Sunday, September 30, 2018

City pays Libertarians $37K for petition shutdown

Jon Lender: Legal Mess Endures Months After Meriden Mayor Had Cops Oust Libertarians From Park - Hartford Courant:

September 7, 2018 - "Minor political parties’ candidates must jump through hoops to get on the election ballot in Connecticut. State law requires them to submit petitions containing thousands of voters’ signatures.... [G]aining ballot access is hard enough without a public official deciding to send the police to chase away party volunteers who are peacefully collecting such petition signatures in a public park.

"But that’s what happened on the sunny Saturday morning of April 28 to Rod Hanscomb, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for governor, and a few companions who were helping him collect ballot petition signatures from passers-by at the entrance to the annual Daffodil Festival in Meriden’s Hubbard Park. Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati walked past them and, not long afterward, a police lieutenant approached and told the Libertarians that they had to leave....

"The incident continues to fester today in a Superior Court lawsuit filed three months ago by the Libertarian Party’s state chairman, Dan Reale. He’s named Scarpati as the defendant and is claiming violations of his constitutional rights of free speech and assembly.... Reale said that partly because of being thrown out of Hubbard Park, the Libertarians ended up having to spend tens of thousands of dollars — as much as $50,000 — to supplement their volunteer efforts by paying people to collect signatures, and to hire a fundraising consultant.

"He said that now the state Libertarian Party organization has intervened legally to enter the lawsuit as a second plaintiff, and, during so-far-unsuccessful discussions of a possible settlement, has requested $50,000 in compensation."
Read more: http://www.courant.com/politics/government-watch/hc-pol-lender-libertarian-lawsuit-20180905-story.html

Jon Lender: 'Go After The First Amendment, You'll Pay The Price' — $37K To Settle Lawsuit Against Meriden Mayor - Hartford Courant:

September 28, 2018 - "The city of Meriden has paid $37,000 to settle a First Amendment lawsuit against Mayor Kevin Scarpati over his April 28 order that police oust members of the Libertarian Party, including its state chairman and gubernatorial candidate, from Hubbard Park, where they were circulating ballot petitions.

"'The First Amendment actually matters. We have confirmed that this isn’t Soviet Russia,' Dan Reale, the Libertarian Party state chairman, said Thursday after he and the party’s lawyer filed papers to withdraw the Superior Court action that had been filed in June. 'So, you go after the First Amendment, you'll pay the price'....

"Reale said that a Sept. 7 Government Watch column, which gave statewide exposure to the politically embarrassing situation for Meriden, seemed to increase the city’s willingness to settle the case."
Read more: http://www.courant.com/politics/government-watch/hc-pol-lender-libertarian-lawsuit-20180905-story.html
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Saturday, September 29, 2018

FL couple wins fight to paint house like Van Gogh

Couple Wins Fight to Keep Their House Painted Like Van Gogh's Starry Night to Soothe Autistic Son - Foundation for Economic Education - David Gornoski:

August 27, 2018 - "Mt. Dora, Florida, ... is an artsy little hamlet known for its murals and art festivals. A year ago, Nancy [Nemhauser] and her husband Lubomir decided to paint their house wall in an interpretation of Vincent van Gogh's famous Starry Night painting. They had no homeowners association, they checked with city code and no issue was raised. Yet after they painted it, they received a city citation claiming the wall art was graffiti — that the wall had to match the color of the house. So the couple decided to paint the whole house to match to avoid any issue.

"This gesture ... was not received well by the city magistrates. They began to issue rolling hundred dollar fines for every day the Nemhausers failed to comply with their demands.

"Nancy and Lubomir commissioned the mural as a gift to their son, who has autism. They found that the Starry Night painting was a particular source of comfort and fascination for the young man. Also, in instances in which he might get lost from home, his difficulty in communication could be overcome by saying 'the Van Gogh house' to a person looking to help.

"If I do not like the color scheme of my neighbor's house, do I have a right to come to their door and demand that they pay me a hundred dollars a day until they fix it? If they resist long enough, can I bring men with guns to force them out of their home? Such behavior sounds insane. Because it is.

"However, when we form groups, we start to think we can get away with doing really insane or cruel things. Toxic groupthink can be playground bullies mimicking a child's unique speech pattern. It can also produce groupthink in governments that maintain the right to do things they would find abhorrent to do individually — just because a majority of voters in a space hired them.

"Nancy and Lubomir ... violated no law. They were merely victims of an arbitrarily banal exertion of power by busybodies who presume control. However, whether such a code existed or not on paper, the principle at stake here is one that arrests the very nature of what our culture should be.

"Should we ever use the threat of theft — an act of violence — to change a person's nonviolent behavior or choices? Should we have a culture that produces laws to coerce people's expression, personal choices, property use, or means of caring for their children? If there is no flesh and blood victim that can be named in a citation or police report about an event, how could we ever accuse a person of a crime or violation?

"As long as human beings are not stealing, defrauding, or initiating violence, they should enjoy their lives free from meddling.... Private contracts are mutually agreed upon covenants that can be enforced if people violate the terms. However, public contracts — the domain of states — are often arbitrarily decided piecemeal based on the ever-changing whims of the people close to power.... It is our job as role models for future generations to never let the law be used in such a farcical way.

"Thanks to their courage and the Pacific Legal Foundation, Nancy and Lubomir were victorious. Facing a federal battle over constitutional rights and an onslaught of media attention, Mt. Dora reached a settlement. As part of the agreement, the mayor publicly apologized in a press conference.

"Nancy told me the ordeal cost them greatly in health, stress, and many sleepless nights. For painting their house to help their son."

Read more: https://fee.org/articles/couple-wins-fight-to-keep-their-house-painted-like-van-goghs-starry-night-to-soothe-autistic-son/
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Friday, September 28, 2018

CBC ties Bernier to Kochs in 'smear job' interview

Maxime Bernier is furious after being interviewed by the CBC — and he may have a point | The Kingston Whig-Standard - Stuart Thomson:

September 25, 2018 - "After a CBC interview aired Sunday, Maxime Bernier’s Twitter account launched into an angry rant, accusing host Wendy Mesley of a 'smear job' ... arguing that Mesley fabricated a story 'about a libertarian conspiracy funded by US billionaires, and implies with her repeated questions about it that I violate Canadian electoral laws.' Mesley pushed back on the same platform, saying she never made that claim....

"But ... how strong are his connections to the two libertarian American billionaires Charles and David Koch?

"The Koch brothers are two American oil-and-gas billionaires who have become renowned in the last decade for massive donations to free-market think tanks and right-wing politicians. Just like people on the right describe George Soros as the mastermind of all nefarious activity on the left ... the Kochs are the scary billionaires on the right....

"Bernier once worked at the Montreal Economic Institute, one of the nearly 500 think tanks partnered with the Atlas Network, which is heavily funded by the Koch brothers....

"Mesley asked Bernier if he would accept help for his new party from the Koch brothers or the Atlas Network. Bernier explained that Canadian election laws prevent him from accepting money from American billionaires....

"'Later in the interview, Mesley asked Bernier what he would do 'if the Koch brothers call you?' 'I don’t know why you are asking that question,' Bernier responded.

"Twelve of Mesley’s 17 questions or follow-ups are about the Koch brothers or libertarianism.

"It’s hard to make an argument that Bernier’s 13-year-old connection to a think tank that was partly funded by a network of think tanks that is partly funded by the Koch brothers is relevant to the average Canadian....

"CBC producers may have been influenced by an investigation by the left-leaning investigative news site The Intercept, which demonstrated the influence of the Atlas Network on Latin American politics. That movement, which is working in opposition to leftist populism, is distinct from the Trump-style right wing populism that is also sweeping across Europe, which has nationalist and authoritarian overtones. Koch-linked think tanks warily keep an eye on right and left-wing authoritarianism, which they see as a threat to economic freedom....

"Although the CBC interview goes to great lengths to tie Bernier to the Koch brothers ... Bernier’s most controversial policy position — decrying increasing levels of immigration — is at odds with the Kochs.... For Bernier, who has always been stridently libertarian, his immigration position is a diversion from his ideological playbook. It could be a major shift in his thinking or simply political opportunism. And if the CBC gets him back for an interview, that would be a good question to ask."

Read more: https://www.thewhig.com/news/politics/maxime-bernier-is-furious-after-being-interviewed-by-the-cbc-and-he-may-have-a-point/wcm/e52125f5-2a68-4f7a-a135-7f57d76f245a
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Thursday, September 27, 2018

BC Libertarian running for township mayor

Libertarian Alex Joehl runs for Township mayor - Langley Times:

September 6, 2018 - "A member of the Libertarian Party has announced his candidacy for Township Mayor. In a Facebook post, Alex Joehl said he will challenge incumbent mayor Jack Froese for the position in the Oct. 20 municipal election.

'There are many amazing people already doing great work here in the Township, but I feel that there are some other ideas out there that will better serve the residents of this town,' Joehl wrote.

"'We’re not trying to serve the majority of Langleyites, we need to serve ALL of them – while we are all unique, no one is special. Government has a track record of being patronizing to its public, even if it is more benevolent than malicious most of the time. But city hall should be here to support the residents, not dictate their lives.'

"This is the first time Joehl is throwing his hat into a municipal race, after running in both federal and provincial elections in the past.... Joehl ran for Langley East MLA in the 2017 provincial election under the Libertarian Party.  He also ran in two federal elections for the Libertarian Party of Canada ... in 2008 and ... in 2011.

"According to the Libertarian Party of Canada website, the party’s mission is to 'reduce the responsibilities and expense of government. This, so that we may each manage our lives to mutually fulfill our needs by the free and voluntary exchange of our efforts and property for the value that best realizes our happiness.'"

Read more: https://www.langleytimes.com/municipal-election/libertarian-alex-joehl-runs-for-township-mayor/
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Alex Joehl on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/alex.joehl

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

HR 6729 expands Patriot Act surveillance powers

House to Vote on 'Human Trafficking' Bill That Strengthens PATRIOT Act Spying - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Elizabeth Nolan Brown:

September 24, 2018 - "A new bill that borrows language from the PATRIOT Act promises to nab human traffickers using the same surveillance techniques that law introduced to catch terrorists and their associates. We all know how that went... Now, legislators like Rep. Ann Wagner (R–Mo.) hope we won't notice if they feed us the same liberty-poisoning bologna with a new excuse.

"It's 'a disguised effort to expand the #PatriotAct,' tweeted Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) on Saturday. 'GOP leaders put "Fight Human Trafficking" in the title to conceal the bill's true purpose: to give the government more power to unconstitutionally spy on law-abiding Americans without a warrant.'

"Wagner's bill (H.R. 6729) — the deceptively named "Empowering Financial Institutions to Fight Human Trafficking Act" of 2018 — is the latest in a long line of assaults on civil liberties disguised as attacks on the biggest crime panic of the decade, sex trafficking. Wagner [also] brought us the SAVE Act in 2015 and FOSTA in 2018, both of which take aim at online anonymity, web publishing, social media, sex workers, and free speech under the guise of saving children....

"H.R. 6729 would allow financial institutions, federal regulatory bodies, nonprofit organizations, and law enforcement to share customer bank records between them without running afoul of rules regarding consumer privacy and without opening themselves up to lawsuits.... But these entities need not demonstrate that the 'sharing was made on a good faith basis,' according to the current text of the bill....

"Cops working specific cases or pursing specific suspects can already obtain their financial records by going through court channels and using the subpoena process. What they want here is access to wide swaths of (subsequently shareable) financial data on customers accused of no crimes and facing no charges. And they want this data to be served up proactively by bank staffers ... and by nonprofits, who would be empowered to share information gleaned through the provision of social services.

"The language echoes Section 314 of the PATRIOT Act [which] was used by authorities to demand all sorts of information from banks. It also led banks to start dropping people with Middle Eastern surnames.... Jeff A. Taylor wrote here at Reason in 2004 [that] Section 314 turned out to be a 'ticking time-bomb for anyone a buttoned-down banker might consider suspicious'.... It would go on to be used ... as an all-purpose way for the feds to [monitor] random consumer financial transactions. A 2016 bill to directly expand Section 314 of the Patriot Act was narrowly defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives.....

"Introduced on September 6, Wagner's new bill has already received a first vote by the House Committee on Financial Services (44 for, five against) and five co-sponsors.... A full House vote is scheduled for Wednesday."

Read more: https://reason.com/blog/2018/09/24/house-to-vote-on-human-trafficking-bill
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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Philadelphia police agree to end policing for profit

Philadelphia Grants Reparations to Victims of Police Civil Asset Forfeiture - CityLab - Brentin Mock:

September 18, 2018 - "Philadelphia ... has agreed to considerably scale back its policies on when and how police can seize private property from civilians. Up until now, Philadelphia police could confiscate a person’s cash, car, or house — evicting people with little notice — if there was suspicion that the person might be associated with a crime.

"Called civil asset forfeiture and dubbed by opponents as 'policing for profit', the practice was a mechanism for padding police coffers and salaries with the funds generated from these confiscations. Meanwhile, the person whose assets were taken would have to prove they were innocent of whatever crime they were suspected of to begin a cumbersome process for reclaiming their property. In one case, Norys Hernandez almost lost her home to police after they arrested her nephew on a drug violation that she was unaware of.

"Under a new consent decree agreement announced Tuesday, police and prosecutors can only seize people’s assets under a very limited set of circumstances — mainly if they can prove that it is evidence for a major criminal case — but those seized assets cannot be used to pay for police salaries or expenses. Also under the new agreement, the victims of past civil asset forfeiture abuse are entitled to reparations.

"The consent decree is the result of a lawsuit filed four years ago by the criminal justice reform organization Institute for Justice against the city.... Philadelphia was taking advantage of Pennsylvania’s law that allowed law enforcement agencies to keep 100 percent of proceeds and property seized from criminal suspects, even without a conviction. A new state law went into effect last summer ... but it falls far short of the kind of reforms that the city of Philadelphia just agreed to, which include:
  • "Police now have to provide a detailed receipt of the property seized to the person they seized it from. The receipt must include instructions on how that person can retrieve their property.
  • Court forfeiture proceedings papers must be filed within 90 days of a person’s assets being seized or else the assets must be returned. A person can file for immediate return of their property if they depend on it to live or work — a car, for instance, for those who work for Uber or Lyft as their primary job.
  • Whereas before prosecutors controlled court forfeiture hearings, now that control belongs to judges. Prosecutors can no longer threaten taking a person’s property for not making repeated returns to court, and property owners can file for a continuance if they can’t make a hearing.
  • Instead of using seized assets to pay for police salaries or new equipment, funds will now be given to community-based drug rehab programs.
"A $3 million fund has been set up to help people recoup what police took from them, and also to compensate them for being wronged. People who submit a qualifying claim in time will receive at least $90 for having their rights violated. All cash and property will be returned to those who never ended up convicted of a crime."

Read more: https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/09/policing-for-profit-in-philadelphia-finally-comes-to-an-end/570622/
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Monday, September 24, 2018

NM Supreme Court KO's one-punch voting option

Court Rejects Johnson-Blocking Straight-Ticket Ballot Change in New Mexico - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Matt Welch:

September 12, 2018 - "In a 5-0 decision that removes a late-breaking obstacle from Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson's insurgent Senate bid, the New Mexico Supreme Court today struck down a unilateral move two weeks ago by Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver to reinstate the Land of Enchantment's 'straight ticket' ballot option, whereby voters can select a political party's entire slate of candidates by filling out just one oval.

"The New Mexico state legislature — with the signature of then-Gov. Gary Johnson — had in ... 2001 repealed the part of the election code specifying that ballots had to 'permit each voter…to vote a straight party ticket in one operation.' It took the 2010 election of a Republican Secretary of State, Dianna Duran, to finally remove the one-punch option from the state's ballots, after which Democratic lawmakers have periodically tried and failed to legislate the option back....

"Oliver ... provoked widespread claims of partisan skullduggery with her Aug. 29 decision, which came without so much as a single public hearing.

"'Until the legislature makes a decision one way or the other, the Secretary of State cannot,' Chief Justice Judith Nakamura said when handing down the decision. 'This power is theirs alone, and the Legislature has indicated its intent to thoroughly regulate how ballots appear.'

"The successful court challenge was filed by the state Libertarian and Republican parties, as well as Democratic write-in candidate Heather Nordquist, and the independent-supporting Unite New Mexico....

"The state Supreme Court decision comes just a week after the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated Michigan's 2015 legislative ban on the straight-ballot option, and seems to cement the notion that courts aren't fond of either bureaucrats or judges usurping the will of state legislators when it comes to this type of voting mechanism. Combined with the recent trend of states dropping the device, one-punch will now only appear in eight states this November: Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas (which is ending the practice in 2020), and Utah."

Read more: https://reason.com/blog/2018/09/12/court-rejects-johnson-blocking-straight
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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Does economics explain high CEO salaries? Yes

Are CEOs Paid Too Much? - Foundation for Economic Education - Robert P. Murphy:

October 1, 2006 - "So what if CEOs earn more money than most other workers? In a free market (and below we deal with the complication that in today’s world there is no truly free market), the price of labor corresponds to its marginal product. That is, competition ensures that workers are paid according to how much additional revenue they bring in to their employer. The fact that some types of labor command thousands of times more market value is no more surprising or outrageous than the fact that some goods in the marketplace (such as a house) have a price hundreds of thousands of times higher than the prices of other goods (such as a pack of gum).

"But what of ... corporate leaders actually failing their way to riches?... When a company brings in a new executive ... to turn the company around ... it is entirely possible that the plan will fail — and the executive knows this as well as anyone else.... [T]he assembly-line worker doesn’t want his contract contingent on the overall profitability of the company; he wants to be paid — and to get his pension and other benefits should he retire or quit — whether or not the company’s stock does well. If it’s acceptable for the assembly-line workers, why not for the CEO too?

"Yet ... CEOs and other executives do get paid according to how well the company does. In addition to a base salary, these executives are often paid in stock options [i.e.] the right to purchase shares of stock at a specific price, called the strike price.... [I]f the actual market price of the stock [falls] lower than the strike price, the option is worthless ... options are valuable [only] in proportion to the difference between the strike and actual prices.

"We must accept that in the modern economy, with billions of potential consumers worldwide, certain individuals have extraordinary earning power on the open market.... These people aren’t qualified for just CEO spots, and they’re well aware of the social stigma against big business. If the compensation packages are as high as they are, it’s because that’s what firms need to offer to attract and retain these highly skilled individuals....

"If ... management collectively frittered away $10 million per year in unjustifiable expenses, the total shares of the corporation would be valued around $200 million less than they otherwise would be, assuming an efficient stock market and an interest rate of 5 percent.... Such a corporation would then be a prime target for the much reviled corporate raider. The raider would institute a 'hostile takeover,' in which he bought up a controlling share in the corporation (by offering far more than the current price per share to the stockholders) and then used his power to fire or straighten out the inefficient managers. After cleaning house the corporation’s dividends and/or stock price would rise accordingly, netting the raider a profit.

"Unfortunately ... the above relies on the assumption of a free market in corporate takeovers, and that is decidedly lacking. In the present legal and cultural environment, so-called corporate raiders are even more despised than golden-parachuting CEOs. Regulations severely restrict so-called hostile takeovers, and hence hamper the ability of shareholders to restrain their managers....

"The market’s other checks on inefficient management are stifled as well. After all, ... there was always a sure-fire way to keep corporate officers in line: any firm that wasted too much money on fancy offices and executive perks would be vulnerable to its competitors.... But as with hostile takeovers, so too with new entrants to industry: Government regulation muffles this threat and thus allows entrenched businesses a margin of profligacy that they otherwise would not enjoy.

"Many people (especially young students) new to the ideas of laissez faire believe that big business opposes government meddling, but this is naïve and contradicted by the history of actual legislation. Ironically, the profitability of big business can actually be enhanced when the government regulates an industry, because the big firms can more easily handle the fixed costs of filling out paperwork ... and so on.... In this environment, would-be competitors face additional hurdles if they want to challenge the large incumbents, and thus the latter may indeed get away with lavish expenditures that would be short-lived in a truly free market."

Read more: https://fee.org/articles/are-ceos-paid-too-much/
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See also: Does economics explain high CEO salaries? No

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Does economics explain high CEO salaries? No

Corporate “Compensation” | Liberty Unbound - Wayland Hunter:

September 10, 2018 - "On September 9, CBS announced that its CEO, Les Moonves was out the door. The cause was a second round of accusations of sexual misdeeds.... But what struck me about the CBS report on his ouster was this:
A financial exit package for Moonves will be withheld pending the results of an ongoing investigation into the allegations against him. Moonves was eligible for as much as $180 million if fired without cause, according to an employment contract he signed in May 2017. Recent reports indicated a potential payout in the range of $100 million.
"One hundred million dollars? One hundred eighty million dollars? This is something that libertarian theory should go to work on. How can a corporation possibly assume that anyone this side of Thomas Alva Edison is worth that amount of money? And remember, in this case the skill that is being rewarded in this egregious manner is simply that of throwing darts at demographics and guessing which TV shows will turn out to be popular. How many other people could do that just as well? To put it in another way: could you get somebody just as good with an exit package of $99 million? How about $99 thousand?

"In every walk of elite life we see this ridiculous inflation of compensation. Even colleges and universities imagine that they can’t get anybody good if they don’t pay at least a million a year, and maybe ten million. And look at the outcome. In every walk of elite life we see seamless mediocrity, or worse

"My own suspicion is that there’s a cartelization at work. These people stick together, raising their salaries by insisting that they won’t get paid less than the last one that got hired someplace. But that’s not enough to explain it. The corporate hiring committees — and the boards of directors, and the big investors — need to say what the hell is going on. Is this class solidarity gone wild? The class being the 'made men' of the corporate world, whose pride demands that every goon in the mob gets as much grease as he possibly can....

"Please don’t tell me that in a capitalist system, people are paid according to their financial value to the enterprise that employs them. Do you think that with anyone but Les Moonves at the helm, CBS would be $180 million poorer? And wait — that’s the amount of money he was going to get if ... they wanted to get rid of him. It wasn’t his ordinary compensation. I don’t know what that is. The article I cited says $70 million a year as 'take home,' but what about the income that dropped into his portfolio?

"No. Explanations that are economic in the narrow sense won’t work. There’s something more going on, something that can only be explained by a libertarian sociology — or maybe a libertarian pathology."

Read more: http://www.libertyunbound.com/node/1891'
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See also: Does economics explain high CEO Salaries? Yes

Friday, September 21, 2018

Cannabis prohibitions struck down in South Africa

Top South African court OKs private use of cannabis - CNN - Mitchell McCluskey & Bukola Adebayo:

September 19, 2018 = "South Africa's Constitutional Court approved the private use and cultivation of cannabis Tuesday....

"In a unanimous ruling hailed by activists campaigning for the legalization of marijuana, judges declared unconstitutional three sections of the Constitution that prohibited cannabis consumption, possession and cultivation. The ruling says Parliament should change the law within 24 months.

"Selling and smoking cannabis, popularly known as 'dagga' in South Africa, in public places remains illegal.

"South Africa joins a growing list of African countries embracing the legal use of marijuana. Last year, Lesotho became the first African country to offer legal licenses to grow it. In April, Zimbabwe's government legalized cultivation for medicinal and scientific purposes.

"Cannabis is the most widely used drug in the world, according to the UN's 2018 World Drug Report, which estimates that 3.9% of the global population between the ages of 15 and 64 used it at least once in 2016. The majority of the increases in recent years were in Africa and Asia.

"South Africa's Dagga Party won a court case last year permitting cannabis smoking in homes, paving the way for Tuesday's ruling. Jeremy Acton, the party's leader, said it will continue to lobby for legislation that includes the public use of cannabis. In his view, laws regulating marijuana use should not be stricter than those for tobacco and alcohol use."

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/19/health/south-africa-cannabis-private-use-intl/index.html
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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Bernier says no to merger with Libertarians

‘I am not a communist’: Maxime Bernier doubles down on People’s Party name amid criticism - National | Globalnews.ca - Katie Dangerfield:

September 19, 2018 - "Maxime Bernier said his new conservative party — the People’s Party of Canada — has nothing to do with communism, but about putting the 'power back in the people.'

"This comes after the leader of Canada’s Libertarian Party, Tim Moen called the name of Bernier’s party 'a bit too left wing for me' and described Bernier’s policies as 'milquetoast' and not daring enough.

"'Everyone who knows me, they know that I am not a socialist. I am not a communist,' Bernier said in an interview with Global News’ Morning Show on Wednesday. “It’s a name … the People’s Party, I am working for the people and we want to put the power back in people.'

"Although criticizing the name of Bernier’s party, Moen has also reportedly said he may be interested in merging parties. However, Bernier said it will not happen.

"'It’s not the first time the Libertarian Party wanted to have me as their leader. As you may remember at the end of their leadership they offered me their party, I said no at that time and I am saying no right now also,' Bernier said....

"Bernier vowed the People’s Party of Canada would be competitive in time for the 2019 federal election. But when asked how he expects to compete with the Liberals and Conservatives, Bernier said ...he’s raised around $140,000 in a month....

"'People are giving money to our party because they believe in our ideas so I am pretty confident that we will be competitive,' he said."

Read more: https://globalnews.ca/news/4464574/maxime-bernier-peoples-party-of-canada-name/
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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Nevada LP keeps ballot access via registrations

Nevada becomes fourth Libertarian state affiliate to exceed 1% of voter registration | Libertarian Party - Bob Johnston:

September 9, 2018 - "For the first time in party history, the number of Nevadans registered to vote as Libertarians exceeds 1 percent of the state’s total voter registration.

"Therefore, the Libertarian Party (LP) of Nevada will retain ballot access as long as it maintains its share of at least 1 percent of the registered voters, in which case it will not have to rely on any specific election results in order to retain its party status.

"Thanks to Richard Winger for bringing this news to our attention. (See his Sept. 5 coverage at the Ballot Access News website.)

"Nevada is the fourth LP state affiliate to have garnered at least 1 percent of a state’s registered voters. Alaska, Colorado, and Nebraska can also claim a share of over one percent.

"This November, ten Nevada Libertarians are seeking the votes of those registered Libertarians and their fellow voters in races for federal, state, and local office.... Learn about the 2018 Nevada Libertarian candidates at the LP Nevada website: LPNevada.org/candidates.

"The Nevada slate is part of the approximately 800 Libertarians running for office at all levels of government this November. Learn about them at LP.org/2018-candidates.

"As of Sept. 5, the LP has ballot access in 48 states plus the District of Columbia."

Read more: https://www.lp.org/nevada-lp-becomes-fourth-affiliate-exceed-1-voter-registration/
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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

LP of Canada to vote on merger, Moen tells CBC

Libertarians considering a merger with Bernier's People's Party | CBC News - Catherine Cullen:

September 17, 2018 - "Tim Moen may not like the name of Maxime Bernier's new party ('a bit too left-wing for me'). He may not think the former Conservative minister's policies are daring enough ('milquetoast libertarian' is how he described them). But the leader of the Libertarian Party of Canada is still considering a merger with Bernier's new political venture.

"'If party membership votes to merge [with The People's Party of Canada], I look forward to standing as a candidate and preaching the gospel of liberty in a principled manner like I've always done,' Moen told party supporters in a recent video.

"A spokesperson for Bernier's People's Party said 'merger' might not be quite the right word for what's being discussed — it could be something of a takeover of the Libertarian party structure by Bernier....

"Bernier is continuing the process of gathering signatures and completing the other steps required to obtain official party status, said his spokesperson Martin Masse.

"However, Masse said Elections Canada rules require a party to run a candidate in a by-election before that party can start handing out tax receipts to donors. By taking over the Libertarian Party and renaming it, he said, Bernier's venture might be able to take a shortcut to that lucrative step. But Masse said the new party isn't counting on the Libertarians....

"Moen acknowledged that there are many policy areas where Libertarian members would like to go farther than Bernier. Many Libertarians believe in legalizing all recreational drugs, for example — an idea in which Bernier has shown no interest.

"Historically, Moen said, Libertarians also have favoured fairly open borders and distrust letting government handle immigration issues. Bernier has said he wants to decrease immigration levels and argues Canadians need to talk about how to maintain Canadian values against the alleged effects of immigration.

"The merger could still be worthwhile, said Moen.... 'The biggest thing is that we see some level of commitment to restraining government and the principles of liberty that we think Canada and Western Civilization is founded on,' he said."

Read more: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/bernier-libertarian-party-merger-1.4827241
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Monday, September 17, 2018

Florida Libertarians run no statewide candidates

A new strategy for Libertarian Party of Florida: no statewide candidates - WMNF 88.5 -  Seán Kinane:

July 19, 2018 - "Four years ago the Libertarian Party of Florida ran candidates for statewide office, placing third in races for governor and attorney general; but something changed this year: there are no Libertarian candidates running for governor or any cabinet office in Florida....

"Ryan Ramsey, the Bradford County chair of the Libertarian Party of Florida ... says it’s a new strategy by the party to focus on winnable local elections and building a team of experienced campaigners....

"'A governor’s campaign or an attorney general campaign, if you have a great candidate — even if you know you’re going to get a low percentage of the vote — is a good way to get your message out there.... Adrian Wyllie was an excellent candidate for governor (in 2014). He ... got me interested in the LPF by seeing him out there. So, it can be beneficial, but for the most time it’s not. If your candidate is not really charismatic and good it could almost hurt you.

"'[T]he goal of the Operation First Step is to run large amounts of candidates for smaller offices: counties, localities. And also to put an eye on unopposed seats, or even vacant seats. I’ve actually got some guys I installed on the Bradford County Soil and Water Conservation District because it was vacant seats... They ... met with the body ... and ended up getting appointed [laughs] by the current Soil and Water Conservation District. So, on June 22nd [closing of qualifying for candidates in the 2018 election] ... basically they’re going to be elected....

"'I’ve got a mayor of Newberry, Florida, over in my Alachua affiliate. I’ve got all sorts of county-level candidates. That’s basically the reason that you’re not seeing a lot of these statewide races. We’ve got a few guys running for [State] House.

"'The idea: we want to build a cadre of qualified candidates for statewide offices and House and Senate races in the state.... The idea is to get more people involved, let the cream rise to the top, empower people in their local communities where 70% of the laws that affect your business and your life really happen.

"'The big difference you’re going to see is: you’re probably going to have a local campaign that you can support and go meet the people and get yourself involved in.... And that’s another thing ... if we have dozens and dozens of campaigns for smaller offices, all those people are going to gain experience in being a campaign treasurer or doing the social media outreach for the campaigns or all these various things that campaigns need to succeed. So, it’s basically  training a cadre of both candidates and staffers to really build the party and take it to the next level....

"'So basically we have a plan to focus locally over the next couple of cycles. And then we’re going to break into the State House and then a couple of cycles later start trying to break in to the Federal government.'"

Read more & listen: https://www.wmnf.org/new-strategy-libertarian-party-florida-no-statewide-candidates/
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Sunday, September 16, 2018

U.S. gun laws disarm cannabis users (I)

Guns or marijuana? Firearm-owning cannabis users facing a choice - Mark Scolforo, Associated Press:

January 15, 2018 - "As gun-loving Pennsylvania becomes the latest state to operate a medical marijuana program ... authorities are warning patients that federal law bars marijuana users from having guns or ammunition ... but the reality of how the policy might be enforced in Pennsylvania and other states is a little muddier. That includes the question of whether people who already own guns might have to surrender them, instead of just being prohibited from making new purchases....

"State laws allowing medical or, more recently, recreational use of pot have long been at odds with the federal prohibition on gun ownership by those using marijuana. But the government has traditionally taken a hands-off approach. Since 2014, Congress has forbidden the Department of Justice from spending money to prosecute people who grow, sell and use medical pot....

"The Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives [ATF] has left no doubt where it stands. Last year, the ATF spelled out the marijuana prohibition in boldface type on gun purchase forms.

“'Any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medical purposes … is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition,' ATF spokeswoman Janice L. Kemp said in an email to The Associated Press....

"The gun-ownership ban has withstood at least one legal challenge. An appeals court in San Francisco, reject[ed] a challenge on Second Amendment grounds ... in 2016.... Meanwhile, some state and local officials, particularly in law enforcement, have sought to crack down.

"William Bryson, chairman of the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council, told state lawmakers in December that people who use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes should be required to have a designation on their driver’s licenses. That would make it easier, he said, for police to enforce the ban.

"And last month, a police chief in Hawaii publicized and then quickly rescinded a directive that medical marijuana patients had to give up their handguns. [However, the department continues to deny new gun permits for cannabis cardholders.]...

"The issue has been largely theoretical, but there would be quick pushback if the federal government took a more aggressive stance, said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

"Between 1998 and 2014, nearly 100,000 prospective gun purchasers went home empty-handed because they were flagged as using illegal drugs, according to the ATF. But the agency could not say how many of those used medical or recreational marijuana."

Read more: https://www.thecannabist.co/2018/01/15/marijuana-users-gun-ownership/96741/
'via Blog this'

See also: U.S. gun laws disarm cannabis users (II)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

U.S. gun laws disarm cannabis users (II)

Pot Prohibition Makes Self-Defense Illegal - Reason.com - Jacob Sullum:

September 12, 2018 - "When a stranger forced his way into her apartment, tackled her, punched her repeatedly, and tried to cover her mouth with a cloth, Krissy Noble says, she did what she thought was necessary to protect herself and her unborn baby. She grabbed a handgun from the coffee table and shot the man three times, then ran to a neighbor's apartment and asked her to call the police.

"Although local prosecutors agreed that the shooting was justified, Noble faces charges that could put her behind bars for years, thanks to a marijuana conviction that made it illegal for her to possess firearms. Her case shows how drug prohibition and indiscriminate gun laws conspire to deprive people of the constitutional right to armed self-defense....

"'It is the opinion of this office that Krissy Lenae Noble was justified in her use of force and that this is a justifiable homicide, which does not merit the filing of criminal charges with regard to the homicidal event,' Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Shue said in a statement issued last month. Noble, who had pleaded guilty to possessing marijuana with intent to deliver in February 2017, was nevertheless arrested for violating a state [of Arizona] law that bars felons from possessing guns.

"That offense is a Class D felony, punishable by up to six years in prison. Noble, who is 21 and now the mother of a baby boy, may also have to serve time for the marijuana offense, since staying away from guns was a condition of the five-year suspended sentence she received....

"Most states have similar laws, and the federal government forbids gun possession by cannabis consumers as well as people convicted of marijuana felonies. Violating that ban is itself a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

"The upshot is that people who have never violated anyone's rights or demonstrated any violent tendencies can go to prison for exercising a fundamental human right guaranteed by the Constitution. That is true even of people who were convicted of doing things that are no longer crimes under state law, unless they manage to get their records downgraded or expunged.

"Ten years ago, when the Supreme Court recognized that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep guns for self-defense, it said 'nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons.' Yet if the right to protect oneself against aggressors is 'fundamental,' as the Court said it has long been considered ... it cannot be treated so lightly that proximity to a bag of dried vegetable matter leaves a young pregnant woman defenseless in her own home."

Read more: http://reason.com/blog/2018/08/31/arkansas-mom-justified-shooting-weed
'via Blog this'

See also: U.S. gun laws disarm cannabis users (I)

Friday, September 14, 2018

13 NH candidates backed by YAL win primaries

Libertarian student activists win 13 New Hampshire primary races in one night - William Nardi, Washington Examiner:

September 14, 2018 - "Last month, a libertarian activist group announced their involvement in 16 New Hampshire state house elections. On Tuesday night, 13 of the 16 candidates they supported won their primaries.

"'This will be an evening that I will never forget,” said Cliff Maloney, president of Young Americans for Liberty, on Facebook. 'We launched Operation Win at the Door this year as a bunch of rag-tag kids trying to fix America's woes and restore true freedom. Tonight, we bring our win count to 21 wins with 13 wins in New Hampshire this evening'....

"'YAL is on track to endorse a total of 50 candidates for state legislative races in 2018 and knock on over 1,000,000 doors,' YAL said in a press release. 'Ultimately the goal is to build a bench of liberty legislators and give a microphone to the principles of limited government. YAL aims to elect 250 liberty state legislators by the end of the 2022 cycle.'

"Candidates must go through an extensive vetting process before they are chosen for a YAL endorsement. Just to apply, individuals must first fill out a questionnaire to explain their position on issues ranging from taxes to the legality of red-light cameras. The goal of the survey is to filter through candidates, finding people who will remain ideologically consistent after they win office.

"'Every Operation Win at the Door race that YAL mobilizes door-knockers for is an opportunity to send principled, liberty-minded individuals to state legislatures across the country,' the press release stated. 'Every candidate we endorse and deploy for is slated to become a champion for our ideals in every chamber they enter. We are building the future bench of liberty candidates for federal office.'

"Just in New Hampshire, YAL deployed 25 door-knockers, hitting more than 75,000 houses throughout the course of one month, the press release stated....

"'YAL specifically targets primary races in districts that will not need our help in the general election,' Maloney said.... YAL may come back to help if something changes, but ... nearly all of their endorsements have a clear path to victory."

Read more: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/red-alert-politics/libertarian-student-activists-win-13-new-hampshire-primary-races-in-one-night
'via Blog this'

Thursday, September 13, 2018

NH Libertarian primary results still in question

Libertarian gubernatorial primary still up in the air; candidates allege voter suppression | Local News | sentinelsource.com - Sierra Hubbard, Keene Sentinel:

Sept. 13, 2018 - "More than 24 hours after the polls closed in New Hampshire’s primary election Tuesday, Libertarian voters still didn’t know who their nominee for governor is.

"While vote totals posted on the N.H. Secretary of State’s website this morning show Jilletta Jarvis of Sandown as the victor with 574 votes to Bedford resident Aaron Day’s 486, both candidates are alleging Libertarians were disenfranchised at multiple polling places in the state....

"The tallying of Libertarian votes for the governor’s race continued throughout the day Wednesday, with no winner declared, though Jarvis began inching ahead as more precincts reported. Around 4:30 p.m., Jarvis posted on her professional Facebook page that she’d spoken with Day and they planned to wait for an official call from the state....

"'We both received multiple reports of people being denied a Libertarian Ballot, of people having to argue for their right to vote libertarian, or poll workers questioning if they really wanted to vote libertarian,' Jarvis wrote.... Jarvis told The Sentinel this morning that she received 16 reports of difficulties obtaining Libertarian ballots, including one in Keene and another in Winchester....

"Jim Tetreault, Winchester’s town clerk, said he did not receive any reports of difficulties regarding Libertarian ballots.... But he also noted that the town’s understanding, heading into Tuesday’s primary election, was that voters who were declared as Republican or Democrat could only take the ballot for their party.

"Under an exemption in state law, registered Republicans and Democrats were allowed to take a Libertarian ballot in this election.... Tetreault said the town didn’t know that....

"Jarvis said she’s requested from the Secretary of State’s office all of the write-in votes for governor on Republican and Democratic ballots. Voters told her that, because they couldn’t obtain a Libertarian ballot, they wrote in their candidates on other party ballots.

"When asked Wednesday evening for comment on the primary, Day wrote in a Facebook message that 'the race is still being contested due to massive voter suppression across the state.' Echoing Jarvis’ Facebook post, Day wrote that people were denied Libertarian ballots in towns across New Hampshire.... 'There are a number of people who settled for pulling a Republican ballot and then writing me in,' he wrote. He added he’s consulting legal counsel and plans to 'evaluate our options' on how to proceed."

Read more: https://www.sentinelsource.com/news/local/libertarian-gubernatorial-primary-still-up-in-the-air-candidates-allege/article_dc03a3fd-b742-5e85-8cd4-f697ce475cf4.html
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

NW Ohio conservatives urge Libertarian vote

Northwest Ohio conservative PAC won't back DeWine for governor - Toledo Blade - Liz Skalka:

September 11, 2018 - "Instead of GOP candidate Mike DeWine, a northwest Ohio political action committee is advising conservative voters to support the Libertarian running for governor or no candidate at all for the state’s top office.

"The Northwest Ohio Conservative Coalition’s 2018 e-slate card, which steers voters to the most conservative candidates on the Nov. 6 ballot, suggests choosing Republicans for all statewide offices except in the race between Mr. DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray. Its advice: Pick Libertarian Travis Irvine or leave the ballot blank....

"The move is evidence that despite [his] efforts to align himself with President Trump, the most right-leaning or conservative Ohio voters may not come out in force to support Mr. DeWine. Coalition members question whether the attorney general supports their values and say he’s too closely aligned with Gov. John Kasich, who has fallen out with some in the state Republican Party....

"'John Kasich is constantly reminding Ohioans and the nation that he doesn’t support Trump and will be making a run for the Presidential bid in 2020. Yet we are to somehow believe that Trump will lose Ohio if DeWine doesn’t win as Governor, meanwhile we are supposed to ignore that DeWine is surrounded with Kasich loyalist [sic],' the coalition wrote on its website where voters can search their registration for a recommended slate....

"If Mr. Irvine, a 35-year-old journalist and filmmaker, captures 3 percent of the vote then Libertarians can keep [ballot] access for the next four years, meaning their candidates can appear on the ballot next to their party designation.

"That’s why it’s more important for conservatives to support Libertarians being on the ballot than either of the gubernatorial candidates, said Tom Zawistowski, a leader of the Ohio Tea Party and founder of We the People Convention.... 'A vote for Mike DeWine is a vote for eight more years of John Kasich and we have no interest in that at all,' he said....

"Conservatives also don’t like that both candidates say they would keep Mr. Kasich’s Medicaid expansion. In 2014, Mr. Irvine started an anti-Kasich PAC, Central Ohioans Countering Kasich....

"The Northwest Ohio Conservative Coalition has raised and spent more than $17,000 in 2017 through June, 2018, ending the month with $1,200 on hand, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission."

Read more: http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2018/09/11/Northwest-Ohio-conservative-PAC-won-t-back-DeWine-for-governor/stories/20180911167
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Legal cannabis has bipartisan support in Lebanon

In Lebanon, consensus grows for cannabis legalization | 'Asia Times - Alyson Tahmizian Meuse:

September 10, 2018 -  "In Lebanon, a small country with an enormous public debt and near-stagnant growth, consensus is building for the legalization of cannabis cultivation. Politicians from key parties have coalesced around the palatable promise of exporting the crop for medicinal purposes and bringing in much-needed foreign currency.

"On Friday, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri nudged along his Amal party’s vision for a state-governed cannabis monopoly. An alternative proposal from MP Antoine Habchi of the rival Lebanese Forces would allow private companies to develop the sector.

"From the green fields of the Beqaa Valley, where many growers cannot leave their villages for fear of arrest, to the laboratories at Lebanese American University, where professors are already experimenting with cannabis oil to treat cancer cells, there is cautious optimism legalization is inevitable.

"Economists caution the crop will not be a silver bullet for the country’s economic woes, or even its agricultural sector. But as it stands, millions of dollars are lost to the black market.

"Lebanese Minister of Economy and Trade Raed Khoury is hopeful ... that if legalized the niche sector could generate hundreds of millions of dollars per year, and eventually up to $1 billion."

Video: http://www.atimes.com/article/in-lebanon-consensus-grows-for-cannabis-legalization/
'via Blog this'

Monday, September 10, 2018

LP of Canada denies Bernier merger rumors

Statement on the Bernier Merger Rumours - Trevor Schmidt, Libertarian Party of Canada, Facebook:

September 5, 2018 - "On Sunday September 2nd the Libertarian Party of Canada hosted an Alberta Caucus meeting in Red Deer. At this meeting Libertarian Party leader Tim Moen revealed that he has engaged in conversations with Maxime Bernier since his split with the CPC and that there had been some loose discussions about what the future of the Libertarian Party might look like. Tim then fielded questions to members regarding whether or not they would like to see Maxime’s new party and the Libertarian Party’s membership united under Bernier’s leadership or whether they would like to see the Libertarian Party of Canada continue on as a separate and distinct entity from Maxime’s new party with Tim remaining its leader.

"Subsequently, rumours circulated claiming that Maxime and the Libertarian Party were in the later stages of discussion to unite Maxime’s movement with the Libertarian Party under a single party banner. This is inaccurate and the conversations released from the meeting in Red Deer have largely been taken out of context.

"Tim and Maxime do talk. They are friends. It is no secret that our party shares many values with Max and that we are largely guided by the same principles. It is also no secret that when Maxime lost his bid for the CPC leadership in May of 2017 Tim volunteered to step down as Libertarian Party leader if Max wished to join us.... Finally, it is no secret that the Libertarians then adopted Maxime’s CPC leadership platform, which remains in place to this day. That is why recent events warranted discussions with our membership....

"The scenarios and questions raised to the Libertarian Party members in Red Deer were largely hypothetical.... [T]he meeting in Red Deer and meetings like it provide a forum to gauge membership’s reaction to Maxime’s intention of starting a new party and help determine what direction would be best for our party to take...

"In the event of more changes to the Canadian political landscape, our party’s leadership wants to be ready to act in a way that is commensurate to the wishes of its members. We are keeping an open dialogue with Max, but it remains our understanding that he is still exploring the best options to properly represent his supporters. Likewise, the Libertarian Party is engaging in discussions, such as the recent one in Red Deer, in order to explore the best options to properly represent our members. "

Read more: https://www.facebook.com/libertarianCDN/posts/1802350626549763?__tn__=K-R
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Sunday, September 9, 2018

Liberty and the common good

A Libertarian Case for the Common Good | America: The jesuit review - Stephanie Slade:

August 6, 2018 - "One of the widespread misconceptions about libertarianism is that it denies the importance of community — assuming, in the words of the Notre Dame political scientist Patrick Deneen, that “the individual lives, or could live, in splendid isolation” from others. Another is that it preaches a selfish unconcern for the plight of one’s fellow humans, especially the least among us.... But ... in fact, neither of those positions is integral to the libertarian worldview.

"One way to think about libertarianism is that it is a political philosophy that prefers voluntary, nonviolent human interactions over coercion. Because government dictates are by nature coercive — we do not get to choose whether to pay taxes or comply with zoning restrictions — libertarians advocate relying on private solutions to problems whenever possible. Civil society institutions — family units and neighborhood groups, labor unions and trade associations, churches and charities — must do the heavy lifting. State interference in people’s lives should be a last resort and then undertaken only for grave reasons.

"As David Boaz of the Cato Institute has put it, libertarians generally believe 'the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have not themselves used force — actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud.' Everything else people should be free to work out organically, through trial and error, give and take, pressure and persuasion.

"Ask a libertarian why we believe what we do and the answer may be rooted in abstract moral principles: We think people deserve to be treated as ends, not means — which is to say we think their autonomy should be respected as long as they are not infringing the rights of others. But very often, the explanation you get will be pragmatic. An honest assessment of reality tells us that maximizing the scope of freedom from government coercion creates the conditions for material progress and human flourishing.

"That is not limited to progress and flourishing for a select few. Good-faith skeptics might be surprised to learn how active libertarians have been in the fight to end mass incarceration and advance criminal justice reform in the United States, for example, or how many libertarian groups filed amicus briefs siding with the Little Sisters of the Poor during their showdown over the Obamacare contraception mandate....

"I came to identify as a libertarian after studying economics in college. I was moved by the realization that market capitalism is the most efficient engine of economic growth the world has ever known. Both theory and empirical observation told me that government regulation is more likely to interfere with this process than it is to correct flaws in the system....

"Material well-being is part but not all of the story.... Libertarians extol capitalism because it provides a framework for people to interact peacefully and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. (Have you ever noticed that after a commercial exchange, each party instinctively thanks the other?).... we want people who are struggling to escape desperate, backbreaking poverty to get the same material opportunities we are lucky enough to have. There is a thoroughly moral dimension to our worldview that is hard to miss when observed with an open mind.

"In the final analysis, libertarians see the human person as worthy of respect. For the most part, they do not recognize the deeper truth: that this is so because we are made by God in his image and are incomparably valuable to him. But in a real sense, without meaning to, libertarianism takes that idea more seriously than most other political philosophies."

Read more: https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2018/08/06/libertarian-case-common-good
'via Blog this'

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Loot box flap shines light on gaming regulation

EA's Failed In-Game Moneymaking Strategy Proves that Consumers Remain the Most Effective Regulators of Markets - Foundation for Economic Education - Matthew McCaffery:

September 6, 2018 - "The outcry over so-called 'loot boxes' — basically a virtual currency in video games that allows users to acquire virtual items and upgrades — shows clearly that calls for regulating the video game industry aren’t going away any time soon....  [E]ach drama brings with it further demands for regulation and censorship.... Despite these constant threats, however, the video game industry has proved repeatedly that consumers, not governments, make the best regulators.

"Microtransactions ... have been around for several years, and have always had vocal critics. But the controversy surrounding them came to a head with the release of EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II.

"Battlefront II placed major emphasis on loot boxes, rewards players could use to win digital content that provides in-game advantages. Initially, loot boxes could be purchased using ... real-world money... Technically, no one was forced to buy them; however, players faced a trade-off between spending money and spending time to unlock the loot they wanted. And because everyone wanted to benefit as soon as possible, there was a strong incentive to take shortcuts by spending money....

"Whatever their merits, loot boxes caused an uproar among gamers and policymakers and inspired numerous calls for legislation to limit or even ban them. These efforts were not only misguided economically, but also unnecessary: as politicians were scrambling for the spotlight in order to demand action in response to their (unproven) allegations of predatory marketing, the problem was already being solved by the most relentless and effective group of regulators there is — consumers....

"When Battlefront II was released, many players ... refused to buy it, rejected the loot box scheme, and started an extremely vocal boycott of EA. What began as a short-sighted creative decision to pad the company’s bottom line quickly turned into a financial disaster.... EA lost as much as $3.1 billion in shareholder value (close to 10 percent of its market cap)....

"Battlefront II fell between one and three million copies short of its early sales targets, and came up several million copies short of the sales numbers of its predecessor in the franchise. Unsurprisingly, EA quickly began fully dismantling the loot box system, eventually reworking the game’s progression system and eliminating all monetary payments for rewards.

"EA’s Chief Design Officer Patrick Söderlund has since explained that the company has learned its lesson.... Exactly how the company will change its revenue models remains to be seen, but it’s likely that microtransactions and loot boxes will continue to be dialed back, at least for gameplay-related content. In fact, this is already happening with titles from other developers, including Monolith’s Middle Earth: Shadow of War, which has also removed microtransactions in response to fan criticism....

"Ultimately, there’s no such thing as an 'unregulated' market: either businesses are regulated by consumers, or they’re regulated by government. The loot box saga has already shown how one of the largest developers in the world can be humbled by its customers without the 'help' of politicians or new legislation. There’s a simple lesson here for gamers: not every bad decision by a developer needs to be 'fixed' by government."

Read more: https://fee.org/articles/eas-failed-in-game-moneymaking-strategy-proves-that-consumers-remain-the-most-effective-regulators-of-markets/
'via Blog this'

Friday, September 7, 2018

31K sign to put Larry Sharpe on ballot in NY

Libertarian Candidate for Governor will Appear on November Ballot - WRFA 107.9:

August 22, 2018 - "Representatives from the New York State Libertarian Party handed in 31,615 petition signatures on August 21 to the New York State Board of Elections, ensuring Libertarian candidate Larry Sharpe will appear on the November 6 ballot for New York Governor.  Sharpe’s campaign said ... that by turning in more than double the signatures required to obtain ballot access, it has insulated the grassroots candidate from possible legal challenges by the two major parties.

"'Moving past this milestone allows Sharpe, the only candidate not funded by special interests or lobbyists, to focus on policy and continue his relentless trek across the state to engage voters,' the campaign said in a media release....

"Sharpe is a Bronx native, a Marine Corps veteran, an entrepreneur, and a management consultant with 15 years of experience mentoring international executives, entrepreneurs and sales people. He is also a teacher, previously serving as a guest instructor for business management and leadership at institutions such as Yale University, Columbia University, Baruch College and John Jay College.

"Sharpe’s platform as candidate for Governor includes making education more effective through innovation, reforming the criminal justice system to focus on rehabilitation, and building an economy that works for all of New York State."
Read more: http://www.wrfalp.com/libertarian-candidate-for-governor-will-appear-on-november-ballot/

Miner, Sharpe survive challenges to get on ballot for governor | Newsday - Michael Gormley:

September 4, 2018 - "Two candidates for governor have withstood challenges to their petitions to secure lines on the November ballot, a state record showed Tuesday.

"Stephanie Miner ... and Libertarian candidate Larry Sharpe have met the state Board of Elections review of their petitions, which had to include at least 15,000 signatures. They had faced some general objections subject to a basic review, but the deadline to file the required follow-up of specific objections was Thursday and no specific challenges were received as of Monday, according to the state Board of Elections."
Read more: https://www.newsday.com/news/region-state/independent-governor-candidates-1.20835779

'via Blog this'

Thursday, September 6, 2018

NM Libertarians replace SoS candidate

NM Libertarians nominate new secretary of state candidate | LAMonitor.com - Tris DeRoma, Los Alamos Monitor:

September 5, 2018 - "The Libertarian Party of New Mexico replaced its secretary of state candidate Sandra Jeff with Ginger Grider, of Portales, a known Libertarian Party activist and an advocate for medical marijuana and voting-rights issues. According to LPNM’s chairman, Chris Luchini, Jeff left to pursue a position with the Navajo Nation.

"Luchini said Grider was chosen because of her familiarity with the straight-party ticket voting issue.  Last week, the LPNM, the Republican Party of New Mexico, a state Democratic write-in candidate for the 46th District and others challenged New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver in New Mexico Supreme Court to prevent her from creating ballots to allow for straight-ticket voting....

"Luchini also said Grider is knowledgeable about New Mexico party status law. According to Luchini, Toulouse Oliver is threatening to take New Mexico Libertarian’s major party status away because the party no longer has a gubernatorial candidate on the ticket for this election. Luchini claims Toulouse Oliver’s interpretation of the state statutes governing state party status is incorrect, along with the legal opinion of former Democratic Attorney General Tom Udall. Luchini and Libertarians have interpreted the law to say a party loses major party status if a party fails to run statewide or federal candidates for office.

"A party can also lose major status if it fails to capture [at least] 5 percent of the vote statewide in a race for president or governor and that one percent of New Mexican voters register as Libertarian. In 2016, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who is now on the ballot as the LPNM’s choice for U.S. senator garnered more than 9 percent of the vote in New Mexico when he ran for president in 2016. More than 1 percent of New Mexico voters also registered as Libertarians."

Read more: https://www.lamonitor.com/content/nm-libertarians-nominate-new-secretary-state-candidate
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Michigan Socialist Party nominates a Libertarian

Chairman Of The Damned: Matt Kuehnel Talks Libertarian Socialism · 71 Republic - Spencer Kellogg:

August 24, 2018 - "Matt Kuehnel is one of the founding members of the Libertarian Socialist Caucus. He is running as a libertarian for the 22nd District seat of the Michigan State House and this week, the Socialist Party of Michigan voted him their candidate for the 22nd district marking the first time that any libertarian has represented as a dual socialist candidate in United States history....

"The Libertarian Socialist Caucus sits on the deeper ranges of modern libertarianism but their roots lie at the very beginning of the movement itself in the catacombs of Paris where the first anarchist and influential mutualist philosopher Proudhon lived and wrote. 'Proudhon believed that a libertarian order would accomplish the goals of socialists, that in fact, only such an order could accomplish socialists’ goals. Within this framework, Proudhon sets out to scrutinize political economy and its institutions, to break them down and lay bare the truths within them.'

"The caucuses call for the abolishment of private property sit in stark contrast with much of the modern Libertarian movement. However, on police abuse, non-violent crimes, non-aggression and decentralized power, much of the Libertarian Socialist platform falls neatly into the echo chamber of modern libertarianism.... Their members have campaigned for a bottom unity platform that seeks to bridge the seemingly unbridgeable gaps between anarcho-capitalists, pragmatists, anarcho-communists (and yes, even socialists)....

"To some, the Libertarian Socialist Caucus is ... the greatest ideological threat to the party as it moves forward. So much so that the LibSoc caucus was addressed during a hearing at this months Libertarian National Committee meeting that ended in renewed animosity.... Steven Nekhaila, region two representative, penned a resolution to clarify the party’s position on private property and ... at large member Joshua Smith pointed to Kuehnel’s recent exposure on Russia Today as representative of a misrepresentation of the Libertarian Party. The measure did not pass....

"I reached out to Mr. Kuehnel recently to discuss his ideas for the Libertarian Socialist Caucus, his run for 22nd district of Michigan and some of the goals he has for the future....

"'I didn’t plan on running.... I got talked into it because we needed representation on the ballot. It’s good to have someone on the ballot, to give a person the choice to vote for a libertarian. I’ve picked five planks. I want to disarm the police.... I think we should have gun control on those who are the most violent amongst us which are the cops. I want to take their weapons and give them to marginalized people.

"'I want to deport ICE. I want to make Michigan a sanctuary state. I believe in Medicare for all... And finally, we are anti-fascist. That came about after what happened in Charlottesville.'"

Read more: https://71republic.com/2018/08/24/interview-with-matt-kuehnel/
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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Bitcoin catching on at retail in Keene NH

Keene Dentist, Vape Shop, Indian Restaurant, & Hair Salon Now Accepting Bitcoin & DASH! | Free Keene - Ian Freeman:

July 27, 2018 - "Keene and Portsmouth New Hampshire are two hotspots in the world of cryptocurrency. The Western and Easternmost cities in New Hampshire are living proof that cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or DASH can be used successfully at retail, with multiple downtown local mom-n-pop businesses accepting crypto at point-of-sale.

"Keene’s newest vape shop, Lineage Vapors recently opened in the Center at Keene on Gilbo Ave and is accepting both Bitcoin (BTC) and DASH.... That makes Lineage Vapors the third business in the Center at Keene that accepts crypto. Little Zoe’s Pizza was first and was recently joined by Curry Indian Restaurant who serves excellent Indian and Pakistani cuisine seven-days-a-week for both Bitcoin (BTC) and DASH. Not only is the food great, it’s also nice to know that cryptocurrency ... can also easily be sent internationally if needed, for next to no cost. This can surely help families like the Alis who run Curry Indian [to] send money to relatives worldwide, bypassing the expensive, slow, old money methods of remittances like Western Union and the big banks....

"[A]dd dentistry to the list with Dr. Drower Dentistry receiving coverage in the Keene Sentinel for accepting cryptocurrency. In his press release announcing the welcoming of cryptocurrency-paying patients, Dr. Sean P. Drower said, 'For digital coin to become useful in everyday life people need to be able to use it as currency, for something besides speculative investing'.... Dr. Drower Dentistry, Curry Indian, and Lineage Vapors are all part of the DASH-Back program active now in Keene, where customers get an instant rebate in DASH whenever they spend DASH in Keene and at other New Hampshire merchants. DASH-Back is really cool and only happening in New Hampshire, thanks to Portsmouth-founded Anypay.global, the merchant point-of-sale crypto processor.

"Also joining DASH-Back in Keene is longtime crypto-friendly Main St. hair salon, Moda Suo. Proprietor Nicholas Sansone was one of the original Bitcoin-accepting downtown businesses, however ... this week Moda Suo upgraded to the Anypay Point-of-Sale system, enabling DASH-Back for any customers who pay with DASH....

"[T]here’s a business-to-business crypto economy already developing. Business owners who are accepting crypto are finding ways to spend it with other crypto-accepting Monadnock businesses.... Multiple local businesses have purchased advertising in the Monadnock Portal Map with cryptocurrency. Even radio ads are now available for crypto in Keene thanks to the sales manager at classic rocker 101.9 The Peak and sports radio 93.5 WEEY."

"According to Coinmap.org, Keene already handily beats major cities like San Francisco and New York when ranked per capita for crypto-accepting merchants. It’s only going to get better as more liberty-friendly cryptocurrency advocates move to New Hampshire as part of the NH freedom migration and add their economic strength to the area!"

Read more: https://freekeene.com/2018/07/27/keene-dentist-vape-shop-indian-restaurant-hair-salon-now-accepting-bitcoin-dash/
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Monday, September 3, 2018

Powell wins 1st Oklahoma Libertarian primary

Chris Powell secures Libertarian nomination in Oklahoma gubernatorial race | KOKH FOX - Joe Buettner:

August 28, 2018 - "Chris Powell secured the Libertarian Party nomination for governor in Oklahoma on Tuesday....

"This cycle marks the first time in Oklahoma state history the Libertarian Party was recognized and represented in the gubernatorial primary."
Read more: https://okcfox.com/news/local/chris-powell-secures-libertarian-nomination-in-oklahoma-gubernatorial-race

Kevin Stitt, Drew Edmondson, Chris Powell to face off in November as gubernatorial candidates | KFOR.com News 4 - Katrina Butcher:

August 29, 2018 - "Powell won the runoff vote for Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Tuesday night against Rex L. Lawhorn. Powell had 59% of the votes with a total of 547, while Lawhorn had 41% with 379 votes."
Read more: https://kfor.com/2018/08/29/kevin-stitt-drew-edmondson-chris-powell-to-face-off-in-november-election-as-gubernatorial-candidates/

Libertarian Chris Powell advances to November general election | KTUL ABC - Ashley Ellis:

"This is the first time in state history that the Libertarian Party [was] recognized and represented in the gubernatorial primary. It was not easy becoming a formally recognized party, and former Libertarian State Chair Chris Powell said his candidacy for governor is about showing Oklahomans there are alternatives to the traditional two-party systems.

"Powell's platform also includes further criminal justice reform, improving ballot access and working to fix the state's budget without imposing new taxes on Oklahomans."
Read more: https://ktul.com/news/local/gov-libertarian-chris-powell-advances-to-november-general-election

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

The book Justin Amash wants Trump to read

On Twitter, Justin Amash offered Trump a free book. Here’s what the president would learn if he read it - Erin Dunne, Beltway Confidential, Washington Examiner:

August 29, 2018 - "On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, 'I smile at Senators and others talking about how good free trade is for the U.S. What they don’t say is that we lose Jobs and over 800 Billion Dollars a year on really dumb Trade Deals… and the same countries Tariff us to death. These lawmakers are just fine with this!'

"In response, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., offered Trump a free copy of an economics book. That book, Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt, is ... not very long but chock-full of excellent advice explained simply. I agree with Amash; the president, if he ever took a break from Twitter, would do well to read it.

"The one lesson the book’s title touts is deceptively simple: 'The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all other groups'.... Actions have consequences both in the short and long-term and for groups beyond those directly implicated....

"Even if Trump didn’t get beyond that first introduction, that simple lesson might give him pause before engaging in all out-trade wars with just about every country he can think of. But should the president be inclined to read more than two sentences, he might do well to open to the chapter on tariffs, given his apparently fondness for them.

"That chapter outlines, first in the words of Adam Smith, the inherent benefit of free trade. Quoting Smith, Hazlitt explains, 'In every country it always is and must be the interest of the great body of the people to buy whatever they want of those who sell it cheapest.' Free international trade makes the production, trade and distribution of those goods possible to the benefit of all.

"But tariffs cut into all of that benefit by making goods more expensive. Sure, a tariff might protect a specific industry and specific jobs, but it does not help the economy overall. Because consumers have to pay more for one product, they necessarily have to spend less elsewhere. As explained in that chapter, 'In order that one industry might grow or come into existence, a hundred other industries would have to shrink. In order that 50,000 persons might be employed in [one] industry, 50,000 fewer people would be employed elsewhere.'

"In short, Trump is wrong; the U.S. is not losing jobs or money by engaging in free trade. On the contrary, free trade is making all products cheaper, creating new opportunities and boosting overall efficiency. Tariffs only restructure the economy and reduce real wages and wealth, because they cause efficiency and production to decline as materials and products become more expensive. In the end, that will hurt everyone, even the industries that the tariffs propose to protect....

"Trump would do well to take a walk over to Amash’s office and take him up on the offer of a free book [or] if Trump is too busy to walk over, there is also a free PDF copy of this very book available online from the Foundation for Economic Education. Happy reading!"

Read more: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/on-twitter-justin-amash-offered-trump-a-free-book-heres-what-the-president-would-learn-if-he-read-it#!
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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Further US copyright extension unlikely this year

Why Mickey Mouse’s 1998 copyright extension probably won’t happen again | Ars Technica - Timothy B. Lee:

January 8, 2018 - "On January 1, 2019, every book, film, and song published in 1923 will fall out of copyright protection — something that hasn't happened in 40 years. At least, that's what will happen if Congress doesn't retroactively change copyright law to prevent it — as Congress has done two previous times.

"Until the 1970s, copyright terms only lasted for 56 years. But Congress retroactively extended the term of older works to 75 years in 1976. Then on October 27, 1998 — just weeks before works from 1923 were scheduled to fall into the public domain — President Bill Clinton signed legislation retroactively extending the term of older works to 95 years, locking up works published in 1923 or later for another 20 years.

"Will Congress do the same thing again this year? To find out, we talked to groups on both sides of the nation's copyright debate.... To our surprise, there seemed to be universal agreement that another copyright extension was unlikely to be on the agenda this year....

"The rise of the Internet has totally changed the political landscape on copyright issues. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is much larger than it was in 1998. Other groups, including Public Knowledge, didn't even exist 20 years ago. Internet companies — especially Google — have become powerful opponents of expanding copyright protections.

"Most importantly, there's now a broad grassroots engagement on copyright issues — something that became evident with the massive online protests against the infamous Stop Online Piracy Act in 2012. SOPA would have forced ISPs to enforce DNS-based blacklists of sites accused of promoting piracy. It was such a bad idea that Wikipedia, Google, and other major sites blacked themselves out in protest.... The protest against SOPA 'was a big show of force," says Meredith Rose, a lawyer at Public Knowledge. The protest showed that 'the public really cares about this stuff.'

"The defeat of SOPA was so complete that it has essentially ended efforts by copyright interests to expand copyright protection via legislation. Prior to SOPA, Congress would regularly pass bills ratcheting up copyright protections.... Since 2012, copyright has been a legislative stalemate, with neither side passing significant legislation.

"And that means that advocates of a new copyright term extension bill wouldn't be able to steamroll opponents the way they did 20 years ago. Any term extension proposal would face a well-organized and well-funded opposition with significant grassroots support.... Of course, copyright interests might try to slip a copyright term extension into a must-pass bill in hopes opponents wouldn't notice until it was too late. But ... 'The likelihood of it slipping by unnoticed' is low, Rose said.

"And even some content creators aren't keen on ever-longer copyright terms. The Authors Guild, for example, 'does not support extending the copyright term, especially since many of our members benefit from having access to a thriving and substantial public domain of older works,' a Guild spokeswoman told Ars in an email. 'If anything, we would likely support a rollback to a term of life-plus-50 if it were politically feasible.'"

Read more: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/01/hollywood-says-its-not-planning-another-copyright-extension-push/
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