Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Amash 4 President buzz grows

Buzz grows Amash will challenge Trump as a Libertarian | TheHill - Jonathan Easley:

May 21, 2019 - "There is growing buzz that Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) will leave the Republican Party to mount a challenge against President Trump as the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate.

"Amash, a former attorney who was first elected to Congress during the 2010 Tea Party wave, has thrust himself into the spotlight by becoming the first Republican in the House to support impeachment proceedings for Trump based on special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings.... Amash’s remarks energized Libertarians and united the 'Never Trump' Republicans, who have been unable to recruit a candidate of their own to take on the president in 2020.

"In interviews this year, Amash has toyed with the idea of abandoning the Republican Party to run for president as a Libertarian.... There’s a full-scale effort underway to convince Amash to take the plunge.

"'There are a lot of Libertarian Party members actively encouraging Rep. Amash to switch parties and seek the Libertarian nomination,' said Nicholas Sarwark, the chairman of the Libertarian [Party]. 'This is probably the most organized recruitment effort I’ve seen going back to 2012 when people were trying to recruit [former Texas Rep.] Ron Paul.'"

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Libertarians want Justin Amash to run for president, and he may do it - Steven Nelson, Washington Examiner: 

May 22, 2019 - "Libertarian activist Larry Sharpe, a New York gubernatorial candidate last year, said he spoke twice recently with people close to Amash..... 'They wanted to know: Can they make impact as a Libertarian?' Sharpe said, describing the most recent call. 'He wants to make impact for a freer America. If Justin Amash believes the Libertarian Party is the best way to do that, I’m sure he will come aboard'....

"If Amash does run for president, he will be eagerly embraced by Libertarians, who see him as an eloquent evangelist for a political ideology on the decline under Trump. 'He’s terrific,' said former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, an ex-Republican who ran as the Libertarian candidate in 2012 and 2016, taking 3.3% against Trump.....

"Iowa Libertarian Party Chairman Joseph Howe said Amash 'comes off as more principled on free market principles' [than Johnson] and may be less prone to gaffes. 'Amash has probably had more press in the past few days than Johnson in the whole campaign,' he added.

"Howe is leading a national effort to draft Amash, coordinating with the Facebook group Amash 4 President, which has about 800 members."

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Russian Libertarian Party leader assaulted again

Russian Libertarian Party Leader Hit With Feces In Kazan - Mikhail Svertov, RFE/RL:

May 19, 2019 - "The head of Russia's libertarians has had feces dumped on him in the Tatar capital, Kazan, before a scheduled talk on May 19.

"Mikhail Svetov, head of the Libertarian Party of Russia, was met by the attackers as he exited a car in front of the Amaks Hotel, where he was to give a lecture on how the Russian education system 'deprives children of opportunities.' At least two people dumped feces on Svetov as he approached the hotel and then ran away, Svetov aides told RFE/RL.

"Svetov said in a tweet after the incident that he had been 'splashed in the face with some crap,' but added that the lecture would still take place. After a 20-minute delay, Svetov appeared in the lecture hall inside the hotel and was greeted with applause.

"He said hotel security cameras would be checked to try to determine the identity of those who attacked him. Svetov, who said he has been attacked several times before, said after the lecture that those who attacked him must have been 'hired.'

"In April 2018, Svetov said he was accosted and beaten after arriving at the Kemerovo airport, where he was going to give a lecture titled 'Why you should not trust the government.' After the attack he was immediately put on a return flight to Moscow."

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Amash calls Trump's conduct 'impeachable'

GOP throws up impeachment shield around Trump - CNNPolitics - Stephen Collinson:

May 20, 2020 - "Republicans are moving fast to squelch Justin Amash's rebellion against Donald Trump before his conclusion that the President 'engaged in impeachable conduct' -- the first by a GOP lawmaker -- can gather momentum.....

"Amash's act of conscience on Saturday sparked immediate speculation over whether a tiny leak in the Republican dam could grow into a torrent of support running away from the President.... The early signs are that Amash's protest will not materially shift political dynamics in Washington that mean any attempt to impeach Trump remains a long-shot scenario....

"Amash warned in a string of tweets Saturday that few members of Congress had even read the Mueller report that he said contained 'multiple examples' of Trump's obstruction of justice. 'Contrary to Barr's portrayal, Mueller's report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment,' Amash wrote....

"Amash's call for impeachment predictably ignited an angry Republican backlash.

"'Never a fan of @justinamash, a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy,' Trump tweeted. 'Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!'

"Republican National Committee chair Ronna [Romney] McDaniel accused Amash of 'parroting the Democrats' talking points on Russia.'

"House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, a staunch Trump ally, questioned whether Amash was a genuine conservative. 'He's been in Congress quite some time. I think he's asked one question in all the committees that he's been in,' McCarthy said on Fox News. 'He votes more with Nancy Pelosi than he ever votes with me. It's a question whether he's even in our Republican conference as a whole.'

"According to the American Conservative Union, however, Amash had an 88% record of voting with the group's positions last year."

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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Millennial socialism based on entitlement

College Student: My Generation Is Blind to the Prosperity Around Us - Foundation for Economic Education - Alyssa Ahlgren:

April 24, 2019 - "'I'm sitting in a small coffee shop near Nokomis trying to think of what to write about. I scroll through my newsfeed on my phone looking at the latest headlines of Democratic candidates calling for policies to “fix” the so-called injustices of capitalism. I put my phone down and continue to look around.

"I see people talking freely, working on their MacBooks, ordering food they get in an instant, seeing cars go by outside, and it dawned on me. We live in the most privileged time in the most prosperous nation and we’ve become completely blind to it....

"We are so well off here in the United States that our poverty line begins 31 times above the global average. Thirty. One. Times. Virtually no one in the United States is considered poor by global standards. Yet, in a time where we can order a product off Amazon with one click and have it at our doorstep the next day, we are unappreciative, unsatisfied, and ungrateful.

"Our unappreciation is evident as the popularity of socialist policies among my generation continues to grow. Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently said to Newsweek talking about the millennial generation, 'An entire generation, which is now becoming one of the largest electorates in America, came of age and never saw American prosperity.'

"Never saw American prosperity. Let that sink in. When I first read that statement, I thought to myself, that was quite literally the most entitled and factually illiterate thing I’ve ever heard in my 26 years on this earth.... I do think she whole-heartedly believes the words she said to be true. Many young people agree with her, which is entirely misguided. My generation is being indoctrinated by a mainstream narrative to actually believe we have never seen prosperity....

"Let me lay down some universal truths really quick. The United States of America has lifted more people out of abject poverty, spread more freedom and democracy, and has created more innovation in technology and medicine than any other nation in human history. Not only that but our citizenry continually breaks world records with charitable donations, the rags to riches story is not only possible in America but not uncommon, we have the strongest purchasing power on earth, and we encompass 25 percent of the world’s GDP. The list goes on....

"Why then, with all of the overwhelming evidence around us, evidence that I can even see sitting at a coffee shop, do we not view this as prosperity? We have people who are dying to get into our country. People around the world destitute and truly impoverished. Yet, we have a young generation convinced they’ve never seen prosperity, and as a result, elect politicians dead set on taking steps towards abolishing capitalism.

"Why? The answer is this, my generation has only seen prosperity. We have no contrast. We didn’t live in the Great Depression, or live through two world wars, or see the rise and fall of socialism and communism. We don’t know what it’s like not to live without the internet, without cars, without smartphones. We don’t have a lack of prosperity problem. We have an entitlement problem, an ungratefulness problem, and it’s spreading like a plague....

"My generation is becoming the largest voting bloc in the country. We have an opportunity to continue to propel us forward with the gifts capitalism and democracy has given us. The other option is that we can fall into the trap of entitlement and relapse into restrictive socialist destitution. The choice doesn’t seem too hard, does it?"

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

McDonald's: America's community centers

McDonald's: you can sneer, but it's the glue that holds communities together | Business | The Guardian - Chris Arnade:

June 8, 2016 - "On the morning of their wedding, Omar and Betty shared a breakfast of egg McMuffins at a small McDonald’s table, dressed in their finest clothes.... They don’t have a lot of money, and McDonald’s is part of their life. It is that way in many poor and middle-income neighborhoods, where McDonald’s have become de-facto community centers and reflections of the surrounding neighborhood.

"When many lower-income Americans are feeling isolated by the deadening uniformity of things, by the emptiness of many jobs, by the media, they still yearn for physical social networks. They are not doing this by going to government-run community service centers. They are not always doing this by utilizing the endless array of well-intentioned not-for-profit outreach programs. They are doing this on their own, organically across the country, in McDonald's.

"Walk into any McDonald’s in the morning and you will find a group of mostly retired people clustering in a corner, drinking coffee, eating and talking. They are drawn to the McDonald’s because it has inexpensive good coffee, clean bathrooms, space to sprawl. Unlike community centers, it is also free of bureaucracy....

"In Natchitoches [Louisiana], on Tuesdays, there is a bingo game. On weekends, a Bible group sets up in the opposite corner, and offers prayers and Bibles to whoever wants to come. In other McDonald’s, politics are central. In one near downtown Kansas City ... each Friday morning the sitting area is turned over to a community meeting.....

"It isn’t just groups who use McDonald’s. For many of the poorest, for the homeless, and for people caught in an addiction, McDonald’s are an integral part of their lives. They have cheap and filling food, they have free Wi-Fi, outlets to charge phones, and clean bathrooms. McDonald’s is also generally gracious about letting people sit quietly for long periods – longer than other fast-food places....

"In almost every franchise, there are tables with people ... escaping from the streets for a short bit. They prefer McDonald’s to shelters and to non-profits, because McDonald’s are safer, provide more freedom, and most importantly, the chance to be social, restoring a small amount of normalcy. In the Bronx, many of my friends who live on the streets are regulars.... Steve, who has been homeless for 20 years, uses the internet to check up on sports, find discarded papers to do the crossword puzzle, and generally escape for a while.... Beauty, who has been homeless for five years, uses the internet to check up on her family back in Oklahoma when she can find a computer to borrow.

"Most importantly though, McDonald’s provide many with the chance to make real and valuable connections. When faced with the greatest challenges, with a personal loss, wealthier Americans turn to expensive therapists, others without the resources or the availability, turn to each other."

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Friday, May 17, 2019

Same-sex marriage legalized in Taiwan

Taiwan legalizes same-sex marriage in historic first for Asia - CNN - Julia Hollingsworth:

May 17, 2019 - "Lawmakers in Taiwan have approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, a landmark decision that makes the self-ruled island the first place in Asia to pass gay marriage legislation.

The vote came almost two years after the island's Constitutional Court ruled that the existing law -- which said marriage was between a man and a woman -- was unconstitutional. The panel of judges gave the island's parliament two years to amend or enact new laws.

"On Friday -- only a week off the two-year deadline -- lawmakers in Taiwan's Legislative Yuan passed a bill making same-sex marriage a reality. It will go into effect on May 24.

"Although the island has a large gay community and its annual gay pride parade is the biggest in Asia, the issue of marriage equality has bitterly divided Taiwanese society. In a controversial referendum in November last year, 67% voted to reject same-sex marriage....

"Tens of thousands of people braved pouring rain Friday to demonstrate in favor of same-sex marriage outside the parliament, as lawmakers began voting on three draft bills, one tabled by the island's Cabinet -- which would ultimately prove successful -- and two watered-down rival bills tabled by conservative groups.

"The successful Cabinet bill was the only one to use the word 'marriage.' It was backed by LGBTQ groups, despite the fact it could see same-sex couples denied rights enjoyed by hetrosexual couples, such as adoption and cross-national marriage....

"In 2015, veteran gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei -- who has spent 30 years fighting for marriage equality -- filed a request to the Constitutional Court asking for a ruling on an article in the island's civil code stating that marriage is between a man and a woman.... In 2017, the court ruled the law violated the constitution....

"Taiwan's vote sets it apart from other parts of Asia where LGBTQ rights have regressed.... In April, the ruler of the tiny, oil-rich kingdom of Brunei announced he would introduce death by stoning for those convicted of gay sex. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has since said the death penalty will not be imposed, although he did not repeal the law. In Indonesia ... two men accused of being gay received 87 lashes for gay sex in the country's conservative Aceh province."

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

NJ Democrats renege on cannabis legalization

New Jersey marijuana legalization off the table 'at this time,' top state lawmaker says | TheHill - Zack Budryk:

May 15, 2019 - "New Jersey’s top state lawmaker announced Wednesday that the legislature will not pursue legalizing recreational marijuana this year. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) said lawmakers will ask New Jersey voters to decide whether to legalize marijuana in November 2020, according to

"Sweeney said lawmakers will push forward two related bills that would expand New Jersey's medical marijuana program and wipe clean the records of residents with past convictions for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

"Legalizing marijuana was a key campaign promise and major priority for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who called for the legislature to take it up in his January State of the State address.

“'By legalizing adult-use marijuana — first and foremost — we can reverse the inequality and unfairness left from years of failed drug policies and shift public safety resources to where they can do the most good,' Murphy said. Democratic presidential candidate and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker also endorsed the measure....

"The New Jersey legislature canceled a vote planned in March on legalizing recreational weed use after Sweeney said that it did not have the votes to pass. The measure would have legalized recreational marijuana use among Garden State adults 21 and older. It will now be on the general election ballot for voters in 2020."

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