The Staten Island Libertarian Party (SILP) held its second annual convention last Thursday evening, August 4th
Liberty Tree Town Hall Meeting / Thursday, July 7th @ 8pm
40 Bay Street in St. George near the Ferry
Staten Island, New York 10301
[get directions here]
A Reading: The Sixth Amendment
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused enjoys certain rights. Yes, even tyrants and traitors.
A Discussion: 2011-2012 SILP Officer Candidates & By-Law Amendments
- Confirm officer candidates/positions so we can reconcile scope of executive committee and related by-laws for 2011-2012
- Propose/approve any amendments to our by-laws prior to convention
A Strategy: Outreach & Recruitment
Dave Narby will outline a strategic initiative for developing working relationships with other civic and political organizations in Richmond County.
A Legal Defense Plan: The Constitution Lobby
- A discussion of the new Constitution Lobby (We The People Foundation) and how the libertarians could (and arguably should) play a significant role
- Update on We The People of New York, Inc.
The People Speak: Your Topics, Your Thoughts
We yield the floor to any and all NY-13 neighbors and residents, regardless of political affiliation or subject matter. Speak your mind; observe your First Amendment rights. We respect all points of view.
Pocket Constitution: Pick One Up
The SILP will once again be offering to all in attendance free pocket copies of the Constitution of the United States and Declaration of Independence.
We look forward to seeing you.
A Personal Reflection
Though I had to work a little last weekend, I was thankfully able to spend the bulk of Father’s Day with my wife and seven-year-old daughter. At morning church service, I shed a few tears for my own father, whom I miss very much. My perceptive little girl knew exactly why I was troubled, and offered a small hand against my back to console me.
Following service, we lit a few candles, and she asked about Dad. She never got to meet him; my father was gone far too early in his life, and, sadly, before hers had even begun.
From time to time she will ask about him, the curious man in the photo, placed in a position of honor on the shelf in my office. But old photos never quite do the story justice.
Being the day that it was, I showed my daughter some things around the house, now innocently taken for granted, that once belonged to my father, as well my grandfathers:
My pop’s old wooden desk and fountain pen; his father’s gold pocket watch, received from his father (my great-grandfather) for his 21st birthday; a comfy old 1930s reading chair; a poker-playing card table; a bright yellow step stool; and that 1964 Dodge Dart parked and covered in the driveway (that my father-in-law helped to refurbish).
I shared with her the colorful collection of delicate, old trout flies, tied by grandpa’s own hands, and my dad’s catfishing rods, too. My daughter will learn this summer, and chose the same rod with which I caught my first fish.
Then there are the tools, those well-cared-for Tools. Now the pride of my workshop, still shiny and sharp and strong and sturdy. All good as new, and all American, too. Of course, you couldn’t buy anything else back then.
And in the corner stands my grandfather’s impressive woodworking chest, finely appointed with chisels and planes and levels and picks and rasps and his initials stamped into each handle. He carried the box on his shoulders to the bus stop for 30-odd years, as he went off to build patterns for planes and trains.
All of this will one day be yours, I promised her. She smiled and seemed impressed, I suppose, as much as any little seven-year-old girl could be. Our little stroll down memory lane had done much for my spirit, and it had become a memorable day in its own right.
That evening, with my daughter safely tucked into bed, my thoughts returned to my forefathers and my own childhood. I thought about the life they had made for us, through their sweat, sacrifice, and resolve.
I thought about these Tools that had forged my family, put a roof over our heads, and fish in our bellies, these tools that had built our life, as we once knew it.
Things being what they are today, my wife and I now wonder if we can possibly deliver for our child the same life and opportunities that our parents had secured for us. It was our promise to give our children better, remember, as our fathers had done for us.
This was the real American Dream, a simple tradition of values, like self-reliance and hard work and perseverance. And I shudder to think what our forefathers would say of the mess we have made of it. Things being what they are today.
Next week we will celebrate our other fathers, our Founding Fathers, and the 235th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. I shudder again, to think what they might say of the America we prepare to pass on today.
Indeed they had bequeathed the most precious gift in the course of human history, when they left to us our constitutional guarantees of liberty and natural rights. The same guarantees for which generations of fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers had worked, fought, and died.
And they warned us that the people we sent to represent us in government would one day conspire to take it all away. This is why the Founders left to us something else equally treasured, outlined within our federal and state constitutions: the Tools to defend and preserve those very freedoms.
The electoral process;
The right to dissent through speech, the press, and assembly;
The right to petition for redress of grievances;
And if all else fails, God forbid, the second amendment.
Now it has fallen to us to implement these tools. We must dust them off and begin anew, to reclaim our rightful place as the leaders of our governments, whether local, state of federal. Yes, you and me.
It is our duty to act, just as surely as it is our sacred responsibility to provide and care for our sons and daughters. For if we cannot provide Liberty, we will be hard pressed to provide anything else of genuine value or consequence.
We have the Tools. All that is left is to summon the Will to wield them. And so We Shall.
This solemn promise I make to my Daughter, steeled by the indelible memory of our Fathers.
by Dr. Ron Paul
[This is repost of a guest editorial for the Daily Bell, January 25th, 2011]
I am pleased that the Constitution has received a lot of attention in recent weeks, thanks to the tea party movement. The 112th Congress kicked off with a reading of the Constitution on the floor of the House. It goes without saying that Members of Congress should have read the Constitution many times, and should continue to study it.
Citing the particular clause of the Constitution that authorizes newly introduced legislation is a reasonable suggestion, yet in reality it will do little to restrain unconstitutional growth of the federal government. We have had such rules in the past and no benefit came of it.
The laws that are passed reflect the preferences and personal agendas of those in charge. For too long those agendas have expanded government at the expense of personal liberty, regardless of which political party was in charge. This expansion of government clearly violated the Constitution, yet it was always argued that this or that program somehow conformed to that “living” document.
By misinterpreting the general welfare clause, the interstate commerce clause, and the “necessary and proper” clause, Congress has justified every conceivable expansion of the federal government. Congress also has misinterpreted the 14th Amendment and legislated as though it had repealed the 10th Amendment. Sadly, Congress has also systematically abdicated its prerogatives and responsibilities to the executive branch over many decades.
Too many people, in and out of Congress, grew up being taught that the Constitution was a “modern living document.” Though the authors allowed for flexibility through the amendment process, this process has been ignored for the sake of speed and convenience. As a result, the Constitution now has little actual meaning.
Our Constitution should be viewed as law, and Members of Congress should be expected to follow, respect, understand, and uphold the law. But a document is just a piece of paper if those who represent us and promise to obey it ignore it instead. Celebrating the Constitution without this understanding will do nothing to restore the greatness of America.
Simply praising the document distracts from the need for Members to resist special interests, political self-interests, emergency needs in times of crisis, fear-based economic myths, and the persistent temptation to seek security over liberty while ignoring personal responsibility and self-reliance.
I wonder: will this welcomed renewed interest in the Constitution lead to a healthy reassessment of all of our policies? Will there be no more wars without an actual congressional declaration? Will the Federal Reserve Act be repealed? Will only gold and silver be deemed legal tender?
Will we end all unconstitutional federal departments, including the Department of Energy, Education, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Labor?
Will the Patriot Act be repealed and all warrantless searches stopped?
Will the TSA be abolished?
Will the IRS’s unconstitutional collection powers end?
Will executive and judicial quasi-legislative powers end?
Will we end the federal war on drugs?
Will we end the federal government’s involvement in medical care?
Will we end all of the federal government’s illusionary insurance programs?
Will we ban secret prisons, trials without due process, and assassinations?
Will we end our foreign policy of invasion and occupation?
For America to once again become the standard for a free society, our love of liberty and desire for peace must far surpass any public display of fidelity to the Constitution. We must first look to strong moral character, respect for the rule of law, and an understanding of the proper role of government in a free society.
Note: This entry is for the purpose of enlightenment. It should not be received as an endorsement by the Staten Island Libertarian Party of Representative Ron Paul, his policy positions, or the Republican Party. In the true spirit of individual liberty and self-determination, we respect that all political preferences are left to your own discretion.
That said, we do very much support the principled sentiments expressed here in his writing. The good doctor from the great Republic of Texas has long been at the forefront of the fight for constitutional liberty.
According to figures released today by the Commerce Department, Americans have experienced a 2% price increase in the last three months. Without accounting for food and energy prices, inflation is at an overall 1.3 % in the last three months. Interestingly, when looking at food and energy prices, we see there has been a price increase of 18.7 % when viewed against March of 2009. This means you are paying almost a fifth more for food and energy from last year.
What does all of this mean? For one, it means the cost of living is on a sharp rise. It would normally be hard to explain in a weakened economy how we are seeing such a sharp rise in prices. People are spending less overall than they were in previous years, as many struggle with the effects of a down economy. This should have the effect of lowering prices and the cost of living, and it would, if not for the inflation factor.
Many in the mainstream like to define inflation as a rise in prices. This assessment ignores the cause and identifies the symptom. Inflation is more accurately defined as an increase in the supply of money. As laws of supply and demand dictate, when there is more money competing for the same amount of goods, prices rise. So we actually see rising prices as a result of inflation. Simply put, the Federal Reserve, our nation’s central bank, prints more money, and we in turn have to pay more to feed our families, heat our homes, and fuel our vehicles.
This is by no means a new phenomenon in American history. Since the Federal Reserve bank opened for business in 1914, the dollar has lost 95% of its value. This is a confusing track record for a “quasi-government” agency who is mandated to maintain low inflation and stable prices. All Americans can likely attest to the fact that cost of living is on the rise, while wages struggle to keep up, if they keep up at all. For many Americans, jobs have been lost and wages have actually decreased as part of employer austerity measures. Small businesses are disappearing. How are Americans supposed to keep up with the harmful effects of inflation, such as an 18.7% price increase in food?
The truth is, though the Federal Reserve might be inflating the currency, (printing more money), so they can bail out Wall St. and help our government fund trillion dollar wars and entitlement programs without raising taxes, the people who are harmed most by inflation are the poor and middle class. Whereas a wealthier family might not have a great deal of trouble adjusting spending habits to accommodate a 20% price rise in food, a family with a strict budget or on a fixed income might now find themselves unable to meet their other monthly obligations. A family in the lowest income brackets might find themselves suddenly unable to make ends meet. This family may be confused, and rightly so, as they haven’t lived more extravagantly – they just find the prices to provide for daily needs have skyrocketed. Such are the hidden and insidious effects of inflation. Inflation is nothing less than a hidden tax on the people, harming those most vulnerable in our society.
Inflation also punishes people who save and invest by diluting the value of the dollar. Why should you save your money in a bank account, likely bearing under 1% interest, when through inflation, the dollar is becoming less valuable? If you save money, you literally lose money. Americans find themselves in a situation of spend, invest, or lose money. The higher the rate of inflation, the faster money is being devalued. At what point does even the wisest of investments fail to keep up with inflation? Through a reckless Federal Reserve monetary policy, we can only expect inflation to be on the rise.
Even more startling than the 18.7% price increase reported by the Commerce Department today are the numbers that show the United States money supply, M3. These figures are no longer published by the Federal Reserve on their website, perhaps because they are “the best description of how quickly the Fed is creating new money and credit”, according to Congressman Ron Paul. According to Shadowstats.com, a website which still estimates M3, in the below chart, you will see M3 hit 18% between 2009 and 2010. Meaning, the total money supply was at times increasing by 18+% monthly. It has been estimated that the monetary base has more than doubled through Fed action. Although inflation can be unpredictable in proportion to the money supply, it can come as little surprise that we have experienced an almost 19% price increase between this year and last year.
Sadly, with the way the Federal Reserve and a willing Congress have irresponsibly increased the supply of money and credit, we should only expect more inflation in the near future. With these numbers in front of us, and as evidenced by the ongoing collapse in Greece and the EU, we should not think the recession is over, as so many claim it is. On the contrary, through the “magic” of inflation the true problems have only been papered over with new money. There is much evidence that this time it is not going to work, and this is why we see the collapse continue in other economies around the world. This illustrates the potent danger a “quasi-government” organization like the Federal Reserve can wreak on our economy through endless creation of new credit. When powerful interests such as banks and financial institutions get into trouble, they call on the Federal Reserve to “bail them out”. The Fed, free of public scrutiny, is more than happy to do so by creating new money.
No person or group should have control over the supply of money and credit. These kinds of things are best left to the free market. The free market long ago chose gold and silver as the best money. The framers of the U.S. Constitution knew this, as well as the inherent dangers of paper money, like our federal reserve notes of today. They had experience with runaway inflation during the war for Independence, and that is why our Constitution strictly calls for gold and silver to be used as money. One of the most important qualities of gold and silver, and a key reason the Fed and most politicians oppose sound money, is that they can’t be easily counterfeited. Instead of granting more power to the Federal Reserve, as is being discussed in Washington, we should begin talks about instituting a sound monetary policy based once again on gold and silver. This will go a long way to putting us on a sound financial footing for the future, while rewarding smart financial behavior instead of failure.