03
Jun 12

Mark Twain vs. the Imperialists

A One Act Play
Ridgefield Community Center

June 27, 2012

A reading of the one act play Mark Twain vs. the Imperialists will be presented at the Ridgefield Community Center (316 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT.), on Wednesday, June 27 at 7:00 PM by the Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative.

Keith Velia, a representative of the Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative, said that the audience is invited to participate in a discussion of U.S. foreign policy following the performance.

Light refreshments will be served and admission is free.

Mark Twain vs. the Imperialists provides a rare look at Mark Twain’s work as one of the leading opponents of United States colonialism at the turn of the century.

While most Americans are well acquainted with Mark Twain as the author of classics such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, his important work as a political activist is largely unknown.

The play features Carl White, founder of the Greenwich Experimental Theater, as Mark Twain. It was originally written and produced for radio by Ken MacDermotRoe, a host of WPKN’s weekly public affairs series In Context. MacDermotRoe and other members of the In Context team will participate in the discussion with the audience following the play.

Mark Twain, who lived in Hartford, Connecticut, served as Vice President of the Anti-Imperialist League from 1901 to his death in 1910. He authored satiric essays against imperialism which were widely distributed.

According to author MacDermotRoe, “Mark Twain passionately believed that the United States could not remain a republic and its people retain their freedoms if it subjugated foreign countries. This play serves, not only, to remind Americans of Twain’s important political activity, but also to stimulate discussion of the proper role of the United States in the world.”

Mark Twain vs. the Imperialists focuses on Twain’s opposition to the Philippine American War which broke out in 1899 following the U.S. seizure of the Philippines in the Spanish American War. In putting down the protracted Philippine resistance to U.S. occupation, U.S. troops subjected Filipinos to an early form of waterboarding known as the “water cure”.

During the turn of the century, anti-imperialist clubs were established in many U.S. cities and attracted a considerable following. The movement was supported by many prominent Americans in addition to Mark Twain, including Andrew Carnegie and former President Grover Cleveland.

“Given America’s current situation, the fundamental issues raised by Mark Twain and his fellow anti-imperialists are as relevant now as they were over a century ago”, said MacDermotRoe.

The Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative, a non-partisan volunteer group, sponsors events to help educate citizens about critical issues facing the country.


16
Oct 10

The Past Events of the Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative

Our past programs are listed below with links to posts that applied at the time.

Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com Program:

On November 10, 2010, Justin Raimondo, co-founder and managing editor of Antiwar.com, made a presentation at Western Connecticut State University on the antiwar movement.  Here is a description published at the time:

Original Post (11/14/10):

There was tension in the room last Wednesday night (11/10) when Justin Raimondo, managing editor of Antiwar.com, was the featured speaker at a program sponsored by Western Connecticut State University and the Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative. His topic: The Antiwar Movement.

We managed to get through it without insults or punches.  In the process, and in the midst of high tension, a lot of great issues were raised.  Where do rights come from?  What is the meaning of patriotism?  What is the difference between patriotism and nationalism?  Are the current wars fundamentally different from WWII or the Revolutionary War?  It was, we believe, a great start for additional discussion.

You can learn more about the program (which included a $1,000 essay prize for students) and a video of Justin’s presentation here: The Raimondo Program Including Link to Video.  Also here: Antiwar Presentation and Essay Contest.

The program received good press coverage including this opinion piece (pdf) written by Richard S. Land of the Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative:  Danbury News Times Opinion Piece.

Federal Reserve Program:

On November 19, 2009, Gene Epstein, economics editor of Barron’s magazine, delivered an address on the Federal Reserve System: Epstein on the Federal Reserve System.  The program was at the Ridgefield Playhouse.

You can see a short version of the program here:  Partial Video of Epstein Presentation on the Fed.

You can see the complete program here: Partial Video of Epstein Presentation on the Fed.

We offered a $1,000 award to the student who submitted the most thoughtful question to Mr. Epstein.  You can see the top five questions here: Federal Reserve Program: The Five Most Thoughtful Questions.  Jesse Nadel of Quinnipiac University won the award with Question.  You can see all the questions that were submitted here: Federal Reserve Program Student Questions Received.

Economist Nick Perna, who was a member of our panel of judges, wrote a critical article of Mr. Epstein’s presentation in the Ridgefield Press.  We responded and Mr. Epstein responded and Mr. Epstein also responded with an invitation to debate.  Mr. Perna declined. You can find the Epstein and RLC responses via links here: Federal Reserve Program: Gene Epstein’s Response to Nick Perna: Let’s Debate.

Gary Johnson and Peter Schiff Ridgefield Playhouse Program:

On April 2, 2010, we hosted an event at the Ridgefield Playhouse with Gary Johnson (former Governor of New Mexico and possible candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. president in 2012) and Peter Schiff (then candidate for the Republican nomination for the senate seat being vacated by Christopher Dodd’s retirement).  A description of that program is here: Meet Governor Gary Johnson and Senate Hopeful Peter Schiff April 2.  Regrettably, we have not yet been able to post the video of that program.

Reception for Gary Johnson:

Later in the year on June 22, 2010, Gary Johnson once again visited Ridgefield for an intimate gathering with approximately 30 supporters at the home of Bill and Barb Costello.  Mr. Johnson spent the evening getting to know all of us on a personal level and fielding questions and facilitating lively conversation late into the evening.

Gathering at SAGI Restaurant:

We held an informal gathering at SAGI Restaurant in Ridgefield on March 1, 2010 (originally scheduled for February 25 but postponed because of snow).  Here are some postings regarding that program: SAGI Gathering and A Conversation with a Progressive Friend.  We discussed issues dealt with in videos displayed at that link: the Hayek vs. Keynes rap video; Christopher Hedges on corporatism, militarism and the debasement of the currency; Ron Paul’s comments on the state of the Republic; and Howard Zinn on foreign intervention.

Lecture by Professor Kevin Gutzman:

On April 22, 2009, we hosted Professor Kevin Gutzman, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution and co-author of Who Killed the Constitution?, for a lecture at the  Ridgefield Community Center (Lounsbury Hall).  Regrettably, we have not yet been about to post the video of that program.

Fiat Empire (the movie) at the Ridgefield Library:

On February 19, 2009, at the Ridgefield Library (the Dayton room) we offered the movie Fiat Empire, an eye opening, thought provoking movie about the history and the activities of the Federal Reserve System, and its role (with large banks and Congress) in the creation of booms and busts and the destruction of the dollar.

Pre-Primary Citizens Forum:

On January 31, 2009, we hosted a Pre-Primary Citizens Forum at the Ridgefield Playhouse offering “Films and presentations you will want to see before you vote in the Presidential Primary on February 5” and open mics so that all who attended would have an opportunity to express their opinions and concerns before voting in the primary.

Ridefield Press Article:

When we were just getting started, the Ridgefield Press did an article about us.  You can see it here: Ridgefield Press Article (Page 1); Ridgefield Press Article (Continued).


13
Oct 10

Justin Raimondo to Speak at WCSU on Antiwar Movement.

$1,000 Prize for the Most Thoughtful Essay

Update (11/20/10):

Deadline for Essay Submission Extended to December 8. See announcement here:  Announcement of Essay Deadline Extension.

Original Post [updated 11/20/10]:

Program Description

WHEN:  November 10, 2010, 6:30 to 8:30.

WHERE:  WCSU Westside Classroom Building, 43 Lake Ave. Ext, Danbury, CT, WS Room 218 (President’s Reception Room).

TOPIC:  The future of the American antiwar movement and why we should care.

PRIZE:  $1,000  for most thoughtful essay.

NO ADMISSION CHARGE

FOR PROGRAM FLYER CLICK HERE: Program Flyer.

We have invited Justin Raimondo, Editor and co-founder of Antiwar.com and author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, to speak at a program sponsored by the WCSU Social Sciences Department on November 10 at the Western Connecticut State University Westside Campus. His topic will be the current status and future of the American antiwar movement and why we should care.

The members of the Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative (“RLC”) are offering a $1,000 prize to the student who submits the most thoughtful essay (maximum 300 words) on Mr. Raimondo’s topic.  We encourage participation from students representing all points of view.

Mr. Raimondo says:

“Both parties, being creatures of Washington, believe that the inhabitants of the Imperial City know what’s best for the world, and are entirely qualified to run it, sending troops hither and thither to repress native revolts with the same hubristic disdain they display for the folks at home.  We are all peons to them.

…[T]he taxpayers have shelled out a whopping $1 trillion for combat operations and other war related activities in the past nine years……[B]oth parties have a vested interest in ensuring that they [ordinary Americans] never wake up to the fact that our empire is a major cause of our economic woes. ”

That’s direct; we know where Justin stands!  And he is not shy about expressing his disappointment with the “anti-war left” which he believes has abandoned its “long tradition of left-wing anti-interventionism.”

Justin has his reasons.  We believe you will be interested to hear them and his analysis of the future of the anti-war movement.  Join us on November 10 and take advantage of the after-lecture Question and Answer period to let us know what you think.

Sponsors:  The program is sponsored by the Social Sciences Department of Western Connecticut State University and members of the Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative.

Prize for Best Essay

The student who submits the most thoughtful essay on Mr. Raimondo’s topic will win $1,000 (see “Challenge to Students” below).  Attendance at the November 10 program is not required.

The Challenge to Students

As part of the program,  we are offering a prize of $1,000 to the student who submits what our judges determine to be the most thoughtful essay on Mr. Raimondo’s topic.  We are inviting all the Danbury/Ridgefield, Connecticut, area high schools and colleges to participate but there are no geographical restrictions. Students from anywhere may submit essays.

Submit essays to Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative c/o Richard S. Land (business 203-744-1929 and home 203-438-9814) at rsl@danburylaw.com by midnight on Wednesday December 8 [Update dtd 11/20/10: the deadline for submission of essays has been extended to December 8 from the original deadline of December 1] (300 word limit).  We plan to announce the winner on December 17, 2010 [Update dtd 11/20/10: the new target date for announcing the winner is December 17 from the original target date of December 10].  We suggest that you check our web site periodically after the event for more information.

We request that essays be less than 300 words. We reserve the right to disqualify (or return for revision) essays that exceed 300 words.  Although clear and concise writing is reflective of careful thought, this is not a writing contest.  A masterfully written superficial treatment will not win.

If you attend the November 10 program, you may have an advantage by participating in the Q&A period, but attendance is not required.  A video of the program will be posted at the RLC web site shortly after the event.  Let us know that you are interested (by email) and we will notify you when the video is posted.  [Update dtd 11/20/10:  The video was posted on 11/19/10.  For the link to the video, go here: Announcement of Essay Deadline Extension and Link to Video.]

See our flyer on the event here:  Program Flyer.

Collaboration: We encourage you to collaborate with parents, teachers, friends, neighbors and others when preparing your essays.

Conditions [updated 11/20/10]

The $1,000 prize will be awarded only if we receive at least one bona fide essay from 10 different students. A student may submit more than one essay but no more than three essays per student. The judges, in their sole discretion, will determine what essays are deemed to be bona fide. After December 8, we plan to post bona fide essays that have been received. When submitting an essay, a student should include identifying information and the name and address of the school he or she attends. Students who are schooled at home are welcome but we request some verification that the person submitting an essay is actually a student. The judges’ determination on a person’s status as a high school or college student will be final.

Details Regarding Submission of Essays (Due 12/8/10) [updated 11/20/10]

Essays must be submitted in writing to the Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative c/o Richard S. Land (business 203-744-1929; home 203-438-9814) at rsl@danburylaw.com by midnight, December 8.   We suggest that you check our web site periodically after the event for updates and additional information.

If the essay is being submitted by mail, address it to Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative c/o Richard S. Land, Chipman, Mazzucco, Land & Pennarola, LLC, 30 Main Street, Danbury, Ct 06810. If receipt of an essay is not acknowledged, the student should follow-up until receipt is acknowledged (in case of email malfunction or interception by a spam filter).

Submit your essay on line to rsl@danburylaw.com.

Judges

The panel judging the essays includes WCSU faculty, authors, high school principals and teachers, professionals, and journalists.  We want the panel to represent diverse perspectives so that the panel is not controlled by any particular ideology.  See the makeup of the panel and an explanation of the judging process here: Panel of Judges and Explanation of Judging Process.

To assure objectivity in judging, the essays will be submitted to the judges without the author’s name or other information that might offer a clue to the author’s identity. We plan to announce the winner on December 10.  Announcement of the winner may be postponed, however, if posting the video to the web is delayed.  We suggest that you check our web site periodically after the event for more information.

Essays from Non-students

Anyone, including non-students, may submit an essay but only students will be eligible for the $1,000 prize.

After December 8, we will post all bona fide essays to this site. The judges, in their sole discretion, will determine what essays are deemed to be bona fide.

Producer

The producer for this event is the Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative.

Resources

Students may wish to read one or more of the following books on the topic while preparing their essays:  (1) The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic by Chalmers Johnson; (2)  Colossus, The Rise and Fall of the American Empire, by Niall Ferguson; (3) Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policyby Murray Rothbard; (4) The Shadow Factoryby James Bamford; (5) Dying to Win, The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorismby Robert Pape; (6) The Complex, How the Military Invades Our Everyday Livesby Nick Turse; (7) Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic by Chalmers Johnson; (8) Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire by Chalmers Johnson; (9) The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalismby Andrew Bacevich; and (10) Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent Warby Andrew Bacevich.  Of course, also see Justin Raimondo’s Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

Other Important Details [updated 11/20/10]

Program Location:  Western Connecticut State University, Westside Classroom Building, WS Room 218 (President’s Reception Room), 43 Lake Avenue Extension Danbury, Connecticut.

Event Time: 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM, November 10 (Wednesday), 2010.  Doors open at 6:00.

Admission Price: No Charge.

Essay Submission Deadline: Midnight December 8, 2010.

Announcement of Essay Contest Winner: Target Date, December 17, 2010.



30
Oct 11

Candidates Forum December 1, 2011, Ridgefield Town Hall

Update November 29, 2011:

The event originally scheduled for November 2 (see below) has been rescheduled for December 1 at 7:00 PM at the Ridgefield Town Hall.

Update November 2, 2011:

Due to the recent snowstorm and resulting power outages in Ridgefield and throughout CT, we are postponing our Discuss the Candidates event at the Ridgefield Town Hall which was scheduled for Thursday, November 3, at 7pm.  We hope to reschedule soon and will post a notice regarding the new date and time.  See below for a general description of the program.

Original Post:

The Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative is sponsoring an event at the Ridgefield Town Hall 7:00 p.m., Thursday, November 3, 2011.

Do you know what the Republican presidential hopefuls stand for (after 10 “debates”)?

We are Ron Paul supporters and we are eager to answer your questions about him.

We would love to hear what you have to say about any of the candidates.

Who is Ron Paul? Who is Herman Cain? Are there other candidates that intrigue you?

No matter who you support, come to share and learn.

Consistent with our belief in local control of government, any local candidates in attendance will have time to introduce themselves after the discussion of the national campaign.

Refreshments will be served.

Email your questions to:  Bill Costello (wrcostello@sbcglobal.net); Barb Costello (barbcostello@sbcglobal.net); Keith Velia (kwv817@yahoo.com); or Richard Land (rsl@danburylaw.com).

For information on our previous programs, please visit our web site here: Past Programs of the RLC.

We hope to see you November 3.


19
Nov 10

Video of Justin Raimondo’s November 10 Presentation

Essay Submission Deadline Extended to December 8

For reasons beyond our control, we were not able to upload the video of the program until Friday, November 19.  For the video of the whole program (in eight parts for the presentation and five parts for the Q&A), go here:  Video of Justin Raimondo’s Antiwar Presentation.

The Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative is offering a $1,000 prize for the student who submits the most thoughtful 300 word (or less) essay relating to Mr. Raimondo’s topic.

See contest details here: Essay Contest Details.

The deadline for submitting essays has been extended one week as a result of the delay in posting the video.  The new deadline is December 8.

Likewise, the target date for announcing the winner has been extended to December 17.

You can participate in the essay competition even though you did not attend the program.

For the written version of Mr. Raimondo’s presentation entitled Getting Beyond ‘Left’ and ‘Right’, go here:  (1) Part One,  November 10 Antiwar Presentation and (2) Part Two, November 10 Antiwar Presentation.

Posted by Richard S. Land 11/19 /10.


14
Nov 10

Antiwar Presentation and Essay Contest

Update (11/20/10):

Deadline for Essay Submission Extended to December 8. See announcement here:  Announcement of Essay Deadline Extension.

Original Post (11/14/10):

There was tension in the room last Wednesday night (11/10) when Justin Raimondo, managing editor of Antiwar.com, was the featured speaker at a program sponsored by Western Connecticut State University and the Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative. His topic: The Antiwar Movement.

We managed to get through it without insults or punches.  In the process, and in the midst of high tension, a lot of great issues were raised.  Where do rights come from?  What is the meaning of patriotism?  What is the difference between patriotism and nationalism?  Are the current wars fundamentally different from WWII or the Revolutionary War?  It was, we believe, a great start for additional discussion.

The program was unique in a number of ways.  You can see pre-program publicity and a description of the program’s features here: (a) general description; (b) flyer for students; and (3) the panel of judges.

We are offering a $1,000 prize to the student who submits the most thoughtful essay (300 words or less) on the topic of Mr. Raimondo’s presentation.  See contest details here: Essay Contest Details.

A video of the program will be posted to YouTube and will be accessible through this web site.  We are waiting to receive the video from WCSU. [Update:  The video was posted on 11/19/10.  For the link to the video, go here: Announcement of Essay Deadline Extension and Link to Video.]

You can participate in the essay competition even though you did not attend the program.  You can access the content of the program via the video that will be posted or,  for the written version of Mr. Raimondo’s presentation entitled Getting Beyond ‘Left’ and ‘Right’, go here:  (1) Part One,  November 10 Antiwar Presentation and (2) Part Two, November 10 Antiwar Presentation.

Essays are due December 1. We plan to announce the winner on December 10. Those dates are subject to change if it takes longer than expected to post the video.

Posted by Richard S. Land 11/14/10 and updated 11/20/10.


17
Oct 10

Antiwar.com Program Panel of Judges and the Judging Process

How will we determine what essay is the most thoughtful?

We admit that there is no objective way to make that determination. The determination will be made according to the combined subjective judgements of the members of our panel of judges.

The following individuals have agreed to be on the panel:

(1)  Thomas McMorran, Principal of Joel Barlow High School.

(2)  Charles Dumais, Principal of Newtown High School.

(3)  Bryan Luizzi, Principal of Broookfield High School.

(4)  Greg Shugrue, Principal of New Milford High School.

(5)  Jacqueline Smith, Managing Editor of the Danbury News Times.

(6)  Ebong Udoma, Connecticut State Capitol Reporter for WSHU and regular contributor of spot news to NPR.

(7)  Kevin Gutzman, Professor of History, Western Connecticut State University, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution and co-author of Who Killed the Constitution?

(8)  R. Averell Manes, Professor of Political Science, Western Connecticut State University, founder of, and advisor for, the conflict resolution minor at the university, former director of WestConn’s Center for Collaboration, and author of “The Pieds-noirs: A Case Study in the Persistence of Sub-Cultural Distinctiveness.”

(9)  David R. Chipman, Attorney and founding member (retired) of Chipman, Mazzucco, Land & Pennarola, LLC, a law firm with offices in Danbury, Connecticut.

(10)  Gene Epstein, Economics Editor for Barron’s magazine and former senior economist at the New York Stock Exchange.

(11)  Jim Azzola, Thermal Science, LLC.

Invitations have gone to educators, political science experts, media representatives, politicians, entrepreneurs, and other members of the community.

There will be no opportunity for favoritism based on personalities or personal relationships as the identities of the authors of the essays will not be disclosed to the judges. Essays will be coded (with a number similar to a personal identification number or PIN) and then forwarded to the judges for consideration. Each judge will score each essay on a scale of 1 to 10 (ten being the best score). We will combine all the scores for each essay to get a total. The essay with the highest score wins.

We may modify this procedure by identifying the top contestants (perhaps five to ten) via such a scoring system and going through another round of scoring for the top contestants.

We do not anticipate that the judges will need to travel or meet with each other.


15
Mar 10

Meet Governor Gary Johnson and Senate Hopeful Peter Schiff April 2

Is the current “left” to “right” political spectrum becoming obsolete?

On April 2 at 6:30 PM at the Ridgefield Playhouse, members of the Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative are sponsoring a program that will challenge the way you think about current events.  Join us and meet citizen-advocates who are likely to spearhead a movement that will change the dialogue.

The message of Gary J. Johnson (former Governor of New Mexico) appeals to the anti-empire “old right” and the anti-war “left.”  His position on civil liberties appeals to civil libertarians, wherever they reside on the political spectrum.  Rumors are that Mr. Johnson may be running for the Republican presidential nomination.  Let us introduce you to him.

Peter Schiff also will be there.  He is running for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat to be vacated by Chris Dodd.  To many, including the Hartford Courant, Mr. Schiff appeared to be the clear winner of the recent debate with other Senate hopefuls, Rob Simmons and Linda McMahon.  During the debate, Mr. Schiff said, “If you send me to Washington, I promise you one thing: that town will never be the same again.”  After you meet him, you will be convinced he means it.

We admire serious candidates who take time from their successful careers to challenge the entrenched special interests that control Washington.  Although Mr. Johnson and Mr. Schiff are Republicans, do not assume they are clones of the Bush/Cheney crew.  In fact, they have been extremely vocal critics of the policies of both the previous and current administrations.  They challenge both party establishments for continuing to pursue flawed foreign policies, profligate spending, easy money and attacks against civil liberties.  The Republican national establishment appears to be very worried about the likes of Johnson and Schiff.  And, of course, you would expect the Democratic establishment to be wary.

In keeping with past practices of the Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative, we have set aside a great deal of time for Q&A.  We hope to see you there.

Students will not be charged.  Admission for non-students is $20.  The $20 admission includes a cocktail reception following the program.


25
Feb 10

February 25 Meeting at Sagi’s Cancelled Because of Snow.

We cancelled the meeting on February 25 (tonight) because of the threat of snow.  We are trying to re-schedule for next week (possibly Monday, March 1).  We will post a notice when the date, place and time are definite.


18
Feb 10

February 25 Meeting at Sagi’s Restaurant—Food for Thought

Below are videos to serve as food for thought before our February 25 meeting at Sagi’s Restaurant in Ridgefield, Connecticut (23 1/2 Catoonah Street).  We hope that much of the discussion can be interesting and fun in the nature of the first video which is in the form of a rap song.   We hope to see you there.  $20 covers appetizers and salads.  The management tells us that no one will leave hungry.  Sagi’s needs an accurate head count so please R.S.V.P. to Bill Costello at  wrcostello@sbcglobal.net by February 22.

(1) An entertaining debate between John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich von Hayek:

(2) Christopher Hedges on corporatism, militarism and debasement of the dollar:

(3) Ron Paul (anti-war libertarian Republican) on the state of the republic:

Video Part One

Video Part Two

Video Part Three

(4) Howard Zinn (anti-war civil rights activist) on foreign intervention:

We look forward to seeing you on February 25.

Rich

Richard Land

Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative, LLC