Libertarian & Green Party
Candidates Arrested
8:38PM CT
The first report from St. Louis is in - and presidential candidates Michael Badnarik (Libertarian) and David Cobb (Green Party) were just arrested. Badnarik was carrying an Order to Show Cause, which he intended to serve the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Earlier today, Libertarians attempted to serve these same papers at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the CPD - but were stopped from approaching the CPD office by security guards.
Fred Collins reported to me from the ground that Badnarik and Cobb are in great physical condition and great spirit.
As soon as more details are available, they will be posted here immediately.
8:51PM CT
I just spoke with Jon Airheart on his cellular telephone. He reports that while he could see no handcuffs, both Badnarik and Cobb had their hands behind their backs, as if they were handcuffed. Airheart also confirms that Badnarik did have the papers to serve the CPD in his jacket pocket.
9:09PM CT
The first AP report just hit Google News:
Just as the debate began, two third-party presidential candidates purposely crossed a police barricade and were arrested. Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik were protesting their exclusion from the debate
10:09PM CT
My cell phone is ringing off the hook. There is no way to catch up with all of the messages left - and I am sure the memory is full by now. Things are going too fast to keep up with them.
Jon Airheart just reported that he and Fred Collins are catching a taxi to the jail where Mike is currently located. The address is 200 South Tucker Street, St. Louis, MO. Jon stated that there were over one hundred police officers with helmets and shields in the particular line they crossed.
Thomas Knapp just reported that prior to their arrests, Badnarik and Cobb explained to the crowd why they chose civil disobedience to express their message. He stated that Badnarik had to "bodily" push his way through the police line. Once through, he peacefully surrendered, was handcuffed, and taken out of direct sight.
10:30 PM CT
October 8 -
Badnarik: I will debate or be arrested
October 8, 2004
For Immediate Release
Contact: Stephen P. Gordon
Office: (512) 637-6867
Cell: (256) 227-8360
Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party's 2004 presidential nominee, will debate John Kerry and George W. Bush in St. Louis on Friday. Or he'll go to jail instead.
"A majority of Americans say that I should be included in the events sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates," says Badnarik, 50, of Austin, Texas. "And the CPD, as a non-profit, has received special treatment from government on the requirement that they be non-partisan in their activities. Bi-partisan is not non-partisan.
"Unless I am allowed to participate, the debates become a massive campaign contribution to two of the candidates, illegal under the very campaign finance laws those two candidates have passed and signed as Senator and President."
At 8 p.m. on Friday evening, Badnarik, along with the demonstrators expected to assemble in protest against his exclusion, will proceed to the police line erected to keep himself and the other legitimate candidates out during broadcast of the "bi-partisan campaign commercial."
And then he will cross it.
"We'd have preferred to see John Kerry and George Bush stand up like men to debate the issues facing America," says Badnarik's communications director, Stephen Gordon. "However, they have interposed the machinery of government between the American people and the honest debate which must precede any honest election. Now it's up to patriots like Michael Badnarik to force the issue." In Arizona, the Libertarian Party is taking the state university to court to prevent the expenditure of state money on a similar event.
Badnarik has previously debated David Cobb, the Green Party's candidate; Michael Peroutka of the Constitution Party; and Walt Brown of the Socialist Party. Kerry and Bush, as well as Independent Ralph Nader, declined to participate in those debates. Tomorrow morning, he will proceed from a New York taping with Bill Moyers to St. Louis, ready to take on the Republican and Democratic machines in defense of American democracy.
Voters in 48 states and the District of Columbia will be able to vote for Badnarik on November 2nd. More than 600 Libertarians currently serve in public office across the United States.
Additional press information:
- The protest will proceed from Northmoor Park on Big Bend Ave., just south of Washington University to the corner of Big Bend and Forsyth, where the police line is expected to be arrayed. Badnarik's crossing onto the Washington University campus will take place at that point, some time between 8 and 8:15 p.m. Badnarik and Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb plan to cross the police line together.
- The headline quote is from Thoreau, and intended to apply to the US occupation of Iraq:
"In other words, when a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army." ­ Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience



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