Thursday, March 29, 2012

R. Lee Wrights Beats Gary Johnson In Presidential Straw Poll Conducted At Libertarian Party Of Tennessee State Convention

The Libertarian Party of Tennessee (LPTN) held its State Convention March 23-24, 2012 at the DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel (Nashville Airport) located at 2424 Atrium Way in Nashville, Tennessee. The 33 LPTN delegates credentialed to vote at that convention participated in a Presidential Straw Poll conducted on March 24, 2012 after candidates seeking the Libertarian Party's Presidential Nomination in 2012 (or their surrogates) addressed the delegates in person or by video.

The results of the Libertarian Party of Tennessee Presidential Straw Poll were as follows:

R. Lee Wrights - 16 votes (48.49%)
Gary Johnson - 8 votes (24.24%)
N.O.T.A. - 5 votes (15.15%)
Jim Burns - 1 vote (3.03%)
Carl Person - 1 vote (3.03%)
Joy Waymire - 1 vote (3.03%)
Kelly Wall (Write-In) - 1 vote (3.03%)
R.J. Harris - 0 votes (0.00%)
James Ogle - 0 votes (0.00%)
Leroy Saunders - 0 votes (0.00%)
Bill Still - 0 votes (0.00%)

Carl Person addressed the delegates in person. Gary Johnson was not in attendance but was represented by Jay Hill, one of his Surrogate Speakers. R. Lee Wrights was not present but sent in a video presentation. Kelly Wall, the person who received the write-in vote, is a local activist who is the Voice of Freedom Editor and the Mountain Region Coordinator for the Libertarian Party of Tennessee.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sam Sloan, A Candidate For The Libertarian Party's Presidential Nomination, Shares His Views Regarding Bob Barr, Warren Redlich & The Libertarian Love Affair With Gary Johnson

On March 28, 2012, Sam Sloan, a candidate for the Presidential Nomination of the Libertarian Party, submitted the following article for publication:

The Libertarian Love Affair with Gary Johnson
by Sam Sloan

With the National Convention now approaching, more and more Libertarians are coming out in favor of making Gary Johnson our candidate for president, so much so that it seems to be a foregone
conclusion that he will be our candidate. Thus, the only question seems to be who will be his running-mate.

Gary Johnson seems to be in many ways the ideal candidate. He is seen to be extremely conservative on financial matters, which is good from the Libertarian point of view. He supports marijuana
decriminalization, which is also good. Better yet, he was twice elected to high office. He was twice elected Governor of New Mexico. Most Libertarians have never been elected to anything. Moreover, his record as Governor of New Mexico is solid. He vetoed more spending bills than any governor anywhere and he greatly reduced the rate of increase in government spending.

So, it seems that in just about every way, he is the ideal candidate. This explains the mad rush by Libertarians to endorse his candidacy.

I want to ask the question of whether we should not take a closer look at Gary Johnson and, more importantly, at ourselves.

What is our goal in running candidates for election? I believe that our goal is or should be to win elections or, failing that, to convert others to our cause.

How does running Gary Johnson as our candidate promote these two goals?

Right now it looks like Romney will be the Republican Candidate. Faced with the choice between Obama and Romney, I believe that most Libertarians would prefer Romney to be the president. In addition, Romney is electable. Obama has been a big disappointment in the eyes of many who voted for him.

We have to know that nominating Gary Johnson will hurt Romney's chances for election, because almost every vote that Gary Johnson would get would otherwise go to Romney. Also, Gary Johnson has no chance himself of being elected. He was at the bottom of the polls when he was running for the Republican nomination.

Still, if Gary Johnson can win converts to our cause, it might be a worthwhile to run him anyway.

I think we should take a look at other times we have run Republicans as Libertarian Party candidates.

Take, for example, running Bob Barr as our candidate for president in 2008.

We made Bob Barr as our candidate for one reason only: Name recognition. Bob Barr was famous primarily for two things: He led the proceedings to impeach Bill Clinton as President and he was one of the sponsors to the Defense of Marriage Act which was to deny gay and lesbian couples who had gotten married in one state from having their marriages recognized in other states.

However, both of the things for which Bob Barr was famous were anti-Libertarian. I believe that most Libertarians will agree that the President of the United States has a constitutional and human right to
get a blow job, provided that a consenting female (or male) is available to give him one.

In spite of these negatives, those Libertarians who voted to nominate Bob Barr felt that due to his name recognition he would get more votes.

The end result was that Bob Barr did not get more votes. He got about the same number of votes that non-name candidate Michael Badnarik had gotten in the 2004 election. More than that, Bob Barr did not stay with the Libertarian Party. He went right back to being a Republican after the election.

The end result was that the Libertarian Party got nothing, zero, from having Bob Barr as our candidate, plus we lost a wonderful opportunity to run a real Libertarian as our candidate. Mary Ruwart was a pure Libertarian, as pure as the driven snow. She campaigned hard for the nomination. She got into trouble for taking an extremely Libertarian position on one issue. (Some of you will remember what that issue was. I will not repeat it.) So, we sold our souls down the river by nominating an anti-Libertarian, Bob Barr, rather than a pure Libertarian, Mary Ruwart. Plus, I am sure that Mary Ruwart would have gotten more votes than Bob Barr did plus Mary Ruwart has continued to work for Libertarian causes ever since. She has never left our party.

Now I want to cite another example: Warren Redlich.

Most of you will not have heard of Warren Redlich. There is a good reason for that. He is truly a nobody. However, he was an “elected official”. When his campaign manager asked the New York Libertarian Party to ask him to become the Libertarian Party Candidate for Governor, many Libertarians were impressed by the fact that he had actually been elected to something. That qualification had not been exceptionally strong, as he had just been elected to the town council
of an unincorporated village and he had been elected as the running mate of a popular person.

We did not know that he had since become hated and indeed despised by a majority of the residents of the town that elected him and he was on the verge of being driven out of town. He actually left town and moved to Florida shortly after the election, vowing never to return.

Warren Redlich had refused to lower himself to ask the Libertarian Party to nominate him. Rather, his campaign manager asked us to beg him to become our candidate, saying that we should tell him how
greatly honored we would be to have him as our candidate.

I have before me a flyer saying that we Libertarians should ask Gary Johnson to become our candidate for President. This flyer looks exactly like one taken from the Warren Redlich Campaign.

When the word got out that Warren Redlich was asking us to ask him to become our candidate, there were several Libertarians that had come over from the Republican Party who knew Warren Redlich from there. They knew that Warren Redlich was a bad guy and they told us so. They should have been listened to, but they were not.

The result was a disaster for the New York Libertarian Party. In the first place, the nomination convention was rigged. Warren Redlich had never paid his dues to join the Libertarian Party, yet he was allowed to enter the convention hall late and was given the right to vote. It was announced before the convention that it had already been decided that he would be the candidate and other would-be candidates need not bother to come. Unknown persons were allowed to throw handfuls of votes into the hat that was passed around. Warren Redlich was never asked hard questions about his political views, and did not participate in the debates or in the meetings that were arranged for him.

Having secured the nomination without making any real effort to do so, Warren Redlich did no campaigning other than to participate in a televised debate, where even there he did not really participate in the debate but just read from the same stump speech.

More than that, the National Libertarian Party was told that Warren Redlich was a “great candidate”. They did not know that in reality Warren Redlich was nothing more than an Internet scammer who had posted a huge number of Internet websites and domain names mostly for the purpose of impersonating famous people and getting donations, fees and ad revenues from those who mistook his websites for the legitimate websites for those famous people.

Because of this scam, the National Libertarian Party donated $50,000 of your dues money toward the effort to put his name on the ballot. Thus, we party members became the latest victims of the many Warren Redlich scams.

Here is what Republican Party operative Roger Stone has to say about this:

“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”.

I realize that it is unfair to compare a scumbag lowlife like Warren Redlich to somebody who seems to have served with distinction like Gary Johnson.

Nevertheless, I think we should look closer at Gary Johnson. For example, right now the great political debate is going on over what to do about Iran.

Most Republicans are saying that we should nuke the mullahs right away. This should be done to protect Israel from Iran because, they say, in five years Iran may have the A-Bomb and they might drop it on Israel, so therefore we should bomb Iran now.

The contrary view, held by most Democrats, is that we should not bomb Iran right away. We should wait a little while and squeeze Iran more tightly with economic sanctions such as for example by stopping Iran from building a pipeline to Pakistan (which would benefit millions of impoverished Pakistanis). If these economic sanctions do not work, then we should bomb Iran, perhaps in a year or two. This is what the Democrats say.

However, the Libertarian view is we should not bomb Iran at all. Not this year. Not even next year. As far as defending Israel is concerned, our job is not to defend Israel. They should defend themselves. They have been getting billions of dollars from us every year and they already have every weapon of mass destruction known to man, including the A-Bomb, so they should be able to defend

Here is one of the many areas where Gary Johnson is weak. Gary Johnson seems to be vacillating between the “bomb them right away” view and the “wait a little while before bombing them” alternative.

This will become a problem for our party if we nominate Gary Johnson and this or his many other anti-Libertarian views becomes known.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gary Johnson Wins Libertarian Party Of Michigan Presidential Straw Poll Obtaining 95.007% Of The Total Vote

On Saturday, March 10, 2012, the Libertarian Party of Michigan held its annual Liberty Festival & Libby Awards in addition to holding a Presidential Debate and Libertarian Presidential Straw Poll at the Delhi Cafe in Holt, Michigan. All the announced Libertarian Party Presidential Candidates were invited to participate.

Gary Johnson, Carl Person & Bill Still were in attendance and each gave a 20-minute speech. The results of the Libertarian Presidential Straw Poll were as follows:

Gary Johnson - 6489 votes (95.077%)
R. Lee Wrights - 198 votes (2.901%)
Bill Still - 118 votes (1.729%)
Carl Person - 15 votes (.22%)
R.J. Harris - 3 votes (.044%)
James Ogle - 2 votes (.029%)

No other Libertarian Presidential Candidates received any votes and None Of The Above was not an option. Libertarian Party members in attendance were allowed to cast as many votes as they wanted for any candidate(s) they chose. Each vote cost $1.

The campaign committees of each candidate will receive the money collected for that candidate. Those in attendance received their money that night, while candidates who could not attend will receive their donations in the mail.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Are We Like Sheep? - An Article By LPQC Member Ed Konecnik

Ed Konecnik, a member of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, submitted the following article for publication:

Are We Like Sheep?
by Ed Konecnik
Flushing, New York
March 12, 2012

It is disconcerting to think of our government as an embezzler cooking the books. The government is less likely a bank robber with a ski mask and pistol than an eloquent mild mannered enforcer of elitist paternalistic benevolence claiming to have our best interest at heart.

Originally the dollar was more than just a piece of paper with a picture of a president. It represented a fixed amount of a precious metal for which you would receive gold or silver upon demand. In 1913, the government created the Federal Reserve System and ceded its Constitutional power to coin money and regulate the value thereof to private bankers who are unaccountable to Congress. The result of their policies is unsustainable debt and the devaluation of the dollar; to wit, two Mercury silver dimes will still buy a gallon of gasoline. 

The rise in inflation, debt, taxes, unemployment, crony capitalism and corruption has occurred slowly and incrementally making the fleecing process almost imperceptible. Many view this as general moral deterioration of our society yet their analyses are dismissed as crazy conspiratorial rants. We have become acclimated to our government conniving and defrauding its citizens. We accept it, take it for granted, don't get riled up any more than sheep get indignant about being sheared.

Few things have changed since Aesop observed 'We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office'.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Gary Johnson Draws 72.9% In Presidential Straw Poll At California Libertarian Party Convention

The Libertarian Party of California held its annual convention at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ventura on May 2-4, 2012. According to a report submitted to the Libertarian National Committee by Daniel Wiener, a Presidential Caucus & Straw Poll was held. Gary Johnson, Scott Keller, James Ogle, Bill Still, Joy Waymire & Lee Wrights gave short speeches, which were followed by a Presidential Straw Poll.

The results of the LPCA Presidential Straw Poll were:

Gary Johnson – 43 votes (72.9%)
R. Lee Wrights – 12 votes (20.3%)
James Ogle – 2 votes (3.4%)
Joy Waymire – 2 votes (3.4%)
Scott Keller – 0 votes (0%)
Bill Still – 0 votes (0%)

There were reports that Jim Libertarian Burns, another announced candidate for the Libertarian Party's Presidential Nomination also made an appearance at the LPCA Convention but that he was only there to hand out literature and left before the Presidential Caucus & Straw Poll was held.

Sam Sloan Backs Colorado's "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act" Ballot Initiative

Sam Sloan, a candidate for the Libertarian Party's 2012 Presidential Nomination, has come out in favor of Colorado's "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act", which will give the residents of Colorado an opportunity to vote in favor of ending marijuana prohibition in their state this November. The act was recently approved for the ballot on February 27, 2012 by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

Colorado now joins Washington as one of two states where measures specific to legalizing cannabis will appear on the ballot this year. The Colorado initiative seeks to allow for the limited possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults age 21 and over. The measure would further amend state law to establish regulations governing the commercial production and distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers.The measure is supported by NORML, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Policy Project, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, SAFER, Sensible Colorado, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and the Objectivist Party of Colorado.

Mr. Sloan issued the following statement regarding his full support for the legalization of marijuana:

Marijuana should be completely legal. There should be no criminal prosecutions of any kind related to marijuana. Actually, where I am right now, Marin County, California, is a major place for the growth and production of marijuana. I do not grow it myself but there are a lot of marijuana farms around here.Government helicopters fly around here looking for these farms.

I believe that the way to sell this idea to the general public is to tell them that marijuana will be taxed and regulated just as alcohol is and therefore their own tax burdens will be reduced. So, legalizing marijuana will save YOU money.

An additional benefit to legalizing marijuana is it will end the drug wars over marijuana. The President of Mexico is complaining about the flow of guns from the USA into Mexico which has resulted in 47,500 people being killed. But the problem is not the guns. It is what the guns are used for, which is to fight wars over the drugs that are made and grown in Mexico and then imported into the USA. If the drugs were legalized, which I believe they should be, there would be no more wars fought over them and no more innocent children being killed.

The cartels are fighting over the right to import marijuana into the USA. If marijuana were legalized, our small but simple pot farmers here in Marin County would take over the market and reduce the USA's balance of payments' deficit.

Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, wrote a letter to supporters on March 2, 2012, which read, in part:

Never before has support for legalizing marijuana been so widespread or so out in the open.

Public support for making marijuana legal has shifted dramatically in the last two decades, especially in the last few years. For the first time, a recent Gallup poll found 50 percent of Americans support making marijuana legal, with only 46 percent opposed.

The New York City Council recently voted overwhelmingly (44-3-1) in support of a resolution calling for the New York State Legislature to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. While that is no doubt a worthy first step, many libertarian activists in New York State feel that only full marijuana legalization will do at this point.

Patrick R. Killy, Vice-Chair of Long Island Libertarians (a chartered chapter of Empire State Libertarians), commented on the need to legalize marijuana:

As a passionate critic of the failed "War on Drugs", I support the full legalization of marijuana. Smoking weed is as American as Apple Pie. Apparently, a number of our early Presidents and Founding Fathers grew hemp as a commercial crop and there is even some evidence that many of them may have smoked cannibis recreationally.

When marijuana is legalized, new businesses will spring up. Perhaps a new chain of "Bull Dog Cafes" where you can buy healthy treats such as yogurt, fresh squeezed juice and marijuana and then relax in a music video emporium before going about your daily business. Farmers and entrepreneurs will again begin planting hemp for the hundreds of uses it can be sold for.

It is outrageous that hundreds of thousands of Americans are arrested and given citations each year for marijuana possession and use. There are clearly better uses for our tax dollars in the current economic climate.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

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

This review of the musical Hairspray performed at the Cultural Arts Playhouse was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and was published in Volume X, Issue 2 (2012) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Cultural Arts Playhouse (625 Old Country Road, Plainview, NY)
Reviewed 3/2/12

Hairspray is a musical with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman and a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on the 1988 John Waters film Hairspray. The musical's original Broadway production opened on August 15, 2002 and won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It ran for over 2,500 performances and closed on January 4, 2009. The story takes place in 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland, where it is plump teenager Tracy Turnblad's dream to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance program. When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight and launches a campaign to integrate the show.

This revival of Hairspray at the Cultural Arts Playhouse is a high-quality, spectacular, audience pleasing production I guarantee you will enjoy. The cast, set and choreography are top-notch. The story is timeless. Love wins out in the end and justice prevails over bigotry, discrimination and segregation. What could be better!

There are a number of amazing performances in this show. Leslie Mantell is perfectly cast as Velma Von Tussle (former Miss Baltimore Crabs) as is Danielle Jenkin as her daughter Amber Von Tussle (Link's original steady). Both were very believable in their roles. Dalon Bradley was a sparky, soulful surprise as Seaweed J. Stubbs and Tanesha Corbin dominated the stage with her outstanding voice as Motormouth Maybelle (host of Negro Day on the Corny Collins Show). Mike Newman did an outstanding job playing the part of Edna Turnblad (Tracy's "mom"), knowing exactly how to express her motherly concern, insecurity and love for her husband without crossing the line to seek out cheap, crude laughs based on his playing the role in drag.

Katie Morra was Tracy Turnblad, the ambitious, rabble-rousing, firecracker who wants to dance, integrate the Corny Collins Show, and have Link as her boyfriend. She looked the part and got the audience to root for her success. Her girlfriend Penny Pingleton, played by Brooke Grossman, is a fine actress who transformed herself from bookworm to butterfly before the played reached its conclusion.

Who needs Zac Efron when I can have Jake Levy playing Link Larkin four feet from my seat in the first row. Mr. Levy was exceptional, charismatic and perfectly cast for the role. The best way I can describe how I feel about his performance is that if Link bumped into me, even I would "hear the bells" and I don't even believe in those damn bells but for this Link, I'd try to make it work!

Jesse Pimpinella played Corny Collins. In a review written about his performance in the musical 13 (also at the Cultural Arts Playhouse), it was said that Justin Beiber should watch out for this up-and-comer. I disagree. Clearly, Mr. Pimpinella is better looking and more talented than Justin Bieber. If there is any justice in the world, one day he will be much more successful. His performance as Corny Collins was spot-on and he successfully and flawlessly portrayed the older dance show host despite his younger age.

My favorite musical numbers were "Good Morning Baltimore", "I Can Hear The Bells", "You're Timeless To Me" and "You Can't Stop The Beat" but many of the other songs and performances will surprise and please you.

In the past, I had some criticisms with respect to the sound system, concessions, seating and the identification of the actors performing in any particular show. I am pleased to report that all those problems have been addressed and I had a perfect theater experience on the night I attended. The sound system had no flaws I could detect. Concessions was well-stocked. A new Keurig machine allowed me to have a White Hot Chocolate during intermission. There was candy and chips available as well. Seating occurred in the order in which people had reserved and most impressive, the Cultural Arts Playhouse had a video playing on a loop that identified by picture the various cast members playing the parts in this production. All I can say is, "well done!"

Hairspray is playing at the Cultural Arts Playhouse through March, 2012. It is an amazing show! Don't miss it! For only $20.00 a ticket, I recommend you see it more than once. To purchase your tickets, call 516-694-3330 or visit