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.