Author Archives: Bill McMillen

ABOUT THE CAPITAL DISTRICT LIBERTARIAN PARTY MEET UP

We meet the second Tuesday of every month. Our present location is Brown’s Brewing Company, 417 River Street, Troy, New York, although our next meeting will be held at

Our meetings start at 6:30 and formally begin with a reading of the minutes and reports from the Treasurer and Representative to the State Committee followed by other reports on recurring and special activities. These usually take about 30 minutes and are followed by about an hour of discussion about future activities and issues of current interest. Occasionally, we have a presentation that may challenge some of our premises so as to encourage discussion that may increase our understanding of and ability to respond to other viewpoints.

In the future, a brief summary of the minutes of the previous meeting and any special items of the agenda will be posted.

Bill McMillen, Secretary

Freedom of Speech is not just Freedom of the Press

Werner Hetzner, Communication Director of the Capital District Libertarian Party in a letter published in the Times Union on February 4th ask “Did the framers really intend freedom of speech only for the press,” and continues to inquire “Why should the press be more equal and lobbyists less free?”

The letter was in response to a TU Editorial about the Joint Commission of Ethics in which the Times Union took exception to an extension of their mandate into possible oversight of the press.

In his letter, Mr Hetzner pointed out that the Times Union often fails to “object to limits on speech for groups you don’t agree with or find offensive, including “lobbyists, …political consultants, communications specialists or public relations executives” and concludes with the statement “surely newspapers regularly try to influence elections and legislation just like lobbyists.

Picking up on a discussion we had at a recent CDLP monthly meeting at Brown’s Brewing Company, he went on the paraphrase Martin Niemoller “First they came for the Lobbyists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Lobbyist… Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me,” He warned that free speech could be threatened and regulated away. “The ‘Commerce Clause’ has long been a weapon to ‘come for’ many politically inconvenient people, groups and institutions in the past,” and suggested that without vigilance in the defense of all speech, the press “may well be next.”

Helping Big Business and Marginalizing Small Competitors and Unskilled Labor

Have you ever noticed that those with “good” ideas to address economic problems like unemployment and “income inequality” usually involve some sort of government subsidy or “special” tax breaks to a select few. A case in point is our Governor’s Startup New York initiative that provides long term tax exemptions to a select few businesses that locate themselves in one of the areas designated as a startup zone. However, a tax exemption to a selected few means increased taxes to both you and the rest of the people and businesses in the state who are not among the “selected” few. Of course, the selected few will be encouraged to show their gratitude to the Governor in the future.

Income inequality is largely a result of a lack of employment opportunities directed toward the lower level of skills that the unemployed possess. While the recipients of these tax breaks may promise to create jobs at 80 to 100 at a time, these are not necessarily the jobs that are going to provide employment to the currently unemployed. For these people to once again become employed it is necessary to have an economic recovery that applies across the board, one that frees small business from the overregulation and fees that prevent them from growing or getting started. While small business may only create jobs a 5 to 10 jobs at a time, the cumulative effect is far greater. Good ideas do not need government support, good ideas sell themselves, good ideas attract private investments, or so they would if government overregulation didn’t create a layer of fixed costs that discourages the small business startups.

Forcing businesses to provide wages above the skills of their workers, health benefits, retirement and unemployment insurance as well as pay for time not worked, as well as overregulation, licensing fees, a tax free ride for a select few, all have the effect of marginalizing struggling business enterprises, unskilled job applicants and the entire community in which they live. Isn’t it enough that they provide the jobs.

While the corporate giants that can afford these additional mandates might fight them at the start, they are well aware that they can absorb these additional costs which their small competitors cannot.

Radicalizing Americans

HOW MANY CONSERVATIVES HAS DONALD TRUMP RADICALIZED TODAY?

(December 2015 Article Revisited

Presidential Candidate and Entertainer Donald Trump has proposed a complete shutdown on Muslims entering the United States “until our country’s leaders can figure out what is going on.”

(President Trump has attempted to do this in a way that established that he clearly does not know anything about the numerous types of visas that are issued nor the many types of vetting that currently takes place.  Not did he make any attempt to educate himself by consulting with those that administer these programs.  He clearly was not interested in knowing how the system worked, which was too complicated for him to figure out what was going on.)
The suggestion makes as much sense as would disarming all the police forces within our country until we can figure out what to do with rogue and trigger happy cops.
It makes as much sense as locking oneself in one’s home until we can solve the problem of suicide prone psychopaths who lack the courage to take their own life until they have gunned down a number of innocent people.
Leadership requires more than entertaining the masses and believing that the resulting poll numbers bestows upon him, Donald Trump, leadership capabilities. He must believe that because he was in New Jersey and saw on the television that some people were cheering when the World Trade Center came down, that those people must have been in New Jersey too.
Our nation faces some serious problems exacerbated by the divisiveness not only of Donald Trump but other Republicans attempting to ride a wave of fear that they themselves have stoked.

(The campaign and election of Donald Trump has unleashed latent prejudices leading to a wave of attacks upon persons perceived to be Muslin and other minorities including threats to Jewish institutions and cemeteries.  Words have consequences and Donald Trump has proved himself to be reckless in both his tone and his words.)

Suggestions that pressure needs to be put upon the Muslim community to clean their own house of extremists within their ranks likewise applies to the many decent police officers who need to break with the “blue wall of silence” that allows prejudiced and mentally unstable officers to stay on the force. This is a phenomenon that applies to all social units, from the family on up and cannot and will not be fixed overnight if ever.
Donald Trump, a man who apparently believes being President is to “reign;” a term he has used is speaking of past administrations. I dare say that the danger that Trump poses to the liberty of every man, woman, and child, citizen and non-citizen alike, Christian, Jew, Muslims and all is far greater than the threat posed by a few jihadists whose numbers pale in comparison to the killings that take place every day within our neighborhoods and which are also in need of some serious discussion and action.

(The following paragraph is perhaps the most prescient. Among the many explanations for the chaotic first weeks of his administration are judges, bias media, doctored crowd photographs, fake news, misinformation about electoral counts, bad generals, the FBI, justice department, and President Obama’s wiretapping of the Trump Tower.)
Like demagogues before him who managed to get elected and governed without a clue, Mr. Trump would become the type of leader who, when his policies failed, would find another group of people to scapegoat and marginalize. Believing himself to be infallible and a good business man, when things go wrong, someone’s job or some group’s liberty must, of necessity, be “shutdown.”

Discussion Topic: Blunt Talk to and About Gays

Frank Kappel of Hudson New York attended our most recent meeting of the Capital District Libertarian Party and submitted several essays of which the following is one. He also participated in our discussion on abortion and hopefully will attend additional meetings and participate in discussions on several topics. Visit our Capital District Libertarian Party Meetup site for information pertaining to our monthly meetings and discussions. Bill McMillen

Some Blunt Talk to and About Gays
By Frank H. Kappel

Gays are no longer imprisoned or put to death for their homosexuality, and relatively few dispute that this is a good thing.

Gays’ quest for equal rights has put them on a similar footing as other minorities in obtaining special protection from discrimination in employment, housing and who knows what else, and those who doubt the wisdom of this, usually do so on the grounds that extra special treatment of anybody, except in certain specific circumstances, is itself discriminatory, unjust and destructive of others rights to freedom of association and contracture. For the record, I believe these objections have at least prima facie merit.

In some instances, Gays have been permitted to adopt children, and, while this may not be the ideal biological scenario, if the Gays in question are more qualified than the heterosexuals available, or if not enough qualified heterosexuals are available, this circumstance is not only acceptable, but fortuitous.

Gays, by decision of the Supreme Court, now have the right to enter into matrimony anywhere in the United States, and whether this is right or wrong, it opens up a can of worms fraught with potential problems and the likelihood of injustice to certain religious people and violation of their rights. Had Gays contented themselves with the establishment of civil unions with equal legal standing to matrimony, the potential trouble might have been averted.

Does anyone doubt that Gay hubris could soon result in Kangaroo Courts fining or imprisoning priests, pastors, rabbis or imams who refuse to honor a valid civil license and sanctify a union they sincerely believe to be unholy? Or that challenges to tax exemptions for religious institutions, who stand on principle, will be brought?

The word matrimony etymologically excludes same sex unions, and religious institutions are on firm logical grounds in accepting only the literal definition, but do you think that will matter to a power hungry government or vengeful Gays? The newest civil rights movement will be civil disobedience against those who would dictate to God, Himself.

Furthermore, regardless of whether Gays are hard wired into their homosexuality, or environmentally channeled into it, there certainly should be no shame in it, but, what, specifically, do Gays have to be so particularly proud about to chauvinistically prance about in a parade? Now, some people would be fruitcakes whether they were Gay or straight, but certain obnoxious, ostentatious prurient displays are clearly meant to offend and cause revulsion, and only serve to perpetuate stereotypes to the detriment of all Gays.

To be fair, Irish and non-Irish yearly perpetuate stereotypes of Irish drunkenness with massive displays of overindulgence, but, what, if anything justifies bad form or ill manners by anyone?

Getting back to the subject of hard wiring, have Gays even considered, that at least some straights are hard wired to be revolted by homosexual behavior as a biological safeguard? Surely they’ve witnessed some Gays be revolted by passionate heterosexual behavior.
One of the supposed proofs of hard wiring is the existence of homosexual behavior in some lower animals, but do Gays really want to take that route? The behavior in question is almost universally, or, perhaps, universally among males who have lost their battles for either status or territory necessary to mate with females. In other words, homosexual gratification is Nature’s booby prize for losers.

However, we are not lower animals and can comprehend that Gays can and do make significant, even monumental, contributions to the advancement of our species without actually propagating it, but equal entitlement to rights does not translate into equal merit. As with all categories of people, merit is determined by individual accomplishment, not membership in a category, and as a category homosexuality is biologically and evolutionally less meritorious than heterosexuality. It just is.

As for the claim that Gays are intrinsically more sensitive and intelligent, I assert that the empirical evidence shows they tend, as a general rule, to be just as insensitive and dumb as the general population of straights, and I have no doubt, that, should truly scientific studies be wasted on this issue, I will be validated.

Finally, regarding the assertion, that the highly sophisticated societies of ancient Greece and Rome were wantonly homosexual, I counter argue, that the actual evidence suggests, rather, that there was widespread bisexuality or, that, even secretly strictly homosexual Greeks and Romans regarded it as a duty to produce offspring.

Any questions?

Teen Unemployment

Are you a teenager or even a recent graduate who can’t find a job? If you don’t come from a wealthy family or don’t have the grades and money to go to college, you are in a bind for the rest of your life. Why do you suppose that is? While technology has replaced many of the entry level and lower paying jobs that provide the experience and opportunity to move up the economic ladder, mandated minimum wage legislation and mandated benefits as well as numerous regulations have all but eliminated these jobs, encouraged prospective employers to replace people with even more technology, computers and robots with a resulting deeper divide between the well off and the poor and those who soon will be poor. If a politician wishes to gain leverage in controlling the economy for his or her corporate cronies, promoting programs that purport to help the poor has a great deal of appeal.  However, creating a few jobs that they can point to with pride, they ignore the many unseen jobs they have eliminated.  Unless the electorate learns to recognize the wolf within sheep’s clothing, low paying jobs will be replaced by no jobs.  Young folks: register to vote and Vote Libertarian.

 

44th State Senate Candidate Chris Davis Addresses Local Libertarians

Chris Davis, a candidate for NY State Senate spoke at the CDLP meeting in Troy on July 14th and has sent us the following:

My goal has been, and always will be, to spread the message of Liberty. Those who discover Liberty for themselves will never again see government the same again. I touched on many issues in my talk, but none is more important than knowing somebody is running committed to fighting oppressive taxation and overregulation, working to end crony capitalism and corporatism, fighting to keep the government out of every facet of life with which they have penetrated. I hope that I convinced you that I am this somebody. While my ideas are not perfect, I know the best way to ensure a chance for our future is by starting to slowly reverse course. Getting items passed that puts power back into our hands, and takes it from the government. However, I can’t do it alone. I need your help. Please consider helping me in this fight. Like us on facebook, http://www.facebook.com/DavisForNYS, and visit the website, http://www.davisfornys.com.  Also, Please consider donating to help support advertising the concept of Liberty. Thank you so very much for welcoming me to speak at your monthly meeting.

 

Term Limits will not bring change.

On Sunday 2/15, the Times Union printed a letter written by me in response to a previous letter in support of term limits. I’ve never supported term limits because voters already have the power to impose term limits or not. What voters do not have is the ability to choose the political bosses that choose the candidates that will appear on the ballot. The text of my letter follows:

Michael Moore (“Term limits will clean up politics,” Feb 4) suggests term limits will clean up our state politics. I submit we already have the ability to impose term limits: Vote the miscreants out of office. But that isn’t enough With or without term limits, the political bosses who wield the real power will continue to put on the ballot those who they feel will take direction.

The real change that is necessary is ballot access for anyone who seeks to serve and the elimination of preferential treatment for, and the state’s official designation of, recognized political parties. While political parties would still exist, there would be no majority, no minority party, only representatives of the people. Election boards would be responsible for keeping track of registered voters and the taxpayers would be free of the expense of keeping track of party enrollment.”

In 1951, Susan B Anthony met Elizabeth Cady Stanton and joined her in her then three year old effort for women’s suffrage. It wasn’t until 1920, long after there death, that women were granted the right to vote.

Obviously, the Republican and Democratic parties have influenced the election law, not only in New York State but across the entire nation to restrict or exclude competition. I have no illusion about the willingness of legislators from these two parties to changing the law; but the illusion that reform can be accomplished with term limits should be challenged and those that seek term limits or other so-called reforms such as public campaign financing should not be mislead by these less that half way measures.

Yes the Libertarian Party is seeking and has in some states achieved ballot status; but that is not because we wish to have official state recognition and the accompanying state regulation. What libertarians want is equal treatment and unfettered ballot access for all.

The time to begin to disenfranchise political parties and their bosses and to return it to individuals citizens is now. Even if it takes a hundred years.

William P. McMillen

Reminder about next meeting

Robert Porter, LP Candidate for Albany City Council in 2003 will speak about his recent experience and observations about the operation and the role of grand juries. “Bar” as he known gained experience in criminal investigation while serving in the United States Marines.

The Capital District Libertarian Party meets at Brown’s Brewing, Trojan Room, 417 River Street, Troy New York at 6:30 the second Tuesday of each month. Next meeting is March 10th.

A discussion of the criminal justice system and the jury process will follow Bar’s presentation. All are invited.

Minimum Wage

For much of our history, since the enactment of a national minimum wage; states have seen fit to enact their own minimum wage laws while the federal minimum wage has lagged behind. One rationale for this is that what might be an adequate minimum wage in Mississippi is significantly different than one for New York; reason being these are two different economies with different cost of living and a host of other differences.
Governor Cuomo has recently acknowledged the validity of this approach by proposing a minimum wage in New York City of $11.50 and in the rest of New York State of $10.50.
Applying this same rationale to the rest of New York State would require recognition by the Governor that the cost of living on Long Island and the downstate counties of Westchester and Rockland is more than 60% above that of Buffalo. For that matter, even within New York City, there are diverse economies.
Who benefits from a minimum wage? Contrary to the belief of many people, those persons struggling to find a job, feed and provide shelter for their family are not the beneficiaries of a minimum wage. They are its victims.
The imposition of a minimum wage means that if you are a person with few skills, little or no employment experience and in a market where there is a high level of unemployment, you will not be able to find a job because a prospective employer will not be able to higher you at your marketable value. You will be turned away time after time until you become discouraged and become permanently marginalized, with your only hope of survival limited to looking for handouts, working outside the law (under the table) with minimal if any protections, or resorting to a life of crime.
Not only will you be marginalized, but so might the surrounding communities in which you and numerous others live. When wages in a community drive up the prices that people must pay for goods and services, the unemployed and those on a fixed income have less discretionary income and that effects the entire community.
Suggestions have been made that local governments should be able to set their own minimum wages, but even if that were allowed, it would not address the differences that exist within the counties, towns or villages because it would not take into account the different skill levels of residents within those communities, and as Governor Cuomo has so aptly stated, this could lead to a “chaotic situation.”
And so it would for those who seek control of the economic decisions that personal freedom and a free market provide. To a statist, freedom is chaos.