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CPAC Snub of Birch Society Shadows ‘Liberty’ Conference

By Bill Morlin on September 19, 2011 - 8:43 am, Posted in Antigovernment, Conspiracies, Patriot

RENO, Nev. — Organizations in the conservative “liberty” and “freedom” movements seem to be sorting out bed partners, and there was new evidence of that at the Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC) held here over the weekend.

For the ultra-conservative and conspiracy-oriented John Birch Society (JBS), which co-sponsored LPAC 2011, the timing of the event couldn’t have been worse. Word surfaced just before the Reno conference that JBS wouldn’t be invited back to next year’s rival Conservative Political Action Conference, which is one of the country’s most important annual gatherings of the political right.

“The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) recently told JBS it would not be eligible for a formal role at the [2012] show, but that individual members would be welcome,” Bill Hahn, JBS’ public relations manager, said in a statement.

The rift between the two conservative organizations – both hustling for bucks and attention from Tea Party supporters and other ultra-conservatives – appears to date back to the days of President Dwight Eisenhower. Back then, JBS’ biggest focus was on the threat of Communism, and it attacked Eisenhower, among others, as an agent of Communism. Today, that fear is virtually forgotten as JBS and likeminded ideologues stick with the theme of “choosing freedom” in their attacks on everything from expanded health care to comprehensive immigration reform.

According to some reports, members of the board of the American Conservative Union (ACU), which sponsors CPAC, have “longstanding” issues with JBS that go back to the early 1960s when Birch Society founder Robert Welch published critical views on Eisenhower in his book The Politician.

After the Birch Society’s participation in CPAC 2011, Hahn said he had a “nice chat” with a board member who said he was happy JBS was there and appreciated its work. That was before the real “Dear John” letter arrived, ending the relationship.

“He did mention that other board members were much more critical of the organization, but did not get into why,” Hahn said in a statement. “We certainly are disappointed with the ACU’s decision and will seek other opportunities to connect with conservatives and Constitutionalists.”

Though dumped by CPAC, the Birch Society used the LPAC gathering Reno in an attempt to establish new conservative alliances by bashing everything from the Southern Poverty Law Center to illegal immigration.

There appeared to be a wide array of political beliefs represented among the attendees, who included anti-war libertarians, JBS members, Federal Reserve bashers, opponents of the IRS, conspiracy theorists of various stripes, Rand Paul supporters, and antigovernment “Patriots”.

There were vendors hawking everything from books by long-time tax protester and anti-Semite Martin “Red” Beckman and others bashing the IRS to libertarian and anti-war websites, from non-government coinage to solar panels.

Inside the LPAC convention hall, conservative granddaddy Howard Phillips, who founded the far-right Constitution Party in the 1990s, led things off and let it be known he’s not in favor of a balanced budget amendment – something a lot of other conservatives, including many in the Tea Party, are pushing. Phillips said a balanced budget amendment, with certain loopholes, would give the president too much power.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who was at the LPAC convention, told the audience he thought the balanced budget amendment would be a good idea. There was strong applause for the freshman senator when he talked about efforts to “audit the Fed” – demanding more disclosure about the dealings of the Federal Reserve System.

He also talked about renewal of the Patriot Act – another hot-button issue that divides many conservatives. The federal anti-terrorism law was enacted under conservative President George W. Bush, but opposed by Sen. Paul and other conservatives, along with an assortment of liberals.

The other co-sponsor of LPAC was the “Campaign for Liberty,” whose vice president Matt Hawes told convention goers that the organization – built around the popularity of the Tea Party – now has 600,000 supporters nationwide.

“We’re not necessarily in lockstep,” Hawes said of the differences between “liberty-loving” conservatives. He said 500 to 600 attended, many apparently eager to hear Rand Paul, who both spoke to an enthusiastic audience.

The Liberty Political Action Conference billed itself as an event intended to attract “freedom activists from across the country, representing conservative, libertarian, constitutional and free-market organizations, activists and businesses.”

It also attracted Rev. Chuck Baldwin, a former Baptist minister from Florida, who moved to Flathead County Montana a year ago and started “Liberty Fellowship” – an organization the weaves together Constitutional conservatism and God.

In his various writings, Baldwin has condemned Islam as a “bloody, murderous religion” and referred to the late Martin Luther King Jr. as an apostate. He has said he believes the South was right in the Civil War — but always adds that he’s no racist. Baldwin also has said there is a “conspiracy by elitists within government and big business to steal America’s independence.”

He echoed that theme at LPAC, pounding the pulpit enthusiastically.

Baldwin blasted evangelical Christian ministers who, he said, stand behind “cowardly pulpits” and refuse to use their positions to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

“Our rights don’t come from Uncle Sam,” he said in a fiery voice. “Our rights come from our Creator, God.”

Baldwin also criticized “evangelical Christians” who he labeled “warmongers” for continuing support for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars started by President George W. Bush. “The perpetual war is a tool of the globalists to enslave us,” he said, later adding, “You cannot export liberty at the point of a gun.”

He also blasted the Fed: “The Federal Reserve is a criminal cabal that needs to be dismantled.” If Chuck Baldwin was in the White House, he said, “those criminals at the Federal Reserve wouldn’t get a bailout. … [T]hey’ll be looking for a place in the big house.”

Baldwin said those who embrace ideals of the liberty should remember the Constitution and “not worry about being politically correct.”

  • krissy

    Its amazing the way the want to revert to 1950s fascism. We defeated the nazis and brought some home. There will always be a backlash to that in a free society.

  • RockyMissouri

    @Not Horst Weisel: THANK YOU! An excellent comment.
    History is indeed a wonderful teacher, and the best and only way to HONOR the ones who learned those terrible lessons in the first place…!

  • NOT Horst Weisel

    Well now, aren’t the ‘Liberty Loving’ Conservatives, with their Liberty Crushing ‘Patriot Act’, with which they ‘turned 9/11 into a “New Reichstag Fire”‘, and “W” into Americas First Reichs President, now they’re “worried about the preservation of Liberty”, eh?
    Ooooh! You mean like Hitler used to the orginal Reichstag Fire to promote his own elevation to the crusher of Dem Deutsche Volks Civil Liberties – all in the name of “Protecting Them”?!?
    ‘”Real” Americans’, these are not!!!
    Fools who fail to learn from History……….

  • CM

    The “Campaign for Liberty” is really Rand Paul under another name, insofar as it was founded and is run by a longtime Ron Paul supporter and Republican Party hack (sorry, “political consultant”) named John Tate. So the sponsors of this conference run the political gamut from A to B.

    Baldwin’s statement that our rights come from God, not Uncle Sam, is a staple view of Christian Reconstructionism. That movement’s chief instigator, the late R.J. Rushdoony, openly proclaimed that Christianity and democracy are incompatible. There’s a recent blog entry at the Chalcedon Foundation (chalcedon.edu), which Rushdoony founded, that summarizes nicely the threat that this kind of “thinking” represents:

    “Modern history is a war over the establishment of religion, and unless the Christian recognizes this, he or she shall be overcome by the establishment of Humanism. The things we suffer as nations are the result of man doing what is right in his own eyes whether in economics, politics, education, or culture. … There can be no change until the Christian can cast aside neutrality and recognize that God’s sovereignty extends over the state, the economy, the courts, the schools, and all things else.”

    Kind of hard, I would think, for a politician to hold this sort of opinion without breaking his or her oath to preserve and protect the Constitution.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    ““those criminals at the Federal Reserve wouldn’t get a bailout. … [T]hey’ll be looking for a place in the big house.””

    Uh..the bailout wasn’t for the Federal Reserve- it came from the treasury to the private banks.

  • ModerateMike

    “those criminals at the Federal Reserve wouldn’t get a bailout. … [T]hey’ll be looking for a place in the big house.”

    Well, Mr. Baldwin, wouldn’t they need to be charged with something first? What would be the charges?

    Surely such a devoted advocate for the U.S. Constitution as yourself understands the importance of due process.

  • skinnyminny

    No wonder that on the Global Peace Index, of 153 nations, we placed #82 on the list. Interesting that countries such as Bangladesh, U.A.E, S. Korea, China, Gabon (African nation), Ghana (African nation), Qatar, Egypt, Cuba, Vietnam…scored higher for peace involving crisis and conflict than we did.

    Yeah, yeah, I know! Some on the right will say that the report was biased.

  • IludiumPhosdex

    The other co-sponsor of LPAC was the “Campaign for Liberty,” whose vice president Matt Hawes told convention goers that the organization – built around the popularity of the Tea Party – now has 600,000 supporters nationwide.

    How do we know this claim can be substantiated?

    Or is it typical “patriot/liberty”-movement braggadoccio requiring substantial exaggeration, usually by a factor of 100?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    ““Our rights don’t come from Uncle Sam,” he said in a fiery voice. “Our rights come from our Creator, God.””

    Prove it. The next time your rights are violated by another person, pray to god instead of calling the police. See who responds faster.

  • Lex

    That´s a good thing and i praise c-pac for doing this, the birch socity are looney´s that should not have a platform.