May 31, 2016

2016 Libertarian Party Nominee Gary Johnson Acceptance Speech

Garyjohnsonphoto_-_modifiedGov. Gary Johnson won the 2016 Libertarian Party Presidential Nomination on the second ballot with 55% of the delegate vote.

Austin Petersen was 2nd with 21%

John McAfee was 3rd with 14%

Johnson’s acceptance speech is below.

 

 

Chelsea Manning Pardoned, Charges Dropped on Snowden, Day One, says Libertarian Presidential Candidate Darryl Perry

Darryl-headshot-2015-sqWhile nationally-known Libertarian Party Presidential Candidates Gary Johnson and John McAfee have been capturing headlines, grassroots activist Darryl Perry has been running what he calls an efficient retail politicking campaign, participating in debates at the state and local level. Many of the delegates here at the convention have called Perry the purest libertarian candidate. Scott Lazarowitz over at uber-libertarian LewRockwell.com agrees.

Perry said he’d pardon Chelsea Manning and drop all charges against Edward Snowden on his first day in office, followed by a “blanket pardon for every nonviolent federal offender that has a victimless offense…And then we can start working on reducing the budget, bringing the troops home, closing down Guantanamo.”

More information on Perry’s campaign can be found at darrylwperry.com.

Libertarian Gary Johnson Wants to Make America Sane Again

Gary-Johnsonx-large-1Former two-term Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson is again seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination for President of the United States. And while Johnson has polled as high as 11% in multiple polls against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, he faces tougher competition for the LP nomination than he did four years ago with nationally-known entrepreneur John McAfee, Austin Petersen, Darryl Perry, Kevin McCormick and others in the race.

“It looks OK, but like I say, anything can change. You’ve got a final debate tonight and I might bite my tongue in half,” said Governor Johnson of his chances.

Should Johnson win the nomination, he faces an even tougher challenge in doing what Rand Paul couldn’t do in the Republican primaries: win over an angry electorate with a reasonable libertarian message.

“When I’m constantly asked about Rand Paul, and why Rand Paul did not succeed, when he’s a libertarian, the response is, well, he’s not a libertarian. He’s a Republican. So, I think these issues will resonate by the time the general election rolls around, and people will really be concerned about issues and not hair,” said Johnson.

“And if it is hair, I haven’t had a drink in twenty-nine years, but if it’s hair, I might have a drink, I don’t know, champagne to celebrate,” quipped Johnson, apparently referring to The Donald’s infamous coiffure.

Despite the perception that libertarianism is subset of conservatism, Johnson believes he can appeal to voters across the political spectrum because of the areas of agreement libertarians have with liberals and independents on issues such as ending military interventions, gay rights and legalization of marijuana.

Johnson called Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton “a major architect of the conflict going on around the world,” referring to her work as Secretary of State, adding “I think that resonates with Democrats.”

The entire interview with Johnson can be viewed below. More information about Johnson’s campaign can be found at garyjohnson2016.com.

The final debate before the delegates vote for the nomination is tonight (Saturday May 28) at 8:00 PM EDT and will be carried live on CSPAN and several other media outlets.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness?

Libertarian Candidate John McAfee Is Ready for a Street Fight with Trump and Clinton

john-mcafee-310x375John McAfee holds no illusions about how difficult it would be for the Libertarian Party Nominee to win the White House. He does see 2016 as a historic opportunity to spread the libertarian message of personal liberty, privacy and self-ownership.

“We all know it stops in November,” said McAfee. “What can we do in those intervening months? We can change America. All we have to do to wake a person up is to show them the truth in the right light.”

McAfee has been described as “philosophical” and “cerebral” thus far based on his debate performances and interviews. Our conversation was no different. But an angry electorate already rejected Rand Paul’s philosophical, libertarian message, apparently preferring the street fighting tactics of Donald Trump, at least within the Republican Party. McAfee says he’s ready for a street fight with Trump or Clinton in the general election.

“Am I ready for a street fight? My life has been a street fight. And people call me philosophical. I’ve started several different types of businesses. One of them was sold for almost $8 billion, others for hundreds of millions. It takes more than a philosophy to do that,” said McAfee.

McAfee believes America is twenty years behind rivals Russia and China in cyberwarfare, but far too involved in conventional warfare around the world. Asked how far he would go in terms of withdrawing troops from deployments in Germany, Japan, Korea and elsewhere, McAfee replied,

“Bring all the troops home. Maybe people have not noticed, but we have problems right here in America that are not being addressed. Trying to solve the rest of the world’s problems with military aid and devices? Please, is this rational? It is not.”

The first step in catching America up in terms of cybersecurity, according to McAfee, is to recognize the problem.

“There are safer ways of fixing this problem if we can get everybody in government to work together. But I’m afraid what it will take is some devastating event that it will be difficult to recover from. And please, we don’t want to wait for that,” McAfee added.

You can watch the full video interview below. More information on McAfee’s campaign can be found at www.bealibertarian.com.

The final debate before the delegates vote for the nomination is tonight (Saturday May 28) at 8:00 PM EDT and will be carried live on CSPAN, Reason.com and several other media.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness?

Libertarian Candidate Austin Petersen Believes He Can Win with Fellow Millenials, Conservatives, Social Democrats

austin petersenAustin Petersen makes the “boy president” John F. Kennedy seem like an elder statesman. Petersen wasn’t even eligible to run when he announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Party’s Presidential Nomination (he’s since turned 35 and is fully eligible). As the first “millennial” candidate, Petersen believes he can not only attract young voters, but others across the political spectrum.

“I believe I can bring in not just libertarian voters, but I think I can bring in conservative voters and I think I can bring in social democratic voters because I embody those principles of economic freedom and personal liberty,” Petersen said.

Petersen does believe opponents Gary Johnson and John McAfee have a slight advantage in executive experience, having both run large businesses and in Johnson’s case, the New Mexico State Government for two four-year terms.

“It does put me at a disadvantage,” said Petersen, “but obviously my campaign slogan is I want to take over the government to leave people alone. So, the idea is not that I want to run things. I just want to let people run their own lives. So, do you really need to have been a former software billionaire or a former governor in order to be President of the United States? I would submit ‘no.’ If so, the founding fathers should have put that in the Constitution.”

Petersen believes he can distinguish himself as a voice or reason in the general election, even in a year where an angry electorate has seemed to prefer populist bomb-throwing over calm, intellectual messages.

“Honestly, when you put three ducks in a row and one of these kids is doing their own thing, sometimes the voice of reason wins out. And that’s simply because when there’s so much cacophony and noise, and background noise, sometimes a small, quiet voice can be heard,” said Petersen.

Like many of his opponents, Petersen faces almost as tough a challenge in winning the Libertarian Nomination as he would in the general election. Libertarians are known to be strict on ideological purity and Petersen has challenged the central libertarian principle of non-aggression as a guiding principle for government power.

“I’m willing to take even the most sacred cows and slaughter them for all to see, because I really kind of actually enjoy that,” quipped Petersen. He argues that children, for example, have positive rights and the non-aggression principle doesn’t adequately ensure them.

Outside the theoretical world, however, Petersen’s positions line up pretty closely to those of his opponents, any of which he said he would support if he were not to win the nomination.

You can watch the full video interview below. More information on Petersen’s campaign can be found at austinpetersen2016.com.

The final debate before the delegates vote for the nomination is tonight (Saturday May 28) at 8:00 PM EDT and will be carried live on CSPAN, Reason.com and several other media.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness?

Final Presidential Debate: 2016 Libertarian Party National Convention

convention debate8:00 PM EST – The atmosphere is electric, much like Ron Paul’s event in 2012 just days before the RNC – the latter resembling what Rodney Dangerfield would call “the dance of the living dead.”

8:27 PM EST – “I’d like to build a wall around Donald Trump and make Bernie Sanders pay for it.” – Austin Petersen

8:31 PM EST – “The rights you are born with don’t change depending upon which side of an imaginary line you’re born on.” – Marc Allen Feldman.

8:35 PM EST – “There is an offensive word in your question and that is ‘taxpayer.” – John McAfee

8:36 PM EST – “When it comes to the federal role in education, abolish the Department of Education.” – Gary Johnson

8:41 PM EST: “We’d have voluntary mutual aid societies like we did before the government took over social security.”

8:44 PM EST: “None of us are going to pass a drowning child, even if we are dressed in a tuxedo, going to a wedding. You jump in and save the child. Libertarianism is not heartlessness.” – John McAfee

*8:45 PM EST: First boos for Gary Johnson for remarks about global warming and that “free market bankrupted coal.”

8:49 PM EST: “Why can’t we have a lottery? A lottery is just a tax on people who are bad at math.” – Austin Petersen

8:49 PM EST: “This government survived for 120 years without an income tax. How was that possible? We had a government that was reasonable.” – John McAfee

8:52 PM EST: “The minimum wage is always zero, as one knows who is out of a job.” – Marc Allan Feldman

8:54 PM EST: “The minimum wage was originally devised to stop black workers from competing with white labor.” – Austin Petersen

9:01 PM EST: “When you talk about a 35% tariff on foreign goods, who ends up paying them? Well, we do.” – Gary Johnson

9:04 PM EST: “I have a barber and we have a free trade agreement. I give him money and he gives me haircuts. He never gives me money.” – Marc Allan Feldman

9:05 PM EST: “Money is not a creation of government. It is a creation of the marketplace.” – Austin Petersen

9:05 PM EST: “End the Fed! End the Fed! End the Fed!” – the delegates

9:16 PM EST: “Radical Islam is a threat. Congress needs to get involved. They have abdicated their responsibilities to the president. There needs to be an open discussion and that hasn’t happened.” – Gary Johnson

9:18 PM EST: “The most dangerous religion in the world is statism.” – Austin Petersen

9:23 PM EST: “We used to manufacture weapons to support our war efforts. Now, we manufacture war efforts to support our weapons industries.” – Marc Allan Feldman.

9:27 PM EST: “I kind of like the United Nations because it really doesn’t do much.” – Marc Allan Feldman

9:29 PM EST: “Calling me an isolationist because I don’t want to invade Poland is like calling me a hermit because I don’t want to rob my neighbor’s fridge. Switzerland has the greatest foreign policy. Have you ever had Swiss cheese, Swiss chocolate or a Swiss Army knife?” – Darryl Perry

9:32 PM EST: “What we are dealing with are two machines. They have no heart; they have no soul. They eat everything.” – John McAfee [on the two major parties]

9:36 PM EST: “I believe in gun control. I believe people should control their guns.” – Marc Allan Feldman

9:45 PM EST: “I have traveled extensively and in most Third World countries, you can use the bathroom in the street, in front of everyone. Having seen that, I don’t understand how anyone could care.” – John McAfee

9:49 PM EST: “As far as the nomination of justices, I want to support the firm right of Congress to do nothing. It’s the only thing they do well.” – Marc Allan Feldman

9:50 PM EST – An appearance by Jesus.

9:56 PM EST – “The drug users remain constant whether it’s criminalized or decriminalized.”

10:00 PM EST – Darryl Perry loses his shit over drug laws.

10:06 PM EST – “As many of you know, my wife is black. I can assure you that discrimination was not ended by any legislation.” – John McAfee

10:10 PM EST – “I want you to help me help you make the Libertarian Party libertarian again.” – Darryl Perry

10:11 PM EST – “This is not a campaign about one man. It is about a revolution of We the People.” – Austin Petersen

10:14 PM EST – Marc Allan Feldman tears the place up. Wait for the footage.

10:16 PM EST – The crowd goes wild.

Is Libertarian Kevin McCormick a More Likable Alternative to Trump or Clinton?

kevin mccormickWith unfavorability ratings at record highs for the candidates of both major parties, polls show Americans are more likely than ever to consider voting for a third party. That’s inspired more excitement than usual at the Libertarian Party National Convention in Orlando, where delegates from all 50 states have gathered to choose the party’s candidates for President and Vice President of the United States.

I had a chance to sit down with Kevin McCormick, one of the candidates seeking the party’s nomination (video below). More information on McCormick’s campaign can be found at www.kevinmccormick2016.com.

Watch the video interview at The Huffington Post…

Ron Paul’s 2012 delegate strategy isn’t cheating when Cruz uses it against Trump

trump cruz croppedDonald Trump lost it on Fox News Monday after learning Ted Cruz has secured 34 of Colorado’s 37 delegates to the Republican National Convention. The Colorado GOP canceled its caucus vote last August, electing to choose its delegates at its state convention. The Centennial State is only the latest in which Cruz has won a larger percentage of the delegates than his percentage of the popular vote.

Trump called the process “a crooked deal,” adding, “That’s not the way democracy is supposed to work.”

Newsflash to Trump: This isn’t a democracy. It’s a republic and this is exactly how a republic is supposed to work. The whole reason Colorado and many other states don’t assign their delegates on a winner-take-all basis after the popular vote is they want their nominating process to be more republican (small “r”) than democratic.

If this sounds like déjà vu, it’s because Ron Paul employed the same strategy in 2012, winning the most delegates in eleven states, despite not winning a single primary or caucus popular vote (although he may have been robbed in Maine). Paul was the anti-establishment candidate that year and many of the same people who are now riding the Trump train were Paul supporters who defended the strategy vehemently.

But while it is widely accepted that Trump picked up a large portion of Paul’s 2012 supporters, he obviously hasn’t captured the contingent that mastered Robert’s Rules of Order and took over state conventions in 2012. That’s not surprising, given the difference between the candidates. Paul’s delegate core were highly principled libertarians who typically understood and believed Paul’s message of limited, constitutional government.

That’s what saw them through the long, tedious process of advancing through local, district, county and state conventions. It’s relatively painless to show up at your local polling place and pull a lever behind a curtain. It doesn’t cost anything in time or money. But when the “beauty contest” is over, the real political work has just begun. The months-long process requires would-be delegates to make their candidate’s arguments hundreds of times and hear their opponents’ arguments just as many. By the time they are elected at a state convention, they are fully informed and vetted.

These aren’t the type of people likely to respond to Trump’s largely emotional pitch. Yes, Paul’s supporters may have been “angry” with the status quo, but it was a much more deliberative anger. Unlike Trump’s supporters, Paul’s were always the victims of any violence that broke out at meetings and conventions. And these followers of Austrian economics would never support Trump’s spurious economic theories, although some of his statements on foreign policy may have caught their attention.

While it is true Trump’s support is much wider than merely white working class voters, as pundits initially described it, it is still largely a protest vote. Doctors, lawyers and other professionals can be just as justifiably fed up with Washington, D.C. and its connected interests. It’s not surprising an independent candidate like Trump, apparently impervious to the influence of the donor class, would appeal to voters over a wide demographic. But while their dissatisfaction with the status quo is legitimate, whether Trump is the solution is another story entirely.

The truth is Trump is the type of candidate the whole republic-not-a-democracy idea is supposed to prevent. The founders’ chief concern with democracy was its susceptibility to the “turbulence” resulting from “common passion,” as James Madison put it. That was the reason for the electoral college. They wanted to give the people a direct say in choosing their government’s leadership, but they also wanted a buffer between the multitude’s passions and the reins of power. They would have been horrified by Trump’s rhetoric, no matter how refreshing his destruction of “political correctness” might be.

Trump can rage all he wants about the nominating process being rigged, but the truth is he’ll have to inspire something besides fist-shaking in his supporters if he wants to be president. In many states, it takes more than a fifteen-minute commitment to pull a lever behind a curtain to get your candidate nominated. That’s not such a bad thing.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Thought for the day March 30, 2016 Free Trade, the New Deal and the Federal Reserve

NewDealThought for the day: Free trade agreements haven’t hurt Americans; they’ve helped. They just aren’t enough to overcome the combined economic destruction wrought by the Federal Reserve System and the New Deal, both of which must be abolished root and branch before there is anything resembling a free market in the USA.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Trump Isn’t Hitler; He’s Hamilton

trump hamiltonAs Donald Trump closes in on the Republican nomination for President, comparisons to Hitler continue. And while references to the dictator are never absent from political hyperbole, one can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a bit more legitimacy to them when it comes to the Donald. Even the creator of Godwin’s law won’t dismiss the comparison out of hand.

Superficially, there is something there. Trump appeals to the same kind of nationalist worldview that inspired Hitler’s supporters. Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” isn’t substantively different than Hitler’s. Neither are his arguments for what has caused the decline: corrupt politicians who have sold out the nation, the presence of subversive or merely unwanted elements (Jews and communists for Hitler; illegal immigrants and Muslim refugees for Trump), and inept economic policy, meaning not enough of or the wrong kind of state intervention.

Like Hitler, Trump touts himself as the only hope to save his country, a strongman-type leader who will run a command economy, rid the country of subversive elements, and restore lost international respect. His disdain for civil liberties like free speech and open support of torture are an even more chilling similarity. For Trump, government isn’t the problem, it’s the solution, as long as the right leader is running it.

But for all the similarities, there are important differences. He certainly can’t be accused of sharing Hitler’s racial beliefs. Trump’s wall to keep out illegal immigrants from Mexico will have a yuuuuge door in the middle to admit legal immigrants of the same ethnicity. He has repeatedly voiced his admiration and respect for the Chinese, because “you can still respect someone who’s knocking the hell out of you.”

Most striking is Trump’s foreign policy differences with the Fuhrer. While Trump does advocate some sort of military action against ISIS, he’s strikingly noninterventionist in general. His willingness to come out and admit the Iraq War was a mistake – in South Carolina no less – and his general view that America should start questioning its ongoing military posture everywhere, including NATO, are the opposite of the aggressive military component integral to Hitler’s plan from the beginning.

So what do you call Trump’s brand of nationalism, if not outright fascism? If you take away the boorishness of Trump’s personality and insert more thoughtful, elegant rhetoric, you’d call it traditional American conservatism, before it was infiltrated by more libertarian ideas. American conservatism was always about creating an American version of the mercantilist British Empire and it really never changed.

Since the founding of the republic, American conservatives have argued for a strong central government that subsidized domestic corporations to build roads and infrastructure, levied high protectionist tariffs and ran a central bank. This was Alexander Hamilton’s domestic platform, championed by his Federalist Party. Henry Clay and the Whigs adopted it after the Federalist Party died. From the ashes of the Whigs emerged Lincoln and the Republicans, who were finally able to install Clay’s “American System” after decades of electoral failure.

The Republican Party has remained startlingly consistent in its economic principles, despite incorporating free market rhetoric in the 20th century. Republicans from Lincoln to McKinley to Coolidge to George W. Bush have been protectionists. Hoover reacted to the Depression by signing the Smoot-Hawley tariff, for all the same reasons Trump threatens tariffs now. And what was the first thing Republicans did in the 1950s, after two decades of Democratic Party domination? A huge government roads project that had Hamilton smiling in his grave.

Trump promises more of the same, justifying his stance against nation-building by saying, “I just think we have to rebuild our country.” Make no mistake, Trump isn’t suggesting cutting military spending and allowing the private sector to build what it chooses to build. “We” is the government, with Trump as its intellectually superior leader.

Trump isn’t Hitler; he’s Hamilton, advocating the kind of centralist government Hamilton spoke about in secret at the Constitutional Convention and attempted to achieve surreptitiously throughout the rest of his political life by eroding the same limits on federal government power he had trumpeted to sell the Constitution in the Federalist Papers. Trump wants to be Hamilton’s elected king, running a crony-capitalist, mercantilist economy just as Hamilton envisioned. Even Trump’s campaign slogan is Hamiltonian. Hamilton’s stated goal was “national greatness,” something he referred to again and again in his writing.

And while Hamilton was certainly a more eloquent and well-mannered spokesman for conservatism, Trump is actually superior to him in at least one way: Hamilton was a military interventionist, whose ambition to conquer the colonial possessions of Spain was much more like Hitler’s desire to seize the Ukraine for Germany than anything Trump wants to do internationally.

One has to wonder: Is that the real reason neoconservatives like Bill Kristol, John McCain and Lindsey Graham are so anti-Trump?

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.