Sunday, November 18, 2018

Ontario LP leader Rob Ferguson interviewed

Interview with the Leader of the Libertarian Party of Ontario · 71 Republic - Brennan Dube:

November 11, 2018 - "The Libertarian Party of Ontario has seen impressive growth over the past several years.... The party only fielded 5 libertarians in the 2003 election..... In the 2011 race, the libertarians fielded 51 candidates out of a possible 107 and garnered 0.45% of the popular vote ... in 2014, ... the libertarians ran 74 out of a possible 107 and scored 0.81% of the vote. [This year the] Ontario libertarians were able to field 117 candidates (94.3%).... Even though the party only got 0.75% of the popular vote, they nonetheless picked up a record high of 42,918 voters....

"I had the privilege of interviewing former deputy leader and now current leader of the Ontario Libertarian Party, Rob Ferguson....

"Ferguson: 'I grew up in a Conservative family and ... I can even remember our families home was turned into a campaign HQ on some occasions. As I grew up I decided to become a member of the New Democratic Party.... My stint with the party lasted less than a year.... I found myself then exploring the Family Coalition Party.... During the time leading up to the provincial election in 2011, ... I left the party and just hours later found myself in contact with some executive members of the Ontario Libertarian Party. I ended up coordinating and training 12 candidates in the 2011 provincial race, and I ran myself as well. I have always been about family values and the party’s positions on individual liberties, property rights and personal responsibility fit me perfectly....

"'From a philosophical standpoint, libertarianism is so unique and when you start to apply the basic principles of libertarianism to issues we see brought up every election you see that yes, this makes sense. The notion of personal responsibility and property rights are key points within the libertarian ideology. One of my biggest influences is former Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier. He is a prime exemplar of classical liberalism in Canadian politics. I also find myself often quoting Margaret Thatcher. One quote of hers I often find myself repeating is, "The problem with socialism is that eventually, you run out of other people’s money."

"'Allen Small did a ton for this party as its leader, and he has left us in a very good place going forward ... he was always on top of things and he put a ton into his job. Now that I have taken the mantle from him I think that the number one priority should be to amend our party’s constitution and make it more coherent with the digital age....

"'[I]t’s refreshing to see more and more liberty minded people putting their names out there... However, I am skeptical of the [People's Party], what I say is simple, you can either join a new party that may or may not last or you can stick with a movement that’s been growing for 40 years and is seeing its absolute best growth now. I welcome Bernier and his new party to the table but ... as for me, I’m sticking with the Libertarian Party.

"'We’ve seen incredible growth; over the last few elections we’ve seen votes go up, membership go up and candidates go up. To maintain our growth, we need to continue to aim towards running full slates. By updating our party constitution and by-laws and fixing internal policy we can ... modernize the party. A few of the ridings that we weren’t able to fill candidates in were up in Northern Ontario and by targeting those areas in 2022 and continuing to run full slates we can continue to see solid growth and work towards winning seats in the next few election cycles....

"'In the age now of social media when you spread the message to a few it can reach many so just getting out and speaking to as many people as possible is truly the way to best engage voters. Here in Brantford I think I have succeeded in that, just recently I was out at a store and an individual turned to me and said, "hey, aren’t you Rob Ferguson?" and I laugh because my wife says it seems like we can’t go out anymore without people coming up to me or recognizing me.'"

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Why libertarians like Bitcoin

The Libertarian Case for Bitcoin | Hacked: Hacking Finance - William Bartlett:

August 23, 2018 - "From the outside looking in, Bitcoin seems to have a cult-like following.... However, as you get to understand crypto a little better, it becomes clear that there are many different factions.... There are the technologists who think technology is king, [the] contrarians who believe that the US dollar and all fiat currencies are overvalued, and then there are the libertarians who want to have as much freedom from the government as possible.

 "At its core, libertarianism is a political philosophy that gives individuals rights to acquire, keep, and exchange their holdings. It is a very 'American' point-of-view, and has gained a lot of support in recent times, due to the rising fiscal deficit, among other things.... To libertarians, the ideal is to have minimum intervention from the state.

"This also involves locking middlemen and intermediaries out of the equation. Oligopolies such as the one the big banks currently hold end up giving them a 'government-level' of control over the funds of customers. Bitcoin disintermediates these banks and creates a natural market for all who wish to do commerce online.

"An auxiliary point would be the somewhat excessive intervention in the money markets by the Fed. Denationalization of currency is a position most libertarians take as another way of protecting their money from purposeful inflation.

"What is especially beautiful about Bitcoin is the fact that it is censorship resistant. Not only is there economic freedom, but also the ability to fund whatever you would like, but without worrying about being stopped. This is true 'freedom of expression' (another libertarian ideal). Obviously there are cases where this goes too far (e.g. terrorism) and this is where the debate about Bitcoin’s place in society heats up.

"Bitcoin also goes in direct conflict with the government’s desire to track the flow of money for taxation and regulatory purposes. It is very difficult for governments to track the flow of Bitcoin funds, and even though it’s possible to match up public addresses, anonymity is generally ensured. And for those looking for a more robust solution, other privacy coins like zCash and Monero have popped up.

"Aside from Bitcoin, you have numerous new 'markets' popping up where there used to be inefficient markets with minimal innovation. Utility coins are putting a value on what used to be deadweight loss in the markets. This connects to Bitcoin with the idea of 'economic liberty', where they have property rights and fully privatized free markets."

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Niskanen Center abandons libertarian label

The libertarian think tank Niskanen Center is abandoning libertarianism — Quartz - Michael J. Coren:

October 31, 2018 - "For millions of people, ideology is the lighthouse in a dark sea of politics. An uncompromising vision of how the world is supposed to work, and how to fix it, is just too alluring for partisans to ignore. Political parties’ most frenzied supporters are demanding ideological purity from their candidates as they push out moderates [and] ever fewer temperate souls are left to hold the middle ground in politics.

"Yet the libertarian think tank Niskanen Center in Washington, DC, argues the moderate middle is the future. Niskanen president Jerry Taylor wrote in an Oct. 29 essay that he is dropping the libertarian banner.... In a 3,595-word farewell to the libertarian world, he says libertarianism, and ideology itself, is a dead end. 'I have abandoned that libertarian project…because I have come to abandon ideology,' writes Taylor.... The future of American politics, he argues, is principled compromise....

"Trump’s authoritarian takeover of the Republican Party was Taylor’s breaking point ('I would have thought libertarians would have been on the ramparts, and they are not,' he said), but his disillusionment began years ago after working as a paid climate skeptic for the Cato Institute. He eventually came to see opposing action on climate change as both scientifically misguided, and wrong. After failing to get his libertarian colleagues to even engage with the argument, he slowly began to see how ideological fervor had engulfed a range of political issues, no matter what evidence pointed to the contrary.

"Taylor argues Americans need to give up on perfection in politics, the logical endpoint of which is fanaticism. As the head of a think tank aimed at lawmakers, not the US public, Taylor’s move is a politically opportunistic bet as much as a principled stand in defense of a pluralistic society.....

"The libertarian vision of 'night-watchman state' with a society dominated by the market is as distant a dream as ever. But a few libertarian causes have flourished in national politics of late.

"From legalizing marijuana to deregulating telecom to striking down sodomy laws, libertarian policy wins have come after being co-opted by the major political parties (and even by winning a few local elections). Taylor’s rejection of the libertarian label may be a gift to his (former) fellow travelers. Libertarians’ greatest impact may be felt most when they aren’t espousing an ideology at all."

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Ohio Libertarians dispute loss of ballot status

Ohio Libertarians may sue to keep ballot access | - Jeremy Pelzer:

November 13, 2018 - "Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office says that the Libertarians, along with the Ohio Green Party, lost their ballot access because their respective candidates for governor in the Nov. 6 midterm election didn’t get the 3 percent of the vote required under state law to remain a recognized minor party. The Libertarians’ gubernatorial nominee, Columbus activist and filmmaker Travis Irvine, got 1.8 percent of the vote, according to unofficial totals.

"But Ohio Libertarians point to a part of the law (specifically, section 3501.01(F)(2)(b) of the Ohio Revised Code) stating that the '3-percent' requirement is only for minor parties that have been recognized for at least a year before the election. The Libertarian Party of Ohio regained state recognition in July for the first time since 2014, a year after the GOP-controlled legislature passed new ballot-access rules (which the Libertarians tried unsuccessfully to fight in a lengthy court battle).

"Secretary of state spokesman Sam Rossi disputed the Libertarians’ assertion that the '3-percent' requirement doesn’t apply to them.... Rossi also noted that the Libertarian Party of Ohio’s chair, Harold Thomas, claimed the day before the 2018 midterms that Irvine needed 3 percent of the vote to 'automatically achieve 2020 ballot access....

"Rossi declined to comment further, saying the Libertarians are likely to file suit over the matter against Husted’s successor, Republican Frank LaRose.... Indeed, that’s exactly what Libertarian Party of Ohio spokesman David Jackson said his party would do, if they are notified by Husted’s office that they are de-certified as a minor party."

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

WA Supreme Court strikes down death penalty

Washington state Supreme Court strikes down the death penalty | News | The Pacific Northwest Inlander | News, Politics, Music, Calendar, Events in Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and the Inland Northwest - Wilson Criscione:

October 18, 2018 - "The Washington Supreme Court unanimously struck down the death penalty last week, ruling that it is 'imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner.' In doing so, Washington becomes the 20th state to end capital punishment. The ruling commuted the sentences of eight men currently on death row to life in prison.

"'The death penalty, as administered in our state, fails to serve any legitimate penological goal,' the ruling states.

"It's the third time the court has declared the state's death penalty laws unconstitutional — the prior rulings taking place in 1972 and 1979. None of those, including last week's decision, hold capital punishment as inherently unconstitutional. The court left open the option that the state Legislature could enact a statute for capital punishment, as long is it doesn't create a system that offends constitutional rights....

"Fifteen states have abandoned the death penalty through court order or legislative act in the last 15 years. Washington has not executed anyone since 2010, and in 2014, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee — a one-time supporter of capital punishment — imposed a moratorium on the death penalty. He said last week in a news conference that he would veto any bill that would reinstate the death penalty. "'Today's decision by the state Supreme Court thankfully ends the death penalty in Washington,' Inslee says in a statement....

"Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who introduced legislation in 2017 to abolish the death penalty, says in a statement he will try again to remove capital punishment from state law, 'once and for all.'  'Next session, I will again propose legislation repealing the death penalty, replacing it with life in prison without the possibility of parole,' Ferguson says."

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sharpe achieves ballot status for NY Libertarians

Libertarian Party of New York Achieves Ballot Access - Binghamton Homepage:

November 7, 2018 - "Libertarian candidate Larry Sharpe made history today by tallying 90,739 votes in the New York State Gubernatorial election. New York is now one step closer to changing the two party partnership in Albany that enjoys the political benefits of offering favors with our tax dollars. Mr. Sharpe made inroads with disenchanted Republicans and Democrats, Independents and new voters by offering a message of hope rather than employing the fear factor tactics of the old parties.

"By surpassing the 50,000 vote threshold, the Libertarian Party of New York (LPNY) secures New York State ballot access for the next four years. Recruiting principled libertarian candidates to challenge big government incumbents in local elections begins now. We enthusiastically welcome those who defend the rights of the individual and want to challenge Albany’s use of force to achieve political and social goals to join us.

"LPNY Chairman Jim Rosenbeck said “\'We view today’s results as much more than the snapshot of a single election.  Today’s outcome portends a larger political revolution in New York State. The LPNY will build on this momentum. Those who came to us for a great candidate in Larry Sharpe are encouraged to stay and work together to promote the only political ideology that consistently defends your right to pursue happiness with minimal interference from the state.'"

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Monday, November 12, 2018

People's Party organizing in Saskatchewan

Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada gaining support in Sask. | CBC News - Chelsea Laskowski:

October 25, 2018 - "Maxime Bernier's Saskatchewan supporters say they're well on the way to hitting their leader's big goal for 2018.

"When Bernier filed the Elections Canada paperwork seeking official party status for his new People's Party of Canada in early October, he told reporters he wants to set up associations for his new People's Party of Canada in all of the country's 338 federal ridings. It was a big ask for a party that just got its name in September, only a month after Bernier shocked conservatives across Canada by announcing he'd be leaving the party to create his own....

"Saskatchewan already has nine out of 14 set up, including one in each of the six combined ridings in Saskatoon and Regina. Efforts are underway [in] all of the remaining ridings. Rural areas are lagging behind, according to Ethan Erkiletian, who has been key in forming PPC riding associations in the province. All ridings are pending registration under Elections Canada.

"The party claims to have signed up more than 22,477 members nationally but told CBC it won't be sharing regional membership statistics until November at the earliest. South Saskatchewan PPC field organizer Nigel Sharp said Regina's biggest riding association has nearly 100 members right now.

"With Bernier's headquarters in Gatineau, QC housing only four paid PPC staffers, the heavy lifting — and credit for membership growth — lands on the shoulders of Bernier's loyal supporters, most of whom supported his failed Conservative leadership bid....

"For now, Saskatoon-University remains the core. 'That's where our groundswell of support is up here. All of this, remember, is quite spontaneous and quite self-actualized. So as we've seen support spring up it's really just completely self-motivated,' Erkiletian said....

"Bernier would like to drop immigration levels down to Harper era numbers, around 90,000 less than current projections for 2020.... Erkiletian said people online have called him everything from xenophobe to a white supremacist. 'When you do draw yourself into the public debate people will resort to these tactics, especially if you are part of a movement such as Maxime Bernier's which is trying to speak openly and honestly about issues of contention,' he said....

"Erkiletian said he's just received a letter from Elections Canada to confirm that he is a party member. It takes 250 confirmed members to officially be declared a party. For now, members are willingly taking on expenses like booking meeting rooms and travel with no promise of being reimbursed until the party is official."

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

U.S. military spending endangers American liberty

The Military Industrial Complex’s Assault on Liberty | The American Conservative - Michael Shumer:

June 22, 2018 - "Last week, the House Appropriations Committee advanced a lavish $674.6 billion Pentagon spending bill for fiscal year 2019. That means Congress is preparing to spend even more on defense, which isn’t at all shocking. To even marginally decrease defense spending, according to its champions, would be disastrous....

"America’s military has over 800 bases worldwide, more than any other nation or empire in history. In order to staff, equip, and maintain this body, the U.S. spends more on defense than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, and France combined—to great effect. According to the Credit Suisse Research Institute, the strength of the American military exceeds that of all other countries, based on factors that include its quantities of soldiers, tanks, and aircraft. If any nation is prepared to brave the whirlwind of geopolitics, it is the United States. Yet legislators still claim that the military is experiencing a 'readiness crisis,' which necessitates further fattening of the defense budget.

"This 'crisis' is often exaggerated or confused by its proponents because 'readiness' is an ambiguous term that hints at urgency without ever specifying a threat. In that vein, arguments often focus on the health of particular programs while failing to contextualize them within clearly defined geopolitical aims. Whether a certain squadron of pilots is getting enough flight hours is a very different question than whether the U.S. is ready to maintain its current commitments abroad or hold its ground in a world war. Emotion, not genuine geopolitical insight, drives popular support for inflated defense spending, and, in the words of horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, 'the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.'

"When World War II ended, defense spending fell significantly. President Truman was left wondering how to persuade Congress to fund various geopolitical projects.... Senator Arthur Vandenberg forthrightly advised him to 'scare the hell out of the American people,' and so he did with great success. Later presidents followed suit throughout the Cold War and, together, they funded an extravagant arms race that lasted until the Soviet Union fell....

"Shortly, however, new demons were conjured up from the Middle Eastern sands and the defense budget has been distended ever since. If this cycle of inflated spending and fearsome rhetoric were some sort of perverse exercise towards geopolitical predictability, perhaps it would be pardonable. But it isn’t. In addition to our scruples, it costs us our liberty.

"In his famous 'Cross of Iron' speech, President Eisenhower said, 'Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed.' Even worse, excessive defense spending is an assault on liberty. In the words of American political philosopher Lysander Spooner, 'the only security men can have for their political liberty, consists in their keeping their money in their own pockets, until they have assurances…that it will be used as they wish it to be used, for their benefit, and not for their injury.'

"In a capitalist economy such as ours, money is the fuel of freedom. To take so much of it away from taxpayers to fund military bloat, which is neither necessary nor beneficial, is to not only deprive them of some good or service, but to deprive them of their choice, which is the essence of liberty."

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Third libertarian Republican elected to U.S. House

Libertarian Republicans excelled in the midterm elections - Jack Hunter, Washington Examiner:

November 7, 2018 - "On Tuesday night, Democrats took the House and Republicans kept the Senate. Expect to hear opinions and analysis of what this might mean for President Trump and the 2020 election in the weeks and months to come. But how did the small but enduring libertarian faction within the Republican Party do?...

"The most high-profile libertarian Republican in Congress, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, was not up for re-election. The next-most high-profile libertarian Republicans in Congress, Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Thomas Massie of Kentucky, both won re-election by double-digits.

"Amash, who represents a purple district, has been openly critical of Trump, and his independent streak appeared to pay off for him Tuesday. Massie represents a deep-red district, hasn’t hesitated to criticize the president, yet simultaneously has been more sympathetic. Massie predictably defeated his Democratic opponent in a blowout.

"Republican novice Denver Riggleman won his race for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District. 'Riggleman, a newcomer to politics, ran a positive campaign based on libertarian ideas,' reported National Review's Jibran Khan. But Khan also noted what the libertarian-leaning Riggleman was not: 'His victory, which came on the heels of Corey Stewart’s failed run for the Senate, should be a message for the Virginia GOP'....

"The soundly defeated Corey Stewart represented not only some of the worst aspects of today’s Right in his racist appeal, however intentional or unintentional those appeals were, but his competitive GOP primary opponent Virginia House member Nick Freitas was a libertarian Republican....  Even if he wouldn’t have beaten Democrat Tim Kaine, it is easy to see the libertarian Freitas having significantly more appeal to a larger swath of voters than Stewart. Hopefully this is a lesson Virginia Republicans remember.

"A similar message was sent in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, where Republican Katie Arrington was defeated by Democrat Joe Cunningham. Arrington defeated incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford in the Republican primary by touting her pro-Trump credentials.... [A] Democrat hadn’t won [there] in 40 years.... Arrington’s defeat shows that there are limits to merely hanging your hat on Trump, even in red South Carolina. It goes without saying that the libertarian Sanford would have had far more appeal.

"Another libertarian victory of sorts actually came from the Democratic side, where Colorado’s Jared Polis became the first openly gay governor. Polis is the sole Democratic member of the House Liberty Caucus founded by Justin Amash.... This is not to say that the new Democratic governor will always act along liberty lines, but the one Democrat arguably most sympathetic to libertarian ideas and issues got a big win Tuesday.

"The biggest losses for libertarian Republicans were the defeat of Rep. Dave Brat in Virginia’s 7th District, and Eric Brakey, with a failed Senate challenge to Maine’s incumbent Angus King, an independent who overwhelming votes with Democrats. Brat, also a member of the House Liberty Caucus, made waves when he defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014 — and his loss Tuesday was razor-thin. Brakey, a popular two-term Maine state senator, is only 30 years old, a thorough libertarian Republican in the mold of Rand Paul, and hopefully this won’t be the last we hear from him.

"Overall, Tuesday showed ... that libertarian Republicanism not only endures, but prevails, and could be the brand best positioned for future GOP victories."

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Friday, November 9, 2018

Texas Libertarians receive record votes

Tippetts Sets Libertarian Vote Record in Governor Race — The Amarillo Pioneer:

November 8, 2018 - "On Tuesday night, [Mark] Tippetts won 140,015 votes, making for the largest vote total for a Libertarian candidate for Texas governor in history. While Tippetts won around 2 percent of the vote, the number marks a significant move forward for Libertarian voters in Texas.

"Tippetts was not the only record setter among Libertarians Tuesday. Court of Criminal Appeals candidate Mark Ash set the record for largest vote total ever received for a Texas Libertarian, earning 1.6 million votes. Richard Carpenter and Matt Pina also set records for best vote totals for Libertarians in their respective statewide races.

"With Ash’s showing on Tuesday, Libertarians also earned ballot access through 2020.

"For information on the Libertarian Party, please visit"

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Libertarian state reps defeated in NH, Nebraska

Libertarian State Sen. Laura Ebke of Nebraska Loses Re-Election Bid - Hit & Run : - Brian Doherty:

November 7, 2018 - "Nebraska state Sen. Laura Ebke won office in 2014 as a Republican, but switched parties to Libertarian in 2016 because of her dislike for lockstep discipline in a party that she didn't think hewed to consistent small government principles. After coming in second in a three-way nonpartisan primary in May, with 33 percent for Ebke and 44 for Republican Tom Brandt, she lost to him tonight, 57-43.

Ebke was extraordinarily well-funded for a state legislative race in Nebraska. Due largely to big-money contributions from out-of-state libertarians, she raised nearly a quarter million, huge by Nebraska standards and more than twice Brandt's take....

"The Libertarian Party didn't put a lot of effort or time into Ebke's race, which seems fine with her. She wasn't stressing the party connection much in her campaigning or messaging; unless a voter directly asked her, she wasn't apt to bring it up.... Her campaign manager, Asa Bryant, agreed in an interview last month that trying to sell a voter on the entire L.P. package was less useful to them in a local campaign than just trying to sell the candidate. So he advised Ebke not to stress the party label and not to use the term libertarian in her promotional material."
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Party-Switching N.H. State Rep. Brandon Phinney Gets Slaughtered as a Libertarian - Hit & Run : - Matt Welch

November 6, 2018 - "Brandon Phinney was a model for one genre of elected Libertarian: The party-switcher. The New Hampshire state representative, elected to the 400-member body in 2016 as a Republican, switched to Libertarian in June 2017 after watching the machinery of allegedly small-government Republicanism up close.... He targeted archaic laws to be stricken from the books, helped effectively legalize visiting bands drinking beer on stage, and prepped for his first election wearing the 'L' right there on his sweater....

"He got trounced.... 'After two years of voting to protect personal freedom, control spending, provide transparency and after two years of proposing legislation to do the same (with two bills as a prime sponsor signed into law),' Phinney wrote on his Facebook page, 'my district rewarded me with 377 votes.... The Democratic candidate, who barely campaigned, received 1,548 votes. The Republican, who did NOTHING but put out yard signs, received 1,720 votes'....

"In another post, Phinney complained that 'voters care more about party than literally anything else and that's the biggest problem in this country.'" "
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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

71% vote to keep Bolick on AZ Supreme Court

Clint Bolick, Arizona’s Libertarian Supreme Court Justice, Wins Judicial Retention Election - Hit & Run : - Damon Root:

November 7, 2018 - "The Arizona electorate has voted overwhelmingly in favor of letting a libertarian jurist keep his seat on the state's highest court. As the Arizona Republic reports, state Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick handily won his judicial retention election yesterday by a lopsided margin of 71 percent to 29 percent.

"Bolick, a pioneering libertarian lawyer and co-founder of the Institute for Justice, was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court in 2016 by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. Under the terms of the Arizona constitution, a state Supreme Court justice must stand in a judicial retention election two years after being appointed to the bench, and then stand again every six years after that.

"It's worth noting that Bolick prevailed in yesterday's vote despite the best efforts of the liberal National Education Association, which funded anti-Bolick activities in an attempt at payback over Bolick's vote in a case that the Arizona Capitol Times has described as 'a ruling that knocked a tax hike for education off the ballot.' Unfortunately for these liberal activists, they have now lost soundly in both the courtroom and in the court of public opinion.

"Bolick has already amassed an impressive record on the Arizona Supreme Court in the past two years and will no doubt continue to build upon it in the years to come."

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A libertarian case for voting

The Libertarian Case for Voting - - Ed Krayewski:

November 30, 2014 - "Tomorrow I'll be voting in my 39th consecutive election. When I vote for candidates, they rarely win. The ones that do have without exception disappointed. Many elections don't have any candidates I want to vote for. So I spoil my ballot.

"There are a lot of [bad] reasons to vote.... Ultimately your vote matters very little. It's almost certainly never going to tip an election. Many elections (think 2012) don't really have a plausible conclusion that doesn't suck for the American people. Nevertheless voting is important, because in a democratic system the absence of a vote enforces the illusion of the consent of the governed.

"Most people don't vote. The U.S. population is about 316 million. About 235 million are adults.... About 130 million Americans voted in the 2012 presidential election, nearly 66 million for President Obama.... Almost all of the 49 percent of voting Americans who didn't vote for Obama voted for the Republican, Mitt Romney. That still leaves at least 78 million Americans eligible to vote who didn't vote for Obama or Romney, more than the vote total either major party candidate received....

"It's impossible to say how many of those 78 million Americans, pressed to vote, would vote Democrat or Republican..... Millions of Americans ... may never vote precisely because they don't like Democrats or Republicans. A lot of people don't know they're libertarians. A lot of libertarians don't believe in voting. And not every Libertarian candidate will appeal to all libertarians. Certainly not every adult eligible to vote will have a candidate that matches up even imperfectly with their own views....

"No one person's decision to purchase or not purchase an Apple phone over an Android phone will make or break Apple.... Yet, in the aggregate, market participants set prices. Even the non-participants, those who decide not to buy, help set the price.... Not purchasing a smartphone deprives no one of anything but you of a smartphone....

"In politics, on the other hand, not voting becomes part of the illusion of consent. After all, non-voters aren't starting insurgencies or calling for revolutions.... The consent required for government to exert more control over you is far less robust than, say, the consent demanded of college students in California, or, actually, in any other situation where consent is required.

"Voting is a right, not a privilege. It's also not something you have to exercise. Not voting doesn't diminish anyone's credibility in criticizing the system, because voting doesn't ensure a specific result. But the regularity of not-voting helps promote the idea that the system is acceptable, just as much as the regularity of voting for the major parties does. Breaking that cycle can help break politics' control over us."

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Indiana Dems urge conservatives: vote Libertarian

Trump tweet about Donnelly 'trying to steal' election wrong, Indiana Democrats say -  Kaitlin Lange and Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star:

November 3, 2018 - "In a Saturday afternoon tweet, President Donald Trump accused Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., of 'trying to steal the election' by paying for Facebook ads for Libertarian candidate Lucy Brenton.... Donnelly is locked in a tight race with Republican Mike Braun, who Trump stumped for Friday at a rally in Southport....

"A spokesman for the Donnelly campaign said the ads were paid for by the Indiana Democratic Party, which earlier paid for a mailer urging fiscally conservative voters that Brenton is a better choice than Braun. He referred questions to the party.

"Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody released the following statement in response to President Trump’s tweet:
The ads highlighting how Lucy Brenton is the true conservative in the Indiana Senate race are paid for by the Indiana Democratic Party. They are perfectly legal, factual, and accurately represent Lucy Brenton's anti-tax record. These ads draw attention to Rep. Braun’s record of voting to raise taxes on Hoosiers dozens of times as a State Representative while writing legislation to give himself tax breaks.
"Original story, October  29, 2018 - The Indiana Democratic Party sent out a mailer last week telling fiscally conservative Hoosiers there is a better Senate candidate than Republican Mike Braun. But in an unconventional move, .... the mailer praised Libertarian candidate Lucy Brenton.

"The words 'Looking for a candidate who will really lower your taxes?' appear on the front of the flier. On the back, the mailer says that Brenton 'is an anti-tax conservative' while Braun 'raised Indiana taxes 159 times.' Donnelly isn't mentioned....

"Brenton said she was shocked that the Democrats used this tactic, but called the mailer 'accurate.' 'I am grateful for the free publicity highlighting my tax stance, but think it will backfire,' Brenton said. 'Many Democrats are Constitution loving, fiscally conservative voters and my message resonates with them, too. Ultimately, how well they targeted the addresses will determine which voters learn that they have a choice in this race that demands all of their freedoms, all of the time.'

"The Indiana Republican Party said the mailer was a 'desperate, late-game campaign tactic'."

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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Ohio Libertarians begin modest TV ad buy (video)

Libertarian candidate for governor unveils TV ads in Toledo - Toledo Blade - Liz Skalka:

November 1, 2018 - "Libertarian governor candidate Travis Irvine launched his first television ads in Toledo and Cincinnati less than a week from Election Day.... The buy is for a modest $2,000 worth of airtime on Fox News and CNBC, campaign manager Ken Moellman said....

"Irvine, whose campaign has already invested in radio ads, said the TV ads are ones already featured online and are produced by Mr. Irvine himself. The 35-year-old from Columbus runs his own media company and also dabbles in comedy. 'I guarantee I’m the only candidate to edit his own ads,' he said....

"Irvine reported raising more than $5,000 from Oct. 1 through Oct. 17 and spending $7,300. [Republican Mike] DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray have raised more than $44 million....

"Irvine said he would campaign in Lucas, Geauga, and Butler counties, where he said he has the support of some conservative Republicans who have balked from backing Mr. DeWine."

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Reason magazine celebrates 50 years in print

America’s Premier Libertarian Magazine Celebrates Its 50th Year - Troy Warden, Daily Signal:

November 2, 2018 - "Reason magazine, the print and online publication of Reason Foundation, will celebrate its 50th anniversary Saturday with well-known figures in the libertarian movement at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Los Angeles. Reason bills itself as 'the planet’s largest source of news, culture, policy, and ideas from a principled libertarian perspective.'

'Larry Friedlander, a Boston University student, founded Reason magazine in the summer of 1968. The magazine was considered unlike many magazines of the time because of its clean graphic design and clear ethos. Freidlander, who died in 2011 at age 63, painstakingly designed the magazine’s aesthetics and content from scratch at his mother’s house, Katherine Mangu-Ward, editor in chief, told The Daily Signal in an email....

"Libertarianism is a political philosophy that emphasizes individual freedom and limits on the coercive behavior of the state. Libertarians typically favor strong property rights, civil liberties, and drug decriminalization.

"According to Mike Alissi, the publisher of Reason, the website receives 4 million web visitors a month and 3.5 million monthly video views of at least 30 seconds in length. Monthly circulation is 47,000....

"A luncheon followed by a gala Saturday night will feature conversations on and remembrances of Reason’s 50-year history of 'fighting for "Free Minds and Free Markets" via award-winning journalism and cutting-edge policy work powered by principled, pragmatic, and visionary libertarian ideals,' and what plans the magazine and foundation have in store for the next five decades....

"Fox Business Network host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery — professionally known as Kennedy — will host the evening program, which will feature remarks from Vernon Smith, who won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics, and Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, a two-term governor of Indiana....

 "Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes Reason magazine along with public policy research, will give its Savas Award for Privatization to Frank Baxter, former U.S. ambassador to Uruguay ... 'for his role in co-founding Los Angeles’ largest and most successful charter school network, the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools,' Leonard Gilroy, director of government reform at Reason Foundation, said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal....

"Despite the passage of 50 years, Mangu-Ward said, “the early issues of Reason feel astonishingly relevant today'.... 'In the early days of Reason, libertarians and conservatives made common cause against the rising tide of socialism and communism,' she told The Daily Signal. 'Unfortunately, that alliance may once again be relevant.'”

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Friday, November 2, 2018

Close to 50 Libertarians running in North Carolina

Libertarian candidates swell ranks - Rocky Mount Telegram - Lindell John Kay:

September 23, 2018 - "Two local candidates for state office this year are part of a growing trend of more Libertarians appearing on North Carolina ballots.

"'I’m fortunate to be the first Libertarian to run for the North Carolina House in our area,' said Nick Taylor, 30, of Nashville, who is running for the state House District 25 seat, which represents most of Nash County including Rocky Mount. Jesse Shearin, 77, of Scotland Neck, is running for for the state Senate District 4 seat....

"North Carolina is second only to Texas this year in having the largest number of Libertarian candidates — and with nearly 50 Libertarians running this year, it's one of the largest slates of Libertarian candidates ever, according to information from the N.C. Libertarian Party.

"Libertarians believe government stifles innovation through regulation, subverts compassion through bureaucracy and suppresses achievement through economic manipulation, according to the preamble of the party's platform....

"Lack of jobs is one of the biggest challenges facing Nash County and the state, Taylor said.... 'I would like to make it easier for businesses to open up in Nash County and our state,' he said. 'Therefore reducing the unnecessary steps and run-around that citizens have to take to create a business'....

 "The most important issue facing District 4 — and all other districts — is the tendency to rely upon government to solve all problems, Shearin said....

"The Libertarian platform calls for the legalization of marijuana, the end of immigration laws, gun ownership without regulation, repeal of any restrictive marriage laws, outlawing government collection of information on people, a free market, abolishing the execution of prisoners, school choice, privately owned roads and more."

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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Pakistani Christian on death row for blasphemy freed by Supreme Court

Pakistan acquits Christian woman sentenced to die for blasphemy - John Bacon, USA Today:

October 31, 2018 - "Pakistan's highest court on Wednesday ordered the release of a poor, illiterate Christian woman who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy, setting off a wave of demonstrations by hard-line Islamists nationwide but drawing praise from human rights activists.

"The Supreme Court overturned the conviction against Asia Bibi, accused in 2009 of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a case that sparked violent protests in the overwhelmingly Muslim nation of 200 million people. Two Pakistani government officials were murdered in 2011 in crimes linked to their support of Bibi....

"Chief Justice Saqib noted that tolerance is the 'basic principle' of Islam. Pakistan Peoples Party leader Sherry Rehman cheered the verdict on Twitter.... But the future of blasphemy laws in Pakistan is far from settled. The laws remain popular in Pakistan, and Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed support for them during the recent election campaign.

"After the decision on Bibi was announced, the Islamist political party Tehreek-e-Labaik said Saqib and the other judges deserve death under Islamic law. That drew a sharp rebuke from Khan. 'The state will fulfill its responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of people and take strict action against violators,' he said in a speech broadcast across the country....

"Bibi's case stemmed from a simple act among poor farmhands in rural Pakistan.... Muslim women working with Bibi complained when she dipped her cup into the water bucket, saying a non-Muslim was unclean. The women quarreled, and her co-workers accused her of insulting the prophet three times. She was later beaten, and the women complained to a local religious leader who pressed for the blasphemy charge. Insulting Islam's prophet is considered blasphemy [and] carries a death sentence under Pakistani law....

"The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom hailed the decision and urged Pakistan officials to take steps to ensure her safety. The group also called for release of the estimated 40 people who remain on death row for blasphemy convictions. Blasphemy laws protect entire religions rather than the rights of individuals, falling short of international human rights standards, commission chairman Tenzin Dorjee said.

"Amnesty International called the decision a 'landmark verdict' for religious tolerance. 'Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are overbroad, vague and coercive,' the group said in a statement."

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Montana Libertarian: "No, I am not dropping out"

Despite Donald Trump Jr. Retweet, Libertarian Senate Candidate Rick Breckenridge Did Not Drop Out - Hit & Run : - Brian Doherty:

October 31, 2018 - "Donald Trump Jr. retweeted a tweet this morning saying that Libertarian Party Senate candidate Rick Breckenridge of Montana had dropped out and endorsed Republican challenger Matt Rosendale to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester....

"But as Breckenridge clarified in a phone interview this morning, it is not true. The reporter on the original tweet misunderstood the meaning of Breckenridge declaring he had more trust in Rosendale on a particular issue bugging him this week: the use of political 'dark money' to send anonymous mailers; in this particular case, one slamming Rosendale for wanting 'to use drones and patrols to spy on our private lives,' while seeming to endorse Breckenridge as 'a true conservative' who 'opposes government intrusion into Montanans private lives.'

"'No, I am not dropping out' Breckenridge says, though he grants he used the word 'endorse' to reporters regarding Rosendale over Tester, but only on the issue of rooting out dark money, which this anonymous mailer has now made personal to him.... Breckenridge says he doesn't want voters thinking he actually supported something he sees as an unsavory direct public attack on his political opponents, neither of whom he views as an enemy, and both of whom he agrees with on certain issues....

"But he stresses this morning he is still running and wants people to vote for him. 'I did not say "do not vote for me, vote for Matt." I'm a Libertarian through and through, I'm not a Republican. I'm not going to be campaigning for [Rosendale], won't be on stage with" him. He characterizes his statement about Rosendale regarding dark money as 'an issue bigger than my candidacy, and I had to do something from a citizen standpoint.'

"He says he's known Rosendale and his family for over 10 years and appreciates his character, but 'I'm for liberty and the cause of liberty.' Breckenridge says he agrees with Tester on the Fourth Amendment and the Kavanaugh Supeme Court appointment (Tester was opposed to Kavanaugh's appointment and confirmation), and he disagrees with both men on the border wall (Tester and Rosendale are both for it). He also notes, regarding the anonymous pamphlet that tried to paint the Libertarian as a 'true conservative,' that he's 'very socially liberal.'"

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Libertarian Senate candidate drops out in MT

Libertarian candidate drops out of Montana's U.S. Senate race to back Rosendale | 406 Politics | - Helena Independent-Record - Matt Brown, Associated Press:

October 31, 2018 - "The Libertarian candidate in Montana's U.S. Senate race threw his support behind Republican Matt Rosendale on Wednesday in response to an election mailer from an unknown group that appeared aimed at undermining Rosendale's support among conservatives.

"Rosendale, Montana's state auditor and insurance commissioner, is in a tight race against two-term Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, with the balance of power in the closely divided Senate potentially at play.

"Libertarian Rick Breckenridge has virtually no chance of winning. But his participation has threatened to peel away votes that might otherwise go toward the Republican and boost Tester's chances next week.....

"Breckenridge said in an interview that he doesn't know the source of the mailer, which promoted him as a 'true conservative' and claimed that Rosendale supports using drones to spy on private citizens.

"He said it appeared to be an attempt by so-called dark money groups to influence Montana's election.... Federal election laws require campaign materials to disclose their funding source. He said he disagreed with Rosendale on some issues, particularly the Republican's support for building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and shared Tester's concerns about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's stance on privacy issues. But dark money in elections is more important, Breckenridge said.

"The mailer is reminiscent of tactics used by Democratic-friendly groups in Tester's 2012 race to promote Libertarian candidate Dan Cox and siphon Republican voters from Rep. Denny Rehberg. Tester won the race by 4 percentage points, and Cox captured more than 6 percent of the vote....

"Rosendale said during a Thursday conference call with Breckenridge hosted by the Republican's campaign that he was honored to have the Libertarian's backing. Rosendale alleged that the flier was distributed by 'Jon Tester's allies' but offered no definitive proof."

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Montana Libertarian: "No, I am not dropping out"

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Boston Globe endorses Fishman for state auditor

Editorial board endorsement: Dan Fishman, a Libertarian, for auditor - The Boston Globe

October 29, 2018 - "The office of the state auditor could do so much more for Massachusetts, but not under the leadership of Suzanne Bump. The unfolding payroll scandal at the State Police — which somehow escaped the incumbent Democratic auditor’s notice — is a good example of the sort of waste and abuse that a real activist in the job might ferret out on behalf of taxpayers. An auditor without any partisan axes to grind could shake up the state.

"In that spirit, the Globe endorses Daniel Fishman of Beverly, the Libertarian candidate, in the Nov. 6 general election....

"The state auditor’s job is to root out fraud and misspending by periodically auditing state agencies. In a state with a Republican governor and an overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature, Fishman, a software architect, makes a good case that an auditor from either party is inherently compromised. 'Why would you elect a Republican or a Democrat to audit Republicans and Democrats?' he asks.

"Events this year have helped make his case. Not only did Bump miss what appears to be rampant payroll abuse at the State Police, she gave the office a black eye in September with an embarrassingly partisan audit of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. She accused the agency of issuing licenses to licensees after their date of death, a charge that fell apart when the RMV determined the drivers were still alive.

"It’s part of a pattern for an auditor who has politicized the office, failed to complete the required number of audits, and pursued audits of overly narrow scope. Bump should not serve a third term....

"Fishman ... has worked at start-ups companies and in IT at Massachusetts General Hospital. A former colleague described him as a “math geek,” adept at managing large amounts of data. Government waste in the 21st century hides in databases like payroll records, and although Fishman isn’t a CPA (neither is Bump), he has an intriguing background for a modern auditor.

"Fishman wants to step up payroll audits and post information on the Web for citizens and journalists to scrutinize. And he wants to meet the legal requirements of auditing each agency once every three years....

"There are two other candidates in the race ... but [we] don’t feel either candidate is quite as ready to run the office as Fishman.... Fishman would bring a sorely needed independent streak to the office. Give this Libertarian a shot."

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Monday, October 29, 2018

Cannabis initiatives on 4 state ballots

4 More States Could Legalize Medical or Recreational Marijuana Next Week - Hit & Run : - Jacob Sullum:

"Proposal 1 would allow adults 21 or older to possess 2.5 ounces or less of marijuana in public, transfer that amount to other adults "without remuneration," possess up to 10 ounces at home, and grow up to 12 plants for personal consumption. The initiative also would establish a licensing system for commercial production and distribution.... Support for Proposal 1 averaged 54 percent in six polls conducted from late February to early October....

North Dakota
"Measure 3 would go further than any initiative enacted so far by ... legalizing 'any nonviolent marijuana activity, except for the sale of marijuana to a person under the age of 21'.... The North Dakota initiative is also unique in requiring 'automatic expungement of the record of an individual who has a drug conviction for a controlled substance that has been legalized'.... North Dakota voters approved medical marijuana by a 28-point margin in 2016, but  ... [s]urveys conducted in February and August put support for legalizing recreational use at 46 percent and 38 percent, respectively....

"Proposition 2 would authorize the production and distribution of marijuana for medical use by patients with any of 10 qualifying conditions and recommendations from their doctors. As of 2021, state-approved patients would be allowed to grow up to six plants at home if they do not live within 100 miles of a licensed dispensary. Support ... averaged 68 percent in nine polls conducted from mid-February to mid-October. Even after the LDS church joined the coalition opposing the initiative, two polls put support at 64 percent....

"Amendment 2, Amendment 3, and Proposition C would all authorize production and distribution of marijuana for medical use....The measures differ mainly in the way they define qualifying conditions, ... maximum amounts ... home cultivation, ... tax rates ... limits they would impose on the number of dispensaries, and the power they would give local governments to ban them. A poll conducted in August found that 54 percent of Missouri voters think the medical use of marijuana should be permitted."

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Sunday, October 28, 2018

U.S. third parties marginalized in midterms

How Third Parties Are Getting Screwed This Election Season - Matt Walsh & Alexis Garcia:

October 26, 2018 - "The 2018 midterms have been chock full of two-party shenanigans, all too often aided and abetted by journalists, pollsters, and the voters themselves.

"It all starts with ballot access. If a state government considers you a 'major party,' getting on the ballot is a snap. Worst-case scenario, you need to collect signatures from a tiny fraction of your own registered voter base. Best case, you just show up.

"Third-party and independent candidates, on the other hand, have to collect tens of thousands of signatures in some states – 15,000 to run for governor in New York, for example, including at least 100 in each congressional district. Arizona Republicans ... changed the law to say that Libertarians need to collect signatures not just from their own members but from registered independents as well. And by the way, the Green Party is subject to a less stringent set of rules.... Some states push their filing deadlines all the way back to a year before the election....

"New Hampshire this year herded all third parties under the same ballot line, confusingly titled 'Libertarians and Other Candidates.' New Mexico tried — and thankfully failed — to institute a 'straight party' ballot, meaning voters in this 3:2 Democratic state could automatically vote for all the candidates in one party by checking off just one box....

"Getting your name on the ballot doesn't mean it will be included in the polls. The Nevada race for U.S. Senate is universally rated a tossup, and yet the first three independent polls released this October failed to include Libertarian Tim Hagan...

"How about debates? Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dale Kerns was assured of a spot on stage, then uninvited. Texas gubernatorial candidate Mark Tippets was told he didn't have enough qualifying press, in part because his coverage in the Spanish-language media didn't count.... Iowa governor candidate Jake Porter, who's polling higher than any other L.P. statehouse contender, says his debate invitations were rescinded, in part because he refused to buy commercials.

"'The freer and more general the competition,' Adam Smith wrote in 1776, the more 'advantageous' it will be to the public. Competitors, he warned, will 'always' try 'to widen the market and to narrow the competition.' For too long we have allowed our system of government, that other glorious achievement from 1776, to be controlled by the market-rigging forces Smith warned us about. It's about time to make American politics competitive again."

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Saturday, October 27, 2018

CNN: Johnson campaign "could change America"

2018 election: 14 midterm races that could change America (opinion) - CNN:

October 2, 2018 - "The midterm elections, a little more than a month away, are a national drama -- with voters deciding whether Republican control of the House and Senate will give way to Democrats, who have been hankering for a chance to challenge the priorities and actions of President Donald Trump. But they are also an intensely local story as voters get ready to make their choices in 435 House and 35 Senate races and in 36 gubernatorial contests. We asked commentators to tell us which race they are watching most closely and why. The views expressed are solely their own....

"Robby Soave: New Mexico Senate race:

"Those who aren't on board with President Donald Trump's agenda but just can't bring themselves to support the Democrats have a sliver of hope in New Mexico, where former Gov. Gary Johnson, a libertarian, has entered a three-way race for a US Senate seat.

"As the Libertarian Party's candidate for president in the 2016 election, Johnson earned 3% of the vote, the best finish for a national third-party candidate in 20 years. Still, the outcome was something of a disappointment for Johnson, who had hoped to capitalize on historic levels of dissatisfaction with the two main party candidates, but instead became a punchline after a series of gaffes. (Remember, "what is Aleppo?") Afterward, he swore he was done with politics.

"But now Johnson is mounting an unlikely but far from impossible challenge to incumbent Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich. A former Republican governor of the typically blue state, Johnson is still popular in New Mexico: A recent poll showed Heinrich leading the race at 39%, with 21% for Johnson and 11% for Republican Mike Rich. Some 30% are still undecided.

"Johnson is an economic conservative known for vetoing hundreds of bills during his first term in office. But he's also a social liberal who supports abortion rights, immigration and drug legalization. And he's no fan of the President; in fact, he said Trump's election 'could be the end of the republic as we know it.' A good showing for Johnson would be a win for the Libertarian Party, while also proving that centrist liberals, independents and Never Trump Republicans can find a compromise candidate.

"Robby Soave writes for the libertarian magazine Reason. Follow him on Twitter"

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Libertarian Metz gets into GA governor debate

Predicting a runoff, Libertarian wants protest vote - Jill Nolin, CHNI - WALB 10 News:

October 25, 2018 - "Tired of two-party politics? The lesser-known third-party candidate in the closely watched Georgia gubernatorial race says he wants your 'protest' vote.

"'This is going to be a runoff anyway,' Ted Metz, who is running as a Libertarian, said during the first televised debate. 'If you’re tired of the two-party system and the two-party tyranny of the oligarchs running the planet, then a vote for me is a protest vote to show them that you are sick and tired of the same ol’ stuff.'

"Metz, a Mableton retiree who worked in the insurance industry, used candidate-to-candidate questions during Tuesday night’s Atlanta Press Club debate to highlight the flaws of both Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams. The debate aired live on Georgia Public Broadcasting.

"Abrams and Kemp are running neck and neck with just a couple weeks left before the Nov. 6 election, according to recent polls.... Metz has lagged far behind ... mustering just 1 or 2 percent of support from likely voters in recent polls. And he’s raised just $6,000 in a race that has smashed state fundraising records.

"But if Metz cobbles together enough votes to deny Abrams and Kemp the votes needed for a majority, the race to name Georgia’s next governor could run into December....

"Metz used his time on screen to laud the usefulness of industrial hemp, call for smaller government and decry the two-party political system.

"He said lower voter turnout – which he attributed to disinterested independent voters – is a bigger issue than voter suppression, which has become a major election issue in the homestretch of the race.

"'They’re trying to pull us apart [to] vote for one of the two teams,' Metz said. 'There are more people that are more interested in hearing a third voice than voting for team red or team blue.'"

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Teen toking not affected by shops near schools, California study finds

Pot Shops Near Schools Do Not Lead to Increased Teen Use, New Study Says - NEWS - Merry Jane:

August 21, 2018 - "Across America’s legal weed bastions, strict zoning regulations have often pigeonholed pot shops in sparsely-populated industrial regions and designated zones. If you listen to regulators tell it, local zoning rules are necessary to keep the adults-only plant away from schools, daycares, public parks, and other child-friendly spaces. In Detroit and Denver, youth-focused zoning regulations have lead to the demise of multiple cannabis businesses.

"In practice, though, teenagers who walk by dispensaries on their way to chemistry class are no more likely to light up a joint than their counterparts in a city or state that has banned retail pot sales.

"Looking at responses to California’s annual Student Tobacco Survey from more than 40,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, UCSD researchers keyed in on specific schools, comparing student cannabis use habits to the location of nearby medical marijuana dispensaries. After examining the tendencies of students living within three miles of a dispensary to those outside of those zones, the study’s authors concluded that there was no connection between pot shop placement and teen use.

"'The distance from school to the nearest medical marijuana dispensary was not associated with adolescents’ use of marijuana in the past month or susceptibility to use marijuana in the future, nor was the weighted count of medical marijuana dispensaries within the 3-mile band of school,' the study’s authors wrote. 'Neither the product price nor the product variety in the dispensary nearest to school was associated with marijuana use or susceptibility to use. The results were robust to different specifications of medical marijuana measures.'

"The UCSD research is the latest in a string of studies that has rebuked prohibitionist claims that legalization will lead to more red-eyed students than ever before. Time and again, university researchers have crunched the numbers and found stagnant or decreasing rates of adolescent pot use in the years after states legalized.

"'We did not find empirical support of the associations of medical marijuana availability, price, and product variety around schools with adolescents' marijuana use and susceptibility to use,' the UCSD study concluded. 'Efforts should be taken to monitor changes in contextual environments of marijuana use in the new scheme of recreational marijuana legalization and examine the causal effects of these contextual factors to better inform policy making.'"

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Larry Sharpe excluded from NY governor debate

Larry Sharpe Excluded from NY Gubernatorial Debate · 71 Republic - Ryan Lau:

October 22, 2018 - "The New York race for governor has been a vicious battle thus far. Democrat incumbent Andrew Cuomo ... faces off against a number of opponents: Republican Marc Molinaro, Libertarian Larry Sharpe, Independent Stephanie Miner, and the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins. However, only Molinaro will get to debate live with Cuomo.

"The Monday night move comes after a number of polls showed that the third-party candidates have very low name recognition. Specifically, a whopping 84 percent of voters had not heard of Larry Sharpe. Figures were similar for Miner and Hawkins, at 77 and 86 percent, respectively. Of the voters who had heard of Sharpe, one-third of them had a positive opinion....

"Most of the polls excluded the third-party candidates entirely.... Sharpe’s performance in a Gravis Marketing poll was the highest of the three candidates: even so, he received only 13% in this poll.

"Third parties, such as the Libertarian Party, have faced exclusion from debates in the past. Most notably, the 2016 Presidential debates did not feature Gary Johnson, who then launched a major lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates.... Johnson now is running for New Mexico Senate.

"Sharpe took to Twitter Monday, condemning the media’s decision to exclude the third-party candidates. He strongly believes that with fair coverage, he could win the race.
(1) My poll numbers prove that I could easily walk away with 30% of the vote and win if my name recognition were equal to that of Cuomo. That tells you that people want change, but they are kept in the dark by the media that is paying to play with Cuomo.
"Monday night’s debate, which will be live on Tuesday night at 7 P.M. EST, is the only scheduled discourse between the two candidates before the election. Thus, Sharpe and the other third-party candidates have lost a key opportunity to increase their low name recognition."

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Maine adopts ranked-choice voting for midterms

Maine Voters Prepare to Rank Their Congressional Candidates to Choose Winners - Hit & Run : - Scott Shackford:

October 23, 2018 - "In just a couple of weeks we're all going to see an election experiment that could perhaps change the way votes are counted.... November's election will be Maine's first use of ranked-choice voting to determine the winners of three elections — for one U.S. senator and two U.S. House seats. And with the way polls for at least one race are going, independent-minded voters are going to affect the outcome in a manner that can actually be tracked.

"In ranked-choice voting, people are asked not to just select one candidate for office, but to rank the candidates by order of preference. If there are four candidates, for example, you can choose the candidate you prefer the most and also rank the others second, third, and fourth....

"[F]or a candidate to win, he or she must have a majority of the votes, not just a plurality. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated from the race.... The ballots are tallied again, and for those who voted for the eliminated [candidate], their second choice is counted instead. And so it goes, until one candidate has a majority....

"The point of ranked-choice voting is to try to enfranchise voters by making it possible to vote for third-party or independent candidates without actually 'throwing their vote away.' Proponents of ranked-choice voting see it as a tool of making candidates reach out to a larger pool of voters rather than just playing to their voting bases.... Ranked-choice voting doesn't necessarily make it easier for third-party candidates to win, but it makes their voices and their voters harder to ignore.

"Several cities in the United States have ranked-choice voting for local races... Maine, as a result of a couple of state ballot initiatives, will be implementing it for the first time....

"Now attention is focused on Maine's 2nd Congressional District, where incumbent Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin is fending off a challenge from Democrat Jared Golden, and two independents [with] almost no chance of winning, getting less than 10 percent of the vote between the two of them in most polls. But the polls also show pretty much a dead heat between Poliquin and Golden.... Therefore, what's going to determine the outcome of this race may very well be who voters for the two independents selected as their second choice — or even their third.....

"[I]ndependent voters will determine the outcome of the race in a way that doesn't make them 'spoilers'.... They can vote for their favorite and then select the Democrat or the Republican as their second choice. Or they may not. Voters aren't required to rank their choices. It's an option....

"Partisans often whine that third-party voters end up helping their opponents. On a fundamental level, this is political entitlement nonsense that improperly treats voters like they belong to the political parties instead of the other way around. But it's also often not entirely true. Polling often shows third-party voters split between the main parties. In this election, we'll get to be able to track where independent votes actually go."

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Monday, October 22, 2018

Pro-Paul PAC invests $2M in Johnson campaign (video)

Protect Freedom PAC Endorses Gary Johnson for U.S. Senate in New Mexico & Launches Statewide TV & Digital Ad Campaign - Protect Freedom PAC:

October 5, 2018 - "Protect Freedom PAC is announcing its endorsement of Gary Johnson for U.S. Senate in New Mexico. The organization has launched a $2 million statewide campaign on broadcast, cable, and satellite TV, as well as on digital.

"Protect Freedom PAC consultant and spokesman Michael Biundo stated:
Gary Johnson is the independent, conservative voice that Washington needs. Gary has a strong record as New Mexico's Governor of keeping his promise to cut taxes, shrink state government, and reduce spending. He will be an effective ally to Senator Rand Paul in the United States Senate at a time where voters are hungry to defeat the Washington machine, drain the swamp, and take back our country. We are excited to endorse Gary today and look forward to working towards victory in November.
[The Protect Freedom PAC was founded in 2017 to support 'current and future allies' of U.S. Senator Rand Paul. Paul endorsed Johnson in August 2018. - ed.]

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Thoughts on Canada's cannabis legalization

by George J. Dance

On October 17 I got an early birthday present - well, early because my birthday is a week away, but in fact something I had been wishing and waiting for for almost 50 years: cannabis prohibition ended in Canada.

This is a huge step for liberty, which must be acknowledged. Canada is only the second nation in the world, and the first in the developed world, to have taken this step. Due credit has to be given to the Young Liberals who have called for prohibition's repeal for decades, and to Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who successfully pushed repeal through his caucus. If Trudeau does nothing else of value (and that might well be) history will remember and thank him for that.

We should also remember, of course, that Trudeau is no libertarian, but a pragmatic "progressive liberal," who was convinced by one libertarian argument: that prohibition leads to an illicit black market with all of its attendant problems. He championed legalization, not from any belief in personal liberty, but simply for the "public good."

Consequently, there is little that is libertarian in prohibition's replacement. A libertarian would like to see growing and smoking marijuana treated, under the law, as no different from growing and eating lettuce. While the law can arguably constrain some marijuana use (from DUI to public smoking), that has nothing to do with the basic right to treat one's own body the way one prefers (at least when no one else is harmed). Instead of that, we have a highly regulated regime, with many harmless actions still criminalized, as a recent CTV report reminds us.

Growing cannabis is banned outright in two provinces. In all the others, growing five or more plants in one's house or garden is illegal. It is even illegal to transport budding or flowering plants to or from one's home: "For example, if someone is moving, they must make sure the plants don’t have any buds or flowers on them before they transport them. Those caught with a budding or flowering cannabis plant in their possession in public could be sentenced to up to five years in prison."

Possessing more than 30 grams of dried marijuana, outside one's home, is also "punishable by up to five years in prison." Possessing any amount at all, when leaving or entering Canada, is illegal: "Anyone found guilty of importing or exporting cannabis without authorization could face fines or up to 14 years in prison."

While you may grow marijuana (in the other 8 provinces), do not try selling any of it: "Unless they’re a licensed retailer, any individual who sells cannabis to others can face steep fines and possible jail time." You may give it away, but only up to the prescribed 30 grams; give someone 31 grams, and the penalty is the same as if you sold it: you "could be charged under Bill C-45’s distribution laws and face up to 14 years in prison."

That last should give Canadian cannabis users pause. For years, if not decades, we bought marijuana from reliable, trusted private dealers, and in recent years, from public dispensaries. All those dealers and dispensaries faced jail time just for the crime of honestly meeting our needs – and all of them still do. The entire network of marijuana sales that Canadians relied on before October 17, all of it illegal, remains just as illegal, and just as criminalized, today.

Some provinces ban cannabis sales except by the provincial government. Others, like Ontario, allow private dispensaries, but require those to buy from the provincial government. Cannabis cannot be bought online, except from a single website. (No, one cannot even buy from another province's website). Even if one successfully bought cannabis online from another source, it still could not be shipped to them: "although it’s permitted to give less than 30 grams of cannabis to an adult friend, it’s not OK to send it to them via the mail or a courier because organizations can’t legally possess or distribute the drug without explicit authorization."

Indeed, the police can still raid your home, confiscate your cannabis, and arrest you if they suspect you are buying from an unlicensed source: "if someone purchases pot from an unlicensed seller, they would be in possession of illegal cannabis.... Individuals found guilty of possessing illicit cannabis can be fined or imprisoned for up to five years."

Unfortunately, many more steps remain for us to take on this trek. Fortunately, we do not have to take them alone. Social attitudes to cannabis have changed drastically, and will do so even more now that the stigma of illegality is removed. Cannabis activists will become more prominent and more respected. As well, we have a potent ally in the Charter of Rights, which our courts have invoked over and over to strike down laws and regulations regarding medical cannabis, and will no doubt do so for the recreational stuff as well.

So the fight for the freedom to use cannabis is only beginning. Nevertheless, it is appropriate to celebrate this sign of progress.

Reference: Jackie Dunham, "10 Things that are Still Illegal after Pot Legalization," CTV News, October 18, 2018. Web, Oct. 21, 2018.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Students tased & beaten in the name of 'safety'

The Other Side Of School Safety: Students Are Getting Tasered And Beaten By Police | HuffPost US - Rebecca Klein:

September 8, 2018 - "Jalijah Jones, then a freshman at Kalamazoo Central High School in Michigan, remembers the punch of thousands of volts hitting his slight frame.... He remembers four school security guards officers pushing him up against a hallway wall before a school police officer arrived and Tasered him. He remembers a feeling of intense cold as if his high school hallway had just turned into a walk-in freezer. He remembers falling to the ground....

"Jones ... had never been in a physical fight at school before. It was just a teenage drama. He owed another kid a small amount of money. Angry words were thrown back and forth, then a push and a shove and some swinging. But no one had been hurt until a school police officer Tasered the teen....

"Jones ... remembers being cuffed a few seconds later, and the school cops dragging him through the hallways and out of school. His body shook furiously as he was loaded into a police car, before being escorted to the hospital in an ambulance. He was charged with resisting arrest....

"The police officer who stunned Jones is one of over 80,000 currently stationed in public schools around the country, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Education, covering the 2015-16 school year.... The number has risen sharply in the past few years and will continue to grow. Amid the recent spate of deadly school shootings, there has been an increase in federal money funding school police officer positions. This is true at the state level as well...

"Over the past few years, there have been several high profile instances of police brutality in schools. Still, there are no official data sources tracking how often students are subject to intense physical punishments at the hands of law enforcement....

" For the past several months, HuffPost has been tracking how often students in schools are Tasered or shot with a stun gun, pepper sprayed or intensely physically punished. We found:
  • Since September 2011, students have been Tasered or shot with a stun gun by school-based police officers at least 120 times;
  • Since January 2016, students have been pepper sprayed by school-based police officers at least 32 times;
  • Since January 2016, students have been body slammed, tackled or choked by school-based police officers at least 15 times.
"These numbers represent a minimum. Not every incident is reported in the local news. And there is no agency that systemically tracks these numbers."

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'via Blog this'

Friday, October 19, 2018

League of Women Voters drops Senate debate in Pennsylvania over 3rd-party exclusion

Televised U.S. Senate debate loses co-sponsor over exclusion of Green, Libertarian candidates - Reading Eagle:

October 16, 2018 - "The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania withdrew as co-sponsor of a televised debate this weekend between candidates in Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race because the Green and Libertarian party nominees were not invited to participate.

"Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Casey Jr. and his Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, are to debate Saturday at the studios of WPVI-TV, the ABC affiliate in Philadelphia....

"Reason magazine cited a WPVI-TV spokeswoman as explaining that only Casey and Barletta were invited because no other candidates reached the station's criterion of showing at least 10 percent support in 'multiple reputable statewide polls'....

"In a news release late Monday, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania explained that it wants any candidate who makes the ballot to be included in the debates it sponsors."

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