Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Libertarians opt for most credible slate available

Libertarian Party offers the GOP an unexpected lesson | MSNBC - Steve Benen, Maddow Blog:

May 31, 2016 - "It wasn’t easy, and it took a little longer than party officials might have liked, but the Libertarian Party held its national convention in Orlando over the weekend and it put together a national ticket designed to succeed....

"I can appreciate why the Libertarian Party comes across as an eccentric group of political misfits. At one point during the party’s convention, delegates were asked to elect a national party chair, and one of the stated contenders stripped off his clothes and danced in a thong for the cameras. At another point, Johnson, before eventually prevailing, was widely booed for saying he’s comfortable with state-issued drivers’ licenses....

"But that’s all the more reason to take the results seriously. The Libertarian Party ended up with a ticket featuring a pair of two-term governors. The party considered other assorted figures, none of whom had the kind of background Johnson and Weld brought to the table, but in the end, Libertarians showed a pragmatic streak, choosing the most experienced and credible candidates available. That may have meant compromising a bit, but the Libertarian Party made a conscious decision to nominate a ticket that can appeal to as broad a national electorate as possible.

"And then there’s the Republican Party, which is nominating a reality-show personality who’s never served a day in elected office and doesn’t appear to know anything at all about government, politics, or public policy.

"Remind me: who are the real misfits in this picture?...

"Libertarians face some daunting challenges. The Johnson/Weld ticket will need to qualify for the ballot in all 50 states – a hurdle they’re likely to clear – while trying to raise money and assemble a credible national operation. It will also start lobbying news organizations to start including Libertarians in national polls, even though the vast majority of American voters have no idea who Gary Johnson and William Weld are.

"That said, if Libertarians can start overcoming these challenges, and there’s a meaningful public appetite for a third-party campaign featuring two former Republican governors, the Johnson/Weld pairing may not be a laughing matter in the fall."

Read more: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/libertarian-party-offers-the-gop-unexpected-lesson
'via Blog this'

Monday, May 30, 2016

Johnson & Weld win on 2nd ballot in Orlando

2016 Finally Has a Contested Convention, Thanks to the Libertarians - NBC News - Jane C. Timm:

"May 29, 2016 - The Libertarian Party nominated former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld as its presidential ticket Sunday, as the party attempts to elevate itself into the mainstream during an election that's given the small party unprecedented opportunity.

"The pair - both two-term governors - have more executive experience than any other candidate in the race, and they will offer an alternative to two historically unpopular candidates, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

"'This is the best message team going forward,' Johnson, the Libertarians' presidential nominee, told reporters after Weld won the vice presidential nomination....

"Johnson won on the second ballot after falling short of a majority by just a few votes - getting 49.5 percent - on the first.... The tense hour between ballots left candidates scheming and delegates making floor deals and chanting for and against candidates. It was the kind of drama political reporters had previously only dreamed about....

"While Johnson locked down enough votes on the second ballot, the drama was far from finished Sunday. Libertarians also allow their party to choose the vice presidential nominee, and Johnson's chosen running mate - Weld - is not a party favorite, as many question whether he's really a Libertarian....

"In speeches ahead of the ballot, the runner-up presidential candidate, publisher Austin Petersen, spoke out against Weld; another vice presidential candidate, lawyer Alicia Dearn, spoke in support of party unity, asking Weld to join her on stage to pledge not to 'betray the party.' Weld fell a couple of dozen votes short on the first ballot, but he won on the second - by just a few votes - and the crowd erupted in boos and cheers."

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/2016-finally-has-contested-convention-thanks-libertarians-n582471
'via Blog this'

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cult, mainstream visions of libertarianism collide at Presidential debate

Libertarian Party Presidential Debate: Gary Johnson is From a Different World - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Brian Doherty:

May 29, 2016 - "The final presidential debate at the Libertarian Party National Convention happened last night (aired live on C-SPAN), featuring what most media treated as the "likely three"—former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, antivirus software innovator John McAfee, and libertarian movement mover and shaker Austin Petersen—plus anarchist firebrand Darryl Perry and surprisingly amusing wildcard Marc Feldman, selected via token ballots cast by Libertarian delegates.

"The debate lasted a punishing two hours. I was unable tonight to learn who wrote the questions, which were delivered by radio host and libertarian fellow traveler Larry Elder....

"Whoever wrote the questions did the Party, in my judgment, a great disservice. A C-SPAN audience did not need to see the five candidate pondering out loud whether drivers licences are legitimate. (Among other challenging questions that could serve no other purpose but to embarrass the Party and its candidates in the eyes of any random cable viewer were such pressing, burning 2016 presidential campaign questions ... as: would you have fought World War I? II? Apologized for bombing Hiroshima? Voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act? Do you think drivers need to be licensed? Should it be a crime to sell heroin to 5-year-olds? I'm enough of a movement veteran that these things just flowed by me at the time, but in retrospect they seem the worst sort of hectoring irrelevances designed to make the Party's candidates seem like eccentric loons.)

"A lot was said in two hours. Feldman, [whom] I'd previously ignored in my convention coverage, delivered a standard middle-ground Libertarian activist set of opinions, but expressed in often funny jokes, ending in his closing statements in a barn-burning rap in which he referenced every type of Libertarian activist and all his presidential opponents.

"Darryl Perry delivered straight-up passionate anarchism, with the state always the wrong answer to every problem. In talking to a couple of handfuls of delegates after the debate, it seems likely Perry will probably do better on the first presidential ballot than many might have guessed. He seemed a favorite freak-flag-fly choice for delegates who don't expect him to survive that many ballots or be the nominee. Feldman's good humor and solid Libertarianism will earn him a fair number of first ballot votes as well.

"Even among people who don't love Gary Johnson, I found few people who swore they'd never vote for him.... But the most interesting story coming out of the debate is the degree to which Gary Johnson was simultaneously the most strongly disliked, or disapproved of, candidate while still seeming the favorite of more than any other single candidate. No one got more, and more sustained, boos than Johnson did, for various departures from movement orthodoxy....

"Johnson's description of the core of libertarianism as 'fiscally conservative, socially liberal' seems to weary the serious convention crowd. That a core part of his quick discussion of immigration involves the idea that an immigrant should 'pay taxes' doesn't seem to thrill everyone either. Johnson said he first was satisfied with a 'get government out of marriage' solution to gay or plural marriage debates, but decided that the concept of marriage was so tied in to so many laws that it was better to just take a 'government shouldn't discriminate' solution. He boldly and simply stated that he would have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which drew boos, as did his heretical opinion that drivers licenses might be a legitimate state function.

"Johnson garnered lots of boos by claiming that the free market is killing coal ... a large part of the crowd seemed ... annoyed at the idea that anything other than regulations were keeping coal down. Saying he imagined replacing the income and corporate taxes he hopes to eliminate with a FairTax style consumption tax annoyed a crowd more primed to just hear that 'taxation is theft' — though Johnson has learned enough about dealing with Libertarian crowds to use that phrase too.

"His favored technique was linking any question to some actual experience as governor of New Mexico, to remind delegates that this executive thing was natural to him. It isn't always clear most Libertarian delegates want to hear about real world experience as opposed to a passionate or smart expression of core libertarian philosophy. He did win cheers for openly calling for legalizing all drugs, but boos for admitting that some provision would need to remain in the law against supplying drugs to children.

"In his closing statements, Johnson dealt quietly with the question of whether he was libertarian enough for the Libertarians. He admitted openly that he likely was not the most libertarian candidate they could pick, but that he believed he was the one this year who could get them the most attention and votes."

Read more: http://reason.com/blog/2016/05/29/libertarian-party-presidential-debate-ga
'via Blog this'

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Johnson & Weld get rough reception in Orlando

Libertarian ‘dream ticket’ in peril as Weld bombs in Orlando - POLITICO - Shane Goldmacher:

May 27, 2016 - "It was supposed to be a stroke of genius: Gary Johnson, the 2012 Libertarian nominee for president and the party’s leading contender in 2016, announced that William Weld, the two-term former Republican governor of Massachusetts, would serve as his running mate.... The pair would comprise a powerful two-governor ticket just as the leading Democratic and Republican contenders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, rate as historically unpopular. The hope was they could emerge as a true third-party alternative.

"But here in the corridors of the Rosen Centre Hotel and Resort at the Libertarian National Convention in Orlando, it could all fall apart as anti-authoritarian Libertarian Party activists, loath to be defined as 'Republican-lite,' are increasingly and loudly critical of Weld, who joined their party only weeks ago.

"Johnson seems to sense his dream ticket could be in trouble. The former two-term governor of New Mexico was booed at a convention forum on Thursday for calling Weld 'the original libertarian'....

"Asked if his reception was worrisome, Weld told POLITICO, 'I wouldn’t use the word worrisome, but I would say the convention is highly unpredictable. And having two former Republican governors who were successful in blue states — who knows — that could turn out to be a negative in the minds of delegates. Stranger things have happened'....

"And Weld did little to help himself at a Friday night vice-presidential debate in which he got a chilly reception from the hardcore audience of Libertarian true-believers. Asked who did more damage to America — President Obama or President George W. Bush — Weld gave a classic politician answer. 'I’d rate it a tie,' he said. He used the word 'miasma' in his closing statement.

"At one point, Weld said he would stay in the United Nations — an idea anathema to many in the crowd — and said that when people think of Libertarians they often think of 'unattractive people' in their neighborhoods....  Weld advocated cutting taxes. One of his opponents yelled, 'Taxation is theft!'...

"Sparks flew at a Thursday forum in which one of Johnson’s top challengers, Austin Petersen, who recently scored the endorsement of longtime Republican operative Mary Matalin, challenged Johnson on his Weld pick....

"At Friday’s debate, one of Weld’s rivals for the vice presidential slot, Larry Sharpe, used his closing statement to appeal to the crowd’s anti-government instincts. 'Do you have to have government experience to be in government?' Sharpe asked. 'NO!' cheered the crowd. 'Do you believe that one Republican governor is not enough?' Sharpe went on. 'One is enough and something else would help'.... Weld never got a chance at a rebuttal."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/gary-johnson-william-weld-libertarian-ticket-convention-223682
'via Blog this'

Friday, May 27, 2016

Libertarian convention opens to record interest

What to Watch at the Libertarian Convention - ABC News - Ryan Struyk & Inez de la Cuetara:

May 27, 2016 - "Over Memorial Day weekend, the Libertarian Party will be holding its convention in Orlando to put forth its presidential and vice presidential candidates. The party has largely been ignored in previous cycles, but ... Libertarians are trying to appeal to voters disenchanted with the prospect of a Trump or Hillary Clinton presidency.

"'We are seeing record interest in the party,' the national Libertarian Party’s political director, Carla Howell, recently told Politico Magazine. 'Membership has spiked; it has gone up about 30 percent in the last few months. We’re also seeing record media interest'....

"The Libertarian Party tends to be fiscally conservative and socially liberal. It vehemently opposes any government intervention in citizens’ private and business decisions.... 'Essentially, we believe all Americans should be free to live their lives and pursue their interests as they see fit as long as they do no harm to another. In a nutshell, we are advocates for a smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom,' the party says on its website.

"In 2012, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson earned almost 1.3 million votes – the most votes a Libertarian nominee has ever garnered. Still, it only amounted for 0.99 percent of the total popular vote, and the party was far from winning any electoral votes. ....

"Some Libertarians hope that this could be a breakthrough year for the party....  A Fox News poll in mid-May shows Johnson garnering 10 percent support in a race against Trump and Clinton. A Monmouth poll in March showed Johnson hitting 11 percent support....  "The party has also been working hard to ensure its candidate is listed on every state’s ballot — so far, the party has made it to 32 states and is confident it can reach its goal.....

"There are a total of 12 candidates running to win the Libertarian Party’s nomination. Former two-term New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is currently expected to clinch the nomination.... Other viable candidates include millionaire software entrepreneur John McAfee, who fled Belize after he was cited as a 'person of interest' in the murder of his neighbor, and Austin Peterson, former Fox Business producer and Libertarian activist.

"Johnson recently announced he would want former Republican Massachusetts Gov. William Weld as his vice president. Weld might help make a Libertarian ticket more attractive to Democrats — in 1997, Bill Clinton nominated him as ambassador to Mexico (the nomination was eventually blocked). He also wound up supporting President Obama in 2008."

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/watch-libertarian-convention/story?id=39423394
'via Blog this'

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Petersen nets more #NeverTrump endorsements

Austin Petersen Catches More Endorsements from the Media Right for His Presidential Campaign - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Brian Doherty:

"Austin Petersen, former Fox Business Network producer with Judge Andrew Napolitano's Freedom Watch and founder of the Libertarian Republic website, has long been positioning himself as the Libertarians' best choice to capture wayward Republicans who still love freedom and still hate Trump.... That stance got Petersen two public endorsements from the world of formerly Republican political consultants and media figures this week.

"Mary Matalin, longtime GOP consultant and famously part of America's Favorite Cross-Partisan Marriage with Democratic grumpus James Carville, officially left the Republican Party for the Libertarians and now is behind Petersen for the L.P.'s presidential nomination, which will be decided this weekend at the Party's National Convention in Orlando....

"Petersen tells me that while he did not communicate directly with Matalin, his communications director told him 'she agrees with your ideas, likes that you articulate them well to an uninformed populace, and finds your career in spreading these ideas compelling.'

"Erick Erickson, former chieftain at conservative site Red State and now a right-wing radio guy in Atlanta, who has long been loudly anti-Trump, says that Gary Johnson's pick of William Weld as his running mate shows he is 'tone deaf' (Weld has been seen as insufficiently libertarian or even conservative by many) and disqualifies him from serious consideration. He  today writes about Petersen:
Petersen has his flaws. He has some views outside the mainstream, but then what Libertarian doesn’t?... Petersen would be a fresh start and a lot of Republicans would potentially take a fresh look at Petersen. Couple him with a very strong, credible vice presidential candidate and the Libertarians might finally be the third party America needs for disruptive competition.
"And while Glenn Beck's people insist it was technically no endorsement, as I reported last week Beck did say to Petersen during a 16-minute segment on Beck's radio show that Petersen is "making my heart skip" and "giving me hope there is someone I can pull the lever for" and is "saying all the right things."

Read more: http://reason.com/blog/2016/05/25/austin-petersen-catches-more-endorsement
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Johnson polls best for a 3rd party in 20 years

Blog: Libertarian Johnson polling better than any 3rd-party candidate since Perot - Rick Moran, American Thinker::

May 25, 2016 - "The 2012 Libertarian candidate for president, Gary Johnson, is showing surprising strength in early polls against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

"Johnson received less than 1% of the vote in 2012, but he got 1.2 million votes – a Libertarian party record. He is vying for the nomination against two lesser known candidates – radio talker and activist Austin Peterson and former fugitive John McAfee.

"But with the strong negative feelings by voters against both Trump and Clinton, Johnson, if he gets the nomination, has an opportunity to upend the race.  He is currently polling at 10%, which is the best showing by a third-party candidate since Ross Perot in 1996...

"How have third-party candidates polled recently? Johnson ran as the Libertarian candidate in 2012, and won about 1 percent of the national vote, becoming the most successful Libertarian candidate ever; in polls done in May and June of 2012, he was polling at 2 percent. Bob Barr, the Libertarian nominee in 2008, also polled at 2 percent in the late spring of that year.

"Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico, may not be the most dynamic candidate in the race, but he has experience running a national campaign and may have access to some big donors. His pick for vice president, former Massachusetts governor William Weld, was the attorney for casino mogul Steve Wynn, who is likely to back the Libertarian candidate this election cycle. Considering that Johnson raised only $2 million in 2012, a big infusion of cash into his campaign would certainly make him more visible and potentially competitive in some states.

"The question of whom he would draw more votes from, Republicans or Democrats, is unanswerable at this point. Conventional wisdom says he would take far more Republican votes away from Trump. But this election is different. It is shaping up to be a non-ideological election, so Johnson has the potential to take a rougly equal number of voters from both sides.

"What usually happens with third-party candidates is that they poll well in the spring and the summer and then fade away to nothing in the fall. But nothing about this race is 'usual,' which is why the Libertarian Party convention next [weekend] bears watching."

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/05/libertarian_johnson_polling_better_than_any_3rd_party_candidate_since_perot.html
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Police, guards fund opposition to legal cannabis

Police and Prison Guard Groups Fight Marijuana Legalization in California - Lee Fang, The Intercept::

May 18, 2016 - "Roughly half of the money raised to oppose a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in California is coming from police and prison guard groups, terrified that they might lose the revenue streams to which they have become so deeply addicted.....

"Opposition to the marijuana legalization initiative, slated to go before voters in November, has been organized by John Lovell, a longtime Sacramento lobbyist for police chiefs and prison guard supervisors. Lovell’s Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, a committee he created to defeat the pot initiative, raised $60,000 during the first three months of the year, according to a disclosure filed earlier this month.

"The funds came from groups representing law enforcement, including the California Police Chiefs Association, the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s Issues PAC, and the California Correctional Supervisor’s Organization. Other donors include the California Teamsters union and the California Hospital Association, as well as Sam Action, an anti-marijuana advocacy group co-founded by former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum....

"Law enforcement officials in Minnesota, Washington, and other states that have debated relaxing the laws surrounding marijuana have said that they stand to lose money from reform. Police receive federal grants from the Justice Department to help fund drug enforcement efforts, including specific funding to focus on marijuana.

"Asset forfeiture is another way law enforcement agencies have come to rely on marijuana as a funding source. Police departments, through a process known as asset forfeiture, seize cash and property associated with drug busts, including raids relating to marijuana. The proceeds from the seizures are often distributed to law enforcement agencies. From 2002 to 2012, California agencies reaped $181.4 million from marijuana-related asset seizures. As the Wall Street Journal reported in 2014, pot legalization in Washington state led asset forfeiture proceeds to go up in smoke.

"Prison guard unions have also played a part in defending lucrative drug war policies. In California, the prison guard union helped finance the 'three strikes' ballot measure in 1994 that deeply increased the state prison population. In 2008, the California prison union provided funds to help defeat Proposition 5, a measure to create prison diversion programs for nonviolent offenders with drug problems....

"California is only the latest state in which law enforcement unions have led the opposition to ending marijuana prohibition across the country in recent years. During the 2014 election, Florida law enforcement officials successfully campaigned against a medical marijuana ballot measure by arguing that the initiative would promote a range of problems, from teenage use of the drug to respiratory disease."

Read more: https://theintercept.com/2016/05/18/ca-marijuana-measure/
'via Blog this'

Monday, May 23, 2016

CEI runs ad against 'abuse of power' subpoena

‘Abuse of Power’: CEI Ad Slams Democratic AG’s in Exxon Investigation - Sam Dorman, MRCNewsBusters:

May 20, 2016 - "After activist attorneys general targeted a major oil company and conservative groups for their climate change views, one of the groups hit back hard, publicly accusing the AG’s of abusing their legal authority.

"The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) took out an ad in The New York Times on May 18, 2016, and slammed the liberal attorneys general for 'unlawful' intimidation. The ad, which charged the AG’s with an “ABUSE OF POWER,” also accused them of trying to suppress dissent on climate change.

"New York AG Eric Schneiderman announced an investigation into ExxonMobil in November 2015.... Since that time, one AG has specifically targeted conservative organizations including CEI which have challenged the so-called 'consensus' that climate change is predominantly man-made and will be catastrophic.

"'Around the country, a group of state attorneys general have launched a misguided effort to silence the views and voices of those who disagree with them,' the ad read. The ad was signed by people from many other conservative groups, legal organizations and academics.

"It also stated that the AG’s 'intimidation campaign sets a dangerous precedent and threatens the rights of anyone who disagrees with the government’s position.' At least one congressional committee is concerned by the AG’s efforts.

"The Hill reported on May 19, that members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee sent a letter to Schneiderman requesting information related to his Exxon investigation expressing concern 'these efforts to silence speech are based on political theater rather than legal or scientific arguments ...'

"The liberal media, have barely mentioned the investigation’s troubling implications for free speech....  A few rare exceptions included a Washington Post column by Robert Samuelson and a New York Post editorial which said 'the anti-Exxon campaign is starting to look like a conspiracy in its own right — pursuing a purely political vendetta in a blatant abuse of office.'"

Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/business/sam-dorman/2016/05/20/abuse-power-cei-ad-slams-democratic-ags-exxon-investigation
'via Blog this'

Attorney General withdraws subpoena of CEI

Virgin Islands AG revokes climate-change subpoena after being criticized for 'abuse of power' - Washington Times - Valerie Richardson:

May 23, 2016 - "Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude E. Walker has withdrawn his subpoena of the Competitive Enterprise Institute after a rash of criticism over his investigation into climate-change dissenters.

"Still, CEI general counsel Sam Kazman said Monday that the free-market think-tank would still push the court for sanctions against Mr. Walker, one of a 17-member coalition of attorneys general pursuing fraud allegations against climate skeptics.

"'We are doing so because Walker’s underlying Virgin Islands subpoena remains in effect and, as his local counsel expressly stated, Walker can reinstate the DC [District of Columbia] subpoena whenever he wants,' Mr. Kazman said in a statement.

"'More importantly, his withdrawal only strengthens our claim that this subpoena was a constitutional outrage from the very beginning, violating our right to free speech and our donors’ right to confidentiality, and threatening the right of all Americans to express views that go against some party line,' Mr. Kazman said. 'This was an abuse of process, plain and simple, and we’re determined to see that Walker faces sanctions for an action whose illegality he refuses to recognize.'

"The CEI took out a full-page ad in The New York Times last week decrying the AGs United for Clean Power’s pursuit of climate skeptics. Signers of the ad included former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former White House counsel C. Boyden Gray and MIT professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences Richard Lindzen."

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Weld's letter to Libertarian convention delegates

A personal message for Delegates to the Libertarian National Convention.

Friends,
My name is Bill Weld. I’m writing you today to ask for your vote for the nomination to be the Libertarian Party’s candidate for Vice-President of the United States.

I served as Governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997. I was first elected in 1990, and in 1994, was re-elected by the largest margin in the state’s history. In 1997, I was nominated to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. My confirmation for that position was blocked by Senator Jesse Helms, a social conservative who objected to my libertarian stances regarding gay rights, a woman’s right to choose, and the right of states to allow access to medical marijuana.

Before being elected Governor, I served as the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts and as head of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department. As U.S. Attorney, much of my time and effort was devoted to prosecuting corruption among public officials and crimes committed by some of New England’s largest banks. The Boston Globe described me as “the most visible figure in the prosecution of financial institutions”.

As a young congressional staff member, I also worked as a legal counsel in the Watergate investigation and impeachment proceedings.

In other words, much of my career prior to serving as Governor was devoted to fighting corruption, protecting taxpayers and ending abuses by financial institutions. Those experiences make it even more infuriating to me as I watch corruption and abuse continue today.

My approach as a Republican Governor of one of America’s most Democratic states was simple: Put a stop to the state’s borrowing, cut taxes, bring welfare costs under control, and create a financial and regulatory environment in which entrepreneurs, employers, workers and investors could prosper. We reduced the size of state government by thousands of employees, unemployment fell from almost 10% to 6%, and by all accounts, opportunities and investor confidence increased dramatically.

The highly respected libertarian Cato Institute honored me with their highest ratings in their Fiscal Policy Report Cards on America’s Governors.

At the same time, I fought hard to keep government out of citizens’ personal and financial lives. I believed then, and I believe even more strongly today, that government exists to protect Americans from threats to liberty -- not to be a threat to liberty. I tried to govern that way, and I want to take that same principle to Washington, DC.

I am well aware that my decision to seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination for Vice-President has generated a lot of attention. Along with that attention are questions, and as a Delegate, you deserve answers.

I am a lifelong hunter and gun owner. In 1993, however, as Governor of Massachusetts, I went along with some modest restrictions on certain types of firearms. I was deeply concerned about gun violence, and frankly, the people I represented were demanding action. Sometimes, governing involves tough choices, and I had to make more than a few.

Today, almost 25 years later, I would make some different choices. Restricting Americans’ gun rights doesn’t make us safer, and threatens our constitutional freedoms. I was pleased by and support the Supreme Court’s decision in the District of Columbia vs. Heller -- a decision that embraced the notion that our Second Amendment rights are individual rights, not to be abridged by the government.

The media has also mentioned my endorsement months ago of Governor John Kasich for the Republican nomination for President. When Governor Kasich was in Congress, serving as Chairman of the House Budget Committee, I worked with him to stop deficit spending and balance the federal budget. He succeeded, as no one has done since. I was asked to help because I had done the same in Massachusetts, a heavily Democratic state.

Based on that work with Governor Kasich, I believed him to be the best choice among the many candidates for the Republican nomination.

At the same time, I am now aware that Gov. Kasich has taken actions to make ballot access in Ohio much more difficult and costly for Libertarians. At no point did I have any knowledge about efforts to restrict ballot access. Of course, we all need to fight for ballot access in every state, including helping to raise the funds necessary for that effort. You have my word that I will help ensure ballot access -- and I’m a pretty good fighter.

Likewise, there has been much discussion among Libertarians about my campaign for Governor of New York in 2006. New York has a unique system in which candidates often assemble “fusion” tickets in order to achieve a winning coalition. As part of such an effort, I was honored in 2006 to earn the Libertarian nomination for Governor. Unfortunately, the larger effort failed, and we were not successful in making the Libertarian ballot “line” part of a coalition that could win. I am grateful to the Libertarian Party for the work we did, and disappointed that the strategy simply couldn’t be executed.

These are a few of the questions I have been asked over the past few days, and again, you deserve answers. If you have other concerns, I hope you will let me know. I am determined to earn your support at the National Convention.

Those who know me best and for the longest all know that I have always been a libertarian. I have said it many times, and it is true. Since law school, my bibles have always been The Constitution of Liberty, and The Road to Serfdom, by Friedrich Hayek.

Those few of us who have actually taken our libertarian beliefs into the arena of public office have done so via different paths. None of those paths has been perfect, nor easy.

Liberty is a set of simple and elegant principles that form the foundation of our nation. Fighting for those principles as an elected official is not nearly as elegant. I know that first-hand, and have the bruises to prove it.

2016 is different. Thanks to the choices being made by the Republicans and Democrats, and thanks to the reality that independent voters have achieved equal footing in the electorate to the “major” parties, we Libertarians don’t have to beg for a seat at the table. We don’t have to cloak our libertarianism in something else. We can proudly go through the front door, make our case to the voters, and stand on our principles.

A friend pointed out to me this week that, of the three tickets who will be on the ballot in all 50 states in November, the Libertarian Party has the potential to have candidates whose experience and proven leadership exceeds that of the two other parties combined. That credibility and leadership, matched by a firm commitment to the principles of Liberty, will be a powerful combination. I want to be a part of that historic opportunity for the Libertarian Party, and I’m asking you to join me.

Respectfully,
Gov. William Weld
https://www.facebook.com/BillWeld2016/posts/1743221959255516

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Is Johnson/Weld just the ticket for Libertarians?

A Libertarian Ticket Sane Republicans Can Get Behind - David Boaz, Cato Institute:

May 20, 2016 - "Lots of Republicans are looking for a sane alternative to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and it looks like the Libertarian Party has just given it to them, now that former Massachusetts Governor William Weld has joined former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson’s ticket.

"It’s the first time two governors have shared a presidential ticket since ... 1948. Many observers think experience as a governor is the best preparation for the job of president. Johnson and Weld would bring 14 years of gubernatorial experience to the White House.... Johnson and Weld were both elected and re-elected in Democratic states, and dealt with heavily Democratic legislatures.

"Neither Johnson nor Weld is a purist libertarian, and both have come under fire within the Libertarian Party, which will nominate its candidates in Orlando over Memorial Day weekend. Johnson displeased many libertarians (including me) by saying that government should ban discrimination on the basis of religion, including requiring a Christian baker to bake and decorate a cake for a same-sex wedding. Weld has supported some gun control measures.

"But they will present a clear alternative to Trump and Clinton: strong and coherent fiscal conservatism, social liberalism, drug-policy reform, criminal-justice reform, reining in mass surveillance, ending executive abuse of power, and a prudent foreign policy that is neither promiscuously interventionist nor erratic and bombastic — all grounded in a philosophical commitment to liberty and limited government.

"They acted on those ideas as governors, with the usual accommodations to political reality. Johnson was called 'America’s boldest governor' by the Economist for his push for school choice. And that was before he came out for legalizing marijuana and moving away from the war on drugs. He vetoed more than 700 spending and regulation bills and left the state with a $1 billion surplus. Weld cut taxes, constrained state spending, and created a domestic partners program for gay state employees.

"In the Cato Institute’s biennial Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors, both Johnson and Weld earned A’s and B’s each time they were graded. Cato’s fiscal policy analysts are tough graders, and very few governors ever get an A....

"But neither Johnson nor Weld is a celebrity on the order of Trump or Ross Perot.... Neither has ... the kind of money that can buy national television ads and large staffs. Johnson has not yet shown an ability to draw huge crowds.... Johnson has already hit 10 percent in a couple of polls, but right now that’s probably a 'none of the above' vote. He still has to convert it into actual support.... Johnson and Weld have a steep hill to climb.

"But Trump and Clinton are the least popular major-party nominees in memory. In some polls a majority of voters say they’d like to vote for someone else. That’s the golden opportunity awaiting some alternative candidate, and it looks increasingly as if Gary Johnson will be the only alternative on all 50 ballots."

Read more: http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/libertarian-ticket-sane-republicans-can-get-behind
'via Blog this'

Friday, May 20, 2016

Unlicensed hair-washers face jail in Tennessee

Shampooing Hair Without A License Could Mean Jail Time In Tennessee - Forbes - Nick Sibilla, Institute for Justice:

May 5, 2016 - "When Tammy Pritchard was a young mother, shampooing hair provided much-needed income and even helped put her through college. Today, this part-time police officer wants to wash hair at a beauty salon operated by her friend in Tennessee.

"Unfortunately for Tammy, unlicensed shampooing is a crime, punishable by up to six months in jail. The Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners can also impose civil penalties as high as $1,000 for those who dare to lather, rinse and repeat without a license.

"On Monday, Tammy partnered with the Beacon Center of Tennessee and filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Board in order 'to vindicate the right of Tennesseans to pursue an honest living.'

"Before she can legally wash hair at a salon, Tammy must finish 300 hours of training on 'the practice and theory of shampooing'.... [P]rospective shampooers learn about the 'chemistry and composition of shampoos and conditioners,' 'shampooing and rinsing foreign material from hair,' and 'shop management,' which covers remedial skills like 'answering phone, scheduling appointments, ordering supplies.' After completing the class, shampooers then have to pass two exams... One school that previously taught the course charged $3,225 for tuition, books, kit, uniform and other fees....

"Incredibly, no schools in Tennessee currently offer the shampoo technician curriculum. So to comply with the law, shampooers must instead acquire a broader cosmetologist license. That requires 1,500 hours of training, or five times as much coursework as the shampooer license....

"According to the Institute for Justice, only four other states even license shampooing, with training requirements ranging from a mere three hours of coursework in West Virginia to 150 hours in New Hampshire. In 2013, Texas decided to scrap its shampooer license after the agency that regulated the practice called for the 'elimination' of this 'unnecessary burden on Texans.'

"A 2012 study by the Institute for Justice found Tennessee to be the '13th most broadly and onerously licensed state'.... Many license requirements make little sense. Athletic trainers, auctioneers, opticians, barbers, massage therapists, makeup artists, manicurists and shampooers all need more experience for their licenses than emergency medical technicians need for theirs. In fact, almost a quarter of Tennessee’s workforce is licensed according to a report by the Brookings Institution.'"

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/instituteforjustice/2016/05/05/shampooing-hair-without-a-license-could-mean-jail-time-in-tennessee/
'via Blog this'

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Gary Johnson chooses Bill Weld for running mate

Bill Weld throws hat into ring as Libertarian VP | Boston Herald - Matt Stout & Kimberley Atkins:

May 19, 2016 - "Former Gov. Bill Weld has officially leaped into the race for the White House, joining the third-party Libertarian ticket led by Gary Johnson as the former New Mexico governor’s running mate.

"The prospect of such a move — floated this week when Johnson’s campaign confirmed that Weld was being 'seriously considered' — was initially met with skepticism in Bay State GOP circles yesterday.

"But Johnson scored headlines yesterday by landing Weld, telling the Associated Press the two 'shook hands on it.' A campaign spokesman later confirmed that Weld had agreed to join the ticket, saying a formal announcement was scheduled for today.

"'It brings an enormous amount of credibility to what it is I’m doing­,' Johnson said of Weld’s decision to run. 'I’m unbelievably­ flattered by this and humbled.'

"Weld ran as both a Republican and a Libertarian during an unsuccessful­ bid for New York governor in 2006 — but never made it to the primary vote and didn’t have to choose. A former federal prosecutor and 1996 Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate, he’s remained in the private sector since, joining ML Strategies as a lobbyist, where he’s built a client list that includes casino mogul Steve Wynn.

"Weld has remained active politi­cally, endorsing candidates — including sometimes Democrats, to the chagrin of the state GOP — and had previously backed Jeb Bush and later Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the Republican presidential primary. Yesterday, former Weld aides responded­ with incredulity to the notion that Weld would accept the long-shot Libertarian veep slot....

"Johnson indicated that Weld could help drum up his fundraising. Johnson had raised roughly $279,000 through the first three months of this year, according to federal campaign filings.

"'He could be a huge influence when it comes to fundraising. Huge,' Johnson said. “That was something that he in fact volunteered — that he enjoys­ doing it.'"

Read more: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_coverage/2016/05/bill_weld_throws_hat_into_ring_as_libertarian_vp
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Austin Petersen attracting conservative support

Austin Petersen, the Conservative's Libertarian Presidential Candidate? - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Brian Doherty:

May 11, 2016 - "Austin Petersen is a 35-year-old founder of the libertarian movement news and commentary site Libertarian Republic and a former staffer on Judge Andrew Napolitano's old Fox Business Network show Freedom Watch. Petersen is also one of the ... people seeking the L.P.'s presidential nomination, which will be decided over Memorial Day weekend at the Party's national convention in Orlando....

"Within the larger parameters of a Party that doesn't get all that much press attention from left, right, or center, Petersen has lately been showing up more and more on right-wing radio where he insists he's close to bagging their full support (including Dana Loesch, Steven Crowder, and Steve Deace, and he's scheduled on Glenn Beck's radio show on May 20) and getting other bits of public sweet conservative love.

"Some cases in point:
  • Leon Wolf, managing editor of the right-wing website Red State said on CNN (after painting Trump as too crazy to vote for) that 'Gary Johnson is a guy I would look at, he would not be my preference" but that Austin Petersen's 'more my speed' (specifically because of abortion). Wolf did a video interview with Petersen at Red State. 
  • A diarist at the Red State site looked at the Stossel debate and found Petersen the best debater, especially compared to Johnson, and generally a knowledgeable fresh young face for the Party. 
  • The RandPaulTv site (a media aggregator site about things of interest to Rand Paul fans, not affiliated with him directly) thinks hard and decides Petersen is the L.P. guy best able to pick up Ted Cruz fans. Former Cruz man and right-wing blogger Todd Hagopian agrees. 
  • Michael van der Galien at Pajamas Media (another former Cruz man) says that the L.P. 'Can Have a Great Year, But Only if Gary Johnson disappears.' He identifies Petersen as 'basically a conservatarian who sees eye to eye with Ted Cruz on a great many issues. He is passionately pro-life, believes bakers have the right to choose what cakes they bake, and is a fervent supporter of the Second Amendment'.... 
  • The Liberty Conservative website analyzes Petersen's positions and declares him 'leader of #nevertrump movement."  Similar praise and/or endorsements from right-wing sites can be found on Constitution.com and DailyWhig."
Read more: http://reason.com/blog/2016/05/11/austin-petersen-the-conservatives-libert
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

NB enforces beer monopoly despite court ruling

Why New Brunswick is vowing to keep busting anyone importing beer, even after judge said it’s legal | Financial Post - John Williamson:

May 16, 2016 - "Heads the province wins, tails you lose. This appears to be the response of the Gallant government to the recent court decision declaring unconstitutional New Brunswick’s longstanding restrictions on bringing alcohol for personal consumption into the province. The government has until the end of the month to appeal Provincial Court Judge Ronald LeBlanc’s ruling that the law violates the Constitution’s free-trade provisions by blocking the flow of goods within Canada. But already New Brunswick’s Public Prosecutions Office is — despite the court ruling — threatening legal action against residents that enter New Brunswick with more alcohol than is permitted by the provincial government’s liquor regulations.

"New Brunswick resident Gérard Comeau was charged by the RCMP in 2012 and fined $295 for illegally bringing in 14 cases of beer and three bottles of liquor from a Quebec border town into his home province. Under the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act, it is a crime to purchase more than one bottle of liquor or wine or the equivalent of 12 pints of beer from retailers outside of the province. Consumers are instead forced to purchase spirits from the New Brunswick Liquor Corp., a government-owned monopoly that charges double the price for beer as Quebec. "

"According to Luc Labonté, director of the province’s Public Prosecutions Services, the law restricting liquor imports remains in effect because 'in theory' the court ruling applies only to the person who brought the case — Mr. Comeau.... The Supreme Court of Canada has stated only superior courts — not provincial courts — can invalidate a law. Consequently, Judge LeBlanc’s decision is not a binding legal precedent....

"Judge LeBlanc’s ruling, however, makes any conviction under New Brunswick’s law unlikely. After the Comeau decision, anyone charged with the offence of importing alcohol will plead 'not guilty,' knowing his or her trial will rely on the newly established precedent.

"The Canadian Constitution Foundation supported Mr. Comeau in the beer case. The group’s executive director Marni Soupcoff explained, 'It’s true that "in theory’ the law remains on the books, but it would be ridiculous for New Brunswick prosecutors to go to court to enforce it now that one of their own judges has plainly assessed it as unconstitutional.' Ms. Soupcoff believes charging other New Brunswick cross-border beer consumers would be a waste of time and money.

'But costly enforcement that wastes time and money could be exactly what the province intends....
The punishment for New Brunswick consumers wouldn’t be the conviction, but the lengthy and costly court process itself.... Most people will, quite sensibly, keep suffering overpriced alcohol in New Brunswick rather than risk having to fight for their rights."

Read more: http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/why-new-brunswick-is-vowing-to-keep-busting-anyone-importing-beer-even-after-judge-said-its-legal
'via Blog this'

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Jillette moderates Vegas Libertarian debate

- courtesy Mimi & Eunice

Penn Jillette to Moderate Final Libertarian Party Debate - Elias J. Atienza, The Libertarian Republic:

May 11, 2016 - "Monday, May 16th, Penn Jillette will moderate the final Libertarian Party presidential primary debate in Las Vegas. Former Governor Gary Johnson, cybersecurity guru John McAfee, and TLR founder Austin Petersen will debate on a variety of topics ranging from the war on drugs to censorship....

"All proceeds will go to benefit Opportunity Village, a non-profit dedicated to serving children and adults in the southern Nevada with intellectual disabilities.

"The debate will take place at Opportunity Village- Engelstad Campus, from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm (PT). The event will be filmed for later broadcast, though Austin Petersen may stream it live like he has done with many prior debates."

Read more: http://thelibertarianrepublic.com/penn-jillette-moderate-final-libertarian-party-debate/
'via Blog this'

Captain America, libertarian and heterosexual

Captain America is Straight and Libertarian, Deal with It | Heat Street - William Hicks:

May 10, 2016 -"There is an epidemic of naval gazers in this country. People who take a nice piece of pop culture that they don’t really care about, then nitpick it to death while projecting their own political pet issues onto it. This is resoundingly true with the new Marvel film, Captain America: Civil War....

"Two habitual naval gazing rags, Salon and Vanity Fair, have done their jobs well, finding just the right jabs to take down a straight-white-male like Captain America.

"Salon’s piece, 'Captain America’s a douchey libertarian now', details Cap’s descent from lovable liberal globalist to vile Ayn Rand-reading individualist.

"In Civil War, Captain America refuses to sign a dumb UN accord that would basically neuter him as a superhero and make him unable to help his friend Bucky, who he believes was framed. The accord aimed to turn The Avengers into ineffectual UN peacekeepers, like the ones that did such a good job in Bosnia and Rwanda.

"'[W]e have this distracting plot where Steve suddenly turns from a level-headed liberal to a Ayn Randian libertarian douchebag who throws tantrums because he has to do grown-up stuff like share power instead of make unilateral decisions for other people,' says the Salon piece by Amanda Marcotte.

"Yes, we do get a bad-ass libertarian Cap, who makes his own judgements and fights for his own sense of justice. He tells the UN pansies to eat it and prevents his friend from being executed without trial by extra-judicial government agents.... Basically all superheroes have hints of libertarianism in so far as vigilantism is diametrically opposed to government oversight....

"And then there’s this Vanity Fair piece, 'Is This the One Flaw in the Otherwise Great Captain America: Civil War?' The one flaw is Cap’s outright heterosexuality.

"Apparently Cap’s love interest — who takes up, at tops, five minutes of the movie — was too much for the author, Joanna Robinson. A sexually ambiguous Captain would have played better into Robinson’s fantasy of a Cap + Bucky romance.  'If Disney isn’t inclined to give audiences a gay superhero, couldn’t they have at least left us the dream of Bucky and Cap?'...

"Robinson, if you want to make the Cap-Bucky romance a reality, write erotic fan fiction like a normal person. You can even throw in a steamy Security Council scene for good, liberal measure."

Read more: https://heatst.com/culture-wars/captain-america-is-straight-and-libertarian-deal-with-it/
'via Blog this'

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Johnson in "most negative race of my career"

Libertarian Party faces a nomination fight in a #NeverTrump world - Washington Post - David Weigel:

May 13, 2016 - "Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico and 2012 Libertarian Party nominee for president, may have found his moment.... .... One small problem: Johnson is not the Libertarian Party’s nominee for 2016. Not yet. When the party meets at the end of the month, in Orlando, its hundreds of delegates will not be bound to any candidate. And Johnson has been under assault, for months, by two rivals who say he would blow the election.

"'It’s the most negative race of my career, by far,' said Johnson in an interview this week.... 'This is very personal, and I don’t get it. My defense is: None of it is being thrown back at them. You want to talk about the issues? Then fine, fine. But holy cow! It’s silly, just silly.'

"As the Libertarian Party faces perhaps the biggest opening of its 40-year history, it’s hosting a contest between the amiable left-libertarian Johnson, the youthful party activist Austin Petersen, and the larger-than-life anti-virus pioneer John McAfee. Johnson’s 2012 performance — a record 1.3 million votes for the party — has been dismissed by challengers who think he’s too compromised or easygoing to seize the moment....

"The Libertarian nomination seems even more valuable now, with a March poll by Monmouth University putting Johnson — by far the best-known candidate — at 11 percent in a race with Clinton and Trump. Johnson, as the only candidate to serve in elected office, says he could build on that and crack the 15 percent threshold for entering the presidential debates. McAfee and Petersen are convinced that he would waste it. This is no year for an 'experienced' candidate, much less one who spent the past few years in the edible marijuana business....

"At the highest-profile moment of the race so far, a debate on Fox Business, Petersen attempted to trip up Johnson with libertarian logic puzzles. His supporters have widely circulated the resulting videos, in which Petersen’s bumper sticker-perfect answers run against Johnson’s attempts to talk through the issues.

“'Should a Jewish baker be required to bake a Nazi wedding cake?' asked Petersen in a discussion about religious liberty. 'That would be my contention,' said Johnson....  'How about the utility that is privately owned, and because it’s the only market where I can buy my electricity, they’re gonna cut me off?' 'This betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of the free market,' said Petersen.... Later, Petersen goaded Johnson over a libertarian heresy – questioning whether people adjudicated mentally ill should be allowed to purchase firearms....

"In an interview this week, Johnson acknowledged that the campaign had been negative and denied that Petersen had gotten under his skin. 'I think I do a pretty good job of communicating what it is I want to communicate,' he said. The problem was that he wanted to deal with real-world implications, not theory, on something like guns being denied to dangerous people. 'We should absolutely be open to a discussion on how that might get accomplished. And having vetoed as many bills as I’ve vetoed, I’ve not seen any proposals that might preclude me from having a gun for failing some test. So, open to a discussion? Yes!'”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/05/13/libertarian-party-faces-a-nomination-fight-in-a-nevertrump-world/
'via Blog this'

Friday, May 13, 2016

Libertarian undercard debate televised (video)

Against ‘government at gunpoint’: Libertarian candidates debate on RT America - Aliza Krichevsky:

"From abolishing most government in favor of free markets and personal responsibility to ending foreign wars and pardoning whistleblowers, three Libertarian Party presidential candidates presented their vision for the US in a debate hosted by RT America.

"Marc Feldman, Kevin McCormick, and Darryl Perry faced each other before RT America’s 360-degree camera, in a debate moderated by Watching The Hawks co-hosts Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace.

"The Libertarian Party is the third-largest political party in the United States, behind only the Democratic and Republican parties. Its platform favors civil liberties, small government, free markets and a non-interventionist foreign policy."

"'I’m a physician, not a politician,' Feldman said in his opening statement, noting that he was an 'informed non-voter' for years before deciding he could not support either major party.

"'We absolutely are not centrist,” said Perry, adding he represented the 'libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party.' He articulated the movement’s ideology as 'self-ownership' and described taxation as 'theft, armed robbery and extortion.'

"Major parties don’t represent the average American, McCormick argued, adding that officials are 'crushing our economy' under the weight of unaccountable bureaucracy, instead of debating the issues."

Read more: https://www.rt.com/usa/342845-libertarian-presidential-debate-live/   'via Blog this'


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ltn. Perry won't file with Election Commission

This Libertarian Presidential Candidate Refused to File With the FEC Because He Believes it Shouldn’t Exist | TheBlaze.com - Kate Scanlon:

May 10, 2016 - "Libertarian presidential candidate Darryl Perry has refused to file campaign paperwork with the Federal Election Commission because he believes there is no constitutional reason for the agency to exist.

"'There shouldn’t be a federal agency that oversees campaign finance,' Perry told TheBlaze in an interview Tuesday. Perry said that a federal agency with the power to control campaign finance through regulations has the power to hinder independent and third-party bids in favor of the current two-party system.

"A Birmingham, Alabama, native, Perry moved to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project, an effort to create a Libertarian majority in the Granite State.

"Perry said he is seeking the Libertarian nomination for president because he believes the party has 'drifted away' from its core beliefs to present a 'watered-down' version of its philosophy....

"Asked if his refusal to file with the FEC has negatively impacted his campaign in any way, Perry replied that his decision to accept campaign contributions only via alternative currencies — such as Bitcoin or gold — has hindered him more. He has declined to accept regular currency because he believes the federal reserve should be abolished.

"Perry said that a general election between two 'unpopular' candidates could present an opening for Libertarians to make an impact in November. '

"'On paper it looks like an excellent opportunity,” Perry said, adding, 'At the end of the day, Republicans will vote Republican because they fear the Democrats more than they support what they claim to support, and Democrats will vote Democrat because they fear Republicans more than they support what they claim to support.'

"Perry said that if a Libertarian candidate were to be allowed on the stage for a debate in a general election, it could be a game-changer for the race."

Read more: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/05/10/this-libertarian-presidential-candidate-refused-to-file-with-the-fec-because-he-believes-it-shouldnt-exist/
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Johnson 2016 pledges $150K to ballot drive

GARY JOHNSON’S CAMPAIGN COMMITS $150K AND 400 VOLUNTEERS TO LIBERTARIAN 2016 50-STATE BALLOT ACCESS DRIVE | Gary Johnson 2016 (press release):

May 5, 2016 - "Gary Johnson 2016, the presidential campaign of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson,  today announced its commitment of $150,000 toward Libertarian Party ballot access drives nationwide.

"Johnson’s financial commitment will bolster the Libertarian National Committee’s budget in its effort to secure ballot status for the LP presidential and vice-presidential nominees in all 50 state, plus the District of Columbia.

"The Johnson campaign has also recruited more than 400 campaign supporters to volunteer for 2016’s ballot access drive nationwide.

"Bill Redpath, former LNC chair and LP ballot access expert, lauded the Johnson campaign’s commitment....
.
"'This announcement is further evidence of Governor Johnson’s record of work, often behind-the-scenes, to help ensure that Libertarian candidates are not unfairly denied ballot access.

"'His campaign’s commitment of funds and volunteers demonstrates that Gary Johnson understands that every American voter deserves the chance to vote for the LP ticket.

"'And in this election year with an opportunity for historic LP vote totals, nationwide ballot status may be more important than ever.'"

https://garyjohnson2016.com/gary-johnsons-campaign-commits-150k-and-400-volunteers-to-libertarian-2016-50-state-ballot-access-drive/
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Reason, Cato named in climate-change probe

Reason Foundation Included in Climate-Change Dragnet Subpoena to ExxonMobil - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Ron Bailey:

May 4, 2016 - "In March, six Democratic state attorneys-general and the independent attorney general from the U.S. Virgin Islands joined forces with climate activist and former Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore to annnounce a legal campaign to intimidate climate change skeptics....

"The heart of this anti-free-speech effort has been a series of subpoenas to ExxonMobil demanding that the oil giant supply various attorneys general with all communications it has had since January 1, 1977 with groups that address scientific and policy issues with respect to climate change. On Tuesday, one of those subpoenas to ExxonMobil, a March 15 fishing expedition by former EPA lawyer and current Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, was made public, revealing the wide extent of this intimidation campaign. How wide? One of the organizations mentioned in Walker's subpoena is the Reason Foundation....

"Reason is far from alone. The subpoena lists nearly 100 think tanks, advocacy groups, lobbyists, and university centers with which Walker believes ExxonMobil may have had communications concerning 'research, advocacy, strategy, reports, studies, reviews, or public opinions regarding Climate Change.' These include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the George Mason University Law and Economics Center, the American Enterprise Institute, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, the Cato Institute, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, the Heritage Foundation, and on and on.

"The attorneys-general are seeking to discover some sort of an ExxonMobil-financed conspiracy aimed at undermining public confidence in the scientific consensus that man-made climate change is real and a big problem. Some who are worried about the deleterious effects of climate change have grown weary of trying to persuade their fellow citizens that the scientific evidence is on their side, and so now want to outlaw expressions of disagreement with that consensus.

"For example, a prominent group of climate activists sent a letter in September 2015 to the Department of Justice suggesting that Attorney General Loretta Lynch open a 'RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America's response to climate change.' At a congressional hearing in March, Lynch testified that her office has considered taking legal action against groups promoting climate change skepticism."

Read more: http://reason.com/blog/2016/05/04/reason-foundation-included-in-climate-ch
'via Blog this'

Monday, May 9, 2016

GOP strategist re-registers as Libertarian

Mary Matalin registers as Libertarian, says 'I'm a provisional Trumpster' - POLITICO - Nick Gass:

May 6, 2016 - "Longtime Republican strategist Mary Matalin says she changed her affiliation to the Libertarian Party on Thursday, but insisted that does not mean she will not vote for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton.

"'I'm a never Hillary and I’m a provisional Trump,' said Matalin, who is married to Democratic strategist and Clinton surrogate James Carville, in an interview with Bloomberg Politics' 'With All Due Respect.' Matalin said she likes Trump's 'attitude' and 'strategic chutzpah'....

"Asked why she chose to register as a Libertarian on Thursday, two days after Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, Matalin insisted it was purely coincidental.

"Because I'm a Republican in the Jeffersonian, Madisonian sense," she said. "I'm not a Republican for party or a person, and the Libertarian Party represents — continues to represent — those constitutional principles that I agree with'....

"Co-host Mark Halperin pressed her minutes later, asking whether there truly is no connection between leaving the Republican Party and Trump becoming the presumptive nominee.

"'Let me make this clear here, Mark and my friends there. I am never Hillary, I am always liberty,' she said. 'As you know, and I’ve said it publicly here and in many places, after two successive blowout elections for conservatives with a nonresponse from Washington, a lot of conservatives are angry with the party. The party was falling apart. I can still vote for Republicans. I will never vote for Hillary and never Trump means always liberty. Hence, Libertarian'....

"Asked what kind of a story it would be if her husband, Carville, left the Democratic Party, Matalin smirked. 'I think it would be a juicy story for me and it would contribute mightily to marital tranquility, I’ll say,' she remarked."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/mary-matalin-registered-independent-222882
'via Blog this'

Sunday, May 8, 2016

McAfee, Petersen campaigns allege dirty tricks by Johnson campaign

Libertarian Party Presidential Campaign Gets Nasty - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Brian Doherty:

April 21, 2016 - "Both [John] McAfee's camp and that of Austin Petersen ... have floated accusations of naughty skulduggery against [Gary] Johnson's campaign.

"It seems to have started with McAfee himself, who had been painting himself as a happy new convert to the party and someone who intended to stick with it for the long term, announcing that he would not stick with the party if Johnson were its nominee..... McAfee did not then and still has not himself publicly stated his reasons for feeling this way about Johnson....

"Within a few days, Petersen's camp also on Facebook floated stories of Johnson campaign operatives playing some dirty-ish tricks, including sneakily offering to pay off campaign operatives from rival campaigns to either jump ship or just sit out the process.

"Johnson's campaign was also accused of renting every available room in the Rosen Centre where the convention is held, in an effort to prevent delegates from other campaigns finding lodging during the party's nominating convention in Orlando in May.

"Finding supporting specifics that might verify these accusations has proven difficult, and none of the public accusers have had much to offer. I was led to and communicated with one Nevada delegate who preferred not to be named who did say the Johnson campaign offered him a free room if he promised to support Johnson, but he declined to provide names or other potentially corroborating details.... Another prospective delegate who also did not want her story public spoke of someone close to the campaign offering her a professional favor if she swore fealty to the campaign, but no hotel room.

"On Facebook, both Petersen and later McAfee's vice presidential pick Judd Weiss ... have been hit with doubters asking them to provide some proof.... Petersen and Weiss both seem to believe the accusations are true from my communications with them, but it's not publicly clear why they believe it, though they certainly imply that they've been given inside scoops not available to us....

"Michael Iafatro, a travel agent who worked with the campaign, told me in an IM interview that ... 'the GJ campaign has booked 2 suites which were part of the suite packages offered by the National LP' and that far from filling the Rosen Center, 'I have blocked rooms as far away as the airport for Johnson delegates' ... The national L.P. office said through a spokesperson that 'there is no individual or as far as we can tell pattern of associated people who have booked any bloc' at the Rosen....

"While none of the accusers named to me or anywhere I've seen publicly [identify] any specific campaign officials who were supposedly offered payoffs from Johnson, I've heard implications that Christopher Thrasher, McAfee's former campaign manager who did indeed leave that position the week all these rumors began floating, might be at issue....

"[W]hen I called McAfee this week to ask if he'd elaborate on what he learned about Johnson that made him declare he wants nothing to do with the party if Johnson is its candidate, he first said 'no comment' then called back with a couple: First, that McAfee's concerns have 'nothing whatsoever to do with the issues Judd Weiss has bought up' and are 'completely different' and 'issues that have not yet been publicly brought up by anyone ever'."

Read more: http://reason.com/blog/2016/04/21/libertarian-party-presidential-campaign
'via Blog this'

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother Jones checks out the Libertarians

Meet the Long-Shot Candidates Who Hope to Benefit From the GOP's Trump Meltdown | Mother Jones - Tim Murphy:

May 5, 2016 - "An hour before the Libertarian Party presidential debate in New York City on Saturday, the cybersecurity guru John McAfee, one of the candidates, was smoking a cigarette outside the venue, a Ukrainian restaurant in the East Village, and explaining how he could win in November.... McAfee, who is 70 but has a goatee and frosted tips that give him the profile of an over-the-hill Backstreet Boy, was shadowed by a gaggle of photographers and filmmakers as he loitered on the sidewalk....

"McAfee may draw most of the cameras, but his path to the nomination is a difficult one. There are 17 Libertarians running for president, four of whom participated in the debate at the New York Libertarian Party convention.... The front-runner for the nomination, which will be decided by delegates at the party's convention in Orlando later this month, is [Gary] Johnson, who won a record 1.3 million votes under the Libertarian Party's banner four years ago. Between presidential campaigns, Johnson was the CEO of a Nevada-based marijuana company that specializes in candy and creams....

"Johnson is anti-war, socially liberal, and fiscally conservative, but rather than laying out his positions, he'd rather talk about a website he found, isidewith.com, which purports to match your political views with the corresponding candidate.... — the quiz shows that a lot of people agree with him at least some of the time, including Bernie Sanders supporters. In a year in which a large portion of voters in both parties don't like their first choice, Johnson wants to be their second.... His literature asks voters simply to 'be Libertarian for one election'....

"McAfee and Johnson shared the stage with two other candidates, Darryl Perry and Austin Petersen. Perry is a Free State project activist from New Hampshire whose campaign conducts business exclusively in Bitcoin and precious metals.... He recently picked up the endorsement of the Libertarian Party Sex Caucus. His platform states that the US government 'as it exists today, should be abolished,' which would render moot any questions about his lack of experience. (His biography mentions his work at a college radio station.) At the debate, he called the federal government 'the world's largest terrorist organization,' and he identified himself, in contrast to Johnson, as a member of the 'libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party.'

"Petersen is a suit-and-tie libertarian who previously worked for FreedomWorks and Fox News host Andrew Napolitano. He raised money for Ron Paul's presidential campaign and name-drops Republican elected officials he considers allies, such as Michigan Rep. Justin Amash and Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie. Boyish and a little overeager, Petersen refers to himself as the 'freedom ninja' and contends that the party needs a fresh face who can 'bring along those Never Trump conservatives who are just dying to vote for a pro-life libertarian.' He was also the only candidate who suggested that McAfee's past might hurt the party in November, but in the same breath he called McAfee a 'badass' and said McAfee had offered to drop acid with him. (McAfee said this was a joke and that he hasn't used drugs in 35 years)....

"Petersen called Trump a gift to the Libertarians — 'we are now seeing massive immigration into our open borders of our party' — but he contended that there was something worth emulating about the celebrity billionaire, in style if not substance. 'He's got the showmanship and the qualities and performance that we're gonna need to take this message to the masses,' he said. 'Not this same sort of egghead intellectualism that we have.'

"This is, in part, the appeal of McAfee; he's a candidate for people who don't like the old way of doing things. Derrick Michael Reid, a long-shot candidate who participated in a JV debate that preceded the main event, put it to McAfee as they huddled outside the restaurant. 'If Johnson gets nominated, the country just goes through a big yawn — "oh, the goofy governor," and that's it,' he said. 'They nominate you or me, they go viral.' At the very least, it'll get them on Spike TV."

Read more: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/05/gary-johnson-john-mcafee-libertarian-convention
'via Blog this'

Friday, May 6, 2016

Vermont House kills cannabis legalization

Vermont’s marijuana legalization dreams go up in smoke - Watchdog.org - Bruce Parker:

May 3, 2016 - "Efforts at legalizing recreational marijuana use and cultivation in Vermont went up in smoke Tuesday....  In a marathon session that began in the morning and lasted until nearly 6 p.m., House members considered a range of proposals for legalizing and decriminalizing pot.

Starting with the Senate-approved S.241, a bill that devised a regulatory structure to grow and sell pot in retail outlets beginning in January 2018, the House voted 121-28 to strike that language from an unrelated criminal procedures bill and replace it with a compromise amendment to decriminalize cultivation of two cannabis plants for personal use....

"With commercialization off the table, members spent the rest of the day debating the compromise amendment presented by state Rep. Chip Conquest, D-Newbury. In addition to decriminalizing two plants, the amendment proposed the creation of a study commission and education programs for curbing drug use....  Under the amendment, a civil penalty for public possession of more than one ounce of marijuana was set at $100 for the first offense. Harvesting more than two plants would incur a $300 penalty.

"As the House prepared to vote, Minority Leader Don Turner, R-Milton, offered to strike the compromise amendment and instead let voters decide on whether or not to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Turner’s plan proposed a non-binding referendum during the 2016 primary election.... The House rejected Turner’s amendment by a 97-51 vote that fell largely along partisan lines.

"The proposal to decriminalize two plants seemed to have momentum until state Rep. Cynthia Browning, D-Arlington, began asking how many joints the plants would produce. At first the number was 1,280 joints, taken from 32 ounces of marijuana....

"The number of joints kept growing. Figures produced from the Vermont State Police said two pot plants could, at the high end, produce more than 4 pounds of marijuana in 120 days, resulting in a possible 4,830 joints....

"The lengthy inquiry exploded the proposal and caused a legislative meltdown that lasted the rest of the day.... Two-plant decriminalization failed by a vote of 77-70."

Read more: http://watchdog.org/264236/marijuana-legalization-dreams-go-up-in-smoke/
'via Blog this'

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Libertarians see surge in interest, memberships

Google Searches for 'Libertarian Party' Surge Following Trump Win - Breitbart - Allum Bokhari:
May 4, 2016 - "Google searches for the 'Libertarian Party' surged last night following the exit of Senator Ted Cruz from the Republican race after his decisive loss to [Donald] Trump in the Indiana primary.
"This was matched by searches for Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico and the party’s candidate in 2012. Johnson is once again seeking the party’s nomination in 2016, although he must first overcome challenges from software entrepreneur John McAfee and Libertarian Republic founder Austin Petersen.
"Interest in Johnson also surged on Reddit, where a post from a user 'terrified of a Trump-Clinton choice' went viral. The user urged other Redditors to 'submit and upvote information about Gary Johnson like crazy.' Reddit users obliged, giving the post enough votes to reach the site’s widely-read front page.
"The post was originally submitted to the /r/libertarian subreddit, where submissions rarely, if ever, garner enough attention to move so far up the rankings.
"Both Johnson and his leadership rival, Petersen, were quick to welcome disaffected Republicans on Twitter."
Read more: http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/05/04/google-searches-libertarian-party-surge-following-trump-win/
'via Blog this'

Libertarian Party membership applications double after Trump becomes GOP nominee | Washington Examiner - Asche Schow:
May 4, 2016 - "In the hours after the polls closed in Indiana and it was announced that businessman Donald Trump had won the Republican presidential primary — thereby ending Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign — the Libertarian Party saw a doubling of its new membership applications.
"Between 7 p.m. Tuesday evening and noon on Wednesday, the Libertarian Party received 99 new memberships. For the same time period a day earlier, the LP received only 46 new memberships.
"In an email to the Washington Examiner, LP Executive Director Wes Benedict said he was unaware of any social media efforts by the party to recruit new members, and believed the increase was in response to Trump becoming the clear Republican nominee."
Read more: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/libertarian-party-membership-applications-double-after-trump-becomes-gop-nominee/article/2590367
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Maine cannabis initiative OK'd for 2016 ballot

It's official: Maine will decide on marijuana legalization in 2016 - David Sharp, Associated Press:

April 28, 2016 - "A referendum proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Maine has met the threshold to appear on the November ballot, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said Wednesday.

"The announcement means the citizen initiative will be forwarded Friday to state lawmakers, who can either enact it now or put it before voters in the fall....

"The measure would legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults 21 and older, allowing them to possess up to 2.5 ounces. It also would regulate and tax marijuana. Maine already legalized marijuana for medical use in 1999.

"Earlier Wednesday, Maine’s chief justice removed a legal hurdle to allow the review of referendum petitions to resume.

"Election officials certified an additional 11,305 signatures, enough to surpass the necessary 61,123 signatures of registered voters.... The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol originally submitted 99,229 signatures on Feb. 1, but only 51,543 of the signatures were deemed to be valid.

"A review was ordered after a judge set aside Dunlap’s decision to reject thousands of signatures because the notary’s signature didn’t match the signature on file in Augusta.

"The review resumed Wednesday after Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Leigh Saufley denied an individual’s request to intervene that had stalled the process.

"Dunlap said Wednesday that seven circulators whose petitions containing 11,305 signatures were originally invalidated have sworn under oath that they signed their petitions in front of notary Stavros Mendros.

"Maine will be one of several states considering marijuana legalization proposals. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., already have made recreational use of marijuana legal for adults."

Read more: http://www.thecannabist.co/2016/04/28/maine-marijuana-legalization-election-2016/52962/
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Decriminalize cannabis to fight ISIS, top Italian prosecutor says

Decriminalizing marijuana would hurt Daesh, Italian mafia, prosecutor says - Daily Sabah - Reuters:

April 18, 2016 - "Decriminalizing cannabis sales would strike a blow against Daesh terrorists and Italian mobsters who, according to ongoing investigations, are smuggling hashish together, Italy's top prosecutor told Reuters....

"In investigations whose details have not yet been made public, police have found evidence that Italian organized crime, which has long controlled most of the country's illegal drug supplies, and "suspected terrorists" in North Africa are trafficking hash together, [Franco] Roberti said.

"'Decriminalization or even legalisation would definitely be a weapon against traffickers, among whom there could be terrorists who make money off of it,' he told Reuters.

"Citing estimates by the United Nations Office on Narcotics and Crime, Roberti said that the illegal drugs trade, which includes cannabis and hash, earns more than 32 billion euros ($36.10 billion) annually for Italian organized crime....

"'International terrorism finances itself with criminal activities that are typical of the mafia, like drug trafficking, smuggling commercial goods, smuggling oil, smuggling archaeological relics and art, kidnapping for ransom, and extortion,' he said.

"Facing the huge challenges of fighting people smuggling, cocaine trafficking, and international terrorism, investigators are spending too much time and energy to combat cannabis dealers, and to little effect, said Roberti.

"'We spend a lot of resources uselessly. We have not succeeded in reducing cannabinoid trafficking. On the contrary, it's increasing,' said Roberti.... According to the most recent government data, about 3.5 million Italians between the ages of 15-64 used cannabis in 2014.

"Cannabis is much less damaging than hard or synthetic drugs, which should not be decriminalized, he said. But Italy's laws against selling or growing cannabis are severe and can lead to imprisonment.

"A bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed legalizing cannabis possession and cultivation earlier this year, but it is not supported by the leaders of any major parties."