BREAKING NEWS: Johnson Campaign Files Antitrust Suit Against RP, DP, and CPD

The Gary Johnson 2012 Campaign filed an antitrust lawsuit against the Democratic Party, Republican Party and Commission on Presidential Debates for antitrust and anticompetitive acts earlier today.

Judge Gray mentioned the imminent legal action in a conference call with endorsed candidates this past Wednesday evening.  Sources inside the campaign indicate this is the first of several suits which will be filed.

Details to follow.

94 thoughts on “BREAKING NEWS: Johnson Campaign Files Antitrust Suit Against RP, DP, and CPD

  1. Steven Wilson

    I am not a lawyer, but in order to call upon anti trust protection, you first must prove market viability.

    Then you must prove that two parties are a monopoly. And then you must prove through the commerce clause that politics should be open as in a market device.

    I have always respected and admired Jim Gray, but I don’t think this going to get to the outcome they want.

    Their funding should be used for marketing and advertising-not legal fees.

  2. Thane Eichenauer

    I was able to volunteer to be the local helper for the last time Judge Jim Gray was in Phoenix for press events. He did spend some time telling me over coffee the reasoning the GJ/JG campaign had for pursuing a anti-trust lawsuit. I was favorably persuaded.

    While I can certainly understand that any lawsuit has hurdles to overcome I do state that the reasoning Judge Gray gave sounded logical to me. I believe this effort is worth spending campaign supporter dollars to pursue (as we all know how hard it is to earn a dollar [after taxes] these days).

  3. Oranje Mike

    The system is beyond corrupt. This effort will likely prove futile but I am happy someone is taking a stand.

  4. Joe Buchman Post author

    Steven @ 1. I’d suggest looking at the cost verses likely free media aspect.

    uspstartgree @ 2 Thanks. Greens are welcome to join in the suit, I’m sure (not speaking as counsel here just as a LP member thrilled with this action).

    Thane @ 3 The Judge give the overview of the legal issues in our candidate call Wednesday night. Seems there is at the VERY LEAST a solid case to be made for judicial review (one not mentioned by the judge that I happen to like is — why aren’t ALL candidates who receive Federal Matching Funds REQUIRED to be in the debate — not a legal issue per se, but a moral call from taxpayers worth considering, IMO).

  5. Joe Buchman Post author

    Stay tuned. The above suit was filed in California late today. One or more additional ones coming early next week. . . .

  6. John Purdin

    Will they be hit with court ordered sanctions like the opponents to TOP TWO got if they lose the case??

  7. paulie

    And in other lawsuit news:

    COURT RULES CANDIDATE SHOULD HAVE SUED BEFORE HE KNEW OF PROBLEM

    For Immediate Release. Friday, September 21, 2012.
    Gary E. Johnson, Austin, Texas, 512-441-6378.

    A federal appeals court has ruled that Gary E. Johnson of Austin, Texas, may not be on the Michigan ballot as the Libertarian Party candidate for President. Nor may any Libertarian candidate for President or Vice President.
    A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled Friday, September 21, that Johnson should have filed his lawsuit to place his name on the ballot 128 days before Michigan first revealed that it was refusing to place his name on the ballot.
    The judges did not rule on the merits of the case but only said that, “by the doctrine of laches,” Johnson should have sued four months before he was told there was a problem.
    Johnson said of the verdict, “The courts are expecting me to do the impossible.”
    The state of Michigan first notified the Libertarian Party of Michigan that it would not print Johnson’s name on the general election ballot in a letter dated Friday, September 7. Johnson filed a lawsuit four calendar days later on Tuesday, September 11, demanding that the ballot include his name.
    U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney of the Southern Division of the Western District of Michigan scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, September 18. But he canceled it at the last minute and ruled on Monday, September 17, that Johnson should have sued in May.
    Maloney wrote, “The question that baffles this court is why the instant claims were not filed much earlier.”
    He added, “Gary E. Johnson has had grounds to claim a place on the ballot as early as May 2.”
    Sixth Circuit judges Damon J. Keith, Boyce F. Martin, Jr., and John M. Rogers agreed on appeal September 21.
    Johnson said after the verdict, “May 2 was 128 days before Michigan first disclosed that it would refuse to print my name on the ballot and it was 31 days before I was nominated. What do the courts want me to do? Hop in a time machine?”
    Maloney emphasized, “Plaintiffs did not file suit to establish Gary E. Johnson’s status until September 11, just days before the Secretary was scheduled to send ballots to the printer.”
    Johnson commented, “These judges have it backwards. I sued as soon as possible. It was the Secretary of State who waited until just days before the ballots were to be printed to tell us that my name would not be on the ballot.”
    The latest appeals court ruling came after a series of court challenges by the Libertarian Party of Michigan, Gary E. Johnson of Texas, and Gary Johnson of New Mexico.
    Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson started running for President as a Republican in 2011. He withdrew from the Republican campaign in late November and switched to the Libertarian Party in December.
    His name was on the Republican Presidential primary ballot on February 28 despite his earlier effort to withdraw.
    The Michigan Secretary of State’s office sent a letter in May to the Libertarian Party of Michigan saying that, because of the state’s “sore loser” law, Governor Johnson could not be on the general election ballot. The law prohibits candidates who appear on the primary election ballot of one party from running as the candidate of another party in November.
    The Libertarian Party sued to challenge the legality of applying the sore loser law to Presidential candidates.
    Meanwhile, the party nominated both Gary Johnson of New Mexico and Gary Johnson of Texas for President at its state convention in Livonia on Saturday, June 2, and officially notified the state of its decision on Monday, June 4. The Governor was the party’s first choice and Johnson of Texas, a former national secretary of the party, was their “stand-in” substitute if the challenge to sore loser law did not prevail.
    The state party lost its lawsuit on the sore loser law on Friday, September 7, and Governor Johnson was barred from the Michigan ballot. Later that day, Michigan first announced that it would not allow Johnson of Texas as a backup candidate.
    Michigan was the only state where the Libertarian Party attempted to run a stand-in candidate for President.
    Neither the state of Michigan nor the federal courts explained why the name of the Libertarian Party candidate for Vice President, former California Judge Jim Gray, would not be on the Michigan ballot.
    Ballot Access News reported on September 20 that Michigan said it will count write-in votes for Governor Johnson.
    The Libertarian Party is on the ballot in Michigan and is running a slate of candidates for U.S. Senator, all 14 Congressional Districts, and other offices.
    The Libertarian ticket of Johnson and Gray will be on ballot in at least 47 states and the District of Columbia. A court challenge remains in Pennsylvania. The ticket is not on the ballot in Oklahoma.
    END

  8. Joe Buchman Post author

    Here’s the official campaign release:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Contact:Natalie Dicou
    nataliedicou
    801-994-0321

    Joe Hunter
    media
    801-303-7924

    JOHNSON CAMPAIGN FILES ANTI-TRUST ACTION AGAINST
    NATIONAL COMMISSION ON PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES

    Sept. 21, 2012, Saint Paul, Minn. — Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s campaign today filed an anti-trust lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California challenging Johnson’s exclusion from upcoming debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The Commission announced earlier Friday that invitations to the debates were being extended only to Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

    Announcing the campaign’s legal action, senior Johnson advisor Ron Nielson said, “There is nothing remotely surprising in the fact that a private organization created by and run by the Republican and Democratic Parties has only invited the Republican and Democratic candidates to their debates. It is a bit more disturbing that the national news media has chosen to play the two-party game, when a full one-third of the American people do not necessarily identify with either of those two parties.

    “American voters deserve a real debate between now and Election Day. By excluding Gov. Johnson, the Commission on Presidential Debates has guaranteed that there will be no one on the stage challenging continued wars, calling for a balanced budget now — as opposed to decades down the road, and who has never advocated government-run health care.

    “Someone has to stand up and call this what it is: A rigged system designed entirely to protect and perpetuate the two-party duopoly. That someone will be the Johnson campaign. We are today filing a lawsuit in Federal Court charging that the National Commission and the Republican and Democratic Parties, by colluding to exclude duly qualified candidates outside the Republican and Democratic Parties, are in violation of the nation’s anti-trust laws.

    “It is unfortunate that a successful two-term governor who is already assured of being on the ballot in 47 states and the District of Columbia is forced to turn to the courts to break up a rigged system, but it appears that fairness is not to be found otherwise.”

    Johnson’s running mate and retired California Superior Court Judge Jim Gray, who is also a plaintiff, will argue the motion on the campaign’s behalf.

    The lawsuit, filed only hours after the Commission’s announcement, charges that the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee and an organization they set up, the Commission on Presidential Debates, have conspired together to restrain trade, both in ideas and in commerce. The lawsuit maintains that the Republican and Democratic Parties, through the CPD, indefensibly limits access of other candidates to the marketplace of ideas and the opportunity to be employed in these highest offices in the land, and in so doing are violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890.

    The lawsuit seeks an order of the Court enjoining the debates from proceeding unless all candidates who will appear on the ballot in enough states to win in the Electoral College are allowed to participate.

    Nielson said the Johnson campaign would likely file additional lawsuits in additional jurisdictions challenging the exclusion of Johnson and Gray from the debates on other grounds.

    Prior to 1988, the League of Women Voters sponsored nationally-televised presidential debates. The League withdrew its debate sponsorship after the Republican and Democratic campaigns negotiated an agreement to determine which candidates could participate, who would be panelists, and other details of the debates. The League withdrew its support for the debates because “the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetuate a fraud on the American voter.”

    “League Refuses to ‘Help Perpetuate a Fraud’” (in original linked to –
    http://www.lwv.org/press-releases/league-refuses-help-perpetrate-fraud)

  9. Andy

    Gary Johnson and Jim Gray ought to show up at the Presidential Debates and plan to get arrested if they are shut out. Their campaign should invite protesters and they should invite the alternative press as well as the foreign press to cover them showing up at the debates (since the US mainstream media is likely to bury the story). There should be plenty of people their with video cameras so it can be recorded when the police arrest them (which they’ll be sure to do).

  10. Joe Buchman Post author

    I just LOVE this sentence in the above:

    “Johnson’s running mate and retired California Superior Court Judge Jim Gray, who is also a plaintiff, will argue the motion on the campaign’s behalf.”

    If you have yet to hear the PASSION of Judge Gray on the campaign trail, should there be video of this, you are in for a treat.

    And should the Judge get into the VP debate — he will make Biden and Ryan look worse than Rick Perry at his worst.

  11. Joshua

    The lawsuit contrasts the Commission’s debates with the earlier debates sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Yet in 1980, when the League sponsored the debates, Jimmy Carter refused to debate John Anderson, even though Anderson was on the ballot in all 50 states. The League sponsored a Reagan-Anderson debate, and later a Carter-Reagan debate where Anderson was left out. And in the same year, Libertarian candidate Ed Clark was also on the ballot in all 50 states, but the League didn’t invite him to debate the other three candidates.

    Regardless of whether the Commission sponsors the debates or someone else does, third party candidates are going to have a hard time getting in. And even if a court orders the Commission to invite Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, I don’t think they can force Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to show up too — the major candidates might decide to skip the debate.

  12. Kyle Kneale

    @23 I don’t think we would see Romney or Obama refuse the debates. I don’t think either wants that kind of bad press (that’s assuming three plus would be debating).

    Side note, you did not mention how Anderson subsequently took 6.6% or how Carter got trounced by Regan.

    The whole goal here has been to hit the 5% threshold, make waves, and get people’s heads out of the sand.

  13. Andy

    Joe Buchman, you seem to be in direct contact with the Gary Johnson campaign. Are Gary Johnson and Jim Gary willing to do what I suggested above, that is get arrested at the debates and have it filmed by supporters, as well as by the alternative and foreign press?

    This is what I would do if I was in their position.

  14. Steve M

    The issue as I understand it is whether two competitors who collude to block other competitors can be banned from engaging in specific activities. Such as joint marketing, which is what the debates might be considered.

  15. Joe Buchman Post author

    Andy @ 25

    While I’m working for the campaign, I’m not privy to that level of strategy. However, I do have access to their travel calendars and both the Governor and the Judge have detailed schedules for a variety of campus and other appearances through October.

    What you suggest might be best tried at the Vice Presidential debate in the case of the Judge, or a the third of the three Presidential debates in the case of the Governor.

    I know we WILL be demanding to be included in each of those debates, right up to the last one, as an issue of fairness, as an issue of legality and, hopefully, by reaching the stated CPD requirement of polling at 15 percent anytime prior to the third debate.

    Prior to working for the campaign, I served as a tenured professor of marketing. IMO (for what it’s worth) the goal here is name recognition.

    Governor Johnson appears to be polling at about 5 percent with only 20 or so percent name recognition nationally. Getting that to 100 percent should result in an immediate 20 percent in the polls — thus meeting the commission’s requirement.

    After he cleans the clocks of Romney, Obama and Dr. Stein in those debates, I’d expect that number to double.

    So while that’s a path to actually winning this thing, I don’t want to suggest the odds of that are more than exceedingly minimal right now. But they sure as hell aren’t zero either.

    His race for Governor of New Mexico in 1994/1995 proved that. We have a shot at repeating history here.

    josephbuchman@garyjohnson2012.com

    Joe

  16. Joe Buchman Post author

    Austin@ 27.

    It’s a rigged game.

    But we won in Iowa, Virginia, Ohio and other states where our attorneys prevailed.

    Oklahoma was expected to be an easy win for the Americans Elect ballot line.

    Michigan was expected to be an easy win given no sore loser law had ever been applied to a Presidential primary.

    We still have the court of public opinion, and I’d expect, should Governor Johnson be able to relate the gross illegalities here in the debates, it might actually work in our favor.

    The more they cling to power, the more star systems will slip through their fingers — or something like that.

  17. Carl E. Person

    Elections are not a line of commerce. Section 2 of the Sherman Act requires that there be alleged monopolization of a line of commerce (such as airplane tires or radio advertising), as follows:
    Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $100,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $1,000,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.

    I haven’t read the complaint, but believe it would be difficult to allege an antitrust violation, even if there is (and of course there is) one or more conspiracies involved. I filed (and lost) a lawsuit years ago against the Democratic parties and 7 television networks on behalf of a presidential candidate seeking the Democratic nomination. My complaint is at lawmall.com/files/presiden.html My jurisdictional allegations (which did not include antitrust allegations even though I was an antitrust lawyer at the time) were:
    1. The jurisdiction of this court to hear this complaint against defendants is based upon the original jurisdiction of this court (i) under 28 U.S.C. Section 1343, to hear an action to “redress the deprivation, under color of any State law, statute, ordinance, regulation, custom or usage” of one or more states “of any right, privilege or immunity secured by the Constitution of the United States or by any Act of Congress providing for equal rights of citizens or of all persons within the jurisdiction of th e United States”; (ii) under 28 U.S.C. Section 1331, to hear a civil action arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States; (iii) as a direct right of action under the U.S. Constitution to declare an Act of Congress unconstitutiona l; and (iv) under the principles of pendent jurisdiction.

    2. Specifically, this complaint is brought to redress the deprivation of rights, privileges and immunities secured to plaintiff by: (a) First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; (b) Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; (c) Twelfth Amendment to the U .S. Constitution; (d) Sections 1-2 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; (e) Twenty-Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; (f) Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2-3 of the U.S. Constitution; (g) Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constituti on; (h) Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. Section 1983), providing equal rights under state and local law for citizens or other persons within the jurisdiction of the United States; (i) Sections 312(a)(7) and 315 of the Federal Communication s Act, 47 U.S.C. Sections 312(a)(7) and 315; and (j) various counterpart provisions in State constitutions.

  18. Andy

    “Joe Buchman // Sep 22, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Andy @ 25

    While I’m working for the campaign, I’m not privy to that level of strategy. However, I do have access to their travel calendars and both the Governor and the Judge have detailed schedules for a variety of campus and other appearances through October.”

    Joe, since you are close to the campaign, I urge you to urge Gary Johnson and Jim Gray to implement the following plan:

    1) Contact and mobilize activists to show up at the debate with Gary Johnson and Jim Gray. Urge them to bring signs and video cameras. Put out the word among Libertarian Party members, Ron Paul supporters, groups like We Are Change, and anyone else who’d likely be interested to come to the protest.

    2) Contact the alternative media. Get as many alternative outlets to cover this protest as possible. Contact The Alex Jones Show and whoever else would be interested in this story. Also, contact local weekly newspapers in whatever cities these debates are being held.

    3) Contact foreign media. Use the example the the US government lectures the rest of the world about freedom and fair elections, yet in reality the USA doesn’t really have either, and that this is an example of how we don’t really have either. The mainstream media in the USA will probably try to bury this story like they did when Michael Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb got arrested at a debate back in 2004, but I’d be willing to bet that there is are are foreign media outlets that would be interested in covering such a story.

    4) Gary Johnson and Jim Gray need to have the balls to actually show up at these events and get arrested, and this needs to be video recorded and put on YouTube as soon as it happens.

    This could turn into a big story if it is handled properly.

  19. Robert Capozzi

    14 tk: Capozzi explodes at Johnson for narcing to the US District Court in 3, 2, 1

    me: Hah! No, one narcs on one’s friends and colleagues. This suit isn’t a narcing, although I’m a bit surprised there’s not outrage from some Ls for Team GJ using anti-trust laws, since the orthodox L view is anti-trust laws are not NAP-compliant.

    For me, using an existing law in the pursuit of freedom and justice is aOK, so long as the intention is clear. I have a similar view of the taking of matching funds.

    Whether this will be an effective legal tactic, I can’t say. My gut tells me it’s a Hail Mary worth tossing…why not?

  20. George Phillies

    @18 The law was on the books well before May. The list of candidates on the MI ballot was known well before May. My newspaper has been presented with information asserting that the LNC was warned about the matter, in closed session, well before May. Laches is obviously appropriate.

  21. Kevin Knedler

    welcomed new on the law suit. Ralph Nader brought this up in 2008 at 3rd party debate in Cleveland, Ohio. Nothing may happen for this election, but it could affect 2016. Small steps, small steps.

  22. paulie

    The law was on the books well before May. The list of candidates on the MI ballot was known well before May. My newspaper has been presented with information asserting that the LNC was warned about the matter, in closed session, well before May. Laches is obviously appropriate.

    Not at all.

    The sore loser laws had never been applied to presidential candidates in any state before, logically do not apply to presidential candidates since slates of electors are what are chosen and presidential candidates are just labels for them, etc. There have been many cases all over the country, including in Michigan several times, to prove that sore loser laws do not apply to the presidency.

    The Michigan SOS did float the idea that she might misapply the sore loser law to the presidential race in May, but refused to make it official until the last possible minute, so if the lawsuit had been filed then the claim from her side would have been that the lawsuit was not ripe.

    The lawsuit was then speedily filed, as was the other lawsuit – Michigan did not state that it would not print the other Gary Johnson on the ballot until September 7, so he could not sue until then. The reasoning was also spurious, contrary to all logic and numerous precedents, and contradictory to the state’s claim in the Gov Johnson lawsuit that the LP could nominate anyone we want except a tiny number of people that ran in other parties’ primaries. They have never even attempted to justify why Judge Gray is not on the ballot.

    Laches is obviously NOT appropriate.

  23. paulie

    You should re-read @18 more carefully.

    It is from Gary Johnson of Texas and explains exactly why his lawsuit could not be filed any earlier than it was.

    He is 100% correct.

    A list of candidates couldn’t have possibly been available in May; the LP nominated its candidates at the state level in June, the Greens nominated their ticket in July, the Democrats and Republicans did not officially nominate their candidates til Aug/Sep., and so on.

    Laches is being misapplied.

  24. paulie

    Elections are not a line of commerce.

    The president and vice-president get salaries and various other forms of compensation, and appoint numerous other positions which do as well.

  25. paulie

    http://www.ballot-access.org/2012/09/22/sixth-circuit-again-refuses-to-hear-michigan-libertarian-party-presidential-ballot-access-lawsuit/

    On September 21, the full Sixth Circuit refused to hear Gelineau v Ruth Johnson, the case to get Gary Johnson of Austin, Texas, on the Michigan ballot as the Libertarian presidential candidate. The state didn’t even explain, in any of its briefs, why James P. Gray, the Libertarian nominee for vice-president, should not be on the November ballot; he isn’t a “sore loser”. The Court seems to base its unwillingness to actually hear the case on the point that the case should have been filed sooner. Here is the two-page order.

    The issue will be aired in the two Michigan Libertarian cases after the election is over. The very fact that the “sore loser” law doesn’t explain how to handle vice-presidential candidates, and presidential elector candidates, is further evidence that the law was never intended to apply to presidential primaries. For now, the only solace that Michigan voters who want to vote for Johnson have is that write-ins will be counted.

    The largest number of write-ins for a presidential candidate in general election history was 58,412 (the Eugene McCarthy total in California in 1976). Within Michigan, the largest number of write-ins ever received by a presidential candidate in the general election was Ralph Nader in 1996; he received 2,322. Elections officials must perform extra work to handle write-in votes, so Ruth Johnson’s illogical and cruel decision to be the first official in U.S. history to keep a presidential candidate off the ballot on the basis that he or she had run in a presidential primary will cause extra expense and work for local election officials.

    Every Gary Johnson voter in Michigan should check after the election to see that at least one Johnson write-in in that voter’s precinct was canvassed, and if a write-in voter finds a “zero” in the official record, that voter should participate in a lawsuit along with other such voters. The Michigan Libertarian Party can probably coordinate such an effort if it wishes.

  26. Andy

    “As Andy knows, Badnarik and Cobb did this in 2004.”

    While I certainly commend Michael Badnarik and David Cobb for having the guts to get arrested at the debates back in 2004, this was not anywhere near being as well coordinated as it should have been, and therefore it did not gain as much coverage as it could have gotten. The mainstream media knew about it and they purposely buried this story. This is why I suggested that multiple alternative media sources and foreign media sources be contacted and lined up to cover the story in advance, and that protesters be lined up in advance, and that there be multiple people present with video cameras, and that the footage needs to be uploaded to YouTube as soon as possible.

    This could turn into a big story if it is handled right. Imagine this as a headline (even if it is primarily just covered in the alternative media and foreign media), “Former Governor of New Mexico and Current Candidate for President Arrested at Presidential Debates.” A story like this would really expose the system for the fraud that it is.

  27. paulie

    Yep.

    Libertychat.com has this:

    Mitt Romney has done little to excite the Republican base. He’s basically coasting, hoping enough people hate Obama, vs actually liking him. This is what’s going on with the Gary Johnson campaign. They’re hoping enough people hate Obama & Romney, that they’ll vote for Gary. You can’t coast as a third party candidate. You need to stand out. You need to get in the country’s face. Force them to listen to you.

    There’s probably good reason why I’ll never run a campaign, but if I were helping Gary Johnson, I’d be holding rally after rally, literally right outside of either Obama rallies, or Romney rallies. I’d hold press conferences outside of CNN, FOX, demanding to be in the debates. I’d call for a rally outside the CPD’s (Commission on Presidential Debates) office, demanding to be in the debates.

    Gary Johnson, the campaign, and the Libertarian party, need to grow a pair. I mean how many times in a row can you fail, before you finally try a new approach?

    I don’t agree that Johnson is coasting, and there was a protest outside CNN, but a lot more of that sort of thing should happen,

    There’s a lot to do it and not a lot of people to do it, so whatever can be done along these lines would be good.

  28. Thane Eichenauer

    @41
    Although I don’t believe in excluding “arresting” opportunities I currently don’t think that the alternative media is currently influencable like “the media” is. I would just as well prefer to focus on the anti-trust lawsuit(s). As a wise man called Ernie once said, a lawsuit gives you an official government number which much of “the media” and even “the alternative media” feel it needs to justify coverage and it gives a very clear issue put down on paper (forgive me the word play) in black and white.

  29. Tom Blanton

    Gary Johnson, the campaign, and the Libertarian party, need to grow a pair. I mean how many times in a row can you fail, before you finally try a new approach?

    A new approach to what? Working within a failed system? Sustaining the delusion that one can be ruled over and yet be free at the same time?

  30. Matt Cholko

    “…try a new approach”- agreed. All who are so inclined should organize protests outside whatever office they deem appropriate. Invite GJ and JG. Maybe they show, maybe not. Maybe it is for a good reason, maybe not. Either way, your well organized protests will likely be helpful to both the LP and the cause of democracy. Just try to ensure they really are organized efforts – more than just 11 people holding signs.

  31. Andy

    “Thane Eichenauer // Sep 22, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    @41
    Although I don’t believe in excluding ‘arresting’ opportunities I currently don’t think that the alternative media is currently influencable like ‘the media’ is.”

    More and more people are tuning out the mainstream (aka-”lamestream”) media, and the mainstream media will bury the story of candidates getting arrested at debates just as they did back in 2004, and they will bury the story about the lawsuit as well.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures, and I firmly believe that Gary Johnson and Jim Gray ought to follow the advice that I gave up above, as in stage a protest at the debates, allow themselves to get arrested, and get as much publicity for it as possible, and since the mainstream media will likely bury the story, they’ll have to rely on the alternative media and the foreign media for additional coverage.

  32. Thane Eichenauer

    @46
    Those who have found a truth channel are getting news. I agree that the lies channels are as capable as ever.
    If the alternative media and foreign media are capable of covering an arrest, they are capable of covering a lawsuit or lawsuits. I have no problem with both strategies if Johnson and Gray are willing.

  33. Andy

    “Thane Eichenauer // Sep 23, 2012 at 1:29 am

    @46
    Those who have found a truth channel are getting news. I agree that the lies channels are as capable as ever.
    If the alternative media and foreign media are capable of covering an arrest, they are capable of covering a lawsuit or lawsuits. I have no problem with both strategies if Johnson and Gray are willing.”

    I think that the law suit will get more coverage if Gary Johnson and Jim Gray were to get arrested at debates, and particularly if video of their arrests are posted to YouTube.

  34. Robert Capozzi

    46 A: Desperate times call for desperate measures,

    me: I’ve heard that before. Is it true? In what way is it true? Are the times THAT desperate? Why would “desperate” measures in response be any more effective than a reasoned, measured response? Previous LP candidates have gotten arrested and it didn’t make any difference, so why do you think that THIS time will be different? If it’s been done before, does it qualify as a “desperate measure”?

    I happen to believe that meeting dysfunction with dysfunction only creates more dysfunction. Is that assumption incorrect in some way?

  35. paulie

    “…try a new approach”- agreed. All who are so inclined should organize protests outside whatever office they deem appropriate. Invite GJ and JG. Maybe they show, maybe not. Maybe it is for a good reason, maybe not. Either way, your well organized protests will likely be helpful to both the LP and the cause of democracy. Just try to ensure they really are organized efforts – more than just 11 people holding signs.

    Yep.

    I firmly believe that Gary Johnson and Jim Gray ought to follow the advice that I gave up above, as in stage a protest at the debates, allow themselves to get arrested, and get as much publicity for it as possible, and since the mainstream media will likely bury the story, they’ll have to rely on the alternative media and the foreign media for additional coverage.

    Yep.

    If the alternative media and foreign media are capable of covering an arrest, they are capable of covering a lawsuit or lawsuits. I have no problem with both strategies if Johnson and Gray are willing.

    Lawsuits don’t provide very good visuals, and there have been many, many lawsuits against the CPD. However I am still in favor of them, and if they get covered, great! Art DiBianca’s complaints against the CPD’s tax exempt status are also good, boycotts of CPD sponsors, etc.

    I think that the law suit will get more coverage if Gary Johnson and Jim Gray were to get arrested at debates, and particularly if video of their arrests are posted to YouTube.

    Agreed. The latter is a tool that we did not have in 2004, which makes it worth doing again.

  36. Andy

    “Previous LP candidates have gotten arrested and it didn’t make any difference, so why do you think that THIS time will be different? If it’s been done before, does it qualify as a ‘desperate measure’?”

    There is only one Libertarian Party candidate for President who got arrested outside a Presidential Debate, and that was Michael Badnarik. Yes, it DID make a difference because it illustrated that we live in a police state that does not tolerate open debates a fair elections. Unfortunately, this arrest received little publicity because the mainstream media buried the story and because the Badnarik campaign did a poor job promoting it.

    I think that if this were coordinated properly by the Gary Johnson campaign, that the story could blow up into a big (or at least relatively big) story. Once again, imagine a headline like this, “Former Governor and Current Candidate for President Arrested at Presidential Debate.” Even if the mainstream media tries to bury the story, it would be a big story in the alternative media as well as the foreign media (I’d be willing to bet some of which would love to run a story that makes the USA look bad). I think that such a s story could also receive mainstream media coverage within Gary Johnson’s home state of New Mexico. The arrest needs to be filmed and put on YouTube and the link to the video needs to go viral (and I think that there’s a good chance that it would).

    Yes, desperate times do in fact call for desperate measures, and yes, we are in desperate times. Should Gary Johnson get arrested at the debates? Hell yes! I’d go so far as to say that their ought to be a huge, mass protest at the debate to the point where the debate is SHUT DOWN if Gary Johnson (and Jill Stein too for that matter) are not able to participate. Just having Obama and Romney in the debate is not a real debate since this excludes other candidates who are on enough ballots to win the election, so therefore, this debate is a fraud.

  37. paulie

    I think making it viral on youtube would be the key to unburying the story.

    What if Jesse Ventura was there also?

    Judge Napolitano?

    Penn Jilette?

    Drew Carey?

    John Stossel?

    Amy Goodman?

    Ralph Nader?

    Ron Paul?

    Could the story still be ignored then?

  38. zapper

    A mass protest so big that it shuts down the debate would be great – if YOU can pull it off, because no one else can get that many there.

    Getting arrested is a bad idea. It would bring little attention at all, and much of it would be negative.

  39. zapper

    @52 Yes, a group of luminaries would make it a “big” protest without having the tens of thousands needed to shut down the debate.

  40. zapper

    @52 cont. It would take most of those plus a few more – a dozen well-known individuals demanding – in person at the debate – that Johnson be included.

    Make a list. Gary Johnson should phone each one personally explaining and inviting what the plan is.

    This would take very professional PR handling – and it could be a breakthrough event.

    But no arrest for Gary Johnson should be planned.

  41. Robert Capozzi

    51 A, reiterating an assertion does not make it so. I’m asking for elaboration.

    I, for instance, do not feel “desperate,” but you may and others may.

  42. Andy

    “Getting arrested is a bad idea. It would bring little attention at all, and much of it would be negative.”

    Getting arrested is a bad idea? Tell that to Rosa Parks.

    Video of Gary Johnson getting arrested for the “crime” of trying to participate in a debate for a public office for which he is a candidate could be the catalyst to waking a lot of people up that we are living in a police state which does not tolerate free speech and fair elections.

    Another group that should be contacted about this matter is Oath Keepers. Oath Keepers is a group which is dedicated to influencing police officers to obey their oath of office to defend the Constitution. Any police office which would arrest a ballot qualified candidate for public office for trying to participate in public debate deserves to lose their badge.

  43. Andy

    “I, for instance, do not feel “desperate,” but you may and others may.”

    Perhaps you haven’t been paying very close attention to what the government has been doing.

    This reminds me of that saying that goes, “If you aren’t angry, then you aren’t paying attention.”

  44. Andy

    “But no arrest for Gary Johnson should be planned.”

    Then the plan turns to chickenshit and becomes far less effective.

  45. Andy

    Another plus to Gary Johnson getting arrested at the debates would be that he could file a law suit against the police for arresting him.

  46. Establishmentarian

    90% of people would see the arrest for what it is; a bunch of worthless losers and hooligans attempting to brutally disrupt a debate between the two most popular candidates with the two most popular ideologies; and attempting to waste the voters time listening to people who have no chance of winning; and they have no chance of winning not because of the media, but because people just don’t like their ideas. People want statist control of at least part of their lives; get over it. Jill Stein is a better person, but she should have run for the Democratic nomination or become a proportional representation or US Parliament activist to get her party more out there.

  47. Robert Capozzi

    58 A, ok, I’d suggest there’s a saying for everything. It’s been said, too, that “anger is never justified,” which makes sense to me. One can “pay attention” to dysfunction while not letting it get to you.

    Wacky stunts might work to agitate the angry, but I question whether they are indicated in this case.

  48. Mark Axinn

    I discussed this lawsuit with Judge Gray when I saw him in New York on Wednesday.

    It’s a terrific idea. Remember we often use litigation for purposes other than winning the lawsuit itself (look at all the ballot access suits we have filed over the years). I hope the plan is for the campaign to publicize the lawsuit to the hilt and hopefully mainstream media will pay attention.

    It’s particularly wise to file in Judge Gray’s home turf and for him to argue the motion.

    On the issue of getting arrested, we have to remember that Gary Johnson and Jim Gray are not Adam Kokesh! Always consider the public relations aspects of an activity.

    What makes sense for someone like Adam, who is out there poking a finger in the eye of the oppressor, might not work for a former Judge and Governor.

  49. Andy

    Mark Axin said: “On the issue of getting arrested, we have to remember that Gary Johnson and Jim Gray are not Adam Kokesh! Always consider the public relations aspects of an activity.

    What makes sense for someone like Adam, who is out there poking a finger in the eye of the oppressor, might not work for a former Judge and Governor.”

    I think that it would make an even more powerful statement if a former Governor and a former judge got arrested at the debates.

  50. Andy

    “LibertarianGirl // Sep 23, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    I agree with Andy….lest we forget Badnarik getting arrested…it was powerful and , um , BADASS!”

    Yes it was. I just wish that his supporters had video taped him getting arrested, and that they had gotten more publicity from it.

  51. Andy

    “Wacky stunts might work to agitate the angry, but I question whether they are indicated in this case.”

    What is so wacky about a candidate for President who is on enough ballots to win the election showing up at a Presidential Debate?

    What I’d call wacky, is the fact that candidates who are on enough ballots to win the election are being shut out of the debate. This illustrates just how screwed up this country really is.

  52. Zapper

    Protesting effectively – the idea of including multiple celebrities and luminaries would be powerful if it could be set up – would bring positive PR coverage and would be viewed positively in the minds of the public.

    Getting arrested might get more coverage, but much of it would be negative and worse, in the minds of the public much of the sentiment would be as expressed in @61.

    It isn’t always best to stick-it-in-the-eye of your target office. Radical views are generally best presented calmly and mildly. This is what made Ed Clark’s style so effective

  53. Andy

    “Getting arrested might get more coverage, but much of it would be negative and worse, in the minds of the public much of the sentiment would be as expressed in @61.”

    The coverage would be negative in whose eyes? Mainstream Democrats and Republicans, as in people who are the least likely to ever vote for Libertarian Party candidates anyway.

    The people who’d actually be more likely to vote for a Libertarian Party candidate would think that Gary Johnson was a “righteous dude” and that he was “sticking it to the man.”

    Getting arrested didn’t hurt Rosa Parks, it helped her and the cause which she supported.

  54. Andy

    I really hope that Gary Johnson and Jim Gray have the balls to show up at the debates and get arrested, and I really hope that they don’t wuss out and listen to any of the pansies out there (as in the same type of people who’d have been too cowardly to take part in the Boston Tea Party or to have fired on the British troops in Concord and Lexington).

  55. Zapper

    @69 Rosa Parks was not running for President, was not a former governor, and had no public image to maintain. The positive outcome took years. Segregation of bus seating was an obvious “wrong” in the eyes of millions.

    Not being included in debates for a candidate who does not qualify because he is not popular enough in the polls is not the same. The public has seen others included – Perot, Anderson – so it’s possible from their view.

    Your example is one that I will claim as my own.

    We do not have a cause sympathetic enough in the eyes of the public to justify having our candidates arrested – a proper and powerful protest could be effective – getting arrested – No. That would be a major mistake. Bad strategy, we have to think of the moves that come after on the political/PR chessboard.

  56. Zapper

    @70 The participants in the Boston Tea Party and the troops at Concord and Lexington had a plan to NOT be arrested.

    Thanks again for proving my point.

  57. Zapper

    … One further little thing you’re overlooking …

    Rosa Parks didn’t plan to be arrested either … she was just tired and wanted to sit down.

  58. Robert Capozzi

    70 A: I really hope that Gary Johnson and Jim Gray have the balls to show up at the debates and get arrested…

    me: The “balls”? Ah, oh, this is some sort of testosterone-laden thing, a sword fight of some kind.

    Maybe you might suggest they douse themselves with gasoline and self-immolate. That’d take “balls” too. ;)

  59. Eric Sundwall

    I know how to get into the back entrance of the Hofstra debate . . .

    Johnson can’t accrue the necessary polling to meet the Commission’s criteria. Whether or not the risk of arrest is worth it seems like a nuisance concern for a campaign who’s next goal conceivably is the matching funds issue.

    If they can tag that, Roger Stone gets a paycheck and Johnson’s case amongst the we ‘gotta win’ crowd for 2016 becomes stronger. He could conceivably run for four years at that point, depending on the disposition of the LNC.

    An arrest would just be a scornful or bemused footnote to the MSM. If only we had the armed,drunken farmers at Lexington and Concord to back up the cause . . . but that would turn the NAP upside down.

    The real question is- what was a bigger historical mystery – the identity of the Unknown Comic or zapper.

    We know the first answer . . .

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unknown_Comic

  60. Robert Capozzi

    To be clear, some sort of counter event – perhaps some form of street theater – might be indicated, if properly handled.

    The fixation on “getting arrested” seems OCD to me.

  61. zapper

    @75 Here’s the story. It doesn’t sound planned. Rosa Parks sat in the colored section of the bus. How could she have known that on that day she would be asked to move out of seats reserved for colored persons and make room for whites? How could she know the white seats would fill up? How could it have been a plan? Sure, she was an activist, she had had training, but that day there was no plan to be arrested.

    Rosa Parks herself describes the event.

    “After working all day, Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus around 6 p.m., Thursday, December 1, 1955, in downtown Montgomery. She paid her fare and sat in an empty seat in the first row of back seats reserved for blacks in the “colored” section. Near the middle of the bus, her row was directly behind the ten seats reserved for white passengers. Initially, she did not notice that the bus driver was the same man, James F. Blake, who had left her in the rain in 1943. As the bus traveled along its regular route, all of the white-only seats in the bus filled up. The bus reached the third stop in front of the Empire Theater, and several white passengers boarded.

    The No. 2857 bus on which Parks was riding before her arrest (a GM “old-look” transit bus, serial number 1132), is now a museum exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum.Blake noted that the front of the bus was filled with white passengers, with two or three standing. He moved the “colored” section sign behind Parks and demanded that four black people give up their seats in the middle section so that the white passengers could sit. Years later, in recalling the events of the day, Parks said, “When that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night.”[12]

    By Parks’ account, Blake said, “Y’all better make it light on yourselves and let me have those seats.”[13] Three of them complied. Parks said, “The driver wanted us to stand up, the four of us. We didn’t move at the beginning, but he says, ‘Let me have these seats.’ And the other three people moved, but I didn’t.”[14] The black man sitting next to her gave up his seat.[15]

    Parks moved, but toward the window seat; she did not get up to move to the redesignated colored section.[15] Blake said,

    “Why don’t you stand up?” Parks responded, “I don’t think I should have to stand up.” Blake called the police to arrest Parks. When recalling the incident for Eyes on the Prize, a 1987 public television series on the Civil Rights Movement, Parks said, “When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up, and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ And he said, ‘Well, if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested.’ I said, ‘You may do that.’”

  62. Andy

    “George Phillies // Sep 24, 2012 at 6:08 am

    @73 Your claim about Rosa Parks is false. One of the local older ACLU people was in touch with the arrangements. She was still extremely brave, but she was not alone.”

    George is correct here. Rosa Parks getting arrested on a city bus years ago in Montgomery, Alabama was planned out in advance with civil rights attorneys. It still took courage to actually do it, and the end result was obviously effective.

    I think that Gary Johnson and Jim Gray should take a similar approach in dealing with this sham known as the Commission on Presidential Debates (Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala ought to do the same as well).

  63. Andy

    “An arrest would just be a scornful or bemused footnote to the MSM.”

    The mainstream media would try to bury the story just like they did when Michael Badnarik and David Cobb got arrested at a debate back in 2004. This is why I suggested having fellow protesters on hand to video record the arrest and to immediately put it on YouTube, and it is also why I suggested inviting as many alternative media and foreign media outlets to cover the arrest as possible.

    “If only we had the armed,drunken farmers at Lexington and Concord to back up the cause . . . but that would turn the NAP upside down.”

    I don’t think that “firing on the Red Coats at Lexington and Concord” violates the NAP principle. If a government violates individual rights it is perfectly within the NAP principle to fight back.

  64. paulie

    George is correct here. Rosa Parks getting arrested on a city bus years ago in Montgomery, Alabama was planned out in advance with civil rights attorneys. It still took courage to actually do it, and the end result was obviously effective.

    The exact date of the arrest was not necessarily planned, because it depended on which bus driver would decide to be a prick on which day, but she and the people she was working with to coordinate the plan knew it would happen sooner or later because of prevailing practices among Montgomery bus drivers – sooner more likely than later.

  65. Tom Blanton

    Perhaps if dozens of LP officials were arrested along with Gary Johnson at the debate, it would make the news – especially if the cops all look like Dearth Vader and there was plenty of pepper spray and tear gas in the air. It would be hard to ignore video of Johnson being beaten with clubs by several cops while others are tasing him and pepper spraying him.

    Flaming police cars turned on their side and gunfire exchanges would add excitement to the event and provide news shows with high ratings, too.

    If the mayhem reached a certain level, the security freaks would probably close down the debate and the whole nasty affair would have to be reported.

    I suppose we would then have to suffer through Wayne Root appearances on FOX explaining how the guy he once supported had morphed into a dangerous domestic terrorist, but it would all add a great deal of entertainment value to the otherwise boring debates.

    Another possible scenario for media fanfare would be a CPD hostage situation where all presidential candidates would be required to participate in a marathon debate lasting 24 hours with questions coming directly from the unscreened calls of viewers.

    I’m guessing the LNC would reject both debate night riots and taking CPD members hostage. Some might say they just don’t have the balls for it.

  66. Joe Buchman

    How about the entire LNC shows up to get arrested? Or maybe just those applying for the open LNC seat? Whoever generates the most positive publicity gets the open At Large seat?

    It’s time to have some (as Steve Kubby might say) FUN with this . . .

  67. Eric Blitz

    The media treats celebrity arrests for what they are, a stunt. The point the celebrity is trying to make is that their cause is so important that it requires insurgency, but the media (and most of the public) quickly take note that it is an ‘insurgency of one’ and thus discount it. Even a group of celebrities would reinforce the ‘insurgency of one’ problem. If the media and public see hundreds of non-celebrity citizens being arrested they will focus on the cause more, because they then see that the insurgency aspect is real. However, a political campaign is not really an insurgency in any meaningful way. It can be described as such, and take on some insurgent themes, but it is by design a contest within the boundaries of the system.

    Having Gary Johnson engage in a stunt whereby he gets arrested (as Jill Stein did) without any significant risk of punishment/bodily harm will do very little and has the added problem that you feed the media a story that they can easily twist to their own theme (often depending on their political bias). The public will not be moved on the point of CPD exclusionary practices or even care that a presidential candidate was arrested.

    Most importantly, it offers the opportunity to further marginalize the candidate. If Gary were polling at 20%, maybe an arrest would be treated differently. If Romney were arrested, it would definitely be treated differently. Why? Because under those hypotheticals they aren’t already marginalized, so the import of an arrest would be recognized.

    To many in the media and the public, an arrest stunt is evidence that they were justified in their view of the candidate as marginal. The only people that won’t perceive it as a stunt are those already so committed to the cause that they view it as validation of their beliefs. But that’s a very small minority of the voting population. This is an electoral campaign by a recognized political party. The effort is to persuade voters to give us a chance, not just preach to the choir. My fear is that the public is already too risk averse (given the economy and other uncertainties) to give Gary and the Libertarian Party the chance they both deserve.

  68. Andy

    “Eric Blitz // Sep 25, 2012 at 8:37 am

    The media treats celebrity arrests for what they are, a stunt. The point the celebrity is trying to make is that their cause is so important that it requires insurgency, but the media (and most of the public) quickly take note that it is an ‘insurgency of one’ and thus discount it.”

    The goal here is NOT what the mainstream media. We all already know that the mainstream media will either bury the story, or they will spin it in a negative manner.

    The goal here is to get the story out in the alternative media as well as the foreign media, both of whom will be more sympathetic to the story. The other goal from which the first goal stems is to get the story out to the members of the general public who would agree with Gary Johnson, in that the debate commission is a sham and that he should be included in the debates. Many of these people are people who’d actually agree with Gary Johnson on other political issues as well, and many of them would actually vote for him if they knew who he was. These people are mostly independents or non-voters.

    So yes, Gary Johnson should show up at the debates and get arrested, and he should file a law suit against the police for false arrest. The heck with what the “mainstream” thinks about it. The “mainstream” is NOT libertarian and they are not going to vote for him anyway.

  69. Andy

    Gary Johnson getting arrested at the debates would not be an insurgency of one if a group of protesters is organized to go to the debate with him. Also, perhaps Jill Stein could take part in this and get arrested as well since she too is on the ballot in enough states to win the election and is also being shut out of the debates.

  70. Andy

    “The only people that won’t perceive it as a stunt are those already so committed to the cause that they view it as validation of their beliefs. But that’s a very small minority of the voting population.”

    I disagree. There are a lot of people in the general public who don’t know who Gary Johnson is, and who don’t even know what the Libertarian Party is, but who are disgusted by both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party,. and who’d like to see more choices. These people know that the Presidential Debates as they are currently held are a sham and they would be quite sympathetic with Gary Johnson for being shut out of the debate, if they only knew about it.

  71. zapper

    @88 Well written and spot on.

    … especially: “The only people that won’t perceive it as a stunt are those already so committed to the cause that they view it as validation of their beliefs. But that’s a very small minority of the voting population.”

    … which is proven @ 89, 90, 91

  72. Tom Blanton

    Maybe Johnson (the dude’s name is Johnson – uhh huh huh – Johnson) could get a bit of media like Nader did today by stating the obvious.

    Obama is a war criminal!

    How about a pledge to subject Obama to the same type of justice that Obama has subjected Bradley Manning to?

    And, just to make things bi-partisan, vow to bring George W. Bush to justice also.

    Now, the mainstream media is likely to view this a some sort of attention-getting scheme by a marginal candidate, but so fucking what?

    Bush and Obama are war criminals, and most of the civilized world along with many Americans realize this is true – assuming America is held to the same Nuremberg standard that America wants to hold every other nation in the world to (the UK and Israel excepted).

  73. Robert Capozzi

    tb, why stop with Bush and Obama? Clinton, Bush 1, and Carter were “war criminals,” too, yes? All MCs during the terms of these presidents: War criminals. Secret Service and Capitol Police? War criminals. Nancy Reagan: War criminal.

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