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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Transparent Straw Men In California Freedom

Tom Sipos was very careful in January to invest LPCA newsletter space in a picture of multi-decade LP activist/leader Aaron Starr with a Hitler mustache, but CF readers saw absolutely nothing there about the eight most serious charges against Sipos's hero Angela Keaton (to each of which I give a paragraph at  Now Sipos claims he was practicing "glasnost" and "transparency" in his "reporting" about e.g. an LNC meeting he didn't even attend (though held only a couple hours from where he lives).  My own blog posting about the San Diego meeting ( was much more balanced and accurate than Sipos's editorial, and I wasn't even using LPCA paper/postage or drawing an LPCA paycheck.

Nobody has told Sipos he "shouldn’t discuss America’s foreign interventions".  During Bruce Cohen's two-year tenure, CF ran five pieces featuring opposition to intervention, and zero pieces in defense of libervention in general or the Iraq invasion in particular.  Sipos in his first three issues ran six anti-intervention pieces, and the two opposing pieces he ran were accompanied by two instant Sipos rebuttals -- thus totaling 8 antiwar pieces in those 3 issues.  His pace has continued unabated since then, and he has proudly said that this internally controversial subject will continue to be his editorial focus.

Nobody has Told Sipos he should "only print material that 'all libertarians agree on'" or that "party leaders may not be questioned". 
It's even sillier to pretend that advice against emphasizing party schisms is somehow a ban on covering normal party business like conventions.  These are all straw men crafted by somebody who never has to worry about the same-page instant-rebuttal that in CF he reserves for himself -- sometimes taking even more space than what he is answering.  (Don't be surprised that if this message appears in CF it is accompanied by yet another same-page Sipos rebuttal of some sort.  That's the sort of "last word" I said he reserves for himself, and he cannot name anyone else who has ever enjoyed such same-issue rebutting privileges.)

Sipos selectively takes one sentence out of context from one of an entire series of LPHQ communications, and pronounces Donny Ferguson a "Demopublican".  Donny Ferguson is in fact a dedicated and talented young political operative who could be even more personally successful if he weren't so principled and selective in his employment.  Read the entire paragraph that Sipos butchers in order to smear Donny:

"Here’s the beautiful thing about having political power.  It’s a zero-sum game.  If you’re in office, even if you don’t have the votes to repeal anything, the high-tax Democrat or the deficit-spending Republican aren’t there to vote for more government.  There is nothing more noble and principled than winning an election." 

Thus while Donny is in fact saying that the most principled thing is to stop Demopublican growers of government, Sipos wants you to think that Donny himself is no better than a Demopublican.

Mr. Sipos, let us not assassinate this lad further. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?


Citizens For A Better Veterans Home said...

This kind of stuff, and non payment of activists debts, happens continually in the the Deform Party/ Reform Party dysfunctional movement!

Have you [like the national greens] had illogical Pro Israel propaganda /pressure from the shaddowy Jewish Zionist mafia?

In 2005, John Blare, John Coffey, Valli Sharpe Geisler, and John Bambey killed the Reform Party USA national blog and the monthly print news letter just to block a well known tale of IDF murder of non combatant sailors on the USS Liberty.

My experiences with the San Diego County Libs and the state wide Liberty movement leave me unsurprised..........

Starchild said...

Donny Ferguson wrote in an official LP communication that "the most important principle is winning." Brian Holtz's complaint about Thomas Sipos attacking a strawman notwithstanding, my reading of Donny's piece is that he wasn't being sarcastic, but was actually trying to convince Libertarian Party members that winning elections is more "noble" than advocating libertarian principles.

As far as I'm concerned, that is totally unacceptable coming from an LP leader. It is tantamount to advocating the destruction of the party as a vehicle for liberty.

Therefore I strongly applaud Thomas for covering the issue, especially since no one at national with the power to do anything about it seems to be minding the store, and since Ferguson is apparently unwilling to publish dissenting views in LP News.

While I would encourage Thomas to air dissenting views regarding extra-national military actions (ENMAs) by government, the Libertarian Party platform currently opposes such interventions. This opposition seems to be derived from a sincere (if mistaken, in my view) interpretation of the Non-Aggression Principle.

By contrast, Donny's argument seems to have neither libertarian philosophy nor LP policy to support it. So I think Thomas's editorial stance, biased though it may be, is much more justified. Furthermore, he does at least publish responses disagreeing with him, even if not in as great a proportion as Brian would like, which seems to be more than Donny is willing to do for those who disagree with him.

If anyone believes I am mistaken, and Donny is willing to publish an op-ed in LP News critical of his outrageous Monday Message comments on winning, please let me know. I haven't gotten the impression that he is, but I would be happy to be proven wrong.

Despite my disagreement with him on this point, I do want to thank Brian for his generally well-written and informative coverage of the California LP convention.

His reports on LPC Executive Committee doings will likewise be missed now that he is no longer on that committee. Hopefully the newly constituted body will vote to make the ExCom's secret email list public, instead of prohibiting ordinary members from even viewing messages to that list, as is currently the policy. LPC members deserve the chance to learn the details of what is going on without having to rely on second-hand gossip and rumors or the usually inadequate and delayed summaries that appear in the official minutes of the meetings.

I submitted a proposal for a bylaws change to allow LPC members to read and post to the ExCom list, but as usual the clock ran out on bylaws debate before any proposals from the floor could be debated. It has been the case for many years now that few if any bylaws proposals written by delegates not on the committee get a chance to be heard by the convention. For the record, I made members of the ExCom aware of my interest in being appointed to the Bylaws Committee, as I often have in the past, but they declined to appoint me.

B. Kalafut said...

It's as though Donny Ferguson offered an intelligence test for libertarians. Nolan failed, and now Sipos, too.