Friday, September 27, 2013

Legalize Drugs - Conserve Valuable Time & Resources

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

Legalize Drugs - Conserve Valuable Time & Resources

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

Taking the Pragmatic View on Drugs

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

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

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

Legalization not Decriminalization

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

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

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

Treating Drug Use as Illness not Crime

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

Focus on Traffickers and not Users

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

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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 16, 2013

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

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Allegheny County Chapter of the Personal Freedom Party of Pennsylvania Organized

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

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

In accepting the position, Mr. Laufer said:

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

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

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