more aggressive foreign policy,[27] and the USA Patriot Act. Boortz is also strongly in favor of a crackdown on illegal immigration, including harsh penalties for businesses who employ illegals. These views occasionally put him in conflict with the Libertarian Party. For instance, Justin Raimondo of has called Boortz a “statist, not a libertarian” and a “liberventionist” and has urged the Libertarian Party to “Boot Boortz”.[28] Boortz counters that the issues of the greatest importance after the 9/11 attacks are those in which terrorism has dominated.”

  29. Bruce Cohen

    I like Boortz’ positions on all of that.

    So do a lot of Libertarians.

    Am I not allowed at your party either?

    Get a clue.
    That’s your personal opinion and taking a position one way or another is irrelevant to being a Libertarian.

    That’s a tactical and strategic discussion of foreign policy and it’s a debate what gives the best outcome.

    You can’t prove your strategy is better than Boortz, and neither is more Libertarian than the other. Back off Boortz.

  30. Erik Geib

    “Back off Boortz.” What is that, a threat?

    The foundation of libertarianism is the non-aggression principle. We can argue all day long about minarchism vs. anarchism, etc., but the top of the non-aggression chain is war – particularly pre-emptive war. So, no, I wouldn’t want you in my party.

    You and Boortz both sound like barely socially-conscious conservatives, not libertarians. Hatred for immigrants and cheerleading foreign interventionism would have just about every prominent libertarian intellectual I can think of rolling in their grave or actively cringing.

  31. Bruce Cohen

    It’s not a threat, silly goose.

    And you’re wrong about some ‘non-agression principle’, that’s not Libertarian either.

    You’re all mixed up.
    You can agree or disagree on that, and the pledge is also not what you think it is.

    And it’s not your party.
    It’s mine.

    I was here first so nyah-nyah.
    My vote and opinion carries at least as much weight as yours does.

    I suppose Ron Paul is not welcome in your Libertarian world because he’s not for open immigration and open borders?

    And Ayn Rand is crossed off your list because she was an interventionist and ‘pro-war’?

    I’m so tired of you cranks shouting other people down who might disagree with you on a single issue.

    I’m not the usual Libertarian who will let you get away with it.

    Boortz has a valuable message and we are better off with him in our party and at our convention.

    Too bad if you disagree with him on some teeny slice of the platform.

  32. Erik Geib

    *sigh* Now I see why people are so quick to dismiss the nonsense that comes out of your mouth.

    BC: “And you’re wrong about some ‘non-agression principle’, that’s not Libertarian either.”

    Response: The non-aggression principle is the core of Libertarianism. It’s a principle upon which the LP was founded, as well as an essential part of libertarianism as a philosophy. I’ll refer you in this case to a wiki page for simplicity’s sake, but can refer you to hundreds of publications on this matter if you’re going to ignore such information.

    BC: “You’re all mixed up.
    You can agree or disagree on that, and the pledge is also not what you think it is.”

    Response: How, exactly, do you propose that I’m ‘all mixed up’?

    BC: “And it’s not your party.
    It’s mine.”

    Response: If you’re referring to the LP, it’s obviously both of ours. When I said “No, I wouldn’t want you in my party,” in was in direct response to you saying “Am I not allowed at your party either?”@ 30.

    BC: “I was here first so nyah-nyah.
    My vote and opinion carries at least as much weight as yours does.”

    Response: Did you stop maturing at age 12?

    BC: “I suppose Ron Paul is not welcome in your Libertarian world because he’s not for open immigration and open borders?”

    Response: I ripped on you and Boortz for your views on immigration, not Paul, which was beside the point anyway. The ‘welcome’ of which you refer had to do with your views on aggression. The immigration viewpoint is just icing on the cake as to why I don’t think you and Boortz are very libertarian beyond your self-proclamations to the contrary. I definitely think there is room to disagree in some areas, but the idea of non-interventionism is not one of them. The LP has never approved of pre-emptive war, and (hopefully, for the sake of this country) never will. Also, Ron’s views on immigration hardly match Boortz’s (which, you claim, are similar to yours). First of all, Ron would never say (in reference to immigrants) “Give ’em all a little nuclear waste and let ’em take it on down there to Mexico. Tell ’em it can — it’ll heat tortillas.” Second, Ron favors guest worker programs and simplifying the immigration process. Boortz appears to culture-warrior-style hate on immigrants for daring to be different than him, with racist bravado.

    BC: “And Ayn Rand is crossed off your list because she was an interventionist and ‘pro-war’?”

    Response: Ayn Rand hated libertarians. The association between libertarians and Rand has been done by others, and was never done by Rand herself. In fact, Rand once “condemned libertarianism as being a greater threat to freedom and capitalism than both liberalism and conservativism.” So, no, I don’t consider Rand a libertarian by a number of measures. She didn’t even consider herself one. Also, Rand speaking politically was practically a joke – you’re talking about a woman who supported Nixon, for pete’s sake. She also was known for making stuff up while responding to things she didn’t know about in a bizarre attempt to match it to her philosophy. For this, I would reference almost any time Rand ever spoke about Middle East affairs (of which there are plenty of videos on YouTube to watch).

    BC: “I’m so tired of you cranks shouting other people down who might disagree with you on a single issue…. Too bad if you disagree with him on some teeny slice of the platform.””

    Response: I would hardly consider you and Boortz being pro-war to be a single issue. It’s a big one that inter-connects with who knows how many others (civil liberties, high taxation and/or deficit spending, etc.). War is the ultimate big-government program: it has outrageous costs (which often far exceed promised predictions), leaves deficits for future generations to pay off, and violates countless civil liberties.

    BC: “I’m not the usual Libertarian who will let you get away with it.”

    Response: Get away with what? Calling you out when you don’t know what you’re talking about (which is often, it appears)?

    BC: “Boortz has a valuable message and we are better off with him in our party and at our convention.”

    Response: What a joke. With Boortz in the party and/or at the convention, all we do is reinforce the idea that Libertarians are ‘Republican Lite.’ The man has far more in common with most Republicans than Libertarians. Being pro-choice and pro-gay marriage is hardly enough to be considered libertarian in my (or most anyone’s) book. It’s more a reflection of people like you and he being unable to push off the social radicals in the RNC, and frustratingly trying to influence a different party instead – which disagrees with you a whole Hell of a lot more than the Republicans do. The LP is just smaller and easier to gain control of than the GOP is, so hacks like you and Boortz constantly try to push your poorly-thought-out viewpoints as libertarian.

  33. Thomas L. Knapp

    “And Ayn Rand is crossed off your list because she was an interventionist and ‘pro-war’?”

    Rand stated that a free society had no obligation not to intervene in the affairs of a slave society. Of course, the 20th century United States did not come close to her definition of a free society.

    Rand opposed the entry of the US into WWII.

    Rand opposed the US military expedition in Korea.

    Rand opposed the US military expedition in Vietnam.

    I’m unaware of any US military adventure abroad during her adult life in the US which she didn’t oppose.

    There might be valid libertarian pro-interventionist arguments, but “Ayn Rand was an interventionist and pro-war” isn’t one of them.

  34. Bruce Cohen

    Poorly thought out?
    Nonsense coming out of my mouth?

    I guess that means you lost the argument.

    Let’s all ask Objectivists and Yaron Brooke what Ayn Rand’s position on the use of force was.

    And Afganistand was not pre-emptive.
    It was post-emptive, it was reactive and punitive and prophylactic. As was Iraq.

    None of those things had anything to do with Bush having a temper or anything but his policy of how to defend the country.

    If you think it wasn’t worth the money, fine.
    If you think it didn’t give the best result, great.

    But to pretend that it was something it was not, or that Libertarians only have individual rights of self defense and the country does not, is a sheer flight of fantasy.

  35. Thomas L. Knapp


    I wasn’t attempting to argue interventionism versus non-interventionism with you. I was simply pointing out that Ayn Rand’s actual policy prescriptions don’t match the holdings you attribute to her, and attempting to explain why.

    Yaron Brooke and the Ayn Rand Center aren’t Objectivists. They’re Peikoffian irrationalists.

  36. Bruce Cohen

    NOW we have a discussion!

    By the way, all my Objectivist friends like Yaron.
    So do I.

    In my book he’s totally Libertarian.
    So is Glenn Beck.
    Larry Elder.
    Tucker Carlson.

    On the subject of WWRD (What Would Rand Do) for those of that religious persuasion, almost all my friends who call themselves Objectivists and give money to either the west coast or the east coat heirs to the Objectivist throne are super hawks.

    Far more hawkish than almost any Libertarian I know except maybe not Starchild. Starchild’s positions make him the posterchild for Liberhawks.

    Anyway, my point is that I’d like to be able to work shoulder to shoulder with Libertarians who disagree on foreign policy, on abortion, on a whole number of things.

    To learn from them and to be able to agree nicely without food fights or having people lie or play Saul Alinsky type of games.

    For those people watching the unfolding news in the California LP, that’s what it’s all about.

    Certain people ‘in charge’ who don’t like anyone who doesn’t agree with them on policy or process.

    Since when has the LP become the ‘closed mind’ party?

    I thought we liked to test a lot of different ideas out in the free market?

    How come all those mean mean liberhawks and warmongers never say we should kick out the ‘anti-war’ Libertarians based on their position on the matter?

    Some kind of double standard is being applied here, and I, for one, wonder…

    Why can’t we Libertarians all just get along?

  37. Thomas L. Knapp


    You have a habit of addressing arguments I haven’t made.

    I didn’t say Yaron Brooke isn’t a libertarian (although if he toes his own organization’s line, HE would say he isn’t a libertarian). I said he’s not an Objectivist.

    Objectivism is a set of interrelated philosophical holdings.

    Without arguing over the EXACT content of that set (“closed system” versus “open system” being the main argument, with each school having a representative institution), I assert that that in order to be Objectivist, a given statement has to fit into that set.

    For example, the Law of Identity (A=A) and some other asserted axiom contradicting it could not both be a feature of Objectivism. It would have to be one or the other.

    Yes, Ayn Rand made a compelling argument that a free society would not be morally constrained from going to war with a slave society.

    Ayn Rand ALSO made a great number of compelling arguments that the United States is not a free society, but merely the best attempt yet at one.

    Her opposition to US interventionism in every major case that actually occurred during her life is consistent with both those claims, and with the overall framework of Objectivism.

    The Ayn Rand Center’s “bomb Iran” bullshit is consistent with neither.

    Rand made the mistake of willing her estate to a second-rate mind whose last piece of decent philosophical work was a well-argued, but not earth-shatteringly important, piece on the analytic-synthetic dichotomy. Everything he and the organization he founded has done since has pretty much consisted of cherry-picking random quotes from Ayn Rand to justify whatever bizarre claim they think will jack up book sales.

  38. Susan Hogarth

    *sigh* Now I see why people are so quick to dismiss the nonsense that comes out of your mouth.

    You’d do well to follow their example. Engaging Bruce in philosophical or political discussion isn’t even good practice, since he’s too irrational to give you any sort of consistent mental workout.

  39. Erik Geib


    Much like in your interactions with Tom, you have “a habit of addressing arguments I haven’t made.”

    Let’s again attack this step-by-step:

    BC: “Poorly thought out?
    Nonsense coming out of my mouth?

    I guess that means you lost the argument.”

    Response: How does that equate with winning or losing an argument? In what delusional world do you operate? You don’t even address the arguments I (or apparently, others also) make. If you think that minor insertions on my part regarding your neurotic nature are ‘points’ for you, then perhaps you should step back and realize how many ‘points’ others would have/get for your constant straw-manning of their positions.

    BC: “Let’s all ask Objectivists and Yaron Brooke what Ayn Rand’s position on the use of force was.”

    Response: I believe I said, and I quote, “Ayn Rand hated libertarians. The association between libertarians and Rand has been done by others, and was never done by Rand herself.” Thank you for proving my point. Others could claim a lot of people are libertarians by throwing the label around enough, but it doesn’t make it so. It’s like calling yourself a Christian without believing one bit of the story of Jesus as a Christ figure, nor its philosophical implications.

    BC: “And Afganistand was not pre-emptive.
    It was post-emptive, it was reactive and punitive and prophylactic. As was Iraq.”

    Response: I don’t recall bringing up Afghanistan at all. I recall bringing up Iraq, and Iraq was pre-emptive whether you prefer to think that way or not. 90+% of the policy community would agree with the notion that it’s pre-emptive, even it’s most ardent defenders.

    BC: “None of those things had anything to do with Bush having a temper or anything but his policy of how to defend the country.”

    Response: I’m assuming you’re talking to Tom at this point, since I’ haven’t spoken on this point. Do you just mindlessly ramble, or is their an ability to formulate your arguments somewhere inside of you? Now that you’ve brought it up though, invading a country that didn’t attacked us (Iraq) hardly qualifies as “defending” our country. It’s attacking another one, plain and simple.

    BC: “If you think it wasn’t worth the money, fine.
    If you think it didn’t give the best result, great.

    But to pretend that it was something it was not, or that Libertarians only have individual rights of self defense and the country does not, is a sheer flight of fantasy.”

    Response: Iraq had nothing to do with self-defense. It’s not self-defense if you walk down a hallway and punch someone in the face on the delusional premise that they could someday attack you. If you’re not attacked first, it’s no defense. Iraq didn’t attack us.

    I’ll close by asking why it is you even consider yourself a libertarian. (?) You seem to have far more in common with Republicans as far as I can tell. Would they not let you feel important in their party, so you tried to corrupt a smaller one? Not that you’ll actually answer this question.

  40. Erik Geib


    Point taken. I think I’m done after my last post (41). Thankfully, Bruce isn’t half as influential as he thinks he is.

  41. Bruce Cohen

    I don’t agree Iraq didn’t attack us.
    I also don’t agree that Iraq didn’t threaten us.
    These things are not stipulated to here.

    I also don’t agree that Iraq was not a threat to the USA and it’s freedom.

    Any of the above would merit a discussion of the outcome of the use of force as policy.

    There we go with the name calling again.
    Bruce disagrees with us, so therefore he’s not a Libertarian, he’s a Republican, woo woo.

    I’ve heard far worse before.

    I disagree and think attacking Iraq was very much self-defense. OK so? You have your opinion, I have mine, neither of which is better or more rooted in Libertarian theology.

    I happen to be in the minority right now, along with John Hospers and Larry Elder and other good company.

    I’m still a Libertarian and always have been.

    I don’t agree with your premise.

  42. paulie Post author

    (and see the other articles on Boot Boortz Blog

    The senior editor of Atlanta’s Creative Loafing newspaper has authored this substantial piece, which gives a lot of information and insight into Boortz and his views. Apparently the author is responsible for “outing” Boortz as a chickenhawk, having revealed what is known about Boortz’ evasion of service during the Vietnam War.

    The piece also discusses the LP National Convention situation in depth, and even plugs the petition.

    I’ve copied the entire piece into the extended entry section.


    Neal Boortz is no John Galt

    Libertarians will ensure their irrelevance if they embrace radio ignoramus


    Atlanta’s radio offerings are so, so, so very awful that, yes, on my drive to the office, in desperation I am forced to tune in to the city’s pinnacle (or is it pit?) of know-nothingness, Neal Boortz. But I have a rule. At his first lie, gross misrepresentation of the truth, or race baiting, I go to a book on tape. Often, I don’t make it out of the driveway. Seldom do I travel the five miles to I-85, and never have I completed the 30-minute drive to the Loaf without Boortz bellowing some deceitful absurdity.

    Neal dissembles, John hits the off button.

    For example, just last week Boortz proclaimed that the Bushies told no fibs to con Americans into supporting the war. Huh? I paused for a minute before switching on my current recorded book to make sure Boortz wouldn’t qualify that astounding fiction or giggle and say, “Just kidding,” since all the world now knows George Bush lied. So did Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of the contemptible gang. They politicized and distorted intelligence, and when that didn’t work, they fabricated and uttered gross untruths. They have even admitted it, but now claim it doesn’t matter.

    I sometimes jot down Boortz’s lamest deceits. It’s a long list. Ranking at the top was his hysterical claim, in the days before Bush’s invasion of Iraq, that Saddam Hussein’s military might surpass that of Nazi Germany. I slapped my forehead at that one — the claim went beyond mere bad information and makes me wonder if there isn’t serious impairment of Boortz’s reasoning capacity. The fellow needs a 12-step program for the chronically dishonest and incorrigibly stupid.

    The truth, by the way, was that in 1939 Adolf Hitler boasted 98 divisions, with 1.5 million well-trained men, for the invasion of Poland. For the Western offensive, Germany had 2.5 million men, and 2,500 tanks. In June 1941, Hitler had available 3 million men and 4,000 tanks to invade the Soviet Union. Saddam, prior to our invasion, never had more than 400,000 troops and 2,200 tanks, and the demoralized and largely broken-down Iraqi military was never in the same universe as the Wehrmacht.

    In other words, Boortz equals bullshit.

    I don’t want to argue the war here, but it was just so Boortzian for him to proclaim that pure lunacy as truth. And the sheep that follow him bleat their belief that they are actually getting “information.”

    That Boortz struts about touting himself as a libertarian would make his daily mission of mendacity a good laugh — except for one thing: For Big Brother to win, the Bush regime needs to bovine-ize America. Ignorance and the Orwellian capacity to simultaneously believe glaring contradictions are the essential intellectual diet of the Bushies. Force feeding America the swill are Faux News and the phalanx of talk show screechers, of which Boortz is, to his chagrin, merely a farm team lightweight.

    (In October a University of Maryland survey measured how much false information — such as that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq — people believed and whether they primarily relied on Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN or print. Those relying on Fox were far less likely to know the truth about critical world and national issues, and far more likely to believe distortions of the truth. Boortz, of course, gets it wrong more often than the heavy-hitting propagandists he worships on Fox.)

    America needs real libertarians, whose origins are firmly rooted in the Bill of Rights. The Libertarian Party (libertarians with a big “L”) is holding its national convention in Atlanta in May, and the party has invited Boortz to be a speaker.

    I’m told by Libertarian activists the decision was rooted in the group’s cheapness — they didn’t want to foot the freight for major talent.

    Well, you get what you pay for — free traders such as the Libertarians should understand that. In lib — or Lib — ertarian land, there has been a howl of protest over the invitation to Boortz.

    One of the few points on which Boortz’s rants coincide with the Libertarians is ending the Drug War. Hell, there are a lot of tokers out there who can’t even spell Libertarian who are in tune with the party on that point.
    Boortz is no libertarian. He is a sorry shill for the Bush big-government, interventionist, xenophobic, authoritarian regime. Imposing our will on the world, looting resources and guaranteeing Halliburton billions in profits — that isn’t free trade; it’s empire. Gutting the Bill of Rights, spying on law-abiding citizens, manipulation through agitprop — that isn’t freedom; it’s slavery.

    “The Libertarian Party is so desperate, it has led them to abandon their issues in favor of seeking popularity,” says Eric Garris, who helps run a libertarian website,, and who has long been involved with the party at the national and state (California) levels.

    On the key issues confronting America, Boortz clearly stands on the side of those who attack freedom, and those who want to turn Big Government into Gargantuan Government (as long as someone besides rich people and corporations pay for it).

    Examples: He applauds the FBI investigating anti-war demonstrators, making a broad smear recently on his website (that could have been authored by Karl Rove, and maybe was) that activists should be hounded by the feds because they are “pro-Saddam and anti-U.S.,” and that they are “largely anti-American communists and Islamic radicals.”

    Likewise, in the same epistle, he applauded the police riot last month against trade demonstrators in Miami. I never met someone who claimed to be a libertarian but was so antagonistic toward the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth amendments. It just doesn’t compute.

    In Boortz’s best imitation of Joe McCarthy, he has insinuated that Justin Raimondo — a nationally prominent Libertarian since the 1970s and the prolific editor of — is a red. Raimondo “doesn’t like me,” Boortz huffed on his website last week, “because I approve of our actions in Iraq. Fair enough. Do you know who else doesn’t like our Iraqi actions? Well, communists, for one.”

    Slimey, slimey, slimey.

    On economics, Boortz worships Ronald Reagan — ignoring the fact that government grew much faster under the Gipper than under, say, Bill Clinton, who the talk show host blames for just about every ill that has ever happened (another script line from Karl Rove). And, of course, Boortz has nothing but gushing praise for Bush’s economics, somehow equating fiscal responsibility with pumping up government spending to $21,000 per American household, compared with $16,000 during the Clinton administration — the biggest increase in more than 50 years.

    That remarkably un-libertarian accomplishment, coupled with Bush’s tax cuts for the plutocrats, has created record deficits that will indenture our children and grandchildren — hardly what Ayn Rand, the spiritual guru for Libertarians, had in mind in Atlas Shrugged.

    It’s the war, however, that has real libertarians frothing at the invitation to Boortz. The Libertarian Party platform is decidedly anti-war, stating: “We call for the withdrawal of all American military personnel stationed abroad. … There is no current or foreseeable risk of any conventional military attack on the American people, particularly from long distances. We call for the withdrawal of the U.S. from commitments to engage in war on behalf of other governments and for abandonment of doctrines supporting military intervention such as the Monroe Doctrine.”

    Pretty clear writing, and it’s at the heart of Libertarian thought. An irony is that since Boortz is peachy happy with the FBI snooping on anti-war activists, and since most Libertarians are anti-war, the radio blowhard is all in favor of the government investigating the very people who invited him to address their convention. And, in the witch-hunting delusions that substitute for thought in Boortz’s diseased mind, it’s quite likely all those Libertarians are really either commies or radical Islamists.

    Boortz doesn’t like me. I outed him as a chickenhawk. He keeps changing the story about how he evaded military service during Vietnam (was it the asthma or your eyesight, Neal?). Last week, he was claiming the military wouldn’t take him. More precisely, when he couldn’t get a relatively cushy job as a pilot, he wasn’t about to get dirty (or dead) crawling through rice paddies. It’s so easy to be bellicose when it’s the other guy — probably an oh-so-expendable member of the working class and a minority — who is getting shot.

    But that’s Neal Boortz, the apotheosis of cowardice. He doesn’t like to debate when he can’t be in control. He keeps his finger on the disconnect button so that when callers start to score points, he can quickly cut them off.

    If that’s who the Libertarians want to hear, the party — already victim to several internal scuffles — might as well admit that it’s history. If its program is to imitate the Democrats’ emulation of the Republicans, the Libertarian Party stands for nothing.

    Neal Boortz was offered space for his unedited remarks on libertarians’ “boot Boortz” efforts. Boortz apparently preferred to pout in silence. For those who would like to sign the petition to give Boortz the heave-ho from the Libertarian convention:

    Senior Editor John Sugg — who says, “Neal, you gutless bag of wind, this is a challenge to a smackdown” — can be reached at or at 404-614-1241.


  43. paulie Post author

    Anyone who thinks it is easy to be an undocumented worker in the US should try it themselves.

    Here is what you do.

    If you own or rent any property, give it away, including vehicle, bank account(s), credit card(s), house/apartment, except perhaps a few items of clothing and toiletries that can fit in a backpack and which you can easily carry for miles over rough terrain.

    Get rid of any computers and phones you have, and any lists of phone numbers, addresses or emails.

    Lose your wallet, all cash and all forms of ID.

    Go to Mexico.

    Cross the border back into the US on foot without going through a checkpoint.

    Do not attempt to contact any friends or relatives whose address, phone or email you have memorized,

    Do not attempt to get a copy of a birth certificate or other identifying document.

    Please tell me how it went.

    And if you don’t think it will be to your advantage to try this, thank the next undocumented worker you see for coming to this country and improving our standard of living. Which they most certainly do (see Julian Simon’s writings on this).

    Remember, too, that a wall can keep Americans fenced in at least as well as it can keep anyone else out.

    For bonus points, if you are not a French speaker, try sneaking into Quebec. That will give you a slightly better sense of what it’s like.

    Luckily for me, I was considered a refugee due to Cold War propaganda (although many people who are not considered refugees have a much more legitimate claim to the status), or I would have had to grow up in Israel or worse yet Russia.

    The best way to stop “illegal” immigration is to legalize it, and remember that no human being is illegal.

  44. Steve Meier

    Just as a note. My wife just spent 3 full days at a quilting retreat in Newark CA. It was held in the meeting rooms of an extended stay hotel. Total cost was $25. With no payed vendors! Rooms were optional.

    It is a good the the quilters aren’t a political party or their efficiencies would mop us up.

  45. Michael Seebeck

    Shoot, Steve, bring them on–those warm quilts could be a pretty good fundraiser in this era of wacky weather. 🙂

  46. Steve Meier


    No doubt about it. I stopped by to take her out to dinner. Wall to wall sewing machines.

  47. Steve Meier

    I was thinking. That at $25 a delegate you could easily establish a fund for those activists that are strapped for cash to attend. All parties would be optional and outside the business area.

    One thing that really concerns me is that large fees tend to discourage the young from attending. This hurts us thrice. First, they don’t become connected to the party and senior members of the party. Second, they are less likely to become activists. Third, we loose their innovative thinking.

  48. Erik Geib

    The fee certainly hurts my ability to attend. Of course, moving in the middle of this year and not knowing how/where to become a delegate as result hurts more…

  49. Bruce Cohen

    I’ve never been involved with a State, County or National Convention that turned away someone willing to give Volunteer time for an admission pass. Never.

    Every time I have been involved in any way, I saw organizers making allowances for people who were willing to do that.

    Isn’t that what being Libertarian is all about?

    Steve is right on, too.

    Aaron Starr did that a few years ago.
    He had a donor, I think actually other people even offered, but one very nice but persnickety old guy put up the money for anyone that could not afford the gate.

    Somebody will have to pay for some kind of big hall and for it to be vacuumed and have chairs set up, etc..

    Unless we go with Starchild’s ‘Liberstock’ idea of a festival kind of thing outdoors.
    [which has some AMAZING possibilities and it’s a SUPER idea to explore for the future…]

    So if you want to be pure, we could tell the hotel how many people we were going to have, and they could do the math and just sort of ‘split the check’ and bill everyone at the door.

    We could do it that way so there is literally no charge.

    Or, we could set up a fund.

    Tons of ways to skin a cat.

    Too late this time, let’s discuss for next time.

    We all agree to keep costs down.
    For most people the cost of getting and staying is what keeps ’em away.

    And I really don’t want to sleep in my car and eat at McDonalds.

    Been there, done that.

    What does waiving the 50-100 bucks do with the budget?

    Even Tom Knapp and I, both known for making pennies plead for mercy, we squeeze so hard, know that’s a fairly small percentage of the total attendance budget.

  50. Brian Holtz

    @52: Yes, at the 2005 LPCA convention, Allen Rice ended a bitter fight over “floor fees” by donating $195 to cover unpaid fees. Later, in the advanced stages of a tragic case of LP burnout, he complained so much about the whole episode that I paid him the $195 just so I wouldn’t have to hear any more from him about it. So at this point, you could say that the floor-fee sugar daddy was me.

    Allen still does small-L libertarian activism, though. His latest project tracks the current initiatives seeking ballot qualification in California:

  51. Erik Geib

    Morey @ 53,

    Not yet, because I’m not sure of my move date. It’s sometime between now and September, but you’re right in that it’s probably a good idea to do so now. I hope for my sake that you’re right in your assessment that such contact should be all it takes.

  52. Bruce Cohen

    It was a JOKE, Brian.

    You need some thicker skin, buddy.

    I have no idea about any of what your deal was and I think it’s super nice of you to reimburse Allan. You both are grouches on the outside but softies on the inside.

    It’s ok if you don’t want to play with me anymore, Brian, I can take it.

    I wasn’t reading your forum then.
    Do I need to read all 972 posts, or even the one?
    I believe you.

    I’m not going to ask you for a notarized contract and copies of canceled checks.

    It’s ok, relax.

  53. Brian Holtz

    My dermis is just the right thickness. It sure didn’t look like an attempt at humor, but given your skills in that department, you could plausibly call anything an attempted joke. Civil and well-mannered people save such jokes and “buddy” references for people who they know like or respect them.

    As for you not reading my forum, here’s a clue: whether a fact is public or private doesn’t depend on whether Bruce Cohen is aware of it.

    “Play” with you? I had a project to potty-train you. It didn’t work. You’re on your own.

    “Relax”? Shedding you is, in the context of my LP activism, one of the more relaxing things I’ve done in quite a while.

    So you just keep pretending that being fair and honest about people has anything to do with notarizing things, and I’ll keep bird-dogging your every false or unsubtantiated statement about any LPCA member. But please: don’t keep zooming through the speed trap just because you’re desperate for the social interaction of being ticketed.

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