Volume 45:08

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Libertarians Say Primary Election Discriminates



The first words of Michigan’s Constitution state “All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal benefit, security and protection.”

The majority of Michigan’s electorate does not vote in Primary elections (65% this year), and more people identify as independent than either Republican or Democrat (42% nationally).  Nonetheless, around ten million of our tax dollars help the minority-representing Democrats and Republicans choose and promote their candidates. The use of public money to fund private organizations is also questionable.

If political power is inherently equal, then Michigan’s primary system constitutes political discrimination against independents and alternate parties, who select and promote their candidates without taxpayer funding or assistance.

Tied to the primary is publicity from the media, whose coverage of the primaries leaves the impression there will be only two parties on the ballot. This bias continues through the general election. For example, often only two of five candidates for the same office are invited to debate.

The US is the only major country in the world without uniform national ballot access laws. Either every state should have a primary with all parties on the same date, or none should have a primary. Parties can select candidates at their own expense by convention or caucus, as they did prior to 1912. Primary elections were not widely used by most states until the 1970’s.

It is time to end the arbitrary and unfair primary system. Designed and implemented by the old party machines to control the process, it is a recurring point of contention as each party tries to tweak it to their best advantage. If Michigan eliminates or restructures its primary, other states could follow. It might eventually prompt a Congressional solution to establish a level playing field for all federal candidates, which would affect elections across the nation.

Libertarians are dedicated to a political future that lives up to our Constitution. That means either every party in the primary, or no publicly funded primary. It is an essential step towards equality for every party and all potential voters. If legislatures will not act, then the public must.

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CONTACT: Bill Gelineau, Libertarian Party of Michigan chair, 888-Free-Now (888-373-3669)

42% of electorate identifies as Independent:

65% of Michigan voters did not participate in 8-2-16 Primary:

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Proceed Ever More Boldly


By Jeff Wood

In our culture it is seen by many as a mark of maturity to accept the legitimacy of the established authorities. Acquiescence to the status quo is believed to be indicative of practicality and respectfulness.

Due to this process of social inertia, the world as we know it has stagnated. Gone are the great upheavals of yesteryear, in their place we have instituted an electoral process that grants us the illusion of change. In the place of cultural progress we have progress theater, our so called leaders pantomime a commitment to the betterment of humanity, while ensuring that no substantive change actually takes place.

Those of us who oppose this system become outcasts, rogues living on the fringes of polite society. We’re labeled as purists, anarchists and malcontents. Any attempts that we make to change the system, no matter how well intentioned, are steadfastly rejected by those who have bought into it. We are excluded by the establishment not because our actions are a threat, but because our beliefs are a threat.

When faced with such stiff opposition it is only natural for people to become discouraged, to feel burnt out and to give up. Many great advocates of freedom have succumbed to this war of attrition. Why keep up your passionate activism when you never see positive results? It is in times like these that I remember the words of Ludwig von Mises:

“Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it”

It is when you encounter the stiffest resistance that you are doing the most to further your cause. When your enemies throw their worst at you, it isn’t because they are winning, it is because they are desperate.

The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing, and make no mistake, our opponents want nothing more than for you to give up the good fight. Demoralization is among the most powerful weapons in their arsenal, but it is a double edged sword. When they see our strength and perseverance even in the face of defeat, they will realize that they can never hope to match our determination.

Boldness is key. By controlling people’s attention you control the narrative. Electoral success and political titles are powerless against someone who conveys their message more memorably. Our daring, our willingness to challenge society’s accepted rules and social mores, is our greatest strength. We cannot be shy about who we are or what we stand for, not if we want to enact real change. Our goals are within reach, but only if we have the authenticity and bravery to pursue them openly and without fear.

Fortune favors the bold.

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Candidates Refine Campaign Skills at Seminar

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Scotty Boman, Political Director

Pontiac, MI – On Sunday July 17th A couple dozen candidates and managers attended a Candidate Training Seminar & Luncheon. The Libertarian Party of Michigan Political Committee thanks owners Daniel Martinez and Bob Waun for making the Indian Hill Wine Cellar and Alley Cat Cafe’ available to us.

The program featured Political Director Scotty Boman who spoke to candidates about free websites on WordPress.com and Politicalbank.com.  He also spoke to candidates about a variety of strategies pertaining to primary elections.  Primary elections provide a way to reach voters as they leave the polls.  He also said there will also be a large supply of sign wires available after the primaries since a number of candidates will fail to clean up after themselves.

Congressional candidate and LEC member Jonathan Osment is also the creator of Roomble (https://Roomble.org).  He gave a brief tutorial on his creation. Roomble is a web-based environment for Debate and Civil Discussion. He first got involved with the Libertarian Party through the Wayne County affiliate. As a volunteer Jonathan brought a solid understanding of Web design and, particularly, the vagaries of the WordPress platform and the Libertarian Party of Michigan Website uses. 

Mike Steffes

Mike Steffes trains candidates on public speaking.

Candidates also got a crash course in public speaking. Kalamazoo County Board Candidate, Mike Steffes is also a former Marketing instructor from Davenport University; Television spokesman for Cadillac Motors and Shell Oil; trainer for Kellogg, Eaton and others; member of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association Speakers Bureau; former marketing manager with: Johnson & Johnson, Buick Motors and Yellow Freight Systems.  He has also been a lecturer and motivator for the past 14 years. He has appeared before over half a million business people in North America, Europe and the Caribbean.

Doug Corrigan Jr. Gave a detailed talk on interactions with the media and getting desirable coverage. He is a career journalist. Who spoke about how the news media function behind the scenes and how that knowledge can be seized on to cultivate more coverage, more accurate coverage and more favorable coverage. He also addressed avoidable mistakes that candidates — especially minor-party candidates — typically make and provided a slew of tips for garnering the types and length of reports candidates look for in newspapers, on radio, on blogs and maybe even on TV. He was available to expand his program and answer questions after the program.

Andy LeCureaux and Larry Johnson

Hazel Park City Councilman Andy LeCureaux (left) and Former Ypsilanti Township Parks Commissioner, Larry Johnson (right) talk to trainees about being elected Libertarians.

The program concluded with a discussion between the attendees and two elected Libertarians Andy LeCureaux and Lawrence W. Johnson. LeCureaux is the longest serving elected Michigan Libertarian currently in office (perhaps ever).  He was elected to his eighth term this past November, and he is the 2015 Promoter of Liberty Award winner. Johnson has the distinction of being elected to a partisan office under the Libertarian banner and being reelected as one. He served as Ypsilanti Township Park Commissioner from 2009 to 2012. He hopes to be elected to that office a third time in this election cycle. He has been a regular organizer of the LPM presence at the Ann Arbor Art Fair, and won the 2009 Producer of Liberty award. 

Guests also partook of Gourmet snacks, and purchased food at the adjoining cafe.

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Building a Libertarian Future

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]George Phillies continued from the July Edition

Your Monthly Step For Liberty:
…Forming a Local Group

You’ve found a niche in your local government. You’ve found an office for which you might run. Now you have the next challenge, getting into office. In most of America outside New England, there are a modest number of elective offices and a large number of people who run for them.

There are a series of steps here, namely (i) getting on the ballot, (ii) getting elected, (iii) doing the job well, and (iv) getting re-elected. Some libertarians would add a fifth, namely abolishing your office, but in general that’s not even going to be an option let alone a possibility.

To carry out any of those steps, a lot of work needs to be done. For really small-town minor offices, you can do it all yourself, but on a larger scale the work involved moves from considerable to insuperable. What you need is a little help from your friends, friends you have
organized in advance and formed up into a political club that will not only help you run for office, but do the same for all of them who want to run. You need a local libertarian organization, a society that will help you do the dog work of running for office: petitioning, fund raising, distributing literature, holding signs at polling places, and all the other tasks demanded of effective political candidates.

You need to be a bit thoughtful here. Libertarians are still thin on the ground. If you form a group limited to your town, you will likely have too few members to keep everything together in an organized manner. You need a group that covers enough area to have enough people that meetings are all attended, but not so large that coming to meetings is a major chore.

So what do you do to organize a meeting? Find a sensible neutral meeting site, a modest restaurant with a back room, a library with meeting hall, in places with pleasant climates a park with covered pavilions. Scout it out, make needed reservations for four or six weeks off, and advertise through libertarian channels. If you have the cash, organize it as a Meetup.Com site which gets you extensive local publicity and a cross-connect to Craigslist.com. If you can reach 100 people, 3 or 5 of them might show up. If you have 20 names on your meetup list, you may
pick up two or three of them.

Don’t expect a group to start immediately, and don’t expect it will be effective immediately. You need a lot of repeat advertising to bring people to meetings, and you need a few test runs before it becomes apparent which members will do good work and which members talk a lot
but never deliver. There are lots of possible steps here, but forming a local group is clearly the important next step.

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Volunteers, Training, and Fundraisers

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]by Kimberly McCurry

Happy summer everyone.  As I have stepped back to Vice Chair I have not written to you.

First I would like to thank everyone for the support last year and the continued support this year.

As mentioned at the convention I will be focusing on training people for volunteer positions as well as training the treasurer for the first few months of the new cycle.  One thing the party would benefit from is volunteers willing to focus on one project at a time.  The current training has been going well and we are recruiting teams to work with in the systems currently in place, but we can always use more – either at the state level or the local level.  Part of the training we have begun is to work with a few individuals from the affiliates to keep our information up to date.  We are working with only a couple to begin with to test this strategy.  By focusing on certain projects we can complete them more proficiently.  If you know anyone interested in volunteering at the state level please have them contact me at vicechair@michiganlp.org.

In addition Fundraisers and Town Halls for our candidates have begun.  Livingston held a Pokemon Go event which they report led to speaking with a number of younger voters who have not voted often.  Tyler Palmer held his first event on Monday August 15, 2016 at Bruno’s in St Johns to kick start his campaign.  Shelly Gregorie has spoken at a Tea Party meeting and Rob Powell & Logan Fleckenstein have spoken to their local news media.

Up coming on Augusts 21, 2016 in Gaylord, MI at Alpine Tavern & Eatery 220 S Otsego Avenue Diane Bostow is holding a Rally not only to promote her campaign but to bring a Libertarian gathering in the north and near our Northeastern Michigan Affiliate hoping to encourage involvement in the north.  Please attend to show your support if you can.  Thank you.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator border_width=”2″][vc_column_text]

Lansing Legislators Join In on The Failed War on Drugs

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]by Mark Rusnell

On June 24th, 2016, with little fanfare and just prior to running away for Summer recess, The Michigan House voted 69 to 39 to pass SB207. This bill, which was immediately signed into effect by Governor Snyder, is essentially an amendment to the existing impaired driving laws. It is also one of the most invasive and unconstitutional pieces of legislation ever passed, solely designed to increase arrest rates for suspected drug impaired drivers. Specifically, if you are now pulled over in one of the initial five test pilot counties, a police officer may demand a roadside saliva sample from you. There are several obvious problems with this law, and it opens up a Pandora’s box of legal and ethical issues.

The first, and perhaps the most disturbing thing about this, is the broad range of subjectivity that gives an officer discretion to demand bodily fluid from you. The law currently states that the requesting officer be qualified as a “drug recognition expert”, which requires three weeks of specialized training. Two of the numerous criteria that a driver will be subjected to are pupil dialtion size and respiratory rate. A number of things can cause a driver’s eyes to dialate, especially while driving at night. Also, who doesn’t start breathing a little differently when you see those blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror. Realistically under this law, an officer could find probable cause on almost any human being to state that they suspect them of potential drug impairment.

If the officer deems in his opinion that you are under the influence of drugs, you will be asked to submit a saliva sample right then and there. Should you refuse to have your rights violated and not give up your fluids, you will automatically be charged with a civil infraction. If you are the holder of a commercial driver’s license and refuse, your license will be immediately suspended. Again, this is solely based upon the judgement of a drug recognition expert.

These drug recognition experts receive two weeks of field and classroom training from local in-state police agencies, but their third week of training is performed out of state. In all likelihood this means that it would be proctored at a private ,for-profit institution, as they already have had their departmental training completed. Are these the same folks that lobbied so hard to get this slipped through by our lawmakers, under the fallacy of making our streets safer? Additionally, when you think about the cost of putting these officers through the training, municipalities are going to want to see noticable results through higher arrest rates and greater revenue generation.

SB207 is the pet project of 24th District and bill co-sponsor Senator Rick Jones. Senator Jones is the former Sheriff of Eaton County, now turned career politician. He first introduced a similar bill in 2010, in a vindictive response to the people of Michigan voting for the legalization of medicinal marijuana. He is a perfect example of a politician who wants to legislate his view of morality on others, notwithstanding the loss of personal freedoms, or wrongful convictions of innocent citizens.

The laws that we already have in place for impaired driving are sufficient enough, and give police officers many tools to detect both alcohol and drug impaired driving. Non-invasive field sobriety tests such as the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, standing/walking agility test, and alpha/numerical recitement are effective tools used by agencies all over the country to make a reasonable determination of one’s level of impairment. This roadside collection of bodily fluid in the State of Michigan serves no purpose other than to increase revenue for local municipalities, to bring more people in the grasp of the judicial system, and to give some politician another gold star on his resume. This, while at that same time, whittling away more personal rights and freedoms that we as Americans cherish.

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Ramblings Of A Pro-Johnson Radical

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]by Scott Boman

Originally posted: blog (https://boman08.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/ramblings-of-a-pro-johnson-radical/) to encourage fellow radicals to support Governor Gary Johnson.  He is now our nominee, and many Libertarian radicals are even less comfortable with his running mate, Governor Bill Weld.  In this light I believe it to be appropriate to re-post this Op/Ed with the hope of sparking a broader base of enthusiasm for these nominees within the Libertarian Party of Michigan.

I’ve been a Libertarian since the eighties. I am of the variety who believes ALL human interaction should be voluntary. Each election season, I have yelled at the TV while crumbling up proverbial newspapers and pelting the pundits who followed every move of “BOTH” candidates.

The World-wide web gave us a bit of a voice, but (in the average voters mind), the so-called MSM (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, AP and UPI) remained the final word on which candidates were credible. Anyone could post stuff online, and everyone does. This paradigm of the establishment media as curators of truth is dissolving, but not gone.

Have I been alone in this frustration? Hardly. Until recently, this ideological shunning has been obvious to libertarians, and of no interest to people who were not minor party activists. For years the official political discourse had been about liberals, moderates, and extremists (meant in a scary-bad way).

Enter Ron Paul’s second Presidential run. Twenty years after being the Libertarian Parties nominee, he returned to Presidential Politics as a libertarian-Republican. While the  establishment did their best to marginalize him, they could no longer do so without being  called out.

Libertarians of all backgrounds were finding each other, and the Ron Paul campaign was the catalyst. Finally we were hearing the word “libertarian,” and people were using it correctly; but they were referring to the philosophy, not the party. Ron Paul supporters became theCampaign for Liberty, which has attempted to make the GOP more libertarian. I’ve been there, and can’t blame them for trying… but how’s that working out in this Presidential election cycle? Privately many C4L-Republicans have told me that in general elections, they vote Libertarian if no liberty-Republican made it through the primary.

So once again, I find myself throwing those proverbial crumbled newspaper balls at the TV and cursing at pundits who talk about “BOTH parties” or “THE candidates” and would go on on to talk as if only two parties existed. Sometimes they would ask if it might be time for a third party, as if none existed yet…

…but sometime between 2012 and 2016 change was underway. Those moments of hopelessness and frustration were punctuated by respectable recognition of the Libertarian Party by many of the mainstream broadcasters and publishers who had once shunned them.
The major parties continue to nominate hard-core statist candidates, but this time the idea of picking the lesser of two evils is no longer taken for granted. Mixed in with the idea that Americans need a third choice, there is an acknowledgement that the choice exists, and that choice is the Libertarian Party’s candidate. Most of the time they name that candidate, and when they do, it’s Governor Gary Johnson.

Something I have been working toward for about 30 years is finally happening. Conversations outside the echo chamber have included respect for the Libertarian alternative. This is beyond a token mention. There are interviews and analysis… even polling results indicate 10% of the voters being willing to support a Libertarian candidate. Most interviews with a Libertarian Presidential candidate are with Gary Johnson. He is also the candidate polling 10%. Of course there is one glaring omission to most of the hype, that Governor Johnson, himself, has to keep alerting people too: He has not been nominated.

After years of stagnation and shrinking membership, the Libertarian Party is respected by regular people outside the movement. When Johnson was nominated in 2012, many Libertarians were overly optimistic about the effect of nominating a two-term governor. The fact was that the Libertarian brand was no longer taken seriously; most people found us to be irrelevant. In spite of that Johnson earned us a record number of votes, and in my home state of Michigan he earned the highest number of statewide write-in votes in the states entire history.

The Johnson-Gray team never went away. Through the non-partisan issues oriented organization, “Our America Initiative” they had been providing a libertarian network whereby activists, working on libertarian legislation, could unite and lobby for it on an issue-by-issue basis. This way we were gradually showing relevance. Also, through Our America Initiative, Gary Johnson, Judge James P. Gray and others have taken theCommission on Presidential Debates to court. Even if the lawsuit fails, Libertarians are winning; we are on track to regaining our long-lost 50-state ballot access. I can hardly keep up with all the news reports and interviews that have focused on the Libertarian Party and the Johnson candidacy. I can hardly contain my excitement either (so I blog about it). Recent polls have Johnson at 10%, but if the libertarian nominee reached that 15% threshold, the commission could just close shop, thereby exposing themselves as a fraud to the general public. At this point we would be the proverbial naked man running down the street. Ignoring us would be like ignoring the 800 Lb guerilla in the room. We would have to be recognized by the people covering the election, and voters could begin to think of us as a viable choice; the death of the “wasted vote” argument is upon us.

For years we have looked for the magic bullet. Little did we know that round was already primed in 2012, and if the Libertarian delegates are willing, it will exit the muzzle this weekend. This is our moment, but only if we seize it!

But what about the message? Has it been watered down? In a way, but it’s a good thing.
Here’s the Real Politik. A while back my late friend, Pat Clawson found that more people would support him petitioning to run as an independent rather than the much less costly option of being nominated at a Libertarian convention; they just didn’t feel right about the about the Libertarian Party. He said we needed to do some market research. Well, it’s been done for us.

The sucess Gary Johnson has had reaching people outside the movement shows that he is doing something right. Perhaps those of us who thought the logical elegance of libertarianism would be universally recognized for its crystalline beauty were distracted from a blind-spot.

People have different learning styles. The fact that they don’t readily agree with what ever we say, doesn’t make them sheeple. They think differently, and need to be spoken to in a way that makes sense to them if we are to persuade them to agree with us. To people who love to debate (as I do), he comes across as indirect. His policy positions often don’t go far enough to satisfy libertarian activists. This does not make him the perfect candidate at a Libertarian Convention. In 2012 Johnson was quick to credit R. Lee Wrights with out-debating him.

However, Gary Johnson is the perfect candidate, and an excellent spokesperson, on the national stage. People connect with him emotionally. He doesn’t scare people, and his policy positions take us in the Libertarian direction.

At an event in 2013 I asked why he supported a “harm reduction” approach to hard drugs, like heroin, rather than just legalizing them outright. His response was that everything he does must be “reality based.” I didn’t get this right away because I thought in terms of physical reality, but there is also the world of political reality. If one wants to affect change, one needs to get people on one’s side.

Governor Johnson knows how to reach people where they are. In the current political context. The reality is that we live in a popular soft tyranny, not a state of nature. The reality is that we are not ruled over by a few statists with fancy hats. Millions of people put leaders in office, and most people are comfortable with what they do.

The way to move from a soft tyranny to a relatively free society, is to appeal to that libertarian part of them that would like to remove government aggression from some part of their lives. Let’s give people a taste of liberty and hopefully they will want more. Respect the moderate Libertarians because we need them to move forward. They are reasonable, but cautious, people. They will vote for us, and we can expand liberty by getting government out of the way, one reform at a time.

I have renewed optimism that we may finally reach critical mass, and we might even win the oval. I hope my optimism survives past this weekend.

Don’t you?

PS: My optimism is alive and well.

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