Saturday, September 21, 2019

'Fake news' section of Elections Act challenged

Canadian Constitution Foundation launches constitutional challenge against elections censorship law - Canadian Constitution Foundation:

September 18, 2019 - "On Monday Sept 16th, the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) served documents on the Attorneys General of Canada and Ontario challenging the constitutionality of section 91 of the Canada Elections Act (CEA), which prohibits certain types of 'false statements' during a federal election period. This provision allows the government to censor what it considers to be 'fake news'.

"The CCF is deeply concerned about the harm that this law has on freedom of expression in Canada, particularly the freedom to engage in political speech, as guaranteed under s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 91 of the CEA violates the right of Canadians to express their political views freely, particularly during an election period, without fear of reprisal....

"These provisions, which were recently amended, make it an offence to attempt to influence an election by making or publishing certain types of 'false' statements about political candidates and other public figures during the election period. The prohibition leaves important words like “false”, “public figure”, and “associated with” undefined. Further, the state need not prove knowledge of falsity: a person or entity who made or published an allegedly 'false' statement, such as by posting or re-posting a comment on social media, can be prosecuted even if they honestly believed the statement to be true, and even if there was a reasonable basis for this belief....

"Violating this law carries a maximum penalty of a $50,000 fine and five years in prison. As a result, the law forces Canadians into an unacceptable choice: they can soft-peddle their expression or self-censor their views in an attempt to avoid saying anything that the state may deem to be “false”, or they can exercise their right to express themselves and risk prosecution and severe punishment. Too many Canadians will choose the former. This chilling effect will lead to a muted social and political discourse and, in turn, serve only to undermine the integrity and effectiveness of the democratic election process.

"Inevitably, false information is, intentionally or not, disseminated during an election. The constitutionally permissible response to this inevitability is not to sanction speech, but to promote media and information literacy and foster open discourse so that Canadians can make up their own minds about what to believe and who to vote for. Censoring and punishing free speech is not a constitutionally acceptable solution in a free and democratic society....

"CCF Executive Director, Joanna Baron, stated... 'To take just one example, Canadians may disagree about whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau obstructed justice in his handling of the SNC-Lavalin prosecution. But the Charter gives every Canadian the right to allege that he committed that crime without fear of punishment. That’s why the government’s attempt to criminalize "fake news" must be declared unconstitutional.'"

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Friday, September 20, 2019

18 Libertarians cut from ballot in Erie Co. NY

Erie County Libertarians knocked off ballot after nomination certificates invalidated | WBFO - Tom Dinki::

September 19, 2019 - "Libertarians finally gained automatic ballot access in New York state last year, but you won’t see any Libertarians on the ballot for Erie County races this November. The Erie County Board of Elections invalidated the entire party line’s certificates of nomination earlier this month, saying there were deficiencies on the forms that violate state election law.

"Four of the 18 would-be Libertarian nominees challenged the Board of Elections in a validation proceeding Wednesday, but state Supreme Court Justice Frank A. Sedita III upheld the decision, saying the Board of Elections simply followed state election law.

"Erie County Libertarian Party Chairman Duane Whitmer told WBFO the deficiencies were technicalities that should have not been held against the party. He alleged Erie County Democrats and Republicans conspired to knock Libertarians off the ballot.

“'This is an example of the two parties coming together and suppressing the third parties,' he said after Wednesday’s court proceeding. 'They have the time and resources. The (elections) commissioners are paid $120,000 a year in taxpayer funds to make sure that third parties can’t compete.' Whitmer specifically accuses Erie County Democratic Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner, who’s faced renewed criticism in recent months for also serving as chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee....

"Erie County Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr said Libertarians met most of the requirements under state election law 6-128, which deals with new party’s certificates of nomination, but did not meet two of what he called the most important requirements: a certified copy of the party’s rules and sworn affidavits from party officials.

"Mohr previously met with Libertarian Party officials to show them what was wrong with their certificates, and even gave them a copy of a correct certificate to follow. However, he said the forms were still not valid when the party submitted them a second time. The deadline to submit validated certificates of nomination was Sept. 3....

"Many of the 18 would-be Libertarian nominees are already cross-endorsed by the Republican Party, like county executive candidate Lynne Dixon, but some ... were counting on their Libertarian nomination to get on the ballot. The Libertarian Party of New York State gained automatic ballot status after Libertarian Larry Sharpe earned more than the required 50,000 votes in last fall’s gubernatorial race."

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Bernier makes it into leaders' debates

Maxime Bernier invited to participate in official commission debates | CBC News - Aaron Wherry:

September 16, 2019 - "The official Leaders' Debates Commission has decided to invite Maxime Bernier, leader of the People's Party of Canada, to participate in the English and French debates that will be televised next month. 'You have satisfied me that you intend to field candidates in 90 per cent of ridings and, based on recent political context, public opinion polls and previous general election results, I consider that more than one candidate of your party has a legitimate chance to be elected,' David Johnston, the former governor general who leads the commission, wrote to Bernier on Monday.

"Bernier was not initially included among the leaders invited to participate in the debates. Instead, he was asked to provide more information as the commission considered his case.

"'Canadians will be able to see all the options before voting the 21st of October. And it is important,' Bernier told supporters at a meeting in Saint John, N.B. 'I must say to Mr. Johnston that he took the right decision for the future of our country....'

"'I think it's wrong to give Mr. Bernier the platform to spread his hateful and divisive message," NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said during a campaign stop in Montreal....

"'It's no big surprise that Justin Trudeau's hand-picked debate panel used a Liberal-friendly pollster who attacks Andrew Scheer to ultimately justify Mr. Bernier's attendance at the debate,' said Daniel Schow, press secretary to the Conservative leader — apparently referring to Frank Graves of Ekos....

"The commission was charged with considering three criteria as it decided on a final list of debate participants: whether a party is represented in the House of Commons by an MP who was elected as a member of that party; whether a party is planning to run candidates in at least 90 per cent of ridings; and whether a party has a "legitimate chance" of electing more than one MP. To be included in the debates, a party must satisfy at least two of those criteria.

"Bernier and the People's Party have nominated candidates for more than 90 per cent of the country's 338 ridings, but the party has not yet elected an MP under its banner (Bernier was elected as a Conservative MP in 2015). That left the commission to decide whether the People's Party had a 'legitimate chance' of electing multiple MPs this fall....

"In addition to Bernier's riding of Beauce, the commission reviewed opinion polling results for the Ontario ridings of Nipissing-Timiskaming, Etobicoke North and Pickering-Uxbridge, and the Manitoba riding of Charleswood-St.-James-Assiniboia-Headingley. The results of those riding-level polls, conducted for the commission by Ekos, showed that between 24.5 per cent and 34.1 per cent of respondents said it was 'possible' that they would vote for the People's Party candidate."

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

New Ukraine gov't plans 'economic revolution'

Ukraine’s libertarian revolution - Atlantic Council - James Brooke:

September 10, 2019 - "Kyiv is ground zero for the most significant economic revolution in the region today. In a libertarian reshaping of Ukraine’s post-Soviet system, the new government plans to approve the largest farm land market in Europe, the biggest post-Soviet privatization fire sale in a generation, and the opening of roads, railroads, ports, airports, oil and gas to private investment. Casino gambling and amber mining are to be legalized. Foreign exchange controls are to be lifted. Labor laws are to be liberalized.

"In a whirlwind of legislative activity reminiscent of Franklin Roosevelt’s First 100 Days, Ukraine’s new government is creating opportunities for billions of dollars of foreign and national investment in the 2020s. In a move bound to unleash years of pent up investment, the central bank promises to cut interest rates in half by the end of next year. Putting small government in practice, Ukraine’s new Prime Minister, Oleksiy Honcharuk last week cut the number of ministries by one third — from 25 to 17....

"Volodymyr Zelenskyy won an open, multiparty presidential race, emerging with ... 73 percent of the final presidential vote in April. Three months later, in parliamentary elections, he won a clear majority — 60 percent of Rada seats. In late August, Zelenskyy’s trust rating was 70 percent, according to a survey by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation. On the campaign trail, Zelenskyy was short on promises and short on interviews. Voters elected a black box. Last week, he jumped out of that box and proved to be a 41-year-old libertarian.

"Part of the shakeup is a generational turnover. The post-post-Soviet generation now run Ukraine. With the youngest cabinet in Europe, average age 39, Ukraine’s cabinet members order their food online, order their taxis online, order their vacations online, and pay in stores with contactless bank cards. Faster adapters to new technology, Ukrainians bought 56 percent of their railroad tickets online this summer....

"Creating the 'state in the smartphone,' is the task of Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s new deputy prime minister and minister for digital transformation. At 28, he shares the title of Europe’s youngest minister with Virginius Sinkevicius, Lithuania’s economy minister. Encapsulating Kyiv’s ambitious plans to create Estonia-style e-citizenship, Fedorov tells the Kyiv Post: 'Eventually, people will stop noticing the government. They’ll be using it like they use Uber or — only when they need it.'

"Press reactions range from ho hum to skeptical to hostile. 'Vulgar libertarianism,' sniped one Kyiv economist. Traditional political scientists, trained to identify a revolution as a worker-peasant alliance taking over the telegraph office, do not see anything special going on. Many Ukrainian free marketers are sulking in the sidelines because they misread the Zelenskyy movement last spring. But with the government’s goals and deadlines clearly set, the prime minister reports that more and more Maidan-era talent are signing up to help."

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

People's Party loses a candidate

B.C. candidate expelled from PPC asks Maxime Bernier to denounce racism |

September 11, 2019 - "Brian Misera was the PPC candidate for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam until Wednesday, when he received an email explaining that his status as an approved candidate has been revoked. His name no longer appears on the party’s website, which no longer links to his Twitter and Facebook profiles.

"Misera tells Global News the email came as a shock, and believes it was sent after he called out Bernier and the party for not disavowing the support of racists and far-right groups. He says he sent an email to Bernier directly, asking him to 'please do more to help us disassociate from far-right groups that really have no place in our society.' 'I wanted him to do more to make it very, very clear that we don’t represent them, we don’t want their support,” he said.

"Soon afterwards, he says he received the email from the party, which Misera shared with Global News. 'You will not be allowed to participate further in the electoral process as the PPC Candidate for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam,' the email reads. 'We hope you will continue to support the People’s Party of Canada.'

"Misera, who has a business degree from Simon Fraser University, says he ... supported Bernier’s platform and ideas.... But he says he regularly heard from people on the campaign trail who called him a 'Nazi' and 'racist' when they found out he was a PPC candidate. He received similar comments after becoming more active on social media, posting videos of his time meeting with voters. He became further troubled after seeing people with ties to far-right groups and ideologies either express support for the party or become members themselves, to which commenters also alerted him....

"After following up on the comments and doing his own research, Misera said he wanted to ensure the party he was running for didn’t support people with views to which he says he’s very much opposed....

"In an email to Global News, PPC executive director Johanne Mennie said Misera’s candidacy was revoked after he admitted to acting as his own financial agent, a violation of Elections Canada rules. Misera says that’s not true, arguing he doesn’t have any team at all to help him collect donations.... Further questions to the PPC, including why those issues weren’t addressed before Misera was acclaimed as the candidate for the riding, have not been answered. The party has also not responded to whether Bernier received a message from Misera, or if the party leader has a response to Misera’s criticisms.

"[I]n Edmonton in July ... Bernier said people who don’t share the PPC’s values aren’t welcome. 'People who are racist and anti-Semitic, they’re not welcome in our party,' he said. Also in July, five Winnipeg PPC members left the party over allegations the federal party is harbouring racists, anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists."

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Monday, September 16, 2019

BC Libertarian welcomes PPC competition

Burnaby Libertarian sees Bernier's People's Party as allies, not a threat | Burnaby Now - Dustin Godfrey:

September 15, 2019 - "New Westminster-Burnaby’s Libertarian Party candidate says there are no existential questions for his party with a competing libertarian-leaning brand with broad coverage in the upcoming election. Neeraj Murarka, New West's B.C. Libertarian Party candidate 2017 and B.C. director of the federal Libertarian Party, is replacing Rex Brocki in New West-Burnaby, with Brocki set to run up against NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in Burnaby South under the Libertarian banner.

"Brocki tallied 2.6 per cent of the vote in New West-Burnaby in 2015, which Murarka admitted will be a challenge to meet.... His own name recognition won’t be the only challenge to the Libertarians in New West-Burnaby, though. The People’s Party of Canada, run by former Conservative Party leadership contender Maxime Bernier, has received significant press coverage in the year since its September 2018 formation. That’s particularly true, given the PPC hasn’t even breached the five per cent mark in either CBC’s poll tracker or fellow poll aggregate 338Canada since the party’s creation.

"That name recognition could steal what little sway the Libertarians wield. But although the Libertarians considered a merger with the PPC last year, Murarka said the party doesn’t have any question about where it stands with a competing libertarian brand in the mix.

"Murarka called the People’s Party a more 'practical rendition of his own party. Where the PPC could conceivably snag a seat or two in October, Murarka sees his party as the more principled libertarian brand. 'They’re basically doing whatever is necessary to get into office,' Murarka said.

"While he said the PPC concedes parts of a libertarian platform to get into office, Murarka says the party could push libertarian ideals into the mainstream.... 'If they manage to disrupt things, just manage to get a seat, I would be, honestly, very happy,' Murarka said. I don’t see them as the enemy; I’m not going to vote for them because I’m running, myself. But I think that both of our parties are kind of on the same level'....

"Murarka said his main issue this election is getting more voter involvement in the choices of government – more referendums and more decentralized control of Parliament. 'I want ,,, the voters to get to make those decisions, whether it relates to taxes, foreign policy, foreign intervention, military, spending, welfare – all those things.'”

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Five rap beats for liberty

Five Hip Hop Beats For Reppin Liberty in Your Hood - Caleb Shumate, Libertarian Republic:

August 20, 2019 - Are you an OG libertarian who loves rap music and hates government overreach? If so, here are five tunes with a message that anyone who reps liberty can enjoy.

1. "The Ancap Rap Part 1" by Eric July. This freestyle rap over the beat to 'You Should Know' by the frontman of the libertarian rap/metal band BackWordz hits all the main issues libertarians care about in four-and-a-half minutes. From the out-of-control national debt to government extortion through taxation, July ... hits on how both major parties are warmongers that exploit their constituents through pandering to gain power and then turn their backs on the same people who put them in office....

2. "F[*]ck the Police" by N.W.A. This classic protest anthem against police brutality speaks on everything from abuse of power by the police department to racial profiling..... The song resulted in N.W.A. being put on the FBI watch list and their album 'Straight Outta Compton' being banned from airplay by some radio stations.

3. "Changes" by 2Pac. This tune is a deep one, covering a wide range of issues which are important to those of us who care about personal liberty – from the broken communities created by the Welfare State to the federal government’s war on drugs. He speaks on America’s terrible foreign policy while the black community hurts. He also speaks on the need for prison reform and how “We the People” need to learn to practice a little more love and understanding when dealing with each other....

4. "Jesus Walks" by Kanye West ... talks about people struggling day to day in the ghetto, trying to survive their own hell from personal struggles to the problems facing the community at large created by bad economic policy.... Mr. West talks about how Jesus loves everyone no matter who they are and where they come from. He even takes a stab at media censorship, talking about how his record won’t get played in the mainstream for mentioning Jesus.

5. "Good Cop, Bad Cop" by Ice Cube. Much like 'F[*]ck the Police' by N.W.A., this bagging beat shines a spotlight on police brutality and the wrongful incarceration of citizens by corrupted law enforcement. Ice Cube explained in an interview with Bill Maher that his song was not anti-police, but instead was an appeal to ... turn in the bad cops who are causing his community to hate the police....

"All these jams address problems that lovers of liberty care about in a raw and uncensored way that only hip hop can. This alone should command the attention of anyone who wants freedom to reign in their hood."

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Mark Sanford enters GOP primary race

Mark Sanford 2020: Former Congressman Says Running Against Trump - Bloomberg - Hailey Waller:

September 8, 2019 - "Mark Sanford said he’s running for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination against President Donald Trump.... Sanford joins former Massachusetts Governor William Weld and syndicated talk show host and former one-term Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh in challenging Trump at a time some states are poised to cancel their Republican primaries altogether.

"The former U.S. representative from South Carolina made the announcement on “Fox News Sunday,” calling for 'an earnest and real conversation on debt and deficits and government spending'....

"Sanford, 59, finished his second term as South Carolina governor under a cloud after the revelation of an extramarital affair -- something Trump has reminded him of at campaign rallies and in Twitter messages. Sanford disappeared for days in 2009, supposedly to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail, but was instead in Argentina with a girlfriend....

"Asked how his clouded personal history might affect his primary bid, Sanford said he’s atoned for his past actions. 'In contrast to the president, where he says there’s not a single thing that he regrets or apologizes for, I profoundly apologized for that,' he said.... Asked whether his bid to take the Republican nomination from Trump is personal, given the president’s comments about him, Sanford said, “It’s not personal, but it’s indicative of the way the president makes too many things personal'....

“'The world of Trump is personal loyalty,' Sanford said. 'I believe as the Republican party our loyalty should be to ideas and ideals.'

"Trump’s popularity among Republican voters remains high in polls, typically between 80% and 90%. His challengers argue that if presented with a choice, at least some GOP supporters would back away. Trump has termed his challengers the 'Three Stooges' and said of Sanford: 'One is "Mr. Appalachian Trail" who was actually in Argentina for bad reasons.'

"Republican leaders in Sanford’s home state voted on Saturday to skip a presidential primary in 2020, CNN reported. That would allow Trump to capture all of the state’s delegates without competition. Other states, including Nevada, Arizona and Kansas, are considering similar actions."

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Friday, September 13, 2019

Minnesota LP launches 1st ballot-access suit

Libertarian Party in court for easier path to Minnesota ballot -

September 12, 2019 - "Minnesota’s Libertarian Party wants to make it easier for third-party candidates to get on state general election ballots, launching the first in an expected series of lawsuits taking aim at laws restricting minor-party ballot access.

"The Libertarian Party, one of three recognized minor parties in the state, is first setting its sights on statutes that govern how minor-party candidates petition to get on the ballot.

"Under state law, minor-party candidates must collect 500 signatures for state legislative races and 2,000 signatures for statewide offices. Signatures must be collected during a 14-day period in late May. Those who sign the petitions for Libertarian general election candidates must swear not to vote in the primaries for those offices. Violators can be prosecuted for perjury, something Libertarian Party leaders allege has created confusion and chilled support from would-be signatories in the past.

“'Primary voters should not be excluded from the primary election process just because they saw fit to provide all voters a greater choice of candidates than the major parties provide,' wrote Erick Kaardal, a former Minnesota GOP official representing the Libertarian Party in the litigation. The first suit, filed last month, names the county attorneys in Anoka, Hennepin and Ramsey counties.... The officials have yet to file formal responses in court.

"A separate lawsuit is expected to challenge the state’s 14-day window for collecting signatures.

"Bipartisan legislation introduced last session in the Minnesota House and Senate sought to change the thresholds for major-party designation and make changes to the minor-party petitioning requirements. Those provisions did not receive a hearing. Chris Holbrook, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Minnesota, said the party is instead going to court to change the laws.

“'We believe it is unconstitutional because it limits your First Amendment right to free speech,' he said.

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Ferguson running for LP of Canada in Brantford

Candidates off and running! | Brantford Expositor - Vincent Ball:

September 11, 2019 - "Voters in Brantford-Brant will have plenty of choice when they cast their ballots on Oct. 21. With the official start of the federal election campaign on Wednesday, there are five candidates so far challenging incumbent Conservative Phil McColeman.... Sabrina Sawyer, of the New Democrats, Danielle Takacs, of the Liberal Party, Bob Jonkman, of the Green Party, Dave Wrobel of the People’s Party of Canada and Rob Ferguson, of the Libertarian Party....

"Ferguson has run unsuccessfully at the municipal level, as well as provincially and federally. He said he intends to talk a lot about leadership during the campaign.

“'When I look at the leaders of all the other parties, I see a sad state of affairs,' said Ferguson, who is the Ontario Libertarian Party leader. 'I don’t think any of them have earned the trust of Canadians. We’re offering Canadians something different, a different platform and clearly Tim Moen, our leader, is the only one to lead our country.'

"Nationally, the Libertarian Party has been hurt by the emergence of the People’s Party of Canada, Ferguson said. But he noted that the Libertarian Party has been around for a long time and is not a populist movement."

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Cannabis legalization bill introduced in Mexico

Mexican Senator Files Marijuana Legalization Bill Ahead Of Supreme Court Deadline | Marijuana Moment - Kyle Jaeger:

September 3, 2019 - A Mexican senator introduced a bill to legalize marijuana on Tuesday ... just one month before a Supreme Court-imposed deadline to end prohibition. Sen. Julio Menchaca Salazar of the government’s ruling MORENA party filed the legislation, which would provide for the legal possession, cultivation and consumption of cannabis for personal use by adults.

"The legislation would amend two sections of Mexico’s federal drug laws and includes provisions concerning medical cannabis and the use of hemp in textiles, according to a press release.

"During a floor speech, Salazar, who is the head of the Senate Justice Committee, argued that prohibition has only played into the hands of criminal enterprises. He also pointed to state-legal marijuana markets in the U.S. as examples of effective regulatory schemes....

"The bill’s introduction comes a week after the Senate announced a new series of events meant to foster dialogue about the objectives and challenges of implementing a legal cannabis market. That includes a panel that will be led by a former Obama White House drug czar who once said that the word 'legalization' is not even in his vocabulary....

"While talk of legalization has been ongoing in Mexico, efforts to create and pass reform legislation have increased since the country’s Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that the ban on personal use and cultivation of cannabis is unconstitutional. Salazar said in April that lawmakers would be working on legalization legislation over the summer recess.

"President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration also backs legalization."

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

News: Police don't shut down a lemonade stand

Cops called to shut down children's lemonade stand buy drinks instead | Lifestyle from CTV News - Jackie Dunham:

August 29, 2019 - "A pair of New York police officers is earning praise after they were called to shut down a neighbourhood lemonade stand.... Whitney Glover said her two children and a few other kids in her neighbourhood of Newburgh, located 107 kilometres north of New York City, decided to set up a roadside lemonade stand during rush hour on Monday evening.

“'We were probably out there for an hour and a half when I noticed the cop car pull up,' Glover told local station News 12 Westchester on Wednesday. It seemed someone in the neighbourhood had called the police about the children’s lemonade stand. However, when Officers Clayton Dubois and Thomas O’Connell of the Town of Newburgh Police Department approached the group, Glover said they received an unexpected greeting from them.

“'His first words were, "Can you believe someone called the cops on kids selling lemonade?"' she recalled. The two police officers then proceeded to buy some lemonade and pose for a photo with the children, which Glover posted on Facebook....

"Since Glover posted the photo of the police with the children on Facebook, she said dozens of customers have stopped by for lemonade and the children ... made hundreds of dollars in only three days."

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Monday, September 9, 2019

Gene Balfour declares for Ontario LP leadership

by Gene Balfour

'Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results' is the definition of insanity - Albert Einstein 

I have been a libertarian candidate in six elections (2 by-elections) and have never attained more than 1.36% of the popular vote. Until December of last year, I planned to run my seventh for the Libertarian Party of Canada.

Today, I am one of 312 candidates for the People’s Party of Canada in the federal election. I have also registered for the November 2nd election for Leader of the Ontario Libertarian Party. I have been enormously inspired by the accomplishments of Maxime Bernier and the book Right Here, Right Now by Stephen Harper.

Max is a “minarchist” (Less Government) Libertarian like me. I am aligned with his policies and can confidently speak to the public about them. I see no conflict in being a Libertarian and running for the PPC.

Last month, I attended the first People’s Party of Canada Convention which hosted nearly 500 candidates and their riding association executives from across Canada. This event was superbly organized! The election training and workshops were excellent. The speakers were fabulous. Max’s closing speech was historic! He delivered it with such skill and passion that I got goosebumps. Every person I met  at the Convention was positive and energized to succeed. Max has convinced me that he is the best choice for Prime Minister of Canada by far.

So, why am I writing about my personal experience with the PPC and Max?

Speaking as an OLP member since 2007, I know clearly now what kind of leader I wish to follow going into the next provincial election. My wish list is a tall one, but I like the advice of Norman Vincent Peale: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.”

I want the next OLP Leader to inspire me to reach beyond my own limits in an effort to bring Libertarian principles and values to the residents of Ontario.

This Leader must:
  • Lead by example - to demonstrate consistently that he or she has thoroughly  embraced our Libertarian Constitution and ByLaws,  and is committed to interact with every one of our OPM Members and the public in accordance with them. 
  • Unite  all OLP members under a political platform of ideas that will inspire a commitment to Party goals. It is urgent that we put aside our differences and approach the next election in solidarity as ‘one voice’. 
  • Inspire others to join the OLP Executive and Ethics Committees. Vitally important is the need for the Leader and Executive Committee Chairman to work closely and effectively in order to achieve consistent and steady progress towards preparing the OLP for its best ever showing in 2022.
  • Build a large and engaged Membership community. To this end, the OLP Leader must become a recognized public figure. This means being publicly visible, attracting media attention, Internet followers and crowds of people at regular public events. 
  • Become an expert fundraiser and magnet for volunteers. Every election campaign is constrained by funding and help. We can change this.
As of this writing, our Convention delegates will have 4 choices for Party Leadership as presented by Rob Ferguson, Keith Komar, me and NOTA (‘none-of-the-above’ has always been a valid option for electing OLP Party Officers).

May the words of Norman Vincent Peale guide your choice. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The most effective way to combat climate change

Best way to fight climate change? Plant a trillion trees | CBC News: - Associcated Press:

July 5, 2019 - "The most effective way to fight global warming is to plant lots of trees, a trillion of them, maybe more, according to a new study. Swiss scientists ... say that even with existing cities and farmland, there's enough space for new trees to cover nine million square kilometres, roughly the size of the United States. Their report is in Thursday's edition of the journal Science.

"The study calculated that over the decades, those new trees could suck up nearly 750 billion tonnes of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — about as much carbon pollution as humans have spewed in the past 25 years. Much of that benefit will come quickly because trees remove more carbon from the air when they are younger, the study authors said. The potential for removing the most carbon is in the tropics.

"'This is by far — by thousands of times — the cheapest climate change solution' and the most effective, said study co-author Thomas Crowther, a climate change ecologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.... Before his research, Crowther figured there were other more effective ways to fight climate change besides cutting emissions, such as people switching from eating meat to vegetarianism. But, he said, tree planting is far more effective because trees take so much carbon dioxide out of the air.

"Thomas Lovejoy, a conservation biologist at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., who wasn't part of the study, called it 'a good news story' because planting trees would also help stem the loss of biodiversity.

"Planting trees is not a substitute for weaning the world off burning oil, coal and gas, the chief cause of global warming, Crowther emphasized.... Nor is it easy or realistic to think the world will suddenly go on a tree-planting binge, although many groups have started, Crowther said.

"The researchers used Google Earth to see what areas could support more trees, while leaving room for people and crops. Lead author Jean-François Bastin estimated there's space for at least one trillion more trees, but it could be 1.5 trillion. That's on top of the three trillion trees now on Earth, according to earlier Crowther research. The study's calculations make sense, said Chris Field, an environmental scientist at Stanford University in California who also wasn't part of the study."

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Saturday, September 7, 2019

How the Bitcoin Protocol 'changes everything'

How To Understand Bitcoin If You're Over 40 - Matt Hougan, Forbes:

August 15, 2019 - "Those of us who are over 40 can remember a time when the internet stunk: When you had to look up websites in a (printed) book; when email didn’t exist; when you couldn’t do much with the internet except send files ... using something called 'FTP' [or] 'file transfer protocol.'  'Protocol' is a fancy word that means a set of insructions for how to transfer information across the internet....

"In 1982, researchers developed ... the Simple Mail Transmission Protocol, or SMTP. SMTP allowed us to send email over the internet.... In 1989, we took another big step forward with the creation of Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP. HTTP lets us send webpages with linked text (or 'hyperlinks'). It gave rise to the World Wide Web.

"In 1994, the Secure Sockets Layer protocol was created, better known as SSL. SSL allows us to securely enter sensitive information into the internet, like personal or credit card information. Not coincidentally, Amazon was founded later that year.... Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP, created 1995, changed telecom forever; Real-Time Streaming Protocol, or RTSP, created in 1996, helped enable streaming video. And so on. From a distance, each of these advances seemed unprecedented. But in reality, they were just the next logical thing: a new protocol that expanded the way the internet can be used.

"The right way to think of bitcoin, crypto, and public blockchains is as the next step in this evolution. Just instead of sending files or email or voice or credit card data, bitcoin and crypto let us send money. Of course, there have been online banks and payment services for decades. But they’ve always been hybrids or bridges: A bank like Wells Fargo or a service provider like PayPal might put up a digital veneer, but it would actually extract each transaction and process it in the traditional, physical world....

"The Bitcoin Protocol’s breakthrough – the reason 'it changes everything' – is that it lets you send money over the internet natively, without a bank or a service provider in the middle.... If you want to wire $10 million to someone in another country today, for instance, it takes three-to-five days, they can deny your wire for any reason or create limits, and the fees are significant. With bitcoin, it takes about 10 minutes, it’s open 24/7, and is essentially free.... Instead of using lawyers and investment bankers, you can create any contract or trust or entity or set of financial instructions … for free.... That means disrupting services like escrow, debt issuance, derivatives, trust creation, fundraising, and more....

"[T]o move money around the world instantly on the Bitcoin blockchain, or to replace your investment bankers with the Ethereum blockchain – you have to own and use bitcoin or ether.... A lot of smart investors are buying up bitcoin and ether today, before everyone else figures out how valuable these new technologies can be....

"[E]very major new internet protocol has disrupted a major industry:
  • SMTP created email and disrupted the Post Office;
  • HTTP created the web and disrupted media and advertising;
  • SSL created internet commerce and disrupted retail;
  • RTSP created streaming and disrupted the entertainment industry.
"By allowing money to travel over the internet, Bitcoin and crypto will disrupt the financial industry just as surely as Amazon disrupted Sears."

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Friday, September 6, 2019

Hemp legalization cut cannabis prosecutions

'I feel lucky, for real': How legalizing hemp accidentally helped marijuana suspects - Jon Schuppe, NBC News:

August 18, 2019 - "With the passage of new hemp-legalization laws over the past eight months, crime labs across the country have suddenly found themselves unable to prove that a leafy green plant taken from someone’s car is marijuana, rather than hemp. Marijuana looks and smells like hemp but has more THC, the chemical that makes people high.

"Without the technology to determine a plant’s THC level, labs can’t provide scientific evidence for use in court. Without that help, prosecutors have to send evidence to expensive private labs that can do the tests or postpone cases until local labs develop their own tests, a process that could take months.

"Rather than deal with prohibitive costs or lengthy delays, prosecutors in several states, including Texas, Florida and Ohio, are dropping low-level pot cases altogether or declining to bring new ones. Police in those states are now unsure whether their age-old pretext for searching cars ─ the smell of pot ─ is still valid. Some have been told not to make any arrests for marijuana possession, although they can issue tickets and confiscate the suspected drugs for testing later.

"There is no way to determine how many cases have been imperiled by the new laws, but they number in the hundreds, perhaps thousands, law enforcement officials say.... Some observers have described the hemp laws as de facto decriminalization, although lawmakers insist that’s not the case....

"[T]he 2018 Farm Bill, passed by Congress in December, ... made hemp a legal crop.... In order to distinguish hemp from marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law, Congress defined hemp as having less than 0.3 percent of THC. The Farm Bill left it to states to pass their own laws on cultivating hemp; 47 states have done so, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most of those states adopted the 0.3 percent standard....

"Before hemp was legalized, all the labs usually had to do on pot cases was conduct a relatively cheap and quick series of tests that showed whether something came from a cannabis plant.... Now, many will have to purchase new testing equipment, hire more staff, train staff on new testing methods and get the methods approved for use in court.

"In Tennessee, the state Bureau of Investigation has asked prosecutors to be selective in the pot cases they choose to pursue, and to not submit evidence from misdemeanor pot cases until labs develop new testing procedures.... Several counties in Georgia said they have stopped pursuing misdemeanor marijuana charges. In Florida, prosecutors in at least four judicial circuits have told police they won’t file marijuana cases without a lab test."

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Thursday, September 5, 2019

What do libertarians see in Tulsi Gabbard?

Tulsi Gabbard Is Not a Libertarian · 71 Republic - Peyton Gouzien:

September 4, 2019 - "For some reason, libertarians love Tulsi Gabbard. Gabbard, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, has been praised for her anti-war message and honesty on a range of topics including the industrial military complex, the federal reserve, and overarching tech privacy....

"Gabbard’s list of fans includes former Texas Representative and presidential candidate Ron Paul who has called her his favorite of the Democrats. This type of support has amplified ... the buzz about her campaign in libertarian and conservative circles, with many right-of-center outlets publishing glowing pieces in support of her. Libertarians willing to compromise have found a natural ally in Gabbard....

"While Gabbard has an admirable anti-war message, her foreign ... policy is far from libertarian. On the issue of foreign intervention, Gabbard still supports the War on Terror. She also endorsed the continued use of drone strikes on terrorist organizations in Syria. Though her policy positions are far less hawkish than the majority of candidates in the presidential field, supporting drone strikes on foreign nations is a direct violation of the non-aggression principle....

"On many issues, Gabbard says enough of the right thing but her actions don’t always back [her words] up. Domestically, Gabbard’s record is undesirable and big parts of her voting records are a giant red flag for most any libertarian. Gabbard supports Medicare for all, banning offshore drilling, and free college tuition. How these plans would be paid for and the cost to the American worker remains to be seen.

"In their attempts to show at the ballot, libertarians have often compromised on candidates who promote libertarian policy upfront, only to adopt big government positions when elected. President Trump is a great example of this. He has presided over a government whose deficit and debt have grown considerably in the span of four years. Trump has imposed reckless tariffs on China and dropped the MOAB and increased our involvement in Afghanistan

"Supporting Gabbard is no different. Though she is a strong libertarian advocate on several issues, the places where we disagree are numerous and important. Libertarianism is a message of limited government, both physically and financially. Gabbard has shown time and time again that she has no such interest."

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Ban on homegrown cannabis unconstitutional, Quebec judge rules

Quebec's ban on growing cannabis at home unconstitutional, judge rules | CBC News:

September 3, 2019 - "Quebec Superior Court Justice Manon Lavoie ruled Tuesday the provincial law prohibiting Quebecers from growing cannabis for personal use is unconstitutional. She said the ban amounts to criminal legislation, which is under federal jurisdiction.

"Julien Fortier, the lawyer who led the challenge, said those wanting to grow cannabis at home can now do so legally. But he cautioned the province can still appeal the ruling, or rewrite the law to try to make the ban constitutional. Fortier called the judge's ruling 'very technical'....

"For now, residents are permitted to grow a maximum of four plants at home, as stipulated under federal legislation.

"Quebec's cannabis law, which included a ban on home-growing, was passed in June 2018 under the previous Liberal government.

"The Coalition Avenir Québec [CAQ] government ... plans to amend the law to raise the legal age of consumption from 18 to 21. A spokesperson for Lionel Carmant the CAQ's junior health minister, who is overseeing the government's cannabis legislation, said the government is studying Tuesday's ruling."

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Ex-PM tells Kiwis to say yes to legal cannabis

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Backs Cannabis Legalization | Grizzle - Martin Green:

September 3, 2019 - "Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has urged Kiwis to vote in favour of recreational cannabis being legalized at next year’s referendum. She recently set up a think tank called The Helen Clark Foundation and it has just issued a report called “The Case for YES”. It recommends expunging minor cannabis convictions and ushering in a legal market that can regulate marijuana in a responsible fashion.

“'Isn’t this [the current approach] a waste of the justice system’s time and money?' she said. 'Haven’t the police got better things to do? Aren’t we better to face the reality that 80% of Kiwis are going to try this at some point in their lives?'

"Clark was the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand and she led the country from 1999 to 2008. Had she been given a fourth term in office, she claims she would have sought to legalize recreational cannabis use.....

"[T]he current government has decided to ballot the people on whether adult-use cannabis should be permitted. Kiwis will vote in a general election next year and they will also be able to vote on whether or not recreational cannabis should be legalized on the same ballot.

"New Zealand has one of the highest cannabis consumption levels in the world, according to the World Drug Report. It legalized medical cannabis use in 2017....

"The Helen Clark Foundation ... claims that a 'yes vote in 2020 would advance public health objectives and promote greater social equity. It adds that prohibition does not work, it cannot eradicate consumption, it is a waste of police time and it disproportionately punishes the Māori community.

"Clark wants to see New Zealand treat cannabis use as a social and public health issue rather than a criminal one. She insists that decriminalizing it is not enough, and that New Zealand should study developments in Uruguay and North America before ushering in a commercial, regulated industry.

"She also wants to see individuals and communities that were most affected by prohibition to benefit from any changes to the law, allowing them a fair chance to become retailers and producers. Clark warned that large, profit-driven cannabis conglomerates should not be able to dominate New Zealand’s cultivation and retail trades."

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Monday, September 2, 2019

Keith Komar declares for Ontario LP leader

Longtime Libertarian Party of Canada activist, and (full disclosure) occasional GDPA columnist, Keith Komar has declared his candidacy for the position of Ontario Libertarian Party leader, up for election this November. Komar, currently running for the LPC in Bradford in the 2020 federal election, supplied GDPA with a biography, which reads in part: 

"Keith is a single father of 2 originally from Cranbrook B.C.... He is an activist for many causes and has supported marriage equality since the early 1990s.... Keith’s activism for the Cannabis industry began in 2015.... Keith is a staunch supporter of property rights and freedom of speech.

"Keith was first introduced to Libertarianism in 2008 while following the U.S. election. He was immediately captivated by Dr. Paul and his unapologetic stances on property rights and personal freedoms. Keith is well-read on many topics, has read all of Ayn Rand's books, and is a follower of Milton Friedman and Frederick Hayek.

"In September 2015 Keith found Tim Moen and the Libertarian Party of Canada and supported the local candidate in Grand Prairie for the 2015 election.  In 2016, Keith became involved with the BC Libertarian Party and helped grow its membership and candidate numbers for the 2017 provincial election. Keith himself garnered the 2nd highest percentage of votes for the party in that election (2.5%) and the 3rd highest vote total (410).

"In 2018 Keith moved back to Ontario and became involved with the Ontario Libertarian Party.... Keith represented the Libertarian Party of Canada in the York-Simcoe riding in Bradford during the 2019 federal by-election, and will run there again in October for the general election."

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Film shows horror of gov't population control

One Child Nation 2019: Documentary Review - David Edelstein, Vulture:

August 12, 2019 - "You can’t fault China for worrying about the impact of overpopulation ... but the horror that its government unleashed in the name of protecting natural resources and ensuring the health of its people beggars belief. What the country’s 'one-child law' ushered in — with cheerful, propagandistic songs and posters and Chinese 'operas'  — was an ongoing totalitarian nightmare, the scale of which is rarely appreciated outside the so-called People’s Republic. That scale is chronicled by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang’s first-person documentary One Child Nation in infuriating, tragic, grisly detail. The policy ended in 2015 but the trauma still ripples through China and the world. It’s a devastating film, almost too terrible to contemplate.

"Wang begins with the story of her own family, which barely got away with having two children ... her father ... had to talk the village chief out of sterilizing her mother after Nanfu’s birth. The father wanted another child — a boy, of course ... and her parents admit — on camera, wincing but firm — that if he’d been female, he’d have been put in a basket and left at an outdoor market to be picked up. Or to die. The story of Nanfu’s female cousin — who was left in the market — will haunt my dreams forever....

"The uncle who left his daughter to die in the open air is interviewed. He is being eaten alive, metaphorically.... But moral judgments tend to curdle in this context. What, says the village chief, now 74, was he to do? It was policy handed down from on high.... A woman who oversaw that policy still believes that the country would have 'perished' without it, and that the well-being of the collective must always always supersede personal feelings. In contrast, a local midwife who performed 20 sterilizations a day — the women sometimes carried in kicking and screaming on poles, 'like pigs' — ... knows that, 'There’ll be retribution for me. The state gave the orders, but I carried them out'....

"How do we judge so-called 'human traffickers' who sold female babies to orphanages and made a tidy profit? Those girls were given up by families who didn’t want them. Many would have otherwise been killed at birth. It’s easier to condemn the village officials who — after China legalized international adoption, in 1992 — outright abducted babies and sold them to orphanages....

"One useful thing about One Child Nation is that it puts the work of someone like Ayn Rand in perspective. The little Jewish girl who grew up in the Soviet Union had a fierce, undying rage at collectivist repression and the corruption that followed in its wake. You can almost forgive her for going the opposite way and insisting on a society built on unbridled selfishness. Maybe you can. The movie ends on a note of bitter irony. Having lost a large percentage of its young thanks to its one-child policy, the Chinese government is now a two-child nation: 'One is too few, two is just right.'

"Ask the government if the one-child policy was wrong and they will likely respond, What one-child policy?"

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Saturday, August 31, 2019

'Cone of silence' creates Amash campaign buzz

Justin Amash Has Been Coy About a Presidential Bid, Leaving Never Trumpers Searching for Clues - Sam Brodey, The Daily Beast:

August 31, 2019 - "Rep. Justin Amash’s political future has been the subject of intense fascination and interest in Republican circles these days. After his call to impeach Trump and his subsequent exit from the GOP, the libertarian congressman from Michigan has attracted tons of buzz over a possible run for president as a third-party candidate.

"Amash’s plans remain opaque. Publicly, he insists he’s running for re-election to his House seat until he says otherwise. Privately, he’s told supporters the same thing. And while those people believe Amash is actively considering a presidential bid, his political inner circle is so tight-knit about the possibility that allies have little idea what the congressman is actually planning.

"That cone of silence has fueled speculation that Amash will join former Govs. Bill Weld and former Rep. Joe Walsh in formally challenging President Trump. And it has supercharged outside efforts to get him in the race. Several officials in the Libertarian Party, which would be the most logical vehicle for an Amash presidential run, told The Daily Beast they have been reaching out to the congressman’s camp to indicate that he’d have strong support among the activists who decide the party’s presidential nomination.

"Those who know Amash say he may be waiting on two things before making a decision: a clearer sense of Libertarian Party support, and a clearer statement of plans from another rumored Trump challenger: his former House colleague Mark Sanford. The South Carolina Republican, who served as governor and a member of  Congress before losing his seat last cycle, has not yet officially launched a bid but is considered likely to challenge Trump in the GOP primary.

"The Daily Beast spoke with six people who either know Amash personally or have worked with him, three of whom requested anonymity to speak candidly about what his plans may be. One of them said that the congressman is almost certainly waiting to see if Sanford will run, and that he would not run himself if his old friend were to get in the race....

"Unlike other Trump challengers, Amash would not be competing against him in a primary. The damage he could inflict, instead, would come in a general election contest, where a conservative alternative to the sitting president could, potentially, pull away some Republican votes in key states. But there is a sense that he will need to announce soon in order to make a bid count — most likely by the end of the year.

"In the meantime, Amash is clearly benefiting from the aura of mystery around his current plans, ... Liz Mair, a GOP strategist and Trump critic with libertarian views ... told The Daily Beast. 'No one knows what Amash is doing. People like a mystery.'”

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Friday, August 30, 2019

MD man jailed 82 days for possession of honey

A Man Spent 82 Days in Jail on Meth Charges. The Meth Was Actually Honey. – - Billy Binion:

August 27, 2019 - "Leon Haughton, a legal green card holder from Jamaica who has lived in Maryland for almost 10 years, arrived at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on December 29 following his yearly pilgrimage back home. U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained him. For what, he wasn't sure.

"Maryland Transportation Authority Police then arrested him, telling him that the bottles in his bag labeled 'honey' had tested positive for methamphetamine. A police dog sniffed Haughton's bag raising suspicion that he had drugs, and a field test at the airport yielded positive results for meth. He spent the next 82 days in jail.

"Except the bottles really were full of honey. Maryland State Police lab test results confirmed that on January 17, and prosecutors dropped three felony drug counts six days later.

"Yet he stayed in jail. The state was still pursuing a misdemeanor possession charge, the lab results notwithstanding, because Maryland's lab is not fully equipped to test liquids. On January 24, Haughton and his lawyer sought his immediate release on bail. It was denied. Citing the K-9 hit and the positive field test, prosecutors maintained the lesser charge while law enforcement sent the bottles to a Homeland Security lab in Georgia for more testing.

"Normally, Haughton would've been released on his own recognizance since the charges levied against him had been whittled down to one misdemeanor. But the original felony counts triggered an active Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer — so if the state released him, the feds could arrest and deport him. Haughton's legal saga took place in the midst of the winter's lengthy government shutdown, meaning that no one could get in touch with the agency to have the detainer lifted....

"Haughton would not go home until March 21, when the new lab results came in and the state finally dropped the remaining charge.... During the ordeal, Haughton lost both of his jobs, one as a cleaner and the other as a construction worker."

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

US Libertarian chair moves to Free State

There's a new Porcupine in town: Libertarian National Committee chair moves to Manchester from Arizona | Manchester Ink Link:

August 26, 2019 - "Nicholas Sarwark, Libertarian National Committee Chair, moved to the Queen City from Arizona this week with his wife and four young children. He says coming to New Hampshire has been the goal for a while.

“'When I first signed up for the Free State Project in 2002, I knew I wanted to live in the most libertarian state in the country. It’s a great place to raise a family and it’s closer to Washington DC and the Libertarian Party National Headquarters'....

"Nationally, the Libertarian presidential ticket of New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and his running mate former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld – now running for the Republican nomination – received more than 4 million votes or 3.28 percent of the total vote. NH State Rep. Max Abramson is among those seeking the Libertarian presidential nomination in 2020....

"As chair, Sarwark has played a prominent role spreading the ideas of Libertarianism, with his appearances in Reason magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Slate, Salon, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as on “Kennedy” and “Stossel” on Fox Business, “Stossel on Reason,” the “Glenn Beck Program,” MSNBC, RT TV, NPR, and many more....

"The Sarwarks are also participants in the Free State Project (FSP), a non-partisan, non-profit organization that encourages liberty leaning people of all stripes to come to NH to grow and strengthen the liberty community in the state. Some equate it to creating a real-life 'Galt’s Gulch,' a reference from fiction author Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, including  Rachel Goldsmith, Interim Executive Director of the Free State Project.

“'The FSP is thrilled to welcome the Sarwark family to the growing community of liberty activists in New Hampshire.  We wish Nick and Valerie the best as they settle into their new home and, we look forward to their flavor of "Liberty in our Lifetime,”' Goldsmith said....

"The Free State Project is a non-profit organization, educating the public about the benefits of limited government, and community in New Hampshire. The hope is that the 'liberty movement' finds fertile ground in NH and spreads across the country. For more information see"

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Trump's right: Press is 'enemy of the people'

National View Column: Trump is right: The press is the 'enemy of the people' | Duluth News Tribune - Gordon Marino:

August 28, 2019 - "[I]f there is one point Trump seems right about, it is his infamous declaration that the press is the 'enemy of the people.' After all, it was the press, and especially cable television, that, more than anything, helped elect the president who would carry on a fake war against 'fake news.'

"Media today are driven by a desperate need for ratings because it is the number of hits that reels in the lifeblood of advertising revenue. No cable networks have criticized and lampooned Trump more than MSNBC and CNN; for three years now, Trump and his antics have monopolized their offerings. Why? Because those of us who wince at the words of our self-described 'stable genius' revel in hearing him excoriated....

"Recently, MSNBC’s 'Hard Ball' host Chris Matthews ended a segment by shaking his head in disgust over Trump’s extreme indifference to immigrant children. Then, almost under his breath, Matthews archly chuckled something to the effect that it would be hypocritical of him not to acknowledge that cable networks love Trump, too — and for the obvious reason that Trump is a magnet for viewers.

"TV talk-show hosts Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Jimmy Kimmel, and Seth Meyers have been bottom-feeding off Trump for years, and even the incurious and uninformed president well understands that all publicity — or almost all — is good publicity. As for Fox, sometimes referred to as 'state television,' watch host Sean Hannity and company for a few days and you, too, might feel befuddled by people distraught over Trump’s behavior....

"The president’s mistruths are legendary, but hear something enough and it becomes hard to dismiss. Hear enough false blather, and it eventually drowns out both the truth and the demand for truth. It used to be a problem for a politician to blatantly contradict himself or herself, thanks in large part to never-ending press coverage. But the public now shrugs when Trump says one thing and then a few days later says the opposite — even when it is all caught on tape.

"Yes, Trump is right; the press is the 'enemy of the people,' because it is the press that not only provides him with boundless coverage but gets us to bite on the glittering lures Trump casts whenever he seems to want to divert attention from something like the Mueller testimony.... Trump loves to gin up conflicts and then congratulate himself for protecting us from the self-created conflicts. Likewise, the media created this Frankenstein’s monster of a president, and for all their vitriol against Trump, the talking heads know they depend on the man they love to hate."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Chinese gov't shuts down pro-market thinktank

China’s Crackdown on Dissent Claims Free-Market Think Tank - Bloomberg - Matthew Campbell & Peter Martin:

August 27, 2019 - "One of China’s most prominent independent think tanks will cease operations after years of attempts by government officials to silence it. The Unirule Institute of Economics, which advocated free-market economic theories and is well known in U.S. academic circles, has decided to shut down after district officials in Beijing declared that it was operating without authorization, the organization said in a statement dated Aug. 26. Although Unirule said it intends to fight the government determinations, it will nonetheless halt its activities and stop updating its website apart from notices relevant to the winding-down process.

"The end of Unirule closes down one of the last venues for open debate on economic issues in China. Founded in the early 1990s by a pair of celebrated Chinese economists, Mao Yushi and Sheng Hong, Unirule once enjoyed a broad following in business and political circles, producing widely read analyses of government policies and financial issues. But that changed dramatically under President Xi Jinping, who has implemented a broad crackdown on dissent since taking power in 2012.

"The banning decisions 'seriously violate Article 35 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China,' which guarantees freedom of speech, Unirule said in its statement. The measures, it said, 'infringe on the general constitutional rights of all citizens and organizations'.... China’s State Council Information Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Unirule’s statement.

"Unirule’s fate signals that the space for uncensored discussion in China is narrowing even further as Xi navigates a trade war with the U.S. and continuing protests in Hong Kong. While Mao and Sheng mostly confined their advocacy to economics, not politics, both have frequently criticized China’s failure to rein in state-owned companies, arguing that only a vibrant private sector can deliver prosperity....

"Jude Blanchette, Freeman Chair of China Studies at the Center for Strategic International Studies, said ... the government declaration that Unirule Institute was operating without authorization ... 'raises profound questions about the direction of China’s political development. Without independent voices offering alternative viewpoints, how can China’s leaders make effective decisions?'"

"Before this week’s decision, Unirule had endured years of official and unofficial efforts to halt or circumscribe its activities. Its website and social media channels were blocked from access within mainland China in 2017, shortly before the institute was forced to move from its longtime Beijing office. It was later evicted again, by a landlord so eager to bar access to Unirule’s premises that some of its staff found themselves briefly welded inside. Sheng, meanwhile, was barred from leaving the country in 2018 on the grounds that he was a threat to national security."

'via Blog this'

Monday, August 26, 2019

Ferguson seeks new term as Ontario LP leader

August 26, 2019 - Rob Ferguson, leader of the Ontario Libertarian Party, announced on Facebook on August 11 that he will be seeking another term as leader, with the goal of leading the party in the 2022 provincial general election.

Ferguson, a 10-year party veteran, was elected deputy leader at the 2017 Ontario LP convention, and became leader following the 2018 election after the resignation of Allan Small. The following is Ferguson's Facebook announcement in full:

"I have been in the trenches with our candidates and members for 10 years promoting liberty. I have spent the last year rebuilding the party now it is time to move forward. We have a stronger foundation to build on. If elected party leader will start on the road to 2022 which includes platform development, candidate recruitment & promotion of the Ontario Libertarian Party. The biggest part of being leader is respect, I respect our members. I ask for your support, vote but most importantly your trust. Vote Rob Ferguson Ontario Libertarian Party Leader. To join the party of choice visit us Feel free to email me at"
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Sunday, August 25, 2019

“David Koch walked the walk” says Reason editor

“David Koch walked the walk” - Vox - Jane Coaston:

August 23, 2019 - "David Koch, the billionaire industrialist who, together with his brother Charles, ran one of the most influential (and controversial) political giving operations, died Friday at the age of 79. A libertarian, Koch was nevertheless one of the most powerful forces in conservative politics, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to back conservative candidates in elections on every level and pouring millions more into think tanks....

"At their core, the Koch brothers were 'fundamentally, philosophically libertarian,' says Nick Gillespie, editor at large of Reason Magazine , a monthly libertarian publication ... published by the Reason Foundation.... Koch served as a trustee of the foundation for 36 years and was a major donor....  I spoke with Gillespie, who was also formerly Reason’s editor-in-chief, about David Koch’s impact on libertarian politics and politics at large"....

Nick Gillespie; "David and Charles Koch, ... more than any two people, are responsible for the postwar, post-’60s libertarian movement. They’re fundamentally, philosophically libertarian — they believe that individuals should be given as much freedom to innovate and to create the wealth that they want to, based on mutual respect for people’s rights and things like that. If you look back toward the end of the ’80s, in an MIT alumni survey, they asked, 'Graduates, what are you most proud of?' And Koch said he was most proud of running for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1980....

"They’re fundamentally libertarian. They think that individuals have rights that should be respected always and everywhere. And that also meant that they’re not religious, they’re not pushing a narrow morality. They were anti-intervention, ... they were against corporate welfare, they were against special rules for connected people. David Koch walked the walk. He believed in free minds and free markets, and believed in making the world better through good business practice and good philanthropic practice...."

"It’s impossible to underestimate or to understate the impact that he had in growing a variety of institutions that created an intellectual architecture of framework for libertarian ideas. So whether it’s through his board membership and contributions to Reason or to other groups, including philanthropic groups, he helped fund a ton of people who learned how to think about ideas in a pre-political way. And I think this is part of what neither the right or the left nor journalists get about the Kochs ... that ultimately they’re more interested in what happens before politics.

"It’s about a worldview, and it’s a worldview that, again, is classically liberal in that it celebrates local cultures and local traditions, but then it also blends that with the kind of cosmopolitanism that comes out of a kind of appreciation for universal human rights and the idea that we’re all equal and we should try and discover how best to live our lives. And I think that’s his main legacy to the libertarian movement: helping to bolster and create and fund the institutions that allow libertarian ideas and thought to flourish."

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Saturday, August 24, 2019

Koch legacy alive and thriving: The Guardian

The Kochtopus: sprawling network keeps David Koch's legacy thriving | US news | The Guardian - Ed Pilkington:

August 23, 2019 - "In September 2010, David and Charles Koch, the fabulously rich brothers who turned an oil and manufacturing empire inherited from their father into a cash cow for rightwing causes that would change American politics, sent out a letter to conservative power brokers inviting them to ... an event that was to become known as 'Freedom Partners': a twice-yearly gathering, convened in utmost secrecy, of some of the most wealthy and powerful rightwing players in the country. To attract their guests they included a brochure from a previous Koch gathering in Aspen, where the elite attendees had sat around in mountainous splendor discussing, among other issues: 'Is America on the Road to Serfdom?'

"The most intriguing part of the brochure was a roll-call of names of those lured to previous 'Freedom Partner' gatherings. It included the current vice-president, Mike Pence; the Wisconsin politician Paul Ryan, who would go on to become speaker of the House of Representatives; super-donors such as the hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, and most intriguingly of all two conservative justices of the US supreme court, Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia. That the brothers could bring under one roof top politicians, billionaire donors and senior judges to plot the future of America on a free-market, anti-government course illustrated the scale of their ambitions and the influence they wielded....

"Many date the rise of the Kochs to 2010, the year in which the highly contentious landmark supreme court ruling Citizens United (approved by both Scalia and Thomas) opened the floodgates to corporate money in elections. The Kochs leveraged their affiliated organizations to raise well over $100m in the 2012 presidential election alone....

"Koch’s ... self-interested desire to drive government out of the US economy by undermining regulations and slashing corporate taxes started to firm up in 1980, when he stood as the Libertarian party’s vice-presidential candidate.... In 1977 he supported Charles in founding and funding the libertarian Cato Institute. But it was not until 2004 that the true embodiment of the brothers’ desire to reshape the country was born: Americans for Prosperity.... Through AFP, the Kochs spawned a nationwide web of impassioned conservative volunteers, empowered by the new voter technology they supported through the political data firm i360. Among the key targets of their campaigning: the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare... But it also took on climate crisis regulations, public education and taxes and championed the nascent 2010 Tea Party movement.

"In the past couple of years, David Koch, and his arguably even more ideologically driven brother Charles, have perhaps been less prevalent on the right as their political pulling power has appeared to wane a little. That might be in part due to David’s deteriorating health.... It is also in large part due to the advent of Trump. There has been much discussion in recent months about the very public spat between the president and the Koch brothers, with the Kochs calling Trump’s trade tariffs 'detrimental' and Trump lashing back that the billionaires were 'a total joke'.... [T]he truth about Trump, though, is that he has adopted many of the rightwing postures the Kochs have long espoused....

"In David Koch’s passing on Friday America has lost a lion of conservatism whose backing for ultra-rightwing causes was cherished by fellow billionaires, corporations, polluters – even some supreme court justices. But members of that elite club of 'Freedom Partners' should find solace in the thought that – though David Koch will no longer be there to greet them at their secretive retreats – his influence is still very present, right there in the White House."
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Friday, August 23, 2019

David Koch dead at 79

David Koch, billionaire conservative activist and donor, dead at 79 | CBC News - Associated Press:

August 23, 2019 - "Billionaire industrialist David H. Koch, who with his older brother Charles transformed American politics by pouring their riches into conservative causes, has died at age 79. 'It is with a heavy heart that I now must inform you of David's death,' Charles Koch announced Friday.

"David Koch, who lived in New York City, was the Libertarian Party's vice-presidential candidate in 1980. He was a generous donor to conservative political causes, as well as educational, medical and cultural groups.

"The brothers were best known for a vast political network they built that became popularly known as the Kochtopus for its far-reaching tentacles in support of conservative causes. The two founded the anti-tax, small government group Americans for Prosperity.

"'I was taught from a young age that involvement in the public discourse is a civic duty,' David Koch wrote in a 2012 op-ed in the New York Post.... While dealing with prostate cancer for 20 years, he told a reporter following the 2012 Republican convention that he was thinking about what he will someday leave behind....

"Koch donated $100 million in 2007 to create the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also gave millions to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, the M.D. Anderson Cancer in Houston, and other institutions.

"The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History named in his honour a wing dedicated to the story of human evolution over six million years. Koch donated $15 million to fund the 15,000-square-foot hall.

"Koch, an engineer trained at MIT, joined Koch Industries in 1970, and served on its board. He also served as chief executive officer of Koch Chemical Technology Group, LLC, a Koch subsidiary. He retired from the company in 2018.

"The Koch brothers, each with an estimated net worth of $50.5 billion, tied in fourth place in 2012 on Forbes 500 list of the nation's richest men."

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Chafee open to Libertarian POTUS run

Lincoln Chafee: ‘I’d Be Open’ to a Libertarian White House Bid:

August 22, 2019 - "The 2016 presidential election was not kind to Lincoln Chafee: the former Rhode Island governor, U.S. senator, and metric system enthusiast flopped when he mounted a long-shot campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination.... But ... on Wednesday, the former Republican, former Democrat, and former independent confirmed that he’s open to running again in 2020 — as a Libertarian.

"'I'm very motivated as an anti-war American, and also by the deficit,' said Chafee in an interview. 'Those are two big issues that, if the Libertarian convention next summer thinks that someone with a long record on those issues ... if I fit that, then yes, I'd be open to that.'

"A member of one of New England’s most prominent political families, Chafee recently left his home state and moved to Wyoming, citing his family’s love of the outdoors. Upon arrival, he switched his official party registration to Libertarian, marking his fourth different party affiliation in his political career.

"That news, announced via op-ed column, got Libertarian Party politicos chattering about the possibility that Chafee could carry the party’s banner for 2020.... In conversations with The Daily Beast, several Libertarian Party officials and members mentioned Chafee as a possible candidate-in-the-wings for the party’s nomination in 2020. Larry Sharpe, the 2018 Libertarian candidate for governor in New York, told The Daily Beast he is encouraging Chafee, along with other possible third-party candidates like Howard Schultz, to get in the race.

"Chafee framed his jump to the Libertarian Party as a matter of principle, not opportunism, and explained that he didn’t join the party with dreams of a presidential run. 'People always say, Chafee jumps from party to party, but I’ve always been fiscally conservative and socially liberal,' he said. 'I’ve been very, very consistent… I was surprised how well the Libertarian Party fit when I moved to Wyoming.'

"While Chafee holds some positions that are hallmarks of the Libertarian Party — he advocates a peacenik foreign policy, fashions himself a deficit hawk, and says he’s 'passionate' about the Fourth Amendment — ... [he] received a 'D' grade from the Cato Institute, a libertarian-aligned think tank, for his plan to increase taxes in order to balance the state’s books. He also earned an 'F' rating from the National Rifle Association for his stances on gun control....

"Chafee told The Daily Beast that he would be likeliest to jump in the race if there was tangible clamoring among Libertarian activists for him to make a run. The party chooses its presidential nominee at the convention, rather than through a traditional primary process, which could be a way in for an unorthodox candidate."

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Legal cannabis supported by large plurality in UK

Is the UK about to legalize marijuana ahead of the United States? | The GrowthOp - Brendan Bures:

July 23, 2019 - "[I]n the U.K. ... a recent poll ... by YouGov .. represents a 'clear and growing appetite' for reforming drug laws in the UK, says the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group, which commissioned the study....

"The poll shows a vast majority support medical marijuana legalization in the UK (77 per cent). Meanwhile, those who support legalizing adult-use cannabis double the number of those who oppose it (48 per cent compared to 24 per cent). That’s an increase of five per cent, according to Dazed Digital.

"'This survey shows the government and politicians are significantly behind the public’s thinking,' Rob Wilson, CDPRG’s chief executive, told The Independent. 'It illustrates the widening gulf between the stubborn, decades-old policies of blanket prohibition and the developing attitude of millions of voters willing to apply new approaches focused on improving harm reduction and healthcare outcomes,' he added.

"Whether this results in widespread change remains debatable, though that is the goal of CDPRG. The U.K. legalized some forms of medical marijuana last year, but [it] remains difficult to access for many families due to bureaucratic and financial burdens."

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