Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Parliament passes cannabis legalization — but ...

Canadians can't light up yet, justice minister warns after 'historic' bill to legalize pot passes | CBC News - John Paul Tasker & Kathleen Harris:

June 20, 2018 - "The Senate has passed a contentious bill to legalize pot — but Canadians won't be allowed to legally light up for several weeks yet, to give provinces time to set up a retail regime, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould warned today.

"Last night, senators passed C-45, the federal government's bill to legalize recreational marijuana, with a 52-29 vote and two abstentions.

"The bill stipulates the law does not come into force until a date is fixed by an order of the governor-in-council — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet. The government has long said there will be a buffer of eight to 12 weeks between the bill's passage and full legalization....

"'Cannabis for non-medical use is not legal yet. The law still remains the law," Wilson-Raybould said during a news conference on Parliament Hill. 'The date that cannabis will become legal will be announced soon. Until then, I urge all Canadians to continue to follow the existing law until the Cannabis Act comes into force'....

"The government initially floated July 1 as the date for retail sales to begin but the timeline was pushed back as senators debated the bill at length. Under the current timeline, legalization is most likely to occur sometime in September.

"Until the bill receives royal assent — the last procedural step of the legislative process — it will be illegal to transport cannabis....

"When asked Wednesday if the government was considering pardons for Canadians convicted of marijuana-related offences, Wilson-Raybould said such a question was 'premature.'

'I think, as has already been stated, the law remains in effect until it's repealed and replaced through Bill [C-45] and quite frankly any discussion of those records can't take place until that process is complete,' she said....

"Quebec, Manitoba and Nunavut want to ban home cultivation. Today, Wilson-Raybould said the bill provides a 'framework' and that it's not the federal government's intention to challenge provincial laws. She noted that a resident could challenge any province that moves to ban home-growing, though."

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

NH Libertarians get 1st primary in 20 years

Aaron Day files for governor, setting up Libertarian Party primary with Jilletta Jarvis - John DiStaso, WMUR:

June 15, 2018 - "The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire has a gubernatorial primary campaign. And party officials are pleased because, they say, it will raise the profile of the low-tax, small government-minded party in the Granite State.

"Aaron Day of Bedford, former chair of the Free State Project and the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, filed his candidacy for governor Friday, setting up a primary with Sandown businesswoman Jilletta Jarvis, who filed last week. The winner of the Sept. 11 primary will be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot....

"The Libertarian Party this year has major party status and will have a spot on the ballot for the first time since 1996, said Secretary of State William Gardner.... Gardner said the Libertarian Party had primaries for governor in three elections in the 1990s....

"The LPNH is back on the ballot in 2018 because in 2016, its candidate for governor, Max Abramson, received 31,243 votes, which was 4.3 percent of the general election vote, more than the 4 percent required threshold....

"In the primary, undeclared voters are free to take a ballot of the party of their choosing and then may, if they wish, change their registrations back to undeclared....

"Day, a longtime conservative activist in the state, ran as an independent for the U.S. Senate in 2016 and, many believe, spoiled Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s bid for re-election by receiving 17,742 votes.... But that was then. 'This time it’s completely different,' Day said Friday ... 'I’m actually running this time,' he said, adding, 'I no longer believe in the Republican Party'....

"Jarvis, who also is running a serious campaign complete with a website and a media staffer, welcomed the notion of having a primary competitor. 'I actually think it’s a good thing to have a primary because more people will take notice,” she said....

"As of Thursday evening, Libertarian candidates had also filed in both of the state’s congressional districts, three of the five Executive Council districts and two state Senate districts. Also filing were 13 Libertarian candidates for the New Hampshire House."

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Taiwan's top court legalized same sex marriage

Lawmaker says same-sex marriage ruling ‘liberating’ for Taiwan | South China Morning Post:

June 13, 2018 - "Being the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage was a big step towards creating a 'broad-minded' society, a Taiwanese legislator said, referring to a ruling last year by the island’s justice system that guaranteed the right under Taiwan’s constitution. People have recognised 'the diversity of Taiwanese society' in the process of discussing the issue of same-sex marriage, 'and they have become aware of disadvantages sexual minorities face,' Yu Mei-nu said in a recent interview with Kyodo News in Tokyo.

"Her comments came after the Council of Grand Justices ruled in May last year that a provision in the civil code, which stipulates marriage is the legal union between a man and a woman, was unconstitutional, making Taiwan the first Asian jurisdiction to allow same-sex marriage.

"Yu, from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, has greatly contributed to pushing forward the moves by stirring debates over the issue and submitting bills to parliament...
She visited Japan to share the experience at a symposium organised by the Japan Association for Taiwanese Studies....

"Commenting on the moves in Taiwan, Ken Suzuki, a Meiji University professor of Chinese and Taiwanese laws, said: 'They indicate that changes in education could change a society in 10 years.' Suzuki, who was also present for the interview, was hopeful that Japan would follow the Taiwanese path to legalisation of same-sex marriage.

"Some Japanese municipalities, including Sapporo, Naha as well as Shibuya and Setagaya wards in Tokyo, have recognised same-sex partnerships.... Suzuki himself has been involved in a campaign to legalise same-sex marriage at the state level, arguing that excluding same-sex couples from the legal marriage framework constitutes discrimination against LGBTs....

"Among the Group of Seven industrialised nations, only Japan has not yet introduced a same-sex marriage or same-sex partnership system at the state level....

"In Taiwan, authorities concerned are required to amend or enact relevant laws within two years in accordance with the 2017 ruling of the court interpretation."

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Libertarians rediscover their principles, on eBay

Libertarian Party rescues its original founding document from eBay - Washington Times - Jennifer Harper:

May 22, 2018 - "[T]he national Libertarian Party ... has reclaimed its most important founding document.

"Libertarian National chairman Nicholas Sarwark reports that the original 'Statement of Principles' — typewritten on plain paper by early member John Hospers at the party’s first convention — has surfaced in an unlikely place.

"'The existence of this original document was unknown until it turned up on an eBay listing, was purchased by a Libertarian Party member, and then donated to the Party,' Mr. Sarwark said.

"The seller said that her parents were early activists in the California Libertarian Party, and as she was disposing of their estate she found this document hidden behind a framed, photocopy picture of Ayn Rand, where it has likely been for decades,' he explained.

"The simple document has since been properly framed and will be on display at the 2018 Libertarian National Convention in New Orleans next month, then returned to the party’s headquarters just outside the nation’s capital."

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Why the "Intellectual Dark Web" exists

Why the Intellectual Dark Web Had to Go Dark - Foundation for Economic Education - Tyler Brandt:

June 14, 2018 - "Recently, The New York Times ran an exposé on the “Intellectual Dark Web.” The piece profiles all the heavy hitters of the movement: Jordan B. Peterson, Bret Weinstein, Joe Rogan, Dave Rubin, and Sam Harris.... The piece characterizes the Intellectual Dark Web as a shadowy underground of renegade iconoclasts who dare to challenge the orthodoxies of academia and the media [but] glosses over the reason why these thinkers have been ostracized....

"Peterson rose to fame when he controversially criticized a 'humanitarian' bill legally mandating the use of certain pronouns. Bret Weinstein, who happens to be a progressive, was ejected from Evergreen State because he refused to bow to illiberal students calling for a no whites allowed 'day of absence.' Sam Harris rose to popularity after being called gross and offensive by Ben Affleck for criticizing Islamism. After The Young Turks had Sam Harris on their show and Dave Rubin saw how hostile and irrational the host was, Rubin left his job and started The Rubin Report, a show founded on open dialogue.

"What these individuals have in common is that, in the pursuit of truth and free expression, they offended arbiters of politically correct opinion. These thinkers are the new heretics who challenge the religious convictions of society and they are excommunicated in the same way that those who went against the church once were....

"We are selectively choosing which arguments are ok to make by a cabal of politically correct youth, who claim to stand for the oppressed. The world of truth is too dangerous for these vulnerable persons, so we must bubble wrap knowledge as to not harm their sensibilities, so the logic goes. Well, in bubble wrapping the world, we disguise its reality, and that is a surefire way to cause catastrophe. We can’t put blinders on certain corners of the world and expect to come out with a proper understanding of how it functions.

"We can’t select the truth based on offensiveness.... Offense is subjective by nature and largely determined by individual temperament. A claim of subjective emotion can hardly be invalidated. This means that scientific hypotheses are being rejected on claims of subjective emotion instead of meticulous checking....

"We have started concentrating the power of who determines truth in the hands of educational administrators, politicians, and bureaucracies. What we have lost is a dialogue between intellectual community members about what the truth is. When not able to satisfy that need in public institutions, many great thinkers have taken their thoughts to the internet....

"The Intellectual Dark Web exists because many still venerate objective truth. With the rules of truth-proving being rewritten by our institutions, many expelled thinkers continue their pursuit online. It’s a blessing for those who want to have discussions on evolutionary biology, religion, culture, economics, and politics, without any toxic ideology polluting the outlet."

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Wisconsin governor signs civil forfeiture reform

News - Wisconsin Enacts Sweeping Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform | Heartland Institute - Owen Macaulay:

June 11, 2018 - "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill  protecting residents’ constitutional rights to property and due process. Senate Bill 61 (S.B. 61), sponsored by state Sen. David Craig (R-Town of Vernon), sets new requirements for law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in using civil asset forfeiture to take ownership of individuals’ seized assets or property.

"In most cases, police or prosecutors now must obtain a criminal conviction before property held by individuals accused of committing a crime can be forfeited. The law went into effect on April 5.

"Lindsey Stroud, state government relations manager for The Heartland Institute ... says many law enforcement agencies have routinely abused the civil asset forfeiture process. 'It’s a problem because, in a lot of these states, if you’re an innocent person, your property can be taken away from you,' Stroud said. 'A lot of these laws allow the law enforcement agencies to retain what they take'....

"Craig says the bill he introduced, now known as Act 211, ... 'requires a criminal conviction prior to forfeiture of property with some limited exceptions, preserving the fundamental notion that one is innocent until proven guilty.... Additionally, the legislation requires that forfeiture be proportional to the offence, that innocent owners are protected, forfeiture actions are properly reported and transparent, and divests the monetary incentives for departments to pursue forfeitures.'

"Stroud says civil asset forfeiture can harm innocent individuals.... 'In one case, a woman went to bail her son out,' Stroud said. 'They took a drug-sniffing dog, sniffed her money, and they seized it. Studies show that 90 percent of bills have traces of drugs on them. She was eventually able to prove she got the money legally'....

"'Frankly, civil asset forfeiture affects every American,' Craig said. “The mere fact that Wisconsin law allowed private property to be forfeited to the government without conviction was a glaring violation of the Constitution.... All citizens should care when their liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights are threatened by an overzealous government,' Craig said. 'These abusive policies could someday be used against you, despite no wrongdoing on your part.'"

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

SCOTUS dodges cake issue in ruling for baker

The Supreme Court's unexpected wedding cake verdict - Chicago Tribune - editorial:

June 4, 2018 - "In ruling for a Colorado baker who cited his religious objections in refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t decide the interesting question at the heart of the case: whether civil rights laws override such objections. The justices did not decide the issue everyone expected them to decide. But the decision they reached was nonetheless important and sensible.

"The two men who went to Masterpiece Cakeshop in 2012 to order a cake for their ceremony — despite a state law barring same-sex marriage — were surprised by the owner’s refusal. They filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission arguing that the owner, Jack Phillips, had violated the state law forbidding discrimination by businesses on the basis of sexual orientation....

"The Civil Rights Commission ruled that he had violated the law, a decision upheld by a Colorado appeals court. But on Monday, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 to strike it down — not because of the conclusion the CCRC reached but because of how it addressed Phillips’ objections.

"One commission member, the court noted, accused Phillips of 'despicable' claims, using his 'religion to hurt others' in the same way defenders of slavery once did. Another said he should put aside his religious beliefs 'if he decides to do business in the state'....

"The justices concluded that the commission’s handling of the dispute 'has elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his objection.' And that animus conflicts with the state’s obligation to act in a fair and neutral way on religious matters.

"This decision does not mean bakers can refuse to make wedding cakes for same-sex unions — or that they can’t. It leaves that question to the future.... 'The Supreme Court' ... noted Northwestern University law professor Andrew Koppelman “... said nothing that will prevent a new panel from ruling against the baker, as is the likely result under Colorado law.'

"But the court upheld a vital principle.... A government body can’t skew its treatment according to whether it likes a particular religious group or belief."

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