Monday, December 2, 2013

Alden Link Appointed To Objectivist Party Governing Board

On November 29, 2013, Alden Link, the Vice-Presidential candidate of the Objectivist Party in 2008 and 2012, was appointed to the Governing Board of the Objectivist Party. He fills the vacancy created by the death of Dallwyn Hamnilton Merck, who served on the Governing Board from February 2, 2008 to November 10, 2013. Dallwyn Merck's assigned membership number in the Objectivist Party was #4. Alden Link, who joined the party on August 19, 2008, was assigned membership #63.

The Objectivist Party was founded on February 2, 2008 and seeks to promote Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism in the political realm. At the National Convention of the Objectivist Party held on May 25, 2008 at The Buckhorn Exchange in Denver, Colorado, Alden Link was selected as the party's Vice-Presidential candidate for 2008. At the State Convention of the New York Libertarian Party held on April 24, 2010 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Albany, New York, Alden Link received the nomination of the New York Libertarian Party for Lt. Governor. At the National Convention of the Objectivist Party held on May 29-30, 2010 at Show-Me's on The Landing and at The Kitchen Buffet & Bistro (inside Lumiere Place Casino) in St. Louis, Missouri, Alden Link was selected as the party's Vice-Presidential candidate for 2012.

In accepting appointment to the Governing Board of the Objectivist Party, Mr. Link said:

I am honored and pleased to have been selected to serve on the Governing Board of the Objectivist Party. There is no worthier a cause than to work to free people's minds from the shackles of superstition and mysticism. Living a purposeful life using logic and reason brings fulfillment and happiness now and not in some imaginary afterlife. 

For those who do not know me, I am an entrepreneur, real estate developer and aviator. As a businessman, I am aware how government regulation can stifle the entrepreneurial spirit. I want to free up the creative energies of entrepreneurs to enable them to develop new technologies. As a real estate developer, I understand how zoning regulation and eminent domain abuse have gotten out of hand. As an aviator, I feel the spirit of freedom swelling in my heart as I soar through the skies. This feeling inspires me to fight for freedom until the government learns to respect every man's natural right to life, liberty and property. 

I believe citizens have a right to keep the money they earn and that they know best how to spend that money. Government involvement interferes with the efficiency of the free market. I also believe people are sovereign over their own bodies and have the right to do with them as they see fit without the interference of a paternalistic government.   

The Objectivist Party has been the voice of reason in the political realm and its influence has been felt worldwide. It currently has members in 19 countries including Australia, Canada, China, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States of America, where it currently has 30 chartered State Chapters. I look forward to working with Dr. Tom Stevens, the Founder of the Objectivist Party, and with the other Governing Board members to take the party's political activism to the next level.

Alden Link graduated from Brooklyn College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics and obtained an Associates of Applied Science degree in Industrial Instrumentation from the Long Island Agricultural & Technical Institute (currently SUNY Farmingdale). He also served for two years in the United States Army. Mr. Link currently maintains residences in New York and Florida.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Scott Baier Appointed Executive Director Of 14 Now!

On November 10, 2013, Scott Christopher Baier was appointed Executive Director of 14 Now!, a Youth Rights Advocacy Organization committed to lowering the voting age to 14, eliminating restrictions on the right of individuals 14 years of age and older to work, ending compulsory education at 14, allowing individuals 14 years of age and older to join the military, and setting the age of consent at 14. Dallwyn Merck served as the group's first Executive Director, from its founding on December 20, 2010 until his recent death.

In accepting the appointment, Scott Baier said:

While serving in my capacity as State Chair of the Personal Freedom Party of New Jersey, I became very familiar with the effective and powerful Youth Rights Advocacy work being done by 14 Now!. I was always impressed by their activism and by the fact that whenever I spoke about the Youth Rights movement, the first group people mentioned to me was 14 Now! It is therefore my honor to accept the position of Executive Director. I will do my best to build on the solid foundation laid by the group's first Executive Director, Dallwyn Merck. I intend to take 14 Now! to the next level by building coalitions of groups in support of each of the five main goals we seek to achieve.

Scott Christopher Baier graduated Toms River High School in the year 2000. He currently lives in Lawrence Township, New Jersey.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Dr. Stephen Finger Calls For A Free Market In Human Organs For Transplantation

Dr. Stephen Finger, an Otolaryngologist practicing medicine in Brooklyn, says the buying and selling of human organs for transplantation should be made legal and would save lives. In a recent article published on November 19, 2013 entitled "Have A Heart or...Maybe A Kidney, Dr. Finger wrote the following:

"Each year, over six thousand Americans die waiting for a kidney transplant. Many more thousands die waiting for liver, lung or heart transplants.

There are now only two ways to get an organ for transplantation, i.e. either from a living donor (kidney, liver, lung) or cadaver (all). Living donors are usually, but not always, relatives or friends. To get a cadaver organ, you go on a list and wait. It's illegal to buy an organ. Has to be a donation and with nothing given in return.

Now, suppose the government allowed a free market in buying and selling human organs with regulation to prevent fraud and assure informed consent. Maybe sounds a little ghoulish (unless you happen to need a transplant) but, nevertheless, what would be the result?

Well, if you were rich enough and had been unable to find a willing donor before, you would probably offer a lot of money to buy an organ (it's possible to live a perfectly normal life with only one kidney, and with liver and lung, you would offer to buy only a piece of the organ). In the case of a heart, you would, of course, have to make an offer to the family of the deceased.

So, while you had been on a list, or on several lists, waiting for an organ, now that you've been transplanted, you're off the list(s) and everyone below you moves up a notch. What's wrong with that?

The rich get their transplants the fastest but most everyone else gets theirs faster now that there are fewer people on the list. Isn't that a good thing that everyone improves his or her lot in life even though not necessarily at the same rate?

And, of course, if organ-selling were to be legal, it's a pretty safe bet that many more organs would become available. And, like everything else that some people want to buy and others want to sell, as the supply goes up, the price would eventually start to come down.

And finally, isn't this exactly the kind of thing that insurance was designed for, i.e. a lot of people paying a small amount each year so that if they are someday one of the relatively few who need to purchase an organ for transplantation, it wouldn't bankrupt them?

Of course, there's no reason that any of this would ever have to become compulsory. If you're not interested in a transplant and would prefer dialysis, well, 'If you like your kidney, you can keep it...' No, really!"

Dr. Stephen Finger ran for Congress in 2006 on the Libertarian and Republican Party lines. You can visit his blog at:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Matthew Kelly, Vice-President of Oath Keepers NYC, Says Assault Weapons Are Not For Killing Deer

Matthew Kelly, Vice-President of the New York City Chapter of Oath Keepers, wrote an article expressing the opinion that citizens should be allowed to have Assault Weapons under the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, not because they need them for hunting but to protect them from tyrannical and despotic politicians. That article, which was posted to the Oath Keepers website on November 15, 2013, read as follows:

"No one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer."

So said New York Govenor Andrew Cuomo in his 2013 State of the State speech.

"I love to hunt and I love to be able to share that joy with my kids. But for the life of me, I don't know why the hell people have to have an assault weapon."

So said former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, during a visit to troops in Italy.

Both of these quotes were in reference to discussions about "gun control", which is really a discussion about the Second Amendment. And anyone with an iota of knowledge about the Second Amendment knows it has nothing whatsoever to do with hunting.

Both Cuomo and Panetta are smart and well-educated men. They are far from being ignoramuses. Yet these quotes, linking the Second Amendment to hunting, are patently idiotic.

How to reconcile these two facts, then?

If smart men knowledgeable of the Constitution make such absurdly nonsensical statements about it, what could explain this outside of an intentional desire to deceive a too-often distracted, gullible, and, sadly, ignorant public?

And if they are intent on deceiving the public, then to what end? Clearly it's in service to further "gun control" measures.

And we should be clear that the goal of those who seek to deceive in the name of "public safety" have as their ultimate aim the complete disarmament of the population. One need only look to, say, England; or listen to a younger Eric Holder; or read the words of Senator Dianne Feinstein, to see the end result of this agenda. Framing the argument in terms of "hunting" allows for each incremental, slow turn of the screw until we find that the Second Amendment has been rendered moot.

The purpose of the Second Amendment is, of course, to enable the population at large to arm itself against the encroachment of tyranny from within. If disarmed, all citizens are prey to the whims of their government.

In the modern era - over the past century - we have witnessed hundreds of millions of disarmed civilians slaughtered at the hand of their governments.

Those victims were, of course, dissidents of the government, or otherwise, peronae non gratae.

But the gun-grabbers insist it can't happen here. (Perhaps this is the one area in which they see America as exceptional?) Surely the U.S. government would never demonstrate the kind of hostility towards its own citizens that China or Russia or Nazi Germany did, correct?

We may recall at this point that the ATF, with possible collusion with Eric Holder's Department of Justice, ran guns to Mexican drug cartels with the intent of using the resulting violence - which killed at least two Americans - as propaganda to promote further gun control legislation.

It is also worth remembering that the Internal Revenue Service was brought to account for using its significant power to harass conservative-leaning organizations (i.e. those named or appearing to be affiliated with the grassroots "T.E.A. Party") and deny them their tax exempt status - so much so that it may have swung the 2012 election.

And let's not forget that Eric Holder's Department of Justice was also working with the White House to draft a legal justification for allowing drone strikes on American citizens on American soil.

And then, of course, there's the story of the NSA brazenly ignoring the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and spying on every single American. And the man who blew the whistle on this flagrant abuse of federal power? Chased off to Russia under fear of imprisonment (or worse) the government of the United States.

In conclusion, it is the opinion of this author that those who do not believe the government is hostile towards its citizens are both ignorant of what our government is doing, and naive as to what our government is capable of doing.

Contrary to the cries of the politicians and the compliant mewing of the credulous, the point of gun control is not public safety. It is to protect the rulers from the ruled. We acquiesce to their agenda at our considerable peril.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Anthony J. Kraljic Appointed Queens LP Secretary

On November 12, 2013, the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of Queens County appointed Anthony J. Kraljic to serve as Secretary for the remainder of the unexpired term of office of Dallwyn Merck, who passed away on November 10th. Mr. Merck served as Secretary of the Queens LP continuously since May 13, 2006, when he was first elected to the position. Mr. Kraljic will continue to serve as Youth Outreach Coordinator, a position he was appointed to on October 12, 2013.

In accepting the appointment, Mr. Kraljic said:

I am honored to have been appointed Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, the largest and most active chapter in the New York Libertarian Party. Dallwyn Merck, the person who previously held this position, was a well-known pro-liberty activist and I join with my fellow chapter members in mourning his loss. I will do my best to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the position of Secretary and to make a contribution to spreading the message of liberty to all who are open to hearing it.

Anthony J. Kraljic of Whitestone is a graduate of St. Mary's High School and of St. John's University, from which he graduated in 2008 with a B.S. degree in Administrative Studies. Mr. Kraljic is also a member of the New York Libertarian Party.

Monday, November 11, 2013

John Procida Calls Obama & De Blasio Communists & Says He's Ashamed To Say He's A New Yorker

On November 5, 2013, Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, was elected Mayor of the City of New York beating his closest opponent Joe Lhota, the Republican, by a margin of almost 50 percentage points. On November 11, 2013, John Procida issued the following Veterans Day statement calling President Barack Obama and Bill de Blasio Communists and saying he is now ashamed to say he's a New Yorker:

I am sad and confused. I guess America has changed and I have not noticed it. Didn't we fight a 50 year cold war including The Korean War and The Vietnam War and many other smaller wars trying to defeat Communism? It is sad to think that while our young men and women were getting killed in those wars against Communism, we have now accepted Communism here at home.

Yes, while our kids were getting killed, the Communists were working their plan to communize America here at home and they did.

We the people have elected into high office three Communists: Obama (both his mother and father were Communists; he promoted to high positions self-avowed Communists such as Van Jones), Bernie Sanders, a Senator for Vermont (a self-identified Communist); and now the City of New York has elected Bill de Blasio as Mayor (and he is an admitted Communist).

The Communist movement has been working tirelessly for 60 years. They printed their plan for the entire world to see in books by Saul Alinsky and Cloward & Piven, and they never wavered from those plans. Politically ignorant Americans fell right into their hands by a number of moves; they indoctrinated school teachers and they, in turn, indoctrinated their students. They took advantage of poor uneducated groups and filled their heads with the right to entitlements. They are intentionally bankrupting our City, State and Federal governments as directed by Cloward & Piven (four cities that I know of have declared bankruptcy including three in California and Detroit). 

The Communists and Socialists hide behind labels like Liberals and Progressives. All of de Blasio's campaign signs said Progressive. He said in his victory speech that he would change our laws into Progressive movements. No, they are smart enough to not admit to be Communists or Socialists as those words would wake up the sleeping electorate as to what they really are.

I am now ashamed to say I am a New Yorker, and that brings to mind a meeting I had in Austria. I met a group of Americans and I said, Hi, I see that you are Americans. Where are you from? They told me they were from the Midwest. Then they asked me where I was from and I answered proudly, New York. Then they replied, "Oh, you're not an American!"

John Procida serves as Vice-Chair of the Libertarian Party of Queens County. He issued these comments in his individual, and not in his official, capacity.

Friday, November 1, 2013

John Procida Says Suspicion Of Black Customers Is Rational & Justified

There have been recent news stories regarding shopkeepers being suspicious of black customers who purchased expensive items questioning whether the credit card used was stolen and stopping them to inquire about their purchases. This has given rise to black outrage and calls for the boycotting of the merchants involved. On October 31, 2013, John Procida issued the following statement with respect to these events:

Why are average white sales people suspicious of blacks purchasing outlandishly expensive items? They are simply following the old adage, "when there is smoke, there is fire". What is being demanded by black leaders is that sales people act stupid and never question any customer who is black. Then if there is fraud, I am sure the employer will simply smile and not think bad of the employee. Also, I'm sure the employer will not be upset at the loss no matter how large the loss is, as they have done their civic duty.

Common sense must be abandoned in the New Order.

I feel sorry for the good blacks. Unfortunately, they are carrying a cross made by their own people. The Italians get accused of being in the Mafia all the time. 

I ran and attended Unity Day meetings that our Italian organization held that were 50% attended by Middle Class Blacks from good Middle Class neighborhoods. Those black people had the same aspirations, and fears, that all middle class people have but they were, and still will be, discriminated against because of the black crime rate.

This is a tough world we live in and I do mean world as discrimination for many reasons and for many groups of people exists everywhere.

John Procida serves as Vice-Chair of the Libertarian Party of Queens County. He issued these comments in his individual, and not in his official, capacity.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Oath Keepers Establishes New Mission & Goes Operational

Oath Keepers is an organization founded in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes, a Yale Law School graduate. He has described the group as being made up largely of law enforcement officials and past and present members of the military who will stand up for the Constitution and American liberties by resisting orders to impose martial law or to create detention camps in the United States. Recently, Stewart Rhodes communicated a new Oath Keeper mission - that of forming small "field teams" of experts in various disciplines, such as communications, emergency response, first aid, etc. with the ultimate goal being to build up the "core competencies" among Oath Keeper members, and then have those members cross-train civilians so that our communities are more resilient in the face of any type of disaster.

According to an article posted to the Oath Keepers website, "Oath Keepers is instructing its 30,000 members nation-wide to form up special teams and sub-teams in each Oath Keepers chapter, at the town and county level, modeled loosely on the Special Forces "A Team" (Operational Detachment A)...which has a twelve man team of specially trained soldiers who are inserted into a community to train and lead that community in resistance to oppressive regimes (hence their motto: De Oppresso Liber)...Oath Keepers is using that successful model and adapting it to our mission, to form Oath Keepers "Civilization Preservation Teams" (we have already received critical input from some of our Special Forces members, and are actively seeking more input from others within the Special Forces community)...So far we plan to have the following in each Operational "Field" Team: Two Communication Experts, Two Medical Experts (with a special focus on grid-down emergency medical and wilderness medicine), Two Engineers (to assist with fuel, shelter, emergency power, clean water, sewage, etc. build bridges, clear roads, construction, facilitate field distribution of supply and logistics, etc.), Two Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) Specialists (who focus on the critical need for food reserves for the whole team, dependents, and especially for the community and who distribute food aid in the field), and Four to Six "Scouts" (all "Scouts" will train extensively in tracking, land navigation, search and rescue, reconnaissance and observation, precision rifle shooting, wilderness survival and other "bush skills", camouflage, small unit tactics, and patrolling...But within each Scout sub-team will be, ideally, a) Two Tracking Experts, b) Two Precision Shooting Experts, and c) Two Close Combat and Small Unit Tactics Experts. Each Operational "Field" Team will elect its own Team Leader and Assistant Team Leader and each Oath Keepers Chapter will also be a Support Team (Logistic Supply/Support Group (LSG)) and will act as an auxiliary to assist the Field team with supplies and transport. The people within that support team will also train extensively with the Field team."

The Oath Keepers website article went on to say that each chapter should also form the following sub-teams for use during "normal" times and also during emergencies: "Peace Officer Liaison and Sheriff/Posse Team (focused on making sure the local Sheriff is a "constitutional Sheriff" who understands the Constitution and the duty to defend it, and making sure there is a posse to back the sheriff up...); Military and National Guard Liaison; Neighborhood Watch Team; Local Government Team (this is the team that will draft and introduce militia bills, posse bills, and nullification bills, among other items to support liberty at the local level...); and Intelligence Team (to gather, analyze, and disseminate intelligence on who is doing what, where, when, and why)". Given this mission, where all Oath Keepers are expected to "Go Operational", the article reports that like with Special Forces, "all Oath Keepers will be expected to learn light infantry skills. They will all be encouraged to attend an Appleseed Rifle Program and shoot to "Rifleman" standards. Just as the Marines say that every Marine is a Rifleman (even the cooks) so will every Oath Keeper be a rifleman. After learning solid rifle marksmanship, they will learn individual movement and tactics, then buddy team, fire-team, and squad movement and tactics (shoot, move, communicate)."

As to why the Oath Keepers is doing this now, it was mentioned in the article that the Oath Keepers national Board of Directors feels "we are running out of time and we need to get prepared as fast as possible." It was reported the Board of Directors "war-gamed" and that they think "the most likely move by our enemies to scrap the Constitution" will be: a)intentionally trigger a catastrophic economic collapse as an economic "neutron bomb"; b) let the country descent into chaos; and then, c) ride in like the cavalry to "save" us by means of martial law and scrapping our constitution once-and-for-all." Oath Keepers urges its members "to presume the worst in the short term and to work in three or four month sprints - assume a collapse will be triggered this fall-winter and do all you can to get yourselves and your communities ready...If it doesn't happen in the next four months, then do another sprint, of three or four months of preparation. And keep going until it happens - which it will eventually, no matter what anyone does."

The New York City chapter of Oath Keepers held its "OK 2.0 Kickoff Meeting" on October 16, 2013 at the Soldiers' Sailors', Marines', Coast Guard & Airmens' Club at 283 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. The meeting leaders were Bill Cooper, newly elected Oath Keepers New York State Chapter President, Joe Conte, newly elected Oath Keepers New York City Chapter President, and Matthew Kelly, Oath Keepers New York City Chapter Vice-President. Mr. Cooper reported on what has been happening "behind the scenes," most notably building networks with other patriot groups throughout the state such as the New York Second Amendment Grassroots Coalition and New York Revolution, as well as "establishing strategies, objectives, and overall direction for all chapters within New York State, including such items as base-line required competencies for all Oath Keeper members, a uniform code of conduct, strategic communications, etc.."

Joe Conte, Oath Keepers New York City Chapter President, discussed the importance of orienting Oath Keeper members for the mission at hand as well as how to present Oath Keepers to outsiders. Mr. Conte said, we need to "establish the proper frame of mine (i.e. we're to view ourselves as analogous to a military unit, therefore we should be competent, disciplined, and professional in carrying out the Oath Keeper mission)" and when discussing Oath Keepers with non-members, we should "be smart and strategic...focus on the areas no reasonable person could disagree with, such as looking to strengthen our communities via training people in first aid, emergency preparedness, etc.; emphasize that we're teaming with respectable organizations like the Red Cross, etc.; employ language that is familiar to the average person or to those in the corporate world - e.g. "community organizers", "business continuity", etc.". Mirroring that message, Matthew Kelly, Vice-President of the New York City Chapter of Oath Keepers, provided the following quotation, "By this point in time, every (responsible) business has a "disaster recovery/business continuity" plan in place. It only makes sense that local communities emulate this best practice and likewise prepare for the worst. This is the thrust of Oath Keepers' new priority #1: aid local communities in establishing their disaster recovery/"business" continuity - or, in the words of Mr. Rhodes, "civilization preservation" plans."

Mr. Conte went on to state that "thinking strategically is thinking defensively: What will the enemies of our Constitution do to try to prevent the Oath Keeper mission from succeeding? Most likely, they will try to discredit the organization by labeling us with such smears as being "radical", "paranoid", "fringe", "extremist", "domestic terrorists", etc. To combat or obviate these smears, it is imperative that all Oath Keepers maintain message discipline and not give our enemies any ammunition to use against us. Specifically, curb any discussion of conspiracy theories that are, by definition, "kooky" (whether you think they're "kooky" or not); polish your presentation as to what the Oath Keepers are and what they are not (i.e. we are most definitely not a militia) so that it appeals to those we want on our side and contradicts any claims that we're a bunch of foaming-at-the-mouths wing nuts; contain the emotion, use common sense and exercise discretion."

Matthew Kelly, Oath Keepers New York City Chapter Vice-President, laid out the five to-dos for all NYC Oath Keeper members "that are to be embarked upon immediately given the aggressive timeline Stewart has laid out for operational effectiveness of the new mission. The five to-dos include: a) joining your local Community Emergency Response Team; b) get Red Cross's 2-year certification for First Aid/CPR/AED; c) get your Technician Class license in ham radio operation; d) do some basic prepping (i.e. enough essentials for surviving one week without any outside supplies); and e) establish your bug-out plans (i.e. where will you go and how will you get there if STHF?)." Mr. Kelly noted "these action items are only the first step in a long journey to establish the "core competencies" of all Oath Keeper members, and that once these steps are completed there will still be much more work to be done."

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Applause! Applause! Review of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Cultural Arts Playhouse by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Cultural Arts Playhouse was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 3 (2013) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Cultural Arts Playhouse (625 Old Country Road, Plainview, NY)
Reviewed 10/26/13

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a musical comedy conceived by Rebecca Feldman with music and lyrics by William Finn, a book by Rachel Sheinkin and additional material by Jay Reiss. The musical was based upon C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, an original improvisational non-musical play created by Rebecca Feldman, and performed by The Farm, a New York-based improvisational comedy troupe. It was work shopped and developed at the Barrington Stage Company in Massachusetts in 2004 and moved Off-Broadway to the Second Stage Theatre, officially opening on February 7, 2005 and closing on March 20, 2005. The musical premiered on Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre on April 15, 2005 and closed on January 20, 2008 after 1,136 performances. The show won Tony Awards for Best Book (Rachel Sheinkin) and Best Featured Actor (Dan Fogler). 

In the show, six "students" compete in a fictitious spelling bee joined by four audience volunteers who are recruited to participate on stage as guest spellers. The six "student" contestants in this production were George Anagnostakos as William Morris Barfee (pronounced Bar-FAY; a Putnam County Spelling Bee finalist last year who was eliminated because of an allergic reaction to peanuts and uses the "Magic Foot" method of spelling out each word on the floor before visualizing it and answering), Michael Marmann as Leaf Coneybear (a home-schooled son of former Hippies who has severe Attention Deficit Disorder, makes his own clothes and said "My favorite birthday is Christmas. That's when Santa Claus was born"), Jojo Minasi as Chip Tolentino (an athletic Boy Scout and champion of the 24th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, who has an erection at an extremely inopportune moment and exclaims "my unfortunate protuberance seems to have its own exuberance"), Alyson Rogers as Olive Ostrovsky (a shy girl with a mother in an ashram in India and a father who often works late who has made friends with her dictionary but who eventually blossoms after developing a connection with fellow contestant William Morris Barfee), Alyssa Caracciolo as Marcy Park (an overachieving transfer student from Virginia who starts to question whether winning is everything), and Sarah Berger as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre (the head of the Gay-Straight alliance at her Elementary School who has two dads, one of whom suggests she cheats to order to hurt the chances of one of her competitors). All of the contestants are introduced with humorous commentary. For example, one "student" was introduced as someone who "was thrown out of the Girl Scouts for letting the boys eat her cookies." Another was said to have thought "bi-polar" was "a big bear with no sexual preference." The three main "adults" in the production were Taneisha Corbin as Rona Lisa Peretti (the Moderator), Kyle Petty Lee as Mitch Mahoney (the Official Comfort Counselor, who gives all the losers a hug and a juice box), and Thomas J. McKenna (the Vice-Principal who reads the words to the students). 

This production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee features a superb cast who excel in their respective roles. They are extraordinarily talented actors and singers who work well together creating an enjoyable experience for all.  This is a fun show - lighthearted, humorous and easygoing. Don't expect any deep psychological insights into the featured characters. The most you will get is the revelation that winning isn't everything and that it is better to lose on merit than to win by cheating. Nevertheless, you won't find a better community revival of this musical. I have seen this show many times before and I still thoroughly  enjoyed this production by the Cultural Arts Playhouse. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

LPPA Descends Into Chaos; Steve Scheetz Pressures Judicial Committee To Allow The Board To Charter Multiple County Committees & To Let Them Fight It Out With Respect To Who Are Officially Nominated LP Candidates

On August 17, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania took the extraordinary step of chartering a second official County Committee in Northampton County without decertifying the existing group and then argued before the LPPA Judicial Committee that the Board has the power to recognize, and in fact, must charter a new County Committee whenever two State Party members living in any county request that another County Organization be formed. The result of this position is that multiple officially chartered County Committees will exist in one county, each with the right to nominate candidates for local office creating chaos as to whom is the official, legally recognized Libertarian Party candidate for any office and as to which group has the right to circulate "Minor Party" petitions on behalf of the Libertarian Party. It would also permit each County Committee existing within a county to send its own voting State Representative to the Board of Directors allowing one or two large counties to effectively take control of the State Organization.

At the request of Dr. Tom Stevens, former LPPA State Chair and Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Northampton County, Northampton LP County Chair Aaron Rosengarten appealed this action to the LPPA Judicial Committee arguing that Article IV, Section 1 of the LPPA Constitution specifically says that "the functional division of the Party shall be the County Committee" and that multiple County Committees would create chaos in the LPPA. Dr. Stevens testified on behalf of the Libertarian Party of Northampton County and against Steve Scheetz, the current LPPA State Chair, who represented the Board and argued in favor of allowing multiple County Organizations to be chartered in every county. Mr. Scheetz argued, "When the Constitution says 'the county committee', it is simply stating what to call a functioning sub-unit. It does not say there can be only one."

In unauthorized discussions with Steve Scheetz,  Ken Krawchuk, one of the Judicial Committee members who served with Scheetz as an officer in the Montgomery County LP, gave Scheetz a heads-up on how the Judicial Committee members were leaning with respect to this issue, which was not in his favor. As a result, Mr. Scheetz threatened to resign as State Chair if the Judicial Committee did not rule in favor of his position to allow the Board to charter multiple official County Committees in each county. Specifically, Mr. Scheetz wrote, "I may also decide that I should be doing other things instead of trying to save an organization that is bend on self-destruction... I may be overreacting, but Ken told me how the vote on this issue may come down, and while I am extremely concerned, I sincerely hope the JC acts in the interest of the LPPA."

On September 13, 2013, the Judicial Committee ruled on the issue as follows: "...a majority of the Judicial Committee holds that there is no express prohibition in the LPPA Bylaws to having more than one organization in a county."

Matthew Kelly, who served as Membership Committee Chair under State Chairs Thomas Robert Stevens and Lawrence James Fryman, responded to the ruling as follows:

What will happen now when an individual seeks the endorsement of the Libertarian Party to run for local office? Will that person need to obtain the endorsement of all the recognized County Organizations in that county or will the local Board of Elections recognize only the Libertarian Party nominees who come from the first group to file paperwork or the first candidate to submit petitions? Since all the recognized County Committees were officially chartered, won't all nominated candidates have the right to claim they have the nomination? What about State Party members living in a county? Which group should they join? If 5 chartered County Organizations each have 12 State Party members, will that county be entitled to 5 votes on the Board of Directors? 

However ridiculous this situation makes the LPPA appear, things are actually much worse in reality. The system I had in place for following up with inquiries has been completely dismantled under current State Chair Steve Scheetz. All people expressing an interest in the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania or in running for office, received a call, e-mail and letter from the Membership Committee. Dr. Stevens personally followed up with everyone interested in running for office and he called everyone who joined to encourage them to become active on a committee or in their local organization. None of this is happening anymore. In addition, when I was Membership Committee Chair, hundreds of party members observed party business on the official lists. Now, party business is primarily conducted in secret with backwater e-mails being sent only to "friendly" Board Members while other voting members are routinely excluded from the debate and discussion. Steve Scheetz, the current State Chair, has also actively encouraged Board Members to block the e-mails of other Board Members whose opinions he considers not worthy of consideration. I never saw anything like this take place during the administrations of Dr. Tom Stevens and Lawrence James Fryman, both who were completely committed to transparency and to conducting all business out in the open for everyone to see.

The only reason you don't read about the problems the LPPA is currently facing is because all of the voices committed to party growth and to transparency have been silenced and most, if not all, of the formerly active County Committees are now inactive or on life support. Half the candidates who were committed to running for office this year dropped out and many of the Standing and Working Committee Chairs have resigned their State Party membership. This is truly a Dark Age for the LPPA, especially when you consider that just one year ago, Libertarian Party State Chairs from around the country were asking how they could bring the "Pennsylvania Miracle" to their own state.

In protest over the decision of the Judicial Committee in favor of recognizing multiple County Organizations in each county, Dr. Tom Stevens resigned his position as Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Northampton County.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Applause! Applause! Review of 13 at Cultural Arts Playhouse by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of 13 performed at the Cultural Arts Playhouse was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 3 (2013) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Cultural Arts Playhouse (625 Old Country Road, Plainview, NY)
Reviewed 10/10/13

13 is a musical with lyrics by Jason Robert Brown and a book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn. It premiered on January 7, 2007 at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, California and ran through February 18, 2007. It was next produced by Goodspeed Musicals at the Norma Terris Theater in Chester, Connecticut running from May 9, 2008 through June 8, 2008. 13 opened on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on October 5, 2008 and closed on January 4, 2009 after 105 performances. This production received one Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown.

The story centers around Evan Goldman, a 12 year old who moved from Manhattan to Appleton, Indiana with his mother after his parents decided to divorce. Evan, played by Zach Housman on the night I saw the show, describes himself as a "geek" but his character is more what I would call a "putz" (i.e. dick). He tries to get the cool kids to like him and to attend his upcoming Bar Mitzvah by uninviting Patrice, who was his first new friend in town and then disrespects her a second time when he invites her to a movie on a group date only to ignore her the whole time. Patrice likes Evan and eventually forgives him. Brett, the star quarterback, likes Kendra, the beautiful head cheerleader, but her friend Lucy, who also likes Brett, is jealous. Lucy convinces Kendra not to go with Brett and then jumps in to snatch him for herself. Brett's friends, who miss their leader, consider themselves to have been "jock blocked". Brett eventually chooses Kendra over Lucy after which Lucy spreads a vicious rumor that Kendra and Evan have hooked up, an extremely unlikely scenario I am surprised anyone believes. Archie, a physically handicapped friend of Patrice, manipulates Evan into setting up a date for him with Kendra. In a hilarious moment, in the dark movie theater during the group date, Brett leans over to French kiss Kendra. Lucy pushes Kendra's face out of the way as Archie also attempts to kiss Kendra and the result was Brett and Archie kissing. In the end, the cool kids abandon Evan and only Archie and Patrice end up at his Bar Mitzvah, the remaining group described by Archie as being "the gimp, the geek, the Jew and his mother."

The runaway star of this show is Kristen Murphy, who plays Patrice. She is an excellent actor with a very powerful singing voice. Her renditions of "The Lamest Place In The World" and "What It Means To Be A Friend" were absolutely amazing! If all the actors in this show were as talented as she is, I would have nothing but praise to offer. Unfortunately that was not the case. I cringed many times when some performers sang off-key.  They were simply not in her league. Nevertheless, a good group effort made "Any Minute", "Bad Bad News" and "A Little More Homework" enjoyable and entertaining numbers. Jojo Minasi, a very talented actor, stepped in at the last minute to play Brett but he was more convincing as a geek than he was as a jock.

I like the songs in this musical and will be buying the Broadway cast album. If you have not seen 13, I recommend you take this opportunity to see it at the Cultural Arts Playhouse.

Personal Freedom Party Charters New Jersey Chapter; Scott Baier Appointed State Chair

On October 8, 2013, the Personal Freedom Party chartered a New Jersey Chapter, naming Scott Christopher Baier as State Chair. The Personal Freedom Party of New Jersey becomes the third formally chartered State Chapter, following the Personal Freedom Party of New York that was chartered on June 6, 2010 and the Personal Freedom Party of Pennsylvania that was chartered on July 20, 2013.

Scott Christopher Baier, who previously served as State Chair of the Objectivist Party of New Jersey, said:

I am honored to have been appointed State Chair of the Personal Freedom Party of New Jersey and will do all I can to promote liberty in the Garden State. Many New Jersey Libertarians have already contacted me looking for an opportunity to get involved with this new party. The presence of Toxic Libertarians in the Libertarian Party of New Jersey and its general dysfunctionality over many years has caused a number of dedicated volunteers to devote their time working elsewhere in the liberty movement. I hope to reclaim the energy and enthusiasm of these discouraged freedom activists and to have them work with others to build a strong, successful and viable libertarian political party in the State of New Jersey.

The Personal Freedom Party has a simple, but strong, platform in support of the legalization of marijuana, the decriminalization of prostitution, the legalization of gambling, the lowering of the voting age, the legalization of gay marriage, the elimination of excessive taxation and the elimination of excessive regulation. I believe these positions are supported by the majority of the citizens of New Jersey. Whatever someone's moral position might be on some of these activities, I am sure most people do not think state tax money should be used to arrest and incarcerate individuals engaged in "victimless" crimes.  

I am excited about the opportunity this new position will give me to speak out on important issues and I look forward to working with all party members to spread the message of liberty and personal freedom to all who are open to hearing it.

The Personal Freedom Party was founded by Thomas Robert Stevens in June 6, 2010.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

LPPA Judicial Committee Hands Two More Victories To Former State Chair Dr. Tom Stevens

The two questions posed to the Judicial Committee of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania by or on behalf of Dr. Tom Stevens, former LPPA State Chair, were whether his resignation as a member of the party was effective July 20, 2013 and whether he needed to be a State Party member in order to be hired by the Libertarian Party of Northampton Party as its Executive Director. On both issues, Dr. Stevens obtained a favorable ruling against the positions held by Steve Scheetz, the current LPPA State Chair.

Dr. Stevens sent an e-mail to Ivan Glinski, LPPA Secretary, which read as follows:

Effective July 20, 2013, I resign as a member of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. 

I worked very hard to get Gary Johnson and our statewide candidates on the ballot in 2012, to obtain Minor Party status for the LPPA, to build membership, to charter chapters and as State Chair, I spent countless hours advancing the cause of liberty in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

In light of the petty and destructive infighting that continues to take place and be fueled by the current leadership, my time would be better spent offering my services to other pro-liberty organizations. This saddens me as does the fact that by my resigning, I am giving up my Life Membership in the party, a status of which I am very proud.

I hope conditions in the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania change over the coming years so it can, once again, be a positive force for liberty, and not a source of embarrassment to its members.

Steve Scheetz, current LPPA State Chair, posted references to this resignation saying it was not effective and that the membership of Dr. Tom Stevens was "suspended" (i.e. terminated) by action of the Board of Directors on August 17, 2013 as part of a motion "condemning" him and saying the LPPA will not work with any group or person who "affiliates" with him. Although that motion did not obtain the number of votes required to suspend a membership, Mr. Scheetz claimed the Board of Directors had successfully kicked Dr. Stevens out of the party and terminated his membership. Dr. Stevens appealed to the Judicial Committee asking whether his "resignation as a member of the LPPA was effective on July 20, 2013?" and wrote, "if my membership was effective, the Board motion was obviously moot".

The Judicial Committee Decision, issued on August 21, 2013, read as follows:

Tom Stevens resigned his LPPA membership on 20 July 2013. There is no mechanism in the Bylaws for accepting or rejecting resignations, but his resignation was received and acknowledged by the Chair and the Secretary of the LPPA. Accordingly, Dr. Stevens was not an LPPA member at the time of the LPPA Board meeting on 17 August 2013, nor at the time of his Petition to the Judicial Committee on 19-21 August 2013.

The Libertarian Party of Northampton County (LPNC) hired Dr. Tom Stevens to be its Executive Director effective August 1, 2013. On July 18, 2013, the LPNC Executive Committee voted to enter into a 3-year contract to hire Dr. Tom Stevens, former LPPA State Chair and former Northampton LP County Chair, to the salaried position of Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Northampton County with the following duties and responsibilities, which are set forth in the contract: recruit candidates to run for local office, to coordinate membership recruitment drives, to schedule and co-sponsor local events and meetings, to represent and speak on behalf of the Libertarian Party of Northampton County when dealing with outside organizations and the press, to propose motions to the Executive Committee, to run its Yahoo Groups, Meetup Groups, Facebook Groups and other social media outlets, to propose meeting times and locations to the County Chair, and to handle such additional responsibilities as he may deem appropriate or that are assigned to him by the County Chair and/or the Executive Committee.

Steve Scheetz, current LPPA State Chair, wrote to the Board of Directors on July 21, 2013 stating that Dr. Tom Stevens "appointed himself Executive Director of an affiliate" and that "an Executive Director must meet the same qualifications as a board member." As a result, Mr. Scheetz claimed Dr. Stevens could not serve as Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Northampton County. He and others publicly stated they would not recognize the appointment of Dr. Stevens as LPNC Executive Director and would not work with him.

Aaron Rosengarten, County Chair of the Libertarian Party of Northampton County, appealed to the LPPA Judicial Committee and asked, "Does a hired employee of a local LPPA chartered County Organization need to be an LPPA member and meet the same qualifications as a state board member?"

The Judicial Committee Decision, issued on September 15, 2013, read as follows:

We hold unanimously that a "hired employee of a local LPPA chartered County Organization need" not "be an LPPA member and meet the same qualifications as a state board member.

Thomas Robert Stevens served as State Chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania from April 22, 2012 to April 5, 2013.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dr. Tom Stevens Appointed Queens County Coordinator For Governor Gary Johnson's Our America Initiative

On October 1, 2013, Dr. Tom Stevens, former State Chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania and current State Chair of Empire State Libertarians, was appointed to serve as Queens County Coordinator for Our America Initiative, an organization formed in 2009 by Governor Gary Johnson, who served as the 29th Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003 and who was the Presidential Candidate of the Libertarian Party in 2012.

Our America Initiative is based on a belief that a majority of Americans are classical liberals and that fundamentally, they believe that government and its cost should be limited and that civil liberties and individual freedom must be protected -- not threatened -- by the government. Our America seeks to give voice to the ideas of liberty, smaller government, and financial responsibility. Our America Initiative has the goal to redefine the Liberty Movement in America, to restore liberty, personal responsibility and economic freedom as the true American values, and to foster an environment that allows each person to pursue his or her individual dreams and happiness without the burdens of unneeded government restrictions. The focus of Our America is to speak out on issues regarding topics such as government efficiency, lowering taxes, protecting civil liberties, revitalizing the economy and promoting entrepreneurship. Governor Gary Johnson currently serves as Honorary Chairman of Our America Initiative.

As State Chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, Dr. Tom Stevens was responsible for leading the charge to get a sufficient number of valid petition signatures to get Governor Gary Johnson on the ballot as the Libertarian Party's Presidential Candidate in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and then defending those petitions against a well-financed GOP challenge. Richard Winger of Ballot Access News said, Tom Stevens led the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party to the greatest ballot access victory in the state party's history. The Pennsylvania Libertarian Party's 2012 ballot access victory was the first time any statewide minor party or independent candidate for statewide office has ever defeated a challenge backed by one of the two major parties. As State Chair of Empire State Libertarians, Dr. Stevens has recruited hundreds of young people into the liberty movement. As Political Director of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, he has been primarily responsible for keeping that group as the largest and most active chapter in the New York Libertarian Party since 2006.

Dr. Tom Stevens will serve as Queens County Coordinator for Our America Initiative. He has already begun putting together a Coordinating Committee to discuss initiatives that can be pursued to advance the objectives of the organization.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Legalize Drugs - Conserve Valuable Time & Resources

This article was written by Melissa Clark as original content for Rising Action:

Legalize Drugs - Conserve Valuable Time & Resources

While the face of politics may be changing both locally and nationally, the message for freedom of choice and personal liberty remains the same. Libertarianism is changing too, with the emergence of new political parties such as the Personal Freedom Party and the Objectivist Party in response to divergence of objectives in the Libertarian movement. The platform on personal freedom under the Constitution however remains unchanged.

Taking the Pragmatic View on Drugs

America has more people behind bars than any other country in the world. With federal prisons at 40% over capacity and almost half of their inmates serving sentences for drug-related crime, it is time to take decisive action.

Plans have been unveiled this week by Attorney General Eric Holder to change the way in which low-level drug offenders are dealt with under the legal system. Proposals have been put forward that the Justice Department is to direct federal prosecutors in low-level drug cases to charge defendants on a basis under which they would not be subject to existing mandatory sentences. This is to be achieved by omitting the amount of drugs involved from the paperwork charging the defendant, ensuring that non-violent defendants with little or no criminal history will not receive long sentences. Labelling mandatory sentences currently required under the criminal justice system as unjust, Holder has mandated modification of charging policies to sidestep the charging of low level drug offenders altogether.

With the "War on Drugs" now in its fifth decade, it is clearly completely ineffective and has done little more than expend valuable resources which would be far better spent elsewhere.

Legalization not Decriminalization

The government has no right to interfere with or dictate to any citizen what they may or may not put into their body. Before the 1914 Harrison Opiate Control Act, many drugs which today are illegal to sell, have or use were freely available. At a time when it was perfectly legal to use cocaine, heroin or marijuana, very few Americans did so, with only 0.25% of citizens being regular users. After having spent nearly a trillion dollars, the number of opiate users has increased to around 3% of the population. A recent poll found that 99.4% of Americans, when asked if they would use hard drugs such as cocaine if it were made legal, said no. This is on a par with usage rates prior to 1914; as well as being lower than hard drug use rates in 2009.

The example of the Prohibition of alcohol is there to illustrate beyond any doubt that making drugs illegal simply does not work. Not only did Prohibition fail, but it failed spectacularly. The very reasons for its failure are as applicable today to drugs as it was then for alcohol.

Far from reducing crime and reducing prison populations, Prohibition had entirely the opposite effect. It is on record that thirty major cities experienced a rise in crime of 24% between 1920 and 1921. More money was expended on policing and greater numbers of people arrested for violation of Prohibition laws; but despite this, drunk and disorderly arrests experienced an increase of over 40%, and drunk-driving arrests went up by more than 80%. As a result of Prohibition, more crimes occurred as well as a substantial rise in black market violence. Far from emptying the prisons, Prohibition filled them to capacity.

Treating Drug Use as Illness not Crime

By treating the use of drugs such as cocaine or heroin as an illness rather than a crime, resources can be focused on treatment and rehabilitation of addicts. The solution to drug abuse through treatment and education produces far better results than criminalization ever did. It is evident from the example of Portugal, where drugs have been decriminalized for over ten years now, that offering an addict cocaine detox instead of sending them to prison, where drugs are freely available, is more cost effective and is more likely to lead to sustainable rehabilitation. According to The Guardian, the stance of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is that cocaine addiction and other hard drug dependency should be treated as an illness and that those people who take drugs need medical help, not prison sentences. Instead of being sentenced to long mandatory sentences for their drug habit, addicts should be offered support and rehabilitation. However, it needs to be said that not all drugs or drug use leads to addiction. Furthermore, not all drug use should be considered an illness. Addiction is a kind of illness, but recreational use with control is completely different to someone with an addictive personality who cannot control their use of any substance be it drugs, alcohol or even sugar.

Focus on Traffickers and not Users

UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, spoke about the continuing need to focus on drug traffickers to reduce drug use. He illustrated the failure of the American Government to prosecute the world’s largest banks for drug money laundering on behalf of the drug cartel and said that drug users and addicts need help rather than stigmatization.

Charles Intragio, of Miami-based Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists, commented on the zero tolerance shown towards individuals, who repeatedly receive sentences for personal drug use, while billion dollar money laundering and violation of international sanctions attracts nothing more than a fine.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Kristin M. Davis Appointed Women's Outreach Coordinator Of The Libertarian Party Of Queens County (NY)

On September 14, 2013, the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of Queens County appointed Kristin Davis to serve as the group's Women's Outreach Coordinator. Ms. Davis, formerly known as the Manhattan Madam for having run a high-end prostitution ring in New York City, was most recently nominated by the Libertarian Party to run for New York City Comptroller at a Nominating Convention held on April 9, 2013. In 2010, she was the gubernatorial candidate of the Anti-Prohibition Party. In that race, she stated she was confident she could "collect more than enough signatures from cadres of escorts, ex-escorts, strippers, dancers, dommes, gays, lesbians, Libertarians, Ron Paul supporters, U.S. Marines, rappers who revere the pimp and other lovers of freedom moving my petitions." Ms. Davis got on the ballot, participated in the official New York Gubernatorial Debate at Hofstra University on October 18, 2010 and ended up receiving 20,898 votes in the official tally.

Kristin Davis, who claims to have been the woman behind "the most successful prostitution ring in the history of the sex industry" with over 30,000 clients, was a former Hedge Fund Vice-President. She graduated Valedictorian from her High School at age 15 and Sum Cum Laude from St. Mary's College where she obtained a degree in business. Busted as the Manhattan Madam, she served 4 months at Riker's Island and forfeited all her assets. She recently dropped out the race for New York City Comptroller after being arrested for peddling hundreds of painkillers and other prescription drugs. Ms. Davis has plead "not guilty" to the current charges pending against her.

John Clifton, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, said:

The Libertarian Party of Queens County proudly takes a risk, and stands up for a friend and ally of liberty, Kristin Davis, by appointing her Women's Outreach Coordinator for the chapter. She will be brainstorming approaches to attracting more women into the Libertarian Party, using our county as a testing ground. I believe freedom is popular with both genders, thus the lopsided male configuration of the liberty movement has lasted for too long. It's time our party solved this problem, once and for all.

Both the recent allegations against her, and her convicted felon status are derived from, morality aside, consensual, non-violent activity that victimized no human being. I do not believe any of the drug laws are even constitutional, thus the politically-timed attack on Davis, disguised as criminal charges based on these or other anti-liberty laws, ultimately should not prevail.

Kristin Davis, gratefully accepted the appointment as Women's Outreach Coordinator, saying:

I am proud to be a member of the Libertarian Party of Queens County and to now serve the organization by bringing the message of liberty to as many women as possible. The Queens LP has always welcomed me with open arms and I have long considered the chapter to be my home in the Libertarian Party. When I was under pressure and faced stress in my private life, officers in the chapter reached out to me to say they stood solidly behind me and that I could count on their friendship. This kind of loyalty is rare in the political world so when Dr. Tom Stevens, the Political Director of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, asked if I would be interested in serving as the chapter's Women's Outreach Coordinator, I was honored and expressed my interest. Now that the Executive Committee has formally made the appointment, I am eager to get to work.

Kristin M. Davis is the Founder of Hope House and the website. Hope House offers shelter and supportive services to victims of sex trafficking and provides those trafficked with transitional housing, counseling, legal assistance, victim recovery services and also an immediate response team for emergency cases.

Monday, September 16, 2013

NYC Libertarians Make Candidate Strides, Build Pro-Liberty Alliances In 2013

The Libertarian Party of Queens County (LPQC) reports one of the best years New York City area Libertarians have had in fielding pro-liberty candidates for office, including three strong contenders for all the citywide offices. In a parallel development, LPQC advises it has made a host of inroads in major party development, and in fostering alliances with pro-liberty groups and projects within the state and metropolitan area, among them the newly formed Tea Party of New York.
After an internal dispute involving two party nominating conventions, the following nominees have obtained ballot status as the LP candidates for citywide office: Michael Sanchez for Mayor, Hesham El-Meligy for Comptroller, and Alex Merced for Public Advocate. Libertarians are particularly supportive of Sanchez, a strong young local advocate for liberty causes who has been active in LP campaigns and other liberty events in the city prior to his nomination. He is running for Mayor because “New York City has an out-of-control government hell-bent on running our lives. It continues to violate the fourth amendment rights of our citizens with its stop and frisk policy. I plan on terminating this policy.”
Altogether, LP activists fielded “a record eight candidates on the ballot as Libertarians for various local offices throughout the nation's largest city this November,” reported LPNY Chair Mark Axinn. Another candidate, ex-madam turned libertarian Kristin Davis, was also initially nominated for Comptroller. She later withdrew her candidacy due to criminal allegations announced mid-summer, which some observers feel were suspiciously timed to discredit her. Queens LP members have encouraged her instead to become the new Women’s Outreach Coordinator for LPQC. In addition to Davis, LPQC also appointed Tom Miller as the chapter’s current Youth Outreach Coordinator, to foment a college based libertarian movement on Queens campuses.
That commitment to outreach extends to the chapter’s successful networking campaign with Oathkeepers, the Queens Campaign for Liberty, the Equal Access Ballot Coalition, and Tea Party groups over the past year. “Liberty needs friends, and we go beyond exchanging cards or phone numbers. Several of these groups’ members are now officers with LPQC, or vice versa,” says LPQC Chair John Clifton. Most recently, LPQC Membership Director and former State LP Chair Tom Stevens was elected Vice-Chair of the Tea Party of New York. In all, these ‘cross-pollination’ efforts are expected to forge long term alliances for liberty throughout the metropolitan area. 
Michael Sanchez for Mayor site:
Hesham El-Meligy for Comptroller site:
Alex Merced, Public Advocate site: 
Video On the 2013 NYC LP Candidates: 
Note: Upcoming events of the Libertarian Party of Queens County are listed at the following url:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Equal Access Ballot Coalition Formed With First Affiliates In New York & Pennsylvania

The Equal Access Ballot Coalition, a new organization with affiliates in New York and Pennsylvania, exists for the following purposes:

1. To educate the public regarding the importance of allowing independent candidates and nominees of political parties to obtain placement on the general election ballot with few, if any, barriers, which should be the same for all candidates seeking elective office.

2. To seek an end to all regulation and involvement of government in the internal affairs and nomination processes of all political parties.

3. To end taxpayer funding for party primaries and nominating conventions of political parties.

4. To allow all candidates to list a party affiliation to appear by their name on the general election ballot.

5. To have an Independent Election Commission responsible for the coordination and running of all elections, said members to be trained and selected on merit and not because of their affiliation with a particular political party.

Two chapters of the Equal Access Ballot Coalition have been chartered in New York and Pennsylvania. Activists work to build the number of organizations in the coalition and to help the group make progress towards the achievement of its main goals.

Evan Laufer, County Chair of the Personal Freedom Party of Allegheny County, who joined the Equal Access Ballot Coalition of Pennsylvania as an Activist on September 4, 2013, said:

Pennsylvania has a great need for an activist coalition of organizations fighting for the right of all candidates to obtain equal ballot access and to end the micromanagement by government bureaucrats of the internal affairs of political parties. Pennsylvania law makes it very difficult for minor party candidates to obtain placement on the general election ballot resulting in reduced political competition, less political dialog and fewer choices for the voters. The current system is unfair and does a disservice to the ideal of democracy.

The only similar group in Pennsylvania is the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition, that has an out-of-date website announcing an "upcoming fundraiser" at The Shady Maple Farm Market & Smorgasbord, which took place on October 21, 2011. Dr. Stevens, the Founder of the Equal Access Ballot Coalition, attended that fundraiser and was shocked by the group's lack of a strategic game plan and by the inactivity and general lack of enthusiasm of members of the group. Bob Small, who is the self-appointed Facilitator of the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition, actually rejected the request of the Objectivist Party of Pennsylvania and the Personal Freedom Party of Pennsylvania to join saying that, in his opinion, those Minor Parties weren't active enough to meet his subjective standards for membership in the coalition and that they didn't need the extra help. In addition, during the GOP challenge to the petitions of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPA) in 2012, the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition did not send out a single News Release exposing the inequities in the system and, hence, lost an excellent opportunity to obtain more public support for fairer ballot access laws in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.   

Pennsylvania needs a strong voice advocating for Equal Access to the ballot for Independent and Minor Party candidates. The Equal Access Ballot Coalition of Pennsylvania is that voice!

Tom Miller, Vice-Chair of Downstate Libertarians (a chartered chapter of Empire State Libertarians), who joined the Equal Access Ballot Coalition of New York as an Activist on September 6, 2013, said:

Political parties are private entities and their internal affairs should not be dictated by government bureaucrats enforcing unconstitutional laws. Every political party should have the absolute right to decide who may join it and the manner in which candidates will be nominated. Citizens should be required to register to vote but membership in a political party should be established in accordance with the bylaws of that party and not by the state. All candidates for public office, whether formally nominated by a political party or not, should be placed on the general election ballot, with few, if any, barriers. If a candidate has been formally and properly nominated by a political party in accordance with its rules, that candidate should be permitted to have the name of that party appear on the ballot next to the candidate's name. Voters should be permitted to cast ballots online or in person at any polling place. Once the identity of the voter in confirmed, the races that voter is eligible to cast a ballot in should be immediately accessed through secure software and a physical receipt of that voter having cast a ballot should be maintained.  

The Equal Access Ballot Coalition of New York calls for the establishment of an Independent Election Commission to supervise elections, to count the ballots and to certify the results. Allowing members of the two main political parties to be directly involved in the election process violates international standards for free and fair elections. Members of the Independent Election Commission must be selected based on competency and merit and not because of their affiliation with a political party. 

There is a group entitled Coalition For Free & Open Elections (COFOE) that has existed since 1985 and held its last Board Meeting on July 14, 2013 in New York City. It supports Universal Registration and a Federal Law creating uniform standards for state and local elections dictated by the federal government. These are goals not shared by the Equal Access Ballot Coalition. In addition, the Coalition For Free & Open Elections charges individuals $30.00 annually to join and charges organizations $50.00 annually if the other groups in the coalition approve the organization's application for membership at the one Board Meeting they hold each year. Anyone can join the Equal Access Ballot Coalition and become an Activist for free and organizations who wish to become coalition members are welcomed.

Major changes need to be made in the election law of this state and the Equal Access Ballot Coalition of New York will be in the forefront of educating the public regarding these issues.

The Equal Access Ballot Coalition was established by Thomas Robert Stevens on August 27, 2013.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Allegheny County Chapter of the Personal Freedom Party of Pennsylvania Organized

The Personal Freedom Party of Allegheny County was organized and granted a charter by the Personal Freedom Party of Pennsylvania on September 4, 2013.

Evan Laufer, an Eagle Scout born and raised in Pittsburgh, was elected as its County Chair. He is studying Economics and Music at the Community College of Allegheny County. Mr. Laufer graduated from Plum Senior High School. His interest in Free Markets, Individual Freedom and people such as Dr. Ron Paul and Ludwig Von Mises inspired him to join the Personal Freedom Party of Pennsylvania. He was formerly active in the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania as a member of the Media Relations and Legislative Action Committees but left due to the dysfunctionality of that organization.

In accepting the position, Mr. Laufer said:

I am very honored to have been elected County Chair of the Personal Freedom Party of Allegheny County. Exciting opportunities lie ahead for the Personal Freedom Party of Pennsylvania founded by Dr. Tom Stevens on July 20, 2013. I reached out to Dr. Stevens to get involved in this new political party because of my respect and admiration for all he accomplished serving as State Chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania from April 22, 2012 to April 5, 2013. After he left and most of his leadership team resigned or left the party in disgust at the internal antics and destructive behavior of a handful of toxic libertarians, I had no interest in remaining active in an organization run by amateurs and anarchists whose only interest seemed to be attacking committed pro-liberty activists within its ranks. Dr. Stevens brings his leadership experience and dedicated activism to the new Personal Freedom Party of Pennsylvania and I wanted to get in on the ground floor. I am very excited about this voice for liberty and I will do my best to make a difference.

The Personal Freedom Party Platform includes support for the Legalization of Marijuana, Decriminalization of Prostitution, Legalization of Gambling, Lowering of the Voting Age, Legalization of Gay Marriage, Elimination of Excessive Taxation and Elimination of Excessive Regulation. Its slogan is Tell Your Children! Fight The Menace! Kill The Devil! Save The Country!. The phrase was used in the song Reefer Madness from Reefer Madness: The Musical, which is a musical satire of the 1938 cult movie classic Tell Your Children (now commonly referred to as Reefer Madness).

The Personal Freedom Party was founded on June 6, 2010.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Applause! Applause! Review of Jesus Christ Superstar at Cultural Arts Playhouse by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Jesus Christ Superstar performed at the Cultural Arts Playhouse was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 3 (2013) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Jesus Christ Superstar
Cultural Arts Playhouse (44 Lincoln Avenue, Rosyln Heights, NY)
Reviewed 7/24/13

Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The show opened on Broadway on October 12, 1971 at the Mark Hellinger Theatre and closed on June 30, 1973 after 711 performances. The musical is loosely based on the Gospels' accounts of the last week of Jesus' life, beginning with the preparation for the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem and ending with the crucifixion. It highlights political and interpersonal struggles that may have existed between Judas Iscariot and Jesus but which are not mentioned or referenced in the Bible. There was a Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2000 at the Ford Center that lasted for 161 performances and on March 22, 2012 another Broadway revival of the rock opera was staged at the Neil Simon Theatre, which ended July 1, 2012 after 116 performances.

This production of Jesus Christ Superstar has a fresh feel to it and features a very talented ensemble cast. The two standout performers were Michelle Belio, who played Mary Magdaline, and Roger Leonardis, who brought gravitas to the role of Pontius Pilate. Ms. Belio's rendition of "I Don't Know How To Love Him" captured my attention as I sat in awe of her amazing vocal abilities and her realistic portrayal of Mary Magdaline, a prostitute who is Jesus' current lover in the musical. This relationship and the increasing radical political activism of the followers of Jesus are objected to by Judas Iscariot, a long-time follower of Jesus, who believes his partnering with a prostitute and challenges to the existing Jewish religious hierarchy, places his ministry at risk, opens them up to criticism and takes them away from their original message of helping the poor, a goal now apparently abandoned by Jesus. Matthew Demaria, who plays Judas, has a powerful voice but I believe he was not the best choice for this part. With Jesus, Judas and Mary being the main characters in this rock opera, the jealousy, sexual tension and strategic disagreements need to be highlighted to make the play work and that was absent in this production. Also disappointing was Joe DeMaria, who played King Herod. "King Herod's Song" should have brought the house down but Mr. DeMaria wasn't strong enough to pull it off. Christopher Russo portrayed Jesus as an introverted character with delusions of grandeur who believed God was ordering his death and that he must comply. Mr. Russo's most brilliant moment came during his extraordinary rendition of "Gethsemane".

It is hard to discern Judas' true motives in betraying Jesus. Was he afraid the revolutionary activism of Jesus' followers would result in retaliation by Roman authorities causing the suffering of many Jews, did he believe the ministry had deviated from its original goals and purpose, or was Judas jealous of Mary Magdaline's new role in the ministry replacing him as Jesus' confidant and right-hand man. Another possible interpretation presented in the 2012 Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar was that Judas was sexually attracted to Jesus and got angry when Jesus turned his affections to Mary Magdaline, rationalizing his betrayal with the argument that Jesus having a relationship with a prostitute undermined Jesus' moral preaching and would ultimately lead to the destruction of the entire ministry. The one line in this rock opera that made me cringe was when Jesus confronted Judas for betraying him and said, "You Liar, You Judas!" using the word Judas to mean traitor well before it gained that secondary meaning.

All in all, I was very pleased with this production of Jesus Christ Superstar and I recommend you see it. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tea Party of New York Organizes To Run More Pro-Liberty Candidates In 2014

On Tuesday, August 6, 2013, the Tea Party of New York was formed at an Organizational Meeting held at the Massapequa Public Library located at 40 Harbor Lane in Massapequa Park, New York. Brian Mahon was elected State Chair and Dr. Tom Stevens was elected Vice-Chair.

The motion that unanimously passed forming the Tea Party of New York read as follows: "that it is the purpose of those assembled, after having received proper notice, to form a new Political Party in the State of New York entitled "Tea Party of New York" and that those individuals recording their name on the Founding Members sign-in sheet shall permanently be known as the Founding Members of the Tea Party of New York, the purpose of which shall be to run pro-liberty candidates for public office in the State of New York."

Brian Mahon, the newly elected State Chair of the Tea Party of New York, said:

I live, work and play in New York. The obvious critical conditions of all phases of our society demand that people of all kind make an effort to do something before our way of life becomes a faded memory. The simple inverse relationship, between liberty, and the size and scope of government, is the growing cancer on the heart and soul of our way of life. If government is indeed a necessary "evil", it is no wonder that the growing threat to our freedom and individual liberty is the very government we created.

We the people are the Dr. Frankenstein of our time, as well-intentioned as we were, our creation has now turned on us, and has come to destroy the very people it was meant to serve. The worst is yet to come!

Over time as with many great nations, its original intent has been lost, stolen, sold, negotiated, or simply sold out! In my New York, the disappearance of the two-party system has fed the monster that is our government on all levels. That, plus the fact the New York State Republican Party to this day remains in the hands of a single man so devoid of any concern for anything other than how much money, power and influence he can wield, regardless of the harm and destruction it causes.

The rise of the Tea Party is the perfect medicine for this disease, and what better place to apply this than in New York, the bluest of states suffering these blues. 

Some of the values I intend to reinforce with the New York Tea Party are support for a veterans bill of rights, the flat tax, the right to privacy, as well as strong support for the 2nd and 4th Amendments.

I seek a return to the simple genius our Founding Fathers gifted us when they created our system of government or non-government government, as the value of the individual, freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was the defining purpose and its protection of these values, by the government, which has become totally lost.

Dr. Tom Stevens, the newly elected Vice-Chair of the Tea Party of New York, commented on the party's prospects:

I am very honored the delegates in attendance at the Organizational Meeting of the Tea Party of New York elected me to serve as its Vice-Chair. I see great promise for this new political party and will do all I can to recruit pro-liberty candidates to run for public office and to enable the party to be a strong and effective voice for liberty in the State of New York. Under the able leadership of Brian Mahon, the party's new State Chair, I expect there will be significant growth in this new grassroots movement. I will use all my political experience and expertise to help the Tea Party of New York make its mark on the political scene in New York State.

The Tea Party of New York has decided not to charge membership dues and will instead rely on donations and contributions to fund its activities.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Russia Should Be Applauded For Granting Asylum To Edward Snowden

Patrick Lembo, Chair of Downstate Libertarians, wrote the following article regarding Russia recently granting temporary asylum to Edward Snowden:

"Russia granting asylum to Edward Snowden sets up a beautiful libertarian opportunity; a criticism of foreign policy and civil rights violations should be pushed to highlight the maladministration and oppressive nature of the federal government; the Snowden situation should be used as a rallying cry for liberty seeking Americans to join together and take back individual freedoms and root out overbearing globalist politicians and activists from decision making. Human rights advocates, U.S. foreign policy experts and members of Congress are clearly upset by Russia's decision to give temporary asylum to Snowden. It is perceived as a sign of disrespect and lack of understanding to these experts who, with their superfluous arrogance, want complete control over the world's decision making and are deflated that the incredibly weak President Obama has again failed to show assertiveness in a trying situation. Russia should be applauded for granting Snowden asylum and thumbing its nose at the feds.

The saddest thing about the Edward Snowden situation is that his actions are what it took to reinvigorate the issue that constitutional rights are being shattered by the federal government with the coerced help of the major telecommunication companies. Mark Klein, the former AT&T employee, divulged details about the NSA installing equipment to capture telecommunications data in 2006 and this revelation caused considerable stir; it eventually faded away from the American consciousness like most news stories do. These constitutional violations have never been forgotten by Libertarians, but even after congressional admissions and countless reports seem to only affect the average American when a "whistle blower" comes forward. For this reason, whether the person is a government employee, a contractor or neither, anyone with privy information speaking out about massive constitutional violations is a hero. Some Americans, but not enough, have been constantly tracking the egregious civil liberty infractions imposed by the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, FISA and its continued extensions. There is nothing shocking about the Snowden revelations aside from the ignorance of the majority of Americans as to what has been happening and what is surely to come.

The Libertarian Party has always been at the forefront of defending Americans' 4th Amendment rights in regards to blanket, pre-emptive data collection; however the Democrat and Republican parties have massively failed and are both to blame for the lack of constitutional probity. Recently, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie attacked libertarian thinking, saying there is a dangerous libertarian strain in the Republican Party right now, and esoteric, intellectual debates don't hold up when talking to family members of 9/11 victims. Christie's fear based rhetoric sends the clear message that many Republican leaders aren't interested in fighting for constitutional privacy rights and are intent on broadening the powers of the NSA and FISA. Leading Democrat thinkers like John Podesta, the chairman of Center for American Progress, have not directly criticized the spying, but that there are too many government contractors involved, like Snowden, and that everyone involved in the data collection on Americans should be a government employee. Ultimately, neither of the two parties can be trusted on the issue. There are isolated examples of Senators and Representatives on both sides showing concern about privacy and constitutional rights of citizens, but the majorities continue to support the Executive Branch. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have misled and fobbed off the nation while violating the premise of the 4th Amendment.

All the evidence points towards every single phone call, text message, and e-mail being recorded and eventually stored in the NSA facility being built in Utah; a massive data collection center with the capability to store mind boggling amounts of data. We cannot trust the explanation that although the data is being preemptively collected it has to be approved by a judge before being examined. The process is completely secret and, as we saw the Bush Administration already do, a secret court can and will be set up outside of FISA, effectively blocking all checks and balances of the judicial process. The Bush Administration granted retroactive immunity to telecom companies for violating the Constitution on the grounds that they were aiding the fight against terror. It is now basically fruitless to sue the telecom companies as the suit will be tossed out. Again, all of this information was already known but brought to the American consciousness and expanded by the Snowden situation.

As bad as the situation is with the NSA, apparently and predictably it doesn't stop there. Other federal agencies feel snubbed that they aren't privy to the endless data collection and have been clamoring for access. The D.E.A., Department of Homeland Security, the Secret Service, and the Pentagon have been frequent complainers that the mass data pool isn't easily available to everyone in the federal government. In the name of foreign policy and national security, every major fed wants their slice of the illegally recorded data. It won't stop there either; all of the other expanding departments are eventually going to have access to this metadata. For now the pretext is safety and security; constitutional rights are nothing more than a pesky hurdle.

Hopefully Snowden's asylum continues to garner media attention to highlight the current pathetic bully tactics behind American foreign policy and keeps constitutional violations in the minds of citizens who will hopefully take action against it. Threatening other countries for harboring a national hero shows the flimsy certitude that the federal government exhibits and believes in by trying to control its citizens and other nations."

Downstate Libertarians is a chartered chapter of Empire State Libertarians covering Richmond, New York, the Bronx, Westchester & Rockland counties. Empire State Libertarians was founded on July 4, 2010.