We kinda need to stay focused here Kokesh is a traitor, who cares about internet celebrity
Kokesh is unelectable, anti-military, “Internet celebrity,” Mullins says By Matthew Reichbach 3/12/10 11:15 AM In an interview with the conservative blog Hot Air, Republican candidate Tom Mullins attacked his opponent in the Republican primary, Adam Kokesh, saying, “Adam is nothing more than an Internet celebrity and a war protester. I don’t believe New Mexicans agree with his views or his methods to share or voice them.” The interviewer herself was not not a fan of Kokesh, having previously written an article about Kokesh being a traitor in GOP clothing. Kokesh is an Iraq War veteran who now opposes the war. The interview, in the Green Room section of Hot Air, touched on what they consider Kokesh’s “anti-military activities. “I don’t understand how Adam’s actions are ‘Constitutional,’” Mullins said, referring to his protests against and statements about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. ” “He’s a great public speaker, I’ll give you that,” Mullins said later in the interview, “So if you’re looking for an unqualified guy who looks pretty and can speak well, then Adam’s your guy.” In the interview, Mullins said that the decision for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should be left to “the commanders and leaders of our men and women in combat” and that he opposes gay marriage. Mullins also said he would vote against health care (in fact, he has signed on to a pledge to repeal health care reform) and opposes the stimulus package. Kokesh is in the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, one dominated in recent years by Ron Paul. The primary in the 3rd Congressional District between Kokesh and Mullins could be one test of the direction of the Republican Party in the state.
Occupations protested on three continents By John Catalinotto Published Sep 16, 2007 11:18 PM SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA 10,000 protest Bush at APEC summit Despite a downpour, some 10,000 people protested at the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit Sept. 7 in Sydney. Demonstrators particularly targeted U.S. President George W. Bush’s Iraq policies and Australian military interventions. Bush and Australia’s Bush-like Prime Minister John Howard were the favorite protest targets. Howard has ordered Australian military units into Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor and West Papua, among other places. As they set off on a march, the protesters chanted: “Howard, Bush, USA, how many kids did you kill today?” A large banner carried by a group of marchers read: “War criminals not welcome here—Bush go home.” Among those protesting Bush were former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib, who was released without charges in 2005, and U.S. Marine veteran Matt Howard—no relation to the prime minister—who had spoken of his Iraq experiences at recent anti-war meetings throughout Australia. The Australian regime had 5,000 police and soldiers on hand and a three-meter-high fence to keep demonstrators away from the APEC summit. The security operation was the largest ever mounted in Australia and included jet fighter overflights, police on jet water-skis in Sydney’s harbor, a water cannon and special laws aimed at repressing protesters, of whom 17 were arrested. BERLIN, GERMANY Sept. 15 protest against Afghanistan War The anti-war movement in Germany has called for a national demonstration on Sept. 15 in Berlin, aimed especially at stopping that country’s military intervention in Afghanistan. Germany is part of the NATO military support for the U.S. occupation of the Afghan people. A coalition of left anti-war forces issued a call supporting the action, which read in part: “We welcome the nationwide campaign against the German Federal Armed Forces mission in Afghanistan and join the common call for a demonstration on Sept. 15. “The direct intervention in the war in Afghanistan is, however, only the most visible participation of Germany in Western wars and interventions. Our protest is directed of course against all international missions of the German Federal Armed Forces. “In addition, we also oppose German military, logistic and political support of the war against Iraq, the war threats against Syria and Iran, and also demand that intervention in Lebanon and the Israeli occupation of Palestine be terminated.” WASHINGTON, D.C.: Arrested demanding right to poster U.S. Park Police arrested three anti-war activists in front of the White House on Sept. 6. The activists were holding a news conference to protest fines of $30,000 for putting up anti-war posters calling for a Sept. 15 demonstration in Washington, D.C. The three arrested were Tina Richards, CEO of Grassroots America and mother of Iraq War veteran Cloy Richards; Adam Kokesh, the co-chair elect of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW); and Ian Thompson, an organizer with the ANSWER Coalition. Richards and Kokesh had announced that they would put a Sept. 15 March to Stop the War poster on a lamppost following the media conference. Mounted police then charged into the news conference to break it up. The ANSWER Coalition’s goal, according to statements on its Web site, is “to sponsor a large protest in Washington, D.C., timed to coincide with the report by General [David] Petraeus on the ‘surge’ in Iraq.” Petraeus’s report on Sept. 10—no surprise—called for keeping U.S. troops levels high at least until next summer. Bush will make a national address on Sept. 13, when he is expected to propose an eventual cut of 30,000 troops, but only if the U.S. occupation stabilizes. Some movement activists protested as Petraeus was speaking, and Capitol police arrested anti-war spokespeople Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., a former Air Force officer and head of the Hip Hop Caucus; Cindy Sheehan; and members of the IVAW and Code Pink who had been interrupting the general’s demand for more blood money. Other actions will take place in the week following Sept. 15. These events, led by many different groups, include a “Truth-in-Recruiting Day,” organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War on Sept. 17, and a Moratorium on Sept. 21. Starting on Sept. 22, a series of actions called an encampment, organized by the Troops Out Now Coalition (TONC), will take place in Los Angeles and in Washington, D.C. These actions are aimed at stopping congressional approval of the war budget and are directed against the war “at home and abroad.” They will culminate in mass demonstrations in both cities on Sept. 29. E-mail: email@example.com ——————————————————————————– Articles copyright 1995-2010 Workers World. 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Just days before New Mexico House Speaker Ben Lujan launched the 2010 legislative session, Adam Kokesh, a Republican primary candidate in the 3rd Congressional District, accused the powerful speaker of helping put his son Ben Ray Lujan in Congress through his “ability to make bribes and promises from the statehouse.” But the SEC has charged Kokesh’s own father for allegedly misappropriating $45 million from investors in four businesses.
“Most people here believe that he only got elected because of his father,” Kokesh said, referring to Congressman Lujan, after an Albuquerque Tea Party event held Saturday in Rio Rancho.
“Lujan Sr., who has been responsible for a lot of the corruption at the state level … is responsible for his son currently holding that seat and the money that he was able to raise,” Kokesh told The Independent.
Kokesh did not offer any specific details or proof of wrongdoing by Speaker Lujan. On Wednesday he explained, “I hear stories repeatedly of the effects of this corruption on the state, and on politics here, from people who will tell me in confidence, but are afraid to say anything on the record because of the fear of retaliation.”
At the Tea Party event he called the electoral success of the Democrat family the “Lujan machine,” adding: “this machine…it’s out of gas.”
Lujan spokesman Mark Nicastre called Kokesh’s statements a “malicious, unprovoked attack” on Lujan’s father, saying the comments were “inappropriate and disappointing.”
“Largely the power base is not from the power of their [Lujans’] ideas or their conviction or their honesty. It’s from the ability to make bribes and promises from the statehouse,” Kokesh said, claiming that it will be difficult for the elder Lujan to help his son further–because of the state’s budget shortfall.
“The state is all out of money and the Lujans are all out of promises to offer,” Kokesh said. “They can’t keep this thing going,” Kokesh said.
Kokesh, who has been defending criticism of his war protests, mostly by his Republican primary opponent Tom Mullins, predicts the legislative session is “going to be ugly, and finally the bill is coming due for all of the largesse at the state level and all of the corruption.”
“You can’t just buy off the voters in New Mexico,” Kokesh said.
Several calls to Speaker Lujan were not returned.
“The fact is that Rep. [Ben Ray] Lujan has a strong record of standing up for the people of New Mexico–taking on insurance companies, credit card companies and Wall Street. It’s a record he’s proud of and a record that respects and represents the values of the district,” Nicaster wrote in an e-mail to The Independent.
“It’s a shame that some are resorting to vitriol, but Rep. Lujan remains focused on fighting for the people of New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District.”
Kokesh’s father investigated by SEC
In October 2008, Adam Kokesh’s father, Charles Kokesh, was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with misappropriating $45 million dollars from 21,000 investors in four business development companies (BDCs) through “a variety of schemes and contrivances.”
The SEC complaint alleged that the elder Kokesh controlled two now-defunct investment advisory firms from 1995 through July 2007, which in turn controlled and provided investment advice to his BDC’s. (BDCs are similar to venture capital funds that allow investors to invest in startups and other companies.) The complaint alleges that:
Acting by and through the Advisers, Kokesh misappropriated approximately $45 million of investor funds by causing the BDCs to pay illegal distributions, performance fees, and expense reimbursements to the Advisers. To conceal the scheme, Kokesh caused the Advisers to distribute misleading proxy statements to BDC investors and to file false Commission reports on behalf of the BDCs.
Kokesh’s father has also faced legal problems in Santa Fe. In July 2009, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported on Charles Kokesh’s legal woes, including an attempt by the City of Santa Fe to collect over $100,000 in irrigation fees. From the story:
So far this year, two foreclosure lawsuits have been filed on the senior Kokesh’s horse park and private residence, another lender has tried to repossess his motor home, and a credit card company is demanding payments from his wife.
But Kokesh maintains some of those cases are in error, that he is doing well financially after selling his South Dakota arms-manufacturing firm, and looks forward to settling all claims against him.
In a telephone interview Friday, Kokesh said he believes previous stories about his financial troubles are part of a “vendetta” against him by a New Mexican reporter.
“You like to emphasize the negative?” he asked. “You could put a much more positive spin on it: Local venture capitalist succeeds in selling one of the remaining portfolio companies, is flush with cash, does not see a problem working through any of the issues.”
Reached via phone from Gallup Wednesday afternoon, Adam Kokesh distanced himself from his father’s troubles.
“My father’s issues are his own,” he told The Independent. “My father has never taken any money from the government, and he is not an elected official who’s been on the ballot before which helps with name recognition.”
“I understand the circumstances of the case with my father,” Kokesh said. “I hope that this new prosecution is not politically motivated because of my race [for Congress]. But, what ever happens I hope that justice will be done.”
That’s how the Democratic Party Of New Mexico has responded to GOP congressional hopeful Adam Kokesh’s comments about U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan and his father Ben Lujan, the speaker of the New Mexico state House.
On Wednesday, The New Mexico Independent reported that Kokesh had accused the speaker of corruption and bribery–without offering any specific proof of those charges.
“The people of the New Mexico’s Third Congressional District elected Congressman Ben Ray Lujan because they knew he would stand up for them – by taking on insurance companies, credit card companies and Wall Street banks,” Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Forrester said in a statement e-mailed to The Independent.
“Speaker Ben Lujan has spent his life working as a strong public servant for New Mexico families – while laboring to ensure all New Mexicans have access to a excellent education, a good job and a better way of life,” Forrester wrote. “Unfortunately, Adam Kokesh is The Kokesh family has been surrounded by controversy, raising questions of fraud and abuse. Mr. Kokesh’s father was recently indicted for defrauding people out of their savings, and several legal suits have been brought upon the family by organizations representing those victims attempting to recover their hard earned money.
“While Congressman Lujan and Speaker Lujan have spent their lives working to improve the lives of New Mexicans families – and ensure that criminals such as Bernie Madoff are put behind bars – the Kokesh family has allegedly been working hard to do just the opposite. Who is Adam Kokesh to lecture ANYONE on corruption?” Forrester asked.
IVAW Kokesh still in the race for NM’s 3CD March 28th, 2010 Yes, Adam Kokesh, member of IVAW is back on the Republican primary ballot after his loss to Tom Mullins in the pre-primary recently for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District. Kokesh and Mullins faced off the other night in a debate in Clovis, NM according to the local press. Mullins introduced himself as a petroleum engineer and small businessman from Farmington who has just recently decided to pursue politics. Kokesh is a Marine veteran from Santa Fe and served in Iraq with the 3rd Civilian Affairs Unit in Fallujah. His Web site says he is a Tea Party leader who has dedicated his political life to individual rights and constitutional government. Kokesh is callong himself the “Tea Party candidate” in the Republican race – I didn’t know that Tea Party candidates were people who’ve never had jobs outside of a brief military career (cut short by malfeasance) and years in college. After Michelle Malkin called out Kokesh on her blog, he went on Russia Today to defend himself. He said that Malkin blamed him for the threats against her from Jon DeWald. Kokesh said that he voted to have DeWald suspended while he was on the board of the IVAW. What he neglected to mention was that he encouraged DeWald in his sociopathic behavior and DeWald’s suspension lasted only a few months through the Winter Soldier hearings. DeWald’s permanent removal only resulted after he robbed the coffers entrusted to him as a chapter president in IVAW. In an interview with Cassy Fiano, Tom Mullins said it all; I disagree with Adam’s positions regarding our military. I support Guantanamo Bay being open. We are not occupiers. Adam’s activities offend the many veterans, including my father, that I have met. We are not the world’s policeman. We have a volunteer military. Our military men and women deserve support from our elected officials and all members of the American public. I don’t understand how Adam’s actions are “Constitutional”. Adam is nothing more than an Internet Celebrity and a War Protester. I don’t believe New Mexicans agree with his views or his methods to share or voice them. Of course, Kokesh fails to mention his anti-war roots, or his connections to the flag-burning IVAW when he’s talking to Republicans. I wonder why. Maybe he should bring his replacement internet celebrity, Matthis Chiroux, on the campaign trail to burn flags and shout out how that’s what he thinks of America. Then Kokesh can explain to his prospective constituents why he maintains membership and ties to IVAW.
Yes, there is a lot of drama over Matthis’ flag burning adventure last weekend. A good number of IVAW members oppose the utterly pointless demonstration by Matthis, Robyn Murray and Elaine Brower. You can hear Elaine Brower, whose Marine Corps son has completed at least three tours of the War Against Terror, screech “That’s what we think of this country!” while Matthis stomps on the burning flag in this video;
And yet, I’ll bet she’s still in the US this morning.
The third person in the video, Robyn Murray starred in one of our posts a couple of years back when she was captured in a video interview. Her only real complaint about her time in Iraq was the fact that she was 19.
One of the Austin, TX IVAW crowd, Bobby Whittenburg wrote a bit about the flag burning yesterday at his blog Veter(A)narchy using hyperbole as a weapon;
Matthis has received threats of violence, rape, and death. Such threats truly show the character of people loyal to the American flag and the American government.
Actually it does show character – I scoured your comments and couldn’t find not one threat of violence, rape or death in the several responses to the posts. I can’t imagine anyone threatening to rape Matthis in the first place and a threat is just childish any-damn-way without the opportunity to act on the threat. I think they’re disappointed that no one threatened them, so they make shit up to ratchet up the drama.
Personally, if I were a member of IVAW, I’d take a long look at myself in regards to the message that IVAW is trying to convey. It took them a year of waffling on Carl Webb before they finally tossed his punk ass to the curb. Geof Millard, the president of the board of directors wears unearned awards on his uniform. Jose Vasquez, the Executive Director of IRAQ VETERANS Against the War has never set foot outside of the US in uniform. Now Vasquez thinks his Puerto Rican heritage excuses his lack of an”affinity” for the US flag – irrespective of his years of service as an NCO in the US Army – and all of thospay checks he got. Vasquez replaced Alex Bacon, who went AWOL from the Coast Guard while stationed in Hawaii patrolling fisheries (no shit, really).
And then there’s Matthis who claimed for the longest time that he was an Afghanistan veteran when the only two places he’s ever been stationed is Japan and Germany. He claims he has PTSD from interviewing real combat veterans. He apologized to Malalai Joya for occupying the corner booth at Baskin Robbins on Bagram Air Base for six days.
There are countless examples of reasons to leave the dorks at IVAW behind. I’m thinking all of these doofuses are making money from their antics, why else would they work so hard at being caricatures of anti-war assholes? Folks like Bobby Whittenberg – an honest to goodness Purple Heart wearing hero – are being manipulated by the accolades he gets from cowards like Doug Zachary and Matthis Chiroux. And it’s a cryin’-ass shame that he doesn’t see it.
On the Proper Wearing of the Marine Corps Uniform as an IVAW Member
I know you’re a busy man these days but I was hoping to speak with you about an issue that has presented itself. I have been assigned as Investigating Officer to look into your possible violation(s) of DoDI 1334.01 “Wearing of the Uniform” and MCO P1020.34 “Marine Corps Uniform Regulations”. Specifically, you may have violated the law while wearing all or part of your Marine Corps uniform while engaged in political demonstrations or activities.
I know this matter pales in comparison with recent geopolitical events of which you have shown an interest but, nonetheless, I am obligated to investigate this matter and I have a desire to let a fellow Marine know about his obligations and duty. As a member of the Reserve Component, until 18 JUN 2007, the law restricts your wearing of the uniform at certain events.
Please call me or reply to this e-mail acknowledging your understanding of your obligations and responsibilities. Thanks Marine!
Major **** *. *****
The next day I met with Tina Richards for lunch and showed her the email. She told me that Cloy Richards (her son, fellow Marine, member of IVAW) had received numerous similar emails, some of which had come from people outside of the military, or at least acting on their own. He had ignored them all with no consequence.
While the nature of the email is professional, the content is clearly threatening. I was not scared, so much as I was angry. After a few days of deliberation, including a couple nights sitting at my computer, staring at the email, I felt compelled to reply with the following:
As you are still an active part of the military engaged in an occupation in Iraq, I should hope that you too are a busy man these days. I am reminded of a poster that hung in the building housing the 3rd Civil Affairs Group of which I was once a member that read, “We’re at war. Are you doing all you can?” Apparently, you have found the time to investigate me over such a trifling matter, which as you say yourself “pales in comparison” to the issue at hand.
I was honorably discharged twice after volunteering twice to go to Iraq. I was among the hardest of the hardcore. I was promoted to Sgt after a mere three years and seven months as a reservist. I earned my Combat Action Ribbon in the middle of Fallujah. I slept in the dirt during the first battle of Fallujah. I taught myself Arabic in order to be more proficient at my job as a Civil Affairs NCO to the point that I could run a checkpoint at a Civil Affairs facility without a translator, which was a necessity we were not always afforded. Two and a half years later, I was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for my efforts.
It was during this tour of duty that I brought a pistol home from Iraq. It was not a war trophy, but something I purchased from an Iraqi policeman that we were working with. Regardless, my CO discovered this as I was preparing to deploy for a second tour with the 3rd CAG, this time to Ramadi. I begged to be able to deploy, but was not allowed. I had volunteered to be activated for up to one year and was held for that entire period. I spent the majority of that time mowing the lawn around our building and begging to be sent to Iraq. I wanted only to serve to the best of my ability in the most appropriate capacity. The day after I was presented with my Navy Commendation Medal, I received Non-Judicial Punishment and was reduced to the rank of Corporal. I was soon given an honorable discharge accompanied by a reenlistment code 4. In case you are not familiar with it, that’s the one that means I’m not welcome back. “Thanks for playing, it’s been fun, but you can’t reenlist.”
So why I am I being investigated? Is it simply a matter of bureaucratic policy that you are being forced to carry out? Or am I really being perceived as a threat to the good order and discipline of the armed forces? I don’t really think that’s the case, but I am deeply offended by the attempt to keep me under the thumb of the organization to which I pledged my life and served so devotedly.
As we waste our time on such petty issues, our fellow Marines continue to die in futility in an occupation that our military is not adequately prepared to handle. While as a citizen, I have my responsibility to do all I can to ensure that our noble weapons of democracy are employed only in the best interests of our nation, you still have a responsibility to accomplish the two goals of Marine Corps leadership:
1. Mission Accomplishment
2. Troop Welfare
I fail to see how reminding me of my “obligations and responsibilities” helps you achieve either of these. It seems that while accomplishing our mission in Iraq, every corner we turn sends us further down the spiral, but there is still much that you can do to bring our fellow Marines home alive.
So no, I am not replying to your email in order to acknowledge my understanding of my obligations and responsibilities, but rather to ask you to please, kindly, go fuck yourself.
Adam Kokesh, PFC
Proud Fucking Civilian
Today was a banner day for Adam Kokesh. He got lots of publicity. All of it negative. Which suits us just fine.
Who else do we know is a community organizer that has Marxist tendencies
Adam Kokesh at a press conference at the
Adam Kokesh putting signs together in the ANSWER workshop.
“Present arms! Ready, aim, fire!”
Adam Kokesh got pulled down off the wall and thrown
to the ground after trying to address the crowd at the capitol.
They hauled us up the stairs and after cuffing and frisking,
sat us down in front of the capitol. After a while, we really
started piling up. I scooted over to my hat lying next to me
with all my belongins and grabbed my cell phone. Holding
it behind my back, I managed to send my lawyer a text:
I might be needing you later.
Because by then, I had decided that we would continue to
resist by standing up and trying to walk down the steps.
After I got up, a number of people to joined me and I
began to walk towards the steps. Three cops came running
up and started pushing us back while I pushed back with
my chest while holding my hat in my cuffed hands behind
my back until finally one grabbed me by the arm and turned
me around and led me around to the back of the building. But
at least that got me to be number 23 out of nearly 200 arrested.
A Winter Soldier’s Quest for Congress
by Kelley B. Vlahos, January 05, 2010
Ex-Marine, Iraq vet, and antiwar activist Adam Kokesh is finally ready to fight The Man – from inside the system. But as he makes the rounds through the New Mexico congressional district he hopes to one day represent, he’s finding out fast that people are more apathetic about U.S. interventions abroad than ever before.
“Nobody cares about the war. It’s predictable, but it’s sad,” said Kokesh in a recent interview with Antiwar.com. “We have 300,000 troops serving in harm’s way, but I hardly get asked questions about that. I hardly get any questions about foreign policy.”
Still, he is hopeful. With the deployment this year of 30,000 additional troops to a clearly troubled front in Afghanistan, coupled with varying degrees of voter disappointment with President Barack Obama’s inaugural year in office, Kokesh said, “I think there is a great opening here for the antiwar cause. There is a real opportunity to bring Left and Right together around a campaign that is antiwar for the right reasons and in the right way.”
Kokesh is the guy to exploit even the tiniest of openings. The 27-year-old has spent the last few years preaching rebellion and resistance, serving in his own determined and charismatic way the meteoric rise of the Ron Paul revolution, all while adopting the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) symbol, a raised fist laced with dog tags.
With the IVAW, Kokesh helped to organize, then participated in, the 2008 Winter Soldier events, for which Iraq veterans like himself spoke openly about the horrors and injustices they said they had witnessed and/or participated in during their tours in-country. Kokesh encouraged and engaged in the kind of testimony that, in part, kept Sen. John Kerry from winning the White House in 2004. He, too, was 27 years old in 1971 when he testified before the U.S. Senate, sharing tales of alleged atrocities he and his fellow Vietnam veterans uncovered in the very first Winter Soldier investigation.
“I have an unwavering faith in my country, and I know that the self-righting ship of the United States of America will one day regain its course, but only with the great toil, courage, and sacrifice that it demands of its Winter Soldiers. I am proud to call myself one of them today,” Kokesh declared in the hearings.
To say that Winter Soldier failed to touch off a firestorm or fuel the momentum of a game-changing antiwar movement as it had did in 1971 is an understatement. The mainstream press deemed the 2008 hearings as unworthy of coverage, and the testimony of the Winter Soldiers was dismissed as the marginal echoes of the disillusioned, or worse, the deluded and traitorous Left among the growing population of modern vets.
But despite that, Kokesh believes that Americans made their stand against Bush-era militarism when they voted for Barack Obama over former POW John McCain in November 2008. But despite that, Kokesh believes that Americans made their stand against Bush-era militarism when they voted for Barack Obama over former POW and warhawk John McCain in November 2008. Turns out Obama is no dove. So, now that buyer’s remorse is slowly setting in among the electorate, Kokesh senses it’s time to tinker with the inside of the machine, starting with the 3rd congressional district in New Mexico, a seat now held by freshman Democrat Rep. Ben Ray Lujan. Kokesh is running in the June Republican primary against at least one GOP challenger, Tom Mullins.
“I think a lot of people are realizing that the system we have right now stinks, and it’s motivating a lot of people to get involved. Adam is trying to bring the Republican Party back to its more traditional stance,” said Ron Paul spokesman and Kokesh supporter Jesse Benton, who said Kokesh’s “real-world credentials” as a combat Marine, his “genuineness,” and above all, his lack of ego have allowed him to make early inroads with voters.
Which is a quantum leap, politically speaking, considering that it was Kokesh who was dragged off by security guards for disrupting McCain’s acceptance speech for the nomination at the Republican National Convention in 2008 (footage here). High up in the rafters, Kokesh unfurled a banner and shouted so loud that the annoyed audience was forced to chant like 20,000 collectivist automatons – “USA! USA! USA!” – in order to drown him out.
A self-described libertarian Republican who actively supported Republican outsider Ron Paul for the GOP nomination, Kokesh not only warned against the hawkishness of McCain, but he actively campaigned against Obama’s plans for Afghanistan during the campaign, too. While he hates to say “I told you so,” he’ll say it anyway.
“I never had any hope or expectations,” he said of Obama. “I knew he was going to fail at being any kind of principled force in our foreign policy. I’m not glad he’s failing, but I am glad he’s doing [so] in such a obvious and spectacular fashion that people are starting to wake up.”
Ditto for the Democrat-controlled Congress, filled with incumbents shackled by special interests and rookie freshmen who can’t seem to find their way back to the promises they made on the campaign trail. Kokesh counts Lujan as one of them.
“There was a growing discontent – when Obama took office – on the Right, but it’s really started to show itself on the Left as well,” he said. “It’s been very interesting to watch that take off.”
Putting Down the Fist, Taking Up the Campaign Trail
Kokesh hopes to harness dynamic changes on both sides: first, the “tea party” or “liberty movement,” however faddish or politically expedient it might seem on some fronts, has given rise and respect to the kind of message that Paul and the Campaign for Liberty have been so vigorously – and successfully – promoting since the 2008 election. Rep. Paul raised millions for that race, amassed a huge following, and inspired a crop of political hopefuls – including his own son, Rand Paul in Kentucky – in a movement that is now being embraced by the media, mainstream conservatives, and even GOP stalwarts, for the first time.
“What’s happened in the last two years is that Ron Paul tapped into a latent constituency – among Republicans, yes, but also among independent conservatives and libertarians – who want strictly limited government and no more foreign-policy misadventures,” noted political essayist and my American Conservative colleague, Dan McCarthy, who also works with the Campaign for Liberty. “Paul was striking many of the notes the tea parties have since struck years earlier, but his message was more complete, since he includes a strong opposition to unjust and unconstitutional wars along with his opposition to other unconstitutional big-government programs.”
Kokesh, who gave rock-star speeches during at least two major Paul rallies in 2008, “is the real thing,” said McCarthy, and stands to advance the agenda among conservatives, whether he wins or not.
Next, Kokesh’s honest and uncompromising effort to draw attention to the dark realities of the battlefield has already made him a hero among the liberal antiwar community. With more Democrats waking up to the fact that Obama is not going to relax the Bush-era war policies and the ever widening Global War on Terror, Kokesh figures he can appeal to Democratic Party loyalists and left-of-center independents, too.
“Voters who supported Obama are like victims of an abusive relationship,” Kokesh likes to say. “But it’s like they are finally starting to get to a breaking point, saying, ‘What were we thinking?’”
Truly antiwar Democrats won’t put up with it for long.
“Right now, there’s a paradigm shift, there is a revolution happening,” he said. “I can’t imagine myself being part of anything else.”
How He Got Here
Kokesh has considered himself a libertarian-conservative since high school, but after joining the Marines and then being confronted with the opportunity to go to war, other impulses took over. As a member of the Marine Corps Reserve, he volunteered to go to Iraq because he truly believed the rap that he was going to make a difference. He tried to explain: “I was against the war, but pro-occupation. What I was lacking at that time was an appreciation of the great American tradition – of being lied to by our government. So a lot of it was about being a young Marine. … I didn’t want to miss the party in 2004.”
After a violent, eye-opening tour of duty, for which he spent most of the year in a roving tactical team in the 1st Regiment Detachment in what is now known as the First Battle of Fallujah, Kokesh returned home, entered college life, and suffered from bouts with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Soon, the old libertarian standards began to take on new meaning. “I had to go to Iraq to experience that. I joined Iraq Veterans Against the War. It caused me to examine my values … to take it to the philosophical and spiritual level where you begin to recognize the moral significance of [aggressive use of force]. Once you ‘get it,’ you can’t go back to sleep. You can’t not do something about it.”
Like other vets who dissociate themselves from the military to actively challenge the policies they were once duty-bound to execute, Kokesh displays a clarity of conviction and little patience for political fan-dancing and subtlety. Frequent rhetorical targets include tyranny and corruption – in both domestic and foreign policy – in addition to unjust war. His speech is direct and often iconoclastic, which most voters today might find refreshing.
But some say Kokesh may be uncompromising to a fault and too much of a one-note guy to appeal to a broad constituency, which, like in most congressional races, are focused on parochial politics and district issues Kokesh may be less comfortable tackling – like education, health care, crime, federal appropriations, and in the case of the 3rd district in New Mexico, Native American affairs. The district is heavily Democratic, having voted for Obama over McCain 61-38 percent and for Lujan over his Republican opponent by 26 percentage points. The previous incumbent, Democratic Rep. Tom Udall, had served a safe five terms and only left when he decided to run for a vacant U.S. Senate seat last year, which he won.
In addition to the unfavorable odds, Kokesh will have to avoid the controversy he’s often courted throughout his life as an activist. On the day the Washington Independent published a rather friendly profile of Kokesh on its front page, its sister publication, the New Mexico Independent, quoted Kokesh declaring, via Twitter, that he “is proud to be standing with the gun toters,” a reference to a recently circulated photo of him with Christopher Broughton, the man who brought an AR-15 rifle to an Arizona Obama rally and who reportedly told CNN that he was “prepared to resort to forceful resistance to Obama’s policies.”
Benton said Kokesh is well aware that he must “repackage” the old “in-your-face rhetoric” to fit the campaign trail, which traverses 14 northern New Mexico counties and the capital city of Santa Fe. “Adam is working very hard to stay true to his core beliefs, but he’s also working very hard to repackage those beliefs,” said Benton. He may have to work extra hard with mainstream Republicans, who despite their seeming conversions on other fronts, are still the primary movers and backers of the Washington war establishment – even in the age of Obama.
Adam Kokesh arrested during an antiwar protest inside a U.S Senate office building, April 27, 2007
“He’s such an honest person,” said Benton. “He’s being careful not to alienate [voters] with too much fire in the belly.”
Which brings us back to the opening. If voters are more interested in putting food on the table or holding on to their health insurance than they are about what is going on overseas, why would they toss out a one-term incumbent for an audacious antiwar activist with a slim chance of crashing the party?
Because people are looking for honesty and independence over political polish and party machinery, and most importantly, they are “starting to make the connection” between big-government policies at home and the proclivity to start wars and build empires abroad, said Kokesh.
“It is a challenge,” said Benton, “but Adam really brings the pro-American, pro-liberty message full circle.”
“No politician has ever ended a war,” Kokesh exclaimed during the summer 2008 March for Liberty in Washington, D.C. Maybe so, but now, Kokesh wants the opportunity to try.