Monday, November 19, 2018

WY Libertarian loses statehouse seat by 53 votes

Libertarian Bethany Baldes Gets Within 60 Votes of Victory in Wyoming State House Race Against Incumbent GOP Majority Leader - Hit & Run : - Bryan Doherty:

November 7, 2018 - "Bethany Baldes, a Libertarian Party state House candidate in Wyoming's District 55, got so close to defeating incumbent Republican David Miller, who is the House majority leader and has held the seat ever since 2000, that until the absentee ballots were counted local news outlet County 10 was reporting a 54–46 percent win for her....

"Alas, after the absentee votes were counted, what had been a raw vote total of 1,306 to 1,112 for Baldes became a 1,645-1,592 win for incumbent Miller.

"The near-win was the fruit of a strategy pushed by Apollo Pazell, a campaign adviser with the national Libertarian Party. 'We need to create a narrative of wins,' he said in a phone interview last month. To begin that narrative, he thought the L.P. should find races where the total number of votes needed to win was small and there was only one major party opponent, then find a good candidate with strong local roots, and dig in with retail campaigning.

"'Baldes, a fifth-generation Wyoming woman, was someone who was 'part of the day-to-day life of this small town, and they didn't ever see David Miller,' Pazell said. Miller didn't even spend all year in the state, Pazell said, and returned only late in the game to do any campaigning.

"Pazell led a team of six volunteers working full-time for four weeks to hit each and every door in her district, centered on the city of Riverton, three times. Baldes sought and received endorsements from the majority of the Riverton City Council, the county attorney, and more than one former mayor.....

"While Pazell says they did not necessarily fly the Libertarian label all the time, neither did they shy away from it.... Pazell says it was often a benefit in this race, as having been a Democrat might have gotten doors slammed in their face in the current political climate. Hearing Baldes was a Libertarian was actually 'often incredibly disarming' to voters, Pazell says....

"Pazell detailed in last month's phone interview a multi-layered campaign starting with overall voter data, followed by a generic first round of door-knocks to learn more about specific voters' concerns and attitudes. That resulted in six separate mailers for six distinct groups and get out the vote reminders. The campaign raised around $6,000, which is a big deal for a Wyoming state race, he says."

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Ontario LP leader Rob Ferguson interviewed

Interview with the Leader of the Libertarian Party of Ontario · 71 Republic - Brennan Dube:

November 11, 2018 - "The Libertarian Party of Ontario has seen impressive growth over the past several years.... The party only fielded 5 libertarians in the 2003 election..... In the 2011 race, the libertarians fielded 51 candidates out of a possible 107 and garnered 0.45% of the popular vote ... in 2014, ... the libertarians ran 74 out of a possible 107 and scored 0.81% of the vote. [This year the] Ontario libertarians were able to field 117 candidates (94.3%).... Even though the party only got 0.75% of the popular vote, they nonetheless picked up a record high of 42,918 voters....

"I had the privilege of interviewing former deputy leader and now current leader of the Ontario Libertarian Party, Rob Ferguson....

"Ferguson: 'I grew up in a Conservative family and ... I can even remember our families home was turned into a campaign HQ on some occasions. As I grew up I decided to become a member of the New Democratic Party.... My stint with the party lasted less than a year.... I found myself then exploring the Family Coalition Party.... During the time leading up to the provincial election in 2011, ... I left the party and just hours later found myself in contact with some executive members of the Ontario Libertarian Party. I ended up coordinating and training 12 candidates in the 2011 provincial race, and I ran myself as well. I have always been about family values and the party’s positions on individual liberties, property rights and personal responsibility fit me perfectly....

"'From a philosophical standpoint, libertarianism is so unique and when you start to apply the basic principles of libertarianism to issues we see brought up every election you see that yes, this makes sense. The notion of personal responsibility and property rights are key points within the libertarian ideology. One of my biggest influences is former Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier. He is a prime exemplar of classical liberalism in Canadian politics. I also find myself often quoting Margaret Thatcher. One quote of hers I often find myself repeating is, "The problem with socialism is that eventually, you run out of other people’s money."

"'Allen Small did a ton for this party as its leader, and he has left us in a very good place going forward ... he was always on top of things and he put a ton into his job. Now that I have taken the mantle from him I think that the number one priority should be to amend our party’s constitution and make it more coherent with the digital age....

"'[I]t’s refreshing to see more and more liberty minded people putting their names out there... However, I am skeptical of the [People's Party], what I say is simple, you can either join a new party that may or may not last or you can stick with a movement that’s been growing for 40 years and is seeing its absolute best growth now. I welcome Bernier and his new party to the table but ... as for me, I’m sticking with the Libertarian Party.

"'We’ve seen incredible growth; over the last few elections we’ve seen votes go up, membership go up and candidates go up. To maintain our growth, we need to continue to aim towards running full slates. By updating our party constitution and by-laws and fixing internal policy we can ... modernize the party. A few of the ridings that we weren’t able to fill candidates in were up in Northern Ontario and by targeting those areas in 2022 and continuing to run full slates we can continue to see solid growth and work towards winning seats in the next few election cycles....

"'In the age now of social media when you spread the message to a few it can reach many so just getting out and speaking to as many people as possible is truly the way to best engage voters. Here in Brantford I think I have succeeded in that, just recently I was out at a store and an individual turned to me and said, "hey, aren’t you Rob Ferguson?" and I laugh because my wife says it seems like we can’t go out anymore without people coming up to me or recognizing me.'"

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Why libertarians like Bitcoin

The Libertarian Case for Bitcoin | Hacked: Hacking Finance - William Bartlett:

August 23, 2018 - "From the outside looking in, Bitcoin seems to have a cult-like following.... However, as you get to understand crypto a little better, it becomes clear that there are many different factions.... There are the technologists who think technology is king, [the] contrarians who believe that the US dollar and all fiat currencies are overvalued, and then there are the libertarians who want to have as much freedom from the government as possible.

 "At its core, libertarianism is a political philosophy that gives individuals rights to acquire, keep, and exchange their holdings. It is a very 'American' point-of-view, and has gained a lot of support in recent times, due to the rising fiscal deficit, among other things.... To libertarians, the ideal is to have minimum intervention from the state.

"This also involves locking middlemen and intermediaries out of the equation. Oligopolies such as the one the big banks currently hold end up giving them a 'government-level' of control over the funds of customers. Bitcoin disintermediates these banks and creates a natural market for all who wish to do commerce online.

"An auxiliary point would be the somewhat excessive intervention in the money markets by the Fed. Denationalization of currency is a position most libertarians take as another way of protecting their money from purposeful inflation.

"What is especially beautiful about Bitcoin is the fact that it is censorship resistant. Not only is there economic freedom, but also the ability to fund whatever you would like, but without worrying about being stopped. This is true 'freedom of expression' (another libertarian ideal). Obviously there are cases where this goes too far (e.g. terrorism) and this is where the debate about Bitcoin’s place in society heats up.

"Bitcoin also goes in direct conflict with the government’s desire to track the flow of money for taxation and regulatory purposes. It is very difficult for governments to track the flow of Bitcoin funds, and even though it’s possible to match up public addresses, anonymity is generally ensured. And for those looking for a more robust solution, other privacy coins like zCash and Monero have popped up.

"Aside from Bitcoin, you have numerous new 'markets' popping up where there used to be inefficient markets with minimal innovation. Utility coins are putting a value on what used to be deadweight loss in the markets. This connects to Bitcoin with the idea of 'economic liberty', where they have property rights and fully privatized free markets."

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Niskanen Center abandons libertarian label

The libertarian think tank Niskanen Center is abandoning libertarianism — Quartz - Michael J. Coren:

October 31, 2018 - "For millions of people, ideology is the lighthouse in a dark sea of politics. An uncompromising vision of how the world is supposed to work, and how to fix it, is just too alluring for partisans to ignore. Political parties’ most frenzied supporters are demanding ideological purity from their candidates as they push out moderates [and] ever fewer temperate souls are left to hold the middle ground in politics.

"Yet the libertarian think tank Niskanen Center in Washington, DC, argues the moderate middle is the future. Niskanen president Jerry Taylor wrote in an Oct. 29 essay that he is dropping the libertarian banner.... In a 3,595-word farewell to the libertarian world, he says libertarianism, and ideology itself, is a dead end. 'I have abandoned that libertarian project…because I have come to abandon ideology,' writes Taylor.... The future of American politics, he argues, is principled compromise....

"Trump’s authoritarian takeover of the Republican Party was Taylor’s breaking point ('I would have thought libertarians would have been on the ramparts, and they are not,' he said), but his disillusionment began years ago after working as a paid climate skeptic for the Cato Institute. He eventually came to see opposing action on climate change as both scientifically misguided, and wrong. After failing to get his libertarian colleagues to even engage with the argument, he slowly began to see how ideological fervor had engulfed a range of political issues, no matter what evidence pointed to the contrary.

"Taylor argues Americans need to give up on perfection in politics, the logical endpoint of which is fanaticism. As the head of a think tank aimed at lawmakers, not the US public, Taylor’s move is a politically opportunistic bet as much as a principled stand in defense of a pluralistic society.....

"The libertarian vision of 'night-watchman state' with a society dominated by the market is as distant a dream as ever. But a few libertarian causes have flourished in national politics of late.

"From legalizing marijuana to deregulating telecom to striking down sodomy laws, libertarian policy wins have come after being co-opted by the major political parties (and even by winning a few local elections). Taylor’s rejection of the libertarian label may be a gift to his (former) fellow travelers. Libertarians’ greatest impact may be felt most when they aren’t espousing an ideology at all."

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Ohio Libertarians dispute loss of ballot status

Ohio Libertarians may sue to keep ballot access | - Jeremy Pelzer:

November 13, 2018 - "Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office says that the Libertarians, along with the Ohio Green Party, lost their ballot access because their respective candidates for governor in the Nov. 6 midterm election didn’t get the 3 percent of the vote required under state law to remain a recognized minor party. The Libertarians’ gubernatorial nominee, Columbus activist and filmmaker Travis Irvine, got 1.8 percent of the vote, according to unofficial totals.

"But Ohio Libertarians point to a part of the law (specifically, section 3501.01(F)(2)(b) of the Ohio Revised Code) stating that the '3-percent' requirement is only for minor parties that have been recognized for at least a year before the election. The Libertarian Party of Ohio regained state recognition in July for the first time since 2014, a year after the GOP-controlled legislature passed new ballot-access rules (which the Libertarians tried unsuccessfully to fight in a lengthy court battle).

"Secretary of state spokesman Sam Rossi disputed the Libertarians’ assertion that the '3-percent' requirement doesn’t apply to them.... Rossi also noted that the Libertarian Party of Ohio’s chair, Harold Thomas, claimed the day before the 2018 midterms that Irvine needed 3 percent of the vote to 'automatically achieve 2020 ballot access....

"Rossi declined to comment further, saying the Libertarians are likely to file suit over the matter against Husted’s successor, Republican Frank LaRose.... Indeed, that’s exactly what Libertarian Party of Ohio spokesman David Jackson said his party would do, if they are notified by Husted’s office that they are de-certified as a minor party."

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

WA Supreme Court strikes down death penalty

Washington state Supreme Court strikes down the death penalty | News | The Pacific Northwest Inlander | News, Politics, Music, Calendar, Events in Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and the Inland Northwest - Wilson Criscione:

October 18, 2018 - "The Washington Supreme Court unanimously struck down the death penalty last week, ruling that it is 'imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner.' In doing so, Washington becomes the 20th state to end capital punishment. The ruling commuted the sentences of eight men currently on death row to life in prison.

"'The death penalty, as administered in our state, fails to serve any legitimate penological goal,' the ruling states.

"It's the third time the court has declared the state's death penalty laws unconstitutional — the prior rulings taking place in 1972 and 1979. None of those, including last week's decision, hold capital punishment as inherently unconstitutional. The court left open the option that the state Legislature could enact a statute for capital punishment, as long is it doesn't create a system that offends constitutional rights....

"Fifteen states have abandoned the death penalty through court order or legislative act in the last 15 years. Washington has not executed anyone since 2010, and in 2014, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee — a one-time supporter of capital punishment — imposed a moratorium on the death penalty. He said last week in a news conference that he would veto any bill that would reinstate the death penalty. "'Today's decision by the state Supreme Court thankfully ends the death penalty in Washington,' Inslee says in a statement....

"Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who introduced legislation in 2017 to abolish the death penalty, says in a statement he will try again to remove capital punishment from state law, 'once and for all.'  'Next session, I will again propose legislation repealing the death penalty, replacing it with life in prison without the possibility of parole,' Ferguson says."

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sharpe achieves ballot status for NY Libertarians

Libertarian Party of New York Achieves Ballot Access - Binghamton Homepage:

November 7, 2018 - "Libertarian candidate Larry Sharpe made history today by tallying 90,739 votes in the New York State Gubernatorial election. New York is now one step closer to changing the two party partnership in Albany that enjoys the political benefits of offering favors with our tax dollars. Mr. Sharpe made inroads with disenchanted Republicans and Democrats, Independents and new voters by offering a message of hope rather than employing the fear factor tactics of the old parties.

"By surpassing the 50,000 vote threshold, the Libertarian Party of New York (LPNY) secures New York State ballot access for the next four years. Recruiting principled libertarian candidates to challenge big government incumbents in local elections begins now. We enthusiastically welcome those who defend the rights of the individual and want to challenge Albany’s use of force to achieve political and social goals to join us.

"LPNY Chairman Jim Rosenbeck said “\'We view today’s results as much more than the snapshot of a single election.  Today’s outcome portends a larger political revolution in New York State. The LPNY will build on this momentum. Those who came to us for a great candidate in Larry Sharpe are encouraged to stay and work together to promote the only political ideology that consistently defends your right to pursue happiness with minimal interference from the state.'"

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