Sunday, July 24, 2005

LNC Executive Committee Meeting 7/21/05

I was not able to attend this conference call since I was busy doing real politics that evening. However I do have the minutes and have been able to speak to a couple LNC members who were in attendance.

The highlight was a resolution which praised staff for their work on fixing our database since their last meeting. The original motion, submitted by At-large Representative Mark Rutherford, rescinded the freeze on salaries and on working on anything else until the database work was complete. However an amendment offered by Region 2 Representative Aaron Starr deleted that part, keeping the freeze in place. The amendment passed 6-1, with Rutherford casting the sole opposing vote. The amended motion then passed 5-1-1, with Treasurer Mark Nelson opposed and At-large Representative BetteRose Ryan abstaining.

In other matters, Chair Michael Dixon informed the committee that Communications Director Shane Cory is one to two weeks away from issuing the next white paper, this one giving our plan for ending the war on terror. While I have not seen a draft, what I have heard about it leads me to believe that this salvo will be deemed far more acceptable to those who were critical of the Iraq Exit Strategy.

Nelson reported he is still having trouble getting accurate information from staff about payables and receivables. He and Starr will work together to clarify their precise needs. In my opinion, it is good to see the opponents for the Treasurer position last year now working together for a common cause. This speaks well for both men, as they are obviously placing the needs of the party as they perceive them first.

Nelson also noted a drop off in pledge and direct solicitations and requested feedback from staff to explain it. Executive Director Joe Seehusen should come to the next LNC meeting in two weeks in Kansas City prepared with this information. I have heard plenty of speculation as to why this might be happening, but to date I have seen no actual evidence whatsoever that would move any of these hypotheses out of the realm of pure speculation.

At-large Representative Michael Colley reported that the office move is proceeding "excruciatingly but positively." Apparently there are still some issues regarding previous renovations of the new space that are not up to code, and who is responsible for fixing them.


Anonymous George Phillies said...

So the LNC voted that the Staff was supposed to stop doing outreach etc., and the staff is plugging ahead with a new White Paper.

Meanwhile, donations bottomed down to the 1.3 million per year annual rate.

10:51 PM  
Anonymous GregD said...

Good. Keep the freeze in place. The moron Mike Dixon still won't talk to me regarding database. I have to wonder if he is intentionally trying to sabotage me and anybody who uses my database program. The new dump format does me absolutely no good because they say it will change again in a few weeks. I can't be redesigning my software every month just because the morons in the national office can't figure out what they are doing.

7:05 AM  
Anonymous GregD said...

The LNC needs to take action to condemn the Iraq Exit Strategy. I am urging everybody I know to stop donating/pledging until the LNC rescinds the plan.

A yahoo group has been started opposing the plan.

And an online petition has been started opposing the plan.

I cannot, in good conscience, ask anybody to join the LP as long as the platform has no bearing on what we advocate. Perhaps next week the LP will be advocating moving all muslims into concentration camps -- if their "white papers" are unrelated to our platform, there is no telling what they will advocate next.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Lenny Zimmermann said...

Well, unlikely Greg, I'm actually heartened to see that some work is being accomplished to revise the IES. As I've mentioned before I'm all for the LP working to be politically active with viable plans. Taking into consideration all of the various feedback from members to work on ways to improve the IES is a further step in the right direction, IMHO. Why berate the staff for actually listening and modifying the IES to recognize member concerns? What is wrong with modification and, hopefully improvement instead of condemning it?

I will admit to being disheartened to hear about the database still being used as a tool to prevent spending in other areas. I can't see how preventing a palotical party from engaging in political outreach is particularly fruitful. I understand the frustrations that seem to be occuring because of the dtabase issues, but I don't think tying the hands of HQ staff to that one item alone will prove to be of much use.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous gregd said...


In some sense, I must agree with you -- political activity should not stop simply because they cannot get the database working. On the other hand, there are many people who volunteered to step in and fix it for free and they were ignored.

If you can't get the db fixed by telling people it's their job and applying pressure, you are forced to resort to drastic measures. The db was a huge management failure -- in large part due to Seehusen's incompetence.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous nameless said...

this is very disheartening. the db should not be trumping political activities.

the Patriot Act is being debated in both houses as we speak, and to not have a voice in that debate only serves to advance our oppression.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous phillies said...

Having listened to large numbers of libertarians differ with part of the Iraq Exit Strategy, different parts each time, I would be curious if objectors would specify their issues.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous David Tomlin said...

1. IES is not credible. The withdrawal schedule is arrived at by dividing the number of troops by twelve. This looks like nothing but crude arithmetic, and there is nothing in IES to convince the reader otherwise. Critics have argued that so gradual a withdrawal would put the troops at unnecessary risk.

2. IES is also not credible because it assumes that the Bush administration is underestimating the progress of strengthening the Iraqi security forces, despite its history of doing the opposite. IES also assumes that non-Baathist Sunnis support the insurgency only out opposition to American occupation, ignoring the possibility that many of them may also have concerns about Shi'ite domination.

3. IES is not credible because it presents a mass of numbers that turn out to be window dressing.

4. IES supports interventionist principles, and it supports the Iraq war itself. This is evident from the second sentence: 'A commonsense strategy for success is the first mandatory step to end this conflict.' It is reinforced by a number of other passages.

5. IES does not express a commitment to withdrawing all troops by the one-year deadline. This is a crucial point which hasn't gotten the attention it deserves.

IES declares that 'the United States is now obligated to make sure Iraq becomes a stable, independent, and functional country.' This statement is made in the context of discussing foreign aid, but it also implies a commitment to keeping U.S. troops in Iraq until 'success'. That could mean indefinitely.

What does IES say about getting the troops out in a year? Just that doing so would be part of the 'strategy for success'. There is no commitment in this language, nothing as strong as 'obligated'. If the one-year withdrawal turns out to conflict with the ultimate goal, 'to make sure Iraq becomes a stable, independent, and unctional country', the goal to which the U.S. is 'obligated', it is obvious which would give way.

Supporters of IES often claim that, whatever its flaws, it at least ensures that the troops will be out in a year. Critics have too often allowed the claim to pass unchallenged.

6. Even if it were a firm deadline, one year would be too long. The staff of the Badnarik campaign studied the problem, and settled on three months as the optimum period from the standpoint of the safety of the troops.

Supporters of IES argue for one year as a 'compromise'. But the language of IES is not the language of offering a compromise. It does not say the the troops should be out in three months, but the LP is suggesting one year as a compromise with those who want to keep them longer. IES says a 'strategy for success' is 'mandatory'. IES says 'the United States is now obligated to make sure Iraq becomes a stable, independent, and functional country.' This isn't compromise. It's capitulation.

Nor is this an issue on which compromise is called for, with polls showing over 40% support for withdrawing as soon as possible, and opinion generally trending against the war.

7. Both the troop redeployment and foreign aid provisions are outside the scope of an 'Iraq Exit Strategy'. Apart from what IES says about these matters, it is objectionable that they are mentioned at all.

8. IES proposes redeploying troops to unidentified 'Middle Eastern countries', without stating the purpose of the deployments or making any argument for them. It also proposes sending additional troops to Afghanistan, again with no explanation for why those troops are needed.

9. I object to such deployments because they are part of an interventionist policy to which I am generally opposed. I particularly object to such deployments in the Middle East and Afghanistan, where they incite suspicion, hostility, and terrorism.

There are people on both sides of the IES debate who regard Afghanistan as a special case, because the troops there are supposedly defending the U.S. against Al Qaeda. I don't agree with this, but I won't take up that argument here.

10. 'This would . . . free up resources for the War on Terror.'

George Bush has defined the 'War on Terror' as a war that 'will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.'

Such a war goes beyond what is necessary to defend the U.S., and is likely to be endless.

11. Contrary to claims that have been made by some IES supporters, IES does not propose to reduce, limit, or phase out aid to Iraq.

12. IES makes a number of assertions favoring foreign aid.

'A direct aid program will give Iraq the best chance of becoming a stable, democratic, free-market-oriented country.'

'In previous successful postwar reconstructions, such as Europe after World War II, the reconstructing governments managed the Marshall Plan funds, not the United States.'

'By creating a direct aid program for Iraq, we give them the necessary funds to become an advanced, industrialized, democratic nation.'

The 'best chance' for a nation's development is freedom, secure property rights, and the rule of law. Nations that have these things, even to a limited degree, become advanced and industrialized without any foreign aid funds, as Britain did when it became the first such nation. Nations that don't have these things, languish in poverty despite being showered with aid.

Foreign aid and oil wealth give governments sources of revenue other than taxes. This reduces the leverage the people have in pressing for democratic reforms, and reduces the incentives for the rulers to promote prosperity. Foreign aid may inhibit both democratic and market reforms, particularly for a country that is already 'rich' in oil.

There was an excellent article on this in _The Economist_ a year or so ago. I've been looking throught my back issues but I haven't found it yet.

3:03 PM  

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