Andrew McCullough's Blog

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The tough life of a Libertarian

June 26, 2008 -- As I have mentioned before, I am now Chair of the Libertarian Party of Utah. Mostly, because nobody else wanted to do the job. It brings with it many frustrations, and today I am going to write about one in particular, because today this frustration is really gnawing at me.

Political Action Committees (PACs) are orgainizations of like-minded people who get together and support candidates with contibutions and help. One of the most active in Utah is that of Equality Utah. A couple of weeks ago, they interviewed many candidates for possible endorsements, contributions and support. Several years ago, I wrote them a letter, when I recieved the invitation to their annual fund raising dinner. I asked if they conceivably would ever support a Libertarian. they were kind enough to reply that it wasn't likely, because they like to back people who might actually win. Needless to say, I did not go to their dinner. Four years ago, however, in my previous campaign for Attorney General, I interviewed with them, and, while they did not formally endorse me, they made a $500 contribution to my campaign. I was thirilled, because in my mind they had "broken the boycott", and given money because I am a good candidate, no matter what party I represent.

So, this year, I went to my intrerview again, and of course I answered the questions the right way. After all, my politics are very much in their favor. I fully support equality; and I am the rare candidate who will say so without reservation. Today I received a call saying that they had decided to use their limited resources in support of another candidate. Actually, I AM disappointed, and a little depressed. I am doing my best to run a credible campaign, and to gather enough resuorces to make my alternative viewpoint heard. After the hopes of four years ago, it is a real letdown. Obviously, they are entitled to do what they think is best for their cause; and I wish them well. They did indicate that their website will give me a favorable rating(maybe not, after they read this), and that they hope individual members may support me. I hope so too, as I believe it is very important to have a real choice in politics. In this race, I am that real choice, as I have staked out positions very different from my opponents. And, of course, I maintain that I have at least as good a chance as the other challenger, who is suffering from low polling numbers and low resources.

So, here is my hope. If you are someone who supports Equality Utah, and you also support me as a real alternative to the current legal establishment, please write me a check today for $100 (I also have PayPal), which is the price of a ticket to the Equality Utah dinner. Please include a note saying that you are an Equality Utah supporter; and please send them a note telling them that you may not make it to the dinner this year, as you have made your contribution directly to the best candidate for Attorney General. If I get just FIVE of you to do this, I will come out even, I will feel much better about life, and I promise I will use the money to rock the boat and to preach freedom.

And PLEASE forward this to others who may support Equality Utah. I need your help to get the word out, more than anything. See my website at for instructions on how to donate. And watch this space for news of a pending endorsement from another very important civil liberties organization.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Utah Attorney General

June 21, 2008

First, I am sad to hear that my opponent for Utah Attorney General, Mr. Shurtleff, has just had a sixth round of surgery to repair the fractured leg suffered last fall in a motorcycle accident. I do hope he gets well quick, and that we can can on with our debates and policy disagreements in good spirits.

That said, I am once again sad and frustrated by his office, and once again I am reminded why I am running for this office and why I would like to contribute to the incumbent's defeat in November. Several years ago, a good friend of mine was treated very badly by a UHP officer, who turned her slight speech impediment into evidence of drug impairment while driving, culminating in a strip search in an effort to find the drugs. When we tried to get compensation for this outrageous conduct, the Attorney General's office let us know right away that they had more money, more manpower, and more resources, and would grind us into dust. We did get a small settlement after a trial and two appeals; but my friend and client was mistreated by the system a second time, making it all the worse. Today I have been working on a case where it is clear to me that an Innocent man was imprisoned for several years. Once again, the state's attorneys will do everything possible to avoid him being compensated for his injuries. When an innocent man is treated as poorly by the system as this man is being treated, the Attorney General's office should be attempting to seek justice, not just win. Should I win the office I seek, the Attorney General will not represent solely the state bureaucrats; but will attempt to balance the real interests of the people of this State. More on this case is coming; and in the meantime I ask your help to get my message out that government can be kinder and gentler to its citizens. Justice should be the goal, and not an increase of State power.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Habeas Corpus in Guantanamo

June 14, 2008 -- This week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prisoners held at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have the right to challenge the legality of their confinement in federal courts. The very reason that the prison was set up outside the country was due to an effort by the administratation to avoid access to U.S. courts. That now having been invalidated, it is likely the prisoners will be transferred to the U.S., and the prison there will be closed. The government has claimed that prisoners of war have never been given access to civilian courts. But unlike previous wars, this one is not against any recognizeable foe; and unlike other wars, it may well never end. Keeping prisoners the rest of their lives without proving that they have done something wrong is against everything our country stands for. This hopefully closes a dirty little chapter in the history of U.S. justice. Sean Hannity, in Thursday's radio broadcast, labeled the majority "five radical Supreme Court Justices", and said they were "trying to run the country". He looks past the fact that three of the five in the majority are Republican appointees.

President Bush and his political advisors have milked fear for every drop of political advantage, over the last several years. They have justified taking away civil liberties, torturing prisoners, and increased government secrecy as necessary to protect the citizens from all kinds of fanciful threats. Finally, the pendulum may be swinging against them. It is sad that I am more afraid of my government than I am of foreign terrorists.

Are you afraid too of what our country has become? Join my efforts to take back what is ours. See my website and previous blogs for ideas on how to get involved.
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