Tuesday, October 31, 2017

US Libertarians aim for 2,000 candidates in 2018

Cara Schulz joins staff as candidate recruiting specialist | Libertarian Party - Wes Benedict:

October 25, 2017 - "I’m excited to announce the hiring of Cara Schulz to serve as candidate recruiting specialist for the Libertarian National Committee. Cara (pronounced “care + a”) has not only managed other people’s campaigns at federal, state, and local levels, but has personally run for public office and won.

"After her first attempt fell short in 2014, she ran again in 2016 for Minnesota’s Burnsville City Council (population 61,630) and won. Although the position is officially nonpartisan, she defeated opponents that had been endorsed by the the Republican and Democratic parties and supported by the Chamber of Commerce. Schulz will continue her service on the council and will work for the LNC from Minnesota.

"Schulz has more than two decades of experience in sales and sales management, mostly working with remote teams. That experience will come in handy as she faces the monumental task of helping our affiliates nationwide recruit 2,000 candidate for office in 2018!

"In recent election cycles, we’ve had closer to 600 or 800 candidates nationwide, so, yes, we’re trying to more than double recent results for 2018.

"In 2016, Schulz knocked on more than 22,000 doors in five months while campaigning for herself and while serving as the state director for the Gov. Gary Johnson/Bill Weld campaign. She won’t accept many excuses. She’s the kind of person we need to rally libertarians to run for office nationwide.

"If you are even remotely considering running for something in 2018, please express your interest today here: LP.org/run-for-office"

Read more: https://www.lp.org/cara-schulz-joins-staff-candidate-recruiting-specialist/
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Monday, October 30, 2017

CA governor vetoes campus sexcrimes bill

Jerry Brown Vetoes Campus Sexual Assault Bill Because It Threatens Due Process - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Robby Soave:

October 16, 2017 - "Today California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Senate Bill 169, which would have codified the Obama-era Education Department's guidance for how college campuses should deal with sexual misconduct.

"What's more, he vetoed the bill on explicit due-process grounds. Accused students, guilty or not, 'must be treated fairly and with the presumption of innocence until the facts speak otherwise,' he wrote in a statement.

"Brown's veto comes at a time when the new Education Department, led by Betsy DeVos, is revising the guidance.... The California legislature tried to ensure that schools keep doing things the old way. But as Brown noted:
Thoughtful legal minds have increasingly questioned whether federal and state actions to prevent and redress sexual harassment and assault — well-intentioned as they are — have also unintentionally resulted in some colleges' failure to uphold due process for accused students. Depriving any student of higher education opportunities should not be done lightly, or out of fear of losing state or federal funding.

Given the strong state of our laws already, I am not prepared to codify additional requirements in reaction to a shifting federal landscape, when we haven't yet ascertained the full impact of what we recently enacted. We have no insight into how many formal investigations result in expulsion, what circumstances lead to expulsion, or whether there is disproportionate impact on race or ethnicity.
"Brown isn't wrong to suggest that the softening of due process protections for accused students might have disproportionately affected students of color. As Emily Yoffe discussed in a thoroughly reported series for The Atlantic, there are good reasons to think minority students are much more likely to run afoul of the campus anti-rape bureaucracy.

"I'm pleasantly surprised that Brown vetoed this bill and released such a strong statement reaffirming the importance of due process ... a brave stance that makes him an outlier within the Democratic Party, whose leaders have been far more likely to condemn DeVos for trying to tamper with the system."

Read more: http://reason.com/blog/2017/10/16/gov-jerry-brown-vetoes-campus-sexual-ass
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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Atlas Shrugged at 60

60 Years of Atlas Shrugged: Celebrating Property Rights and the Spirit of the Individual - Freedom Forge Press - Val Muller:

October 10, 2017 - "Today, October 10, marks 60 years since Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged was published. For those of you who haven’t read it – it is, after all, a lengthy tome – we wanted to highlight some of the freedom aspects we love about the novel....

"In the novel, the railroad industry crashes when a combination of over-regulation, cronyism, and other government meddling cause the entire system to malfunction. In her work, government regulation essentially means the loss of private property rights. With the collective ownership that follows, no one truly bears the consequence of a decision. Instead of going out of business or losing a job, politicians can always ask 'the rich' to pay a little more of 'their fair share' i.e., raise taxes to pay for incompetent decisions – until everyone suffers the consequence in a very literal way....

"In Atlas Shrugged, the 'good guys' are pushed to their limit in suffering abuse from the government. Changing regulations make it impossible for businesses to find a stable plan for producing goods and providing jobs. And ... government regulation removes economic consequences, leading the country to make decisions that business owners would never make if they had control of their own businesses. Crop failure and energy shortages occur, and in a country once as wealthy as America is now, people fear starving or freezing over the winter....

"In Rand’s work, government outreach for power is seen as theft. Those elected to power have not done anything to earn it other than engage in demagoguery and promises to redistribute other people’s tax money in a way advantageous to a particular voting group. Elected officials are not inventors. They are not engineers. They are not enlightened philosophers. The more their policies fail, the more their constituents rely on them to 'fix' what is broken, and the more likely they are to be reelected. Rand recognizes the ultimate paradox and hypocrisy of our system: that to improve one’s chances of being re-elected, one must be inefficient....

"Men are men when they can think for themselves and be allowed to know the truth and to use reason and facts to question those in power. When ignorance takes over and reason is replaced with what Rand calls mysticism, things fall apart. Mysticism, in a nutshell, is the belief that we must deny our own desires for the 'common good,' that we must make sacrifices for someone else, that no one can truly be happy indulging in their own lives, that we must deny the use of reason to defer power to others....

"In Atlas Shrugged, the 'good guys' are the producers ... the thinkers, the ones ready to work hard and make personal sacrifices for their own success and achievement. While their hard work does positively impact others, in the form of advanced medicine, amazing and economical metals, and the like, they did not set out to do things for others. They set out to fulfill their own dreams. And this is why those in power detest them....

"[A]t the end of the novel, Rand’s producers decide to boycott society in general. They remove themselves from society. They are the last talent left in the mindless world they inhabit, and without them the politicians have no power. Without their hard work, no one has anything extra to sacrifice for others. Without them, the 'mystic' beliefs of the politicians cannot stand.

"Like Thoreau and Gandhi, Rand pushes us toward a type of civil disobedience. Once they reach a certain point, laws seem to be merely a civilized way of stealing from some – or all. We like Rand’s work because it makes us question our role in society. We have been trained to be polite, as Rand points out, trained to believe that sacrifice and selflessness makes it okay for a government to steal much of our hard-earned money and create programs we have never heard of and never benefit from. Ayn Rand pushes us to think beyond our complacency, really to use reason to question our place in the world."

Read more: http://www.freedomforgepress.com/2017/10/10/60-years-atlas-shrugged-celebrating-property-rights-spirit-individual/
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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Help fix U.S. democracy: befriend a libertarian

Are Libertarian Friends the Key to Fixing American Democracy? - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Katherine Mangu-Ward:

October 26, 2017 - "Bursting your personal political bubble is important, but hard. It's so annoying to talk to people who totally disagree with you, amirite? Today in a forum on fixing democracy in The Washington Post Magazine, I argue that libertarians are the gateway drug to transpartisan understanding:
On the left and finding that Trump fans turn your stomach? Consider chatting with someone who will give you a hearty amen when you grouse about his immigration restrictionism and warmongering over a craft cocktail or a joint, but can still offer some insight into why a sane person might think environmental regulatory rollback or Social Security privatization is a good idea.

On the right and struggling to figure out how you'd connect with a blue-haired Occupy Wall Streeter? Find a libertarian: We'll grab some burgers and cigars. We can talk about repealing Obamacare and cutting taxes before easing into a conversation about why it might be time to seriously consider reforming our criminal justice system.
"Innovative solution for repairing America's broken civic institutions, or shameless bid to make new friends? You decide."

Read more: http://reason.com/blog/2017/10/26/are-libertarian-friends-the-key-to-fixin
'via Blog this'

Friday, October 27, 2017

Catalan parliament votes for independence

Spain imposes direct rule after Catalonia votes to declare independence | World news | The Guardian - Sam Jones, Stephen Burgen, & Emma Graham-Harrison: :

October 27, 2017 - "Spain’s national unity suffered a decisive blow on Friday afternoon when Catalan MPs in the 135-seat regional parliament voted for independence by a margin of 70 votes to 10. Dozens of opposition MPs boycotted the secret ballot, marching out of the chamber in Barcelona before it took place and leaving Spanish and Catalan flags on their empty seats in protest.

"Minutes later in Madrid, the Spanish senate granted unprecedented powers to the country’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, to impose direct rule on Catalonia under article 155 of the constitution. The article, which has never been used, allows Rajoy to sack the Catalan government ... and assume control of Catalonia’s civil service, police, finances and public media. It will also pave the way for new regional elections within six months.

"The European Union, the UK, Germany and the United States all said they would not recognise Catalan independence and expressed support for Madrid....

"Rajoy’s cabinet was due to enact the measures after an emergency cabinet meeting on Friday evening and is expected to appeal against the independence declaration in the Spanish constitutional court. Prosecutors will also file charges of 'rebellion' against [Catalan president Carles] Puigdemont, a crime punishable with up to 30 years in jail....

"Much will now depend on how the Spanish government goes about removing Catalan officials from office and how pro-independence activists and the regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, react to the intervention....

"Puigdemont called for a peaceful response to the coming crackdown. 'In the days ahead, we must keep to our values of pacificism and dignity,' he said.... Although the Catalan leader signed a declaration of independence on 10 October, he proposed its effects be suspended for two months to allow for dialogue with Madrid....

"Friday, Rajoy had appeared before the upper house of the Spanish parliament to request authorisation for the government’s use of article 155. He told senators that Puigdemont’s decision to flout the Spanish constitution by staging the independence referendum had forced the central government to take the unprecedented step of imposing direct rule."

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/27/spanish-pm-mariano-rajoy-asks-senate-powers-dismiss-catalonia-president 'via Blog this'

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Instagram takes down Atlas Society's page

Atlas Society: Instagram Removed Our Page | The Daily Caller - Eric Lieberman:

October 21, 2017 - "Libertarian nonprofit The Atlas Society (TAS) says its Instagram page, which it used to post political content and promote its work, was taken down roughly a month ago with little to no explanation....

"In an attempt to get its account back, ... The Atlas Society reached out to Instagram in early September. The organization’s CEO, Jennifer Grossman, said communications with Instagram inexplicably ended in an abrupt fashion after some confusion of the proper username for the account ensued.

"The Daily Caller News Foundation spoke to several representatives at both Instagram and Facebook, which purchased the other social media platform for $1 billion, to get to the bottom of the situation. Following a great deal of back-and-forth, including providing evidence that their account existed, an Instagram official told TheDCNF that TAS’s account was deleted by an administrator of the official '@atlassociety' account some time around three years ago.

"Utterly perplexed by the information relayed to them, Grossman and her small staff provided TheDCNF with files that prove the account existed within the past three years.... TheDCNF then transferred the evidence to an Instagram employee, who has said multiple times after several inquiries that they plan on investigating, and subsequently responding.

"TAS’s Instagram account at time of publication is still down and unavailable....

"Grossman said she is ready to take whatever means necessary to get her Instagram account back, including legal recourse. 'If we can’t get answers by engaging in the routes that Instagram itself advertises as being the recourse for consumers, then we will try to get answers through the discovery process,' she said. 'We’ve suffered significant economic damage by being denied access to the area where we do business. We’re in the idea business, and this is our marketplace.'

"Prior to leading TAS, Grossman ... worked as education policy director for the libertarian-leaning think tank Cato Institute and a presidential speechwriter in the White House during the George H.W. Bush administration. She also served as the senior vice president for Dole Food Company, a powerful agriculture corporation, for roughly 10 years.

"'I’m a business person, I spent most of my career in companies where you take your products to market — via roads, rivers, rails, etc. Well, Instagram is the road by which we were conveying our products — memes that communicated our particular (and granted, not always popular) point of view,' she explained. 'Now we’re denied access to that road — and therefore to our consumers.'"

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2017/10/21/exclusive-libertarian-org-ready-to-sue-instagram-for-allegedly-removing-its-account/
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

New Ron Paul book: The Revolution at Ten Years

The Revolution at Ten - Campaign for Liberty - Norm Singleton, National Blog:

October 20, 2017 - "Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul's new book, The Revolution at Ten, is a great read.  One can learn more about economics, politics, history, and the philosophy of liberty from this 130-page book than from most lengthy academic works.

"Starting with the early legal codes protecting individual rights to the Magna Carta, the American Revolution, and the movement toward liberty in the 19th century,  Dr. Paul discusses how America abandoned the philosophy of limited government, free markets, and non-interventionist foreign policy in the 20th century.  Dr. Paul explains  how liberty was lost as progressives gained control over the government, began constructing a welfare state at home and a warfare state abroad. The progressive's crusade to use state power to "perfect" America and the world was facilitated by the twin mistakes of 1913 – the creation of the income tax and the Federal Reserve.

"Dr. Paul then recounts the rise of the rEVOLution in 2008 and 2012. While the media proclaims it is dead, Dr. Paul sees it as still growing as support for the ideas of Liberty continue to grow and the failures of progressivism become more obvious.

"The unifying theme of the book is that we are in the last stages of the progressive era and what replaces it depends in large part on how successful we are in getting a critical mass of people to embrace liberty and join our movement.

"Dr. Paul covers the major challenges facing us, including foreign policy, civil liberties, the 'deep state,' climate change hysteria, and, of course, monetary policy and the Federal Reserve. My favorite chapter is on cultural marxism. Dr. Paul ties the 'social justice warrior' crusade to censor all speech they deem offensive to the progressive goal of destroying civil society in order to use government power to exercise total control over individuals.

"The last two chapters of the book compare the libertarian society with one governed  by 'progressive' values and looks at the chaos that could come from the collapse of the Keynesian welfare-warfare state. Dr. Paul is optimistic that a free society can emerge after the next crisis.... Dr. Paul’s predictions should inspire us to redouble our efforts to work to grow the liberty movement and force the [pilot] to change course before an economic crisis leaves us no other choice."

Read more: http://www.campaignforliberty.org/revolution-ten
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Order from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Revolution-at-Ten-Years/dp/0996426558

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Rebel Media founder repudiates the alt.right

Ezra Levant’s staff memo on the alt-right - The Rebel:

August 22, 2017 - "When I first heard of the alt-right a year ago, I thought it simply meant the insurgent right, the politically incorrect right, the grassroots right, the nationalistic right, the right that was a counterweight to the establishment of the GOP, the right that backed Trump and his 'Make America Great Again' style over Jeb Bush and the swamp. It was unashamed right-wingedness, with a sense of humour.

"Prominent alt-right personalities back then included the outrageous but loveable Milo Yiannopoulos, who just happened to be a half-Jewish gay man who preferred black men. I remember when Hillary Clinton made her bizarre campaign speech attacking the alt-right, and it sounded no different than any of her other 'deplorables' insults, so that made me even more interested.

"But the alt-right has changed into something new, especially since Trump’s election. Now the leading figure — at least in terms of media attention — is Richard Spencer, and other white nationalists. By that, I mean people whose central organizing political principle is race.

"And that’s the starting point; there are also white supremacists, and even some neo-Nazis. There were actually some Nazi swastika flags in Charlottesville. Whether or not they were being genuinely carried, or carried by agents provocateurs trying to embarrass the alt-right isn’t even important. They were there — and Spencer’s torch-lit walk had other Nazi symbology, including the 'Sieg Heil' arm salute, and the chant of 'blood and soil'  —  which was a slogan popularized by the Nazis.

"Sorry, that’s not conservative, that's just racist, and I think it’s unpatriotic to mimic one of America’s greatest historical enemies. Spencer released an explicitly racist manifesto in Charlottesville. If pressed, Spencer positively admits he is not conservative; he does not believe in individualism; he is a communalist, an economic socialist, but most importantly, someone who believes your race is your key characteristic.

"We disagree. We believe that character and ideas and actions are more important than skin colour, or for that matter sex or sexual orientation. You can be a smart, thoughtful conservative who is black, gay, Jewish, whatever — and you can be a foolish, unethical, violent Communist who is white. In fact, there are quite a lot of them.

"We will still report on what the alt-right says and does, and we will surely report more accurately than the mainstream media does. We can stand up for their freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, and oppose censorship — like the ACLU courageously did in Charlottesville. We can stand up for the rule of law, especially when police seem to stand down to allow Antifa leftists do violence as they did in Charlottesville and Berkeley and other places.

"And of course we can point out the differences with which extremist black, gay, Muslim or feminist identity politics are treated by the establishment, as opposed to how white identity politics are treated....

"We are not alt-right. That term now effectively means racism, anti-Semitism and tolerance of neo-Nazism."

Read more: https://www.therebel.media/ezra_levant_s_staff_memo_on_the_alt_right
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Monday, October 23, 2017

Appeals court OKs Block's suit against NY Times

NY Times must face defamation lawsuit over professor's slavery comments -  Jonathan Stempel, Reuters:

August 15, 2017 - "A federal appeals court ... said the New York Times Co. must face a defamation lawsuit by a Louisiana economics professor who said it quoted him out of context by saying he described slavery as 'not so bad.'

"The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived claims by Walter Block, who teaches at Loyola University, over a January 26, 2014, front page article about libertarianism and a potential presidential candidacy of Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican who later ran for the White House.

The article, 'Rand Paul’s Mixed Inheritance,' also quoted Block as saying the retailer Woolworth’s had a right to exclude blacks from its lunch counters because 'no one is compelled to associate with people against their will'....

"Block, a self-described libertarian, said that while he used the words attributed to him, the reporters Sam Tanenhaus and Jim Rutenberg distorted their meaning by omitting necessary context. Block said this made him appear racist, despite his having always been a 'bitter opponent' of slavery.

"A lower court judge dismissed the case, but the three-judge appeals court panel found a 'genuine issue of material fact' as to whether the article was false and had a defamatory meaning.

"'If, as Block has pleaded, he stated during the interview that slavery was "not so bad" except for its involuntariness, a reasonable jury could determine that the NYT’s decontextualized quotation falsely portrayed him as communicating that chattel slavery itself was not problematic - exactly the opposite of the point that he says he was making,' the panel said.

"The court also found it premature to dismiss Block’s claim that the Times acted with actual malice....

"The judges on the appeals court panel were appointed by Republican presidents.

"Tanenhaus and Rutenberg are also defendants in the case, which the appeals court returned to U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle in New Orleans."

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tillerson-asia-afghanistan/tillerson-pays-flying-visit-to-afghanistan-to-discuss-u-s-strategy-idUSKBN1CS1PM
'via Blog this'

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The contractarian libertarian

Libertarianism and contractarianism - The Washington Post - John Thrasher, The Volokh Conspiracy:

September 20, 2017 - "Liberalism (in the classical sense) and its more austere cousin libertarianism, are fundamentally doctrines that put personal and political freedom at the heart of things ... typically understood as freedom from government and social interference so that one can exercise one’s freedom to live the life of one’s choosing. Equality is crucial in securing freedom insofar as we understand equality as equality of fundamental rights to non-interference....

"It is a commonplace to argue, as Thomas Nagel did in an early review of Robert Nozick’s epoch-making Anarchy, State, and Utopia, that the libertarian and classical liberal focus on rights is 'without foundations.' Although this criticism is fundamentally mistaken, it is an unsurprising allegation given the preferred intuitionistic method of many of the most important philosophical libertarians....

"I argue that libertarians and liberals should embrace a contractual method of justification.... The core rights that define the freedom and equality of members of a free society are or would be, on this view, the result of an agreement between rational individuals for the purpose of mutual benefit....

"[T]he state of nature and contractual consent are not accurate descriptions of the history of political organization. This criticism, however, misunderstands the basic idea behind social contract theory: to model how a genuinely voluntary and mutually beneficial society would be structured.... The social contract acts as a tool to evaluate existing and possible social rules and institutions.

"Contractual theory, pursued this way, aims to bring the mutually beneficial power of market exchange to social governance. But ... David Gauthier notes in Morals by Agreement, 'before Smith’s invisible hand can do its beneficent work, Hobbes’s war of every man against every man must first be exorcized' (85). Markets require a foundation in basic norms of trust and the assurance that one’s rights are secure. This requires, at least initially, credible enforcement and governance mechanisms. This governance can be achieved in any number of ways, however, not all of which require explicit political institutions.... Indeed, the long-term project of the libertarian contractarian should be to investigate how forms of genuine self-government can realize, in modern societies, the contractarian goals of voluntariness and mutual benefit....

""The contractual approach helps to solve two perennial problems in libertarian and liberal theory ... the foundational problem of whether to base libertarian conclusions on some deontological basis (e.g., natural rights) or to adopt a consequentialist justification [and] how to adjudicate between the anarchist and minimal government strands in libertarian thought....

"[T]he contractual approach preserves a focus on the consequences of political institutions that many find appealing in consequentialist or utilitarian theory....  Similarly, the contractual method, based on rational agreement, provides a justification for rights that doesn’t rely on controversial foundations. This, as I argue more fully in Social Contractarianism, makes the contractual approach uniquely attractive....

"I also argue that the contractual approach can dissolve another traditional dispute between classical liberals and libertarians; whether ... libertarians are really committed to anarchism.... The contractual libertarian can admit that there is no moral obligation or duty to obey the state, but that in a free and open society with institutions that can meet the contractual test, there are good reasons to endorse the laws and social norms of such a society....

"Agreement is the only basis of a free society. These agreements must be voluntary and reflect our perceived interests. A society built on this model would be as close to a truly voluntary society as we could ever hope."

Read more: http://gdspoliticalanimal.blogspot.ca/2017/10/libertarianism-and-contractarianism.html
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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Rand Paul on healthcare Executive Order

Rand Paul on Trump Healthcare Executive Action: Congress Failed, Time to Act:

October 12, 2017 - "President Trump ... today legalize[d] and allow[ed] individuals to form Health Associations and purchase insurance across state lines. This is what real free market replacement looks like. Millions of Americans will be eligible to band together to demand less-expensive insurance. The 28 million individuals left behind by Obamacare will now be eligible for inexpensive insurance.

"The cost to the taxpayer? ZERO! As opposed to the trillion-dollar, 'fake' replacements we voted on, this replacement simply legalizes choice....

"[N]ationwide associations like the National Restaurant Association will be allowed to form groups across state lines and, with the leverage of size, demand Big Insurance bring down their outrageous premiums. Many of the 28 million people left behind by Obamacare who still don’t have insurance work low-wage jobs in our fast food restaurants. The President’s decision today will allow workers from two million restaurants to come together to form a buying group....

"Millions of people will be eligible for the same group insurance that big corporations offer. In fact, Health Associations may grow to be larger than the largest of our corporations. Currently, about half of private insurance is cross-state, self-insured ERISA plans, and most employees love them.  The President’s action today will allow the millions of people in the individual market an escape route to group insurance.... Existing law allows the President to legalize these new groups and plans. Where previous administrations have been weak, President Trump is bold to allow this reform.

"Health Associations ... will be exempt from some Obamacare and State regulations. This exemption from regulations is why cross-state group insurance has seen the lowest rise in premiums of any health insurance available.... Million-person Health Associations will have enormous leverage to get better prices for consumers – that’s exactly why Big Insurance opposes them.

"It will take 6 months to a year to begin seeing the benefits of Health Associations.  I want to thank President Trump for taking this bold step forward.... Congress may have failed to act — but President Trump and I haven’t. We’ve been working on this behind the scenes....

"You will be able to choose among better and cheaper insurance that works for you — something Obamacare made illegal. You will be able to buy across state lines, opening up competition for the best plans. Many Obamacare regulations will be waived for those in these groups, including costly mandates on what the plans must cover.

"Best of all, this isn’t a government mandate. It isn’t a subsidy. It isn’t a tax. Rather, it is the removal of government regulation and barriers to the best possible health care for millions of people."

Read more: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/10/12/exclusive-rand-paul-on-trump-healthcare-executive-action-congress-failed-time-to-act/
'via Blog this'

Friday, October 20, 2017

Vicente Fox campaigns for legal cannabis

At Phoenix cannabis expo, Vicente Fox talks marijuana, trade, Trump - Jason Pohl, Arizona Republic:

October 14, 2017 - "Former Mexican President Vicente Fox on Saturday made the case for broad-scale marijuana legalization in Arizona, telling a Phoenix crowd the days of failed drug policies were fading, despite rhetoric from President Donald Trump's White House.

"Speaking to hundreds of entrepreneurs, industry leders and curious residents at the Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center, Fox reiterated his disdain for drug wars.... Fox said it was only a matter of time before all-out legalization was reality across the United States, Mexico and Canada.

"'I’m here to share with this community a future that we have ahead, a future of an economic sector that is good for people, good for health, good for the economy,' Fox told reporters before his keynote speech. 'But more so is good because it gives us the freedom to make our own decisions."

"Fox was Mexico's president from 2000 [to] 2006. Since leaving office, he has made far-reaching cannabis legalization a priority....

"He spoke in June at a similar convention in Oakland, saying Mexico and Canada had every intention of taking the lead on medical and recreational marijuana exports. The goal, he said, was to have Mexico produce 60 percent of the legal marijuana used by Americans, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

"Fox renewed those comments Saturday. He said the ongoing discussions about renegotiating the NAFTA ... needed to address the role of the cross-border marijuana trade. Tearing up the expansive policy framework would be detrimental to all industry and shove the United States and Mexico back in time, Fox said....

"Mexico has been incrementally legalizing various uses of marijuana and its derivatives for several years. In June, current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a decree legalizing medical marijuana, classifying the substance's psychoactive ingredient as 'therapeutic.' Medical marijuana use in Canada has long been accepted, and recreational use is widely expected to be legalized next year."

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2017/10/14/phoenix-southwest-cannabis-conference-expo-vicente-fox-legalization-donald-trump/764579001/
'via Blog this'

Thursday, October 19, 2017

More than 200 forfeited cars go missing in NC

Audit: State cannot account for 234 vehicles seized under DWI forfeiture program - Carolina Journal:

September 28, 2017 - "State officials failed to account for 234 vehicles worth $634,000 seized by a program targeting drivers convicted of felonies for speeding or driving while intoxicated, a new state audit reported.

"Auditor Beth Wood found gaps in monitoring the contractors charged with impounding the vehicles, along with resistance from one major contractor to cooperate with the investigation. The missing vehicles should have been auctioned, kept in storage, or returned to the owners. But audit investigators couldn’t find the missing vehicles or the paperwork that might help find them.

"The Department of Public Instruction, the state agency that received money from the sale of seized vehicles, didn’t want the responsibility of monitoring the program, saying it was outside the agency’s core mission.

"The audit reviewed the DWI/Felony Speeding to Elude Vehicle Seizure Program from July 1, 2011 until June 30, 2016. Though the review covered five years, vehicles were reported missing over only the past three years.

"The General Assembly created the program in the 1990s to seize vehicles.... By law, proceeds from the sale of items seized in criminal cases go to the school district where the case was prosecuted. Local school districts initially and reluctantly monitored the program.

"In 1997, DPI took charge of overseeing the contractors that impounded and later auctioned the vehicles. But DPI didn’t want that responsibility, either. Oversight was lax, and DPI officials said it didn’t have the people or money needed to keep tabs on the contractors.... Oversight of the program shifted last year to the Department of Administration.

"The audit recommended tighter oversight from DOA, including a referral to the Division of Motor Vehicles, which may be able to track any undocumented vehicles.

"It also noted that Martin Edwards and Associates, the contractor handling (and losing) the vast majority of the vehicles, had impeded the investigation and resisted subpoenas from the auditor’s office. The auditor said DOA should reconsider using MEA as a contractor.

"DPI and DOA agreed with the audit’s findings and recommendations."

Read more: https://www.carolinajournal.com/news-article/audit-state-cannot-account-for-234-vehicles-seized-under-dwi-forfeiture-program/
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Federal judges block Travel Ban III

Second judge halts Trump's travel ban | TheHill - Lydia Wheeler:

October 18, 2017 - "Judge Theodore Chuang, a federal district judge in Maryland, temporarily blocked the majority of the president’s ban on nationals from eight countries, but he said the president could still ban individuals from North Korea, business officials from Venezuela and individuals lacking a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

"The order now allows entry of individuals from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad.

"Chuang is the second judge to halt the ban. Hawaii District Judge Derrick Watson went even further Tuesday, blocking all of Trump’s restrictions except with respect to Venezuelan officials or immigrants from North Korea....

"Chuang’s order is similar to an order the Supreme Court issued in June in two cases challenging Trump’s previous ban on nationals from six majority-Muslim countries: Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

"The Justices reinstated the ban but carved out an exemption for people with a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S."

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/355979-second-judge-halts-trumps-travel-ban
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

'Libertarian paternalist' wins economics Nobel

Nobel Board Awards Micromanaging Fake ‘Libertarian’ Its Economics Prize - Joseph Bast, Federalist Society:

October 12, 2017 - "On Monday, the ... Nobel Prize in economics [was awarded to] the University of Chicago’s Richard Thaler. It was a poor choice. Thaler might be very smart and even clever, but his contribution to economics was largely, as he put it himself, to 'make a career stealing ideas from psychologists.'

"Thaler and other 'behavioral economists' observe that many people do not seem to act purely rationally all the time. Sometimes we exaggerate risk, procrastinate, give in to temptation, and fail to save for the future. Sometimes we need to be 'nudged' — Thaler’s most influential book, coauthored with Obama official Cass Sunstein, was titled Nudge.... Of course, some of this is true. Yet the core problems with behavioral economics are two-fold.

"First, Thaler and others stole their ideas from the wrong psychologists. Like many other academic disciplines, psychology was invaded by liberals and socialists in the 1960s.... Thaler and Sunstein relied on these liberal activists pretending to be psychologists for much of their 'evidence' showing how people are 'predictably irrational.' In fact, other scholars did not replicate the findings of these activists, and their conclusions were explicitly debunked by some researchers who tried, such as Judy Cameron and David Pierce....

"Good economists are quick to admit they are unlikely to be better judges of what people really want than the actors themselves.... A great example is fuel economy. The Obama administration, following the lead of previous Republican and Democrat administrations, believed people are too stupid or short-sighted to choose cars and trucks that get better gas mileage, so mandated that car and truck makers produce fleets with higher average miles per gallon than people want....

"But people choose cars and trucks with lower gas mileage because they value having bigger vehicles (for hauling kids and stuff), heavier vehicles (which are safer), and vehicles with more horsepower ... more than saving a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars on gasoline.... How can government bureaucrats possibly know the value of these features to each consumer? Obviously, they cannot....

"[T]housands of people die every year in car accidents that would not have been fatal but for the light-weighting of vehicles to meet the government’s fuel economy rules (called CAFE standards). In this case, Thaler’s 'nudge' philosophy is actually killing people every day....

"In Nudge, Thaler and Sunstein called for something they labeled 'libertarian paternalism.' Yes, that’s an oxymoron, and it’s almost incredible that two academics who take themselves seriously could have written it and not realized just how stupid their 'contribution' to the national debate is..... You can’t choose objectives for people ... while considering yourself a 'libertarian.' Goal-setting is part of freedom, maybe the biggest part....

"So congratulations, Mr. Thaler, on receiving the Nobel Prize. Too bad you didn’t earn it."

Read more: https://thefederalist.com/2017/10/12/nobel-board-foolishly-awards-micromanaging-fake-libertarian-economics-prize/
'via Blog this'

Monday, October 16, 2017

Weld draws flak for attending GOP event

Bill Weld Didn’t Renounce Libertarianism by Supporting A Former Cabinet Member For Governor - Jack News:

October 12, 2017 - "An article last Thursday by Frank Phillips for Boston Globe said that former Gov. Bill Weld of Massachusetts was somehow betraying his Libertarian Party affiliation by appearing at an October 3 event with other prominent Massachusetts Republicans, including incumbent Gov. Charlie Baker, whom Weld has endorsed for re-election....

"Governor Weld’s friendship and support for Baker has never been a secret. After all, Baker served in two different cabinet positions during Weld’s own governorship. Weld noted that he would continue to support Baker, and other individual candidates as he saw fit regardless of party affiliation, to Libertarians at the 2016 convention in Orlando....

"In the 2016 US Senate race, the Alaskan State Libertarian Party’s ballot line had been hijacked by a pro-Trump candidate named Joe Miller. Weld instead endorsed incumbent Sen. Murkwoski, and didn’t hesitate to denounce the ostensible Libertarian Party candidate who was instead campaigning for Donald Trump.

"There’s nothing surprising or transgressive of any commitment here. As with Republicans and Democrats, Libertarians can endorse candidates in other parties when it suits them. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for Libertarians to support some like-minded candidates who are running as Republicans or Democrats....

"Additionally, the Globe article implies that Gov. Weld compounded this by not attending his home state’s Libertarian Party convention.... By the time the Massachusetts Libertarian convention was announced, Gov. Weld already had made other commitments, he explained. It was a simple scheduling conflict....

"Since the 2016 election, Weld has helped to secure support and fundraising for several Libertarian candidates and causes.... He’s also spoken at libertarian events, including an upcoming major speech at the regional conference of Students for Liberty in New York City on November 4th.

"As Gov. Weld told Reason magazine: 'I think in 8 to 12 years the Libertarian Party could become the number-one party in the United States, and I intend to participate in that.'"

Read more: http://www.thejacknews.com/politics/political-highlights/bill-weld-did-not-renounce-libertarianism-supporting-charlie-baker-cabinet-member/
'via Blog this'

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The free market's safety net

The Sharing Economy Is a Free Market Safety Net - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world - Brittany Hunter:

September 15, 2017 - "The sharing economy has been one of the most groundbreaking market creations in our modern time even though its concept is quite simple. If you own a car, you can earn money as a driver. If you have an apartment or home, you can earn money renting out the space. There really isn’t much to the sharing economy. If you have property or a skill that is in demand by another consumer, you have the ability to earn money. And for those in between jobs or trying to figure out their next employment move, the sharing economy can be a lifesaver....

"I once had the pleasure of riding with a driver who was currently out of work while she was recovering from surgery ... and ... had used up all her paid time off.... But thanks to Uber, my driver didn’t have to worry about income or filing for short-term disability or other welfare programs while she waited to get back to work. She was earning money while avoiding the stir-crazy feelings of being trapped inside her house while she healed.

"Another driver I rode with in DC had recently moved to the United States from the Middle East and was trying to start his own catering business. Not only did Uber allow him to pay his bills while he was starting his business, it also helped him network. Each of his passengers was given a business card and one free 'trial' meal which he would personally deliver....

"I could tell dozens of these stories, as I am sure many of you could as well. Ridesharing helped all these drivers provide for their well being and even helped some build their businesses. But ridesharing is only one small sector in the broader sharing economy.

"One of the most stressful components of sudden unemployment is the worry that rent won’t be paid. But the homesharing sector has also provided a solution. As long as you have a friend who is willing to let you sleep on their couch or perhaps family who resides nearby, there are ways to rent out your lodgings in order to pay the bills.

"But the sharing economy is not limited to property. There are many who many find themselves unemployed without either a car or a rentable living space, but they may have a skill. Smartphone apps like TaskRabbit allow users to sell their own labor. If you possess the muscles needed to move boxes all day, you can become a mover. If you are capable of mowing a lawn, you can find someone in need of a yard trimming.... For those in the beauty or wellness world, there are also apps that will connect cosmetologists and hairstylists to clients....

"Work is not some construct invented by evil capitalists.... It is a source of pride and self-esteem.... When that daily opportunity to take pride in creation is removed because a person is unemployed, especially for longer periods of time, there are psychological impacts that extend far beyond the stress that comes with money problems. In fact, depression and unemployment are an ominous duo.

"Uber and ridesharing in general is a great way to not only socialize with other humans, but can also be beneficial for preparing for an interview. Once you are able to master the art of conversation without the often accompanying nerves, you have gained a skill that may help during the interview process.

"Is the sharing economy the perfect solution to the problem of unemployment? Absolutely not. But neither is our current unemployment system.... Our current unemployment system comes with red tape, strings attached, and a whole lot of bureaucracy. And all this must be endured before even receiving that first unemployment check. But so long as the government allows the existence of the sharing economy, the market can continue offering nearly instant employment opportunities to those looking for work."

Read more: https://fee.org/articles/the-sharing-economy-is-a-free-market-safety-net/
'via Blog this'

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Thinktank studies 3rd approach to climate change

Climate Change Wars | Liberty Unbound - Robert H. Miller:

October 10, 2017 - "In the climate change controversies, the Left ... overwhelms with data, models, and prognostications warning of environmental disaster because atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased....  The Right is skeptical of the data and how they’re gathered, ... and ... accuses the Left of ignoring ... causes having nothing to do with human activity. But most of all, the dispute is about increasing government power....  The battle lines have been drawn along ideological lines, with science — both good and bad — playing second fiddle: most people just don’t have the knowledge or critical skills to evaluate the methodology and all the factors, conclusions, and opinions.

"Fortunately, there is a third approach, one that relies on the Hayekian insight that markets are much better at analyzing all available data than any one individual, institution, or government (and I would include computers in that list) could possibly be. This is the approach taken by PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center, a libertarian thinktank dedicated to improving environmental quality through property rights and markets.

"It makes little difference whether the United States remained in or left the 2015 Paris Climate Accords: the agreed upon CO2 reduction levels were minimal, unreachable, and unenforceable. And ... solving the perceived problem of climate change on a global scale would be economically devastating, politically unattainable, and practically impossible. So PERC’s latest report focuses on adaptation, a concept heretofore deemed either taboo or irrelevant....But adaptation is the name of the game, and market forces are already at work — and have been for a long time, even though they’re seldom heralded by the media. As the latest PERC Reports (Vol. 36, Issue 1, Summer 2017) puts it:
Market prices send signals about local conditions that no central planner or scientific expert could possibly know. Property rights give resource owners the incentives necessary to adjust to changing conditions. If sea levels rise or crop yields decline, property owners have good reason to act — whether to invest in protections or innovations....
"PERC ... is to environmental policy what the Cato Institute is to political and economic policy. All of PERC’s scholars are well-placed experts with impressive credentials.Two of its resident scholars are Liberty editor Randal O’Toole and water policy expert Terry L. Anderson, director of PERC and also a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Anderson is the author of a groundbreaking book, Water Crisis: Ending the Policy Drought (1983).... "

"Other PERC reports focus on how privately organized, ground-up, rights-based fishing groups have evolved in Fiji, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Northern Australia, Belize, and other places, protecting near-shore fish and near-shore fishermen’s livelihoods. There are PERC articles assessing the runaway costs of the federal government’s wild horse program, and showing how human-wildlife conflicts were mitigated when elk were reintroduced into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One fascinating piece ... is a contrast between the policies advocated by such environmental organizations as the Wilderness Society and the Audubon Society and the way in which they manage their own properties.

"PERC’s analyses focus on politically achievable and practical ends. The organization’s style is thinktank noncontroversial. The appeal to libertarians is clear."

Read more: http://www.libertyunbound.com/node/1767
'via Blog this'

Property and Environment Research Center

https://www.perc.org/

Friday, October 13, 2017

Hoppe: unleash police to beat, crush anti-fascists

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Libertarians Must "Crush The Anti-Fascist Mob" | The Liberty Conservative - Shane Trejo:

October 12, 2017 - "Austrian economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s ‘Libertarian and the Alt-Right’ speech that he delivered for his 12th annual Property and Freedom Society conference that took place last month in Bodrum, Turkey ... was finally released for the public yesterday.... Hoppe delivered a brutal excoriation of social justice warriors, saying that it is incumbent upon libertarians to 'crush the anti-fascist mob.'

"'Public anger must be aroused, and there must be clamoring far and wide for the police to be unleashed and this mob beaten into submission,' Hoppe said, mincing no words....

"After sharing this controversial sentiment, Hoppe rushed to address obvious concerns that more left-leaning libertarians would have regarding compulsory government policing being used to crush leftists.

"'Do you also object … that the police arrest murderers or rapists?' Hoppe asked his critics. 'Aren’t these legitimate tasks performed also in a libertarian order by private police? And if the police are not allowed to do anything about this mob, isn’t it ok then that the target of these attacks – namely the so-called racist right – should take the task upon itself of giving the social justice warriors a bloody nose?'...

"Hoppe listed many pillars on which a realistic libertarian movement can be built, and derided Jeffrey Tucker, a former ally, and the Students for Liberty for embracing leftism and political correctness.

"'We must speak out whenever and wherever … against anyone affronting us with the – by now only all too familiar – politically correct drivel and left egalitarian balderdash,' Hoppe said."

Read more: http://www.thelibertyconservative.com/hans-hermann-hoppe-libertarians-must-crush-the-anti-fascist-mob/
'via Blog this'

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Trump signs order enabling healthcare competition

Trump clears way for ObamaCare 'alternatives' in new executive order, goes around stalled Congress | Fox News:

October 12, 2017 - "President Trump on Thursday took executive action on health care, calling for a plan that could let employers band together and offer coverage across state lines ....

'So this is promoting health care, choice and competition all across the United States,' Trump said as he signed the order.... The president described the executive order as 'the first steps to providing millions of Americans with ObamaCare relief.' He said he isn't giving up on getting lawmakers to repeal the law....

"The executive order aims to offer 'alternatives' to ObamaCare plans and increase competition to bring down costs, the White House said.

"The president was joined at the signing by several Republican lawmakers, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who called it 'the biggest free market reform of health care in a generation.... This reform, if it works and goes as planned, will allow millions of people to get insurance across state lines at an inexpensive price,' Paul said.

"Trump said he will direct the secretary of labor to consider expanding access to Association Health Plans, which could allow employers to form groups across state lines offering coverage.... Those 'association health plans' could be shielded from some state and federal insurance requirements.... The order also calls on other federal agencies to consider expanding coverage in low-cost, short-term insurance plans not subject to ObamaCare rules....

"It's unlikely to reverse the trend of insurers exiting state markets. About half of U.S. counties will have only one ObamaCare insurer next year....

"The move comes after congressional Republicans repeatedly have been unable to pass legislation repealing or reforming the Affordable Care Act, which critics say has led to rising premiums and diminishing coverage options – in some cases forcing consumers to lose their previous plans and doctors. Trump’s executive order could clear the way for cheaper, more bare-bones insurance policies.

"Trump's order is likely to encounter opposition from medical associations, consumer groups and even insurers -- the same coalition that has blocked congressional Republicans. They say it would raise costs for the sick, while the lower-premium coverage for healthy people would come with significant gaps."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/10/12/trump-clears-way-for-obamacare-alternatives-in-new-executive-order-goes-around-stalled-congress.html
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Marianas senate considers marijuana legalization

US Territory Considers Legal Marijuana Bill | Marijuana Moment - Tom Angell:

October 9, 2017 - "The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) may have a tiny population, but the U.S. territory could be about to make a huge impact on the global debate about marijuana legalization.

"A key CNMI Senate committee will hold a hearing on a cannabis reform bill on Tuesday and, if its supporters get their way, the territory could join the eight U.S. states that have already enacted legalization, along with the District of Columbia.

"The legislation, filed in August by Republican Sen. Sixto Igisomar, wouldn’t legalize marijuana right away. Rather, if the bill is approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Ralph Torres, also a Republican, CNMI’s nearly 18,000 registered voters will get a chance to end prohibition at the ballot box in November 2018.

"Under the legislation’s key provisions, adults over 21 would be able to legally possess four ounces of cannabis, as well as additional amounts of marijuana products and extracts. Home cultivation of 12 mature plants and 24 seedlings would also be allowed, and medical cannabis patients would be able to cultivate even more with their doctors’ certifications.

"Licensing and regulation of the legal marijuana industry would be handled by a new Cannabis Commission, with the goal of accepting business applications by July 2019.

The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Government and Law will consider the bill on Tuesday. It is the first of several expected hearings, with three public meetings also scheduled for later this month....

"Advocates are optimistic that this year’s bill has a chance of being enacted if supporters show up and make their voices heard.

"'Legalization will not happen by itself. We as a community need to engage the issue proactively if we want this to happen,' Sensible CNMI’s Gerry Palacios Hemley said in a press release. 'The time to act is now.'"

Read more: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/us-territory-considers-legal-marijuana-bill/
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Illinois laws keeping Libertarians off ballot

Ballot Laws Muffle As McLean County Libertarians Try to Make Some Noise | Peoria Public Radio - Ryan Denham, WGLT:

October 10, 2017 - "When you’re running for elected office, you need to get people to sign your nominating petitions to get on the ballot. It can be a slog, with every waking moment pestering shoppers leaving grocery stores or asking your neighbors for their John Hancock.

"For Christopher Howick of Bloomington, it’s even worse. Howick is running for the Illinois House in 2018, the seat currently held by state Rep. Keith Sommer, R-Morton. But because Howick is a Libertarian — not a legally established party statewide — he must collect a minimum of 2,500 signatures to get on the ballot, five times as many as Sommer and Democratic challenger Jill Blair....

"The issue of ballot access has new urgency in McLean County, as local Libertarians try to make some noise and inroads against the two-party system. Libertarians ... like Howick are making runs for McLean County Board and the Illinois House. It’s a similar story statewide, with three Libertarians mounting runs for governor....

"Libertarians cheered last month after winning an appellate court victory on the so-called 'full slate requirement.' That rule, which was invalidated by a lower court, required lesser-known political parties to mount candidates for all offices in the area where they want to compete — something that even Democrats and Republicans can rarely do. An appellate court upheld the previous ruling....

"Illinois tends to be 'very hostile' to the so-called 'minor' parties — anything other than a Democrat or Republican — according to Kerri Milita, an assistant professor in the Department of Politics and Government at Illinois State University.

"'It’s one of the more restrictive states in the country for how tough they make it for non-major parties to get on the ballot,' said Milita, an expert in direct democracy and election laws.... 'The real reason (for the higher signature requirements) is to protect their duopoly,' Milita said of Democrats and Republicans.

The question then becomes, how high do you set the bar for signatures? After all, Howick’s minimum of 2,500 signatures is really more like 5,000, to protect himself in case his political opponents successfully challenge any of his signatures. It’s a buffer.

"For a Libertarian to successfully get on the ballot statewide to run for governor, he or she would need to collect 25,000 signatures. Republicans and Democrats only need 5,000."

Read more: http://peoriapublicradio.org/post/ballot-laws-muffle-mclean-county-libertarians-try-make-some-noise#stream/0
'via Blog this'

Monday, October 9, 2017

New book from Australia's libertarian Senator

Mark Latham: Finally, someone goes against the herd | Sydney Daily Telegraph:

October 2, 2017 - "For a masterclass in original thinking, I recommend Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm’s new book, Freedom’s Salesman. It’s certain to get you out of your comfort zone.

"Rare among today’s MPs, Leyonhjelm has a structured philosophy of politics and society. Some of his views — such as drug legalisation, assisted suicide and the abolition of marriage laws — can be seen as radically left-wing. Other policies, such as free trade and small government, are usually associated with the right.

"The consistent thread throughout his thinking is the ideal of freedom or, as he puts it, 'a general distrust of authority'. This is a quintessentially Australian belief. As a people, we don’t like being told what to do. We love thumbing our nose at powerful people....

"But now this national trait is under siege. The spread of the nanny state and political correctness is smothering our anti-authoritarianism. Leyonhjelm detests this kind of government over-regulation and the associated rise of welfare ­dependency. He endorses Mill’s 'harm principle' as the core of his philosophy.

"In 1859 Mill wrote of how, 'The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.' Leyonhjelm wants to return to a time when, 'over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.'

"Thus he sees a legitimate role for government in healthcare, education and defence. But he also mounts well-researched arguments for less state interference in business regulation, corporate subsidies, industrial relations, power generation and environmental control. I’ve been a lifelong supporter of a minimum wage in Australia but Leyonhjelm’s advocacy for abolishing it — to help the unemployed, school-leavers and refugees find jobs — had me rethinking my position....

"Perhaps the most impressive part of Freedom’s Salesman is its comprehensiveness. Not since the time of Gough Whitlam has a federal MP single-handedly constructed such a broad agenda — a complete policy program for his time.... Few Australian politicians speak with such candour....

"Earlier this year I joined his party, the Liberal Democrats, in search of free speech and robust policy debate. On the strength of this book, I’m glad I did."

Read more: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/mark-latham-finally-someone-goes-against-the-herd/news-story/9ee63e640cbc3938322531a4036dc870
'via Blog this'

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Prisoner turns 50 (video)

The Prisoner Turns 50 - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Jesse Walker:

September 29, 2017 - "The Prisoner — a science fiction series about a former spy confined in a mysterious totalitarian enclave — was both the most experimental and the most anti-authoritarian TV program of the '60s. It first aired 50 years ago today, so I'll mark the occasion with one of my favorite installments: 'Living in Harmony,' the episode that answers the question, 'What would a western written by Philip K. Dick look like?'"

Read more: http://reason.com/blog/2017/09/29/the-prisoner-turns-50
'via Blog this'




Saturday, October 7, 2017

Banned independence vote held in Catalonia

Hidden ballot boxes, encrypted texts: How Catalans staged their referendum - CNN - Erin McLaughlin, Claudia Rebaza and Elena Gyldenkerne:

October 5, 2017 - "Officers with Spain's national security forces, in full riot gear, smashing their way into polling stations, dragging women out by the hair, and firing rubber bullets indiscriminately into crowds as they turned out to vote. It was all part of a coordinated crackdown on Catalonia's disputed independence referendum – banned by Spain's highest court, but held in defiance of Madrid by Catalonia's passionate separatists....

"Despite the attempt to thwart the vote, more than 2 million Catalans made their voice heard. Now CNN has learned more details of the extraordinary covert operation that was mounted to ensure the referendum took place. A network of thousands of officials and volunteers squirreled away ballot boxes, conferred by encrypted messages and met in secret in an effort to get as many people to the polls as possible.

"From the educators who opened up their schools to the people who ferried the ballots and anyone who counted the votes, all risked a fine of up to 300,000 euros (about $350,000). Higher-ranking officials could even face jail. The chief of the Catalan police force, Josep Lluís Trapero, was called to Madrid this week to answer accusations of sedition, or fomenting a rebellion against the state, a crime that carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence....

"The plotters started using Whatsapp, but were worried it was compromised and turned to other encrypted platforms such as Telegram and Signal. Meetings were held in secret, some were canceled last minute out of fear.... The ballot boxes were assembled at the last minute.... In order to try to fool Spanish authorities, the components -- the plastic box, the lid, the insignias, and the box ties -- were stored in separate places.

"The night before the vote, ... activists slept at his assigned school to make sure authorities didn't seal it off. People tucked into sleeping bags spread across the gym floor.... By dawn there was a line of voters.... Some stood for hours, hearts racing as word spread that polling stations were being raided. Tweets and Facebook posts popped up on smartphones, showing voters and coordinators being beaten by the national police....

"Madrid denies that excessive force was used. 'If there was any use of force by police, in any way, it was because they were prevented from doing what they were asked to do,' Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis told CNN.

"Voting was plagued by technical difficulties and confusion.... At some stations, voter identities could not be verified electronically. People were allowed to vote anyway. The final result is still being tallied.

"The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, is expected to make a unilateral declaration of independence at some point after a special session of the Catalan Parliament on Monday."

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/05/europe/catalonia-referendum-covert-operation/index.html
'via Blog this'

Friday, October 6, 2017

Democrats use Vegas shooting to push gun agenda

A Massacre Is Not an Argument - Reason.com - Jacob Sullum:

October 4, 2017 - "The morning after a gunman murdered nearly 60 people in Las Vegas, Hillary Clinton tweeted that 'we can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again.' The former Democratic presidential nominee's commitment to putting politics aside disappeared in the middle of that sentence, and her implicit claim that she knows how to 'stop this from happening again' was equally empty.

"Gun controllers like Clinton habitually seize upon mass shootings as evidence in favor of the policies they have always supported.... Clinton, for example, argued that the Las Vegas attack demonstrated the folly of the NRA-backed Hearing Protection Act, which would loosen federal restrictions on suppressors, a.k.a. silencers. She suggested the death toll in Las Vegas could have been higher "if the shooter had a silencer'.... But as firearms experts immediately pointed out, so-called silencers do not actually eliminate the sound of gunfire.... Even with a suppressor, the hundreds of shots fired from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Resort and Casino would have been clearly audible....

"New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof had already published a column in which he listed eight gun control proposals, all supposedly aimed at 'preventing mass shootings like the Vegas Strip attack.' Most of them ... plainly had nothing to do with mass shootings like the Vegas Strip attack. Even the most plausible-sounding of Kristof's ideas, 'universal background checks,' would have made no difference in this case, since the Las Vegas shooter ... was repeatedly cleared by the FBI when he bought his guns. As is typical of mass shooters, Paddock did not have a disqualifying criminal or psychiatric record.

"After presenting his list of new gun controls ... Kristof conceded that 'it's too soon to know what, if anything, might have prevented the shooting in Las Vegas, and it may be that nothing could have prevented it'.... That's par for the course in the wake of mass shootings, which gun controllers use to create a sense of urgency they hope will translate into new restrictions....

"'It's time for Congress to get off its ass and do something,' Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) declared on Monday. 'There's no excuse for inaction,' tweeted former Vice President Joe Biden. As CNN observed, 'Democrats are desperate to do something — anything — on gun control'....

"Contrary to what Joe Biden seems to think, having no idea what you're doing or whether it makes sense is an excellent excuse for inaction."

Read more: http://reason.com/archives/2017/10/04/a-massacre-is-not-an-argument?utm_medium=email
'via Blog this'

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Uber banned in London

London's Uber Ban Shines Light on the Sorry State of the Rule of Law - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world:

October 2, 2017 - "Transport for London (TfL), the government agency responsible for regulating transportation in the UK’s capital, recently decided to revoke Uber’s license to operate within Greater London. While many advocates of free choice and innovative technology have lambasted the decision as bad for the poor and (in the words of Chris Philp, MP) 'anti-free market,' the root cause of the problem — discretionary powers — remains unaddressed....

"British jurist Albert Venn Dicey, known for his 1885 work Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, [wrote] that the Rule of Law means 'the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power, and excludes the existence of arbitrariness, of prerogative, or even wide discretionary authority on the part of the government' .... In other words, the law cannot be implemented arbitrarily according to the official’s own whims but must be implemented according to legal principles such as reasonableness, rationality, effectiveness, and proportionality, to name but a few.

"The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act of 1998 ... provides that no 'private hire' operator, such as Uber, may operate in London without a license. To obtain a license, a private hire operator must apply to TfL. TfL, in turn, has absolute (or arbitrary) discretion in who it does or does not grant a license to. Section 3(4) provides that a license may be granted only if 'such conditions as may be prescribed and such other conditions as the [TfL] may think fit.' The remainder of the Act is littered with similar provisions giving TfL unjustifiable amounts of power to decide what it 'requires' from prospective and re-applying private hire operators to have them licensed....

"TfL provides an explanation for the revocation of Uber’s license. Among other things, it is not satisfied with Uber’s 'approach' to reporting crimes and how Uber obtains medical certificates....  It also criticises Uber for using security software Greyball to obstruct regulatory authorities. Greyball apparently enabled Uber to identify potentially-unwanted passengers and make it more difficult for them to book a ride....

"The UK is not the only country adopting a flexible approach to the Rule of Law when it comes to suppressing disruptive technologies. South Africa’s transport minister also recently played with the fanciful notion that he is able to create law from thin air by simply making a press statement and require Uber drivers – who operate differently from regulated taxi services in the country – to obtain permits. Section 1(c) of South Africa’s constitution, however, provides for the supremacy of the Rule of Law, and despite government’s ignorance of this provision, ministers can’t simply legislate from the sidelines.

"The UK and South African governments’ decisions to repress Uber, most likely to appease local taxi unions, comes at the expense of consumers. While many argue that Uber has flouted laws all over the globe by working essentially as taxis — but not being subject to the same regulation as other taxis — the issue is not Uber, but the laws themselves. Uber has truly revolutionized transportation by providing a quick, mostly-affordable method of getting a ride somewhere. Tourists no longer need to struggle over language barriers and subject themselves to haggling by uncooperative taxi drivers, because the app does it all for them. Laws which hinder this kind of innovation should be done away with, and there is no doubt that other taxi services would also benefit without excessive regulation.

"Government’s incessant desire to be in control of everything illustrates the whole point of the existence of the Rule of Law: to ensure tempered, reasoned, and constrained governance. The UK is the birthplace of the modern understanding of the Rule of Law, and it would be wise for it to live up to its tenets. A good place to start would be to repeal or fundamentally revise the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act."

Read more: https://fee.org/articles/londons-uber-ban-shines-light-on-the-sorry-state-of-the-rule-of-law/?utm_medium=push&utm_source=push_notification
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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Associated Press covers Cliff Hyra campaign

Libertarian candidate a longshot who could alter race | National politics | stltoday.com - Alan Suderman, Associated Press:

October 4, 2017 - "Cliff Hyra, the long-shot Libertarian candidate in this year's closely watched race for Virginia governor, ... an intellectual property attorney and 35-year-old father of four, is polling at just a few percentage points in most polls. That's not enough to have a chance to win, but it could be enough to alter what's likely to be a close contest between Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam.

"It's unclear who may benefit, and some supporters of both Gillespie and Northam have expressed concern that Hyra could pull critical votes away from their preferred candidate. Adding to the stakes is the fact that Virginia is one of only two states electing new governors this year, and the swing state's contest is getting national attention as a possible early referendum on President Donald Trump.

"But Hyra said he's running to 'move the policy debate' and is not worried about potential side effects.

"'I'm not Republican, I'm not a Democrat, I really don't care if I spoil the election for one or the other,' said Hyra, who has been shut out of the candidate debates and has little money to get his message out. 'If we can build momentum for some of the places where I think Virginia needs to improve ... that's a major reason I'm in the race.'

"Hyra's campaign platform is heavy on protecting personal freedoms and limiting government power. It includes calling for a severe curtailment of the state's numerous food and beverage laws, legalizing marijuana and protecting individual property rights. He said his emphasis on criminal justice reform has already partially paid off by the emphasis both Gillespie and Northam are giving to the issue.

"He said he's gained support from Republican voters turned off by Trump, but is also drawing close looks from environmentalists and landowners who are unhappy with Northam for not opposing two proposed natural gas pipelines. Hyra is the only candidate opposing the pipelines, saying property rights should outweigh a private company's ability to seize land for profit.

"Libertarian campaigns are not new in Virginia. Libertarian Robert Sarvis may have played a pivotal role in the 2013 gubernatorial contest when he won 7 percent, including a high number of independent voters. That campaign was marked by a lack of voter enthusiasm for Democrat Terry McAuliffe, the winner, and Republican Ken Cuccinelli. Support for Sarvis was much lower a year later, though, when he only won 2 percent in a U.S. Senate race where Gillespie narrowly lost to Mark Warner."

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/national/govt-and-politics/libertarian-candidate-a-longshot-who-could-alter-race/article_52271a2c-e8e9-5b1b-8fce-0bd3c51917e2.html
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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Jedediah Bila dropped from The View

In defense of Jedediah Bila: Another “View” conservative bites the dust - Salon.com - Danielle Ryan:

October 1, 2017 - "Another day, another conservative co-host on The View bites the dust.... Jedediah Bila’s exit from the daytime talk show after barely a year stunned viewers last week. The announcement was abrupt and awkward. It was clear that something was amiss from both the suddenness and the fact that Bila didn’t seem to have any future plan mapped out. She gave no explanation for her departure other than to make vague reference to a hypothetical book she may be writing....

"According to reports, Bila received no indication that her firing was in the offing. In the end, she (apparently) found out from a friend at CNN who called to let her know ABC had done a deal with Meghan McCain — former Fox News host and daughter of Sen. John McCain — to replace her.

"The real problem, it seemed, was that Bila, who is a registered Independent and identifies as a libertarian-conservative, wasn’t quite conservative enough for executives.

"A source told the Daily Mail that Bila’s 'unique political position made her someone the audience struggled to connect with.'

"The fact that audiences can’t relate to someone like Bila — an independent mind who regularly saw both sides of an argument — is a sad indictment of the state of media and political culture today. Audiences being dumbfounded by a person who can straddle the political spectrum, and who doesn’t fit neatly into a predefined box, is a byproduct of the extremism that the media has promoted for so long.

"The most extreme voices, the voices that shout the loudest and say the craziest things, are always promoted up the ladder. TV executives aren’t looking for nuanced, intelligent debate (newsflash, I know) — they’re looking for drama, fighting and the ratings that go with it.

"Bila looked at the media far more critically than any of the other View hosts, whose blindness to some of its problems is frankly embarrassing. She had been critical of the media and its treatment of the Trump campaign in comparison to its treatment of Hillary Clinton. Her goal was never to defend Trump (whom she did not support), but to explain how such open hatred of Trump and blatant bias in favor of Clinton would only strengthen Trump’s base and confirm their distaste for the 'lying media'."

Read more: https://www.salon.com/2017/10/01/in-defense-of-jedediah-bila-another-view-conservative-bites-the-dust/
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Monday, October 2, 2017

American U cancels YAL meeting event

My Alma Mater American University Cancelled My Title IX 'Hate Speech' Panel - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Elizabeth Nolan Brown:

September 29, 2107 - "I was supposed to participate in a panel at my alma mater, American University, on feminism, free speech, and Title IX.... But in the days leading up to the event, the AU chapter of American Association of University Women organized a campaign to 'Keep Our Campus Safe,' describing the panel as 'hate speech' and 'violence'....

"The panel was put together by spiked as part of its "Unsafe Space" tour.... The event on American's D.C. campus was to kick off the tour, with me, spiked's Ella Whelan, former ACLU chief Nadine Strossen, and Foundation for Individual Rights in Education director Robert Shibley on a panel moderated by spiked Deputy Editor Tom Slater.

"Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) was the student group hosting the event, and was in charge of making arrangements with the campus. An auditorium had been secured since summer, but a few days before the event AU administrators told YAL that the space was no longer available and then that the panel had to be canceled altogether.

"Annamarie Rienzi, D.C. chair of YAL and one of the student organizers of last night's event, told me that the school claimed it came down to YAL classifying the panel as a 'meeting' rather than an 'event.' But this is standard practice for YAL and other student groups, she says, when a talk or panel does not involve bringing paid speakers to campus or providing refreshments....

"The event went on ... in ... Reason's D.C. office.... We talked about how Title IX proceedings ... encompass a range of other areas that can have nothing to do with sexual activity or violence, and that can seriously jeopardize academic freedom and (often liberal) professors' livelihoods. Whelan talked about how Title IX proceedings and the general sexual climate on campus can infantilize female students and take women's progress a step backward.

"Shibley argued that Title IX had had many positive accomplishments before it was, only recently, expanded to its current form under the Obama administration.... I talked about how it's the feds, much more than any minority of illiberal students, who are forcing campuses into absurd 'safe spaces' ... rather than face steep fines or lose the ability to participate in federal student-loan programs....

"It was especially disappointing to learn today that this may have been provoked by a women's student group severely misrepresenting the event.... Here's how the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of AU described the spiked panel: 'The Unsafe Space Tour is coming to AU. What do they want to talk about? Completely revising and undoing decades of work by activists around campuses across the country to make campuses safer for victims of sexual violence'.... [I]t added: 'A note on First Amendment rights to free speech: AAUW at AU fully supports free speech. This does not mean we support forcing marginalized students to [experience] hate speech and other forms of violence and trauma'....

"After learning that AU had canceled the event, the group posted (twice): 'We are STOKED to announce that the Unsafe Space Tour has been canceled at AU! In their words, they, 'got word of resistance from some campus groups.' Good riddance! Thank you to everyone who expressed interest in [the "Keep Our Campus Safe" counter-event] and spoke out.'"

Read more: http://reason.com/blog/2017/09/29/au-campus-safe-from-title-ix-hate-speech
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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Bitcoin embraced by libertarians, investors

Bitcoin buyers with a libertarian bent drive prices to records - Jon Swartz, USA Today:

"September 21, 2017 - "Aaron Hanson, a software engineer from Chicago ... uses bitcoin wherever he can — to buy food at an empanada restaurant, airline tickets, his honeymoon in Africa this year — listing it alongside technology and individual freedom as his three beliefs in life.

"Austin Craig, a practicing Mormon who attended Brigham Young University, went a step further: He lived entirely on bitcoin during the first three months of his marriage and chronicled it in a documentary, Life On Bitcoin....

"For many, it is a lifestyle, something to be valued more than gold for financial investments and shielding personal information from the prying eyes of a distrusted government.

"Most Americans (78.5%) are familiar with the cryptocurrency, according to a survey of 1,000 Americans by LendEDU, a personal finance comparison site. But 48% aren't sure it's legal and 11% consider bitcoin ownership illegal in the U.S. Still, 40% were open to using bitcoin in the future, says Michael Brown, research analyst at LendEDU....

"The digital currency, whose finite quantities are created by computer programs, trades outside the traditional financial system, an attraction for people who have doubts — or at least seek an alternative — to mainstream institutions.

"'There’s certainly a libertarian feel' to the beliefs of bitcoin users, says Melanie Shapiro, CEO of Token, an identity-ring maker in New York. 'But we’re technologists, and technology provides freedom' from centralized government systems....

"The currency, which surfaced in early 2009 from someone using the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, has slowly evolved from cult curiosity to widespread lifestyle choice, with elements of political and religious fervor.

"What began as a currency championed by libertarians advocating decentralized currency or  criminals trying to avoid law enforcement has been embraced by venture capitalists and investors. It's not mainstream yet — too many people are wary of its high risk and complicated tools — but it's getting there.

"'It is the first global, highly liquid form of currency,' says Mike Jones, CEO of Science, a business incubator that owns and trades cryptocurrency. 'Much more so than than gold. It is about opening financial markets globally.'

"'It is digital gold,' says Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, whose online retailer was one of the first to accept bitcoin payment."

Read more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/09/21/bitcoin-buyers-libertarian-bent-drive-prices-records/594971001/
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