Thursday, December 14, 2017

Volokh blog moves from Post to Reason

Inside the Beltway: Legal blog departs Washington Post for libertarian publication - Washington Times - Jennifer Harper:

December 13, 2017 - "An influential Washington Post blogger has bid farewell to that news organization. The Volokh Conspiracy — a legal and policy blog launched 15 years ago by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh — has moved to Reason Magazine, published by the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation, a bastion of libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets and the rule of law....

"Volokh — whose has two dozen law professors and attorneys on his vibrant team — describes the contributors as 'libertarian, conservative, centrist, or some mixture of these.' He also says he was concerned by the Post’s ever-tightening paywall and said that he wanted to assert the blog’s editorial independence — 'making sure that we can write what we want, in the way that we think is right....

"'We especially value our loyal, longtime readers, who are particularly likely to trust and enjoy our work. And it’s important to us that law students, college students, young lawyers, and others have free, easy access to the analysis and discussion on our site. Moving to Reason lets us do these things, while still partnering with a respected media organization that we have long admired'....

"'In an era of hyper-partisanship and tribal politics, The Volokh Conspiracy’s commitment to intellectual honesty and rational discourse has never been more essential or important. Eugene and the blog’s contributors have shaped national conversations on key policy areas and changed the way Supreme Court cases and legal issues are framed and discussed precisely because they engage ideas and opponents fairly, openly, and factually,' notes Nick Gillespie, editor-in-chief of, who vows to provide 'the openness and independence the blog needs to thrive and expand its impressive influence.'"

Find the legal eagles’ new nest at"

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Canada to repeal discriminatory anal sex ban

Canada to repeal discriminatory anal sex ban | The Independent - Charlotte England:

November 16, 2016 - "Anal sex is to be decriminalised in Canada.

"The country's centre-left Liberal government has said it intends to repeal Section 159 of the criminal code, which states that every person who engages in an act of anal intercourse is guilty of an 'indictable offence' and 'liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years'.

"Exceptions are made in the law for heterosexual married couples and for any two people over the age of 18 who both consent to the act. However anal sex is illegal for 16 and 17 year olds, in public places, and if more than two people 'take part or are present'.

"LGBT rights activists say the law is discriminatory because the legal age of consent for anal sex differs from the age of consent for almost all other forms of sex.

"People in Canada can legally have vaginal and oral sex when they are 16, as long as this does not involve prostitution or pornography, and the sex act does not occur 'in a relationship of authority, trust or dependency,' such as with a teacher or coach.

"Section 159 has been ruled unconstitutional by several different courts in cases spanning three decades. In the 1990s, Ontario’s Court of Appeal said the law violated Section 15 of the Canadian Charter by discriminating on the basis of age. Appellate courts in Quebec, Alberta, B.C. and Nova Scotia, and at the federal level, followed suit.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Libertarian chair declares for Phoenix mayor

Libertarian Party Chairman Nicholas Sarwark Is Running For Mayor of Phoenix - The Jack News - Andy Craig:

December 11, 2017 - "Nicholas Sarwark, the chairman of the national Libertarian Party, has thrown his hat into the ring for mayor of Phoenix, America’s fifth-largest city. On Tuesday, Sarwark filed his paperwork with the city clerk’s office, and posted a video explaining why he’s seeking public office for the first time.

"Nicholas Sarwark, the chairman of the national Libertarian Party, has thrown his hat into the ring for mayor of Phoenix, America’s fifth-largest city. On Tuesday, Sarwark filed his paperwork with the city clerk’s office, and posted a video explaining why he’s seeking public office for the first time.

"The incumbent mayor, Greg Stanton, has announced that he is running for Congress as a Democrat in the 2018 elections. Under Arizona’s 'resign to run' law ... he must resign his current office no later than May 30. The timing of the special election, which is officially nonpartisan, will be determined by exactly when Stanton resigns....

"Sarwark is best-known to Libertarians as the party’s national chairman, including presiding over the convention last year in Orlando that nominated Govs. Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. Sarwark was first elected to the position in 2014, and was re-elected in a landslide in 2016.

"He is also an attorney, who worked for several years as a public defender, and the third-generation owner of Sarwark Consolidated Auto Sales, the largest and oldest independent car dealership in Phoenix.... A substantial chunk of the city’s population has done business with Sarwark, and everyone else has at least seen the ads featuring his memorable and unique surname....

"It’s an uphill fight, but Sarwark is putting together a team to take a serious run at it, bringing in both Libertarian and nonpartisan talent. As the national party chair, Sarwark has also developed a personal relationship with major donors, some of whom may now support his campaign.

"Because it’s a nonpartisan race, party labels won’t appear on the ballot, and both Democrats will face Sarwark in the general election. If no candidate wins outright with over 50% of the vote, a runoff election will be held between the top-two vote-getters."

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Monday, December 11, 2017

BC Libertarian in Kelowna West byelection

B.C. Libertarian candidate running in Kelowna West byelection - InfoNews:

December 9, 2017 - "A fourth candidate has thrown his hat into the ring in the upcoming byelection in Kelowna West riding. Kyle Geronazzo is running for the B.C. Libertarian Party.

"Geronazzo says he decided to run for the Libertarian Party because he doesn’t think the province’s two big parties have the interests of the people at heart.

"'They want you to help them help themselves, whereas I want to help you help yourself,” he says in a video posted to his Facebook page....

"'I pin myself as a family man at hear and believe that giving the next generation more choices in their economic freedoms is the key to creating a more prosperous future for us all,” he says....

"The byelection in Kelowna West was called following the resignation of former Premier and B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark after her government lost a confidence vote weeks after the general election."

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Libertarian land reform in South Africa

Restoring Property Rights to Generational Apartheid Victims - Atlas Network:

"Maria Mothupi held the official deed to her land for the first time.... Until she was 99 years old, she had never experienced living in her own home or in a home legally owned by her family, because she was only two years old when the 1913 Land Act banned land ownership by black people in South Africa — a law that continues to have consequences today, despite its repeal more than two decades ago....

"This unlikely happy chapter toward the end of a hard life came about thanks to the Free Market Foundation (FMF) of South Africa’s Khaya Lam (My House) Land Reform project. FMF’s pilot project focused on the Ngwathe municipal area of the Free State province, where FMF Director Eustace Davie estimates that there are about 20,000 houses for which the ownership rights have not been documented and registered.

"The Khaya Lam project has already provided resources to carry out the conversion of some of these properties — out of an estimated 5 to 7 million that are eligible countrywide — to freehold title ownership.... Progress, however, has been slow.... Distrust, ambiguity, and prohibitive costs have all worked together to prevent a more rapid transfer of otherwise available titles. Through bulk processing and other cost reduction measures, FMF has reduced the cost from about $378 to $122 per title deed.

"The major purpose of the Ngwathe pilot project was to determine the most rapid and cost-efficient method of registering the rights of the homeowners and placing them in possession of title deeds that prove their rights and enable them to trade with their property legally, in any way they please.... More than 800 of the Ngwathe houses had either already been converted or were in the process of being converted by the end of October 2015, and by January 2016 FMF had 300 conversions sponsored in Cape Town and another 60 in the town of Grabouw.

"'Our task is to make everyone in the country aware of how the country will change for the better if we can extinguish the effects of one of the greatest crimes of apartheid: depriving black South Africans of property rights for 78 years,' Davie said. 'Calls for information are coming in from all over the country'....

"FMF is one of Atlas Network’s more-than-450 global partners working to restore and strengthen property rights.... Liberty Institute in New Delhi, India ... developed an innovative project that provides villagers with GPS devices and satellite mapping technology in order to prove their farming claims to the government and establish legal title to their own ancestral lands..... [I]in Honduras, where some believe uncertainty in property rights accounts for as much as 4 percent of their prohibitive loan interest rates, Atlas Network partner Fundación Eléutera has worked during the past year to help government leaders transform an ongoing and costly land titling digitalization effort by using blockchain technology....

"By protecting property rights, FMF through its Khaya Lam land titling project and these other projects by Atlas Network partners all strengthen individual liberty and prosperity."

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Capitalism was built on ideas, not capital

The Great Enrichment Was Built on Ideas, Not Capital - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world - Deirdre N. McCloskey:

November 22, 2017 - "The ... modern world was made not by material causes, such as coal or thrift or capital or exports or exploitation or imperialism or good property rights or even good science, all of which have been widespread in other cultures and other times. It was made by ideas from and about the bourgeoisie — by an explosion after 1800 in technical ideas and a few institutional concepts, backed by a massive ideological shift toward market-tested betterment, on a large scale at first peculiar to northwestern Europe.

"What made us rich are the ideas backing the system — usually but misleadingly called modern 'capitalism' — in place since the year of European political revolutions, 1848. We should call the system  'trade-tested progress.' Or maybe 'innovationism'?...

"The upshot of the new ideas has been a gigantic improvement since 1848 for the poor.
The greatly enriched world cannot be explained in any deep way by the accumulation of capital, despite what economists from the blessed Adam Smith through Karl Marx to Thomas Piketty have believed, and as the very word 'capitalism' seems to imply. The word embodies a scientific mistake.

"Our riches did not come from piling brick on brick, or bachelor’s degree on bachelor’s degree, or bank balance on bank balance, but from piling idea on idea. The bricks, B.A.s, and bank balances — the 'capital' accumulations — were of course necessary. But ... [s]uch materialist ways and means are too common in world history and, as explanation, too feeble....

"The bettering ideas arose in northwestern Europe from a novel liberty and dignity that was slowly extended to all commoners (though admittedly we are still working on the project), among them the bourgeoisie. The new liberty and dignity resulted in a startling revaluation by the society as a whole of the trading and betterment in which the bourgeoisie specialized. 

"The revaluation was derived not from some ancient superiority of the Europeans but from egalitarian accidents in their politics between Luther’s Reformation in 1517 and the American Constitution and the French Revolution in 1789. The Leveller Richard Rumbold, facing his execution in 1685, declared, 'I am sure there was no man born marked of God above another; for none comes into the world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him.' Few in the crowd gathered to mock him would have agreed. A century later, many would have. By now, almost everyone.

"Along with the new equality came another leveling idea, countering the rule of aristocrat or central planner: a 'Bourgeois Deal.' In the first act, let a bourgeoise try out in the marketplace her proposed betterment, such as window screens or alternating-current electricity or the little black dress.... [C]ompetitors will imitate her success, driving down the price of screens, electricity, and dresses. But if the society lets her in the first act have a go, enriching her for a while, then, by the third act, the payoff from the deal is that she will make you all rich....

 "In other words, what mattered were two levels of ideas: the ideas for the betterments themselves (the electric motor, the airplane, the stock market), dreamed up in the heads of the new entrepreneurs drawn from the ranks of ordinary people; and the ideas in the society at large about such people and their betterments — in a word, liberalism, in all but the modern American sense."

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Musician gets back $91K seized via civil forfeiture

Wyoming police took an innocent man's $91,800. After a Vox report, he will get it back. - Vox - German Lopez:

December 1, 2017 - "Phil Parhamovich is getting his $91,800 in cash back — just hours after Vox broke the story of how the Wyoming Highway Patrol seized the money without charging him with a serious crime....

"Parhamovich was stopped in March this year while traveling on the I-80 in Wyoming during a concert tour with his band, the Dirt Brothers. Parhamovich, who has no criminal record, was not accused of or charged with a serious crime; he only got a $25 ticket for improperly wearing his seat belt and a warning for 'lane use.'

"But Wyoming law enforcement officers found and eventually seized the $91,800 in cash, as it was hidden in a speaker cabinet — by getting Parhamovich, under what he claims was duress, to sign away his interest in the money through a waiver. According to Parhamovich, police pushed him to sign the waiver after he said the money was not his, following aggressive questioning that he said made him fear that carrying that much cash is illegal. (It is not.)

"Parhamovich intends to use the money as a down payment to buy a music studio in Madison, Wisconsin, called Smart Studios, where Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins recorded songs. Without the cash, Parhamovich was worried that the deal for the studio could fall through after a nine-month lease expired. But now he’s able to move forward with closing the deal.

"Parhamovich and Anya Bidwell, one of his attorneys with the Institute for Justice, showed up at a Friday court hearing not quite sure what to expect. They were met by legislators from Wyoming, who had read Vox’s story and reached out to the Institute for Justice to see what they could do to help. According to Bidwell and one of the state legislators who was present, the judge agreed that if Parhamovich was willing to testify that the money was his, he would order the state to give the money back. When Parhamovich agreed to that, the judge ruled in his favor....

"Parhamovich’s case was unique in that police seemed to bypass civil forfeiture law — including reforms enacted by Wyoming in 2016 — by getting him to sign a waiver that supposedly gave up his interest in the cash. Despite the waiver, the state will now be forced to give Parhamovich his money back....

"While Parhamovich and his attorneys were celebratory following the judge’s decision on Friday, Bidwell offered a cautionary note.

"'Not everybody can find the Institute for Justice, and not everyone can just raise hell about this kind of stuff,' she told me. 'So even though today’s hearing was very successful, it still doesn’t remedy the bigger issue. Civil forfeiture is still a problem. They shouldn’t be able to take anybody’s property without accusing them of a crime.'"

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