Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vermont Libertarian drawing Republican interest

Libertarian candidate draws GOP interest - Terri Hallenbeck, Burlington Free Press:

July 29, 2014 - "Dan Feliciano, ... 51, has made a career as a business consultant creating efficiencies for firms such as Cigna and Aetna health care, IBM, Travelers Insurance and the Medical College of Virginia. He's now employed by Keurig Green Mountain in Waterbury, where his job involves improving production efficiency.

"When he's done working he still likes to talk efficiency. Feliciano would like to put his 'hobby' to use in making state government more efficient, cutting spending and lowering taxes. The father of three is running for governor as the Libertarian Party candidate....

"This is Feliciano's second try for governor, having run in 2010 as an independent who won 1,341 votes, or .6 percent of the total. This year is different, he said. He's won the nomination of the Libertarian Party and is drawing interest from voters typically aligned with other parties, including Republicans looking for a candidate to condemn incumbent Democrat Peter Shumlin's plans to create a government-run health coverage system....

"Feliciano's condemnation of a single-payer system appeals to some Republicans who are frustrated by the delays, technology problems and cost of the insurance exchange that Shumlin implemented this year as part of the federal Affordable Care Act. He also appeals to those who fear Shumlin's pending plans to create government-financed coverage.

"'I see people responding favorably to that,' said Mark Snelling, the Republican Party treasurer and son of former Gov. Richard Snelling and Lt. Gov. Barbara Snelling....

"Patricia Crocker, a Republican State Committee member from Essex, is supporting Feliciano and urging fellow Republicans to vote for him as a write-in candidate in the Republican primary. 'I believe that his extensive experience in health care and effective budgeting are just what Vermont needs at this time — and represent the two key issues that unite Republicans,' she said.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Justin Amash holds 20-point lead in primary

Internal poll shows Justin Amash with 22-point lead over challenger |

July 8, 2014 - "Rep. Justin Amash appears to be safely situated to retain his congressional seat, according to a new internal poll showing the Michigan Republican holding a 22-point lead over his primary opponent.

"The poll, conducted by Wenzel Strategies of 705 likely Republican voters in Amash’s district, found the libertarian-leaning incumbent leading the GOP establishment-preferred businessman Brian Ellis 56 percent to 34 percent, with 10 percent still undecided.

"When likely voters who 'lean' Republican are included in the poll, Amash continues to lead Ellis 58 percent to 36 percent, with 6 percent undecided....

"Amash is probably best known for his opposition to the National Security Agency's bulk collection of American's phone and Internet records. Last July, Amash introduced an amendment that would end the agency's data collection program....

"In early June 2014, Amash led Ellis 42 percent to 23 percent, with 35 percent undecided, according to a poll from the Michigan Information and Research Service... In another poll, conducted in mid-June, polling firm EPIC-MRA found Amash leading Ellis, 55 percent to 35 percent....

"Amash got under the skin of establishment Republicans over his propensity to vote against the party. But he explains his reasoning behind each vote on his Facebook page, something no other member does....

"In a statement provided to the Washington Examiner, Amash spokesman Ben Vanderveen attributed Amash's continued success in the polls to his commitment to people over government.

"'Justin got a primary challenge because he never backs down from defending individual liberty, economic freedom, and the Constitution,' Vanderveen said. 'That's the type of principled representation that ordinary Americans want.'

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

District court judge strikes down DC gun-carry ban

Tom Palmer: Meet the libertarians who keep beating D.C.'s gun laws in court, like in the Heller case and Palmer v. D.C. David Wiegel, Slate:

July 28, 2014 - "At the end of last week, Senior District Court Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. handed a huge victory to D.C.'s outnumbered supporters of unfettered Second Amendment rights. The district's handgun restrictions, wrote Scullin, flew in the face of precedent. 'In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny,' wrote Scullin, referring to other cases that rolled back the gun laws, 'there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia's total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny.' The District was violating the Constitution by refusing to let people from other states open-carry or conceal-carry their guns....

"Palmer v. District of Columbia is mostly interesting as the second example in just a few days of libertarian lawyers dunking on the liberal state. Tom Palmer, listed first among the plaintiffs, is the director of the libertarian Cato University program, and a vice president of the Randian Atlas Society. He was a plaintiff in the Heller case, too; in attorney Alan Gura's words, he was 'a gay man who had previously, in California, fended off a hate crime using a firearm that he happened to have on him.'"

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Libertarian rises to 9% in tight Florida governor's race

Poll: Libertarian Adrian Wyllie helps Gov. Rick Scott catch Charlie Crist - Political Currents - - Marc Caputo:

July 23, 2014 - "Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist are essentially tied 37-39 percent in Florida’s hotly contested governor’s race, partly because a little-known Libertarian candidate is sapping support from the Democratic challenger, a new poll indicates.

"Libertarian Adrian Wyllie pulls 9 percent support, according to Quinnipiac University’s survey, which shows Crist’s 2 percentage-point lead would grow to 5 points without Wyllie on the ballot....

"Little-polled until now, Wyllie’s name appears to be an emerging and significant factor in the race.

"'Wyllie is not, at this point, a serious contender to win the governorship. But he may have a great deal to say about who does win,' Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a written statement.

"With Wyllie on the ticket, Crist loses more support among self-identified independents (9 percentage points) than Scott (4 points). Independents comprise about a quarter of Florida’s vote.

"From supporting medical marijuana to opposing most abortion restrictions, Wyllie’s stand on social issues is closer to Crist’s than Scott’s. Wyllie has been more vocal than Crist about supporting a popular prescription-marijuana measure on the ballot — even though the push for the measure is largely funded by Crist’s employer, Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan."

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Youth Entrepreneurs brings market to high schools

Koch High: How The Koch Brothers Are Buying Their Way Into The Minds Of Public School Students - Christina Wilkie & Joy Resmovits, Huffington Post:

July 16, 2014 - "The official mission of Youth Entrepreneurs is to provide kids with 'business and entrepreneurial education and experiences that help them prosper and become contributing members of society.' The underlying goal of the program, however, is to impart Koch's radical free-market ideology to teenagers.....

"Lesson plans and class materials obtained by The Huffington Post make the course's message clear: The minimum wage hurts workers and slows economic growth. Low taxes and less regulation allow people to prosper. Public assistance harms the poor. Government, in short, is the enemy of liberty.

"[T]he current structure of the program began to take shape in November 2009, documents show, when a team of associates at the Charles G. Koch Foundation launched an important project with Charles Koch's blessing: They would design and test what they called 'a high school free market and liberty-based course' with support from members of the Koch family's vast nonprofit and political network....

"Charles Koch founded Youth Entrepreneurs in 1991 with his wife, Elizabeth Koch, who serves as chairman of the group's board.... But the Kochs have renewed their focus on YE in recent years, pumping millions of dollars into it.... In 2007, YE reported assets of just over $450,000. In 2012, its assets topped $1.45 million.....

"During the 2012-2013 school year, YE's credit-bearing class reached more than 1,000 students in 29 schools in Kansas and Missouri, according to the group's annual report. Vernon Birmingham, YE's director of curriculum and teacher support, told HuffPost that the course will be in 42 schools in the coming school year. An offshoot in Atlanta, YE Georgia, reported being in 10 schools in the 2011-2012 school year. Since 2012, YE has also launched three major new initiatives: an online version of its course, an affiliate program to help rural schools access the class, and an after-school program, YE Academy, which served more than 500 students in its first year."

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

A look at Australia's two new libertarian senators

Meet Bob and David, our new libertarian senators - Joanna Mather, Financial Review:

July 12, 2014 - "Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm are a rookie crossbench duo with ideas so radical right they make some members of the Liberal Party blush.

"Like allowing young people with few prospects and 'from the wrong side of the tracks' to forego the protections afforded by industrial relations legislation to offer themselves up for cheaper rates than their university-educated peers.

"Or getting rid of bicycle helmet laws. 'Bicycle helmets are an absolute classic,' Leyonhjelm tells AFR Weekend. 'Because it’s your own head. If you want to fall off your bike and smash your own head, why should that be the government’s business? It’s your affair.'

"Anther topic close to the libertarian heart of Leyonhjelm, who won a NSW Senate spot for the Liberal Democrats, is road speed limits. Rather than being arbitrarily set by ­government they should be temporarily lifted, he says, and drivers free to determine, through trial and crashing error, the sweet spot between safety and pace.

"Day, the Family First senator for South Australia, doesn’t describe himself as a libertarian. But many of his views align strongly with Leyonhjelm’s. The pair hadn’t met before their surprise election last September. But they are fellow travellers: successful businessmen in their early 60s who are in furious agreement about the need for smaller government and lower taxes.

"They also worship personal freedom. 'It has been proven throughout history where freedom reigns there is prosperity, there is peace,' says Day, a millionaire builder from South Australia who fell out with the Liberal Party before joining Family First."

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Rand Paul introduces bill to limit asset forfeiture

Sen. Paul Introduces the FAIR Act - Rand Paul | United States Senator (Press release):

July 24, 2014 - "Sen. Rand Paul yesterday introduced S. 2644, the FAIR (Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration) Act, which would protect the rights of citizens and restore the Fifth Amendment's role in seizing property without due process of law. Under current law, law enforcement agencies may take property suspected of involvement in crime without ever charging, let alone convicting, the property owner. In addition, state agencies routinely use federal asset forfeiture laws; ignoring state regulations to confiscate and receive financial proceeds from forfeited property.  

"The FAIR Act would change federal law and protect the rights of property owners by requiring that the government prove its case with clear and convincing evidence before forfeiting seized property. State law enforcement agencies will have to abide by state law when forfeiting seized property. Finally, the legislation would remove the profit incentive for forfeiture by redirecting forfeitures assets from the Attorney General's Asset Forfeiture Fund to the Treasury's General Fund.

"'The federal government has made it far too easy for government agencies to take and profit from the property of those who have not been convicted of a crime. The FAIR Act will ensure that government agencies no longer profit from taking the property of U.S. citizens without due process, while maintaining the ability of courts to order the surrender of proceeds of crime,' Sen. Paul said."

Read the FAIR Act:
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

GOP entitlement rhetoric may boost Libertarian's chances in Montana

GOP Boosts Libertarian 'Spoiler' in Montana - Mike Flynn, Big Government, Breitbart News:

July 22, 2014 - "Most political handicappers of Senate races this fall generally assume that the GOP will capture the seat of former-Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT). A new poll from liberal polling firm PPP, however, shows a race much closer than expected.....

"The new poll, released Monday, shows Democrat-appointed Sen. John Walsh trailing GOP Rep. Steve Daines by 7 points, 46-39. That result is a 10-point gain since November, when Walsh trailed Daines by 17 points, 52-35, in the same poll. A big factor in Walsh's surge is increased support from Republicans....

"Republican Daines has recently been attacking Walsh for believing that partial privatization of Social Security should be 'on the table' when discussing reforms to the entitlement program. Democrat Walsh was even attacked on this issue from the left during his primary race. Note to GOP strategists: When you are lifting attack lines from the progressive left, you are doing it wrong.

"There is no better indicator of the intellectual bankruptcy of many in the national GOP.... Entitlement programs, very shortly, are set to consume all federal revenues, before a dollar is spent on national defense and the myriad of things the government does. To write-off any market-based reform to entitlements obviates the entire point of having a Republican party....

"Montana has a strong libertarian tradition. In 2012, the Libertarian candidate for Clerk of the state Supreme Court won 42% of the vote as the sole opponent to the Democrat nominee. The party's Senate candidate, Dan Cox, took almost 7% of the vote in the hotly contested race between Democrat Sen. Jon Tester and GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg....

"Daines' attack on Walsh for being open to entitlement reform, of course, will only further boost the Libertarian candidate. If the Republican candidate, after all, is going on record against any kind of market-based reform of an unsustainable retirement program, a conservative protest vote for the libertarian candidate is tempting.

"What's the point of a Republican-controlled Senate if the GOP doesn't know what to do with it?"

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lincoln Labs building liberty-oriented "hacker" network

The Kochs' nonprofit empire is building a network of libertarian hackers, coders and designers - Yahoo News - Chris Moody:

July 23, 2014 - "It was nearing 2 a.m., the AC had been shut off and the air in the century-old downtown office of Brigade Media, a tech startup that hosted a hackathon in conjunction with a libertarian tech conference here, was starting to feel heavy....

"The hackathon — an event in which teams compete to build new apps and programs within a short period of time — was part of the first inaugural Reboot, conference where hundreds of conservative hackers, coders, designers, tech entrepreneurs and conservative political activists joined some of the nation’s top Republicans to strategize and — ideally — emerge with The Next Great App. As an incentive, the conference organizers offered $10,000 in prize money to be awarded to the best ideas.

"The gathering was the first inaugural conference put on by Lincoln Labs, a year-old club of politically-minded technologists started by three millennials with backgrounds in Republican politics: Garrett Johnson, a former aide to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Aaron Ginn, who worked on Mitt Romney’s digital team; and Chris Abrams, who runs digital operations for Vanity Fair magazine. The group — which adopts the label “conservatarian,” a popular buzzword for the ideological coalition between conservatives and libertarians — was born in 2013 in the aftermath of the failed Republican attempt to regain control of the White House....

"For most of Lincoln Lab’s existence, the group has relied upon financial backing and support from the orbit of activist groups that are part of Charles and David Koch’s donor network. Last weekend’s conference was sponsored by an array of groups from the Koch network: Generation Opportunity, its youth outreach group; the Libre Initiative, its Hispanic organization; Americans for Prosperity, its lead political advocacy arm; and i360, which collects data on behalf of the Koch network. Microsoft, Google, and Stampede, a political consulting firm that provides campaign services to conservative candidates, also served as sponsors for the event.

"With Generation Opportunity doing most of the financial legwork, the Koch network has invested in Lincoln Labs hackathons around the country, holding similar, yet smaller, gatherings in California, Seattle, Chicago and Miami."

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rapes, STDs drop when prostitution legal in RI

When Rhode Island accidentally legalized prostitution, rape decreased sharply - Max Ehrenfreud, Wonkblog, Washington Post:

July 17, 2014 - "For decades, few people noticed that legislators in Providence had deleted crucial language from Rhode Island state law in 1980. It wasn't until a 2003 court case that police, to their chagrin, discovered they couldn't prevent prostitutes and their customers from engaging in commercial exchange.

"For the next six years until legislators corrected their error, the oldest profession was not a crime in Rhode Island – and public health and public safety substantially improved as a result, according to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The statewide incidence of gonorrhea among women declined by 39 percent, and the number of rapes reported to police in the state declined by 31 percent, according to the paper.

"The study by Baylor University's Scott Cunningham and Manisha Shah of the University of California, Los Angeles ... appears to be the first quantitative evidence that removing criminal penalties for prostitutes can reduce violence against women and curtail sexually transmitted infections in society generally – and dramatically so....

"Shah and Cunningham ... found that more women entered prostitution, particularly white and Asian women, and that the price of their services fell. In addition to the lower rate of gonorrhea infections among women, Shah and Cunningham estimated that decriminalizing prostitution prevented 824 rapes that would have been otherwise reported to police – and presumably many more that otherwise would not have been reported in any case.

"The decline in the number of rapes was so large that Cunningham and Shah felt obliged to examine their data with three separate statistical methods, but the effect persisted. The authors were eventually persuaded that their result was not a fluke, and that imposing criminal sanctions on prostitutes and their clients might cause violence against women. 'The human costs are so big, if this is in fact a very real causal effect,' Cunningham said. 'I think we have convinced ourselves that we have done everything we can do rule out alternative explanations.'"

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Rand Paul keynote speaker at Reboot conference

Silicon Valley’s Libertarian revolution - Darren Samuelsohn -

July 20, 2014 - "Libertarian and conservative technology types huddled this weekend on Nancy Pelosi’s home turf making big promises about what they can do to help Republicans win more elections....

"Gathering in the swank W hotel, a confab of wealthy start-up founders, college engineering students, long-shot local GOP candidates and self-described political geeks professed their mutual disdain for heavy-handed government and declared allegiance to a Rand Paul-style of governing....

"Paul himself was in the house, delivering a 24-minute keynote that drew comparisons between Ayn Rand and irrational Washington behavior and also slammed President Barack Obama for advancing regulations and surveillance policies that Paul said are out of whack with what Silicon Valley is all about

"'I come out here and people say, ‘We loved President Obama. We’re all for President Obama. We’re from the tech community,' Paul said to a standing room only crowd of several hundred attending the Lincoln Labs conference. 'Why? Why would you be? He’s not for innovation. He’s not for freedom. He’s for the protectionism crowd. He’s for the crowd that would limit the activities of these companies.'

"Paul’s push into the Bay Area’s Democratic stronghold has a clear motive – drawing money from the region’s recently rich and tapping into some of the same engineering talent that Obama used to great effect in his 2008 and 2012 campaigns. Interviews here with more than two dozen conference attendees suggested the prospective GOP 2016 presidential candidate has made some conversions."

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Alvin Toffler: "Shut down public education system"

Reshaping Learning from the Ground Up | Edutopia - interview by James Daly, Edutopia::

January 24, 2007 - Forty years after he and his wife, Heidi, set the world alight with Future Shock, Alvin Toffler remains a tough assessor of our nation's social and technological prospects. Though he's best known for his work discussing the myriad ramifications of the digital revolution, he also loves to speak about the education system that is shaping the hearts and minds of America's future. We met with him near his office in Los Angeles, where the celebrated septuagenarian remains a clear and radical thinker.

You've been writing about our educational system for decades. What's the most pressing need in public education right now?

"Alvin Toffler: Shut down the public education system....

"Let's look back at the history of public education in the United States.... Late in the 1800s, during the Industrial Revolution, business leaders began complaining about all these rural kids who were pouring into the cities and going to work in our factories. Business leaders said that these kids were no good, and that what they needed was an educational system that would produce 'industrial discipline'....

"The public school system is designed to produce a workforce for an economy that will not be there. And therefore, with all the best intentions in the world, we're stealing the kids' future.

"Do I have all the answers for how to replace it? No. But it seems to me that before we can get serious about creating an appropriate education system for the world that's coming and that these kids will have to operate within, we have to ask some really fundamental questions....

"For example: Should education be compulsory? And, if so, for who? Why does everybody have to start at age five? Maybe some kids should start at age eight and work fast. Or vice versa. Why is everything massified in the system, rather than individualized in the system? New technologies make possible customization in a way that the old system -- everybody reading the same textbook at the same time -- did not offer.

"Any form of diversity that we can introduce into the schools is a plus. Today, we have a big controversy about all the charter schools that are springing up. The school system people hate them because they're taking money from them. I say we should radically multiply charter schools, because they begin to provide a degree of diversity in the system that has not been present. Diversify the system.

"In our book Revolutionary Wealth, we play a game. We say, imagine that you're a policeman, and you've got a radar gun, and you're measuring the speed of cars going by. Each car represents an American institution. The first one car is going by at 100 miles per hour. It's called business. Businesses have to change at 100 miles per hour because if they don't, they die. Competition just puts them out of the game. So they're traveling very, very fast.

"Then comes another car. And it's going 10 miles per hour. That's the public education system. Schools are supposed to be preparing kids for the business world of tomorrow, to take jobs, to make our economy functional. The schools are changing, if anything, at 10 miles per hour. So, how do you match an economy that requires 100 miles per hour with an institution like public education? A system that changes, if at all, at 10 miles per hour?"

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

A case for libertarianism

MIRON: A case for the libertarian - Washington Times - Jeffrey Miron, Cato Institute:

July 17, 2014 - "As the American political scene becomes ever more polarized, citizens of all political views have tired of both the liberal and conservative perspectives. The two 'mainstream' perspectives strike many as inconsistent and hypocritical, and far more similar than different. Both advocate large and intrusive government, albeit in different arenas, despite rhetoric that claims otherwise.

"What these disillusioned Americans really want is libertarianism, which advocates small government across the board. Misleading or one-sided characterizations notwithstanding, libertarianism is precisely the 'third way' that many Americans desire.

"Libertarianism is not the claim that individuals are always rational, or that markets are always efficient, or that the distribution of income under laissez-faire capitalism is always 'fair.' Rather, it is the claim that, despite the imperfections of private arrangements, government interventions usually make things worse. Thus, non-intervention is the better policy.

"Libertarians, for example, oppose drug prohibition because it generates more harm — violent black markets — than drug use itself. Libertarians oppose many economic regulations because they entrench the large existing firms that can more easily absorb the added costs, thereby reducing competition and harming consumers. Libertarians oppose foreign interventions because they cost far more than initially acknowledged while failing to help either America or the target countries. Libertarians also oppose numerous interventions, such as trade restrictions or agricultural subsidies, because they distort market efficiency while arbitrarily enriching some Americans at the expense of others."

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Liberals and libertarians forging House alliances

Liberals and Libertarians Find Common Ground in House - - Jonathan Weisman:

July 15, 2014 - "From abortion to electronic privacy to background checks for gun purchases, a strange thing has been happening on the floor of the House as it debates its spending bills for the coming fiscal year: the stirrings of liberalism.

The House on Thursday voted 221 to 200 to approve an amendment by one of its most vocal liberal members, Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, to ban federal contracts for companies that set up sham headquarters in offshore tax havens like Bermuda. Thirty-four Republicans bucked their party to push it to passage....

"On May 30, 49 Republicans crossed the aisle to approve language barring the federal government from raiding medical marijuana dispensaries....

"The day before, 76 Republicans joined Democrats to add $19.5 million to the federal instant background check system for gun purchases. The House Appropriations Committee has approved an amendment to allow Peace Corps volunteers who become pregnant by rape to have a federally funded abortion and another measure limiting the federal government’s access to private email communications....

"On June 19, the House voted 293 to 123 to prohibit the National Security Agency and C.I.A. from placing 'backdoor' surveillance technologies on commercial technology products and to end warrantless collection of Americans’ online activities. That amendment, passed over the White House’s objections with a veto-proof margin, was written by Representative Thomas Massie, Republican of Kentucky and one of the House’s most outspoken libertarians, with the Democratic Representatives Zoe Lofgren, who represents Silicon Valley, and Rush D. Holt of New Jersey, a physicist."

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Republicans try to get Libertarians off ballot in Illinois

Libertarian, Green Party politicians seeing blocks by established parties - News - Journal Star - Peoria, IL - Chris Kaergard:

July 16, 2014 - "Libertarian governor candidate Chad Grimm of Peoria, running mate Alexander Cummings of West Peoria and Green Party secretary of state candidate Sheldon Schafer of Peoria could be booted from the ballot along with the rest of their nominees for constitutional office thanks to the objections filed by Democratic and Republican party loyalists....

"Illinois law requires candidates from third parties — and those running as independents — to submit many more signatures already to get on the ballot than those running under the banner of the established parties, Republican and Democrat. For statewide office, while candidates from the two familiar parties have to file 5,000 names on nominating petitions, others must come up with 25,000 people willing to provide a John Hancock. (It’s higher still in some congressional races; in the 18th District, a candidate would have to file more than 16 times the 1,014 signatures a GOP candidate would need or the 626 a Democrat has to file.) ....

"'They’re not going to try to make it easy for people who are going to challenge the monopoly,' said Kent Redfield, an emeritus professor at the University of Illinois-Springfield. 'The rules are written by the people in power … The Democrats and Republicans will fight each other on (changing) different aspects of election law on early voting or same-day registration, but when the issue is a challenge to the monopoly that the Democratic and Republican parties have on Illinois elections, clearly the rules are written to discourage third parties and independent candidates.'

"The Libertarian Party ticket turned in 43,921 total signatures, and not quite 24,000 have been challenged by a pair connected to state Republicans. The Green Party ticket fielded just fewer than 30,000 signatures and about 12,000 have been challenged by an official connected to state Democrats. Constitution Party candidates also face a similar challenge."

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

U.S. Libertarian Party joins anti-CISA coalition

Libertarian Party joins coalition urging veto of cybersecurity bill | Westmoreland Times:

July 16, 2014 - "The Libertarian Party calls for President Barack Obama to veto the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) of 2014, joining a coalition of other organizations that oppose this bill, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Sunlight Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Center for Democracy and Technology....

"CISA, which was marked up in a secret, closed session last week, focuses on increasing information sharing between the government and private sector. Having passed out of the Intelligence Committee, the bill is now set to head to the Senate floor with few meaningful privacy protections added....

""CISA authorizes the federal government to use the information in a broad range of investigations and prosecutions, such as Espionage Act investigations, raising questions about increased harm to whistleblowers and journalists. The bill also offers broad immunity protections for corporations, disincentivizing companies from protecting the privacy of users and limiting access to remedy for those whose rights are impacted. Additionally, CISA fails to incorporate any significant lessons learned regarding the critical role of transparency in oversight, providing a broad new categorical exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, the first since the Act’s passage in 1966."

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Australian senator to move marriage equality bill

New senator David Leyonhjelm urges libertarian MPs to 'come out of the closet' and support same-sex marriage - Lisa Cox, Sydney Morning Herald:

July 14, 2014 -"Liberal Democratic senator David Leyonhjelm has called on 'true' liberals in the Abbott government to support same-sex marriage, confirming he will move a marriage equality bill as soon as the Coalition agrees to a conscience vote.

"Senator Leyonhjelm said on Monday that he would bring a private member's bill to the Parliament to redefine the Marriage Act, which currently defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

"'I ask you to understand that the liberties you care about should be available to everybody, and that there is no place in Australia for second-class citizens,' Senator Leyonhjelm told reporters in Canberra....

"He exhorted Labor leader Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Tony Abbott to support his bid to give same-sex couples marriage rights.

"'Today, I challenge Mr Shorten and Labor Party members to look Senator [Penny] Wong in the eye and tell her she does not deserve equal rights. Today, I challenge Mr Abbott and Liberal Party members to do the same with Mr Abbott's sister,' he said.

"Labor's leader in the Senate, Penny Wong, and Mr Abbott's sister, Christine Forster, a City of Sydney Liberal Party councillor, are both openly gay, with Ms Forster recently becoming engaged to her long-time partner.

"Labor Party MPs are permitted a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, but the Coalition is opposed to same-sex marriage and yet to grant its MPs a conscience vote, meaning any bill is unlikely to pass the Parliament."

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Nebraska governor hopeful wants to open minds

Nebraska governor hopeful Mark Elworth Jr. looks to fuel Libertarian Party’s fire - OMAHA METRO - Melanie Wilkinson, World-Herald News Service:

July 12, 2014 - "Mark Elworth Jr. says he realizes he is not likely to become the next governor of Nebraska, but he is hoping his candidacy will continue to build the Libertarian Party and give voters more choices....

"''Why did I choose to run? I looked at who was running ... This time around, there was no candidate I was interested in voting for, so I stood up and did it,' Elworth said. 'I was in the Green Party for years, and then when that dissolved, I went to the Libertarian Party. I’ve always been involved in third parties because we can speak our minds. I’m self-funded in this campaign, so I can say what I want, and I am for what the people want'....

"Regarding his candidacy for governor, 'I’m trying to open the minds of Nebraskans, Elworth said. “There’s a lot in this state that I see as wrong. I want us to have more green energy. I want to see more chemical farms moving to organic farming, which can’t be forced, but it’s important. I am against Obamacare, but I want to expand Medicaid for the people because we can’t have people working here with no insurance.

"'I also believe that cutting taxes would stimulate the economy.'

"Elworth also said he is extremely supportive of legalizing the farming of hemp, which he said would create a clean energy source in the state while providing jobs and new growing opportunities."

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Koch bio shines light on libertarian billionaires

Koch Brothers: The Real Thing - Justin Raimondo, The American Conservative:

July 9, 2014 - "According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Koch brothers are responsible for global warming and much else that’s wrong with the world. This is part of a strategy to demonize Charles and David Koch — the principals behind the country’s largest privately-held company — and make them the issue come Election Day. There’s a big problem with this strategy, however: a recent poll shows that most of Reid’s own constituents haven’t the slightest idea who the Brothers Koch are.

"Daniel Schulman’s much anticipated book, the first biography of the Koch family, may help voters bridge the knowledge gap — but Democrats are going to be disappointed if they think it will help their smear campaign. Indeed, it is likely to do the opposite....

"The story starts with Fred Koch, a son of Dutch immigrants who ... was at the 1958 meeting where [Robert] Welch first laid out his plan to fight the Communist menace and roll back the New Deal. The John Birch Society was a hybrid of Old Right libertarian economics and the McCarthyite paranoia of the 1950s, and Fred — by this time a tycoon — relentlessly lectured his four sons on the evils of collectivism and the value of hard work....

"When he took over from his father, Charles not only immersed himself in the details of the business but also undertook a systematic study of philosophy, economics, political science, and history because he understood that the success of his company — his life’s work — depended on the condition of the society it was selling to and serving. This was his doorway to libertarianism.

"In the early 1960s, Charles attended the Freedom School, a modest lodge surrounded by little cabins set amid the scenic foothills of Colorado’s Rampart mountain range. There he listened to the lectures of the school’s founder and leading light, the libertarian pacifist Robert LeFevre, an idiosyncratic figure whose charisma and absolute devotion to the idea of a stateless society ... sent one of the wealthiest and most politically influential figures on the American right down the road to a more humane and enlightened philosophy.

"A fork in that road was Charles’s developing relationship with the economist Murray Rothbard.... At a seminal meeting at a ski lodge in Vail, Colorado, in the winter of 1976, the two discussed what course to take — and what came to be known as the 'Kochtopus' was born.

"Rothbard wrote a lengthy memo outlining an ambitious plan that would come to fruition with the injection of a large amount of Koch funding. There would be a think tank, a magazine, a campus group, seminars and grants for promising libertarian scholars — all of which came to pass in the form of the Cato Institute; Inquiry, a biweekly directed at the left; a movement magazine, Libertarian Review; and a campus group dubbed Students for a Libertarian Society (SLS).

"To manage this operation, Charles and Rothbard recruited Edward H. Crane III, a young financial consultant and stockbroker whose tenure as head of the barely four-year-old Libertarian Party had demonstrated rare organizational abilities."

Read more:

Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty, Daniel Schulman, Grand Central, 432 pages.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

LP could affect outcome in 10 U.S. Senate races

Meet Sean Haugh, the Libertarian pizza guy who may deliver a Senate seat in N.C. - The Washington Post - Karen Tumulty & Reid Wilson:

July 6, 2014 - "Most evenings, Sean Haugh is a pizza deliveryman.

"But every other week or so, the Libertarian Party’s Senate nominee in North Carolina opens a few craft beers ... and expresses his Everyman frustrations with the current political system into a video camera.

"So far, Haugh’s campaign barely exists anywhere but on YouTube. But it is doing surprisingly well in a high-stakes Senate contest in which candidates and outside groups have already spent more than $15 million.

"Four polls lately put his support somewhere between 8 and 11 percent — not enough to suggest a realistic possibility of winning, but conceivably enough to affect the outcome of the race. The same surveys show the margin between incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan and her GOP challenger, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, at six points or less....

"North Carolina is not the only state where Democrats and Republicans are starting to look over their shoulders and down the ballot.

"Libertarians are poised to draw votes in at least 10 other competitive Senate elections this fall — in Montana, Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Michigan, Virginia, West Virginia and Alaska. The party is working to collect enough signatures to appear on ballots in Kentucky and New Hampshire and is attracting attention with gubernatorial candidates in Florida and Kansas

"How well any of them will do is hard to predict. Many pollsters have a policy of excluding from their surveys third-party candidates who lack celebrity or financial resources, on the theory that people who say they will vote for them rarely end up doing it, said Kenneth Fernandez, director of the Elon University Poll, which does not plan to add Haugh to its horse-race questions."

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Wisconsin LP files complaint over debate exclusion

Let us in! Wisconsin libertarians file complaint to get in debates « - Ryan Eykvall, Wisconsin Reporter:

July 10, 2014 - "The Libertarian Party of Wisconsin says the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association provides illegal in-kind campaign contributions to candidates who qualify for its television debates.

"The association bars candidates from participating in the televised debates unless they have 10 percent voter support in polls and raise $250,000 in campaign contributions. This, the party says in its complaint to the Government Accountability Board, essentially amounts to free advertising for Republicans and Democrats.

"The Libertarian Party wants its candidate for governor, Robert Burke, to be allowed to take part in all televised debates.

"'(WBA is) saying certain candidates are electable and certain candidates aren’t,' said Andrew Craig, who filed the complaint. Craig is a Libertarian running for secretary of state. 'They’re advocating for the election of Republican and Democrat candidates and the defeat of their opponents.'

"GAB spokesman Reid Magney confirmed the agency received Craig’s complaint, but said he couldn’t say anything more about it.

"According to state law, the agency will review the complaint to decide whether there’s reasonable suspicion of a violation. If the GAB finds the complaint is frivolous, the agency can charge Craig up to $500 or for the expenses of investigating the complaint."

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

University pays YAL to settle anti-discrimination suit

University of Michigan pays libertarian student group to settle political discrimination lawsuit - Ann Arbor Journal - Heritage Newspapers:

July 10, 2014 - "The University of Michigan has settled a lawsuit brought by a student libertarian club after the university spent thousands supporting leftist campus groups while denying funding to campus conservative and libertarian clubs.

"The university agreed to pay the U-M Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) a sum of $5,000 plus attorney fees for denying the student group funding toward an event hosted by anti-affirmative action activist Jennifer Gratz....

"The student government denied YAL's request for financial support of Gratz's visit, citing a policy of not funding 'political' events.

"YAL filed suit when they discovered the student government had approved funding for a radical pro-affirmative action group's bus trip to Washington D.C. to protest at the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of affirmative action."

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Big business targeting GOP libertarians

Big Business Vs. Libertarians in the GOP - The Daily Beast - David Boaz:

June 12, 2014 - "Around the country, ... big business is devoting a surprising amount of effort to trying to defeat the small number of libertarian-minded members of Congress and state legislatures.
Why, for instance, did big companies spend so much money to defeat a Republican Georgia legislator last month? Apparently Rep. Charles Gregory was just too libertarian for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the companies like Coca Cola, Delta Airlines, Georgia Power, and AT&T, who suddenly set up the “Georgia Coalition for Job Growth” to oppose him and other tea party legislators.....

"In Kentucky, business leaders lobbied hard though unsuccessfully to persuade Steve Stevens, head of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, to run against Rep. Thomas Massie....

"A Washington business consultant has moved to northern California to challenge anti-earmarks Rep. Tom McClintock, because he 'thinks representatives should deliver for folks back home,' in the words of a local reporter. 

And that’s just it. It isn’t gay marriage or foreign policy that seems to annoy big and politically connected businesses. They just object that libertarian legislators don’t play the game, don’t bring home the bacon, and actually take seriously the limited government ideas that most Republicans only pay lip service to." 

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Johnson named CEO of Cannabis Sativa Inc.

President Gary Johnson: Former Libertarian candidate lands top job with marijuana company — RT USA:

July 2, 2014 - "Gary Johnson, the former two-term governor of New Mexico and the Libertarian Party’s candidate in the last United States presidential race, has been named the CEO and president of a budding Nevada-based marijuana startup.

"Cannabis Sativa Inc. announced on Tuesday this week that Johnson, 61, has been brought aboard the company concurrent with the acquisition of Kush, 'a development stage company engaged in the research, development and licensing of specialized natural cannabis products.' According to a press release published by the group this week, the company plans to sell marijuana-infused oils intended to treat hypertension, as well as a throat lozenge for recreational use.

"'The successful completion of the merger represents a major milestone for Cannabis Sativa, Inc.' Johnson said in a statement. 'With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, we are already seeing that the demand is significant. We believe the opportunity is here to deliver products that could change the world for the better....

"'I think in 10 years, for the most part, the US will legalize marijuana,' Johnson said in this week’s statement. 'And what the US does, so does the world'.

"Along with bringing Johnson on board, Cannabis Sativa has also appointed Steve Kubby — the founder of Kush and a former Libertarian Party candidate for governor of California — as its chairman.

"On his part, Johnson will only be paid an annual salary of $1, plus equity, for assuming the role of the company’s president and CEO."

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Murray: The problem is progressives, not liberals

Charles Murray: The Trouble Isn't Liberals. It's Progressives. - Wall Street Journal:

June 30, 2014 - "A few weeks ago, I was thrown into a situation where I shared drinks and dinner with two men who have held high positions in Democratic administrations. Both men are lifelong liberals. There's nothing 'moderate' about their liberalism. But as the pleasant evening wore on (we knew that there was no point in trying to change anyone's opinion on anything), I was struck by how little their politics have to do with other elements of the left.

"Their liberalism has nothing in common with the political mind-set that wants right-of-center speakers kept off college campuses, rationalizes the forced resignation of a CEO who opposes gay marriage, or thinks George F. Will should be fired for writing a column disagreeable to that mind-set. It has nothing to do with executive orders unilaterally disregarding large chunks of legislation signed into law or with using the IRS as a political weapon. My companions are on a different political plane from those on the left with that outlook — the progressive mind-set....

"[T]he progressive movement at the turn of the 20th century had roots in German philosophy (Hegel and Nietzsche were big favorites) and German public administration (Woodrow Wilson's open reverence for Bismarck was typical among progressives). To simplify, progressive intellectuals were passionate advocates of rule by disinterested experts led by a strong unifying leader. They were in favor of using the state to mold social institutions in the interests of the collective. They thought that individualism and the Constitution were both outmoded....

"It is that core philosophy extolling the urge to mold society that still animates progressives today — a mind-set that produces the shutdown of debate and growing intolerance that we are witnessing in today's America. Such thinking on the left also is behind the rationales for indulging President Obama in his anti-Constitutional use of executive power. If you want substantiation for what I'm saying, read Jonah Goldberg's 2008 book Liberal Fascism, an erudite and closely argued exposition of American progressivism and its subsequent effects on liberalism. The title is all too accurate."

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

The case for libertarian populism

The Case for Libertarian Populism - Conn Carroll - Town Hall:

July 1, 2014 - "Something is rotten in the United States of America.

"Except for a brief surge of pride after the United States swore in its first black president in 2009, Americans have consistently told pollsters for more than a decade that they believe our country is heading in the wrong direction.

"Neither party is offering an agenda that speaks to America’s concerns.

"Democrats only want to grow the size and scope of the federal government at a time when America’s trust in its federal government has never been lower. Republicans want to cut taxes for the wealthy and help big corporations at a time when Americans believe federal government policies already favor the wealthy....

"There are millions of Americans who share the Republican Party’s limited government vision but just don’t vote for them because Republicans have a reputation for supporting the rich and not caring about the poor.

"By pursuing an agenda and crafting a message that demonstrates how a smaller government can help the everyday lives of average Americans, especially those with lower-incomes who suffer from regressive payroll taxes and government subsidized debt, Republicans can win elections in presidential years again."

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Virginia Libertarians sue over ballot placement

Libertarian Sarvis sues elections board over ballot placement - Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia News:

July 3, 2014 - "Robert C. Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, several of the party’s congressional candidates and an independent have filed a federal lawsuit against the Virginia State Board of Elections.

"They are asking the court to strike down Virginia’s law requiring Democrat and Republican candidates to be given the two top spots on ballots.

"In the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that the law violates the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution by favoring the election chances of Democrat and Republican candidates at the expense of Libertarian Party and independent candidates. The Rutherford Institute, a conservative nonprofit legal organization, filed the suit Wednesday with the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia."

"The complaint says that while it is obvious that, in any given election, some candidate must be listed first, and some candidate listed last, “an electoral system that is designed to ensure that a specific class of candidates always has a ballot position more favorable than other classes of candidates is inherently unconstitutional.”

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

'Libertarian utopia' at Porcupine Freedom Festival

Inside the libertarian version of Burning Man: Guns, booze and bitcoin - The Washington Post - Ben Terris:

July 2, 2014 - "Like any good bonfire, the evening ritual at the Porcupine Festival deep in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, includes a drum circle, plumes of marijuana smoke, shared bottles of whiskey and spirited debate.

"There are also guns. Lots of guns....

"Once a year for the past 11 years, this campground in the northern part of the Granite State turns into a libertarian utopia. And this year, roughly 2,000 people — mostly white men — have paid between $45 and $100 to experience for one week what life would be like without the onerous mechanisms of laws, if the market ruled to the exclusion of all else. Want to wear a loincloth and sell moonshine, shop at an unregulated market that accepts Bitcoin and silver, or listen to a seminar called “How the Collapse of the State is Inevitable”? Then this is the place for you....

"Porcfest — as it’s known here — is put on by the Free State Project, a group dedicated to recruiting at least 20,000 libertarians to move to New Hampshire. The idea — that a group of this size can make a difference in a state with a low population — came from an essay in 2001 by then-Yale doctoral student and current Dartmouth lecturer Jason Sorens. Thirteen years later, the FSP has had nearly 16,000 people sign a 'statement of intent' to move. The plan is that when 20,000 people sign the list, it will 'trigger' a large migration. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 people have moved already."

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Kill The Export-Import Bank - Time

House Conservatives Are Right: Kill The Export-Import Bank | TIME -Michael Grunwald:

July 2, 2014 - "The self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives who run the Republican Party did not object to the bloated agribusiness subsidies in this year’s $956 billion farm bill. They’ve fought for weapons systems the Pentagon doesn’t want and water projects the country doesn’t need. They’ve helped repeal sensible flood insurance reforms designed to slash subsidies for waterfront property. And now they expect us to cheer their efforts to kill the obscure Export-Import Bank, which doesn’t even cost taxpayers money?

"Sure, why not? The Republicans may be hypocrites, but they’re right to take aim at the Ex-Im Bank.

"The Ex-Im is, as Senator Barack Obama said during his presidential campaign, 'little more than a fund for corporate welfare.' It provides cheap credit to foreign borrowers, often cash-flush behemoths like Brazil’s state-owned oil company or the emirate of Dubai, so they can buy products from U.S. exporters, often cash-flush behemoths like Boeing, Bechtel, Caterpillar or General Electric. It’s dearly beloved by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, but it’s often earned its reputation for crony capitalism. William Jefferson, the congressman memorably caught with cash in his freezer, got his dirty money in exchange for introducing corporate executives to Ex-Im officials, and the Justice Department is now investigating potential corruption inside the bank....

"Opposing the Ex-Im doesn’t mean agreeing with the Tea Party notion that government shouldn’t try to do anything — just that it should stop trying to do this."

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

'Princess of Pot' seeks Liberal nomination in BC

Canada's 'Princess of Pot' takes shot at federal politics | CTV Vancouver News - Penny Daflos:

June 24, 2014 - "One of the country’s biggest advocates in the push to legalize marijuana has a new plan to take her fight to Ottawa.

"The so-called 'Princess of Pot' Jodie Emery – the wife of jailed marijuana activist Marc Emery – intends to run for the Liberal nomination in East Vancouver.

"'I think with the Liberal party endorsing legalization, the benefit is just too great for all Canadians. I have to put my name behind endorsing that party,' she told CTV News....

"Emery ran as the Green candidate in Vancouver-Fraserview in the 2009 B.C. provincial election.

"'I don't really know where to pin myself. I have run with the Green Party, but I'm a fiscal conservative. I could be called a Libertarian, I am a capitalist. I do believe in taxpayer-funded education, healthcare and some other basic necessities but I think there's a lot of waste in government," she said....

"Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's announcement last year that he supports regulating and taxing marijuana changed things for Emery.

"With the Tories attacking Trudeau and sticking with their hard line anti-pot policy, it seems a natural fit for Emery to join forces with the Grits."

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