The Eagles Have Landed

Blogging from the Libertarian National Convention exhibit area, I just registered and in this post I’ll recap the first significant event of the convention, the Masquerade Ball. 

When I arrived at the Sheraton in downtown Denver last night, no one at the front desk knew of any Libertarian Party (LP) events scheduled for that night.  I called the concierge from my room, and he told me there might be some event in a suite that wasn’t scheduled by the hotel, and that maybe it was on the second floor.  I put on my “normal” Joey Panto duds, which many consider a costume, so as soon as I got to the second floor, a couple holding ornate Mardi Gras half-masks saw my cowboy hat and boots, and we knew the party was on somewhere.  The couple was Daniel and Melissa Williams, from Naples, FL.  Daniel is running for vice president, the only one declaring candidacy for that office.  As I write, Daniel hollered over to me as he and Melissa are setting up their booth.  He gave me a copy of his book, “The Naked Truth about Drugs”, an attack on the foolish Drug War.  The book’s cover has Daniel smiling and nekkid as a jaybird, although modestly covering the naughty bits. 

Back to last night, Daniel, Melissa and I eventually found the party in a 6th floor suite.  There were perhaps 50 people there at the maximum, about half wearing costumes, some quite exotic.  Bob Sullentrup (LP National Secretary) cut a dashing Thomas Jefferson, in full dress coat, ruffles, and white wig.  Other fine garbs were Cato (Roman senator), Cleopatra, Lafayette, John Travolta (white disco suit worn by Daniel Imperato, a presidential candidate, and Bill Shatner lookalike).  Imperato is unarguably the marketing frontrunner, charming half the room into wearing his stickers. 

Other presidential candidates making a show at the party were George Phillies (http://phillies2008.org/), physics professor and game theory expert at WPI, and former Georgia congressman Bob Barr (http://www.bobbarr2008.com/).  George has a point program of ending the war in Iraq, fiscal responsibility, and reclaiming or civil freedoms.  Bob Barr has made the LP bid more interesting given his name recognition, and just as importantly, his libertarian conversion.  Many will remember Bob as the moralistic crusader against drugs, gay marriage, and Bill Clinton.  Bob has done nearly a 180 degree turn on the war of drugs, even advocating repeal of the Barr Amendment (which overturned a medical marijuana initiative).

I talked with Tony Ryan from LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) at the party about the Drug War folly.  Tony is a well known spokesman on the utter failure of the War on Drugs, and his credibility comes from his experience (36 years I think he said) as a police officer in Denver, and since retiring and Joining LEAP, he has developed a statistically compelling set of arguments why the current drug prohibitive laws need to be repealed.  Basically, he argues that prevention, investigation,  interdiction, punishment, and rehabilitation policies are all abysmal failures, and the costs to society of the Drug War are huge in the monetary and cultural sense.

Well, setup is going slowly here on the floor, so will be working on the website until I can get fully registered and get my press pass.  Stay tuned.

 

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