The Air Force and The Espionage Act

The Air Force Oversteps Its Bounds – published 9 Feb 2011

Recently, the Air Force announced possible prosecution under the Espionage Act to civilian family members who read Wikileaks on private computers The idea that a USAF wife, child or relative would be prosecuted for reading a public message by private means is both ludicrous and chilling to the bone.

According to Air Force Materiel Command’s legal office, “If a family member of an Air Force employee accesses WikiLeaks on a home computer, the family member may be subject to prosecution for espionage under U.S. Code Title 18 Section 793. The Air Force member would have an obligation to safeguard the information under the general guidance to safeguard classified information.” [Air Force Print News Today, “Command Offers Wikileaks Guidance” AFMC Public Affairs report, 3 Feb 2011.]

The still current Espionage Act (also known as the Sedition Act of 1918) made it a crime to be publicly against World War One, and hundreds (some say thousands) of Americans were imprisoned for simply saying so in public. Is it now being used again for odious purposes?

This should make you ask the question, at what point does any citizen become a criminal for simply reading something? Maybe you’ll become a criminal for reading this opinion.

Somewhere along the line some military leaders have truly lost their compass.

The Air Force’s reason for being is to assure our liberties, not threaten to throw families in prison for reading.

Pete Blome
Chair,
Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County

Is This How Liberty Dies?

On Thursday, December 15 – the 220th anniversary of the Bill of Rights – Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which can be used by the President to indefinitely detain Americans without charge or trial; an utter eradication of the Fifth Amendment, without apology. Our Congress decided the President needs more power at the expense of the people and the Constitution.

Is this what our veterans and our forefathers fought and gave their lives for? Is this what Americans want their Congress to do? Place power like this in the hands of one man – the President – to do as he wishes with American citizens?

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution recognizes your right to due process: “No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Fourth Amendment, for what it’s worth, also recognizes that your right to be secure in your person and in your house (among other things) cannot be infringed by sidestepping the legal process. The explicit recognition of these rights by our government is one of the things that has always made our country exceptional. But this new law is a misguided attack on our country’s 220-year recognition of these inherent rights.

Let us look at the final text of the bill. In “Subtitle D–Detainee Matters”, Sec. 1031, “Congress affirms that the authority of the President…includes the authority…to detain…any person…who was a part of or substantially supported…enemy forces.” The keyword here is “substantially supported.” This designation is extrajudicial – that is, at the President’s discretion. Sec. 1032 says, “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.” The keyword here is “requirement.” In other words, the President has the authority to indefinitely detain any person who “substantially supported” the enemy, and is in fact required to do so – unless it is a U.S. citizen, in which case it is at the President’s discretion.

What if opposition to certain government policies – the Patriot Act, or the TSA, or certain military actions, for example – is deemed “substantially supportive” of the enemy? What if a President’s discretion, in lieu of a Constitutionally-guaranteed jury trial, is faulty and harms innocents? Obama himself, and those who succeed him, will now decide whether to send government agents to your living room to apprehend and detain you, without charges, for whatever duration they wish (or for as long as there is a War on Terror), under a Congressionally-condoned false pretense and color of law. Did we not learn from Russia, China, and Germany in the past century?

The so-called “conservatives” in Washington who are, at least in public, constantly at odds with the Obama agenda are the majority of whom voted for this bill. How dare they give this (or any) administration even more broad unilateral power to unequivocally control the very lives and liberty of We the People?

Couple that with the fact that Predator drones are now being used inside the United States as police tools, and we are looking at an outrageous reality. We must be honest with ourselves: America is becoming a police state. It cannot be overstated how serious of an offense this is. All those in Congress who supported this legislation must be voted out of office for violation of their oath to uphold the Constitution. That is the least that should happen in response to such an egregious assault on our liberties.

We cannot allow the slow death of our Republic.

Over the past decade, our rights have slowly been dissolved. Some say, “It couldn’t happen here. This is America!”

Wake up. Congress just made it happen.

This has got to stop.

Calen Fretts is a Candidate for U.S. Congress in the First District of Florida

So Which Way Is It Sheriff?

It’s becoming clear that Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley is becoming a master of doublespeak.

After I attended the county commission meeting on July 19, there are more questions than answers about why the Sheriff’s Office costs so much.

When questioned by the commission he seemed very defensive and deflecting rather than answering clearly and directly.

In one breath he runs the most transparent office in the state, in the next, however, he can’t understand what an itemized list of expenditures is and why anyone could possibly want such a thing. He even questions whether it’s required of him by statute to provide an itemized list (of course it does).

Even if his expenditures were not required, after all that has happened with disgraced former Sheriff Charlie Morris, you’d think Ashley would provide them anyway.

Let’s clear the air real quick and define expenditure. It is payment of cash or cash-equivalent for goods or services, or a charge against available funds in settlement of an obligation as evidenced by an invoice, receipt, voucher, or other such document. It is commonly referred to as an actual.

This is pretty plain stuff, but he still didn’t understand the request from the commissioners. The sheriff’s repeated remark was basically “what are you looking for? Maybe we can help you find it.” The answer is simple; an itemized list of expenditures.

He also said he would provide “any” information that was requested from him.

Then why hasn’t the OCSO provided the LPOC (Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County) with requested information for the development of a Destin Police Department?

For weeks information has not been forthcoming about calls for service, about how many private contracts does the OCSO and/or any of its deputies have inside Destin city limits, and the revenue generated thereby and its distribution.

I haven’t even received an acknowledgement that they are even considering the request. Now that I think about it, I would like to know what these numbers are countywide. And I’ll bet I’m not the only one.

In one breath Sheriff Ashley says his per-capita costs to the citizens of the county are one of the lowest in the state, but in the next breath it’s a real burden and he needs more patrols and the equipment and manpower to go with it.

In one breath, his department is doing great and is on the right track, and yet violent crime has risen more than 20 percent in the county. It has fallen in the rest of the state for the last four years running.

This is the question sheriff, which way is it? Is this a safe and wonderful beach community that is a dream come true to live in? Or, a dangerous and violent place where crime is on the rise and you are powerless to do anything about it without more money and double the manpower?

There is a lot more to this budget review, and thankfully everyone can check it out for themselves at http://okaloosacountyfl.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx.

Will the Sheriff’s department provide an itemized list of expenditures? Will it also reveal the private contract information, at least for the east district?

I would also encourage everyone to go to: http://www.libertarianpoc.org/, and checkout the proposal made to the city of Destin for a Destin PD.

 

Sky Monteith is a resident of the City of Destin and Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County.

Okaloosa’s Complacent County Commission

Pete Blome addressed the Board of County Commissioners for Okaloosa County 17 May 2011 at the meeting where the budget for the Mid Bay Bridge Authority, a Florida Special District, gets reviewed and approved by the Commissioners IAW Law 2000-411. The County Commissioners in the past have routinely approved the bridge budget without public discussion, and they did so here as well by unanimous vote.

It is Pete’s opinion this Authority had the wrong financial plan from its inception. Instead of paying off bridge infrastructure and passing the savings to the bridge users, the Mid Bay Bridge Authority has steadily added an average $10 million a year in debt since its creation in 1994. Toll have steadily gone up, and when a large expansion project, called the bypass, is finished tolls may rise as high as $9 round trip to get from Crestview to Destin. Like the proverbial cash cow, bridge users have been set up to pay high tolls forever.

Pete isn’t the only one who sees the poor planning of the Mid Bay Bridge Authority. Fitch’s Bond service recently gave Bridge Bonds a BBB rating, one step above junk.

The Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners allowed Pete 3 minutes to address them.

Thank you, sirs, for allowing me to speak.

Since I have only a few moments, I would like to ask this board to consider a few questions about the Mid Bay Bridge Authority that were not brought up at this meeting.

How does an increased toll across the bridge, as high as $9 when the bypass road is complete, help anyone in Okaloosa County? It doesn’t.

When will the bridge debt be paid off? Never.

Who believes automobile traffic is going to increase to levels to make this Bridge Authority solvent?

It has gone down for 5 years in row. I certainly don’t.

If this Authority can’t remain solvent, what are you, as the approving authority of the Bridge Budget, going to do about it? Will it be to simply pass off the costs of the bridge to the whole state of Florida as Senator Gaetz has suggested?

This board has routinely rubberstamped budgets submitted by the Bridge Authority. Who has this served? Certainly not the citizens of Okaloosa.

The Mid Bay Bridge Authority is not a minor matter. It will represent $350 million dollars in debt before it is finished. Yearly tolls for a regular user will be greater than most people’s property taxes. One out of ten Okaloosans need this bridge for their livelihood, and they are purposefully being bled dry by government through bad planning and apathy.

The MBBA thought about everything except the people it is meant to serve.

And this course of events has been enabled by this board.

Thank you.

Pete Blome and Lee Jackson elected to the Exec Committee of the LPF

Sweeping Changes at the Libertarian Party of Florida Convention!

From April 29 through May 1st, the Libertarian Party of Florida held its annual Convention, part of which is to elect new officers.

Pete Blome was elected to the Executive Committee of the LPF as an At-Large Director.

Although Blome originally opposed John Smith for the position, Mr. Smith decided to run for Chair of the Party, but withdrew from that race at the convention. By a nomination from the floor, Vicki Kirkland (former Chair of the LPF) opposed Blome for the vote, but was defeated by a delegate vote of 29 to 21.

Pete will focus his efforts to establish Libertarian representation in Tallahassee and Pensacola, and to support administrative changes that will lead to a better functioning Party.

Lee Jackson became LPF region 5 representative, for a second term, in an unopposed election.

Okaloosa and Santa Rosa Counties sent four voting delegates to the Palm Beach convention, Steve Carithers, Karl Denninger, Lee Jackson and Pete Blome.

Overall Election Results from the 2011 Palm Beach Convention

Chair Adrian Willey
Vice Chair Austin Paris
Secretary Greg Lennon
Treasurer Sandy Koplowitz
Assist Treasurer Steve LaBiancia

At Large 1 Pete Blome
At Large 2 Karl Dickey
At Large 3 Clive Rickets

Reg 1 John Sottilare
Reg 2 Janey Dame
Reg 3 Kyle West
Reg 4 Ken Donnally
Reg 5 Lee Jackson
Reg 6 open
Reg 7 Richard Nader
Reg 8 Richard Molek
Reg 9 Char-Lez Braden
Reg 10 Sean Landon
Reg 11 open

The Biggest Unseen Problem In The County

For years now, the Libertarians in Okaloosa County have been alone pointing out the fiscal mess that is the Mid Bay Bridge Authority.

It is a monstrous case of our County Commissioners shirking their supervisory duty according to the law, of a bridge authority thinking trees will grow forever to the sky, and then the state getting involved and spreading the pain over every taxpayer in Florida. Everyone in the Government was thinking of themselves, but no one was thinking about those that use the bridge. The bridge user will now have to pay, and pay, and pay.

But most people don’t see it. Non-bridge users don’t care. Neither does the Tea Party which is rapidly becoming a booster club to give venues for Republicans to focus on anything but what is important.

And it isn’t like the Bridge is a minor program. With the exception of federal projects at Eglin AFB, the Mid Bay Bridge is by far the single most expensive program going in the County. When the Bypass construction is finished, the Authority will have $350 million dollars in debt on its books. That’s a whopping debt for a county of 180,000 people.

Years ago our County Commission decided to exclude the MBBA from its financial statements because of accounting differences between the bridge and the County. Of course, this change did have the effect of making it look like the County had no role in the Bridge budget.

But the law, 2000-411, gave supervision of the operational budget to the Board of County Commissioners. That’s why they have to vote on a bridge budget every year. Mr. Jim Vest, Executive Director for the Bridge, has claimed that this is a mere $700,000 out of a $13 million dollar budget. He thinks nobody except the Bridge Authority, unsupervised by either the County or the Governor, should oversee the remainder. THe BCC goes along with it.

In any case, the BCC has routinely rubberstamped Bridge Authority Budgets with no discussion at all.

With such power, it is no surprise the Bridge Authority thought it could do whatever it wanted.

The Bridge was built cheaply and quickly in 1994. Instead of paying off debt, and passing the savings on to the public, the MBBA decided to continuously expand.

On average, they added $10 million in debt every year since construction started.

The new Bridge Bypass can only be fiscally sustainable if vehicle traffic kept growing every year. But traffic has gone down for five years in a row. I think it will decrease more in the future. The Authority will now have to use all of its current income just to pay interest on its debt. That means more toll hikes are coming in the future.

Don’t believe me? Fitch’s Bond Service rates MBBA bonds at an abysmal BBB, one step above junk for all the reasons I just spelled out.

According to Rep. Brad Drake of Defuniak Springs, we have MBBA Executive Directors, who are paid $200,000 a year for this poor performance.

Now the State of Florida is proposing to eliminate any toll discounts for Sunpass users as it prepares to take over operation of the bridge.

And we have the people of Okaloosa who will have to pay $9, roundtrip, forever, to get from Crestview to Destin.

Senator Gaetz says a State takeover will save the State of Florida $24 million dollars, but those are phony savings. The toll payer will see nothing but higher tolls.

A state takeover will only widen the pool of payers for the debt to all the people in Florida, who had nothing to do with this mess.

In the meantime, the Mid Bay Bridge becomes a never ending cash cow for the bottomless pit of Florida State finance.

There is probably no chance anymore that this money problem can be fixed. But, in my opinion, heads should roll over this matter.

The Board of Directors of the MBBA should be fired by the Governor.

The Executive Directors should be fired by the Board of Directors.

And the County Commissioners should be fired by the people of Okaloosa for making 18,000 people a day pay through the nose for government incompetence.

Pete Blome Announces Candidacy for LPF At-Large (1)

Dear Fellow Libertarian,

My name is Pete Blome, and I hereby announce my intention to run for the position of at-large representative for the Libertarian Party of Florida.

I am a retired military officer, and I am currently the Chair of the Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County, which is located in the Pandhandle of Florida. I am a relative newcomer to the Libertarian Party (2006), but in the time I have been a member I have become convinced that Libertarian methods are the best way to bring lasting happiness and prosperity to our friends and neighbors.

I’ve met many wonderful, talented and caring Libertarians since I joined the Party, but our party is in need of reform. Our principles must be matched by our actions. Our ideals must be furthered by people on the ground willing to work. I am such a person, and I will attempt to seek out others who feel as I do. I am in broad agreement with Adrian Wyllie, who has announced he will run for Chair of the LPF. Our party needs to grow, to professionalize, and to use opportunities to show libertarian solutions to a public that largely does not know about us. There should be a synergy between the state party and local affiliates that does not exist now. I encourage all concerned Florida libertarians to join us and make our party strong.

There is much potential for the growth of the Libertarian Party in the northwestern part of our State. Pensacola is a major population center that needs development. The sad situation that exists in Tallahassee, our state capitol, where no active Libertarian affiliate or representation exists, must be turned around. Okaloosa must continue its growth trajectory. With your support, I hope to do the things that must be done to set the stage for a Libertarian turnaround that will put the major parties on their ears.

Regards

Pete
850-217-6590

Okaloosa Schools: Hypocrisy On Display

By Karl Denninger
March 01, 2011 2:52 PM

Why aren’t Ruckel Middle School students allowed to sit with who they wish at lunch? What values are Okaloosa District schools actually teaching our kids?

I had to ask myself those questions after my daughter was given detention by Ruckel Middle School for merely crossing the lunch room floor and sitting with another student.

On 24 February I met with the Superintendent of Schools Ms. Tibbetts, Principal Ms. Goolsby and Assistant Principal Mr. Whiddon.

I spoke about my high school years, relating how easily a school administration can lose the respect of the students and the possible consequence of that. Respect, you see, is earned — it’s not owed.

The Principal came up with four objections as to why the students couldn’t choose where to sit in the lunchroom on their own: “they might miss the next class,” “they might not clear the table of their debris,” “there are cliques in middle school” and “we have students with food allergies.”

I asked how many kids had missed their next class when open seating was allowed and pointed out the fact that I might have to FOIA that information. Given that tardy slips are a common feature in schools and attendance is taken, there is a record. That is, if there ever was such a problem. I don’t believe it, to be blunt, and said so.

Further, cliques are a part of life. We choose our associates every day. And students who fail to clear their tables can be appropriately disciplined.

As for the food allergies, there’s a solution to that of course. You set aside one table for kids with food allergies and prohibit the common things there, the most serious of which are allergies to nuts. Oh wait, the school district already has to do that, right? These sorts of allergies are real, but punishing everyone in the class by making them sit against their will for something beyond their control is not only inappropriate, it’s Kafkaesque.

There was no resolution offered by the superintendent or the school principal. Mr. Whiddon tried to argue there was a student led representative process about things like seating assignments at lunch. I pointed out the administration had previously admitted the students voted for open seating, but the policy was unilaterally changed by the administration, thus revealing the illusion of a student’s say in policy. I also pointed out that this process was like presenting a petition in the former USSR, or to Mubarak before he was deposed. Mr. Whiddon didn’t like that analogy, and the other administrators were unwilling to take responsibility for claiming there was a representative process in the student council when there in fact is not.

Clearly, there was no intent to move on the school’s part. I remained steadfast that these sorts of policies are self-destructive, disrespectful of basic human dignities and indefensible on the plain facts. Further, this not a countywide policy; Pryor Middle has open lunch seating.

But then the funniest thing happened.

My daughter and I attended registration for her high school, which she enters in the fall. One of the first items presented to both parents and incoming students in the auditorium was a program called “The Nest”, which is an opportunity for the kids entering high school to mingle and hang out with one another — and with upperclassmen — during the summer months. The first reason presented to attend? So you will have some idea of who you would like to sit with, and at which table, in the lunchroom on your first day in high school.

Excuse me?

The peanut allergies, the late class attendance, the lack of clearing of tables by the students, the cliques that are found in middle schools and the inability of perfectly-competent staff members that the school district pay a handsome salary to keep order in the lunchroom all suddenly disappear in a high school with more than twice the enrollment of the middle school literally next door when a student becomes a mere three months older?

Ruckel, drop the invented nonsense and do the right thing. Recognize fundamental human rights, including the right of peaceable assembly and conversation. Rights you should be teaching and honoring, not abrogating.

Let the kids sit where they’d like and talk to whom they want during their lunch period. Punish real wrongdoers, not everybody. Teach real responsibility to our kids.

Karl Denninger is a resident of Bluewater Bay, a well known financial analyst, and author of the Market-Ticker.

USAF Steps Back – published 11 Feb 2011

A few days ago I wrote about how the Air Force had overstepped its bounds by officially threatening to prosecute civilian military family members under the Espionage Act if they read Wikileaks on a privately owned computer at home [Air Force Print News Today, “Command Offers Wikileaks Guidance” AFMC Public Affairs report, 3 Feb 2011].

The Air Force leadership needed to be reminded that their reason for being is to assure our liberties, not threaten to throw families in prison for reading.

Apparently, these men realized what a mess they had made, quickly retracted the threat, and said it “was not actually sanctioned by headquarters and was not in keeping with official policy.”

Thank goodness for that. But this matter not yet over. The threat retraction will not be seen by everyone, and it will chill the free exercise of the first amendment.

The Espionage Act is an especially odious law that led to hundred of Americans being thrown in jail during World War One for expressing in public that they were against the war. That such a law exists, to me, is incredible in a land that values liberty, and it should be eliminated.

So before we breathe easy, know that the stage is set for this to happen all over again.

Pete Blome
Chair
Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County

The LPF Is In Desperate Need of Reform

(originally sent to all Libertarian County Chairs with email addresses 30 Jan 2011)

Dear Fellow Libertarian County Chair,

My name is Pete Blome, and I Chair the Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County. I became a County Chair because I believe in Libertarian principles, and I think if more of our leaders applied them that our lives would be better and the troubles of our nation fewer.

We libertarians are part of the political process in America. We are trying to use our leadership and our vision to elect libertarian representatives to government. We are trying to put people and money together to gain libertarian influence in our communities.

I would like to ask you to join in the task of reforming the Libertarian Party in our state.

There are many factors that go into a political movement, and among them are personal leadership, effective administration, a professional and serious approach to duties, the ability to address relevant issues, make political alliances with sympathetic groups, gain influence outside the governmental structure, raise funding, and attract new members. All of these matters are issues of concern with the current LPF.

On the 27th of January of this year, Vicki Kirkland and Char-Lez Braden honored us by making the long and tiring drive from Orlando to Okaloosa County. They spoke to a gathering of Libertarians from the Panhandle (Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Escambia Counties). Their intent was to make the case for their reelection at the Palm Beach Convention to happen in late April. But after answering questions from the audience, they left the people in the room uniformly questioning their ability to take on the tasks that any state party must accomplish.

They are the leaders of our party, but…

– they made no opening statements nor presented any issues, principles, or strategies that they want to use to gather public support.

– they admitted they do not have an active fundraising program, but routinely lamented the limitations they have due to a lack of funding.

– they admitted that they do not have any significant media contacts (network news, major newspapers), nor have been pursuing them, thus limiting the ability to get the libertarian message out to the public.

– they admitted that they have not published any articles in support of the libertarian cause in outside media, nor made any other public appearances to do so.

– they were notified by me in advance that a newspaper representative of Freedom Newspapers (Northwest Florida Daily News, Crestview Bulletin, Destin Log, and Walton Sun) would be in attendance at the meeting and that they should have a prepared statement, but they never produced one. This newspaper rep left the meeting without an LPF message, other than what he saw in the meeting.

– they admitted communication with the affiliates has been poor and that it will be corrected, but this is an old story that has gone on for at least two years. I personally asked, again well in advance, that this 27 Jan meeting to be advertised on the Florida LP website, but Char-Lez admitted he forgot to do it..

– they admitted they had no contacts for potential state level candidates, nor had any ideas on how to attract them

– they said they were advocates of the “full slate” approach to the 2012 elections, but had not done any groundwork to get this accomplished.

– they admitted to suppressing dissenting views by such people as Tom Rhodes by preventing his access to the state website. I personally found this troubling because, in my opinion, it is better to error on the side of too much talk than too little. I also did not like the fact libertarians hear nothing from the LPF in terms of constructive debate about our problems, and yet a county vice chair’s words, no matter how brusque they may have been, were supressed.

– and lastly, they said it is up to candidates to present solutions to the many problems that face us in Florida. This is undoubtably something candidates must do, but it is also a major function of party leadership. You cannot lead unless you have someplace to go.

One of the people in the audience was Karl Denninger, and he wrote the following on his website about the meeting: (seen by up to 300,000 people daily, and he is a repeated guest on major media). It is well worth reading by libertarians, including the comments.

http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?singlepost=2379508

This review is harsh, but it is telling it like it is. For all our sake, the Libertarian Party of Florida leadership must have the character to not take such criticism personally, and then fix the valid problems that were spelled out.

There are many dedicated libertarians who think these problems are impossible to fix, but that is not so. Some also think that what happens at the state level is of no matter, but no county can grow to its full potential if the state party is weak.

A few changes rigorously applied can bring a world of difference, even as soon as the convention. Spread this message. Send messages to Vicki, Char-Lez and the EC that they should:

– Start a fundraising campaign. Ask for as little as a dollar a month, or even per year, from members. If there are 19,000 libertarians in the state such a simple request could net a significant amount of money that just is not coming in right now…

– Compile an email mass mailing list of libertarians and regularly tell us what is going in the LPF. I read, see, and hear extremely little news from the LPF. The EC meetings appear to have no published minutes. The average Floridian hears nothing from the LPF. This is suicide for a political party.

– Publish the constitution, bylaws and standing rules of the LPF on the website so everyone can be informed of the rules and process of the party. As it is now, this information is the province of a few high party officials at the exclusion of all others. It is impossible to be an equal participant in the state party when this information is not available.

– Every action by the LPF and the members of the Executive committee, should be advertised. All public appearances by party leadership should be on the party website. The items they write about should be published. Interviews with news services should be on the web.

– Professionalize the party administrative functions and the website. Send notice of required paperwork to affiliates in a timely fashion. Have a means to quickly access people and information. Provide better photographs of the Executive Committee and publish biographies of the members.

– Put in the time and effort to pursue support from libertarian business persons, celebrities, and organizations from across the state. Do it in person and persistently. Do this with an eye towards a lasting relationship (20 years plus). Tell people the truth about what you are about, and they will follow.

– Defend the party. Char-Lez and Vicki said the campaign of JW Smith was kept off the ballot by official Dem Rep trickery, but could not explain how. If this is so, it is the duty of the state party to fight it like hell. If it isn’t so, tell us the facts.

– Pick a few (perhaps 6) state wide issues that have libertarian support, and then actively write about them, appear before the news about them, and speak at meetings about them. The paper attached above, which outlines suggestions for a statewide economic policy (which I think should be a first priority), was given to Vicki and Char-Lez before they arrived in Okaloosa, and attempts to do this this very thing. The FLP must be continuously in the public eye. If the current leadership cannot bring themselves to do this, they need to find a spokesperson who can.

– Invite, inform and involve the mass of libertarians out there who are tired of a reclusive, ineffective and largely silent Libertarian Party of Florida. These people are our future.

– And lastly, as a county chair, I ask you to attend the convention with as many delegates as you can, but do not vote for or support a candidate for state chair until these issues are addressed, and adressed with a concrete plan, not with mere aspirations.

I spoke with Vicki and Char-Lez about these matters in person and by email, so none of what I am saying should come as a surprise. In an email message I wrote to them .. “You, as the Party leadership, and nobody else, have to take our Party to the next level. It may be a bitter pill, but the general impression of your visit left us uncertain whether you appreciate what is at stake. You are not doing what is necessary for a state level party to be successful, and that must be turned around. We really wish you the best of luck. You have taken on a big task, which means tens of thousands of people depend upon your judgement and actions, making the cost of failure that much more dear. You can be sure Okaloosa will be doing its best to make a strong FLP and LPOC. I sincerely offer my personal assistance on any FLP matter in the panhandle.”

I stand by that. I hope you stand with the ideas presented here.

The Libertarian Party should truly be a “Big tent Party” where open discussion of ideas is welcome. If you have a stronger plan to present to the LPF, let’s have a productive discussion and settle on a course of action by the end of February. If you can support the ideas above, let the libertarians in your county know, and any county chairs not accessible by email. Vicki and Char-Lez need to know what we will support.

Libertarians state wide deserve a professionally run, basically capable state party.

And there is not that much time before the April convention.

Regards
Pete Blome
Chair, LPOC