Monday, November 11, 2019

Maine LP sues over membership disenrollment

Libertarians sue Maine, saying enrollment thresholds 'suppress competition' | WGME - Caitlin Andrews, Bangor Daily News:

November 7, 2019 - "The Libertarian Party of Maine is suing Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap in federal court over political party enrollment thresholds it says are impossible for new parties to maintain. State law requires new parties to enroll at least 5,000 members the year before a general election and to have at least 10,000 by the next general election.... Party members are unenrolled if that enrollment threshold isn’t met.

"The requirements are so burdensome that they 'severely burden the constitutional rights' of voters and prevent new political parties from gaining a foothold in the state, the Libertarians claim in a complaint filed Nov. 1....

'You can’t simply throw out one’s choice to belong to a political party,' said Jim Baines of Hampden, the Maine party chair and one of the plaintiffs, in a Wednesday press release. He went onto say the laws 'suppress competition' and prevent 'thousands of independent thinkers in Maine from considering a viable political option.'

"The party is asking the federal court to prevent Dunlap, a Democrat, from enforcing the state laws, allowing Libertarians to compete in state elections until the Legislature changes the law, according to the complaint....

"The state currently recognizes three political parties: Democrats, who have 347,281 voters Republicans, who have 287,045 voters and the Green Party, who have 43,507 voters, according to May registration data....

"The Libertarian Party ... gained official status in June of 2016 with 5,150 votes. The party lost its status by December 2018, when the party only had 6,168 voters. It has until Jan. 2 to get 5,000 enrollees, according to a Secretary of State press release.

"That deadline is too early for new parties to realistically meet, the Libertarian Party says, pointing to the financial and time commitment needed to enroll party members. Dunlap’s office declined comment on the lawsuit.

Rep. Justin Fecteau, R-Augusta, proposed a bill this year that would have cut the required enrollment numbers in half and put in place a 90-day warning period for party members if enrollment fell beneath that threshold before members were unenrolled, but the measure failed to pass the panel of legislative leaders that is able to approve bills for consideration in 2020."

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Gabbard's poll numbers rise after Clinton smear

Tulsi Gabbard got a boost following Hillary Clinton's attacks on her - CNNPolitics - Harry Enten:

November 7, 2019 - "Hawaii Rep.Tulsi Gabbard appeared poised to be one of the many forgotten 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. That was until former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton decided to call her out on David Plouffe's podcast. After Clinton's attack on Gabbard -- calling her 'favorite of the Russians' -- the Hawaii Democrat's poll numbers rose, earning her a place on the November debate stage.

"Before the Democratic debate on October 15, Gabbard looked like she was going to miss November's debate. Candidates needed to hit at least 3% in four qualifying polls. Gabbard had never hit that 3% mark in any qualifying poll this entire year. Then Clinton's remarks came on October 17.

"Following Clinton's podcast appearance, Gabbard got a qualifying poll from Suffolk University Iowa poll that was taken partially before Clinton's comments and partially after. She then reached 5% in a CNN/University of New Hampshire poll conducted the following week. Over that same period, Suffolk gave Gabbard another qualifying poll. Finally, she earned 3% in a Quinnipiac University poll from Iowa this past week. Four qualifying polls means Gabbard is in the November debate....

"It is, of course, difficult to say with certainty that Clinton's remarks caused Gabbard to rise, but it's difficult to escape the likelihood given the polling data.... Among those who debated in October, [Gabbard] ranked lowest for the percentage of Democratic primary voters who said they'd consider voting for her. Gabbard had the lowest favorable rating and worst net favorabilty (favorable - unfavorable) rating. She also had the highest jump in unfavorable ratings comparing Ipsos poll taken before and after the debate with the same respondents.

"Then in nearly perfect succession, Clinton spoke about Gabbard and Gabbard started hitting the debate threshold in qualifying polls.

"What Clinton may not have foreseen is that there are some Democratic primary voters who aren't fans of hers. In our CNN poll of likely New Hampshire Democratic primary, Gabbard got 2% among those who said they voted for Clinton in the 2016 general election. She only reached 5% overall thanks to scoring 10% of those who said they didn't vote for Clinton in the 2016 general election....

"Clinton has boosted Gabbard's profile, so that anti-Clinton voices within the Democratic electorate know to rally for Gabbard. So far, that's been enough for Gabbard to make at least one debate she likely wouldn't have made and get a platform for her message. Additionally, it's plausible that Gabbard makes December's debate. She already has two of the necessary qualifying polls for that debate. That's almost certainly thanks to Clinton."

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Saturday, November 9, 2019

Tax cuts not causing US trillion-dollar deficit

"Trump tax cuts hiked the deficit, now $1 trillion, so guess what Republicans want for 2020" - headline, USA Today, Nov. 7, 2019 

Reality Check: After Huge Tax Cuts, Revenues Increased. The Deficit is Spiking Because of Overspending. - Guy Benson, Townhall::

November 8, 2019 - "Many Republicans in Washington only seem to take deficit and debt issues seriously when they're out of power, turning in their fiscal hawk cards once their party is back in control. Many Democrats, meanwhile, only feign concern about deficits and debt in the context of opposing tax cuts. They'll back inexorably exploding federal spending to the hilt.... But when their opponents decide to let families, workers and businesses keep more of the money they earn, we're treated to lectures about fiscal prudence.

"The way the tale goes, the GOP-backed tax cuts are for 'the rich,' and they're blowing giant holes in the budget, depriving needy people of critical government services. This is anti-factual nonsense. The tax reform law passed in 2017 cut taxes for every income group of Americans, disproportionately benefiting the middle class....

 "We've written previously that the tax cuts are not responsible for the federal government's red ink, including a post about increased tax revenues, in spite of – or perhaps more accurately because of – the lower rates, which helped fuel a strong economy. We now have updated data, and the numbers speak for themselves:
Federal tax revenues rose during the 2019 fiscal year as the economy grew, but spending increased by over $200 billion more, which is why the country ended up running a deficit approaching $1 trillion, according to Congressional Budget Office data released Thursday.... Specifically, in the 2019 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, federal revenues increased by $133 billion (or 4%), but spending spiked by $339 billion (or 8%), driving up the deficit by $205 billion to $984 billion. Spending was driven by a $115 billion spike in the cost of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, an additional $52 billion in interest payments on the national debt, and a $48 billion spike in defense spending.
"[F]ederal tax revenues increased by four percent in 2019, reaching the highest level in American history. Republicans cut taxes (every single Democrat voted no), the economy grew, employment soared, and the federal government is now collecting more money in tax revenues than ever before.

"And yet, that same federal government is running a growing deficit.... Why? It's manifestly not because of the tax cuts. It's because Uncle Sam is spending way too much, with the top drivers of the debt being ... unsustainable and ballooning entitlement programs, and interest payments on the debt. This is basic stuff to people who pay attention to our worsening fiscal mess, but it's diametrically opposed to the rhetoric of leading Democrats."

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Friday, November 8, 2019

Svetov detained, searched over alleged child porn

Russian libertarian leader searched, interrogated in pedophilia case reportedly sparked by Instagram pictures — Meduza - Alexander Baklanov, translation by Hilah Kohen:

November 6, 209 - "On November 6, politician Mikhail Svetov’s home was searched. Svetov, a member of Russia’s unofficial but increasingly prominent Libertarian Party, was targeted in a new criminal case opened under Russia’s pedophilia statute. Novaya Gazeta broke the news of the search and acquired a copy of the warrant that listed its legal basis. Svetov himself has said he does not know what law he is suspected of breaking.

"Mikhail Biryukov, Svetov’s attorney, told Novaya Gazeta that the case against his client is based on a 2012 Instagram post.... Biryukov clarified that Svetov is currently listed as a witness in the case, but it is not uncommon in Russian jurisprudence for witnesses to be reclassified as suspects. Svetov said in an interview with the independent television channel Dozhd that the only object police seized in the search was a computer server....

"Following the search, Svetov was taken in for questioning ... at the Investigative Committee branch for Moscow’s Northwestern District. Svetov’s ex-girlfriend, Anastasia Starodubovskaya, also testified in the case, MBK Media reported. The former couple dated for several years, and Russian tabloids have previously pointed to a VKontakte profile that lists Starodubovskaya’s name and a birth year of 1995. 'This case was brought forward based on photographs that include her,' the libertarian politician said of his former partner.

"Svetov argued that police are targeting him for his political activity. 'This is a kind of attempt to put pressure on me so that I stop being involved in politics,' he told Dozhd. Svetov argued specifically that the case against him is a response to his recent 30-city lecture tour. 'In every city, I faced resistance from the police,' the politician said. Libertarian Party representatives also wrote that 'The Kremlin can’t forgive Mikhail a successful lecture tour, and it can’t forgive his principled stance or his unwillingness to become an opposition force that still fits in the Kremlin’s pocket.'

"In August, Russia’s censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, added Svetov’s old Instagram account to its registry of prohibited websites.... In 2012, Svetov used the page to post several photos of Anastasia Starodubovskaya; her age at the time remains unverified. Roskomnadzor has asked Instagram to delete the account entirely, but the social network’s administrators have not complied....  "

"Svetov is one of the Russian Libertarian Party’s best-known members. He joined the group in 2010. In the summer of 2019, the party served as the official organizing group for multiple permitted election protests that became known as Russia’s largest opposition events in the last several years. In July, Svetov was jailed for 30 days for his alleged involvement in illegal protests. On November 3, the politician announced that he was stepping down from the Libertarian Party’s federal board to pursue other projects but assured his followers that he remained a member of the party."

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Hornberger enters Libertarian POTUS race (video)

Candidates Vie to Represent the Libertarian Wing of the Libertarian Party – - Matt Welch:

November 7, 2019- "[T]his past weekend at the South Carolina Libertarian Party state convention ... Jacob Hornberger, the 69-year-old founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation, formally announced his candidacy for president, immediately becoming one of the most well-known of the dozen or so names working actively to take the baton from two-time nominee Gary Johnson....

"Hornberger, the third-place finisher in the 2000 Libertarian presidential race, portrays his candidacy as a way for the party to return to principle, an implicit critique of nominating former Republican elected officials in the past three cycles.... Hornberger, notably, is a longtime antiwar activist."

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

New York City adopts ranked-choice voting

Ranked-Choice Voting, Once Seen as a Novelty, Gains Ground Nationally | Fortune - Mike Hofman:

November 6, 2019 - "Voters in New York City have revised the city charter to adopt ranked-choice voting, a new way of deciding who has won an election that is steadily gaining in popularity across the country....

"Ranked-choice voting allows voters to select a favorite candidate, and then a second-favorite candidate, and so on. In New York City, the plan calls for allowing residents to rank their top five choices. If no candidate achieves a majority of the vote after the first round of counting, first-place votes for candidates at the bottom of the heap are set aside and those voters’ second-place votes are distributed among the top candidates, and so on, until a candidate achieves a majority....

"[T]he system reduces the need for arduous runoff elections, and ... it is particularly well-suited for municipal elections in which a diverse, multi-candidate field — often from within a single political party — results in a narrow win for a candidate with a strong base of support in, say, a particular neighborhood, but sometimes little appeal beyond that base....

“'First across the post' races also create weird, specific tensions with third-party options. On the one hand, a third-party candidate who has a passionate following nevertheless has a hard time breaking through because some group of voters will opt for a less dynamic but more 'electable' candidate — the lesser-of-two-evils approach to democracy that can feel so demoralizing. On the other hand, a third-party campaign can be used as a spoiler in a tight race, taking just enough votes away from a candidate whose views are broadly preferred by a slim majority of the electorate.

"In the close Kentucky governor’s race, for example, a third-party Libertarian Party candidate won 28,000 votes, about 23,000 votes more than the apparent, 5,000-vote margin of victory of Democrat Andy Beshear over Republican Matt Bevin. It’s impossible to know which alternative those Libertarian voters would have picked as a second choice, but it is well within the realm of possibility that they would have given Bevin the slim margin he needed to win a second term....

"New York City joins 20 other cities nationwide in adopting ranked-choice voting—many of them liberal bastions such as San Francisco, Berkley, and Oakland, Calif.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.; and Cambridge, Mass.

"Maine is also a laboratory for ranked-choice voting, having implemented it by voter initiative in 2016 for federal elections. Last year, the state’s hotly-contested second congressional district provided a test case in ranked-choice voting outcomes. The incumbent Republican congressman, Bruce Poliquin ... filed a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of ranked-choice voting, ... asking the courts to order a do-over race. A federal judge who had been appointed to the bench by President Trump flatly rejected Poliquin’s argument and call for a new election."

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Russian Libertarian Party leader resigns

Rising Russian political star leaves Libertarian Party leadership — Meduza:

November 4, 2019 - "Mikhail Svetov, who has become the public face of Russia’s Libertarian Party in recent months, has announced his departure from the party’s federal board. 'I’ve stepped down from my position on the federal committee of the LPR [Libertarian Party of Russia],' Svetov tweeted, adding, 'I haven’t left the party, don’t worry ^_^ But I’ll be taking a break to work on my book and other projects.'

"While the Libertarian Party is not officially registered as a political party in Russia, it still served as the central organizing body for the wave of opposition protests that swept Moscow in the summer of 2019. At one point, Svetov was jailed after he led negotiations with Moscow City Hall in an attempt to obtain a permit for one of the protests. His rise to public recognition has accompanied a new wave of interest in libertarianism in the former Soviet Union."
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