Friday, July 20, 2018

Young Americans for Liberty settle Berkeley suit

UC Berkeley settles lawsuit filed by libertarian student group - Ryan Geller, Daily Californian:

July 5, 2018 - "UC Berkeley settled an alleged discrimination lawsuit that was filed by the campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, or YAL, by adjusting the campus’s application process for Registered Student Organizations, or RSOs.

"YAL, a campus libertarian student group, claimed in the lawsuit that UC Berkeley denied the group’s RSO application because it was 'too similar' to other groups on campus.... The settlement included $8,250 for legal fees and other losses as well as a requirement that UC Berkeley post clear statements of policy and the campus RSO guidelines on its website.

"According to Khader Kakish, president of the UC Berkeley chapter of YAL, UC Berkeley told YAL in an email to work with Cal Libertarians because of the similarity between the two groups. Kakish added that YAL was also asked to provide proof that it had made an attempt to work with Cal Libertarians and submit a 'statement of uniqueness' if it wanted to continue the application process....

"YAL has more than 900 chapters across the country at public and private universities, where the group promotes personal and civil liberties as well as the importance of free-market economics, Kakish said. Alliance Defending Freedom, a network of attorneys that advocates for free speech for faith communities, took on the UC Berkeley YAL chapter’s lawsuit initially on a pro bono basis, according to Kakish.....

"UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore said in an email that the campus’s policy is to encourage new student organizations to consult with existing organizations that are similar and ... added that campus policies were not actually changed as a result of the settlement.....

"Gilmore said in an email that the campus is satisfied with the settlement and that the money paid to the plaintiff recognized that YAL members did receive an email that was unclear about the application process and existing policy. Gilmore also stated that once YAL expressed its dissatisfaction to the campus, its RSO status was granted.

"According to Kakish, the group’s RSO status was not granted until after the lawsuit was filed."

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Businesses want President's tariff powers limited

Limit Trump tariffs, businesses tell Congress - Paul Davidson, USA Today:

June 26, 2018 -"With U.S. trade fights increasingly roiling markets, a growing chorus of U.S. industries is backing legislation in Congress that would limit President Donald Trump’s ability to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

"Fifty-one trade groups are joining the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 222 state and local chambers by signing a letter that was sent to U.S. senators Tuesday in support of a bill introduced this month by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. The legislation would require Congress to approve or reject any new tariffs the president imposes based on national security concerns.

"Trump had urged Corker to drop the bill but he declined. It’s co-sponsored by seven Republican senators and four Democrats.

"'The U.S. business and agriculture communities are deeply concerned that the President’s unrestricted use of section 232 to impose tariffs may not be in the national interest,' the letter states. 'It is now also increasingly clear that the way the steel and aluminum tariffs have been used will result in retaliatory tariffs from our largest trading partners and closest allies, and that retaliation will have serious negative economic impacts on the United States'....

"The industry letter to the U.S. Senate notes that Congress delegated to the president the authority to invoke tariffs in 1962.

"'While the president should still have this type of authority, the current circumstances highlight the need for Congress to ensure that the authority will be used, as intended by the Congress, in the overall national interest.'

"Those signing the letter include the National Retail Federation, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the American Apparel & Footwear Association and the Computer and Communications Industry Association. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 328 points Monday amid Trump's fresh trade threats."

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Registered Libertarians in Nevada grow to 14K

Growing number of Nevada voters eschews 2-party system | Brookville Times - Caroline Biscotti:

July 15, 2018 - "Tens of thousands more voters were registered as neither Democrat or Republican this midterm election compared with 2014, with most of that growth coming from Libertarians....

"A slew of ideological differences separate candidates and voters outside the two-party system, but in the November general election, those ballots could tip the scales for Republican or Democratic candidates....

"Members of the Libertarian Party of Nevada make up roughly 1 percent of active registered voters and only slightly outnumber the nearly 14,000 active voters identified as 'other' in Nevada as of May, but have seen consistent growth in all four of Nevada’s congressional districts since 2014.

"The Libertarian party does not hold a primary to determine its November candidates. They held local and state conventions earlier in the year when dues-paying members voted on the names that will appear on the general election ballot ... said party spokesman Sam Toll.... Toll, who joined the party in 2016, said he would be in favor of opening the voting up. He also said the state’s primary system should be open to nonpartisan voters.

"New Libertarians are generally younger and more diverse, Toll said, with some growth coming from voters who are increasingly turned off by Republicans and Democrats.

"'We’re going to take advantage of this opportunity that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump dropped in our laps in the 2016 election,' he said. 'We’re really focusing on being inclusive.'

"Libertarians have been working to create a party infrastructure to help candidates and nominate people who talk about relatable issues like health care, said Steve Brown, Clark County Libertarian Party chairman and 3rd Congressional District candidate. He said 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson broke the party’s vote record.

"Brown and Toll said the party is moving away from candidates who focus on niche debates that most voters don’t identify with and toward people who focus on kitchen-table issues.

"''The difference between 2016 and 2018 is the difference between night and day,' Brown said. 'We are so far ahead of where we were as a party two years ago.'"

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Arizona politicians enjoy "legislative immunity"

An Arizona Lawmaker Thought Speeding Was OK Because of His Legislative Immunity - Hit & Run : - Zurie Davis:

July 13, 2018 - "An Arizona politician has been caught on camera bragging that he's exempt from the law. The body-cam video, first shared by Parker Live Online, shows a sheriff's deputy speaking with state Rep. Paul Mosley (R–Lake Havasu City) after pulling him over for speeding.

"'I informed Mosley that 97 mph in a 55 mph zone is considered criminal speed,' the deputy wrote in his written report. 'Mosley stated he was just in a hurry to get home to surprise his family in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Mosley also told me that I should just let him go and that I shouldn't waste anymore of my time dealing with him due to his immunity as a government official'....

"After a brief argument about speeding, the deputy walks away without appearing to give Mosley a speeding ticket. A search of traffic violations by the Associated Press does not show Mosley receiving a ticket that day.

"The legislative immunity that Mosley touted is found in Article 4, Part 2, Section 6 of the Arizona Constitution. It states, 'Members of the legislature shall be privileged from arrest in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, and they shall not be subject to any civil process during the session of the legislature, nor for fifteen days next before the commencement of each session.'

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard criticized Mosley's use of immunity, saying, 'Nothing short of an emergency justifies that kind of speeding, and assertions of immunity in that situation seem outside the intent of the constitutional provision regarding legislative immunity.'

"The Arizona Fraternal Order of Police also responded by rescinding its endorsement of Mosley.... Mosley's colleagues, both Republican and Democrat, have also responded negatively to the video.... On Thursday, Mosley apologized for his conduct in a Facebook post."

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Monday, July 16, 2018

NM Libertarian candidate for governor off ballot

Libertarian recount fails to qualify governor hopeful | Elections | - Tripp Stelnicki, Santa Fe New Mexican:

July 13, 2018 - "A recount of Libertarian primary results from eight counties did not produce enough additional write-in votes for Bob Walsh, the Libertarians’ would-be governor candidate, according to unofficial results.... Walsh, a retired mathematician, and the would-be lieutenant governor candidate, Robin Dunn, each needed 230 Libertarians to write in their names in the June primary to win the Libertarian nomination and ensure a place on the ballot.

"Both fell short, and the party requested a recount earlier this month, arguing that some of its voters’ choices might not have been counted because they had not filled in a scannable bubble next to the line for write-in candidates....

"Both needed roughly 50 additional votes; unofficial results show Walsh picked up 11 votes, Dunn 13.

"Walsh said Friday he was evaluating a possible challenge to the 230-vote write-in rule. He explained various arguments he said he could explore.... 'Obviously we are disappointed this didn’t prevail,” said Chris Luchini, chair of the state Libertarian Party and himself a Libertarian candidate for sheriff of Los Alamos County....

"The June contest was the Libertarian Party’s first primary as a major party in New Mexico, a result of former Gov. Gary Johnson earning 9 percent of the state’s vote in the 2016 presidential contest.... Whether the Libertarians will retain that status ... without a candidate for governor remains to be seen.

"According to state law, a party must earn more than 5 percent of the total number of votes cast in a race for either governor or president to keep its major-party status. But some Libertarians contend the party could also retain the status with 5 percent of the vote in any statewide race. 'That will be litigated,' Luchini said.

"There are Libertarians who qualified in several statewide races this year. State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, who switched from the Republican Party, is challenging U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat.... Sandra Jeff, a former state House representative, is the party’s nominee for secretary of state. A. Blair Dunn, an attorney and the son of Aubrey and Robin Dunn, is running for attorney general. There is a Libertarian candidate, Michael Lucero, seeking the open state land commissioner’s post."

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

What is 'Christian Libertarianism'?

What's Behind Christians' Interest in Libertarianism? -  Jamin Hübner, The Christian Post:

April 12, 2018 - "The 2017 U.S. Presidential election catalyzed a fresh, theological identity crisis for many Christians in America.... Several prominent leaders in conservative evangelicalism ... called upon the entire church to support the Trump administration.... But other Christians, especially younger millennials who haven't taken part in last generation's 'culture wars,' dissent from both this alignment and the urgency of political action in general.... All of these dynamics continue and give birth to different vistas of inquiry. One such vista that has emerged from these tumultuous dynamics (among other discontents that have been brewing) is 'Christian Libertarianism.'

"Libertarianism, according to some studies, is the fasted growing political movement of the twenty-first century. Its entrance into mainstream thought is visible in numerous spheres. In academia, for example, one can observe the release of such projects as The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism (SAGE), The Routledge Handbook to Libertarianism (2017), and other literary milestones....

"However, what really interests many is that libertarianism is gaining considerable traction in 'post-evangelical' and Catholic Christian circles — at least enough to merit public outcry. Albert Mohler, the President of one of the largest seminaries in the world, has publicly criticized Christians for entertaining libertarianism as a viable political philosophy. Pope Francis did the same in ...2017 during a plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Christian libertarianism's abandonment of traditional social categories, political parties, and trust in political authority as a whole is viewed by some as a threat to both Western civilization and social stability....

"So, what is Christian libertarianism? At the heart of it is a pre-modern, pre-Constantinian reading of the New Testament. The contemporary narratives about Jesus being a pro-gay socialist (on the left) or the great consumerist, pro-gun American (on the right) just don't seem to fit the Gospel accounts at all. The contemporary account about Christianity mindlessly approving whatever the government does (based on a misreading of Romans 13) is also a distorted picture. What fits the first-century picture best is that Jesus has a problem with political authority in general. It simply isn't right for one human being to rule over another. (This was a result of sin in Gen 3:16). This is precisely what politics is — it is a license to initiate force against your neighbor. This ruling happens regardless of the political structure, whether it is through a chieftain, pharaoh, emperor, king, republic, democracy, parliament, or congress.... And this ruling/ruled relationship stays in place regardless if it is done in the name of 'the public good,' 'national security,' 'America first,' or anything else. The problem with all of this should be obvious: neighbors (even "enemies") are to be loved, not exploited by politicians.

"Christian libertarians also note that that Christ-event was the culmination of the entire history of Israel. And from the time of kingship to the Roman Empire, there is a constant critique of empire-building, nationalism, and power-grabs through politics. Gideon seemed like a good guy at first, but politics and the license to kill eventually corrupt him (Judges 6-8). David, despite being a man 'after God's own heart,' wasn't allowed to build the temple because he shed 'too much blood.' Solomon had a peaceful kingdom...until his bureaucracy grew out of control and split the kingdom (2 Chron 10-11). Of course, none of this should be a surprise: God had a problem with kingship to begin with (1 Sam 8).

"In contrast, the kingdom of God in Jesus didn't even involve violence in the name of some public good or great nation. It didn't involve coercion at all. Power itself is not something to pursue and selfishly wield, but rather give up and voluntarily distribute for the good of others (cf. Lk 22:25-26). In the end, Jesus died as an enemy of the state for 'perverting our nation and forbidding payment of taxes to Caesar' (Lk 23:2). What a testimony this is for today! The greatest empires in the world were threatened by someone who changed the status quo — not through armies and violence — but through peace and forgiveness. How could this be so threatening? Because no politician or dictator can do anything about it. All the world knows is laws and guns. So they did what they knew: made him illegal, and then killed him. (Ironically, the Romans even failed this.) The world was never the same again....

"So, the world should be alarmed: radical nonviolence is extremely disturbing. It disrupts the social order. It is political heresy to both liberals and conservatives. We're not allowed to just vote for some candidate and subcontract the gospel out to some up-and-coming 'Christian politician.' Instead, we actually have a responsibility as the church to restore the world with our own resources. A wild idea, indeed."

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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Stripper/activist Daniels arrested in police sting

Stormy Daniels Was Arrested Because of a Terrible Law That Threatens Free Expression - - Marc Randazza:

July 13, 2018 - "Earlier this week, Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who says she took hush money to stay quiet about an alleged 2006 affair with Donald Trump, was arrested for violating an Ohio statute that prohibits a stripper from allowing patrons to touch her if she is nude or semi-nude. The statute used against her is an example of how free expression can fall victim to zealous moralizers — and how almost any law aimed at free expression can be used to punish a political opponent....

"There's no escaping the conclusion that erotic dancing is a form of expression protected by the Bill of Rights....  [However, in]  Renton v. Playtime Theatres (1986) ... the Supreme Court said that the government can't restrict adult businesses because the government doesn't like the expression therein — but it can restrict them, using zoning regulations, because of harmful effects the businesses may cause....

"By the early 2000's, adult entertainment businesses that survived the zoning wars got hit with the 'proximity' rules. The expressed reason for these regulations was to discourage prostitution. However, anyone who has spent time in a strip club knows that you must get somewhat close to the dancer in order to tip them. Try putting a dollar in a g-string without some incidental contact. Further, some regulations went so far as to prohibit patrons from even getting near a stripper....

"Daniels was arrested under one of these laws after an extensive sting operation. Why did the State of Ohio devote a team of police officers and hours of taxpayer-funded overtime to an investigation, raid, and arrest of a woman for the grave crime of touching another person while semi-nude?

"Daniels ... is an outspoken political activist. And, it seems that she was targeted, in particular, due to her political activism. Otherwise, why was there a massive sting operation involving multiple vice detectives on that particular night, a tour Daniels had advertised well in advance? It sure wasn't because the City of Columbus was under siege by a rash of touchy strippers.

"And therein lies the deeper evil in any and all laws aimed at free expression. When you give law enforcement a tool that can be used to target someone who has unpopular views, they will use it....

"The case against Stormy was immediately dropped ... because the statute has a strange quirk wherein it does not apply to performers who do not 'regularly appear' at the particular strip club. Nevertheless, the damage is done. The law on the books restricts free expression — and now that there has been a high profile arrest, the chilling effect will be palpable."

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