Cato settlement details revealed

After some speculation, we now have an idea of some of the changes that will be made at the Cato Institute as a result of the lawsuit filed by Charles and David Koch. We had heard rumors in recent days, much of which was true.

Dave Weigel offered up some details on the campfire that was held yesterday at Cato to explain to employees what had transpired and how they would move forward under the terms of the agreement:

Shortly before 3 p.m. [Monday], the men and women of the Cato Institute strolled into the renovated Friedrich von Hayek Auditorium to confirm their good news. Five days earlier, the Washington Post broke news of a settlement between David Koch, Charles Koch, and America’s largest, longest-lived libertarian think tank. Ed Crane, 68, Cato’s president since its 1977 genesis in San Francisco, would step down. His replacement would be John Allison, 64, a banker who’d endowed college courses on the work of Ayn Rand.

“I didn’t see today as Ed’s swan song,” says Levy. “He’s going to stay on for a while as CEO, and after that, he’s going to remain a very important consultant on fundraising and other issues.” What about all of that public Jell-O wrestling with two of the planet’s richest men? “We’ve gotten past that.” David Koch had stopped donating to Cato, but “if everybody behaves in a way that was contemplated, he’ll be a supporter in the future as he was in the past.”

Ed Crane is out at the Cato Institute

We should know the firm details of the future of the Cato Institute by the end of the day, but the Washington Times reports that Ed Crane, who founded Cato in 1974 and has served as the influential think tanks president since that time, will be forced into retirement as part of the settlement with Charles and David Koch:

The Cato Institute’s co-founder and president, Edward Crane, has been forced out by the libertarian organization’s board of directors, according to inside sources. John A. Allison, former chairman and CEO of BB&T Corporation, will take over as interim president.

Mr. Allison is believed to be planning to arrive at the Washington-D.C. think tank on Monday for the transition news to be announced. Asked about the leadership changes, Cato spokesman Khristine Brooks said a statement would be issued on Monday.

By one account, Mr. Crane is “leaving kicking and screaming,” but he will do so “under the guise that he is retiring earlier than he had planned.” He will continue to have a role at the organization as a fundraiser and liaison with big donors. Ms. Brooks denied Mr. Crane was being forced out, adding, “Ed Crane will stay at Cato Institute for a period of time.”

Based on the rumors I’ve heard, the Kochs will have control of the board of directors as the recent additions to the board will supposedly be removed. That doesn’t strike me as a good thing for the future of the Cato Institute, but no one seems overly concerned, which I find to be odd if the Kochs truly have control.

Again, we should know more later today.

Is the drama over at the Cato Institute?

The legal battle between the Koch brothers and Ed Crane over the future of the Cato Institute may or may not finally be finished. Details of the supposed settlement have not yet been made clear, but here is what has been reported up to this point:

“Looks like we’ve come to an accommodation with the Koch brothers,” Cato founder and President Ed Crane said in a Tuesday e-mail to employees.

Crane said that staffers will be briefed on Monday on the “settlement” by Cato Chairman Bob Levy and John Allison, a prominent libertarian and former BB&T chief executive officer, who mediated the negotiations. “It will be great to get all this unpleasantness behind us,” Crane said.

In a follow up email to staff, Crane cautioned that negotiations are ongoing.

The deal will settle a lawsuit that the Koch brothers filed in February over shares that determine control of Cato. It results from the original division of shares between the two Koch brothers, Crane, and the late Cato Chairman William Niskanen.

After Niskanen died of stroke complications in October, the Koch brothers claimed that a founding shareholder agreement gave them the option to buy his shares. Crane held that they should go to Niskanen’s widow, which would leave him in effective control of the organization.

Some Libertarians Need Social Skills

Twitter and the Internet in general have gone insane once Rand Paul endorsed Mitt Romney a day after his dad, Ron Paul, conceeded the Presidential race. All of a sudden, Rand Paul became a sellout, a traitor, a neo-con, etc. The same Rand Paul whose Senate record has nearly been perfect on issues from civil liberties to fiscal issues. If this is how we treat our own, imagine how we treat non-libertarians. This outburst only adds to the biggest problem most non-libertarians and some libertarians have with the Ron Paul movement, that we’re a lunatic fringe that demands 100% conformity. In order to broaden our outreach and persuade more people to become libertarians, some of us need to learn some basic social skills.

Why Should We Become More Sociable?

People do business with and vote for people they like. It’s human nature. In order to get more people to consider libertarian ideas and candidates, they have to like the people behind them whether it be the person on the phone or the door to door canvasser.

First things, first.

If your political discourse usually includes one or more of the following: Bilderbergers, Bohemian Grove, NWO, Illuminati, fluoride, conspiracy, 9/11 Truth, long form birth certificate, or anything like that; please keep it to yourself. You’re making all of us in the liberty movement look insane. (Full credit to a rant by @TPANick on Twitter for that) Plus, if your newssources are Infowars, Prison Planet, Lew, or Russia Today (RT); you probably need to open your mind and find other news outlets. They’re all as much propaganda and agenda driven news outlets as the rest of the media. Do your own research and reach your own conclusions. Finally, if you believe that Reason magazine and the Cato Institute are statist, you probably need to find a more productive outlet for your time than politics.

How Should We Treat Our Enemies?

Gary Johnson visits The Daily Show

Last night, Gary Johnson, the former two-term Governor of New Mexico and current Libertarian Party nominee, stopped by The Daily Show to chat with Jon Stewart about his campaign, the differences — or lack thereof — between Democrats and Republicans, and the obstacles he faces in getting into the debate:

Obama to paint Romney as a “libertarian”

Yesterday, I was grabbing a cup of coffee while browsing through Twitter when I saw a headline that literally made me spit my drink out of my mouth. President Barack Obama will apparently attempt to paint Mitt Romney, who has mathematically secured enough delegates to win the GOP nomination, as a libertarian (note Obama doesn’t actually use that term to describe Romney, but the beliefs describe are libertarian in nature):

President Barack Obama is previewing his next strategy in the 2012 campaign — an audacious effort to paint former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and the majority GOP as radical libertarians that have abandoned mainstream American politics.

Since 2000, “we [Democrats] haven’t moved that much. … What’s changed is the Republican Party,” Obama told a group of wealthy donors gathered Monday night at a New York town-house owned by Marc Lasry. Lasry is a billionaire equity-capitalist who runs a $20 billion fund that buys up the shaky assets of failing companies.

Republicans “have gone from a preference for market-based solutions to an absolutism … [to] a belief that all regulations are bad; that government has no role to play,” said Obama, who has presided over record unemployment of at least 8.1 percent, record deficits of more than $1 trillion per year, and a record $5 trillion increase in the national debt.

The president’s divisive strategy is designed to persuade swing-voters that the former governor of Massachusetts is a radical libertarian, even though Obama has repeatedly said his health-sector law is modeled on Romney’s Massachusetts law.

Johnson pushes Federal Reserve audit

In the last couple web ads produced by his campaign, Gov. Gary Johnson has covered his fiscal record and his anti-war stance. But in his new ad, his team makes a very clear appeal to Ron Paul supporters by noting that he’ll continue to wave the banner of auditing the Federal Reserve, making the nation’s central bank more transparent for Americans:

Penn Jillette backs Gov. Gary Johnson

Penn Jillette, half of the magic duo, Penn & Teller, has been everywhere the last few years. In addition to their almost nightly performances at the Rio in Las Vegas He and Teller hosted Bullshit!, a libertarian-themed show on Showtime that took on conventional wisdom and junk science.

More recently, Jillette has been acting as a political commentator. He appears regularly on various shows on CNN and Fox News and has been known to write an occasional column on political issues.

However, his recent criticism of President Barack Obama over the so-called on “war on drugs” gave him the opportunity to note on Hannity that, while he disagrees with many of the policies pushed by the White House, he is backing Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee for president.

Here’s the entire segment of Jillette with Sean Hannity:


Gary Johnson releases first ad as a Libertarian

Gary Johnson, the former two-term Governor of New Mexico (1995-2003) and 2012 Libertarian Party presidential nominee, has dropped his first ad of the general election campaign.

The ad, which has no narration, only captions, notes that Johnson vetoed 750 bills during his eight years in office, has the best record of job creation of any candidate running in the fall, including Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and left New Mexico with a $1 billion budget surplus at the end of his last term. The end of ad notes that the Libertarian Party isn’t just a party, rather it encompasses the “People,” urging voters to “participate in [their] freedom”:

Of Objectivism and other creatures

Recently, Jason posted about Paul Ryan and Objectivism.  It’s a good post, and you should go read it.  I wanted to take a moment and comment myself.

First, understand that I have read Atlas Shrugged four times so far and understand Objectivism in a lot of ways.  I am also a libertarian, something that Rand was not particularly fond of.  Libertarians look at Rand as an intellectual parent of our movement, though Objectivists will not be thrilled with this description one bit.

Jason points out how many people who agree with much of what Rand wrote reject Objectivism for one reason above many others. Atheism.

I am, unlike many libertarians, a man of faith.  I wasn’t always a Christian, though I always believed that there was some kind of higher power.  Objectivism, a philosophy I agree with in many ways, would never fully be my own because of that one point.  From my time with Objectivists, there was no room for the idea of faith, even if you understood that it wasn’t a rational decision based on empirical data.

So what does this have to do with Jason’s post about Paul Ryan? Simple.  I have been heavily influenced by Rand.  Atlas Shrugged changed my life in ways that I never thought it would.  While I leaned libertarian beforehand, it pushed me over the edge and made me more of an activist for libertarian values.

Just as easily, it can push someone to embrace free markets and similar ideas while that person also clings to their faith like Paul Ryan.  It’s not a “gotcha” moment as Jason believes the press sees it.  Instead, it’s a lack of understanding that many people take parts of Atlas Shrugged and throw out other parts of John Galt’s famous speech.

After all, I did.  So why couldn’t Paul Ryan?


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