Saturday, August 27, 2011

Is There Anti-Muslim Sentiment In The Libertarian Party of Queens County & The New York Libertarian Party?

It is very hard to know what people think about Muslims and Islam and whether they harbor prejudices. It is even more difficult to know the motivations behind actions taken that could be perceived by some to reflect negative opinions or sentiments about certain groups of people. Nevertheless, facts are facts and you can draw your own conclusions with respect to the information provided.

On August 26, 2011, Dallwyn Merck, Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, announced a "Call Your Dog Mohammad" Campaign. In a notarized statement, he said, in part:

I, Dallwyn Merck, hereby initiate a “Call Your Dog Mohammad” campaign. Every time you see your dog or any dog licking or sniffing its own penis, testes, vagina or anus, or that of another dog, I urge you to say to the dog in a loud voice, “STOP IT MOHAMMAD".

On August 15, 2011, Ronald S. Ramo, Treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, wrote a letter to the New York City Parks Department challenging the presence of a "Celebrate Ramadan" sign located in one of the Flower Fields at Columbus Plaza in downtown Brooklyn, New York. In that letter, he wrote, in part:

I was in Columbus Plaza today, and I noticed there was a sign declaring Celebrate Ramadan. I would like to know if this sign was installed with the approval of the NYC Parks Dept. and if so, was any compensation paid to the city for such use. Lastly, could the NYC Parks Dept. please provide me any memo or other opinion papers that determined such a sign does not violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

On August 8, 2011, John Procida, Vice-Chair of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, discussed the issue of Muslims, Sharia Law & Immigration suggesting the possible need for special interrogations and de-brain washing of Muslim immigrants. In an e-mail, he wrote, in part:

I do have reservations about Muslims having the ability to integrate with our culture...sharia law is absolutely anti-American. I believe in a free society, but we do not have to permit the intentional planning and destroying of our government and our constitution. I think that Muslims might have to go through a special interrogation. They should be required to swear to obey the laws of our government and denounce sharia law. Possibly a de-brain washing class would be required. Remember we did outlaw the Communist Party for similar reasons and intent. With all that said, the Koran says that they can lie in order to expand their faith. So how valid would Muslims swearing an oath be anyway?

In the New York Libertarian Party, there has been anti-Muslim sentiment for quite some time. It was most actively evident when Warren Redlich, a devout Conservative Jew, was seeking the gubernatorial nomination of the New York Libertarian Party in 2010 against Sam Sloan (a/k/a Haji Mohammed Ismail Sloan), a devout Muslim who speaks Khowar (a language spoken in Chitral, Pakistan) and has been married three times and has eight children by five women. Sam Sloan was denied the opportunity to communicate with the 400-500 prospective delegates in advance of the Nominating Convention and, therefore, was not able to encourage them to attend the convention to support his candidacy. Warren Redlich was then handed the gubernatorial nomination with only 27 delegates voting in his favor. Two subsequent lawsuits filed by Sam Sloan regarding the delegate list issue and actual fraud he claimed took place during the vote (when delegates placed scraps of paper into a passing hat) were both dismissed on technical grounds.

Sam Sloan was strongly backed by Dr. Tom Stevens, Political Director and State Committee Representative of the Libertarian Party of Queens County. Dr. Stevens stated the following with respect to his support of Sam Sloan and his view of different religious faiths:

I did not care what religion Sam Sloan belonged to. There was no doubt in my mind that Sam Sloan was more libertarian than Warren Redlich. Redlich was a registered Republican Party member whose main theme was that government should "stop wasting money". Sloan, on the other hand, had been a Libertarian Party activist for many years and was running on a platform that was fully libertarian.

It sickened me to see the whispering campaign and anti-Muslim comments made about Haji Mohammed Ismail Sloan prior to the New York Libertarian Party's Nominating Convention in 2010. It also disturbed me to see NYLP insiders use their power to deny Sam Sloan a fair shot to campaign for the gubernatorial nomination.

The discrimination I observed inspired me to invite Hamdi Rifai, an American-Muslim attorney active in American-Islamic affairs, to address the Libertarian Party of Queens County on September 11, 2010 to speak on the topic of "Who Is The Enemy In America's War On Terror?".

I recognize there are religious zealots and extremists in all cultures and in all religions. We need to combat ignorance and intolerance with reason and logic. I fully support the right of all people to free speech and to live their lives as they see fit so long as they do not initiate force against others. Every person's right to life, liberty and property should be respected.

The New York Libertarian Party moved to suspend the memberships of Sam Sloan and Dr. Tom Stevens before the year was out. Sam Sloan was removed as a member of both the Manhattan Libertarian Party and the New York Libertarian Party. Dr. Tom Stevens resigned his membership in the Manhattan Libertarian Party and resigned his Life Membership in the New York Libertarian Party. Both remain active promoting liberty and tolerance in the Libertarian Party.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dallwyn Merck, Libertarian Party Officer, Announces "Call Your Dog Mohammad" Campaign

Dallwyn Merck, Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Queens County (a chartered chapter of the New York Libertarian Party), has announced the creation of a "Call Your Dog Mohammad" Campaign, which he claims he has started to defend the right of all people to free speech without the threat of violence.

In a notarized statement, Dallwyn Merck said:

I defend the right of all people to exercise their individual right to free speech without having to face threats of violence when they say something perceived to be offensive to others.

Only a robust debate regarding the political issues of the day - and regarding the existence or non-existence of gods, devils, angels, demons, heaven, hell, sin and salvation upon which many political opinions are based - can reveal the truth of those fundamental and foundational beliefs.

Toward that end, I, Dallwyn Merck, hereby initiate a “Call Your Dog Mohammad” campaign. Every time you see your dog or any dog licking or sniffing its own penis, testes, vagina or anus, or that of another dog, I urge you to say to the dog in a loud voice, “STOP IT MOHAMMAD” and every time you do so, you should be proud of the contribution you are making to a world free of violence where free speech is respected and treasured as essential to the marketplace of competing ideas.

Besides serving as the elected Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, Dallwyn Merck also serves as Vice-Chair of Downstate Libertarians, a chartered chapter of Empire State Libertarians.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Warren Redlich, NYLP's 2010 Gubernatorial Candidate, Files 30 Million Dollar Defamation Lawsuit Against Political Opponents For "Sexual Predator" Allegations

Warren Redlich, the New York Libertarian Party's Gubernatorial Candidate in 2010, has filed a defamation lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York seeking 10 million dollars in compensatory damages and 20 million dollars in punitive damages for a flyer mailed in October, 2010 that claimed he was "a sick twisted pervert" and a "sexual predator".

Redlich named Republican candidate Carl Paladino and Anti-Prohibition Party candidate Kristin Davis as defendants accusing them of conspiring to send out the campaign mailer said to have come from a group called People For A Safer New York, which claimed to be a "First Amendment" organization that does "not advocate the election or defeat of any candidate for public office" and only wishes "to shine the spotlight on those who would exploit children or advocate or defend sex with underage children". 

Also named in the lawsuit are Michael Caputo, who was Paladino's campaign manager; Andrew Miller, who worked for Paladino and Davis in 2010; and political operative Roger Stone, who consulted for Kristin Davis. They are all accused of having conspired to send out the mailing purported to be a "Sexual Predator Alert" that claimed Redlich was a "public danger".

On August 25, 2011, Roger Stone responded to having been served as a defendant in the lawsuit by posting the following story entitled "Warren Redlich Sexual Predator" to his StoneZone blog:

In the 40 years I have been in American politics, I have never met a more obnoxious or distasteful individual then Albany lawyer Warren Redlich.

Last year, Redlich was the Libertarian Party candidate for Governor of New York who attacked his competitor Independent candidate Kristin Davis as a “whore” in an Albany Times Union article. Although Davis once ran the most successful escort agency in US History, there is no evidence she ever worked as a prostitute. A former Hedge Fund Vice President, Davis’s interest in the sex industry was strictly business.

Redlich profited from a website he owned that promised access to nude photos of Delaware Republican US Senate Nominee Christine O’Donnell but tried to re-position himself as a family values candidate who could dish it by calling Davis a “ whore” but couldn’t take it when attacked for his own words.

In every public encounter with Redlich Davis, despite her attempts to be cordial, was viciously attacked in verbal assaults by this rude, know-it-all jerk. His unhinged, erratic manner, bullying and shouting make it clear he could be a danger to people. I’d keep him away from pets and small farm animals too.

During last year’s campaign, Internet writings by Redlich were revealed where he defended sex with underage girls. As a father with one daughter and four granddaughters, I find these assertions disgusting. Redlich was attempting to be erudite and cosmopolitan but his meaning is clear-and disgusting. When a neighborhood watch organization published a mailer exposing Redlich as a pervert, he played the victim.

In my opinion, Warren Redlich is a sexual predator, a sick twisted pervert and a general danger to the public. These are not just reasonable conclusions based on his writings and actions; these assertions are also Constitutionally protected speech.

Last week, Redlich filed a meritless lawsuit claiming he had been smeared by the use of his own words and charged that a conspiracy of individuals - including Davis and Republican Carl Paladino - had worked in concert to libel him. Unfortunately, you cannot have a conspiracy to commit a legal act.

Libel per se? Bullshit.

If Redlich had been called a “Sex Offender” - that is, someone convicted of a sex crime - he might have a case. Designating him as a sexual predator is a fair observation based on his lewd and repugnant internet ravings. Anyone who has met Redlich could conclude by his loud, obnoxious and offensive behavior that he is a danger to the public. Jimmy McMillan- the Rent is too Damn High Party nominee for Governor told me Redlich was “such a prick I wanted to punch him out”

The folks at the People for A Safer New York assure me their attorney reviewed the language in their ads and mailings and issued a written opinion that they were constitutionally protected free speech and not libelous.

Redlich burst into temporary prominence only because Republican nominee for Governor Carl Paladino insisted on the inclusion of minor party candidates in his only debate with Democrat Andrew Cuomo. With Redlich as their candidate, the Libertarian Party fell short of the 50,000 votes required to win a ballot position. Pity.

Mr. Redlich is a lawyer who makes a living getting drunk drivers off the hook. A slimeball drowning in ego mania. Posing as a family man while making money off a porno linked website. A guy who lusts after teens on-line.

Sanctions will be sought against the attorney who filed Redlich’s lawsuit and, with Redlich’s recent move to West Palm Beach, his new Florida neighbors will soon learn a pervert has moved into their midst.

Since Warren Redlich was a "public figure" during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign period, he will need to prove People For A Safer New York made the statements about him with "actual malice" (i.e. knowing the statements were false or acting with reckless disregard of whether the statements were false or not). If he can establish the statements were defamatory, he will then have to prove by a "preponderance of the evidence" that the named defendants were involved in writing or sending out the mailing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

LNC Selects Hyatt Regency In Columbus, Ohio As Site Of 2014 Libertarian Party National Convention

On Sunday, August 21, 2011, the Libertarian National Committee voted to select Columbus, Ohio as the site of the 2014 Libertarian Party National Convention. The convention will take place June 27-29, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Columbus located at 350 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

Chuck Moulton, Libertarian National Committee Vice-Chair 2006-2008, wrote the following regarding the selection of the Hyatt Regency Columbus as the site of the 2014 LPUS National Convention:

In my opinion this hotel was not appropriate for a national convention. Transportation from the airport to the hotel and vice-versa was expensive ($25 cab the only reasonable option…no Super Shuttle; no hotel courtesy shuttle; $2 bus is infrequent, difficult to navigate, and requires several transfers). There were not enough elevators for the hotel rooms. I’m skeptical a high traffic vendors area will be implementable given the meeting room layout. The meeting space is so large that there will probably be other events running concurrently.

Dr. Tom Stevens, Chair of Empire State Libertarians, said he is "particularly concerned with the growing bed bug problem present in Franklin County, Ohio, where the Hyatt Regency Columbus is located". has reported the following regarding the bed bug problem in Franklin County:

According to 10 TV News in Columbus, Ohio there has been a growing bed bug problem in Franklin County. There have been two major infestations of bed bugs within the county but the Franklin County Board of Health unveiled a task force in hopes that it will decrease the amount of bed bug infestations.

According to an exterminator who lives and works in Ohio, Andrew Christman, business has been extremely busy due to cases of bed bugs. Within a month the company he works for sees around 30 to 40 bed bug cases. Christman expects the cases to double within the next year. 10 TV News reporter Andy Hirsch also mentioned that the Ohio Exterminating Company had nine service calls for Thursday alone.

The Franklin County Board of Health...wants to avoid what is happening in Cincinnati, which is a huge bed bug epidemic. Bed bugs are found everywhere from homes, schools and even fire and police stations...Luckily bed bugs don't cause any diseases but their bites are noted as extremely itchy and in some cases painful. Scratching may also cause and infection.

Though exterminators on the east side of Franklin County have reported to gain control over bed bugs experts still agree the overall problem is going to get progressively worse unless something else is done.

Full story found here:

On August 22, 2011, Atlguy096 from Atlanta, Georgia left the following comment about his recent stay at the Hyatt Regency Columbus:

Stayed at the hotel for three nights this past week...After the first night, I woke up and my legs were itching. Same thing after the 2nd night. After the third night I woke up in the morning and my arms had red bite marks and they itched like crazy. From doing research and finding out in the news that Columbus hotels has been infested with bed bugs, I believe the bites and itching on my arms and legs were from bed bugs.

I called the hotel the evening I got home to tell them that I thought my room was infested with bed bugs. I asked to talk to a manager or the GM, but the woman who answered my call said she would let housekeeping know and I could call back in an hour. I did call back and spoke to the same woman (Mahogany) and was told housekeeping said there wasn't a problem and they hadn't received any other complaints. She was very non-chalant and didn't really seem to care about the situation. At that point, I figured it wasn't worth trying to get a manager to talk to since her attitude spoke volumes.

I am leaving this review as a warning for potential travelers to Columbus, OH to be very careful and let the hotel know immediately at any sign of bed bugs in your room.

The following report was posted on November 3, 2010 on about the Hyatt Regency Columbus:

September 20-21; 18th floor. I experienced strange bites which I misidentified as mosquito bites. I returned to Toledo and later learned that I had acquired bed bugs. Luckily, I caught the problem early. My landlord is currently working with exterminators and I have a follow-up treatment scheduled in two weeks. The Hyatt the likely culprit...This is the only place I have slept other than my apartment.

Dallwyn Merck, Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, said he "is concerned about safety and cleanliness issues at the Hyatt Regency Columbus as well as some of the other issues raised in the comments posted at by former guests of the hotel". Excerpts of some of those comments are:

When there is a big convention, the elevators become unusable (10-15 minute waits), forcing you into the dingy, loud, dark stairs. The staff is obviously too thin to handle a big convention (especially bell boys and valets), and the bars and restaurant get overwhelmed by conventioneers.

This is an older, renovated hotel. There are over 600 guest rooms, but only 4 elevators, enough said. If there is a conference, etc., going on, you're going to wait, and wait, and wait! I'd advise asking for a lower floor so you can take the stairs.

Our only problem was the elevator service. This hotel is not set up for a "full" status with multiple people in each room, as there was this weekend...waits for one of the four elevators could approach 10 minutes. The stairs were an option, but being as I was on the 17th floor, not much of one for trying to get up to the room. People figured out on the lower floors that it was quicker to hop on an elevator going up and then they were guaranteed a spot going down. So even on the 17th floor the elevators wouldn't stop going down because they were already full...the waits usually started around 10 or 11 in the morning and continued until late at night. 

We were going down to the lobby, and a group of my friends got on an elevator. I wasn't ready and I told them that I'd meet them down there. Then I get a call saying that they were stuck in the elevator, but that they had been pressing the button and I shouldn't worry. 25 minutes later I get another call from them saying that they called the operator at the hotel, and that the hotel responded with, "stop playing around kids...there is no broken elevator." I went to the front desk at this time and told them that my friends were stuck in an elevator, and they said, "there is no broken elevator." My other friend went to get an adult to tell the hotel, and then they believed them. An hour later someone from maintenance finally arrives. An hour and a half later, they get out. This was unacceptable. The event that I was at this hotel for is held here every year, and letters have already been written to the event's director asking to have the event held at a different location next year, because the treatment from the staff was just wrong. I hope the manager of this hotel thinks long and hard about the way his/her staff is trained.

If you have any opportunity to stay elsewhere, do. If you can get your company NOT to use this hotel as their convention hotel, do. I came for a conference recently and although the location is close to the Arena District and Short North for entertainment and dining, this hotel allowed panhandlers to roam everywhere assaulting guests asking for money. Everyone in my group was approached 5-10X over two days --- in the elevators, at the bar, in the lobby, in the hallways. It was annoying and at night, scary. The staff either seemed unaware or didn't care. One night a man at the Sky Bar on the second floor sat down, ordered water, was brought a bowl of free bar snacks, and proceeded to ask everyone around him to buy him dinner and drinks. The waitress told him they didn't allow that kind of thing there, but it was obvious he was homeless, so I don't know why he was allowed to sit in the first place. It's too bad because the hotel is fine, but the security stinks and I would never recommend this hotel to anyone unless they enjoy being stalked and harassed.

I was in Columbus a week ago for work and stayed at the Hyatt Regency Columbus for five nights. First of all, I would recommend avoiding Columbus if you can. I had never been to there before, and was extremely disappointed with the "city". Columbus has been hit really hard with the recession and the city is bare, besides very angry homeless people (one walked up to us saying "I'm not going to rob you" while another yelled expletives at us). Walking around at 9:30 p.m. you will find nobody else is out except you.

When leaving the hotel and walking out the front of the hotel to go into the downtown area to go to a restaurant, we had three pan-handlers ask for money, within one block, and were a little aggressive...Even using the skywalks from the hotel to the parking garage, there are homeless/pan-handlers sitting in the corners and asking for handouts. Just be aware.

The parking situation at this hotel is ridiculous. If you don't opt for valet parking, you must trudge ten minutes ONE WAY to the public parking lot (Chestnut Parking Garage) across the street that the hotel uses. The skywalk connectors are creepy. I had my car broken into and vandalized. The Columbus police officer who responded to the call said that this lot has at least one break in a day. He felt that the lot was not safe.I wish I had known this prior to choosing to park there.

I stayed nine nights for a group and I literally had to re-make my bed each night - sloppy work. I called three times to get my room vacuumed and the bathroom floor cleaned without success. Twice I returned to my room around 4 pm and it hadn't been cleaned yet. There was water on the tile elevator floors 80% of the time.

Two foot long hairs in the shower found on my arrival. A sock from the last occupant left in a dresser drawer.

My bed was not made up properly (loose sheets), the first night and I had the soiled pillow cases from the previous guest that was not changed (believe me, I work with homeless and this does not bother me, but for what I paid I thought this is really bad). Our room was not "refreshed" the next day (garbage not dumped, towels not changed, nothing wiped). There were no signs in room indicating that they change sheets only every 3 days - which is good environmentally, but at least tell me!!! I had to phone room service to get new towels and have them at least wipe the place!

Complaints got no explanations - just that it shouldn't have happened. There is NO free internet access, that will cost you $9.95 per day. PLEASE - it's 2011, I can get free internet access at McDonald's but not the Hyatt Regency - connected to the Convention Center? The elevators are inadequate for accommodating guests at certain times throughout the day. You are not allowed to take a cart to your room to make it easier to pack your things - they will only let you use a cart if you let a bellboy bring it, ensuring you of having to spend money on tips. I wanted a cart to make things easier when they were going to move my room to a lower floor...and was not allowed to touch it. And when we checked out, they totally messed up at least one of our bills - not even having the right company name on the receipt and could NOT get it corrected. The breakfast buffet in the restaurant is almost $20 per person (prices for everything in that restaurant is absurd), and the food was cold and horrible - the guys who ate there refused to pay for it. And, in one case, instead of taking it off their bill, they put it on our company credit card - which the hotel was not given permission to use for food (only authority was given for hotel and parking). When I called them about it, they told me it was my problem and I would have to get the guest to call and have it transferred to his credit card (this is before I knew the meal was supposed to be credited) - I don't know how it is my problem when they don't even have authority to put those charges on the company credit card? And how about this - when I wrote a complaint letter to the manager, he called on a Saturday evening to respond (it's a business - why would you not call during business hours)? He left a message and sent an email saying he would contact me that week. He waited until Thursday morning and emailed me asking if I could talk that day, I said to call after 11 am and he responded he would. A week later he had not even called! And a carbon copy sent to the regional manager received no response. I now know why the customer service down the line is so poor. Customer service is horrible, hotel accommodations inadequate, and staff obviously can't do their job. I already have reservations for next year's convention at the Drury Hotel right next door - which I have heard nothing but good things about (and get this, FREE internet access, food buffets, and a hot tub too). I will never stay at the Hyatt Regency again!

To be fair, some of the comments left at at the Hyatt Regency Columbus were positive ones but the negative experiences of so many guests cannot be disregarded.

In response to these concerns, Stewart Flood, LNC Region 1 Representative, said:

I voted against the hotel for reasons similar to those you listed: horrible elevator service and too large a convention facility. The rooms were clean and well kept, but Internet service was spotty. Cell coverage for AT&T was poor to unacceptable in the meeting rooms, with 3G service for an iPad unavailable most of the time (including in my room on the 19th floor). The hotel provided computer that was in my room was broken, so there was no way to get online. (It had an attached Verizon "Hot Spot" for the room, which was out of service because of the dead computer).

Unfortunately, we selected the hotel.

Perhaps the Libertarian National Committee should re-consider their decision to hold its 2014 Libertarian National Convention at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ron Ramo, LPQC Treasurer, Challenges Presence Of "Celebrate Ramadan" Sign In A Flower Field At Columbus Plaza In Brooklyn, New York

Ron Ramo, Treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, has challenged the presence of a "Celebrate Ramadan" sign located in one of the Flower Fields at Columbus Plaza in downtown Brooklyn, New York.

In a letter to the New York City Parks Department dated August 15, 2011, Mr. Ramo wrote:

I was in Columbus Plaza today, and I noticed there was a sign declaring Celebrate Ramadan. I would like to know if this sign was installed with the approval of the NYC Parks Dept. and if so, was any compensation paid to the city for such use. Lastly, could the NYC Parks Dept. please provide me any memo or other opinion papers that determined such a sign does not violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (as interpreted in the case of County of Allegheny v. ACLU, 492 U.S. 573 (1989)) or Article 1, Section 3 and 11 of the NYS Constitution.

John Clifton, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, commented on Mr. Ramo's inquiry to the NYC Parks Dept. as follows:

Ron has been sharp enough to point this case out, though there are complications. First, are we complaining about a constitutional violation, or the selective non-enforcement of it (no enforcement for Muslim or Jewish signs, yes for Christian displays)? Second, is there a constitutional violation? Not a lawyer here, but I have heard that there have been different federal court cases (on different circuits) that have ruled in both directions on this matter, and that the Supreme Court has failed to rule on their appeals, to reconcile the decisions.

The 1st Amendment as written forbids Congress/federal government from establishing a church, not a state or municipality from incidentally acknowledging a holiday display of religious origin. The decisions (like Allegheny) that say it is a violation seem to draw from the 14th Amendment incorporation doctrine to add the states to the prohibition, while other cases do not feel the application of that doctrine is relevant, and lean towards the "free exercise" of religion clause in permitting such signs or displays. Maybe our goal here should be to simply get clarity or consistency from the city on the matter, instead of appearing to inhibit the free exercise of a major faith based on one school of constitutional interpretation.

Ronald S. Ramo is an attorney residing in South Ozone Park, New York. He serves as Treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Queens County and as Vice-Chair of Long Island Libertarians (covering Kings County, Queens County, Nassau County & Suffolk County).