Down Ticket Matters Too

LP_EagleflameRecently, among many Libertarian Party groups I associate with online and off, I have heard many complaints about our top ticket candidates Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. While I certainly agree that there are some valid concerns and issues raised, some individuals have spent a large majority of their time doing nothing more than attacking the top ticket.

I do appreciate dissent, and we should all be willing to declare our lines that should never be crossed. It is one thing that the Libertarian Party has done for the most part as the Party of Principle. We will call out candidates that are wrong.  However, this focus of non stop attacks is not serving the party well. Voice your dissent and move on is the best way to handle the disagreement. I have even voiced my disagreement on my various outlets, but then I move on and get back to work for down ticket candidates, including myself.

One of the legitimate arguments that was brought in for support of Gary Johnson was that other candidates, though more consistent in their application of libertarian philosophy, was that he was the most experienced candidate available to carry the banner at the top of the ticket. It is hard when you compare the experience of a two term governor and self made millionaire to what was on the debate stage with him at convention. Only one other candidate on the stage in Orlando had the credibility and ability to get media, and that was John McAfee, who was a multi-national businessman.

So now is the time to stop focusing so much time on the blunders and start focusing on the candidates down ticket to get elected and into debates. You want to have a strong base going forward over the next four years, so that when we have the next go around, we have those more principled individuals with more credibility to their resume. We have around 100 candidates for the U.S. House and Senate, several gubernatorial candidates, a myriad of state legislative candidates, and plenty of those running for county and municipal races on the Libertarian ticket.  If the people who spent as much time attacking Gary Johnson and Bill Weld went and spent that time promoting and volunteering for those locals, we would see many gains this year, as there is already a much larger interest in what we are saying this year ever since Trump and Clinton, two of the worst candidates possible for Democrats and Republicans, have driven people to seek other options.

We need to direct those people to looking into the people we have available for them to vote for at all levels of government. We’ve been plotting to take over the world and leave everyone alone, but we will only be able to do that if we actually start making headway in other races.

If you are one of the individuals focusing your time on Johnson or Weld in the negative and reading this, I implore you to stand up for the people who need your help. Doors are not going to be answered if no one is there to knock, flyers do not hand out themselves, letters to the editor must be written and submitted, phone calls aren’t made without someone to dial.

We have enough people in the party, and those that agree with us, that if we all went to work for the down ticket, we would no longer be considered a minor party. We would become the most legitimate threat to the two party system and start to dismantle the barriers to liberty.

The choice is yours on how to spend your time, but this is my two cents on the matter.

An Open Letter to the U.S. House & Senate

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Joe Nichols, Candidate for New Mexico State House

Dear Public Servants in the US House and Senate,

In a recent Inspector General’s report from July 26, 2016, there was 6.5 trillion dollars that the Pentagon could not account for. Yes, that’s 6.5 trillion with a T. That’s one-third of our current national debt. If a business couldn’t account for 6.5 trillion dollars, the entire management team would be fired and arrested, and charges would be filed against them.

Apparently, this isn’t the first accounting trouble with the Pentagon either. It’s been over 20 years since a successful audit of the Pentagon has been completed, and they have until the end of September 2017 to be audit-ready. They may not even be ready for an audit by that deadline though, and even if they are, who knows how many trillions of dollars have been wasted in the mean time?

So I’m asking all of you, please, be accountable to your constituents. Let us know what’s going on with our tax dollars. When something like this happens, keep us informed. You all are supposed to be our voices in Washington. How can you speak for us, if we don’t know what’s going on? Get the Pentagon’s accounting practices and spending in check before the national debt crushes our country, and we no longer have anything for a military to defend.
For Liberty Restored,

Freddie “Joe” Nichols III

Candidate for NM State House, District 54

A Libertarian Day Out

10653518_639801622785119_256797751595299941_nYesterday was one of the busiest days I have had on the campaign trail. It all started with setting up for an event in Ogden for the Pride Festival. We had a booth set up to do some outreach on behalf of the Libertarian Party in Utah. After set up,  I headed out to join in a rally for Governor Gary Johnson, this is where things started to get really interesting for me. As a person heavily involved with Utah’s Libertarian Party, I was afforded the opportunity to head back into the Green Room to get some words in with the media and also be with the two former Governors who are the top ticket.

During the time back there, I was able to speak with Governor Bill Weld at some length, and I was glad to have that opportunity. As many of you in libertarian circles know, I have13873127_10208882314609380_8510925225473331989_n been critical of Bill Weld’s past as Governor of Massachusetts. Speaking with him directly has given me the chance to see things from him in a different light, and I can see that he isn’t the same person now he was then. I’ve always prided myself on being able to judge a person’s character when I am able to meet with them, and Governor Weld was being very honest with his answers to me. I still don’t agree with everything, but I never have agreed 100% with every candidate who has run to represent me. The areas that matter most to me, he is on the right side of the issues.

One of the highlights of our conversation, after it turned from political issues, was laughing about how fast our shoes have been wearing out on the campaign trail. It was a very human moment, and something I don’t think I will forget.

13770333_10157325731435381_144355872572393718_nShortly after this, I joined in with the rally to listen to the speakers chosen, including Barry Short, Mark Madsen, and of course, the two Governors. It is definitely looking like Utah may be the place for a state to turn Gold. The crowd numbered between 1200 and 1800 from estimates given, which marks it as the largest libertarian gathering in Utah’s history.

This trend continued as I traveled back to Utah to finish out the day manning the booth at the Ogden Pride Festival. I have to say that in all my years volunteering to help with events like these for the party in Utah, I have never seen such a huge response from people asking questions, taking information, and saying they plan to vote libertarian this election.

Nearly all the material that was brought was handed out and several new libertarians pledged to support our nominees this year. We also were approached by the candidate 13942248_127464721029647_989434929_nrunning for the U.S. Senate in Utah, Misty Snow, where we had a great conversation about civil liberties. She seems to have a pretty good head on her shoulders, and I sincerely wish her the best of luck in her efforts; it’s not easy stepping up to run for office. She definitely seems like someone I would be able to work with on several issues that affect Utah, like dismantling the Draper NSA facility.

The best part of the evening was discovering the booth next to us featuring Even Stevens, a sandwich company in Utah. This company has the Libertarian solution to “who’s going to take care of the poor” question we are often asked. Essentially what this sandwich shop does is to donate one sandwich to a charity for every sandwich you buy. They do this without government mandates or interference. They do it because they care about the people who need some help.

I am certainly excited for what has been happening in Utah, and every day that passes I feel we are getting close to being included in the 1st District Debates. That is one thing I would sincerely ask for you all to donate what you are able as we start doing our Top of Utah Tour this week. Just head to www.Craig4Congress.org and give your best donation.

We are getting so close to changing the landscape of politics, and Utah is the place for it to happen.

The Libertarian Party Convention – My Take

For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you know me to be downright

LP_Eagleflame

To learn more about the Libertarian Party go to http://www.lp.org or call 1-800-ELECT US

blunt in my positions. I am not someone who is afraid to tell the truth, and I am not going to hold anything back.

 

I am honestly aghast at how the more radical elements of the Libertarian Party were treated the weekend. I am a member of the radical caucus myself, and I would say pretty close, if not fully, an anarchist. What I personally witnessed caused me to have to step out more than once during the convention.

While there will be some disagreement between the anarchist and mincarchist elements of the Party, there were several times where it went from slightly disagreeable to outright hostility.

This is not to say anarchists are without flaws, as one of the more radical members of the party majorly embarrassed the party with his display on stage doing a strip tease. There was no respect whatsoever in what that individual did, and it makes our movement look ridiculous.  We are trying to create a better way for the American people, but doing things like stripping on stage is not going to help you in the least.

For those who don’t know as much about the more radical elements of libertarianism, it

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Over 250 media credentials were issued for the 2016 Convention.

really boils down to two principles: self ownership and the principle of non-initiation of aggression. It literally is about as libertarian as you can get, as the smallest form of governing, is when you are fully allowed to govern yourself.

 

More than once, we were called fools, purists, stupid, and other names as arguments were brought to the floor in opposition or support of various platform changes. Out of every proposal, the only one that really set a new standard that anarchists/radicals seem to agree with is that the Libertarian Party has added a new plank that opposes the administration of the death penalty

That new plank makes it clear where we stand as a Party, and I am glad we were at least able to get this done. Another bright light that came of convention was the election of Caryn Ann Harlos, a fellow member of the Radical Caucus, to be the Region 1 Representative of the National Committee. This was by and large the greatest choice to represent the West (minus California, who has their own Region).

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Outside of business measures as a delegate, things were far better with the amount of educational seminars, motivational speeches, and togetherness in various hospitality suites.  I did enjoy being able to see so many people who were advocates of more liberty. I was able to speak one on one with John McAfee, Adam Kokesh, Darryle Perry, Shawna Sterling, Larry Sharpe, Austin Petersen, and just about everyone I am friends with on social media that I got to meet for the first time face to face. It took a minute to recognize a few of you, but definitely great to finally put names to faces.

 

The one thing that was clear throughout the convention is that pragmatism was more important to the majority than principle adherence. Gary Johnson and Bill Will, both former serving Republican Governors, were selected as the Presidential and Vice

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With Kerry Douglas McKennon, Candidate for Vice President

Presidential nominees after two rounds of voting each.  Gary Johnson won with 55% of the voting delegates, Bill Weld receiving 50.5% of the delegates, barely meeting the threshold.

 

I personally am not overly excited about either nominee, but will be helping every candidate at every level I can, and also working with John McAfee’s #VoteDifferent Initiative to unsure that I do what I can to help all down ticket races in the Libertarian Party get some wins. This will be the majority of my focus outside of my own race for Utah’s 1st Congressional District.

It was certainly a lot of fun to be there, but I am worried about the massive compromises that have been made, especially with appointing Gov. William Weld. There is nothing more I can do, but I do want you to know that I did cast my delegate vote in favor of principles.

I do ask that everyone get out an keep educating the nation about our local, state, and federal candidates who can better articulate the philosophy of freedom. We may not be former governors, but at one point, neither were they.

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With Austin Petersen, Candidate for President

I would also like to thank all the other candidates who ran, but especially Austin Petersen. He and I have butted heads since he declared in July of 2015. When meeting him face to face he was beyond cordial and he stuck to his principles, though I may agree with some of them. He was the most consistent of the candidates. I like to think that I am able to see character once I look someone in the eye, and I can tell you that Austin is the most genuine out of everyone I met (though John McAfee isn’t far behind). Once you get him one on one and the bumper sticker soundbite is gone, he is far better than I ever gave him credit for.

 

I hope that all the candidates who weren’t selected continue to work toward the greater liberty that we all seek. I know most will stand tall, but some of them are seemingly in the mood to “take their ball and go home” in mentality.  I had hoped that we could put things aside and work together so that we can actually make a difference. I will be available to answer questions anyone may have at Craig_Bowden@Craig4Congress.org.

I will also be releasing the Winning strategies video once I can get home and have some time to unpack.

Libertarian Party National Convention: Day One

LP_EagleflameI will admit that I was not with everything as much as I would have liked to have been.Unfortunately, my flight coming in to Orlando was delayed.

That being said, there was still plenty to do at the reception. For the most part, it seems that everyone is in high spirits going in to the start of business tomorrow morning. Old friends were reuniting, online friends met for the first time, and new acquaintances were being formed all over the patio area at the Rosen Centre.

Tomorrow the real business portion starts, and it will likely get heated from time to time as debates rage about platforms, candidates, nominations, etc.  But for the time being, libertarians are joined together. Suits and flip flops, anarchists and pragmatists. For a brief moment, utopia may have existed.

I will report all business live as it happens on Twitter, and blog all results as they are declared. Follow at@CraigBowden2020.

One Week Until History Is Written

LP_EagleflameA historic opportunity has been given to the Libertarian Party this election year.  2016 has produced  two of the most disliked candidates from the Democrat and Republican Parties. On the one hand is Donald Trump, a candidate who changes his mind on where stands more often than most people bathe. On the other hand is Hillary Clinton, a known liar, riddled with scandals beyond compare. Mr. Trump should be in an asylum for his split personalities, and Mrs. Clinton in a federal penitentiary for breaking the law. Yet, many people say we must choose between these two horrible options. But do we?

The answer to that question is no. We don’t have to accept the choice of being shot or stabbed. We can choose to vote for the Libertarian Party nominee in November.

The Libertarian National Convention, taking place from May 26-30 at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida, will choose a nominee that the American people can get behind. A candidate that espouses liberty, economic freedom, and social acceptance of all the varieties of people that exist in the world. In the pre-convention process, three candidates have emerged as the front runners in the Libertarian Party, and all three offer far more than what the two-party system is giving us.

wp-1460868578585.jpgFormer Governor Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson brings in a very pragmatic approach to every man, woman, and child in America. He brings experience to the table as a two term Governor of New Mexico, CEO of Sativa, and building up a one man handyman business to being one of the largest construction companies in New Mexico. As the 2012 nominee for the Libertarian Party, he was able to break old records and garner over 1.2 million votes in the General Election.

Unlike other Republicans who tried using the Party’s ballot access, then leave after losing the election, running back to the Republican Party, Governor Johnson has stuck around.  He has been instrumental in the ballot access fights and the fight for inclusion in the Presidential Debates for third parties.

His brand of libertarianism may certainly be easier to swallow for the American people who have yet to embrace what libertarian philosophy has to offer. Combined with his experience governing, he is certainly a choice that would be palatable to the majority of the United States.

wp-1460945117493.jpgCyber Security Titan John McAfee

Already a household name by a great number of Americans, John McAfee joined the fray in the Libertarian Party to bring new approaches to expanding liberty. While new to the Libertarian Party, Mr. McAfee has made a life living in freedom and refusing government corruption.

He brings with him an intimate knowledge of cyber-security threats that very well could be facing our nation. The battlefield is becoming more technology oriented, and is waged with keyboards instead of rifles. Having the unique perspective John has is an asset to an administration in this century.

He and his team are also putting together one of the greatest movements the Libertarian Party has ever had. The project called #VoteDifferent is all about offering America a better choice at every level of office. He is helping with tools, resources, and exposure not before seen by many candidates seeking office on a third party ticket. This kind of project is exactly what the party, and America, needs leading into 2018 and 2020.

austin-petersen-600x400Young and Passionate Austin Petersen

Austin Petersen is the best of the grassroots, ground game candidates in the 2016 election. With far fewer resources and little name recognition in the beginning of the season, he has become a powerhouse, especially in social media.

He brings with him experience from FreedomWorks, the Ron Paul campaign, Outreach Coordinator for the Libertarian Party, and helping produce Judge Napalitano’s show on Fox Business. He may be young, but throughout the campaign has become very articulate, relatable, and more consistent as the time has gone on.

He may be young, but he brings passion with him that has otherwise been very lacking in previous nominees. This passion makes him far easier to follow and support, since most people want to get behind someone who will real bring a fight, and Austin looks like he will be more than ready to take the gloves off if the time comes.

Regardless of who the delegates choose in one week, the candidate selected will be a far better choice than what is offered. It is important to look to the principles of the candidates and not just who get them most media time. The mainstream may try to say that a vote for one of these three men may be wasted, but in all reality, you are only wasting your vote if you aren’t voting for something you believe in.

Marine Vet for Freedom will be on site at the Libertarian Party Convention, and we will report all results as they happen. So stay tuned for the announcement of the next President of the United States after the votes are tallied on May 29th.

 

Gary Johnson Wins Nebraska Primary

wp-1460868578585.jpgWhile results from state primaries and conventions do not bind delegates in the Libertarian Party, it is important to note when candidates win in these as a reflection of possible results at the Convention where the Libertarian nominee will be chosen

With 1426 precincts reporting out of 1480, we can confidently call Gary Johnson as the clear winner of the Libertarian primary in Nebraska with 52.3% of the vote as of 10:54 MST.

Results are posted by the Nebraska Secretary of State here.

The other candidates were in a dead heat for the first portion of the polling, results as of us calling for Gov. Johnson are as follows:

  • Marc Feldman: 6.7%
  • Steve Kerbel: 5%
  • John McAfee: 17.1%
  • Austin Petersen: 18.7%

NE Primary

 

Time to Unify

LP_EagleflameOne of the constant challenges faced within the Libertarian Party goes beyond the election cycles, selecting candidates, or running for office. The biggest challenge I believe we have is the way that certain factions tend to fight.  Anarchists versus Minarchists, big tent versus philosophy centric, winning versus educating. It is something that has certainly hit us with the 2016 election, where it could be said that we are nearly in a non-violent civil war.

It has gotten to the point where certain groups are calling for the expulsion of others, and this is why this article is being written. To hopefully add voice to the fact that without each other, there is no way to get to where government can be limited.

The Libertarian Party is the only party that has spoken up consistently against waste, fraud, corruption, and abuse. It has been the only voice championing liberty, even when it wasn’t popular. Since its inception in 1971, the Libertarian Party has given voice to hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised people in America.

The ultimate goal of all libertarians is to move in a direction of more liberty, and we should be doing so in as large a manner as possible. If a bill introduced falls short of the goal, we should accept the step and then push to continue moving towards abolition. We cannot cut off our noses to spite our face.

It feels like the many sides of libertarian believe they are the only ones who can do this, not recognizing that we all need each other in order to bring about anything even close to what our goals are. The purity test, the exclusion of anarchists by minarchists; we are fast becoming our own worst enemy.

It seems that many are forgetting the alliance set by the Dallas Accord to make sure that we can eventually obtain a more ideal world. That union is what keeps the Libertarian Party centered on principles (as the more radical elements provide a check and balance to the party being overrun), and the more minarchist elements are able to reach out to the people who aren’t quite ready for radicalism.

We need to recognize that without this alliance, the Libertarian Party goes nowhere. Radicals and minarchists need each other. Now is the time for us to really push as 2016 has afforded us the unique opportunity to contrast the two party system. We cannot afford to fight about what a “real” libertarian is.  We need to utilize each other to build and grow like never before.

 

 

Top 5 Reason Libertarians Shouldn’t Support Donald Trump

donald-trumpA lot of individuals on social media have been trying to make a libertarian case for Donald Trump. The worst part of it is that several self-proclaimed libertarians are getting into the pro-Trump movement, and trying to bring us back into the lesser evils argument.

So here are my top ten reasons why no libertarian should support Donald Trump as President of the United States:

  1. Donald Trump has called for war crimes in public. In an interview on Fox & Friends, Candidate Trump had the following words on how to handle the problem with ISIS in the Middle East. “The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.” As libertarians, we do not believe in killing innocent people, and we do not condone murdering people based on the crimes or atrocities that may have been committed by a family member.
  2. Mr. Trump favors eminent domain.  While some argument might be made in defense of eminent domain when discussing something like roads, Mr. Trump has used the force of government to utilize eminent domain for personal profit in his own business ventures.  Private property is one of the things that is considered a cornerstone of the American brand of libertarian philosophy. And even in the more left leaning circles of libertarian thought, land is held in the commons and not something that can just be taken for personal gain.
  3. The presidential candidate wants to shut down travel from Islamic nations, and build a wall preventing travel across the Southern border. Libertarians believe that part of a free society includes the ability to freely travel.  While some will disagree citing national security, what they fail to realize is that we wouldn’t be in half of the mess we are currently in if not for an interventionist foreign policy. We must also remember that if we trade liberty for security, eventually we will eventually have neither.
  4. Until Mr. Trump suddenly decided to become a Republican, he has been donating to politicians that have been implementing economic policies that have wrought havoc on cities, states, and the nation. This includes one of his opponents, Hillary Clinton, who he is quoted as saying she is a close friend, and in 2008 that there was no one more qualified to be President.
  5. It wasn’t until a few months ago that Donald Trump changed his tune on health care. While we can certainly agree that a person can change positions in what they believe, normally you can find a pivot point. However, with Mr. Trump running with the wind, there is never a demonstrated pivot, only him stating the popular opinion of the time.  So this would indicate that since no pivot can be demonstrated, he still would advocate for a single payer healthcare system, which is a bane as choices become limited, lines for treatment get longer, and we continue to further our national debt.

There are far more reasons to not support Donald Trump. These are enough for any libertarian to say no to him being selected as the leader of the nation.

Watch “Candidate Speech at the Libertarian Party of Utah” on YouTube

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