Gaylord, MI - The Libertarian Party of Michigan presented the long-awaited 2019 Libbies to four deserving individuals on July 18th at the 2020 Nominating Convention Luncheon.
New arrivals to the Libertarian Party of Michigan may have thought this headline was a typo. This has a bit to do with the history of the awards. Traditionally Liberty Festival Banquets have been held as distinct events near the end of calendar years during which award winners earned them. However, it was often a challenge for activists to organize a festival while campaigning on even years, so Defender of Liberty Awards were sometimes bestowed upon winners in late Winter months after New Years. So the LPM presented the awards in a different year then the recipients earned them, but it was close enough to the beginning of the year that nobody expressed any confusion.
After the record breaking Presidential vote results in 2016 the party needed to have a special convention in February to rewrite it's bylaws. Since this was a common time to schedule the Liberty Fest Banquet the Libby Awards were combined with the special convention.
Under the new bylaws the Libertarian Party held two conventions in even years, so the awards have been presented at the spring conventions since then. So if an award is handed out in the spring, it is for the previous year. This was the plan in 2020. Defender of Liberty Awards (AKA Libbies) would be presented in 2020 for accomplishments made in 2019. This was all cancelled due to concerns over the detection of the COVID-19 virus in Michigan. The next opportunity was on July 18th 2020.
This year Norm Peterson and Jerry Bloom both received Producers of Liberty Awards.Greg Stempfle nominated Norm Peterson:
I would like to nominate Norman Peterson for the Producer of Liberty Award.Jim Fulner nominated Jerry Bloom:
The Producer of Liberty Award goes to "a dedicated, behind-the-scenes Libertarian whose quiet labors over the years exemplifies the backbone of the LP."
During my time as Political Director, Norm was one of the few people I could always rely on to step up and volunteer for the party. Among his list of activities with the party the past few years were he; helped start the Jackson-Hillsdale affiliate, ran for the Michigan State Legislature, is serving his second term on the LEC, this time as state party treasurer, helped with the Policy Manual, Convention Planning Committee, and with Libertarian Promise to Michigan campaign.
Mr. Bloom has been an active member of the Party for over 20 years. In the time I have known him he has been a fairly quiet guy, not one to make himself known at state conventions or otherwise seek attention for himself.
He has been a regular, sometimes very large, donor of the LPM and its candidates. He has never been one quickly swayed by the new flashy items on the block, but that hasn't made him automatically opposed to new ideas. I remember when I first tried to introduce him to Bitcoin, he had been extremely skeptical, but as the years have gone by he has continued to email me various articles on the subject evident that he's still reading, and eventually he seems to have come over to the side of crypto, even if in a much less pragadioucs way than I personally would like.
In particular I think this is the particular year to honor Jerry's years of service because of how he took the reigns so unwillingly, but helpfully.
I haven't personally interacted with Mr. Bloom much this year, as I moved to a new affiliate region 2 years ago. But what I have heard completely aligns with the Jerry I know. At this year's state convention he begrudgingly accepted the roll of district rep on the LEC, marking, to my knowledge, his first time serving in such a roll.
Not only has he gone one to diligently fill that roll by actively participating in the position he was elected, but taking lead in running the new database and its corresponding components.
I could write an extensive introduction for that purpose, but since I already wrote an article about these wonderful people, and how they have earned the award(s), I will simply share a link to it here: https://michiganlp.org/capital-area-libertarians-good-deeds-dont-go-unpunishedAt the luncheon he referenced the article as Martin Mashon listened in and commented via an Amazon Echo. They are co-founders of the Lansing Chapter of Punks With Lunch, a humanitarian group dedicated to feeding homeless people. They were both arrested for helping a few homeless people take shelter at a heated public bus depot in the midst of lethally cold winter weather. The award committee didn't select anyone for the 2019 Promoter of Liberty Award. The Libertarian Party of Michigan Historical Archives lists all previous Defender of Liberty Award Winners .
By Scotty Boman, LPWC Chair
Orlando, FL - Libertarians met in person for the second sitting of their National Convention from July 7th through July 12th at the Rosen Centre Hotel Orlando Convention Center. Meanwhile the majority of delegates participated through the Zoom teleconference application. This hybrid approach had it's challenges, but most core functions of the Convention were completed with the exception of the platform report.
What follows is a few impressions of people who were physically there along with essential facts like the officer election results.
Ryan Roberts, had a fresh perspective that didn't involve comparisons to other conventions:
For my first experience I had a good time. I got to meet a lot of like minded and friendly people at the convention! It was great seeing Spike, Jo, Matt Kibbe, John Monds and many other well known libertarians. The AirBnB that the Mises Caucus provided was comfortable and I am very thankful for the assistance they were able to provide!
It was also the first national convention for Libertarian Party of Oakland County Chair Connor Nepomuceno:
The Orlando convention was my very first national convention, and I would say on the whole that it was a wonderful time. I was happy to meet and hang out with a lot of the people that I had only ever interacted with online. Of course, I couldn't meet all of them because many stayed at home.
I thought the act of conducting business in a bifurcated way (in person and online) was clumsy, and I hope we never do something like that again. I think it exaggerated some factional issues in the party.
I'll leave you with an anecdote: Outside the convention hall was an exterior balcony that smokers came to congregate at, known as the "Smoker's Coughus." Meanwhile, there were Sheriff deputies inside enforcing mask orders that FL has in place. So, 10 feet away from them we were outside passing around joints, having a good ole time, not giving a damn about them. A Libertarian experience if there ever was one.
I'd also like to add to the public record that upon my return to MI, I had a COVID test done and got a negative result.
Wayne County affiliate Secretary Daniel Ziemba contrasted the two sittings:
I found the in-person convention far more engaging and fulfilling than the previous online convention, with the most prominent frustration being the apparent lack of confidence on the part of perhaps 60% of the online delegation that those present in-person had the best interests of all delegates at heart during the first day's events. Those in the room nearly unanimously supported the course of action eventually taken.
Hopefully the party can find more unity in action should a similar situation occur in the future. Beyond that, Andrew and I purchased the gold package, and shared some very enlightening conversations over meals, which we shared with Alex Merced, Jacob Lamont, and others. I thought the safety precautions in place were pretty reasonable, with daily temperature checks, mask requirements in hallways, and generously spaced tables in the hall (and plenty of wide open spaces at the corners remaining for anyone who wanted extra isolation) providing plenty of protection from the coronavirus.
Finally, on Sunday evening after the convention concluded, we shared cigars and talked with with Nick Sarwark, Danny Bedwell (LP of MS chair), Ken Moellman, and a few others (to include a party member we recruited on the spot). I found that meeting some of the people I had previously only known electronically helped to settle needless tensions developed online, and reminded me that we are on the same team (and a large team at that), united against the forces of a political system which would rather we remain silent.
Of course our State Chair is no stranger to national conventions...
It was an honor chairing the Michigan delegation to the Libertarian National Convention; both the first session on Zoom and second hybrid session in Orlando with remote participation. Our delegation cast a full slate of 34 votes on every ballot. We conducted 13 ballots; seven in the first session for POTUS and VPOTUS and six ballots in the second session for LNC officers.
A special appreciation goes to Andrew Chadderdon for organizing and troubleshooting the LimeSurvey polling and having an incredible amount of patience. Below are the results of how our delegation voted.
Gaylord, MI - At the Libertarian Party of Michigan (LPM) nominating convention on July 18th, Delegates unanimously passed two resolutions condemning overreach my two prominent major party government officials. These Trump-Whitmer over-reaches were both related to their reactions to 2020 specific developments: The civil rights protests against police brutality and the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Resolutions are statements of opinion on timely issues, and are adopted as described in the LPM bylaws. They are not permanent planks of the LPM platform.
We the Libertarian Party of Michigan oppose the use of the United States Military against Americans on American soil, and condemn President Donald Trump's threat to do so. Furthermore, we believe he has set a dangerous precedent by using this threat to extort governors into using more draconian policies against residents of their states. This is not only a threat to the life and liberties of individuals in these united states of America, but is an usurpation of state powers by the less accountable Federal government.
Because some former libertarians have publicly supported Donald Trump and his abuses of power, we must clearly state that Donald Trump is not a libertarian, nor is any other person who advocates the use of the United States Military against the American people. As a State Libertarian Party, we don't endorse any candidate who supports such policy and urge all other Libertarian Party organizations to withhold such an endorsement.
The Libertarian Party of Michigan (LPM) strongly condemns the actions of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in response to the spread of COVID-19. We believe the governor has no authority under the Michigan Constitution to restrict individuals' freedom of movement and association unilaterally.
The LPM does not advocate any legal restriction of personal freedom; rather we advocate voluntary participation in scientifically sound measures to prevent the virus' spread as the most preferable solution (social distancing, rigorous hygiene, and the use of personal protective equipment). Only private citizens can achieve this through their own volition, whereas the Governor's actions are both oppressive and incapable of mitigating the severe crisis at hand. Moreover, her actions will cause irreparable harm to the economy of the State of Michigan at both the personal and societal level. Citizens will feel this in the form of lost jobs, homes, businesses and lives, along with the suffering that follows.
The mask mandate of July 2020 has redoubled the governor's tyranny, demanding business owners participate in the enforcement of state lawlessness. Moreover, Governor Whitmer has demanded the violation of ADA and HIPAA protections by insisting that business owners confirm that unmasked customers have medical justification for their non-compliance. We call for the nullification of this demand to the extent that citizens deem it safe to do so.
We therefore call on Governor Whitmer to lift the authoritarian restrictions in place and restore the human rights of movement and interaction to the citizens of Michigan. We also call upon the public servants of Michigan to resist these edicts and act to protect the rights of their constituents. Most importantly, we implore the citizens of Michigan to speak out against these egregious violations of human rights and demand a return to sanity and freedom.