Thursday, April 26, 2018

Paul's Pompeo flipflop shows weakness of GOP "political libertarianism"

Rand Paul's Mike Pompeo Flip Flop: Don't Blame Him | National Review - Michael Brendan Dougherty:

April 25, 2018 - "Rand Paul’s vote was needed to confirm Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, and his refusal to give it was making some Republicans and conservatives upset.... For Paul and his most fervent supporters, ... Pompeo was far too hawkish. But on Monday, the junior senator from Kentucky relented. 'Rand Paul Caves' read one headline. 'Rand Paul’s Pompeo switch pleases Trump, angers libertarian base' said another.

"The focus, in other words, was squarely on Paul’s repeated failure to shift the Republican party’s foreign-policy orientation.... I agree with Paul’s project of calling the party to a less interventionist foreign policy. But doing so requires a very hard-headed acceptance of the limits of one senator’s power and of the political landscape.

"The Republican party and the conservative movement have shown a capacity to tolerate .... attention-getting 'stands' on principle ... only so long as such stands are not seen as aiding the Democrats in their drive to obstruct the Trump administration.... Trump seems to have the same qualified tolerance..... He lets others maintain their brands, so long as they don’t do so at the expense of his own. 'Rand Paul is a very special guy as far as I’m concerned,' he said when asked about the Pompeo fight. 'He’s never let me down.'

"The promises given to Paul don’t amount to much, but they do allow him to reconcile himself to Pompeo’s nomination while saving face. Paul can say he called the public’s and the White House’s attention back to Trump’s campaign promises and to the small but influential non-interventionist part of the president’s political base.

"It’s about as much as you can ask of a senator who constitutes a one-man faction. And it’s as much as you can expect of a senator on foreign policy, when Congress has ceded so much foreign- and military-policy authority to the executive branch.

"Ultimately, Paul is a 'political libertarian' in a way that we haven’t seen before.... But a 'political libertarian' is inevitably going to disappoint those of his supporters who want a politician to embody their beliefs in a way calculated not to change government policy and our political culture, but to perpetually and clearly condemn it.

"Realists, libertarians, and non-interventionists can continue to question whether the compromises Paul is making are worth it. But that he has to make them should be beyond dispute by now."

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

U.S. Democrats hopping aboard cannabis train

Potential Democratic 2020 contenders are rushing to back marijuana legalization - CNNPolitics - Dan Merica:

April 20, 2018 - "In a significant political shift, several top Democrats considered to be possible contenders in the 2020 presidential race are backing legislation that would decriminalize marijuana....

"The latest signal came when Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 2016 Democratic candidate who is widely considered a top contender for the nomination in 2020, signed onto The Marijuana Justice Act on Thursday. The bill, proposed by Sen. Cory Booker, himself a 2020 contender, would effectively end the federal crackdown on marijuana by removing the drug from the Controlled Substances Act. It was also backed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, another possible 2020 hopeful....

"The shift comes amid recent movement by the Trump administration on the issue. President Donald Trump recently agreed to support protecting states that have legalized marijuana, after being pressured by Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican....

"Both Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, two other potential candidates for the 2020 Democratic nomination, have defended the successful efforts to legalize marijuana in their respective states. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said earlier this year that she is planning to introduce legislation that protects states that have legalized marijuana from a possible crackdown. And Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has already started to make trips out to early presidential primary and caucus states, helped implement the plan to legalize marijuana in California, making his city [the] largest in the United States selling legal pot.

"The political shift from Democratic leaders has tracked with polling, too. According to a Pew Research Center poll released earlier this year, 61% of Americans believe marijuana should be legal, more than double the 31% who supported legalization in 2000. The support from Democrats (69%) is even more overwhelming.

"Skyler McKinley, the founding deputy director of Hickenlooper's Office of Marijuana Coordination, said that while the Democratic shift is good policy, it is also good politics.

"'Especially on the Democratic side,' McKinley said, 'I don't think anyone who wants to continue the drug war on marijuana is going to be the nominee.'"

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

First Libertarian primary for governor in Michigan

Michigan's first-ever Libertarian gubernatorial primary has a new contender | News Hits - Lee DeVito, Metro-Times:

April 20, 2018 - "The race for Michigan's first-ever Libertarian gubernatorial primary is heating up.

"On Thursday, candidate John Tatar filed his campaign's petition signatures for the primary, becoming the second candidate to officially join the gubernatorial Libertarian race. It's the first time in Michigan's history that a party beyond the Democrats and Republicans will host a contested gubernatorial primary election. The Libertarian Party primary will be held alongside the Democrat and Republican primaries on Aug. 7.

"Tatar follows Grand Rapids businessman Bill Gelineau, who filed his petition signatures last month ahead of the April 24 deadline. According to a press release from the Libertarian Party of Michigan, Tatar filed 18,521 signatures to the Bureau of Elections, while Gelineau delivered 21,187 signatures. Candidates need 15,000 valid signatures to qualify....

"Tatar wants to end gerrymandering, which he says 'provide[s] an unfair advantage between the parties and [...] eliminates a true voice of the people.' He also calls for auto insurance reform, pledging to eliminate mandatory no-fault insurance and unlink auto insurance from credit reports and residence. One of Tatar's more interesting proposals calls for eliminating the Michigan Senate....

"Michigan will host a Libertarian primary this year because of the party's strong polling numbers in the 2016 presidential election, where Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson earned 172,136 votes, or 3.6 percent, surpassing the 154,040-vote threshold necessary for his party to participate in the 2018 primary."

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Oklahoma LP transgender exec makes history

Oklahoma Transgender Student Elected in Libertarian Party | Oklahoma News | US News - Joy Hampton, Norman Transcript, Associated Press:

April 23, 2018 - "University of Oklahoma student Traci Baker is only 20 years old, but she was recently elected as state secretary of the Libertarian Party ... the first transgender official of any party in state history, as well as the first transgender executive of a state party in the U.S.

 "Baker grew up in Edmond [Oklahoma] and was interested in politics early on. 'I was inspired by the Ron Paul campaign in 2012, and that's what got me into Libertarianism,' she said. 'I was in high school when I did debate, and then I was in Youth in Government in the YMCA program. That's also when I started doing my first campaign.'

"Baker graduated from Edmond Memorial High School in 2016 and moved to Norman to attend OU. 'I came out as transgender pretty much immediately upon moving to Norman," Baker said.... I'm on campus a lot, and campus is pretty supportive'....

 "With federal, state and county filings coming up, Baker has been busy with party responsibilities.

 "'We've got three great candidates for governor and a candidate for state auditor, which Democrats don't have. So, that's pretty cool,' she said. 'We have some candidates for House and Senate seats, as well as a few running for Congress'....

"'I will continue to be the candidate liaison for the party,' Baker said. 'I equip them with the resources that they need to run and interact with them to make sure they know how to file for office.'

"She also works with candidates on campaign finance ethics and filing regulations and other knowledge they need to know while running for office." "

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Hip-hop star Cardi B gives libertarians a shoutout

Cardi B....for president? How the Hip-Hop artist became a Libertarian Icon - Zoe Zorka, The Source:

April 3 - "As the hype for Cardi B‘s upcoming album, Invasion of Privacy, builds up, the mega-hit rapper has gained a large following with the nation’s fastest-growing political group, the Libertarian Party, as members cheer on her socially liberal, fiscally conservative, voice of reason and independence.

"Cardi piqued the interest of Reason, a major Libertarian publication, with an Instagram post in which she noted that she is 'paying a 40 percent tax rate and not getting much for it. She asks for accountability, noting that "when you donate to a kid from a foreign country, they give you updates of what they doing with your donation." By contrast, B has no idea what Uncle Sam is doing with her "fucking tax money."' This drew the applause of numerous Libertarians ... in an hours-long Twitter storm.

"From there, it didn’t take long for newfound Libertarian fans to praise her existing and upcoming work and point out how it aligns with their ideals.

"According to their official platform, in addition to limiting wasteful government spending, Libertarians 'want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success. A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner.' Sounds pretty much like 'making money moves.'

Party members also 'advocate individual privacy and government transparency' and 'are committed to ending government’s practice of spying on everyone.' With an album that is literally titled Invasion of Privacy, Cardi might as well be Ayn Rand reincarnated.

"As the Washington Examiner points out  ... 'Cardi B might not get into the weeds about liberty or how we need to protect our privacy from big government on her album. But the themes are there, and her millions of fans will begin to recognize these important issues sooner rather than later.'”

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Libertarians the most analytic voters, study finds

Study of Politics and Analytical Thinking Puts Libertarians on Top - Bloomberg - Tyler Cown:

March 28, 2018 - "You might think being 'analytical' is a good thing. We associate 'analysis' with people who are smart, well-informed and relatively dispassionate in their assessments.

"You might think that politics is an area where being analytical is especially useful. If you do, well, I have news for you: Libertarians measure as being the most analytical political group. That’s according to something called the cognitive reflection test, which is designed to measure whether an individual will override his or her immediate emotional responses and give a question further consideration. So if you aren’t a libertarian, maybe you ought to give that philosophy another look. It’s a relatively exclusive club, replete with people who are politically engaged, able to handle abstract arguments and capable of deeper reflection.

"What else can we learn from this new study of political and analytical tendencies, conducted by Gordon Pennycook and David G. Rand of Yale University?

"For the 2016 election, one group that measured as especially nonanalytical was Democrats who crossed party lines and voted for Donald Trump. There is a stereotype of a less well-educated voter, perhaps both white and male, who reacts negatively and emotionally to Hillary Clinton... For all the dangers of stereotyping, the study’s data are consistent with that picture.

"Both nonvoters and independents do poorly on the analytic dimension. There is a myth of a reasonable, rational politically independent America, sitting in the middle of the spectrum, weighing arguments carefully and seeing which candidate or party has the better ideas and platform. In reality, that group measures as relatively impulsive and prone to less informed judgments.

"If you are a Democrat, you might take some cheer in the fact that Democrats/liberals measure as somewhat more analytical than Republicans/conservatives. But ... individuals who are conservative along economic dimensions measure as more analytical than those who are not, again on average.... The opposite is true for social conservatives, by the way: They are less analytical on average.

"Do these results, combined with the presumption that being analytical is good, mean you really ought to be a libertarian? Well, no ... First, any test has biases, and this test was conducted online, as was earlier and broadly compatible work by other researchers. Maybe it is only the internet-savvy libertarians who have greater analytical skills.... Second, being very analytical in some ways puts you out of touch with the American citizenry.... Extremely analytical leaders might be best for managing an organization of predominantly analytical people, but that doesn’t mean they will be good national politicians. "

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Provincial trade barriers OK'd by Canada's Supreme Court

Supreme Court upholds law prohibiting Canadians, wherever they live, from buying beer wherever they want | The Star - Tonda MacCharles:

April 19, 2018 - ""Gerard Comeau wasn’t the only one shaking his head when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday there is no 'constitutional guarantee of free trade' within Canada.

"'Money’s more important than liberties, I guess,' said the 64-year-old retired linesman.... Comeau’s bid to strike down the [New Brunswick] Liquor Control Act’s limits on cross-border beer shopping failed, but he became the champion of free-traders across Canada.

"Now some of his supporters hope all the attention his case, and the social media campaign dubbed #freethebeer, brought to the issue will galvanize provincial and federal leaders to drop barriers they say add $50 billion to $130 billion in extra costs to goods and services that cross provincial borders....

"The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the 1867 constitution did not impose 'an absolute free trade regime within Canada' ... [and] any decision to knock down interprovincial trade barriers would be a political one.... "It cited the 'need to maintain balance' ... as long as the law’s primary purpose is not aimed at blocking trade across provincial borders.

"Any other interpretation, warned the court, could lead to a whole slew of laws being invalidated: environmental or public health regulations, agricultural controls on the production and distribution of eggs, dairy or poultry, for example, and 'innumerable' other exercises of provincial jurisdiction."

"Lawyer Howard Anglin, of the Canadian Constitutional Foundation, which intervened at the high court in support of Comeau’s arguments, ... believes the ruling actually provides an opportunity for a federal government or federal party leader to push to lower trade barriers, using the federal power to regulate trade and commerce....

"Freer trade between provinces could be a windfall for the provinces, said Anglin, who pointed to a senate committee report that accepted findings by Trevor Tombe and Lukas Albrecht. They say interprovincial barriers cost each Canadian household about $7,500 a year."

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