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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 15th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

With members of the media busy setting up for the Tuesday Presidential debate, I was the only media present at the students event though it was announced in the Campus Activities section of the Commission on Presidential Debates official booklet that all media received. We must say right here that with the elections being as close as they seem to be at this point, Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico, has the potential of being this year’s Ralph Nader of the Republicans – the candidate that might siphon off enough votes to sink the Republicans in critical States, and hand thus a clear electoral victory to President Obama. Media ought thus to pay attention to the Libertarian Party activities and note the way they feel about these elections as expressed in the statement that the debate is still one between Coke and Pepsi and not basic enough to their liking when it comes to economic matters and questions of Liberty of the individual.

The Libertarians at Hofstra meet every every Wednesday in room 141 in the Students’ Center, this week the obvious exception, and are listed as a club – “HOFSTRA STUDENTS FOR LIBERTY.”

The group was started by three students last year, and now, in its second year,  filled the Cultural Center Theater at the Axinn Library for the John Stossel lecture and large Q&A session – listed topic: “Debt, War, Recession, The Growth of the American Government,” in which the elections as such were not mentioned but the students were presented with arguments about the self-serving growing government that interferes with the well-being of the individual who left to his own crativity would have been doing much better. The implication thus that both parties did not act in the real interest of the individual.

Lavishly, free literature was distributed. It included:

the 280 page John A. Alison, President and CEO of the Cato Institute, Charles Koch, Chairman and CEO of Koch Industries backed publication – , “The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure – why Pure Capitalism is the World’s Only Hope” that explains how Destructive Banking Reform Is Killing the Economy;

“After the Welfare State” Students for Liberty volume edited by Tom G. Palmer and stating that Politicians stole your future – you can get it back” and from the same source – “The Morality of Capitalism – What Your Professors Won’t Tell You;”

The excellent Specially Abridged pocket book size “The Road to Serfdom” by Nobel Prize Winner Friedrich A. Hayek with an introduction by Edwin J. Feulner, President of The Heritage Foundation;

The United States Constitution and The Declaration of Independence with Foreward by Congressman Ron Pauk;

and to top it – a pocket version of The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.

The questions were all about economic issues like what do you think of a recovery? What about monopolies? And the answers were logical accepted helpful government but rejecting restricting legislation. The belief is in self correcting actions by the economy and a rejection of the dictum attributed to Tom Daschle who supposedly said – “What you can not professionalize – Federalize.”

As no mention was made directly of the debate and as one of the student organizers told me that the meeting was held in order to enlarge the some of the discussion on campus, I asked Mr. Stossel What he thinks of the debate – that is when he told me that he will vote for Gary Johnson but it is not important in new York State. Then he refused to speak any more substance to me because he wants to speak to the students – obvious voters and potential opinion builders as – do not forget – the debate this coming Tuesday will be in a Town Hall format and questions that were already vetted by moderator Candy Crowley, will come from the Nassau community including these students.

Further, at midnight – Sunday to Monday – Mr. Stossel was on Fox Business TV – in Manhattan this is Channel 44 – talking about the elections and how the form takes the place of substance. The program was impartial to the two parties in the running but critical of the system – so let’s say favorable to outsiders.

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Coincidentally – This morning New York Times picked up the subject of the Libertarians – though obviously without having been at last nights meeting – Excerpts from this morning New York Times:

Mr. Gary Johnson said he had no problem being labeled a potential spoiler in an election that he views as “a debate between Coke and Pepsi.”
(
He said he viewed himself as Perrier.)

“Take the issue of Medicare,” he said. “Both parties are arguing over who is going to spend more money on Medicare when we should be having a raging debate in this country over how we’re going to cut Medicare.”

He admits he has only limited finances. The Federal Election Commission had denied his request for general election matching funds, ruling that he did not meet its requirements for third-party candidates. And his campaign filings show he had roughly $50,000 in the bank at the end of August, having burned through much of the more than $350,000 or so he raised in small donations that month.

He said that his campaign had found it hard to keep up with the offers of volunteer help, and that when it came to campaigning, “I think we’re going to stick with what we’ve been doing — stay flexible and take the most advantage out of media appearances.”

Democrats say Mr. Johnson could have the biggest effect on Mr. Romney in Nevada, where a Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll in September showed Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney effectively tied.

Mr. Roger Stone, a former long time Republican operative who has Nixon tatooed on his back,  said the campaign believed it had the potential to cut into support for Mr. Romney in three of his must-win states, Florida, Ohio and Virginia — where Republican challenges to the Libertarian candidate quickly failed — as well as in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

There is very little polling on Mr. Johnson to bear all of this out, which his campaign points to as evidence that he is being unfairly ignored by the news media. However, The Miami Herald and The Tampa Bay Times have measured his support at about 1 percent — far more than the 537-vote margin that was ultimately deemed to have separated Mr. Bush from Mr. Gore in 2000.

“As we all learned in Florida, when something’s close enough, even small numbers can make a difference,” said Charlie Cook, the publisher of The Cook Political Report, which monitors electoral trends.

That appeared to be the thinking when Pennsylvania Republicans sought to go after Mr. Johnson’s petitions, which Mr. Gleason, the party chairman, suspected had been collected with help from Democrats. He noted that many of the signatures came from Democratic precincts of Philadelphia.

One petition gatherer, Tracey Norton of Germantown, said in an interview that she was a Democratic committeewoman, though she said she did not act in a partisan manner when being paid to collect petitions.

In court, the Republicans presented evidence that some petitions had been collected without the proper signatures. But some of that evidence was collected by the private detective, Reynold Selvaggio who, some of the petition workers said in interviews and testimony, flashed his F.B.I. badge “like he was law enforcement,” as one worker, Reynaldo Duncan, said in an interview.

In testimony, Mr. Selvaggio denied Libertarian lawyers’ suggestions that it was an intimidation tactic, saying his badge stated clearly that he was retired and that he said so in his interviews. The judge hearing the case, James Gardner Colins, a former president judge of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, seemed displeased.

“I have a badge that says I’m president judge,” he said, “but I don’t flash it to anyone, because I’m not president judge.”

His ruling in favor of the Libertarians came down on Wednesday.

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