April 13: Liberty Tree Town Hall

Where: Karl’s Klipper, 40 Bay Street @ 8PM

AGENDA:

A Reading: The Fifth Amendment

Protects the People against abuse of government authority in court proceedings; also contains a favorite Libertarian hot button: no private property shall be taken for public use, without just compensation.

A Second Reading: The Declaration of Independence

Happy Birthday, Mr. Jefferson.

A Discussion: Electoral Politics & Political Activism: Complementary Forces

These two vital parts of the political process share the same objectives, yet they employ very different strategies and tactics. Here’s a primer on how they each can help (and hurt) the other’s mission.

The People Speak: The War in Libya

Humanitarian mission, “kinetic military action,” or simply shooting war #3 for the United States? (#4 if you count Pakistan)

We yield the floor to any and all NY-13 neighbors and residents, regardless of political affiliation. Speak your mind; observe your First Amendment rights. We respect all points of view.

Free Pocketsize Constitution!

The Staten Island Libertarian Party will once again be offering to all in attendance free pocket copies of the Constitution of the United States and Declaration of Independence.

Liberty Kitchen & Pantry!

We ask anyone planning to attend to consider bringing a food gift to the Town Hall for donation. Area food pantries are running short.

• Baby food always needed

• Non-perishable foodstuffs and canned goods

• New or like-new pots, pans, microwaveable cookware, cooking utensils welcome

• We’ll even find a good home for your extra or unneeded cookbooks

If you cannot attend but want to help, you may also arrange for pickup or find the nearest drop-off location by calling our Liberty Line @ 646-543-7457, or contact info@statenislandlp.org.

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Convention 2011 : Libertarian Party of New York

The Libertarian Party of New York (LPNY), our state affiliate, will hold its Annual Convention on April 30th. Get your registration in before prices go up April 10th.

See details below:

Libertarian Party of New York

39th Annual State Convention

Saturday, April 30th

Lily Flanagan’s Pub
345 Deer Park Avenue
Babylon, New York
Mere steps from the LIRR Station

Click here for Google Map
Click here for Directions

Registration Information:

Send a check to:

SCLO, PO Box 728, Bellport, NY 11713

Please include proper amount and indicate the package you are purchasing:

Registration @ 9AM Contn’tl Breakfast with lunch Package*
Business Meeting 10 – 12 noon @ no charge
VIP Speakers table – $80 by 10 Apr, $100 after
Food/Speakers Package* – $60 by 10 Apr, $80 after
Speakers only [no food] – $30 by 10 Apr, $50 after

Buffet Luncheon includes one of three entrees: chicken, beef, or fish, which will be chosen the  day of event.

Convention Speakers

Julian HeicklenFully Informed Jury Association: “America: Land of the Prisoners”

Bill Redpath – former Chair of the Libertarian National Committee and current Treasurer

Danny PanzellaOPT OUT Alliance, Libertarian candidate for Assembly on Staten Island

Warren RedlichLPNY 2010 Gubernatorial candidate

Gigi BowmanCampaign for Liberty New York State Coordinator

Peter Nichols – 2010 Huntington Town Supervisor candidate

Masood ManoochehriStudents for Liberty: “The New Libertarian Generation”

George Marlin – “NY’s Financial Treadmill to Oblivion”

Schedule of Events

9am – Registration (Continental Breakfast included with Full Package*)

10am – 12pm – BUSINESS MEETING

12pm – 1pm – Lunch

1pm – Speakers

Immediately following conclusion of convention the LPNY State Committee
will convene in the Pub (on 1st floor)

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Borough Politburo

[commentary]

Scroll down the March 20th edition of Tom Wrobleski’s Strictly Political to a short entry entitled “Off With Their Heads.” The political editor at the Staten Island Advance satirically notes some outrageous comments made recently by our own distinguished Borough President, James P. Molinaro.

In a moment of weakness (or moment of truth), the honorable Mr. Molinaro felt obliged to share his dismay over government inaction, arguing, “benevolent dictatorship is the way you get things done.”

Um, excuse me, comrade?

The article continues: “Democracy doesn’t work, he said. “You can’t piecemeal government. I know I shouldn’t be saying this.” No, he really shouldn’t, but he did, nonetheless.

With both feet now firmly planted in mouth, Mr. Molinaro then delivers this gem: “Will you have corruption? But we have corruption now.” Well, Diamond Jim, since you put it that way.

The context for these little brow-raisers? Mr. Molinaro’s admitted frustration in failing to get a left-turn lane installed after more than a decade of trying, among many other disappointments. Forget that he helped to create the leviathan bureaucracy that encourages little government gimmes like this, but then also can’t get out of its own way when it comes time to fulfill them.

Surely he doesn’t believe that a dictatorship is the conservative, constitutional solution to a bloated, overreaching, underachieving system. The BP was just venting, blowing off steam, right? He wasn’t actually proposing authoritarian government, however benign.

I suppose neither was President George W. Bush when he said in alleged jest: “If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.” The context here, too, was frustration with the system. Apparently this was also the case with his political yang, President Barack H. Obama, the renowned industry nationalizing, czar-happy Transformer-in-Chief.

The New York Times reports that Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China. As one official put it, ‘No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao’s words in Tahrir Square.’”

To be fair, what these so-called leaders say is unequivocally true. There is no doubt that a dictatorship would make life a lot easier for them, if only this were Tahrir Square, or certainly Tiananmen Square. But this is New York, and we prefer to keep our Times Square just the way it was, thank you.

The real issue, perhaps, is whether political leaders should be saying these things in the first place. A lot of patriots have shed a lot of blood devising, developing, and defending to the death this Constitutional Republic these past 250 years. It is an insult to us all. True, we have also fought and died for the American freedom to say whatever it is we feel, Molinaro included. It is our absolute, natural, God-given right.

Yet it is also the People’s right, indeed our solemn, civic duty, to remain vigilant, and speak out against the undemocratic impulses of any elected official, regardless of context, the appearance of innocence, or the presence of ignorance. And to question: What of their duty? What of their sacred oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of New York State?

Perhaps I have overstated the principle; people say crazy things all the time. Isn’t this really much ado about nothing? Just words? Let us turn to another famous utterance from #44:

“Don’t tell me that words don’t matter. ‘I have a dream.’ Just words. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ Just words. ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Just words. Just speeches…”

The point Mr. Obama was making in this speech, of course, is that words do matter. And while they can certainly inspire, they also have the power, thankfully, to illuminate. We should all consider ourselves fortunate to glimpse these public servants as they really think. To know what runs through a person’s mind, as it slips unfiltered past the lips, is genuine godsend.

To wit: when the proverbial S[tuff] Hits The Fan, we’ll know exactly who to keep an eye on during the crisis.

As for the controversy at hand, should Mr. Molinaro apologize? Resign? Be dragged before a grand jury to explain his wistful pining for dictatorial power and process? Old school tar and feathers? That will be left to the People to decide.

However, if the Reader Comments section were any indication, it is equally disheartening to find the residents of this beloved island far more consumed with petty nonsense about who may or may not march in a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Not a single poster paid heed to the Borough President’s revealing words, preferring instead to alternately bicker about Richmond’s tea party and young democrats club. Apparently this is the new pastime.

I can only say to my well intentioned neighbors: Beware. For when we become so divided over the little things, history hath shewn that we tend to miss the really big, important ones. Remember that ‘divide and conquer’ is the ancient tool of the Tyrant.

“Let the eyes of vigilance never be closed.”

Hey, I’m just sayin’.

I’ll give you the last word.

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Another Unconstitutional War!?

Recently president Obama “authorized” a “limited military action” in Libya.  He did this without approval from Congress, with no debate by Congress – In fact, we are not even sure he bothered to inform Congress.  He announced that he was sending American fighting men and women into harm’s way via an audio recording released on Saturday from Brazil, where he is vacationing.

Even George Bush, who infamously involved the U.S. in two Middle Eastern wars (which Obama promised to end, but has instead escalated), did not send our brave men and women to face death without the approval of Congress.  Obama has obviously claimed this power to be his and his alone.  Perhaps we started down this slippery slope of unconstitutional, undeclared wars long ago under Truman, but Obama has done nothing to reverse this – In point of fact, he has worsened it.

Many will say that Libya’s dictator was slaughtering his people and that if we did not intervene, a catastrophe would have ensued.  Perhaps so, but why then did we not intervene in Rwanda, where a genocide recently took place?  Why are we not intervening in the Congo, where another African dictator is at this very moment slaughtering his people in a civil war?

Sadly, the answer again comes down to our foreign policy.  The United States has tacit agreements to buy the oil from oppressive regimes across the Middle East, and those regimes then return those dollars to the U.S. by buying weapons, and by buying U.S. Treasuries.  Thus Kissinger’s “petrodollar recycling” continues, and the U.S. Government and Military Industrial Complex can continue to expand the welfare-warfare state.  But that has almost reached its limit.

Unfortunately for Obama, the crony capitalist system that brought both him and Bush to power has also sown the seeds of its own demise.  The system is rotten to the core, over-burdened with special-interest regulations granting favored status to large corporate campaign donors and lobbyists.   The sand clogging the job growth engine of small and medium-sized businesses shows no sign of being cleansed, instead more abrasive is ground into the gears.

Congress jawbones out both sides of its mouth, telling the enraged Tea Party what it wants to hear, while doing nothing.  POTUS plays in the surf while the republic smolders.  Exported inflation in the form of devalued dollars sends fractious nations into food riots, forcing us to deploy troops yet again to secure America’s energy resources.

That same inflation is gaining momentum on our shores.  Very soon, we will enter the “crack up boom” promised us by Austrian economists, and assured to us by Keynesian money-printing fools.  Unless massive change is enacted at all levels, this is a mathematical certainty.

The change that president Obama (and the Tea Party candidates) campaigned on is becoming more and more to be the exact opposite change that the American people were sold.  If we continue down the path we are on, there is no doubt that the change promised us will become reality – not by his intent, but by the realities of economics, the outrage of Americans, and of the world.

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Besmirching Libertarianism

It’s our goal to post as much original content as possible.  However, it would also be unfair to our readers not to pass along some of the more striking writing that we come across.

This Editorial by  Dr. Tibor Machan was originally published in The Daily Bell, Wednesday, February 09, 2011.

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Now that libertarianism has gotten some publicity in mainstream forums, those who are convinced of its merit have much work to do. This is because of the well publicized distortions of the position in prominent forums, especially by well credentialed academics in law, political economy, ethics, philosophy, and other disciplines bearing a public policy. You see, the idea that no one ought to coerce another even for noble purposes is pretty much common sense in America. Sure, some folks disagree, among them many highfalutin academics with great skills at sophistry. But the bulk of those who vote pretty much agree that when you want something from your fellows, you need to ask them instead of robbing them.  So when this is being denied, lots of fancy footwork needs to be deployed, which is just what’s being done by numerous pundits at The New York Times and other outfits that champion all kinds of coerced wealth redistribution. (Of course, wealth redistribution goes on peacefully all the time, but that’s not under these statists’ control, so they don’t like it!)

What you can expect from these people is fancy discussions about how, in fact, the American system gives the legal authority to Congress and others in government to take, take, and take anything they want from you and me, as well as to force you to do what they want you to, “for the public interest.” And to make their case more palatable, they need to make it appear that the libertarian reading of the US political tradition – that reading that made it exceptional instead of just a watered down version of feudalism – is callous, heartless, and bent on undermining the public good at every turn. By besmirching the position this way, the unsophisticated citizenry, whose members are libertarian at the gut or second nature level, might then get turned around and give the statists the power they clamor for.

But here is an important piece of information that one can use to rebut this underhanded effort to discredit human liberty and to empower the statists: the American political system has a very clear doctrine of the public good (or interest). It is stated in the Declaration of Independence and it consists of a system of laws that secure the natural rights of the citizenry. That’s the American version of the public interest, namely, protecting everyone’s liberty to live his or her life by his or her own judgment. That is why a legal system is instituted, not to serve other ends, the bulk of which are, of course, on the agendas of the statists. What the Founders did so brilliantly is discern the public good or interest correctly, based on what in fact all members of the public will benefit from. And this is their being free from aggression by other people even when such aggression would be deployed for high sounding objectives.

Now it is very tempting to designate everything someone badly desires as being in the public interest. Just listen to all those lobbyists who march to centers of power [to] peddle their special interests as in need of being pursued for the public good. But this is a ruse and it is precisely in the proper public interest to unmask and resist it, which is everyone’s basic right to life, liberty and property. That is what everyone benefits from without any cost to anyone else. That is a bona fide public good, not some trumped up version which always amounts to ripping some people off so that the goals of some others get served.

All this is vital to remember as one witnesses the desperate efforts of sophisticated statists to discredit human liberty, to label it “fundamentalism” and other ad hominems. Sadly the prominent, prestigious forums are mostly in the hands of statists so there will not be much of a chance to do intellectual battle with these sophists on the turfs the[y] dominate. Have you ever read anyone in The New York Review of Books who had a nice thing to say about individual liberty or free markets? Just like Karl Marx did with the right to property – which he dubbed a right of selfishness that makes all sorts of mischief possible (omitting all the wonderful things this right serves as well and depending on the nasty version of “selfishness” so popular since Hobbes rendered the self something nasty and brutish) – these statists only stress the relatively rare misconduct that men and women engage in when they are free. So they will not permit anyone to say otherwise in those forums they dominate (which, by the ways, they could not do without the right to private property being well protected).

Libertarianism is a sound political idea but it faces an uphill fight given how its embrace means the demotion of all sorts of tyrants, Draconian or petty, who are very reluctant to give up their well entrenched power.

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You may also want to read a related (and original) post on the SILP entitled,  Identity Crisis: So who exactly are the Libertarians?

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