NorthCoast Friends of Liberty

Box 261
Mentor, Ohio 44060
(216) 248-8620

The Friends of Liberty mission is to present libertarian ideas to Greater Clevelanders so they may encounter, evaluate and when appropriate embrace the ideas of self-government. We are non-political, though we discuss politics and are always looking for new ways to bring self-government concepts to Greater Clevelanders.

Reporter's First Amendment rights

Michael McMenamin, Cleveland attorney and contributing editor to Reason magazine addressed the NorthCoast Friends of Liberty on Apr 28th. First he explored whether the framers intended the First Amendment to provide people a right to know or as a check of government. Then Mike moved onto whether confidential informant's protection is truly abused. An interesting exchange centered on the Food Line vs. ABC case and why fraud/trespass was used rather than defamation. Finally he defended reporters rights to use stolen property.

Right to Bear Arms, Past, Present and Future

On May 19, Jim Dowdell will talk on the Right to Bear Arms, Past, Present and Future. Jim is president of the Ohio Constitution Defense Council and president of the Lorain County Firearms Defense Association. He is also an NRA Certified Firearms instructor and vice president of Conrad and Dowdell Productions Incorporated, which promotes local gun shows. He also co-owns Liberty Productions, makers of quality videos including an interview with an Oklahoma bombing grand juror dismissed from the case for asking too many questions and a Branch Davidian survivor. Jim also served on Council in South Amherst from 1977 to 1982, at one time as president. Jim also ran for mayor in 1983.

Don't miss Jim Dowdell on May 19th at Denny's restaurant, 1600 Snow Road (398-7076). Get off at I77 at Rockside, turn West on Rockside, continue for about 2 1/2 miles and Denny's is on the right. Dinner is from 6PM to 7PM, and the speaker starts at 7PM. Call (216) 248-8620 for more information.

We won in the US Supreme Court!

Sharon Harris and Walker Chandler took a Georgia drug testing law requiring mandatory drug tests for all candidates for political office all the way to the Supreme Court and won! In a resounding 8-1 decision, the US Supreme Court said the test violated the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches. Even the lone dissenting vote, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, called the law "misguided... even silly."

More Libertarians!

Comedian and television star Drew Carey was seen wearing a Reason magazine T-shirt on his "Drew Carey Show" January 15th.

Clint Eastwood in the March issue of Playboy magazine answered the question "How would you characterize yourself politically?" with "Libertarian" and then went on to explain the philosophy in simple terms: "Everyone leaves everyone else alone."

On March 31st Hugh Downs, co-host of the highly rated 20/20 news program, said "I think it might be important to point out that this country is a one-party country. Half of that party is called Republican and half is called Democrat. It doesn't make any difference. All the really good ideas belong to the Libertarians."

Clinton said his staff had made a list of suggestions on how he could break through the media "din" and get more attention. At the top of the list: "We'll take a cue from Ellen. I'll announce at the last press conference of the year that my character will become a libertarian," the president quipped at the annual meeting of the Radio & Television Correspondents Association in Washington, DC.

According to two recent surveys, 24% to 30% of Americans hold solidly libertarian positions on the role of government reported in the February 6th issue of Roll Call. A significant jump over a January 1996 Gallup survey, which found that just 20% of the population, was libertarian.

More good stuff

Call 1-888-322-1414 for Congressman Ron Paul's weekly legislative report. Hear the truth from one of America's most well-informed, courageous statesmen and defenders of liberty. This number is a toll free.

The U.S. Court of Appeals has denied the Department of Defense's request to throw SPC Michael New's case out with a "summary affirmation," and has granted New a full hearing. New was the soldier who reported to duty in Schweinfurt, Germany, in October, 1995, wearing an authorized U.S. Battle Dress Uniform, in disobedience of a direct order to wear unauthorized United Nations insignia.

May 3, 1997 LPO Convention by Aaron J. OBrien
Were in it to Win!

Dr. Nancy Lord, 1992 LP vice-presidential candidate, says we can no longer be content to debate amongst ourselves our abhorrence of the Federal Reserve system or the errors in the Labor Theory of Value. We are a political party. We need candidates. We need candidates to win to take back our freedom.

Many issues, which may be clear to Libertarians, appear extremely complex, ephemeral, and abstract to those who rely on soundbites. To be sure, complex laws can and do affect our daily lives, yet they are unlikely to incite the average American to action. If we are to achieve long term success we need to begin by addressing the concrete problems that voters face in their everyday lives.

Prophesizing that we'll live in an Orwellian society at some vague time in the future is not enough. Even the impending doom of Social Insecurity has drawn little concern from the electorate. Our issues must be immediate; i.e., an upcoming referendum. They must be concrete and readily comprehensible. And, perhaps most importantly, the issues our candidates select must harness the broad, underlying, sometimes unconscious, public support for our ideas.

Dr. Lord used medical-marijuana as an example. The issue is concrete and easy to understand: marijuana would be available by prescription. The issue is immediate and calls for action: it is decided by the persons actions on the first Tuesday in November. The issue has broad underlying support: most Americans are troubled by the excesses of the Drug War; and this was an easy way to express those concerns. The California Libertarians who supported this important step toward re-legalization gained a lot of positive public relations.

Likewise, a group of dedicated Libertarians in Columbus have had tremendous success and quality media coverage due to their opposition to a proposed stadium tax. The tax, which so clearly illustrates welfare for millionaires, meets all three requirements of a prosperous issue. It has broad support from people of all walks of political life. Its impact and the action necessary are immediate. And, the issue is literally concrete.

Because these Libertarians selected the proper issue, our position is virtually impossible to dispute. Finally, the public and the media perceived us as the voice of reason. How wonderful it is for Libertarian sports fans to ask beleaguered taxpayers, "why should you have to pay for my stadium?"

Granted, some issues are necessarily complex. Yet, we must still concentrate on their immediacy and relevance. For example, when Bill Clinton began talking about national health care, no one seemed to care. Then, probably because no one understood it, the plan began gaining support. Indeed, it seemed as though he was elected on that issue. Then the Libertarians exposed socialized health cares immediate and concrete implications. In other words, we said if this proposal passes, you wont be able to choose your own doctor. The all too common and tragic anecdotes of children who died waiting for a government doctor were more than enough to crystallize "what's not in it for me." These efforts made real the complex issue and energized the people to defeat the measure.

We must continue to find local issues that are concrete, immediate and which expose the publics underlying support for our ideas. We can use these positive alliances to boost our image and catapult our membership. By no means does this equal bending principle. We are simply focusing our, and the voters, limited time and energy on the issues where we have the most likelihood of success. Then, hopefully we can persuade them that liberty, on every issue, is the path to peace, abundance and freedom.

For more more information or old events around the NorthCoast contact:
Chair Aaron J. O'Brien (216) 221-7657
Vice Chair Bill Ferry (216) 321-3540
Newsletter Editor Tom Martin (216) 257-1351
At Large Jeff Kanter (216) 248-9995
Web Updates Rob Logan (216) 473-4373