Melinda Pillsbury-foster

More About: Politics: General Activism

How Libertarians Lost Liberty: John Fund, Justin Raimondo and how to get it back

In Justin Raimondo's article titled, John Fund vs. the Truth, online yesterday morning at antiwar.com, Justin illuminates the many failings of Fund, former WSJ editorial page editor and now columnist for that increasingly questionable publication. If you examine the publications that have been used as tools for planting opinion and values useful to NeoCons for the past 50 years the WSJ will always be high on the list.

In the first paragraph of his article Justin links to an article by John Connelly titled, Sex, Lies, and the Tape, from 2001 which recounts the story of Fund's involvement with my daughter, Morgan Pillsbury and includes a transcript of the tape Morgan made to persuade me that she was telling the truth about their relationship in autumn of 1999. I had refused to believe her since her own veracity had proven to be questionable. I thought I could trust John, at least personally. I also thought that both Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo were my friends. Wrong on all counts.

The tape proved that everything Morgan said about Fund was true. So while I was caring for my son, still recovering from two near fatal brain injuries, I had to deal with John Fund. Life does not stop while you deal with more crises.

Morgan was having problems recovering from the abortion. Fund refused to help her. He refused to take my calls and bounced my e-mails. I faxed him a letter since I knew the WSJ had only one central fax number. The letter was probably copied several times before it reached his office. He unblocked. Fund then told me his behavior had been wrong and he intended to marry Morgan after the 2000 election. It could not be before then because They, meaning the Clintons, were out to get him. What he wanted was to shut me up. Their relationship continued and generated a stack of e-mails about 15 inches thick. Morgan printed them out to show me and read me some of them. It was a strange relationship, no doubt. Try telling your child, once grown, what they should and should not do.

The article Connelly wrote in 2001 had originally been intended for Talk Magazine. It ended up on Weasel Search because of threats from Fund's attorney. Over the next years Fund persuaded such journalistic giants as Eric Alterman, Gail Heriot, Wendy Mac Elroy, and then the Gimpy Jogger from Sacramento to support him by attacking Morgan and myself with articles written without ever calling to check a fact. Fund has been working his way down the food chain of the world of journalism. Given the present long term prospects of the NeoCons I expect the next attacks to come from his local Aryan Brotherhood Chapter's newsletter. One of Fund's childhood idols was Adolph Hitler according to one of his oldest friends. That is another interest Fund shares with many NeoCons. To be fair, Fund also has a life long interest in Star Trek and Star Wars. His first job was organizing those conventions. That was probably his most relevant training for his future career.

Fund has also used both the carrot and stick treatment to kill other articles set to appear in such magazines as Elle. The journalists involved received far better paid positions as soon as the stories were killed, one at the WSJ; amazing coincidence!

Fund's behavior launched a chain of events that would eventually cause him to be fired by the Wall Street Journal. I have never turned tail on a fight over principle or for the people I love and I never will. It began because of Morgan but later I realized much more was involved.

The WSJ knew the truth about Fund even as they ran interference for him over the years. They had their reasons.

I had met and dated Fund while I was Southern California Vice Chairman for the LPC in the early 1980s. He had met Morgan and my other children while she was still a small girl. The romantic aspect of our relationship had ended in the mid 80s; I married someone else but I thought we were friends.

This is where the personal story becomes useful for understanding both the NeoCons and the problems we face in evicting them from power. Writing about these events would be pointless if there were not lessons still to be learned.

All human activity provides invaluable insights into the character of those with whom we live and must work. Overlooking these insights extracts future costs. But it is vital that we know the truth about those with whom we deal. I have long since stopped expecting anyone to help; but neither do I ignore the obvious. This is what forces me to take both Justin Raimondo and Eric Garris to task for their own judgment in covering for John Fund, for their questionable journalism, and for their lack of personal ethics. I have known both of them for a long time.

I met Eric at the LPC convention in Burlingame in 1975. We discovered we had both graduated from Venice High School. I met Justin Raimondo at the 1981 National Libertarian Convention in Denver, Colorado when Eric introduced him to me. Over the years I watched their activities. It was clear that they had some things in common with John Fund. In the tiny world of Libertarianism they were living out their desire to relive the protests of the 60s. They always wanted to be the most radical. Their internal caucus to the LP was, in fact, the Radical Caucus. But that should raise the question of what 'radical' actually means.

Is 'radical' just loud and obnoxious or is radical effective change in the desired direction?

They had cut their teeth on the Anti War Movement back when Eric was a teenager. But to be anti war is not necessarily to be for peace and the methods they used politically within the LP created far more chaos that consensus. Their endeavors spun off factions like a rabbit breeds. What nourishes the ego rarely nurtures liberty; they are clearly living out an early fantasy at antiwar.com. For me the point is a society that uses honest persuasion, not deceit and manipulation. I am convinced you can not use deceit, manipulation and violence to achieve that goal. I never agreed with their tactics though I believed them to be friends.

Towards the end of his article Justin retails a story on Fund that reveals that Fund lied about his candidacy for the school board in Sacramento in the late 1970s. During the campaign period Fund gave reports on his campaign's progress at a local Libertarian meeting. Fund pointed to it as a model for Libertarian campaigns and tried to claim credit when the two way race was lost, telling other Libertarians he had gotten 46% of the vote. He had never filed papers. Garris discovered this and confronted Fund, who cried.

Presumably, out of sympathy, Garris kept the story quiet and failed to make this known in Libertarian Party circles. I was a state officer then and had never heard the story until yesterday morning. In fact, Fund told me about his 'successful candidacy' in the first conversation we had in 1981. The next year Fund was hired as Executive Director for the LPC. Eric evidently failed to disclose these facts to those hiring Fund, either.

That was 1982. Later that year, using his augmented resume, Fund moved to the East Coast to work for Evans and Novak and to increase his income he began ghost writing for the Star. Fund first told me and then, obviously worried, asked me not to tell anyone. In the same conversation Fund urged me to register to vote multiple times, telling me he did this himself, since this allowed him to claim membership both as a Republican and as a Libertarian. Fund had already started his investigative endeavors in the area of ballot fraud.

John Fund has used lies all of his life and is expert in persuading others and presenting a slightly pathetic front when it is useful. He also has learned other forms of deceitful behavior to get his way and formulated a consistent strategic approach to enable him to cover up his own bizarre behavior.

Consider the effect Fund's success must have had on Eric and Justin. When Fund was climbing his way to the top both Eric and Justin were scratching to made ends meet in their attempts to be professional, and compensated, activists. The whiny little dweeb had out done them.

Justin styles himself as a journalist. But this article does not adhere to journalist standards.

Justin noted that Fund spent much of the '90s in the muck of Monica-gate but the link goes not to the many attacks orchestrated by Fund on the White House, beginning with the attacks on Vince Foster through White Water and Monica to the articles accusing Blumenthal of spousal abuse, but to another article about Fund's relationship with my daughter. This one, written by Lloyd Grove, appeared in the Washington Post in early 2002.

Two questions came to mind. Why would Raimondo have used this link instead reporting on Fund's work as a political operative with the Wall Street Journal? Why would he use an irrelevant link that points to me and my daughter? For the record when this erupted I contacted many old friends in the Movement asking for advice. I also contacted Eric for advise. He told he he sympathized with Fund.

Eric Garris is editor of antiwar.com. Justin Raimondo is that journal's most prominent writer. Presumably, Garris read this article in advance of its posting. The article by Justin Raimondo is the first 'outing' of Fund by two Libertarian Insiders who also admit to knowing he was a NeoCon as early as the mid 1990s except for what I have written myself. That has been a lot.

If Fund was to be outed, why did they wait until it is clear that the whole NeoCon Cabal is in serious trouble? As you read Justin's article you can put several possible constructions on the content and timing. Either Raimondo equates Monica's clearly consensual relationship with Clinton, however inappropriate, with a case of domestic violence, or they have decided that because of the development of events their early knowledge is best used now. Morgan and I are thrown in as convenient color, useful to titillate but ideologically irrelevant. After all, what do women matter?

Why would two men, presumably concerned for the rights of all individuals do this? Why if they had belatedly decided to note I was right would they fail to contact me? Perhaps it is the culture of the LP itself. Perhaps it is the characters of the two individuals involved.

The Freedom Movement is curiously schizophrenic on a variety of topics, and women and their rights are among those issues. If you examine the list of Libertarian heroes who have worked for the emancipation of individuals notably absent are such women as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Alice Paul. All of these women were effective. Alice Paul originated the practices of civil disobedience later used by Mohandas K. Gandhi and is so credited in his autobiography. Paul gave women the right to vote in 1921.

But present and accounted on Libertarian Hero lists are such NeoCon flacks as Wendy Mac Elroy. Mac Elroy positions herself as a feminist but, by definition is actually a masculinist. Mac Elroy owes her gig at Fox to her article slamming both Morgan and myself, again without checking with either of us. I have known Mac Elroy as long as I have known Eric and Justin. The hope of profit is a powerful motivator.

The definition for 'feminist' is one who works for equality between the genders. If you endorse the use of the State in its present form this leads you to the use of legislation to enforce outcomes. If you endorse the original mission statement written by Jefferson you believe that the State should have made no laws relating to personal behavior or individual rights. That interpretation would have freed slaves and given women equal standing at the time of the Constitution. If you are a Libertarian, presumably, you want everyone to have the same standing under law.

But never expect slave-owners to voluntarily accept the emancipation of 'their' property without kicking up a fuss.

It is well known by those in the Freedom Movement that women are very scarce in their ranks. Most activists complain about this both because they want them around to work, though be quiet, and to date. Why would women join an organization that ignores their right to equal standing under the Constitution?

Justin, and Eric, missed several points; having, until the War in Iraq, made their livings as professional activists of a movement that has disconnected ideology from reality, that is not difficult.

There is plenty to say about what Fund did during the Clinton Administration, and if Justin meant to comment on events that so impacted me, presumably routine journalistic protocols would necessitate his getting in touch with me directly. He did not, even though through my own blog, How the NeoCons Stole Freedom, I am readily available. If Justin had communicated with me I would have been delighted. I would have shared the many insights I have gained and shown him interesting documents that were formerly the property of John Fund. I would have told him about my conversations with William Bennett's dominatrix. We could have talked about NeoCon tactics, of which I know much. None of that happened. No e-mail appeared; the phone did not ring. And this is not the first time Eric and Justin have disappointed such ordinary expectations. I was not surprised when Lew Rockwell, a longtime Libertarian friend, sent Justin's article on to me.

I started studying organizational dynamics and the strategies of war as applied to politics when I formally left the LP in 1988. The NeoCons can all be identified by the observable fact that they use the same strategies over and over again. What is true for Rove is also true for Fund. When you understand their organization you see how they have learned from each other.

Justin is wrong about Fund's importance. I would once have agreed with Justin, but I changed my mind, having studied the indicators. Working as an independent political operative and entrusted with writing the book explaining the strange outcomes of the elections in 2000 and 2004 Fund, is a real insider in the same league as William Bennett. But I see no indication that Bennett 'runs' a string of other operatives, which is what Fund clearly does. Fund and Matt Drudge invented out of whole cloth the rumor that Blumenthal beat his wife having found an article about another Blumenthal who did.

John got drunk one night and confided this in Morgan when the law suit settled. All in all the NeoCons had done well out of the attack. Many well intentioned Republicans and Libertarians contributed to the Drudge Defense Fund. The NeoCons understand about making it pay.

Fund learned directly from Karl Rove if the similarity in tactics means anything.

In Fund's case he uses virulent attacks, invented 'facts,' planted stories that are manufactured, and when caught either 'confesses' with teary eyes or finds someone to blame. Failing that he engages in covert personal attacks made in 'confidence' and with many sighs and tears. Those to whom the 'confessions' are made tend to be sympathetic. This obviously worked well on Garris in the late 1970s. I suspect, but I cannot know, that Garris's unhelpful position when I called for help came from the hope he still might profit from his 'friendship' with Fund. Garris can be very pragmatic. Perhaps Garris felt that Fund 'owed' him for his silence on the matter of the election. The timing of this article does not change my opinion on any of the parties; the NeoCons, including Fund, are in trouble and now is the time to talk if there is profit to be made from that material.

Fund is a political operative working independently and at will. He is routinely briefed by the White House.

In the first years of the Clinton Presidency Fund called me up several times to plant stories. One was about the black love child Clinton refused to acknowledge. Later, Fund called me up to tell me about the tattoo Paula Jones could identify on the Presidential genitals. None of those stories turned out to be true. But Fund clearly wanted them repeated, and, at the time, I was living in Santa Barbara and active in the National Federation of Republican Women; any such rumor repeated, by me, would have been circulating nationally in a matter of hours.

I had by then begun to wonder about Fund. His unwillingness to examine the scandals involving Hillsdale College about which I informed him while my youngest daughter, Ayn, was a student there from 1993 – 1997 were of grave concern.

Fund, by his own report to myself and Morgan, privately claimed credit for Vince Foster's suicide and engaged in barrage after barrage against the Clinton White House. This was clearly part of a strategy to burnish the NeoCon political position; Fund had been closely involved with planning for the Contract with America in 1994. You can track the attacks Media Matters article dated Thu, Jun 2, 2005 here on some issues. Even after Clinton was out of office the attacks continued. On January 15th 2001, an article commenting on the virulence of a WSJ editorial of January 5th 2001, demanding an indictment of Clinton, appears in the World Socialist Web Site.

Those are the links that should have been in Justin's article.

The reasons the attacks continued are personal for Fund. He does not like to lose and that I know well.

No one ever called and asked me to confirm or deny any fact or comment before publishing. I hope that changes. I am not expecting it. After so many years of having Fund use any means to destroy my credibility I have come to see people's motivations far more clearly.

I have always offered to document what I say, many records, including the letter proving when Fund was fired from the Wall Street Journal, exist. Fund left that letter on the floor of Morgan's apartment in New York in the winter of 2002. /She had then left him; he hunted her down and moved in with her. Morgan has reams of papers and other tape recordings.

For the record, if called to testify regarding the domestic violence, I saw Morgan's injuries, bruises and blood, and twice heard her being battered over the phone. Fund bellows when he batters. Eric was not interested in the police reports, either.

What each of us do, and fail to do, has consequences and the consistency of behavior over time, something we think of as modus operandi, are like finger prints of the soul.

When Fund sought the job of Executive Director for the Libertarian Party of California Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo knew about his having lied. It was then in the immediate past. For any other organization this would have disqualified the potential employee. Why did they remain silent? That is a question they should answer.

Let us consider what the Libertarian Party was in 1982 and what it is today.

Today, the Libertarian Party is as dead as a door knob as a tool for political change. What happened to the LP has happened to other movements and organizations with the potential for change over the last century. Some of it was done to them; some they did themselves. Over and over again movements for change and reform have been extinguished or misdirected. The means through which such organizations are marginalized bear close examination.

Always follow the money and power because greed does not lie.

The potential and power the LP represented in the late 70s and early 80s was sucked into the service of the then still unidentified NeoCon Cabal. Not surprisingly, John Fund was one of the political operatives who made that conversion possible. I suspect from his excited phone calls through that period that his potential was recognized by Novak, leading to his placement at the WSJ and then his apprenticeship to Rove. Along with serving as a political operative he also worked as a recruiter, finding eager and talented Libertarians who could be hired on and converted.

Fund was not working alone. The Freedom Movement began with ideas intended to return control to individuals. Those ideas, including privatization, deregulation, outsourcing and others, were intended to allow individuals more choice and ensure accountability for all of us. Instead, accountability and profit were decoupled and the resulting policies, garbed in the original rhetoric, were sold to Congress through such outlets as Cato Institute.

Edward H. Crane, III told fellow Libertarians at the National Convention in 1977 he was going to D. C. to get rich. He meant it. He found someone interested spending hard cash to redirect the power of Libertarianism, Koch Industries. Koch Industries remains the prime funder for that think tank still today and has been a partner for Halliburton since Vietnam. Today it continues to profit, providing substandard contracting to both Federal and State governments on a basis that marks them as very special providers.

This was a very conscious venture and exactly parallels previous take overs by the same interests in the early days of the United Nations, the Environmental Movement, and in early libertarian ventures such as the John Birch Society.

Fredrick Koch, then owner of Koch Industries, was on the board for the JBS and in that generation William F. Buckley did the dirty work of marginalizing that organization. Koch's role has never been examined but should be. Koch had had questionable dealings with the Soviet Union during WW II and his focus was far more on profit than on ideology.

Buckley also launched attacks against two other major forces then formulating opinion in the Conservative Movement, Murray Rothbard, an eminent Austrian Economist, and Ayn Rand, the author of Atlas Shrugged. Both of these thinkers would become foundational influences in the new wave of libertarianism that flowed out of the failed Goldwater Campaign.

Rothbard, a founder for Cato, was illegally fired from that position in 1981. Today he is not even mentioned in their history.

At the time those of us involved in the Movement assumed this arose from a personality conflict. Many people conflicted with Ed Crane. What has emerged since tells a very different story. The principles of Austrian Economics as enunciated by Rothbard, made his work the worst possible tool to carry out their plans. Instead, you see the public rise in stature of Milton Friedman, whose ideas allowed the manipulation of the economy through policy.

If the clerk always shorts your change you had better conclude it is not an accident.

The Libertarian Party became vulnerable because its message was no longer backed by the gold of action but its rhetoric held a promise for which Americans still hunger today. But then it was only rhetoric and so the LP was vulnerable to the host of parasites who flooded in to live off the twitching corpse that had held such promise. Such 'activists' as Michael Emerling Cloud and a host of others made a living while freedom died.

No human organization can expect to be immune from causality. If there is profit and power to be had without accountability then the least ethical will show up and hire on. While Libertarian leaders claimed they could live productive lives without government they failed to install Discernment 101 and Justice 100 in their own organization, refusing to see the chain of events that made the present failure inevitable.

Ignoring history, they have recycled failure.

Stupidity will always be its own reward. Today the LP is a social club rattling around in the structure of a political party and most Libertarians, like deer-in-the-headlights, have no idea what went wrong.

Directly, you can thank Ed Crane and John Fund, who sold out for straight profit and power, and the host of hired hands who turned off their discernment in the service of their 401Ks. Indirectly you can thank such as Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo who have historically been very willing to ignore the inconvenient facts when it looked like there might be profit from power in the offing.

Freedom is the one thing you can not have until you give it to everyone. If you really believe that government is not the answer then stop talking and build a real alternative.

Get off the Grids. Organize Locally. Build Coalition.

As Susan B. said, "Failure is Impossible." She took the long view and so do I.

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