Thursday, July 18, 2019

Conservative attacks on libertarians misguided, says Ron Paul

Ron Paul: Conservatives Against Liberty – FITSNews:

July 15, 2019 - "Recently several prominent social and populist conservatives have attacked libertarianism. These conservatives, some of whom are allies in the fight against our hyper-interventionist foreign policy, blame libertarianism for a variety of social and economic ills. The conservative attack on libertarianism — like the attack on the freedom philosophy launched by leftists — is rooted in factual, economic, and philosophical errors.

"Libertarianism’s right-wing critics claim libertarianism is the dominant ideology of the Republican establishment [yet] the Republican leadership embraces anti-libertarian policies like endless wars, restrictions on civil liberties, government interference in our personal lives, and massive spending increases on welfare as well as warfare.

"Anti-libertarian conservatives ... blame libertarians for the American middle class’s eroding standard of living. Conservatives are correct to be concerned about the economic challenges facing the average American, but they are mistaken to place the blame on the free market. The American people are not suffering from an excess of free markets. They suffer from an excess of taxes, regulations, and, especially, fiat money. Therefore, populist conservatives should join libertarians in seeking to eliminate federal regulations, repeal the 16th Amendment, and restore a free-market monetary system.....

"[M]any populist conservatives support increased infrastructure spending and tariffs and other forms of protectionism. Like all forms of central planning, these schemes prevent goods and services from being used for the purposes most valued by consumers. This distorts the marketplace and lowers living standards — including of people whose jobs are temporally saved or created by these government interventions. Those workers would be better off in the long term finding new jobs in a free market.

"Anti-free-market conservatives ignore how their policies harm those they claim to care about. For example, protectionism harms farmers and others working in businesses depending on international trade.

"The most common complaint of social conservatives is that libertarianism promotes immorality. These conservatives confuse a libertarian’s opposition to outlawing drugs, for example, with moral approval of drug use..... [L]ibertarians support the right of individuals to use peaceful means to persuade others not to engage in destructive or immoral behaviors. Libertarians also support the right of individuals not to associate with, or to subsidize in any way, those whose lifestyles or beliefs they find objectionable.

"Social conservatives object to libertarians because social conservatives wish to use government power to force people to be good. This is the worst type of statism because it seeks to control our minds and souls.

"Most people accept the idea that it is wrong to initiate force against those engaging in peaceful behaviors. Libertarians apply this nonaggression principle to government. Making government follow the nonaggression principle would end unjust wars, income and inflation taxes, and the destruction caused by the use of force to control what we do with our property, how we raise our children, who we associate with, and what we put into our bodies. Making governments abide by the nonaggression principle is the only way to restore a society that is free, prosperous, and moral."

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Mark Sanford thinking about primarying Trump

Mark Sanford, Old Trump Foe, May Enter Republican Presidential Primary –

July 16, 2019 - "President Trump may have another primary challenger in the 2020 election. In an interview with The Post and Courier, former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford said that he planned to spend the next month deciding whether or not he would enter the upcoming presidential Republican primary.

"Sometimes in life you've got to say what you've got to say, whether there's an audience or not for that message," he said in the interview....

"Sanford, who largely advocated for limited government during his time in Congress, has criticized Trump several times in the past for lacking a firm grasp on the Constitution, wanting to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and even his "shithole" countries comment.

"Sanford lost his Republican primary in 2018. His loss was believed to be an early indicator of the weakness of anti-Trump Republicans in the face of a newer, more Trumpian party.

"So far, Trump's only primary opponent is former Massachusetts governor and Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate Bill Weld. Upon making the announcement, Weld referred to himself as a 'Reagan Republican.' He has since criticized Trump for not being economically conservative.

"There is also speculation that Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.) could join the race. Amash has very recently left the Republican Party, as well as his congressional committees. Whether he chooses to run as a Republican, Libertarian, or independent, it's possible that his entry into the race could disrupt both Trump and the eventual Democratic nominee's 2020 dreams."

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Sheriffs won’t enforce new Washington gun law

Sheriffs Say They Won’t Enforce New Washington Law Raising Gun Purchase Age to 21 – - Ben McDonald:

July 5, 2019 - "Washington state has raised its minimum age for purchasing a semi-automatic rifle to 21, along with other new rules governing gun ownership. The age restriction went into effect in January, with the other changes taking effect July 1. But some in state law enforcement have vowed not to enforce the measure, arguing that it violates the Second Amendment.

"Under the new law, someone buying a semi-automatic rifle has to be at least 21 years old, pass a stricter background check, take a safety training course, and complete a 10-day waiting period. The law does not impose a retroactive ban on people under 21 owning such guns, but it does increase the restrictions on where they can possess them. Washingtonians under 21 can only have a gun in their homes, in a fixed place of business, or on real property under their control.....

"And people of all ages are supposed to comply with strict new storage requirements. 'A person who stores or leaves a firearm in a location where the person knows, or reasonably should know, that a prohibited person may gain access to the firearm' is now 'guilty of community endangerment due to unsafe storage of a firearm' if 'a prohibited person' accesses the gun and uses it. This requirement has been met with heavy backlash, with critics pointing out the potentially dangerous consequences of making weapons more inaccessible in a life-threatening situation....

"Sheriffs across the state have denounced the law, saying it is harmful to the people they are sworn to protect by making it harder for them to defend themselves. Some go further, declaring that they will not enforce it.

"Bob Songer, a sheriff in Klickitat County, told KTTH: 'I understand there's an argument that a sheriff has to follow the rule of law [but] as an elected sheriff, I have the authority and right to protect the rights of the citizens of Klickitat county that I serve.'

"The Spokesman Review reports that Stevens County Sheriff Brad Manke and his deputies 'won't be issuing citations or making custodial arrests for most suspected violations'....  'When my 19-year-old daughter can't carry a .22 rifle off our property but we can send her off to war — I don't agree with that at all," Manke told the Chinook Observer.

"In February, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson stated that sheriffs who do not enforce the law will be held liable.... 'In the event a police chief or sheriff refuses to perform the background check required by Initiative 1639, they could be held liable if there is a sale or transfer of a firearm to a dangerous individual prohibited from possessing a firearm and that individual uses that firearm to do harm,' Ferguson said.

"In September of last year, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed similar legislation raising the minimum age for rifle and shotgun purchases to 21. The Second Amendment rights groups Calguns Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition are now suing California over that law. John Dillon, an attorney representing the groups, told the Los Angeles Times that when people turn 18 they are legally considered adults and should be able to benefit from the same rights other adults have. 'Law-abiding adults are entitled to fully exercise all of their fundamental rights, including their 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms for all lawful purposes, not just hunting or sport,' Dillon said."

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Massie may also have 2020 primary challenger

Kentucky Republican Massie may be challenged in 2020 primary election - Philip M. Bailey, Louisville Courier-Journal:

July 3, 2019 - "U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie may be a darling among libertarians and constitutional conservatives, but the Kentucky Republican is the target of some who are actively recruiting a primary challenger for 2020.

"Two independent sources with knowledge of campaign discussions say state Rep. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill, is being groomed for a possible bid against the congressman, who has gained notoriety for opposing bipartisan measures big and small. Moser acknowledged in an interview with the Courier Journal that she's been approached by national party figures about taking on Massie in next year's Republican primary....

"The two sources, who requested anonymity, told the Courier Journal that U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who has made putting more women in Congress a personal passion, was among those looking for a challenger for Massie. But a Stefanik spokeswoman ... said Stefanik's group, Elevate PAC, 'has a firm policy of not recruiting against or endorsing against Republican incumbents.'

"Moser declined to comment when asked if Stefanik was among those who had approached her about running next year. She added that Massie is well liked, but that many constituents want a less ideological representative in Washington....

"In May, Massie gained national attention for temporarily blocking a $19 billion disaster relief plan before it ultimately passed.... 'Certainly, it was shocking to me that he was a 'no' vote on disaster relief,' Moser said.... Moser also cited Massie being among the 26 members who three years ago voted against the 21st Century CURES Act, which directed $6.3 billion to speed up drug treatment, as one of the troubling things about the congressman's record.

"If Moser were to run, it would set up an interesting primary, pitting Kentucky's grassroots conservatives against the GOP establishment. 'The tea party folks in the 4th Congressional District understand that Kim Moser is not the constitutional conservative Congressman Thomas Massie is,' said Scott Hofstra, a spokesman for the United Kentucky Tea Party....

"Massie, who was affiliated with the tea party movement, assumed office in 2012.... He has easily defeated every Democratic opponent by more than 30 percentage points in the four general elections since. But there is some speculation that he could be vulnerable in a primary election....

"The conservative activists who helped send Massie to Washington seven years ago, however, remain fiercely loyal. 'Congressman Massie doesn't go with the status quo and doesn't play into party politics,' said Stacie Earl, a Florence conservative activist who ran for state House in 2018. 'Republicans have always tried to get someone against him [but] I don't see Moser or anyone is as a credible challenger'.... Hofstra ...said ... Massie is willing to break from the herd. 'Congressman Massie is the only representative from Kentucky who is willing to buck his own leadership to support the constitution and the citizens,' he said."

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Adam Smith on tariffs and trade restrictions

from The Timeless Wisdom of Adam Smith - Foundation for Economic Education - Richard M. Ebeling:

December 17, 2016 - "Adam Smith’s central contribution to economic understanding was surely his demonstration that under an institutional arrangement of individual liberty, property rights, and voluntary exchange the self-interested conduct of market participants could be shown to be consistent with a general betterment of the human condition.

"The emergence of a social system of division of labor makes men interdependent for the necessities, amenities and luxuries of life. But in the free, competitive market order every individual can only access what others in society can supply him with by offering them something in exchange that they value more highly than what is being asked from them in trade.

"Thus ... as if by an 'invisible hand' each individual is guided to apply his knowledge, ability and talents in ways that serve the trading desires of others as the means of fulfilling his own self-interested goals and purposes. Furthermore, not only is the need for government regulation and control of economic affairs shown to be unnecessary for societal improvement, Smith went on to argue that such government intervention was detrimental.... Smith explained in The Wealth of Nations (1776):
“To give the monopoly of the home-market to the produce of domestic industry, in any particular art or manufacture, is in some measure to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, and must, in almost all cases, be either a useless or a hurtful regulation. If the produce of domestic can be bought there as cheap as that of foreign industry, the regulation is evidently useless. If it cannot, it must generally be hurtful.

“It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy.... What is prudence in the conduct of every private family can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom. If a foreign country can supply us with a commodity cheaper than we ourselves can make it, better to buy it of them with some part of the produce of our own industry, employed in a way in which we have some advantage..... It is certainly not employed to the greatest advantage when it is directed towards an object which it can buy cheaper than it can make it....
"Smith was scathing in his criticisms of manufacturers, merchants and agricultural special interests who wished to maintain or gain market share and greater profits from restricting the free flow of goods and services between countries through government action.... Said Smith:
Commerce, which ought naturally to be, among nations, as among individuals, a bond of union and friendship, has become the most fertile source of discord and animosity. The capricious ambition of kings and ministers has not, during the present and the preceding century, been more fatal to the repose of Europe, than the impertinent jealousy of merchants and manufacturers.

The violence and injustice of the rulers of mankind is an ancient evil, for which I am afraid, the nature of human affairs can scarce admit of remedy. But the mean rapacity, the monopolizing spirit of merchants and manufacturers, who neither are, nor ought to be, the rulers of mankind, though it cannot perhaps be corrected, may very easily be prevented from disturbing the tranquility of any body but themselves.
"Smith warned of the 'interested sophistry' of those desiring anti-competitive interventions and protections in the private sector through the political power of governments by creating false notions that trade is a zero-sum game in which if one side wins the other side must have lost, or that imports and a trade deficit are inherently harmful to the material well-being of a nation. These distortions and errors had to be refuted so it would be better understood that, 'In every country it always is and must be in the interest of the great body of the people to buy whatever they want of those who sell it cheapest.'"

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Saturday, July 13, 2019

Border camp conditions dangerous, says DHS IG

DHS Watchdog Describes Crammed Detention Centers, A Ticking Time Bomb : NPR - Joel Rose & John Burnett:

July 2, 2019 - "The Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General is warning about "dangerous overcrowding" in Border Patrol facilities in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. In a strongly worded report, the inspector general said the prolonged detention of migrants without proper food, hygiene or laundry facilities — some for more than a month — requires 'immediate attention and action.'

"The report comes amid growing outrage over detention conditions for migrants and follows reports that migrant children were kept in squalid conditions without enough food and basic necessities in a Border Patrol station in West Texas.

"Inspectors from DHS's Office of Inspector General in June visited Border Patrol facilities and ports of entry across the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, the busiest sector in the country for illegal border crossings. 'We are concerned that overcrowding and prolonged detention represent an immediate risk to the health and safety of DHS agents and officers, and to those detained,' they wrote.

"In its response to the report, the Department of Homeland Security says the surge of migrants crossing the Southern border has led to an 'acute and worsening crisis.' In May, according to DHS, an average of more than 4,600 people a day crossed illegally or arrived at ports of entry without the proper documents, compared to less than 700 a day in the same period two years ago....

"The latest report from the Rio Grande Valley includes photos of migrants penned into overcrowded Border Patrol facilities — including one man pressing a cardboard sign to a cell window with the word 'Help.' The inspectors quote one unnamed senior manager calling the situation a 'ticking time bomb.'

"Inspectors found that hundreds of children were held for longer than the 72 hours, the maximum time federal rules allow. In some cases, kids were held for more than two weeks. And some adults were kept in standing-room-only cells, without access to showers, for more than a week."

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Friday, July 12, 2019

No authority for war with Iran, U.S. House votes

House Votes To Stop Trump From Attacking Iran Without Congressional Authorization – - Christian Britschgi:

July 12, 2019 - "Earlier this afternoon, the Democrat-controlled House voted 220–197 in favor of a $733 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which will fund the Pentagon and its various foreign wars through the end of the next fiscal year.

"Included in the bill was a bipartisan amendment from Reps. Ro Khanna (D–Calif.) and Matt Gaetz (R–Fla.). It clarifies that Congress has passed no legislation that would allow the president to strike Iran. Their amendment says that 'no Federal funds may be used for any use of military force in or against Iran' unless Congress declares war on the country or passes some other statutory authorization for an attack.

"Stopping a war with Iran proved more popular than the spending bill as a whole. It earned the support of 20 House Republicans and passed with a commanding 251–170 vote....

"Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been rising throughout the summer, with the U.S. hitting Tehran with increased sanctions and sending more troops and ships to the Persian Gulf. Iran has reportedly responded by sabotaging oil tankers and shooting down an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone. Trump ordered air strikes on Iran in response to the loss of the drone but called the attacks off at the last minute.

"Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been pitching lawmakers on the idea that the 2001 Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) — passed in the wake of 9/11 to permit the U.S. to attack Al Qaeda — allows the U.S. to attack Iran without further congressional approval. Khanna and Gaetz's amendment makes it clear this is not the case, stating explicitly that the 2001 AUMF does not authorize any sort of hostilities against Iran.

"Having passed, the House's NDAA now goes to the Senate, which has already passed its own, larger $750 billion military spending bill. That bill does not include any additional limitations on Trump's ability to attack Iran, nor does it seem likely that Senate Republicans will agree to fold that into the final version of the legislation."

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