Friday, January 31, 2020

Libertarian Party organizes Iowa caucuses

Libertarian Party of Iowa to hold Caucuses in Marion and Warren Counties | KNIA KRLS Radio - Nathan Sage;

Jamuary 31, 2020 -  "In just over a week the Libertarian Party of Iowa will host caucuses in Marion and Warren counties as well as twenty other counties throughout Iowa and a virtual caucus for those in rural counties or unable to attend in-person.

"Marion County residents are invited to attend the Libertarian Caucus and Convention at the Knoxville Public Library ... on Saturday, February 8th at 1 p.m. The Warren County Libertarian Caucus will also be held at 1 p.m. on February 8th ... in Indianola.

"Only Iowans who are listed as Libertarians on their voter registration can participate, and all are invited to participate and help build the party. Virtual caucus goers will have to register Libertarian by tomorrow [February 1) to be able to participate. Attendees at county sites will also be able to register on site if they are not present on voter rolls as a registered Libertarian.

"Mike Conner Jr. with the Marion County Libertarian Party tells KNIA/KRLS News the caucus is a great opportunity for people to learn more about the party. He says in addition to the caucus the party will be organizing the first officially recognized county party membership and vote for county officers to include Chair, co-chair, treasurer and secretary.

"A Virtual Caucus Link will be available from February 6th at 12:01 a.m. until February 8th at 5:00 p.m. for those unable to attend or residing in a county without a site."

Read more: https://www.kniakrls.com/2020/01/31/libertarian-party-of-iowa-to-hold-caucuses-in-marion-and-warren-counties/
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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Look out, McAfee's back

John McAfee To Run For President in 2020 as Libertarian Candidate: - Mahima Duggal, CryptoNesz

January 25, 2020 - "In a tweet posted on January 21st, British American businessman and crypto activist John McAfee announced his candidacy for President of the United States under the Libertarian banner. The former anti-virus tycoon also stated that he was available to appear at any local or state debates remotely.

"McAfee first announced his intention to run for President in June 2018 ... but was faced with an obvious obstacle: he could not campaign on American soil while facing tax evasion charges in the country. Due to these charges, McAfee resides in a boat in international waters and rarely travels to any state with an extradition treaty with the United States.

"McAfee has argued that he does not see failing to file tax returns as a crime and insists that the U.S. government was merely trying to silence him.

"In December 2019, McAfee announced that he was officially launching his presidential campaign as an independent candidate. He planned to deploy his 1.1 million twitter followers to campaign on his behalf by attending rallies and events wearing McAfee’s face masks and, at times, speaking for him.

"Moving forward, he will continue his campaign as a candidate for the Libertarian Party.

"The tech mogul’s main aim is to promote libertarian principles [and] anti-establishment thinking. He is generally suspicious of government and centralized institutions and believes that the state’s control over currency translates to control over people’s lives and reinforces the status quo of inequality.

"It follows that the cornerstone of McAfee’s campaign is crypto. In an interview with the Washington Examiner, he stated that 'The beauty of cryptocurrency is that no one is in control. Not you, nor I, nor anyone can control it'....

"McAfee has stated that he does not expect to win. He has declared that he has no knowledge of critical issues like immigration and foreign relations and that his only goal is 'Freedom for The People.'”

Read more: https://www.cryptonewsz.com/john-mcafee-resumes-presidential-campaign-under-libertarian-banner/56670/

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

New Jersey adopts limited civil forfeiture reform

New Jersey Is Now The 16th State To Require Convictions For Civil Forfeiture - Nick Sibilla, Institute for Justice, Forbes:

January 28, 2020 - "New Jersey became the latest state to protect individuals from civil forfeiture, which lets police and prosecutors confiscate property without ever having to charge someone with a crime. Signed by Gov. Phil Murphy last week, under the new law (A.4970), prosecutors will need to secure a criminal conviction to forfeit property valued at or below $10,000, or less than $1,000 in cash. Any property seized under those thresholds will have to be returned if an owner is acquitted, or if prosecutors dismiss or don’t bring charges....

"The state’s new conviction requirements should apply to the overwhelming majority of property confiscated by New Jersey law enforcement. Data analysis by the Institute for Justice found that between 2014 and 2018, county prosecutors forfeited over 1,200 vehicles, more than 90% of which were worth $10,000 or below....

"Unfortunately, the bill is hampered by limitations. First, at $1,000 for cash and $10,000 for all other property, the state’s conviction thresholds are some of the lowest in the nation.... A.4970 does not apply to cases where no one has filed a claim for the seized property. Since hiring an attorney often costs more than the property itself, very few have the means to fight back in court.... Nor does A.4970 address the Garden State’s perverse financial incentives for law enforcement. Incredibly, once property has been auctioned off, local agencies can retain up to 100% of the proceeds. Thanks to this motivation to police for profit, forfeiture has generated nearly $63 million in proceeds for police and prosecutors.

"A better option would be to follow the lead of Nebraska, New Mexico and North Carolina and abolish civil forfeiture. In those states, property is confiscated with criminal forfeiture.... [C]ivil forfeiture cases are civil proceedings [in which] owners aren’t guaranteed the same protections for due process as they are in criminal cases,...

"Critically, for civil forfeiture, owners must file a claim for their property or risk permanently losing it. Yet onerous red tape, the high cost of litigation, and even concerns about potential law enforcement retaliation deter the overwhelming majority from going to civil court.....By contrast, for criminal forfeiture, ... suspects do not have to file their own claim for their property and if the government fails to act, the property won’t be forfeited."

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicksibilla/2020/01/28/new-jersey-is-now-the-16th-state-to-require-convictions-for-civil-forfeiture/#57f8294677fd
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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

New Mexico Libertarians retain major party status

New Mexico Libertarians keep major party status » Albuquerque Journal - Dan Boyd:

January 27, 2020 - "For the second consecutive statewide election cycle, New Mexico will have three major political parties. That’s because the state Libertarian Party was determined to have met the minimum requirements – by the narrowest of margins – to retain its major party status, along with the Democratic and Republican parties.

"Although the Libertarian Party did not run a candidate in the 2018 gubernatorial race – the race at the top of that year’s general election ballot – its candidates for land commissioner and secretary of state got slightly more than 5% of the total votes cast in those races. Those performances, along with the total number of registered Libertarian Party voters, were sufficient for the party to keep major party status for the 2020 election cycle, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver wrote in a Monday letter to the party’s chairman, Chris Luchini....

"Major party status gives a party an easier path to get its candidates on the ballot, as minor parties face daunting signature requirements to land on the ballot.... 'Like most states, New Mexico does its best to disadvantage anyone who’s not on Team Red or Team Blue,' Luchini told the Journal.

"He also said the Libertarian Party already has a candidate lined up for this year’s race for the open U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Tom Udall, who is not seeking reelection, and has two possible candidates for the state Supreme Court seats. The party is also trying to line up candidates for legislative and county-level races, Luchini said.

"In addition, the Libertarian Party will hold its pre-primary convention March 6-7, and will host a debate for Libertarian presidential candidates on April 26 in Albuquerque, Luchini said.

"Despite retaining major party status, the party still faces a daunting challenge in this year’s election cycle, as there were only 11,296 registered Libertarians statewide as of Monday – or roughly 1% of the state’s total registered voters.

"Libertarians won major party status after the 2016 general election, due to the performance of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson in that year’s presidential election. Johnson, a Republican-turned-Libertarian, ... got 9.3% of the vote ... in his home state."

Read more: https://www.abqjournal.com/1414044/new-mexico-libertarians-keep-major-party-status.html
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Monday, January 27, 2020

Abramson would bring troops home on 1st day

Q&A with Max Abramson, Libertarian presidential candidate | Opinion | laloyolan.com- Christobel Spielmann:

January 24, 2020 - "While many Americans are caught up between the Democrats and Republicans ... running for president in 2020, there are other lesser-known candidates running for third parties.... I interviewed one of those presidential hopefuls, State Rep. Max Abramson (L-NH), to talk about why college students should examine his platform.

Cristobal Spielmann (C.S.): You've spoken out against the 'Academic Industrial Complex'.... Why should college students pay attention to third parties, and in particular, the Libertarian party?
Max Abramson (M.A.): Well, the Academic Industrial Complex, that is both the public school system, which is about a trillion dollars a year, and colleges and universities [which] are about 560 billion dollars a year. That's a big Democrat[ic] Party contributor, or I should say, constituency. The hospital industry and the medical industry is like a trillion dollars. They are also a big Democratic contributor. So, together they're called 'Meds and Ed.' In my opinion, the reason that the Democratic Party is no longer the party of the working class, is their biggest constituency: trial lawyers and advanced ed[ucation] are no longer about helping ordinary people.... Our college campuses almost always go Democrat, every single year, no matter what....

C.S.: You’ve run as a Republican in the past; is that correct?
M.A.: Yeah. Well, a group called the Republican Liberty Caucus, which is actually Libertarians and Constitution Party member guys running as Republicans.

C.S.: Why did you run for the Libertarian Party as a 2020 presidential candidate, and not, say, run as a Republican and introduce Libertarian ideas potentially on a larger platform?
M.A.: Well, my one issue is bringing the troops home. And you're not going to unseat Donald Trump on a platform of bringing the troops home. Because when you go to a lot of die-hard Trump supporters, Trump has indicated he'll gradually bring troops home, but he's just doing the same thing that Obama did, which is escalating the war [and] escalating troop involvement....

"I'm bringing the troops home on my first day in office, but I'm not unrealistic about what would happen in the Middle East. Those countries have been at war with each other for centuries, and whether we choose to stick in there or pull out, they're going to continue.... I don't believe that there's anything we can do that will stabilize the Middle East....

"C.S.: Lastly, assuming that you fail to win the nomination, would you support whoever the delegates chose as their nominee for the Libertarian party?
M.A.: No. As I've said over the years, I only support Dallas Accord candidates. I used to support the Libertarian [Party] automatically, but I've seen a combination of neocons, socialists, anarchists and other people win the nomination, and I've finally decided I'm only going to support small "L" Libertarians for the Libertarian nomination.

"C.S.: Could you repeat, "Dallas Accord," is that correct?
M.A.: Right. 1974 [Libertarian] National Convention. There was a dispute between Constitutional Libertarians and people who wanted to just do away with government completely. So, the agreement was made both in writing and in blood, which is about giving back to the Constitution, and I take it as kind of a slap in the face when people want to push an agenda that's completely contrary to the Constitution."

Read more: http://www.laloyolan.com/opinion/q-a-with-max-abramson-libertarian-presidential-candidate/article_0055ce17-85f9-567f-9d03-f63fdbf64c61.html

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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Impeachment trial tanks in TV ratings

Impeachment trial gets lower ratings than Jeopardy! on a bad night- Tiana Low, Washington Examiner:

January 24, 2020 - "Across half a dozen network and cable channels, the second day of the Senate impeachment trial's viewership fell by nearly one-fifth. It drew 8.9 million viewers in total over the course of four prime hours, according to Nielsen. That's a hair more than the number of people who watched Chicago Fire on NBC that night. It's nearly a million fewer than the average number of viewers that Jeopardy! scored from October through December of last year....

"All of this flies in the face of what the media promised. Lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff, the media swore, was 'dazzling,' 'masterful,' 'eloquent,' and 'brilliant,' a made-for-television prosecutor arguing the case of a century. But the rest of the country knows exactly how this trial ends, and Schiff isn't exactly a lightning rod of charisma....

"Trump drew in 32 million viewers at his Republican National Convention acceptance speech. Last year's State of the Union garnered nearly 47 million viewers.... Tens of millions of viewers are willing to tune in to politics multiple times a year. But they don't think impeachment is important enough to watch."

Impeachment Gets Worse Ratings Than Soap Operas - Tristan Justice, The Federalist:

January 25, 2020: "This week’s numbers echo the same ratings that the House impeachment hearings earned last fall, when only an estimated 13.8 million people watched the first public impeachment hearing by the House Intelligence Committee across all 10 networks. These values represent a stark difference from the 20 million people who watched Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony during his confirmation hearing in the fall of 2018.

"The lack of viewership ... illustrates a public understanding of what a show trial the proceedings have become. In other words.... Americans recognize the difference between performative actions full of useless bravado and events where major outcomes may result, such as the Kavanaugh hearings.

"Democrats need at least 20 Republican senators to vote in favor of a guilty verdict, an event which is certain not to happen, given public support for impeachment has remained underwater for more than a month, according to Real Clear Politics’ latest aggregate of polls."
Read more: https://thefederalist.com/2020/01/25/impeachment-gets-worse-ratings-than-soap-operas/

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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Chafee: Impeachment trial is a waste of time

Lincoln Chafee is running for president again, and opposes impeachment. Does anyone care? | Salon.com - Matthew Rozsa:

January 21, 2020 - "Lincoln Chafee is a former governor of Rhode Island, and before that was a U.S. senator from that state. He briefly ran for president in 2016 as a Democrat and is now running again, this time as a Libertarian. He told Salon last week that while he opposes most of President Trump's agenda, he also opposes impeaching the president....

[Rozsa]: "There were some reports that Pelosi might choose Justin Amash, the only Republican or former Republican congressman who has supported impeaching Trump, and who may wind up running against you in the Libertarian Party. Do you think Amash should have been selected?

[Chafee] - "No. No. This is such a partisan exercise, and the charges, to me, are so trivial in comparison to what Bush and Cheney did in getting us into Iraq, and the lies they told, blatant lies about weapons of mass destruction and other accusations about Saddam Hussein that were completely false. This is just a partisan exercise, and I think that Nancy Pelosi wanted some partisan managers.

Wait, do you support impeaching President Trump?
"Absolutely not. I don't support 99.9% of what he does, but this is just a partisan political exercise, just as blaming the election on the Russians was. It's just morphed from that two-year insanity to the next insanity. Just compare the charges to what Bush and Cheney did, and the $6 trillion we spent in Iraq, 4,000 dead Americans, a new generation of veterans coming back with post-traumatic stress syndrome, loss of American credibility in the world. There were no weapons of mass destruction....

"Believe me, I disagree with 99.9% of what Donald Trump stands for, but I believe these are trivial charges, and it's no different from the accusation that the Russians changed the election. We spent two years and how many millions of dollars, headlines daily on Russian investigation. It was a big fizzle, and this is no different....

"[T]oo much energy is being spent on whether these facts or so-called facts are accurate or not. We have a $22.6 trillion [debt], we've got a trillion-dollar deficit for this year alone. We're in wars that are escalating in the Middle East. These are what the American people should be thinking about, talking about and debating. The big issues, not whether some military aid in Ukraine was held up because somebody wanted his political opponent investigated. It's an entire waste of time and a waste of priorities, to put it that way. This country has serious issues confronting it."
:
Read more: https://www.salon.com/2020/01/21/lincoln-chafee-is-running-for-president-again-and-opposes-impeachment-does-anyone-care/
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Friday, January 24, 2020

Libertarianism and assassination

Today I published a new article on the ethics of the Soleimani assassination at Nolan Chart, "Libertarianism and Assassination." Here is the abstract:
The targeted assassination of guilty people  is ethically superior to war. The assassination-by-drone policy of the Trump regime is ethically bad for the same reason, and therefore morally wrong, and libertarians are right to condemn it.
Read it here:
Libertarianism and assassination
by George J. Dance
https://www.nolanchart.com/libertarianism-and-assassination

Thursday, January 23, 2020

KY Libertarians defeat early candidate deadline

Libertarians Win Fight Against Kentucky on Voting - Kevin Koeninger, Courthouse New Service:

January 23, 2020 - "A change to the deadline for independent political candidates to register for elections signed is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. Kentucky House Bill 114, signed into law by former Governor Matt Bevin in March 2019, changed the deadline for state and local candidates to declare their candidacy from April 1 to the last Tuesday in January.

" The law was made retroactive to include 2019, and prevented several Libertarian candidates from filing their statements of candidacy with the board of elections. The candidates were informed by former Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes they could not be placed on the ballot without a court order, so they filed a federal suit, joined by the Kentucky Libertarian Party....

"By May 2019, the local defendants and the board of elections had entered into consent orders that said they would not defend the legislation and would be bound by any decision made by the federal court. The only board member to opt out of the consent order was Katrina Fitzgerald, who defended the filing deadline on her own before the Wednesday ruling.

"U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman sided with the Libertarians and granted their motion for summary judgment, finding the early registration requirement unconstitutional. Bertelsman credited lay and expert testimony provided by the candidates, and determined the early deadline 'creates numerous serious problems for would-be independent candidates. Among those problems were the difficulty of organizing a campaign during the holiday season, and attempting to recruit candidates so far in advance of the election....

"Bertelsman cited the 1990 Fourth Circuit ruling in Cromer v. State of South Carolina, which dealt with a similar early deadline. The court in Cromer held that the problem with the deadline 'is in having to make the draconian decision at a time when a rational basis for making it does not exist. At this time the party candidates have not been chosen, and even the identity of those who may become candidates may not be known. The election itself is seven months of unfolding events away.' Bertelsman found that Kentucky’s early deadline was just as burdensome as the one in Cromer.

"Fitzgerald ... argued that the law advanced the governmental interest of making voters aware of candidates as early as possible and promoting 'voter education,' but Bertelsman ... cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1983 ruling in Anderson v. Celebrezze, in which it rejected voter education as a justification for early filing deadlines for independent candidates.

"Bertelsman’s ruling affected only the filing deadline portion of HB 114 and left other parts of the legislation untouched, including changes to the board of elections. One change designated the secretary of state as a nonvoting member of the board of elections, which prevents the secretary from serving as chairman of the board. Previously, the secretary was automatically named the chairman of the state Board of Elections."

Read more: https://www.courthousenews.com/libertarians-win-fight-against-kentucky-on-voting/
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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Montana school choice fight goes to SCOTUS

Constitutional showdown: Montana school choice case heads to U.S. Supreme Court | News | bozemandailychronicle.com - Gail Schontzler:

January 19, 2020 - "The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit brought on behalf of Kendra Espinoza and two other Kalispell-area mothers whose children attend Stillwater Christian School. Their lawsuit against the Montana Department of Revenue concerns a school choice program that ... provided $3 million a year to be spent on tax credits for individuals and business taxpayers who donated up to $150 to a new scholarship program for private school students.

"The Montana Supreme Court ruled the program violated the state’s constitution, which bars spending any public money directly or indirectly to support religious schools [and] struck down the entire scholarship program, a decision now being challenged in the nation’s highest court.

"The scholarship program is small, helping about 40 or 50 students a year — 94% of whom attend Christian schools, according to court filings. But the potential impact of the Espinoza case is huge. The Institute for Justice, the nonprofit legal advocacy group that has represented the Kalispell mothers from the start of their lawsuit, called it 'one of the most important education reform cases in the past half century'....

"The Institute for Justice — which has received funding from billionaires Charles and David Koch and the Walton and DeVos families — argues this case could stop Montana’s discrimination against religious options, uphold the free exercise of religion and expand school choice.  Opponents, including the nation’s two largest teachers’ unions and liberal groups, argue the Espinoza case threatens public schools and the basic principle of separation of church and state..... Thirty-seven states have constitutional language similar to Montana’s barring aid to religious schools....

"The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling this summer.... Supreme Court rulings in recent years have moved in the direction of allowing public funds to benefit religious schools. In 2017 the court ruled in the Trinity Lutheran Church case that the state of Missouri violated the First Amendment when it excluded churches from a state program to make playgrounds safer because of the state constitution’s strict separation of church and state..... Chief Justice John Roberts ... added, however, that this decision does 'not address religious uses of funding or other forms of discrimination.'"

Read more: https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/constitutional-showdown-montana-school-choice-case-heads-to-u-s/article_e75727cf-8e45-5adc-981e-ab5435d353ec.html
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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

20,000 rally for gun rights in Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia gun rally: Protest draws militias - Ryan W. Miller & John Bacon, USA Today:

January 20, 2020 - "Thousands of gun owners and gun rights supporters gathered Monday at Virginia's Capitol for a 'peaceful day to address our Legislature' that appeared to generate none of the violence feared by some state leaders. Many demonstrators, opposed to proposed gun restrictions, openly displayed military-style semiautomatic rifles. Other[s] wore orange 'Guns save lives' stickers as the crowd chanted “USA” and sang the national anthem. Signs read 'Come and take it' and 'Second Amendment Sanctuary.'

"But despite warnings from Gov. Ralph Northam and law enforcement that out-of-state hate groups and militias may incite violence, the protest did not grow heated. Police estimated the size of the crowd at 22,000 – including 6,000 people inside Capitol Square – and only one arrest was reported ... [on] one felony count of wearing a mask in public.... Earlier, a heavy police presence greeted rally goers calmly lining up to enter the state Capitol, where they had to pass through a security checkpoint.

"Northam declared a state of emergency Friday through Tuesday, banning all weapons, including firearms, in the square around the Capitol building. He said law enforcement received 'credible' threats of violence from out-of-state hate groups and militias.....On Monday, law enforcement helicopters buzzed overhead as state, city and Capitol police kept a wary eye on the crowds. Barricades lined the streets and many shops were closed....

"The day was planned as a 'lobby day' by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, which has organized similar events to advocate for gun rights for years. A mass movement grew out of the scheduled protest this year, however....

"Driving the momentum behind the Richmond rally was a host of new gun-control measures backed by Northam and Democrats, who flipped both houses of the General Assembly and have full control of state government for the first time since 1993. Democrats proposed limiting handgun purchases to one a month, universal background checks on gun sales, allowing localities to ban guns in some public areas and a 'red flag' bill that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from anyone deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others. Other proposals include rules around reporting lost or stolen firearms and a ban on 'assault firearms,' though some moderate Democrats have expressed concerns over that bill."

Read more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/01/20/virginia-gun-rally-protest-draws-national-militias-fear-violence/4519076002/
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Monday, January 20, 2020

OR Congressman endorses psilocybin initiative

Congressman Backs Ballot Measure To Legalize Psychedelic Mushrooms For Therapeutic Use | Marijuana Moment- Kyle Jaeger

January 16, 2020 - "One of the leading champions of cannabis reform in the Congress told Marijuana Moment in an interview that he’s supporting a campaign seeking to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic use in his home state of Oregon. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who has spent decades advocating for the legalization of marijuana, said he’s in favor of the proposed Psilocybin Services Act, which would allow adults to visit licensed facilities to have the psychedelic administered in a medically supervised environment.

“'I have been involved with them,' the congressman said, on Tuesday referring to the Oregon Psilocybin Society (OPS). 'We are focused like a laser on the cannabis progress, but I’ve been in touch with the people in Oregon about their initiatives. I plan on being supportive.' While Blumenauer said he 'can’t undertake any more sort of leadership responsibilities' ... he said he 'will be open and visible and supportive' in the effort to legalize psilocybin for use in therapy.

"If the campaign, which is currently in the signature gathering process, is successful and makes it on the state’s November ballot, the congressman said he will 'absolutely' vote for it. 'Not just a "yes" vote, but I will make clear why I support it,' he said....

"Blumenauer did vote in favor of a modest psychedelic reform amendment on the House floor filed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), which was aimed at freeing up research into the restricted Schedule I substances. That measure was ultimately rejected by the Democratic-controlled House last year, but the congresswoman said she plans to reintroduce it.

"David Bronner, whose company Dr. Bronner’s is contributing to several campaigns working to decriminalize or legalize a wide range of entheogenic substances, told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview on Thursday.... 'His endorsement carries a lot of weight just because of his stature and long service in Congress. I think it’s pretty awesome and hopefully that’ll be an example and inspiration to follow'....

"Since Denver became the first city to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms last year, followed by a unanimous Oakland City Council vote to make a broad array of psychedelics among the city’s lowest law enforcement priorities, activists in about 100 cities across the country have begun to pursue similar policies."

Read more: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/congressman-backs-ballot-measure-to-legalize-psychedelic-mushrooms-for-therapeutic-use/
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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Vince Vaughn Trumps up a tweetstorm

Last of the Hollywood libertarians: why the outrage over Vince Vaughn's handshake with Trump?- The Telegraph [UK]:

January 14, 2019 - "On Monday night, Twitter was sent a-flutter after photographs and video footage showed [film actor Vince] Vaughn enthusiastically catching up with President Trump and the First Lady at a college football game in New Orleans. Vaughn was spotted shaking hands and briefly sitting next to the Trumps to engage in an animated conversation, before carrying on with his evening.

"When video taken by US journalist Timothy Burke made its way to Twitter, with the caption, 'I'm very sorry to have to share this video with you. All of it, every part of it', it swiftly gained thousands of views and such a polarised response it was difficult to know who was serious, who was mocking, and which side of the spectrum those involved occupied....

"But those shocked by Vaughn's enthusiasm for Trump might be even more alarmed to discover that this is only the latest example of the actor expressing his right-wing views. Vaughn's ascent in Hollywood was always matched with an increase in volume from the actor about his political opinions – a rarity in the entertainment industry, where stars tend to keep such matters brushed under the carpet and those that do speak tend to veer to the left.

"[I]n 2004, [Vaughn] was shut out of a conference for young Republicans in Washington DC, ... while filming Wedding Crashers ... [b]ecause the gatekeepers weren't convinced that Vaughn was actually a Republican, and was trying to come in for a joke....

"[O]ver the next decade ... Vaughn developed a budding friendship with presidential candidate Ron Paul.... They attended barbecues together and bonded over libertarian views, with Paul's campaign chairman describing Vaughn as 'a great guy who loves liberty'. In 2009, the politician was invited to the premiere of Vaughn's film Couples Retreat. By 2011, Vaughn was officially campaigning for him....

"[Following] Paul's 2012 presidential campaign, Vaughn pivoted back to media, where he buddied up with Fox News commentator Glenn Beck ... to co-produce The Pursuit of Truth, a reality television series. A kind of X Factor for documentary makers ... [it] aired on Beck's own television network, The Blaze, in 2013 and lasted just one season.

"In 2015 [Vaughn] told Playboy that he preferred taxation the way it was before 1913, 'when locally you had sales taxes and property taxes. That seems ethical to me.... the federal government looking into your books to decide what to take from you, that feels wrong.'

"Also in 2015, Vaughn took to the lectern while giving a keynote address at a Libertarian conference at UCLA to explain his approach to drug legalisation: 'If someone’s parents don’t have money they are going to go to prison and have a life wasted. If someone’s parents do have money, they go to rehab. You can’t really go after people that are committing real crimes – forceful crimes, violent crimes – because [courts AND prisons] are so inhabited with people that were using drugs.'

"Later that year Vaughn won the attention of the NRA after expressing his support for gun possession in a profile in GQ [Gentleman's Quarterly]....

"Vaughn's Trumpian handshake ... is one of the first headlines he's won in several years. Perhaps it's the start of a whole new eyebrow-raising phase of his career."

Read more: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/2020/01/14/last-hollywood-libertarians-outrage-vince-vaughns-handshake/

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Saturday, January 18, 2020

U.S. libertarians could be kingmakers in 2020

Primary Primers: How Libertarians could be the kingmakers of the 2020 presidential election | USAPP: - Olivier Lewis & Jeffrey Michels, London School of Economics US Centre:

November 15, 2019 - "Estimated to make up at least 10 percent of the population, libertarian-minded Americans have long posed an immense potential as swing voters.... Their political views – which are centred around the idea of personal autonomy – though now rather mainstream, have never fit cleanly in the programs of the two main parties.... But ... it is nearly impossible to speak of them as a bloc, most having been captured by a mainstream party and lacking their own through which to assert their public identity. But could this now be changing?

"Historically, the Republican Party (GOP) has monopolised the libertarian vote, mainly with its promise of fiscal conservatism. Amid growing aversion to post-war welfare programs championed by the Democratic Party, the GOP cobbled together an unlikely consensus uniting small-government libertarians with religious conservatives and foreign policy ‘hawks.’ This alliance seemed to offer libertarians more than going it alone with the Libertarian Party....,

"The libertarian alliance with conservatives weakened in the 2000s, with the Republican Party back in the White House.... In the 2006 midterms a significant number of libertarian voters allegedly voted for Democratic candidates....  But the rise of Barack Obama ... brought this dalliance with the Democratic Party to an end....

"[W]ithin the Republican Party ... Trump’s presidency is laying bare the Republican Party’s tenuous claim to represent libertarian values.... But with Democrats on the cusp of selecting a big-government candidate, libertarian voters are likely to keep their distance.....

"One option, of course, would be to vote for the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate. Indeed, the Libertarian Party has already been building momentum. In 2012, the party received more than 1 million votes for the first time. Four years later, with two former state governors on its ticket, the Libertarian Party obtained over 3 percent of the votes, the best result for a third-party contender in that election.

"For 2020, the Libertarian party is on its way to, once again, having its candidates on presidential ballots in every state, and holding a record number of presidential primaries.... Of course, the Libertarian Party candidate is unlikely to win... Some libertarians, however, sense a victory of a different type. Given how tight the last presidential race was, and that US voters increasingly identify as political independents (42 percent in 2017), the Libertarian Party could grow to become a swing party, acting as a gate-keeper to power....

"After decades of support, it will not be easy for even self-conscious libertarians to dislodge themselves from traditional party loyalties. This will be more difficult given the American media’s unwavering representation of party politics as having only two sides; though the Libertarian Party’s stance is far simpler than that of its larger competitors, it is hardly articulated in public discourse.... But for the elections to come, a change of tactic will likely be necessary – and it could prove consequential, if libertarians move as one."

Read more: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2019/11/15/how-libertarians-could-be-the-kingmakers-of-the-2020-presidential-election/
'via Blog this'

Friday, January 17, 2020

Cannabis legalization bill filed in New Mexico

New Mexico Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed After Governor Puts Issue On 2020 Agenda | Marijuana Moment - Kyle Jaeger:

January 16, 2020 - "One day after the governor of New Mexico formally included marijuana legalization in her 2020 legislative agenda, lawmakers have filed a comprehensive reform bill that would accomplish that goal.

"The legislation, introduced by Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D) and Rep. Javier Martinez (D), would allow adults in the state to possess and purchase cannabis from licensed retailers. It also includes a number of restorative justice and social equity provisions, such as automatically expunging prior marijuana possession convictions, promoting participation in the market by small and tribal-owned businesses and providing for microbusiness licenses.

"If the measure successfully moves through the legislature and arrives on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s (D) desk, New Mexico is all but certain to become the 12th state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana, as lawmakers are convening for a short, 30-day session that starts on January 21.

"While home growing would not be legally permitted under the bill, its provisions would decriminalize the activity by making cultivation of up to three plants and six seedlings punishable by a $50 fine without the threat of jail time. Anything more than that amount would be considered a fourth degree felony....

"There are other unique provisions of the legislation. For example, it would eliminate the gross receipts tax for medical cannabis sales, mandate that recreational dispensaries service registered patients and create a subsidy program for low-income patients to access marijuana.... The 173-page bill contains a number of other regulations ... including strict advertising rules and labeling and packaging requirements. A nine percent excise tax would be imposed on recreational cannabis sales....

"The governor ran on legalizing cannabis in 2018, but while reform legislation did pass the full House of Representatives as well as a Senate committee, it ultimately stalled. Lujan Grisham later formed a working group to study the issue and make recommendations, and that panel released a report in October stating that legalization legislation should include automatic expungements and provisions to promote equity in the industry. The group also commissioned a poll that came out last month showing that 75 percent of New Mexicans are in favor of legalization."

Read more: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/new-mexico-marijuana-legalization-bill-filed-after-governor-puts-issue-on-2020-agenda/
'via Blog this'

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Heinlein fans launch libertarianism into space

Forget Earth: In Space, Libertarian Ideas Are Thriving | WIRED -Sarah Scoles:

December 12, 2019 - "You may have heard the phrase 'There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch'.... Its acronym — TANSTAAFL — pops up in subreddits ... sweatshirts ... and as a nerdy economics rap on YouTube. Also: For the first eight years of the Libertarian Party’s existence, TANSTAAFL was its official slogan. So it may come as a surprise that this oh-so-political meal owes much of its popularity to a single book, about an anti-state revolution ... on the moon.

"Written by sci-fi luminary Robert Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is a libertarian manifesto baked into a novel. Heinlein infused his works with recurring sociopolitical themes, among them 'the importance of individual liberty and self-reliance,' as a sci-fi writers' society that anointed him its first Grand Master wrote. His interest in personal autonomy and private space exploration later seeped into the writing of other sci-fi authors, and into the minds of their readers—in particular, the leading figures in the commercial 'NewSpace' sector of private companies trying to escape Earth's surface.

“'The predominantly libertarian people who work in the free space movement almost universally cite Heinlein as their principal inspiration,' wrote engineer Robert G. Kennedy III.... Some of Heinlein's fans are, in fact, the biggest names in the commercial space industry. Take two of the (three total) people who've won the Heinlein Prize, a $500,000 award for accomplishments in the commercial space business: Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. Bezos, who has faced speculation about his hypothetical libertarianism and whose gargantuan store certainly ducks taxes and regulation, has said he spent his childhood summers reading Heinlein.

"Musk, meanwhile, has called himself both moderate and 'somewhat libertarian.' He wants his Mars outpost to have a direct democracy where it’s harder to make laws than delete them — a stance that leans libertarian. Musk too has labeled The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress one of his inspirations....

"For today's billionaire space set, though, ... NewSpace companies are pretty much regular old government contractors in new-brand clothing. They run on defense department and NASA contracts; they rely on federal perks. 'Taxpayer dollars often sustain these mythically self-made entrepreneurs,' says scholar Victor Shammas... 'The state,' he continues, 'is NewSpace’s biggest customer.”

"Yet assuming these companies succeed, their leaders may well place a philosophical stamp on any space outposts that emerge. One day, when your grandkids or friend's kids' kids are riding their hover-scooters around Mars Township B2, they could be living out aspects of Heinlein's libertarian dream."

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/forget-earth-in-space-libertarian-ideas-are-thriving/
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Libertarian news service 71 Republic shuts down

Amor Fati: On the End of 71 Republic · 71 Republic - Mason Mohon:

December 23, 2019 - "After nearly 3 years of consistent and dedicated journalism, 71 Republic is coming to an end.... I wanted to express my thoughts on the end and answer a couple of possible questions.... I hope to answer why 71 Republic is ending, what my intention was behind 71 Republic, and my final thoughts on the matter.

"On June 10th of 2017, Matthew Geiger (CEO) and I (COO) launched 71republic.com. We gathered up a team of very young writers and started publishing consistent content. Over the next few months, the writing ability of the members greatly advanced. Things were looking good, and views were consistently going up, people were reading, and articles were being shared. 71 Republic grew larger than I had ever really expected it to at that point....

"However, the growth didn’t last forever.... There was a clear plateau for a long time. Eventually, we came to the realization that it would be incredibly difficult to break into the journalism market when all of our members were poor, busy college students.... Even though growth was still possible, it wasn’t possible for us to pull off in our respective life situations. Therefore, we’re ending content output for the time being....

"When I first began working with 71 Republic, I wasn’t sure what I was doing and neither was anyone else.... As time went on, though, I learned. I learned about many other projects that were taking on authority without having masses of people or coffers of cash behind them. These were projects like WikiLeaks, Bitcoin, and the Ghost Gun. I saw these as the most effective ways to fight back against state power....

[I]n my article WikiLeaks for Everything, which I republished somewhat recently ... I said: 'To end the political world as we know it and create a freer future, we need to build more “WikiLeaks for X.” These are going to permanently alter political reality in ways that the status quo deems impossible.... Action needs to take place outside of the bounds of what the social order has even named.' I wanted to see if this could be done with journalism. But my teammates and I did not have the experience or resources to implement this in the field of journalism at this time....

"It doesn’t bother me that much that 71 Republic is coming to an end, and for a couple of reasons. First ... it’s a sunk cost. I already put all this work in, and I’m not going to be able to un-put that work in.... [S]econd ... I gained a lot from it. My ability to write has become astronomically better than it was before. Most of the reason for the fact that I’m in college can be traced back to 71 Republic. I learned a lot about SEO, research, and how to appeal to an audience. These skills are not going away, and they only make me better equipped for my next project.

"Am I going to regret the hard work that I put in that didn’t necessarily pay off? No. I don’t believe in regret. I don’t think getting upset about the past is a very good way to live. The Stoics have a phrase: Amor Fati. This means to 'love fate' in Latin. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m not going to just accept the fate of 71 Republic for what it is; rather, I’m going to love it."

Read more: https://web.archive.org/web/20191126030146/https://71republic.com/2019/11/25/amor-fati-on-the-end-of-71-republic/
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Strange doings in New Hampshire

Political Animal readers may have seen my facebook post of last night on the January 11 Libertarian Party of New Hampshire (LPNH) Presidential Preference Primary results:
The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire recently held a "ranked choice" preference vote for 2020 presidential nominee; but the results show only that they don't know how to count a "ranked choice" ballot. "According to the party’s announcement, 44 votes were cast.... Of those, 26 voted for Vermin Supreme. The next highest was 22 voting for Kim Ruff. Jo Jorgensen got 17 votes, Dan “Taxation is Theft” Behrman got 13. Jacob Hornberger got 9, NOTA got 13 (which stands for None of the Above), Sam Robb got 8 votes, Arvin Vohra got 6, Mark Whitney got 6, Lincoln Chafee got 4, and then 16 got under 10 percent of the votes and weren’t listed." That makes 144 [should have been 140] votes, or 100 more than were cast. It looks like the scrutineers simply counted every ranking filled out for a candidate - first choice, second choice, last choice, whatever - as one vote.
I received a number of comments, including one on the LPNH facebook page explaining how the votes were counted. I did the required reading, and wrote my results up as an article.

However, I submitted the article to online magazine Nolan Chart, in the hope that it would get more exposure; and therefore I cannot print it here as well. I urge all my readers to go to the Nolan Chart site and give it a read.

Strange Doings in New Hampshire
https://www.nolanchart.com/strange-doings-in-new-hampshire

Here is a look at Vermin Supreme, the primary winner:


Monday, January 13, 2020

Libertarian appointed Buffalo NY city clerk

Libertarian leader supplants Democratic chief as Niagara Falls city clerk – The Buffalo News - Thomas J. Prohaska:

January 3, 2020 - "Kathleen M. Ligammari, the chairwoman of the Niagara Falls Libertarian Party Committee, took over Wednesday as city clerk. The city's new mayor, Robert M. Restaino, chose her to replace former clerk Lisa A. Vitello, the chairwoman of the city Democratic Committee....

"The Democratic committee made no endorsement before last June's mayoral primary, which Restaino won narrowly over Seth A. Piccirillo. Ligammari subsequently endorsed Restaino for the Libertarian ballot line in the general election.

"Restaino said politics had 'absolutely nothing' to do with his choice. 'I interviewed a number of candidates, and Kathy had what I thought were the best qualifications for the way in which I want the office to be addressed,' he said. 'Most of the folks who applied had at least expressed support for me in one form or another throughout the campaign.'"

Read more: https://buffalonews.com/2020/01/03/libertarian-leader-supplants-democratic-chief-as-niagara-falls-city-clerk/
'via Blog this'

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Farewell to rock's greatest drummer

Remembering Rush Drummer Neil Peart: Rock's Greatest Drummer (and Randian) | National Review - Kyle Smith:

January 10, 2019 - "Neil Peart, the Canadian drummer and leader of the Seventies hard-rock band Rush, has died. Peart had battled brain cancer for three years.

"Fan polls routinely agreed he was the greatest rock drummer of his time (or indeed of all time, I would argue, though some would go with Keith Moon). I’m not sure any rock track boasts drumming that can match Peart’s breathtaking work on the 1981 song “Tom Sawyer”.... Peart also wrote the big majority of his band’s lyrics, which were among the most ambitious ever attempted in the hard-rock space.... Peart was a genius at tapping into the restless alienation of late-teen boys who think they’re smarter than everyone around them.... Peart told Rolling Stone four years ago, 'I set out to never betray the values that 16-year-old had, to never sell out, to never bow to the man. A compromise is what I can never accept'....

"He also labeled himself a libertarian and in youth dabbled in Ayn Randism, naming Rush’s 1975 song 'Anthem' for her 1937 novel Anthem, which was among George Orwell’s influences for 1984, and crediting Rand in the liner notes for her influence on the 1976 Rush album 2112. What teen boy didn’t also flirt with Rand? To persist with a Rand fixation is not the mark of a healthy mind, though. When asked in 2012 (again in Rolling Stone) if Rand’s words still spoke to him, he said, 'Oh, no. That was 40 years ago.' Peart did retain his libertarianism, after a fashion. He explained:
In that 2112 album, again, I was in my early twenties. I was a kid. Now I call myself a bleeding heart libertarian. Because I do believe in the principles of Libertarianism as an ideal – because I’m an idealist. Paul Theroux’s definition of a cynic is a disappointed idealist. So as you go through past your twenties, your idealism is going to be disappointed many many times. And so, I’ve brought my view and also – I’ve just realized this – Libertarianism as I understood it was very good and pure and we’re all going to be successful and generous to the less fortunate and it was, to me, not dark or cynical. But then I soon saw, of course, the way that it gets twisted by the flaws of humanity. And that’s when I evolve now into  ... a bleeding heart Libertarian. That’ll do.
"Peart died in Santa Monica on January 7. R.I.P."

Read more: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/remembering-rush-drummer-neil-peart-rocks-greatest-drummer-and-randian/
'via Blog this'


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Now Tyler Cowan takes a run at libertarianism

Not Losing Sight of the Classical Liberal Ideal – Richard M. Ebeling (01/07/2020) – WallStreetWindow.com:

January 7, 2020 - "Today, the media and ... public policy publications are awash in articles and essays insisting that the postwar 'neoliberal' era has finally and inescapably come to an end.... Most of these criticisms and challenges have come from 'progressives,' the new 'democratic' socialists, and a growing number in the Democratic Party.... But criticisms and rejection of domestic and international liberalism have also come from conservatives, who have called for a 'new nationalism,' that would require a more “activist” state to serve national interests and identity....

"Now another voice has offered his view on whether or not classical liberalism and libertarianism can survive in their historical forms of defending individual liberty, free markets, and a government primarily limited to the protecting of people’s individual rights to life, liberty and honestly acquired property without interventionist regulation and compulsory redistribution. And his answer, too, is, 'No.'

"Tyler Cowen is a prominent professor of economics at George Mason University in Virginia. He has written a number of insightful books devoted to aspects of the economics and culture of a free society, and has written regular columns for both The New York Times and Bloomberg News. He also co-authors the provocative and widely read blogsite, 'Marginal Revolution'....

"The gist of his argument is that classical liberalism and libertarianism are out-of-date and passé political philosophies that had their relevance and significance in the 19th century for advancing the cause of personal liberty and freer markets, and during the first half of the 20th century as an argument against radical socialist central planning. But society and its problems have moved on and what people want from their government has become more expansive....  That’s just the way it is, Professor Cowen asserts. Live with it and give up the classical liberal and libertarian idea of prosperity and a highly limited government. With prosperity will come bigger government, he asserts.

"The 'inevitability' implied in this is, in fact, nothing of the sort. It could be just as reasonably argued that as the members of the society grow in wealth and improved standards of living, they will need and desire less government dependency and support. Rising standards of living enable more people to financially support themselves, as well as providing the means for those gaining in material comfort and ease to have the monetary means to demonstrate more willingness and generosity to assist some who may still be less well off than themselves through avenues of private charity and philanthropy; plus, having the greater leisure time to participate in such endeavors through the institutions of civil society.

"Why any such spirit of private giving and benevolence has diminished in fairly wealthy countries in Europe and in various circles in the United States may be taken as the consequences resulting from governmental redistributive largess and an ideology that has weakened the belief in or the goodness of 'self-reliance' and personal responsibility.... Ten years ago, the German news magazine “Der Spiegel,” reported that in a survey of leading businessmen in Germany, the vast majority said that private giving was not their responsibility; it was the job of government....  Where did that come from, other than an ideological and intellectual culture that presumes and persuades too many in society that political paternalism is superior to personal responsibility and the voluntary private sector....

"Why do so many people accept the notion that imposing and raising legal minimum wages are good for people at the lower income levels? Do they have some inexplicable “propensity” to demand higher wages for others through government mandate as their own economic circumstances improve? I think the more reasonable explanation is a failure to understand and appreciate all the implications of the logic and reality of supply and demand in labor markets. That is, it is the result of wrong and faulty ideas that are sometimes easier to impress upon people than the often abstract and indirect chains of causation through which market processes operate, including in the demand for labor.

"So, if we observe that as wealth and material betterment have improved in our society, people at the same time have been supporting increases in redistributive welfare programs, the more rational explanation is an educational, cultural and intellectual setting in which academics and opinion makers and writers have been successful in influencing the climate of ideas in socialist and welfare statist directions through their ability to interpret the past and the present through the prism of their collectivist ideas."

Read more: https://wallstreetwindow.com/2020/01/not-losing-sight-of-the-classical-liberal-ideal-richard-m-ebeling-01-07-2020/
'via Blog this'

Friday, January 10, 2020

North Dakota Libertarians get 2020 ballot line

Libertarian Party regains ballot status in North Dakota | Grand Forks Herald - Jeremy Turley:

January 8, 2020 - "The Libertarian Party of North Dakota has regained its status as an official political organization in the state, meaning it will have a separate column for its candidates on the statewide primary ballot in June and the general election in November.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger distributed a letter ... stating that the party's petition for ballot status had been approved after the party turned in the signatures of at least 7,000 eligible North Dakota voters to Jaeger's office in October.

The party lost its ballot status in 2018 after its only candidate on the statewide primary ballot failed to receive 300 votes. That candidate, Roland Riemers, was running on the Libertarian ticket for Jaeger's position.

The party advocates for smaller government and lower taxes, according to its website."

Read more: https://www.grandforksherald.com/news/government-and-politics/4856054-Libertarian-Party-regains-ballot-status-in-North-Dakota
'via Blog this'

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Lincoln Chafee backs drug decriminalization

Presidential Candidate Lincoln Chafee Backs Decriminalizing Drugs | Marijuana Moment- Kyle Jaeger with Justin Strekal:

January 8, 2020 - "Libertarian presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee said on Wednesday that the U.S. should move toward decriminalizing drugs and partner with countries that have implemented such policies to learn from their models. Chafee, who previously served as a senator and as Rhode Island’s governor, made the comments at a press conference to announce his candidacy, where he emphasized the need for the U.S. to end its involvement in military conflicts abroad and also end 'the failed war on drugs.'

“'Internationally, our policies of eradication, substitution and interdiction are an abject failure and have caused vastly more harm than good,' he said. 'At home our prisons are full of non-violent drug offenders. What we need is an active, open-minded discussion in this country that results in real criminal justice reform — and that includes decriminalization. The truth is there is another war that needs to end: the failed war on drugs.'

"Asked by Marijuana Moment whether his plan involves decriminalizing all drugs or only select substances, Chafee didn’t directly respond but said that it 'starts with a broad conversation and getting everybody involved — law enforcement, health officials — and that’s the process.'

“'There are other models around the world, whether it’s Portugal or Uruguay or Holland, and we can learn from them,' the candidate, who has at times been a Republican, a Democrat and an independent, added.

"Chafee’s drug policy platform has evolved over time. During his time as governor, he signed a bill to decriminalize marijuana possession and urged the Drug Enforcement Administration to reschedule cannabis under federal law. In the midst of his run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, he called state-level legalization efforts 'interesting, positive experiments.'

"On broader drug decriminalization, the candidate shares the perspective of at least two Democratic contenders, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), both of whom have expressed support for the policy change."

Read more: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/presidential-candidate-lincoln-chafee-backs-decriminalizing-drugs/
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Iraqi parliament votes for US troops to leave

Iraqi Parliament votes for plan to end US troop presence in Iraq after Soleimani killing - CNN - Eric Levenson, Fred Pleitgen, Schams Elwazer & Amir Vera:
January 5, 2020 - "The Iraqi Parliament voted Sunday to obligate Iraq's government 'to work towards ending the presence of all foreign troops on Iraqi soil,' according to the media office of the Iraqi Parliament.

"The vote represents a rebuke of the United States over its targeted airstrike on Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport in Iraq early Friday. The attack has sharply escalated tensions with Iran and has pushed Iraq to reconsider the presence of American troops in the region.

"Iraqi officials were preparing a memorandum for the withdrawal of foreign forces Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi told French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in a phone conversation.

Muqtada al-Sadr, a leading Shia cleric and the head of Iraq's largest political bloc, Saeroun, called the Iraqi Parliament's vote Sunday a 'weak response'.... He called for Parliament to terminate the security agreement with the United States immediately and to close the "evil American embassy" and all American bases immediately.

"US officials tried to persuade Iraqi leaders to stop the parliamentary vote Sunday, according to two sources familiar with the discussions. Despite US officials claiming it would be harmful for Iraq to follow through on such a move and hold the vote at all, ultimately the argument fell flat.... 'The mood in the country was pushing for it,' one source familiar with the discussions said of the vote. 'This was not something that could have been avoided.'

"The US was 'disappointed' in Iraq's actions Sunday, a US State Department spokeswoman said.... US State Department and National Security Council officials [planned] to meet with Iraqi officials Monday and Tuesday in Washington."


Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/05/world/soleimani-us-iran-attack/index.html
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Cannabis legalization makes ballot in SD

Marijuana Legalization Measure Officially Qualifies For South Dakota 2020 Ballot | Marijuana Moment: - Kyle Jaeger:

January 6, 2020 - "A measure to legalize marijuana for adult use has officially qualified for South Dakota’s November ballot, the secretary of state’s office announced on Monday. The proposed constitutional amendment, which was submitted by a former federal prosecutor in September, would allow adults 21 and older to possess and distribute up to one ounce of marijuana. Individuals would also be allowed to cultivate up to three cannabis plants.

"The development comes one month after the secretary of state said that a separate campaign to legalize medical cannabis in South Dakota had also submitted the required valid signatures to qualify for the 2020 ballot—meaning that voters in the state will see two separate marijuana measures when they go to the polls in November.

"Under the broader recreational legalization proposal, the South Dakota Department of Revenue would be responsible for issuing licenses for manufacturers, testing facilities and retailers. And sales on cannabis products would be taxed at 15 percent.... Additionally, the measure requires the legislature to pass bills providing access to medical cannabis for patients and allowing for the sale of hemp by April 1, 2022....

“'As outlined in South Dakota Codified Law § 2-1-16, our office conducted a random sample of the petition signatures and found 68.74 percent to be valid,' Secretary of State Steven Barnett (R) said in a press release. Based on the results of the random sample, 36,707 signatures were deemed valid, his office projected.

"National advocacy groups Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and New Approach PAC have backed both proposals.... Advocates are hopeful that both measures will be approved by voters, but they also anticipate some pushback from Gov. Kristi Noem (R), who vetoed a hemp legalization bill last year and the state’s Republican party, which actively implored residents not to sign ballot petitions when they were circulating in September.

"The reform movement could see a slew of legalization measures make it on ballots across the U.S. this year. Already, New Jersey’s legislature [voted] to put the question of legalization before voters in November’s election. Mississippi activists also submitted far more signatures than required for a medical cannabis initiative and are awaiting verification from the secretary of state."

Read more: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/marijuana-legalization-measure-officially-qualifies-for-south-dakota-2020-ballot/
'via Blog this'

Monday, January 6, 2020

Chafee files with FEC to run for president

Former Rhode Island governor to run for US presidency as Libertarian - The Jerusalem Post- Rachel Wolf:

January 6, 2020 - "Former Rhode Island Governor Lincolon Chafee has filed to run for president as a Libertarian....The Federal Election Commission's online records indicate that Chafee filed his campaign on Sunday and listed Caswell Cooke Jr. as Chafee's campaign treasurer. The document also indicates that Christopher Thrasher is the candidate's 'Designated Agent' and the Providence Journal reported that Thrasher is Chafee's campaign manager.

"Chafee will make his formal announcement at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Wednesday, Cooke told the Providence Journal. 'I believe in the guy,' Cooke, who also worked on Chafee's 2016 campaign, told the ... Journal. 'I believe in his honesty and integrity. Of all the politicians I’ve known in my life, he’s the most honest and forthright, and I have and will support him.'

"In addition to listing those working on his campaign, the online FEC records link to LincolnForLiberty.com, which appears to be the beginning of Chafee's campaign website. On the website's home page is a list of suggested donation amounts, starting with $20.20, likely representing the 2020 election cycle. Above the list it says 'Protect Our Freedoms. Tell The Truth. No More Wars. No More Reckless Spending.'

"Additionally, the following message appeared on the website, 'Thirty years, zero scandals. Mayor. Governor. Senator. Libertarian. Lincoln leads with TRUTH.'"

Read more: https://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/Former-Rohode-Island-governor-to-run-for-US-presidency-as-Libertarian-613254
'via Blog this'

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Beware the lies of war

Reminder: American Officials Lie About War – Reason.com- Matt Welch:

January 3, 2020 - "'Don't trust liars—especially about matters of war and peace,' writes Vox's Matthew Yglesias. 'Today's a day," The Atlantic's David Frum posits, 'when the most untruthful administration in US history will wish its statements could be believed.' It is appropriate, necessary, yet insufficient to remember that government lying is bad, that government lying about war is particularly bad, and that Donald Trump is one of the most bizarrely promiscuous liars ever seen in American political life....

"The truth, which literally hurts, is that every administration lies about war.... It was literally only last month that The Washington Post's "Afghanistan Papers" project detailed how ... 'Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible'....

"Frum wrote President George W. Bush's infamous 'Axis of Evil' State of the Union Address in January 2002, linking Iran, North Korea, and especially Iraq .... 'I was to provide a justification for war,' Frum recalled in his memoir. The justification was ... damaging in a way that relates directly to this week's escalation with Iran.... Reformers inside the government, who had advocated a rapprochement with the United States, were put on the defensive....

"'We knew,' Barack Obama said on March 28, 2011, 'that … if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world..... I refused to let that happen'.... 'This policy,' concluded a detailed and damning post-facto report by the British House of Commons, "was not informed by accurate intelligence'.... Western intelligence agencies, the report found, 'could not verify the actual threat to civilians posed by the Gaddafi regime [and] selectively took elements of Muammar Gaddafi's rhetoric at face value....[S]trategy was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the evidence.'

"American administrations going to war routinely exaggerate threats, Hitlerize enemies, euphemize foreign casualties, and bend tales of U.S. heroism beyond all human recognition.... The world has never seen an arsenal as powerful as ours, and Lord Acton had a point about that power stuff....
[T]he fog of war, the temptations of power, the quickening heartbeat of fight-or-flight patriotism ... should be, advertisements for human fallibility.... And it should make us more reluctant to give the commanders more authority. Instead, too many people turn off their brains once the battle bugle calls....

"So no, don't trust Donald Trump. Or Mike Pompeo. Or Mitch McConnell. And for God's sake please don't trust David Frum or Matthew Yglesias or Matt Welch either. America will continue being a bull in a china shop for as long as the body politic has more heft than humility. Those audacious enough to wield that awesome power, or to influence the wielding of it, will only begin to earn respect when they acknowledge the mountain of their own lies."

Read more: https://reason.com/2020/01/03/reminder-american-officials-lie-about-war/
'via Blog this'

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Higher gas prices in 2020 thanks to UN regulation

Gas Prices Expected to Rise in 2020—Thanks to an Obscure UN Regulator - Foundation for Economic Education- Ross Marchand:

October 20, 2019 - "With gasoline prices in California eclipsing $4/gallon, Americans have taken to nervously glancing at their gas gauges. Oil prices appear to only be going in one direction (up), with dramatic disruptions such as a drone attack on Saudi refineries disrupting fuel supplies. But things may soon get far worse if the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a sub-agency of the United Nations, implements onerous worldwide restrictions on fuel content.

"Starting in 2020, the IMO will require the phasing out of sulfur from ship fuels despite documented difficulties in refiners’ ability to meet strict new standards. Unless the IMO changes course, consumers across America, and all around the world, will foot the bill for higher gasoline prices as the result of global fuel shortages. If America and her allies fail to act soon to stymie the efforts of this global bureaucracy, affordable gas will soon be a thing of the past.....

"Like many unaccountable international governmental organizations (IGOs), the IMO is hardly noticed by the media. But the agency’s 2016 decision to ratchet down sulfur content in shipping fuels from 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent has received plenty of press and attention from analysts around the world. Environmentalists have lauded the IMO’s decision and called for eliminating scrubbers used to wash out sulfur and comply with the new standards. But the IMO and cheerleader groups fail to properly acknowledge or address the fuel shortages that will likely result....

"In moving away from sulfur, shippers will likely switch en masse to alternatives such as gasoil or diesel. That’s not good news for refineries, which will face significant pressures to ramp up production of these stand-ins. Currently, there simply isn’t enough low-sulfur fuel to go around, and refineries will need to sharply increase capacity and operations in order to keep up....

"Worldwide regulations holding the industry back make it even more difficult for refineries to keep up.... In the US, federal fuel regulations have significantly contributed to the closure of 70 refineries since 1990. And since then, refineries have spent more than $100 billion complying with ultra-specific federal standards about which blends of fuel they are required to produce.... In Europe, refinery regulation is often even stricter than in the US....

"[A]sking everyone in the world to pay drastically higher fuel and shipping costs overnight hardly seems like a practical solution to environmental issues.... By working with shippers to achieve gradual, more attainable goals, the IMO could signal that it is serious about cleaning up the environment while keeping costs low. Consumers around the world deserve clean skies without having to gasp at their gas gauges, and taxpayers deserve an IGO that makes sound decisions."

Read more: https://fee.org/articles/gas-prices-expected-to-rise-in-2020-thanks-to-an-obscure-un-regulator/

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Friday, January 3, 2020

Legal cannabis sales begin in Illinois

Illinois Sells $3.2 Million Worth Of Marijuana On First Day Of Legalization- Lisette Voytko:

January 2, 2020 - "Illinois said $3.2 million worth of legal marijuana was sold on Tuesday, the first day the drug could legally be purchased for recreational use in the state., as a new law went into effect that could also clear the records of hundreds of thousands of people with arrest records. Illinois’ Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported that the cash was generated from over 77,000 transactions.

"Cannabis can be purchased without a prescription from a state-approved dispensary by anyone 21 years or older⁠ — and nonresidents are allowed to buy the drug, but in smaller quantities than residents, according to the legislation....

"Illinois is the eleventh state (plus D.C.) to legalize cannabis in the U.S., and Bloomberg reported that the state expects to eventually fetch between $2 billion and $4 billion in annual sales.

"Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker has also pardoned over 11,000 people with prior marijuana convictions as part of the new law, and over 700,000 people who have been arrested because of the drug could have those records forgiven as well....

"Illinois is the country’s sixth most populated state, according to Bloomberg, and bordered by states where marijuana is still illegal. Illinois’ legalization effort could push those states to follow suit with their own laws. According to analysts, illicit sales of marijuana in Illinois are expected to outpace legal sales through 2024. However, 30% of legal sales will go toward tax revenue for the state, while municipalities get 3%, according to Crain’s."

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisettevoytko/2020/01/02/illinois-sells-32-million-of-marijuana-on-1st-day-of-legalization/#394c70b7e2e7
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Thursday, January 2, 2020

Harry Browne’s New Year’s resolutions

Harry Browne’s New Year’s Resolutions for Selling Liberty Effectively | Libertarian Party:

December 30, 2019 - "Harry Browne, the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee in 1996 and 2000, was among the greatest salesmen for liberty who ever lived. He wrote the below Libertarian New Year’s Resolutions in 1998.....
  • I resolve to sell liberty by appealing to the self-interest of each prospect, rather than preaching to people and expecting them to suddenly adopt my ideas of right and wrong.
  • I resolve to keep from being drawn into arguments or debates. My purpose is to inspire people to want liberty ­not to prove that they’re wrong.
  • I resolve to listen when people tell me of their wants and needs, so I can help them see how a free society [can] satisfy those needs.
  • I resolve to identify myself, when appropriate, with the social goals someone may seek ­... and try to show him that those goals can never be achieved [well] by government, but [can] be well served in a free society.
  • I resolve to be compassionate and respectful of the beliefs and needs that lead people to seek government help....
  • No matter what the issue, I resolve to keep returning to the central point: how much better off the individual will be in a free society.
  • I resolve to acknowledge my good fortune.... Any plan for improvement must begin with a recognition of the good things we have.
  • I resolve to focus on the ways [we] could be so much better with a very small government ­ not to dwell on all the wrongs that exist today.
  • I resolve to cleanse myself of hate, resentment, and bitterness....
  • I resolve to speak, dress, and act in a respectable manner.... No one will hear the message if the messenger is unattractive.
  • I resolve to remind myself that someone’s 'stupid' opinion may be an opinion I once held....
  • I resolve not to raise my voice in any discussion. In a shouting match, no one wins ... and no one will be inspired to join our quest for a free society.
  • I resolve not to adopt the tactics of Republicans and Democrats. They use character assassination, evasions, and intimidation because they have no real benefits to offer....
  • I resolve to be civil to my opponents, and treat them with respect. However anyone chooses to treat me, it’s important that I be a better person than my enemies."

Read more: https://www.lp.org/blogs-staff-harry-brownes-new-years-resolutions-for-selling-liberty-effectively-0/
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Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Policing parents and children in 2019

Policing Parents and Kids: The Year’s 8 Most Paranoid Moments – Reason.com - Lenore Skenazy:

December 31, 2019 - "[2019] wasn't all bad —but a lot of it was, so ... here are eight times that authority figures went to crazy lengths to deprive kids of autonomy in the name of nebulous safety concerns....
  • Hard-boiled lawyers made sure no kids could participate in the University of California–Berkeley's campus Easter egg hunt without parents first signing a waiver acknowledging the potential risk of 'catastrophic injuries including paralysis and death'....
  • Teachers at Meadowlawn Elementary in Monticello, Indiana, were taken into a room, told to crouch down, and shot execution style. Then the next group was sent in. Then the next. But hey — it was just a drill ... something the terrified teachers didn't know....
  • Don't even park near a white van, the mayor of Baltimore warned his constituents. 'We're getting reports of somebody in a white van trying to snatch up young girls for human trafficking and for selling body parts'....The stories were on Facebook. The police ... said there had been no such crimes....
  • "Holly Curry, a Kentucky mom who let her six children wait in the car for 10 minutes while she ran into a café to get them muffins, found herself reported to child protective services. The authorities came to her home and proceeded to make each child strip naked so they could look for signs of abuse.... Now the mom is pursuing a lawsuit....
  • Santana Adams of Milton, West Virginia, accused a man of grabbing her 5-year-old daughter and dragging her by the hair at an Old Navy.... The man was quickly found and hauled off to jail, until mall footage showed the two shoppers calmly leaving the store, going in opposite directions. The mom has been charged with making a false accusation....
  • Dozens of parents, including several celebrities, paid a fixer to help their kids cheat their way into their dream colleges. The fixer hired test takers, bribed coaches, and photoshopped the kids into water polo and crew team pictures....
  • Christina Behar posted a 'mother's helper available' note on behalf of her spunky almost-10-year-old Sarah, who was looking for a part-time gig helping local moms with dishes, laundry, and such. Six hours later, the sheriff showed up at Behar's door. 'Apparently the ad generated multiple phone calls from paranoid neighbors thinking I was using my child as a slave,' said Christina....
  • A kindergartener who hurt her arm on the slide during recess ... was awarded $170,000. Her lawyer said the girl was hurtling downward at an 'excessive speed' because the slide was at a 35 degree angle, while federal standards say kindergarten slides should be no steeper than 30 degrees."

Read more: https://reason.com/2019/12/31/paranoid-parenting-helicopter-top-2019-list/
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