Wrights to participate in first Libertarian presidential debate

BURNET, Texas (June 17) – Lee Wrights will participate in the first Libertarian presidential debate scheduled during the Future of the Libertarian Movement Conference in Manchester, N.H. June 19.

The one-day conference is sponsored by the Libertarian Parties of New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Three candidates will participate in the debate, Wrights, Roger Gary of Texas and Carl Person of New York. The debate is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. and will be moderated by George Phillies. The New Hampshire and Massachusetts Libertarian Parties will give a first-round delegate vote to the winner of the post-debate straw poll.

“I’m looking forward to engaging with my fellow libertarians in what I am certain will be a lively and informative discussion,” Wrights said. “It certainly will be more enlightening than the presidential debate conducted by one of the so-called major parties in New Hampshire recently.”

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House votes to lower N.C. ballot access barriers

In a bipartisan 67-50 vote, the state House of Representatives approved a bill to dramatically lower the threshold for a new political party to gain and maintain ballot access in North Carolina. The bill lowers the number of signatures a new party must obtain to 0.25 percent of registered voters. That party could then retain ballot status by getting 0.25 percent of the votes for president, governor or any council of state office, whichever is lower.

Rep. Stephen LaRoque (R-Lenoir) introduced H.B. 32, the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011, with both Republicans and Democrats as primary sponsors. “There’s a wide-variety of membership in support of this bill who have come together for the idea that it is too difficult under present law for those citizens who want to create a small party to get on the ballot,” said Rep. Paul Luebke (D-Durham), a primary sponsor.

The House vote reflected bipartisan support with 38 Democrats and 29 Republicans voting in favor. The measure also has backing from a broad spectrum of groups from across the political spectrum, including the Libertarian, Green and Constitution parties, Democracy NC, the John Locke Foundation and the N.C. League of Women Voters.

“When political parties and public policy groups with such divergent views unite in a common cause it clearly attests to the fact that ballot access reform is not a partisan or special-interest group issue, but a question of fundamental freedom that transcends political and ideological differences,” said Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield (D-Edgecombe, Wilson), another primary sponsor.

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House panel votes to lower ballot access barriers

The House elections committee approved a bill today that would dramatically lower the threshold for a new political party to gain and maintain ballot access in North Carolina. The bill lowers the number of signatures a new party must obtain to one-quarter of one percent of the registered voters in the state. That party could then retain ballot status by getting one-quarter of one percent of the voters for president, governor or any council of state office, whichever is lower.

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Patriot Act renewal gives terrorists another victory

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and thus clamorous to be led to safety), by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
– H.L. Mencken

BURNET, Texas (June 1) – Using the same tactics of secrecy, deceit, outright lies and fear that they have been using for ten years, Democrats and Republicans steamrolled over the opposition and stampeded Congress into renewing several provisions of the Patriotic Act last week. Once again, both Democrats and Republicans dishonored their oath of office and voted for a bill that will continue to erode the freedom and liberty of all Americans. Thanks to Congress, score another victory for every terrorist in the world who seeks to destroy the land of the free and home of the brave.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even went so far as to accuse Sen. Rand Paul of wanting to put “guns in the hands of terrorists” for daring to offer amendments to the law to protect the liberties of Americans. Sen. Paul had better be careful, because such actions could be construed by federal prosecutors as giving “material aide” to terrorists under the Patriot Act.

At the same time the bipartisan leadership was ramrodding this bill through the Senate, war-hawks in the House of Representatives were quietly voting to give the president the power to take our country to war anywhere in the world, at any time, without further congressional authorization. In a typical tactic used when politicians fear a public outcry, they buried this grant of monarchical power to the president in a defense appropriation bill.

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‘Gerrymandering’ film airs May 25

North Carolinians for Redistricting Reform will sponsor a free screening of the critically acclaimed documentary “Gerrymandering” and an inside look at the significant flaws in our current redistricting process. The screening will be Wednesday, May 25, at 7 p.m. at the Galaxy Cinema, 770 Cary Towne Blvd, Cary.

This entertaining and engaging film looks at the abuse of power that too often occurs when you have politicians drawing their own district lines and choosing their own voters. Following the movie, a panel of experts will lead a discussion on redistricting and its implications here in North Carolina, as well as take questions from the audience.

If you have any questions, please email Brent Laurenz at laurenz@nccve.org or call 919-783-8811. For more information and to see a preview of the film, go here.

The killing of Osama bin Laden

BURNET, Texas (May 3) – It will not be a popular thing to say, but the truth is the truth. I am deeply saddened by the death of Osama bin Laden. His demise is not cause for rejoicing, in my opinion. That is why I am perhaps even more troubled by the spectacle of Americans celebrating and dancing in the street to the chant of “U.S.A, U.S.A,” whipped up into a patriotic frenzy and oblivious to the reality that this was an illegal and immoral act which offends the very values which makes us who we are.

I must admit, this is one of the most troubling things I have experienced in my lifetime. The patriot in me wants to breathe a sigh of relief that the war is over and we can go back to life before Bin Laden. But reality ruins the moment as I realize what has happened, and know life will never be the same again. This military action ordered by the President of the United States not only violated every fundamental belief our nation’s founders cherished, it may have destroyed any hope that we will ever learn the truth about 9/11.

What happened to the foundation of jurisprudence in America — innocent until proven guilty? Where is the requirement to produce evidence in order to convict? What about the right to face your accusers and answer charges brought against you? What has happened to the separation of powers set forth in our Constitution? When was the power to convict and execute individuals transferred solely to the Executive branch?

Rather than using a trial to prove to the world that Bin Laden was guilty of the acts the United States accused him of, and that the U.S. was justified in the actions taken in retaliation, the president took upon himself the authority of judge, jury and executioner. He ordered U.S. military forces to kill Bin Laden — and then dump his body into the sea. No evidence was presented. No arguments were heard for and against. No jury deliberated. No judge ruled. The accused was not allowed to defend himself in any court. I can’t help but think that this is the way you act when you have no evidence to convict.

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Wrights pays tribute to Tennessee Libertarian Fred Childress

KNOXVILLE (May 2) – R. Lee Wrights told the Tennessee Libertarian State Convention that he’s not seeking the Libertarian nomination for president in order to tell people what they want to hear. “I am not interested in telling people what they want to hear. I am interested in telling them what needs to be heard,” he said.

He said that message is simple. The libertarian writer and political activist believes the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war.

Wrights begin his address with an emotional tribute to Fred Childress, a beloved friend and Tennessee libertarian activist killed in a motorcycle accident in July 2010.

“I would not be where I am, or doing what I am doing had it not been for Fred Childress,” Wrights said. “He was like me, he was a warrior. But the anomaly of Fred Childress was that he was also a peacemaker.”

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Wrights comes home to open his campaign for the Libertarian nomination for president

HICKORY, N.C. (April 16) – R. Lee Wrights, a longtime libertarian writer and activist, announced today at the N.C. Libertarian Party State Convention that he will be seeking the Libertarian nomination for President of the United States. Here is his statement:

“I’m returning to the place where this campaign began … ten years ago. North Carolina is where I was born, where I grew up and where I became involved in the Libertarian Party and the libertarian movement. It’s here in North Carolina that the seed for this campaign was planted and nourished.

Wrights 2012“For the past two years, as I’ve traveled around the country visiting Libertarian groups, people — especially young people — have been asking me: ‘Why isn’t the Libertarian Party out front in opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why isn’t the LP anti-war? Why aren’t we demanding that we bring the troops home.’ I heard this over and over again, and the message was quite strong at the 2010 national convention in St. Louis.

“After hearing from all these activists, it was clear to me that they were right. It was clear to me that the Libertarian Party — and our nation — is tired of war. It became clear to me that it was time for someone in the Libertarian Party to start talking about this issue. And it became clear to me that that someone must be me.

“On July Fourth, appropriately, I formed a presidential exploratory committee because I believe the Libertarian Party faces a critical test in 2012 and I want to make sure that we’re up to the challenge. The Libertarian message in 2012 must be loud, clear, and unequivocal — stop all war! Stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop the war on drugs and alternative lifestyles, stop the war on civil liberties. Stop All War!!

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Libertarians ask taxpayers to choose where their money goes

Even though libertarians oppose taxes, the state Libertarian Party is encouraging supporters to take advantage of the check box on the state income tax form and designate $3 of the tax money to the Libertarian Party.

“This is a chance for taxpayers to direct a small portion of the money taken from them to something that is their choice,” said Barbara Howe, state party chair. “ Of course, we would prefer North Carolinians pay no taxes, especially ones on income.”

Howe said they are also asking supporters to become regular contributors to the party, or to make a one-time donation.

She said that by contributing on the tax form people would be helping Libertarians send a message to the state that they’ve fought hard to get on the ballot and intend to stay. “These small contributions add up and they’ll help the LPNC run candidates across the state in the 2012 election,” Howe said. “In all likelihood, we will direct most of these funds in support of the 2012 gubernatorial candidate after he or she is nominated in primary.”

That race will be crucial because in order for the Libertarian Party to retain its ballot status its candidate for governor or president must get at least two percent of the vote.

To date, the Libertarians have received just under $46,000 from the N.C. Political Parties Financing Fund. The money is used for general campaign activities and support of candidates, according to state law.

The state Libertarian Party platform says “Taxation is by its very nature a coercive and destructive act against the people. The LPNC believes that all people have the basic right to keep the fruits of their labor and enterprise. We believe that the costs of government should be paid for by voluntary means only.”

President Obama takes Nobel Peace Prize to war

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr., 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner

BURNET, Texas (March 27) — There’s an anonymous message circulating on Twitter that’s says, “Barack Obama has now fired more cruise missiles than all other Nobel Peace prize winners combined.” That would be funny, if it weren’t so depressing an observation. There are calls now from some foreign leaders for President Obama to return the award. “How is it possible to give the Nobel Peace Prize to someone who has launched an invasion, a bombing? It’s a violation, an assault, an aggression,” said Bolivian President Evo Morales.

President Obama dismissed this idea by repeating a line he used in his Oslo acceptance speech he delivered in December 2009. The president said then it was an “irony” for him to get this award when he was dealing with two wars. “So I am accustomed to this contradiction of being both a commander-in-chief but also someone who aspires to peace,” he told CNN.

That is not irony, Mr. President; it is hypocrisy. It is not a contradiction; it is a violation of your oath of office.

Isn’t it bad enough that America has an immediate-past president who is afraid to visit another country for fear of being arrested for war crimes? Now we have a sitting president who’s being asked to return a prestigious international award because he’s an aggressor. It seems to me we’re not doing a very good job of picking presidents.

Maybe it’s time we elect someone who won’t bring shame and condemnation to our nation by attacking other countries. Maybe it’s time we elected a president who took his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” seriously. Maybe it’s time we elected a president who understands the true meaning of that document.

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