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Author Topic: glass is 2/3 empty (May 13)  (Read 1310 times)

Offline TRX

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glass is 2/3 empty (May 13)
« on: May 09, 2006, 01:26:38 PM »


http://upcoming.org/event/75998/

[nyc] Drinking Freely (Bohemian / Astoria)

Saturday, May 13, 2006 (12:30 PM - 1:30 PM)

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
29-19 24th Ave.
Astoria, New York 11102

http://www.bohemianhall.com/home.htm

Astoria, Bohemian Hall
12:30 until lunch is finished
Welcome to All.

Toasting gorillas, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.
Bananas optional.
 :roll:

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/style/40/

http://drinkingliberally.org/
(not affiliated, but equally staggering)

***
Guest: Guerrilla Activist Jim Lesczynski

http://www.lesczynski.com/

***
Event Website: http://www.ny.lp.org/



Life, Liberty, Happiness (pursuit of) and pasta

Offline TRX

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(Sure the Jets don't need any help not making it to the playoffs, but why take chances?)
 :-D

http://www.lesczynski.com/wst_page4.html

If Yippies Were Capitalists...
You can't beat City Hall, but you sure can have lots of fun trying!  And while I'm having fun, I'm also getting people to think about why freedom shouldn't be traded for a bowl of government-subsidized pottage.

 

As a guerilla political activist, I've been involved in a number of high-profile stunts over the last few years.  These are some of the highlights.

 

The Great Cigarette Giveaway

 

In 2002, Nurse Bloomberg pushed into law a 1,775-percent tax increase on cigarettes from 8 cents to a $1.50 per pack. Bloomberg's scheme was on top of the 39-cent hike in the state cigarette tax to $1.50, which had just gone into effect. If Bloomberg's plan is approved, it would put the cost of cigarettes in New York City over $7 a pack.

 

To show our displeasure with the huge tax on smokes, I announced The Great Cigarette Giveaway, where we could give away free packs  of cigarettes as relief to the newly tax-burdened smokers.

 

To ensure that the government does wouldn't profit from our stunt, I decided to purchase the smokes for the giveaway online from upstate Indian reservations.

 

I made the announcement at a City Hall hearing where Nurse Bloomberg chastised me, and then we gave out a few packs of smokes outside City Hall while some news crews filled us.  We also planned a follow-up event for the next day at noon in Bryant Park.  That one got perhaps a bit too much attention when the New York Post reported in the morning edition that we would be giving away free cartons of cigarettes instead of free packs.  A few scuffles broke out when dozens of agitated Post readers showed up at noon for their free cartons, and I showed up with six cartons.  But all the pushing and shoving made for entertaining television, and it underscored the point that Bloomberg had turned cigarettes into something expensive enough to fight over.

 

Guns For Tots

 

It started out simply enough: a whimsical protest against an ill-advised amendment to New York City’s administrative code. Before it was over, it would spawn local, national and international media coverage, the condemnations of elected officials, and controversy within the Libertarian Party itself.

 

In response to a bill under consideration in the New York City Council that would make all toy guns illegal – even brightly colored water pistols – in January 2003, the Manhattan Libertarian Party announced “Guns for Tots,” a new “philanthropic” program that would put toy guns in the hands of the city’s youth while it was still legal. Current law already makes “realistic” toy guns illegal in NYC, but provides exceptions for those that are brightly colored or otherwise obviously not actual firearms. I issued a press release in January stating that we would collect toy guns from Manhattan LP members and other interested citizens. The press release stated that members of the local party would testify at a Consumer Affairs Committee hearing about the proposed legislation on February 6th. After the hearing, the Libertarians would head uptown to distribute the toy guns outside P.S. 72 in Harlem.

 

This bit of political street theater proved to be unprecedented in capturing the attention of the media, not to mention the wrath of some politicians and parents. A partial list of press coverage includes:


CNN (a taped segment on “Wolf Blitzer Reports”, an in-studio interview on “News Night With Aaron Brown”, mentions on “Crossfire” and Headline News)
“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” on Comedy Central, interviews on national and local talk radio, including “Rambling With Gambling”, the #1 morning show in the NYC market, and the nationally syndicated Ken Hamblin Show
Bylined op-eds in The New York Sun and The Daily News
A debate between Jim Lesczynski and City Councilmember Phil Reed on “Inside City Hall” on NY1 cable news
Reports on all 7 local television stations, all 5 local newspapers, and an AP report in papers around the world.
 

To be sure, not all of the coverage was favorable. In particular, the local news dwelled on criticism from elected officials, the angry reaction of some parents at the school, and accusations of racism for holding the event in Harlem. Interestingly, the national media was much more favorable toward the Libertarian position. For example, the day after “Gun For Tots,” Walter Williams – guest-hosting the Rush Limbaugh Show – thanked the Manhattan Libertarian Party for giving away toy guns in Harlem. The reviews were also mixed within the Libertarian Party itself. Queens Libertarian and former Senate candidate John Clifton said, “I just reviewed the coverage of the heroic Toy Gun Face-Off, and overall must give out MONSTER kudos... It was a prime, if imperfect, example of employing a ‘Don't Make Peace with, but Confront the State’ strategy.” Prominent Libertarians such as author L. Neil Smith sent their congratulations as well. On the other hand, former LPNY candidate for governor Scott Jeffrey condemned the Manhattan LP for the stunt and resigned his membership in protest.

 

Love it or hate it, the Guns For Tots protest clearly put the Manhattan Libertarian Party on the map in NYC politics and beyond.

 

UPDATE: On June 7, the Daily Show ran a hilarious update on Guns for Tots and my political activism (see "Helms Looks Back").  You gotta have a sense of humor.                 

 

The Curse of the Westside Stadium

 

Back in 2002, before opposing the Westside Stadium was cool, we decided to do something to give the Jets and the Olympic Committee second thoughts.  On Halloween, we had Andrea the Witch go over to the Westside railyards and put a curse on the proposed stadium site.  The curse will bring bad luck to anyone who competes in a taxpayer-funded stadium.  If the city uses taxpayer dollars to build the facility, the U.S. Olympic team won’t win any medals, and any New York pro teams that play there will never make it to the playoffs.  Sure the Jets don't need any help not making it to the playoffs, but why take chances?

 

Will the Curse of the Westside Stadium work?  Only time will tell. Babe Ruth's Curse lasted for 86 years.  If I were Woody Johnson, I'd dig into my deep pockets and pay for my stadium myself.

 

The Unauthorized Protest

 

Remember when the Republicans invaded NYC last year to use Ground Zero as a photo-op for their little war fest at Madison Square Garden?  Lots of New Yorkers were angry and ready to protest the GOP hordes.  Just one problem -- the people organizing the biggest protest were a bunch of wimps.  United for Peace and Justice got down on their knees and groveled to the city for permission to protest in Central Park.  When they were turned down, they let themselves be herded over to the West Side Highway like good little sheep.

 

Libertarians recognize that only permit we need is the First Amendment, so I announced that we were holding an Unauthorized Protest in Central Park, and if the city didn't like it, they could lump it.  If you ask the government for permission to protest it, you deserve to be told no!  The Unauthorized Protest turned out to be great fun, and we even had Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik join us for the day.  Our unique approach got us covered by The New York Times, The Village Voice, Voice of America Radio, Time Out New York and New York Magazine.  To our surprise (and slight disappointment), we didn't get arrested, but we got our point across, even in the conservative media that was otherwise cheering Bush.

 

Lesczynski v. Bloomberg

                                                                                                                                           

I'm suing Mike Bloomberg and the City Of New York.  I'd say that my attorney advises me not to discuss ongoing litigation, but I don't have an attorney.  The city is abusing the taxpayers by running a welfare scheme for politicians under the guide of the Campaign Finance Program.  It used to be that they would take 4 tax dollars for every 1 honest dollar that was donated to their campaigns.  Now Giffie Miller abused his power at Council Speaker to bump that up to an obscene 6-to-1 matching rate.  I argue in my lawsuit that forcing me to bankroll political speech with which I disagree violates my First Amendment rights to free speech.  New York Post columnist Ryan Sager thinks my suit may be futile (I agree), but it's making an important point.  The thing the city doesn't understand is that I already won!  I won the day the lawsuit was filed by shining light on their corrupt policies.  Whatever the judge has to say about it is beside the point.

 

And then there was the time the smoking ban went into effect, and we had a pub crawl that ended at midnight outside Bloomberg's townhouse on the upper east side.  After all, if Mike wants bar patrons hanging outside smoking and waking people up, why not outside his house?  And then there was that demonstration I organized outside the New York Times headquarters to protest their abuse of eminent domain to build their new headquarters.  And then there was the Mermaid Militia.  I have all kinds of stories.  The way I see it, we may not always win, but at least we have fun.  If you're not having fun with activism, you're doing it wrong!
 
 
Life, Liberty, Happiness (pursuit of) and pasta

Offline NYCMacUser

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Re: glass is 2/3 empty (May 13)
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2006, 04:34:46 PM »

Hallelujah & Amen

 
Women are like teabags.
We don't know our true strength
until we are in hot water! —Eleanor Roosevelt

Offline TRX

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Re: glass is 2/3 empty (May 13)
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2006, 03:44:37 PM »
As for Saturday 12:30 Bohemian Hall, if anyone is around I should not be difficult to find.
(afternoon; I am not into that post midnight abuse.)

Look for the "bad mother focker"

Not really, but still should be pretty obvious.
Dont make me bring an Astorians Eat tag.

(Can always look for the tasteful Yanks or Tigger cap)
Life, Liberty, Happiness (pursuit of) and pasta

Offline TRX

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penny for your thoughts Re: glass is 2/3 empty (May 13)
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2006, 03:49:39 PM »
Forgot to mention one of my favorite Jim L stories of more recent vintage.

On at least one occasion, the N-Y-P-D was coming down on poker houses.
A number of questions were involved.

Generally, playing poker is not hurting anyone. (But if you know some of the "ladies", it might hurt your wallet.)

So there was a wonderful idea for "No Poker, No Peace".   8-)
Playing for pennies at the wonderful landscaping of Police Plaza.
Even the cops I think enjoyed that spectacle.

Cheers.

All legal; all good fun.
Life, Liberty, Happiness (pursuit of) and pasta


 

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