Sunday, August 31, 2014

Meet Portugal’s libertarian secretary of tourism

Adolfo Mesquita Nunes: Portugal’s Libertarian Tourism Ambassador | Rising Stars | OZY - Laura Secorun Paley,

August 26, 2014 - "'A free spirit.' That’s what people call Adolfo Mesquita Nunes.... Mesquita is the country’s eccentric secretary of state for tourism, and his unique style and apparent success are making him a political darling among the right-wing ranks of the People’s Party (CDS-PP), part of Portugal’s ruling coalition. He’s also an enfant terrible: a supporter of not just economic liberty, but social liberty, including gay rights and abortion rights.

"'Freedom is the most important political value for me. It comes before anything else,' he says. 'So when somebody comes to me, my first question is never, "How can I help?" but "What can I do to let the market do what it wants?"'

"Since Mesquita got the job nearly two years ago, Portugal’s tourism industry has taken off, though it’s hard to say how much is his doing. Last year, tourist arrivals hit a record — over 14 million, more than Portugal’s 10 million people — and the first half of 2014 is up 12 percent over 2013. In this economically depressed country with 15.2 percent unemployment, tourism generated 20 percent of new jobs last year....

"He dropped almost all traditional tourism campaigns, such as expensive institutional ads on public transport, sponsored sports events and TV commercials. Instead, he’s gone for online advertisements, social media presence and intense media PR campaigns that helped land Portugal on the cover of National Geographic’s Traveler magazine....

"He’s also cut red tape, reduced taxes and made it easier to set up businesses such as walking tours and food stands. Before, these companies needed to have several types of insurance and costly licenses. Now operating fees are down by 80 percent and the process requires just a single form sent to the Tourism Office for a registry number. Tour guides no longer need certification.

"'Often, whatever you let the state rule, the state will ruin,' says Mesquita, 'so instead of doing a plan to "promote" those businesses, we got out of their way and now there are twice as many as there were a couple years ago'....

"Mesquita traces his 'love of freedom' back 20 years to his grandfather’s library.... Browsing through the shelves at age 14, a title caught his eye: Free to Choose by Milton and Rose Friedman, in which the couple argue that capitalism and the free market are the solution to all economic problems. 'I got it. It all made so much sense to me after reading it,' he recalls. 'Ever since, I’ve been wanting to fight for my freedom to do what I want and let others to do the same.'"

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

25% fewer OD deaths where pot legal, study finds

Fewer Painkiller Deaths in States With Medical Marijuana: Study – WebMD - Dennis Thompson:

August 25, 2014 - "States that have legalized medical marijuana tend to experience an unexpected benefit -- fewer overdose deaths from narcotic painkillers, a new study suggests.

"Access to medical marijuana is associated with 25 percent fewer prescription drug overdose deaths each year compared to states where medical pot is illegal, according to findings published Aug. 25 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

"What's more, states that pass medical marijuana laws see their overdose death rates decrease dramatically in the years immediately afterward, researchers reported.

"The study authors believe that people suffering from chronic pain tend to rely on medical marijuana when they have that option, which reduces the risk of addiction and overdose that accompanies use of narcotic medications.

"''We think that people with chronic pain may be choosing to treat their pain with marijuana rather than with prescription painkillers, in states where this is legal,' said lead author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber, a researcher with the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center."

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Friday, August 29, 2014

EDvantage offers libertarian resources for schools

Koch-funded think tank offers schools course in libertarianism | Center for Public Integrity - Chris Young:

August 26, 2014 - "Pop quiz, teachers: Would you like to inject a strong dose of libertarianism into the curriculum you take back to school this fall?

"If you answered yes, then a Koch-funded think tank has exactly what you need. And it won’t cost you or your school a penny.

"The EDvantage, a project of the libertarian Institute for Humane Studies, bills itself as an online 'curriculum hub for pioneering educators.' The website offers high school teachers and college professors educational videos, articles and podcasts on topics including economics, history and philosophy....

According to its website, EDvantage is funded by the John Templeton Foundation, whose core funding areas include 'individual freedom and free markets.'

"Program director Daniel Green said through a foundation spokeswoman that the two-year, $739,000 grant is meant 'to further Sir John Templeton’s objective of supporting education about the enhancement of individual freedom and free markets.' In addition to funding free-market initiatives, the foundation — founded by the billionaire global investor and mutual fund pioneer — supports a variety of other causes, including ones related to science and religion.

"The Institute for Humane Studies, which is housed at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, is funded largely by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. The think tank, whose mission is to advance 'a freer society,' received $12.4 million from the Charles Koch Charitable Foundation from 2008 to 2012, according to annual tax documents."

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Alaska LP selects Mark Fish for Senate race

Alaska Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate withdraws; replacement waits in wings | Alaska Dispatch - Pat Forgey:

August 27, 2014 -"Alaska Libertarians say their party's U.S. Senate nominee, Thom Walker, has pulled out of the race, and they've selected a nominee to take his place as soon as state elections officials allow.

"Walker made his decision known on a post to the Libertarian Party's Facebook page Wednesday, and the party's executive board met quickly to select Libertarian stalwart Mark Fish to replace him as the party's nominee. Fish had been endorsed by the party before the election as well.

"Fish said Wednesday that his candidacy will give Alaskans a chance to vote for a candidate who will stand up against government intrusions on Alaskans' property rights.

"'Our congressional delegation is not taking them to task for that. They're more focused on propping up federal spending in Alaska than ensuring Alaskans have rights to their land and their resources,' Fish said.

"The election of little-known Walker came as a surprise to many, especially state party leaders, and led to speculation that the last name he shared with Republican-turned-independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker might have led to the victory....

"Walker was unavailable for comment Wednesday, and party chair Michael Chambers said he is currently working north of the Brooks Range and only has contact through satellite telephone. Chambers has not talked to his party's nominee since last week's election, he said, and the Facebook post was the first notification from Walker since his win."

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kentucky Libertarian thrown off ballot

Judge throws Libertarian off ballot - Scott Wartman,

August 23, 2014 - "It turned out that county attorneys need to be practicing attorneys after all.

"That's how Circuit Court Judge Gregory Bartlett ruled Friday afternoon when he threw a Libertarian candidate for Boone County attorney off the November ballot.

"Libertarian Joseph Szeremet is one of two Libertarian candidates in Northern Kentucky fighting to stay on the ballot in a year when the Libertarians have put six candidates on local ballots in Northern Kentucky.

"In the other case, Kenton County Clerk Gabrielle Summe filed suit against her Libertarian challenger, Christopher Robinson, alleging he hasn't lived in Kentucky long enough to qualify to run for office.

"That case will have a hearing in Kenton County Circuit Court next Friday....

"The judge commended Szeremet on his interest in running for public office but called his candidacy 'an absurdity.'

"Szeremet was a licensed attorney for 32 years in Michigan but retired 10 years ago and isn't licensed in Kentucky....

"Szeremet said Bartlett misconstrued the constitution, which states that a county attorney should be a practicing attorney for two years. Szeremet interpreted that as any two years and not necessarily the current two years. He doesn't know if he'll appeal.

 "'Frankly I'm losing interest, because I'm by myself,' Szeremet said. 'I don't have a law firm or anything like that. But I have time. I'm not going to necessarily be on the ballot, but I may take the issue up just to prove him wrong.'"

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

AZ police seize $455,000 from medical marijuana grower

Over $455,000 Seized from Medical Marijuana Patient Slapped with Civil Asset Forfeiture - Tracy Oppenheimer::

"In March 2013, Steve Oates' home in Goodyear, Ariz. was stormed by police, SWAT, and DEA agents because of a marijuana grow room in the guest house.... Oates' doctor had recommended medicinal marijuana for Oates' chronic back pain, so he attained a medical marijuana card with cultivation rights....

"Oates met a few other patients who shared concerns about underground marijuana channels, and they decided to start growing together. Oates had their entire supply during the raid, which ended up being more than the permitted amount that he could grow with cultivation rights. He pled guilty to possessing under two pounds of marijuana.

"But the conviction ended up being the smallest price that Oates had to pay. Goodyear Police Department brought Oates' case to the Attorney General, who consequently slapped Oates with over $455,000 in civil asset forfeiture. Civil asset forfeiture is when the government can seize property and finances that they suspect have a connection to illicit activity. However, they sue the property instead of the person, so there doesn't have to be a related conviction.

"'That's what they're claiming, is that the market value of the sales that he allegedly made was $455,000,' says Oates' attorney John Moore. 'They don't have any proof or any evidence that the property that they are trying to forfeit is related to the crime of his possession of marijuana for sale....

"'In a typical civil case, it's the plaintiff that has the burden of proof. But in a civil forfeiture case, it turns­­ out it's actually the defendant that has to show where this money came from,' says Moore. 'We have to show by preponderance of the evidence, that this money that they are trying to forfeit came from legal means.'

"Moore adds that Arizona has a direct incentive to utilize asset forfeiture because unlike other states, Arizona law enforcement gets to keep seized funds for their own departments."

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Libertarians survive Illinois ballot challenge

Coming in Illinois’s November election: Term limits, no; Libertarians, yes - News - Journal Standard - Freeport, IL- Kerry Lester, Associated Press:

August 27, 2014 - "The Illinois State Board of Elections dealt a double blow today to Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.

"First, it finalized a Nov. 4 ballot that does not include a referendum he championed to limit the terms of legislators. And it allowed on the ballot a Libertarian candidate who could undermine his support among conservatives....

 "In the nationally watched governor’s race, board members voted to not include Green Party, Constitution and independent bidders for governor on the ballot because the parties gathered an inadequate number of required petition signatures. However, they allowed the Libertarian ticket, Chad Grimm and Alexander Cummings, alongside Rauner and Evelyn Sanguinetti, and Democrats Gov. Pat Quinn and Paul Vallas.

"Third-party candidates typically take about 5 percent of the vote, with recent election history showing their ability to swing a very close race. In 2010, Quinn defeated Republican Sen. Bill Brady by less than 1 percent of 3.6 million votes, with independent, Green and Libertarian candidates receiving 7 percent of the total."

"Grimm, a 33-year-old Peoria resident, has made previous bids for state representative and Peoria City Council. He is running on a platform that includes eliminating state income taxes and privatizing education. He also calls for ... eliminating regulations on firearms — other than gun owners being at least 18 — and 'ending the war on marijuana'."

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Paul & Cruz praised, criticized for Ferguson responses

Ferguson response shows libertarian divide between Paul and Cruz | TheHill - Kevin Cirilli:

August 17, 2014 - "Rand Paul and Ted Cruz’s differing tone in response to the Ferguson riots could provide clues for the divergent trails they're forging to woo libertarian voters in 2016.

"Both the Kentucky and Texas Senate Republicans urged that civil liberties be protected in statements following unrest in Ferguson, Mo.. After an officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an 18 year old African American teen, last weekend, riots have erupted and police have been criticized for using overly-aggressive force against protesters and reporters calling for answers.

"Strategists say Paul struck a more provocative tone against in his TIME op-ed, calling for the demilitarization of police but also noting inequality in the prison system. Meanwhile, Cruz took a more tame tack in calling for protection of civil liberties.

"'With Ferguson, Rand Paul took a more libertarian approach – Ted Cruz is just giving lip-service to civil liberties,' said Wes Benedict, president of the Libertarian Party. 'I think the press sometimes gives Sen. Cruz undue credit for leaning-libertarian, but I just don't see it.' Benedict added: 'You're not really libertarian when your gut reaction is to defend militarized police and say, 'Let's study this"'....

"On Friday, authorities were still releasing details into the investigation, including allegations that Brown robbed a convenience store to steal cigars. His family has since criticized authorities for attempting to smear their son's name, and later the Ferguson police chief said the officer who killed Brown did not know he was a suspect in a robbery that took place minutes earlier....

"Matt Wills, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, praised Cruz for 'saying, let's figure this out first and let cooler heads prevail' and compared Paul's rhetoric to that of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).....

"'Look, I live about 4.5-miles outside of Ferguson,' Wills said. 'I really feel for that community... but the political response from Paul and McCaskill to what happened is a little premature.'"

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

What 'libertarian moment' critics are missing

What 'libertarian moment' scoffers and critics get wrong - The Week - Shikha Dalmia:

August 18, 2014 - "In this time of political polarization, it's rare to find a moment of comity. But that's exactly what we've found in the wake of Robert Draper's recent New York Times Magazine feature suggesting that the 'libertarian moment' might have finally arrived in America.

"Not only did both liberals and conservatives dismiss the claim, they did so for similar reasons: Young Americans care more about their personal freedom than their elders but less about economic freedom.... Their main evidence — confirmed in a Reason-Rupe poll conducted by my colleague, Emily Ekins that Draper prominently cites — is that Millennials want government to offer, among other things, guaranteed health care (69 percent) and college education (54 percent), a higher federal minimum wage (71 percent), and higher taxes on the wealthy (66 percent).

"Worse, Ekins found that 54 percent of Millennials support a 'larger government providing more services,' far more than older Americans....

"But ... the strong support that Millennials express for 'large government and more services' drops 19 percentage points — back to the natural average of Americans as a whole — when the phrase 'with higher taxes' is added to the question....

"One reason why Millennials are less bothered by such economic interventionism than their elders is that they are less affected by it. The rise of the internet economy has offered them an escape from stultifying regulations and onerous taxes that govern traditional brick-and-mortar industries....

"But this happy arrangement where they stay out of government's way and the government stays out of theirs can't last forever. The crushing debt of the massive entitlement state will inevitably cause Uncle Sam and states to try to tax the internet, especially as the revenues from Main Street businesses decline. Likewise, city governments won't simply sit by and let internet services render their meticulously created regulatory structures obsolete....

"Millennial quiescence on economic interventionism is therefore deceptive. When they feel the government's heavy hand closing in, they'll slap it away, just as they are doing now with their pot plants and doobies. Pot legalization might just be a harbinger of things to come on the economic front."

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Thom Walker wins Alaska LP Senate primary

Walker wins primary … for Libertarian Senate nomination - KTOO - Alexandra Guttierez, APRN:

August 22, 2014 -  "The Libertarian Senate primary was supposed to be a race between two former party chairs: conservative Mark Fish and the more liberal-leaning Scott Kohlhaas. And then there was candidate Thom Walker. 

"Walker had been a registered Republican until this spring. He hasn’t campaigned or raised any money. He hasn’t even joined the Alaska Libertarian Party Facebook page. So, when Walker got 2,600 votes – more than Fish and Kohlhaas combined – it was not expected.

"Michael Chambers, the chair of the Alaska Libertarian Party ... was pretty confused, until he realized that Thom Walker shared a last name with another candidate for statewide office – that is, Bill Walker, an independent candidate for governor who has spent more than $100,000 on signs, internet advertising, and traditional media buys.

"Chambers thinks all that promotion of the Walker name may have something to do with the outcome of the Libertarian race. The Libertarians hold an open primary with the Democratic and Alaska Independence Parties, so anyone can vote in their race – including people who aren’t familiar with Libertarian Party workings....

"Chambers suggests it’s possible that Thom Walker is a plant, and he doesn’t intend to support Walker at this time. Chambers adds that he’s reached out to Walker multiple times over the past three months, and none of his calls have been returned....

 "Thom Walker also didn’t return messages left by APRN. A source close to Walker explained that he had left for an extended float trip through the Endicott Mountains on Wednesday, and will be off the grid for the duration."

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Paul files Senate bill to protect marijuana users

Rand Paul Takes Bold Stand on Medical Marijuana: Protect Its Users from Federal Law - Policy.Mic - Abdullah Saeed:

August 21, 2014 - "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) filed an amendment to protect users and purveyors of medical marijuana from federal law on July 24.

"If approved, doctors, patients and growers in states where medical marijuana is legal will not be arrested and prosecuted by federal authorities for marijuana possession, cultivation or distribution, as reported by the Huffington Post. Currently, anyone in the U.S. can be imprisoned for up to three years for simple possession. Those growing or selling it can be imprisoned for life....

"Right now, using marijuana in a state with legal marijuana, medical marijuana, or lowered penalties for marijuana use can lead to arrest for violating federal law.

"This law would eliminate the incongruence between state and federal protocols surrounding marijuana. Even as states like Colorado and Washington implement recreational sales, and states like Oregon and Alaska prepare to vote on full legalization, the Federal Government remains firm in its anti-marijuana stance....

"Despite the wave of state-level legalization, federal forces continue to raid and prosecute harmless medical marijuana outfits. In March, the House of Representatives voted to block the DEA from targeting medical marijuana operations, but the measure is still pending Senate and joint committee approval, leaving state-level medical marijuana communities vulnerable. Paul’s amendment could finally nail down the rule — the federal government can’t mess with state-level legalization."

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Iowa Libertarian running in 8th election

Libertarian to again challenge Wessel-Kroeschell | Ames Tribune - Gavin Aronsen:

August 14, 2014 - "For the eighth consecutive time since 2000, Ames resident Eric Cooper is running for state office as a member of the Libertarian Party.

"An Iowa State University associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, Cooper qualified this week for ballot access to run against state Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames, in State Representative District 45. The news prompted Iowa City blogger John Deeth, in a post titled “Persistence Breeds Failure,” to declare him the losingest candidate who will appear on Iowa ballots in November....

"But for Cooper, winning has never been the goal. The closest he came was in 2008, when he received 21 percent of the vote in a two-way race against state Rep. Lisa Heddens, D-Ames, before the state was redistricted after the 2010 Census.

"'If the Libertarians could get 10 percent (of the vote) on a regular basis, that essentially forces the two major parties to start trying to adopt some of our issues to try to poach our voters, because 10 percent is enough to decide almost every election between a Republican and a Democrat,' Cooper said....

"Cooper sees his role more as to set an example to encourage other Libertarians to run for office.

"'It’s hard to get people to run, so I want to be an example and show them, look, it’s not that hard,' he said. 'The requirements in Iowa are actually quite low to get on the ballot. We’re quite lucky for that'....

"Libertarian Party candidates in Iowa have qualified for ballot access in eleven state and national races, including Wessel-Kroeschell’s District 45, according to a candidate listing released Friday evening by the Iowa Secretary of State’s office shortly after the filing deadline.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One of two disputed SD Libertarians on ballot

Chad Haber, four other Libertarians, certified for ballot - Jonathan Ellis & David Montgomery, Argus Leader:

August 18, 2014 - "One disputed Libertarian Party candidate made the ballot Monday, while another was ruled ineligible.

"The decision by Secretary of State Jason Gant to certify attorney general nominee Chad Haber but not Public Utilities Commission nominee Ryan Gaddy leaves the Libertarians with five statewide candidates....

"At issue is a state law requiring candidates to be members of the party that nominates them to run for an office.

"Gaddy and Haber had both been registered Republicans who changed to the Libertarian Party shortly before that party's Aug. 9 convention.

"Gant said Haber's party switch was valid, because he filled out his form on Friday at a recognized voter registration — a Sioux Falls driver licensing facility. Gaddy filled his change of registration form out at the convention, hours before he was nominated.... In a letter certifying Haber, Gant wrote that Gaddy's voter registration wasn't done in time.

"The law on where voter registration forms have to be filled out is 'vague,' Gaddy said, and more important he said the law requiring candidates to be members of the party nominating them is unconstitutional.

"A 1986 Supreme Court decision [held] it would infringe on a political party's rights were a law to 'provide that only Party members might be selected as the Party's chosen nominees for public office'."

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Monday, August 18, 2014

SD Republicans want Libertarians on ballot

South Dakota GOP urges Gant to accept Libertarian candidates - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports:

August 17, 2014 - "Two Libertarian candidates for state-wide offices are at risk of being removed from the November ballot.

"Secretary of State Jason Gant is investigating Chad Haber's Attorney General nomination and Ryan Gaddy's run for the Public Utilities Commission under the Libertarian ticket.

"It stems from both candidate's voter registration.

"The South Dakota GOP is planning to call Gant tomorrow.

They want to recommend letting the two candidates stay on ballot and to certify all of the nominees.

"The party said they want to focus on what each candidate stands for rather than whether or not they should be on the ballot.

"'We believe it's just a distraction right now about who should be on the ballot or not and it's time to focus on the issues; the voters deserve that,' said Rob Burgess with the South Dakota GOP."
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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Emery planning revenge on Harper government

Marc Emery’s reefer revenge just might work - Kevin Broker, The Province:

August 7, 2014 - "'Revenge!' Now there’s an anguished utterance you normally expect only to hear in bad Shakespeare parodies. Not last week, however, when Marc Emery, Canada’s so-called Prince of Pot, ... said: 'My own government betrayed me and I’m going to wreak an appropriate amount of political revenge when I get home and campaign against the Conservative government.'

"Emery served nearly five years for the crime of selling seeds, 'chained and shackled every inch of the way,' and, obviously, he isn’t about to forgive and forget....

"Emery is now poised to re-enter his chosen life’s work of cannabis activism in the most significant way possible, by threatening to turn the next federal election into a single-issue referendum on legalizing cannabis. He and his many supporters are planning to campaign for the Liberals and will thus hold Justin Trudeau’s feet to the fire regarding his pledge to end the legal morass that is cannabis prohibition.

"Emery’s team already has 30 rallies planned across the country, surely with many more to come. His plan is to energize young voters on what will be framed as a civil-rights cause, irrespective of their personal relationship to cannabis....

"The Tories, of course, will take every opportunity to disparage him, as they already have, as 'a drug dealer who just got out of jail.'

"But as the next few months unfurl, I suspect we will see Emery quietly absorbed into the Liberal fold. After all, he has buckets of money, commitment and organization. The prospect of him stumping for their brand could do the Liberals a huge favour, whether they admit it or not."

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Rand Paul on the Ferguson tragedy

Rand Paul: We Must Demilitarize the Police | TIME:

August 14, 2014 - "The shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown is an awful tragedy that continues to send shockwaves through the community of Ferguson, Missouri and across the nation.... The outrage in Ferguson is understandable — though there is never an excuse for rioting or looting. There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response.

"The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action.... How did this happen?

"Not surprisingly, big government has been at the heart of the problem. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies — where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement....

"When you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury — national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture — we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands.

"Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them.

"Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth."

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Friday, August 15, 2014

The 'prince of pot' returns to Canada

Marc Emery, 'prince of pot,' arrives in Windsor, Ont. - Windsor - CBC News:

August 12, 2014 - "Marc Emery, the self-proclaimed 'prince of pot,' has arrived in Windsor, Ont., after his release from a U.S. prison....

"Emery was handed a five-year sentence in the U.S. for selling marijuana seeds to American clients from his Vancouver-based company, Cannabis Culture. After spending just over four years behind bars, he was released Tuesday and flown from a facility in Louisiana to Detroit, where he crossed the border to Windsor.

"In a personal blog, Emery ... spoke about his plans to campaign for the legalization of marijuana through to the date of the next federal election.

"'You know people diminish our impact as voters as cannabis culture, but cannabis culture, is about three to four million Canadians and we are potentially the largest voting block in Canada... So I think we are a marginalized, underrepresented and underestimated voting block, and we can really make a big difference,' said Emery.

"He said he has a university tour booked in Canada starting in Jan. 2015 and will begin a 30-city Canadian tour on Sept.10, 2015 and continue until Oct. 17, the day before the next scheduled federal election.....

"Emery, who has vowed to seek political revenge against the Conservative government for its role in his extradition, plans several speaking engagements, including one in Toronto, before returning to his home on the West Coast on Sunday."

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ferguson, MO, shows cost of militarizing police

Police Militarization in Ferguson -- and Your Town | Cato @ Liberty - Walter Olson:

August 13, 2014 - "Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors? Why are the authorities in Ferguson, Mo. so given to quasi-martial crowd control methods (such as bans on walking on the street) and, per the reporting of Riverfront Times, the firing of tear gas at people in their own yards? ('"This my property!" he shouted, prompting police to fire a tear gas canister directly at his face.') Why would someone identifying himself as an 82nd Airborne Army veteran, observing the Ferguson police scene, comment that 'We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone'?

"As most readers have reason to know by now, the town of Ferguson, Mo. outside St. Louis, numbering around 21,000 residents, is the scene of an unfolding drama that will be cited for years to come as a what-not-to-do manual for police forces. After police shot and killed an unarmed black teenager on the street, then left his body on the pavement for four hours, rioters destroyed many local stores. Since then, police have refused to disclose either the name of the cop involved or the autopsy results on young Michael Brown; have not managed to interview a key eyewitness even as he has told his story repeatedly on camera to the national press; have revealed that dashcams for police cars were in the city’s possession but never installed; have obtained restrictions on journalists, including on news-gathering overflights of the area; and more."

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Libertarian makes U.S. Senate ballot in Kentucky

Kentucky Tea Party Activist on Senate Race: 'Majority of Our Group Will Vote for the Libertarian' - Michael Patrick Leahy, Big Government,

August 12, 2014 - "David Patterson, the Libertarian Party's nominee for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, confirmed on Tuesday to the Fox Business Network that Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes has certified his signatures, and he will be included on the ballot in November.

"Grimes is also the Democratic challenger to incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and stands to benefit from Patterson's inclusion on the ballot....

"Patterson emphasized that his entry into the race significantly increases the number of undecided voters, a point first highlighted in a Breitbart News article. '[W]hether I am in the race or not, the incumbent is two points ahead of the Democratic challenger,' Patterson said, referring to a recent Bluegrass Poll. '[W]hen I am included, the undecided vote swells from about 8 percent to 13 percent"....

"Tea Partiers in Kentucky, angry at McConnell's history of treating them poorly and stung by his crushing defeat of their endorsed candidate, Matt Bevin, in the May Republican primary, responded positively to the news that Patterson had qualified for the November ballot.

"'The Kentucky Tea Parties are not going to endorse or work for any of the candidates," Scott Hofstra, a spokesperson for the United Kentucky Tea Party, told Breitbart News. 'The large majority of our group will probably vote for Patterson, the Libertarian," Hofstra added. 'Estimates are that he will take 7-9% of votes. Probably hurt McConnell more than Grimes.'

"A new poll released on Tuesday by Public Policy Polling (PPP) confirms Hofstra's assessment."

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

U.S. customs seizes $41,000 from elderly woman

Money Hidden in Bra and Girdle Seized by Customs Officers - ABC News - Sarah Figaloria:

August 8, 2014 - "A Florida woman was allegedly caught carrying almost $41,000 through customs, with much of the cash reportedly hidden in her undergarments.

"Victoria Faren, 78, and her daughter were stopped April 2 while trying to board a flight to the Philippines out of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, federal court records indicate....

"Federal law requires travelers to declare to customs authorities if they are carrying more than $10,000 in cash....

"Records indicate Faren had been carrying a total of $40,977, which she allegedly said she had received after selling her home to her son for $120,000.

"The woman reportedly said she had been carrying the cash herself because she believed it would be safer than wiring the money to the Philippines....

"No charges were placed, but officers seized the $40,977 as 'currency forfeitable to the United States.' Assistant U.S. Attorney Gjon Juncaj is petitioning to have the cash forfeited to the government."

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Time covers YAL national convention in DC

Libertarian Student Activists Rally at National Convention | TIME - Becca Stanek

August 1, 2014 - : "A crowd of college kids screamed and cheered, belting out chants and pumping their fists. The energy in the room was palpable. Some craned their necks to get a better view and others nudged their friends in excitement. The kids weren’t waiting for a rock concert to start or a celebrity to walk across the stage. They were waiting for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) to kick off the annual Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) National Convention in Washington, D.C.

"Almost 300 student activists for YAL traveled from around the country to convene for a five-day convention filled with talks about liberty and appearances by prominent libertarian leaders. The convention kicked off Wednesday evening with an address by Sen. Rand Paul followed by a House of Representatives panel, featuring six members of the House Liberty Caucus.

"'Anybody here from the leave me alone coalition? How about the leave me the hell alone coalition?' Paul asked the room to a response of cheers. 'Some people are writing and saying there’s a libertarian moment in our country right now.' Speakers went on to talk about key libertarian party principles of personal and economic liberty, then touch on hot button issues for millennials, including the NSA, social security and the legalization of marijuana."

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

‘Liberty Kids’ control Los Angeles GOP

LA’s ‘Liberty Kids’ seek Republican Party shake-up | Features | The Malay Mail Online:

August 6, 2014 - "Amir Zendehnam passionately supports marijuana legalisation, same-sex marriage, abortion rights and the Republican Party.

"He is not alone. The 26-year-old aspiring restaurateur and chairman of the party’s West Los Angeles central committee, is one of a raft of ethnically diverse young libertarians who hold seats in LA County’s huge GOP apparatus, injecting youthful energy into its operations at a time when the state’s Republican Party is nearly moribund.

"After winning control [of] the executive board of the Los Angeles County Republican Party in December 2012, the “Liberty Kids,” as they call themselves, are seeing the fruits of their activism. This year one of their own is running as the Republican nominee for Congress from the San Gabriel Valley, with Zendehnam serving as policy adviser.

'The Liberty Kids are challenging the party’s social conservatives and are drawing the attention of Democrats, who see liberal youth as part of their base. And in what could be a harbinger for the GOP, they have begun campaigning in other states, aiming to increase their influence beyond California....

"The Liberty Kids hold four of seven seats on the local party’s governing board and dozens of spots on its 200-person central committee, representing a county that is home to 10 million people."

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Has the ‘Libertarian Moment’ arrived?

Has the ‘Libertarian Moment’ Finally Arrived? - - Robert Draper, New York Times Magazine:

August 7, 2014 - "Libertarians, who long have relished their role as acerbic sideline critics of American political theater, now find themselves and their movement thrust into the middle of it. For decades their ideas have had serious backing financially (most prominently by the Koch brothers, one of whom, David H., ran as vice president on the 1980 Libertarian Party ticket), intellectually (by way of policy shops like the Cato Institute and C.E.I. [Competitive Enterprise Institute]) and in the media (through platforms like Reason and, as of last year, 'The Independents'). But today, for perhaps the first time, the libertarian movement appears to have genuine political momentum on its side. 

"An estimated 54 percent of Americans now favor extending marriage rights to gay couples. Decriminalizing marijuana has become a mainstream position, while the drive to reduce sentences for minor drug offenders has led to the wondrous spectacle of Rick Perry — the governor of Texas, where more inmates are executed than in any other state — telling a Washington audience: 'You want to talk about real conservative governance? Shut prisons down. Save that money.' The appetite for foreign intervention is at low ebb, with calls by Republicans to rein in federal profligacy now increasingly extending to the once-sacrosanct military budget. And deep concern over government surveillance looms as one of the few bipartisan sentiments in Washington, which is somewhat unanticipated given that the surveiller in chief, the former constitutional-law professor Barack Obama, had been described in a 2008 Times Op-Ed by the legal commentator Jeffrey Rosen as potentially 'our first president who is a civil libertarian.'

"Meanwhile, the age group most responsible for delivering Obama his two terms may well become a political wild card over time, in large part because of its libertarian leanings. Raised on the ad hoc communalism of the Internet, disenchanted by the Iraq War, reflexively tolerant of other lifestyles, appalled by government intrusion into their private affairs and increasingly convinced that the Obama economy is rigged against them, the millennials can no longer be regarded as faithful Democrats — and a recent poll confirmed that fully half of voters between ages 18 and 29 are unwedded to either party. Obama has profoundly disappointed many of these voters by shying away from marijuana decriminalization, by leading from behind on same-sex marriage, by trumping the Bush administration on illegal-immigrant deportations and by expanding Bush’s N.S.A. surveillance program. As one 30-year-old libertarian senior staff member on the Hill told me: 'I think we expected this sort of thing from Bush. But Obama seemed to be hip and in touch with my generation, and then he goes and reads our emails.'"

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Vermont LP candidate runs for GOP nomination

Feliciano's push for GOP votes irks Libertarians: - Terry Hallenbeck, Burlington Free Press:

August 8, 2014 - "Libertarian Dan Feliciano ramped up his push Thursday for getting write-in votes in the Republican primary for governor, but in the process has irked both parties.

"Feliciano, 51, of Essex, held a news conference on the green in downtown Waterbury to urge voters to write his name in on the Republican primary ballot Aug. 26. Feliciano said he will more directly challenge incumbent Democrat Peter Shumlin over key issues, including health care and state spending. Feliciano said one his priorities is putting a stop to Shumlin's plans for single-payer government-funded health coverage....

"He called for focusing spending on 'core state functions.' He slammed Shumlin's efforts to offer IBM Corp. a freeze on electric rates and the possibility of $4.5 million in incentives as having 'an air of desperation about it.' He also dismissed Shumlin's goal of having 90 percent of the state's energy come from renewable sources by 2050 as 'economically dangerous and altogether ridiculous.' He said global warming, if it happens, will hold down Vermonters' heating bills and extend the growing season.

"Feliciano said his push for the write-in campaign stemmed from interest among Republicans looking for a candidate to challenge Shumlin on his health care plans. Joining Feliciano at Thursday's news conference was Republican political consultant Darcie Johnston, who served as campaign manager for unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock in 2012 and founder of the advocacy group Vermonters for Health Care Freedom."

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

LP candidate for governor hopes to force runoff

Libertarian candidate trying to force runoff in governor’s race |

August 6, 2014 = "The libertarian candidate in the Georgia governor's race is trying to force a runoff that could delay the outcome until December.

"Newcomer Andrew Hunt spoke to Channel 2’s Lori Geary about his background and reasons for running for governor.

"'I have a PhD in material sciences and engineering from Georgia Tech.  I immediately started up a nontechnology company,' Hunt said....

"It's his first run for political office.

"'The reason I did, the majority of the people who are polled say they're dissatisfied with both parties,' he said....

"Hunt said he knows he has an uphill climb but wants to force a runoff in Georgia’s governor's race.
The two leading candidates, Republican incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal and democrat Jason Carter are fighting it out on the airwaves and in interviews.

"Hunt said his main issue is wasteful spending and points to the massive overhaul of the Interstate 285/Georgia 400 interchange. 'That’s going to be $1 billion that's going to tie up traffic for years, rather than putting it into light sequencing systems which alleviate traffic much quicker and smoother,' Hunt said.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Amash wins primary, demands apology

Justin Amash wins Michigan Republican primary | World news | - Dan Roberts, 'The Guardian:

August 6, 2014 - "A leading congressional critic of the National Security Agency, Justin Amash, successfully fended off political attacks on his patriotism on Thursday in a lively night of primary elections.... Amash – who led the first attempt in the House of Representatives to rein in the NSA after revelations of mass domestic surveillance by Edward Snowden – comfortably defeated Brian Ellis for the Republican party nomination in Michigan’s third district.

"Ellis had campaigned heavily against Amash’s record on privacy issues and his separate calls for the closure of Guantánamo Bay, enlisting military veterans to record attack adverts that referred to him as 'al-Qaida’s best friend' in Congress.

"Amash’s well-funded challenger was also supported by powerful elements in Washington’s security establishment, including House intelligence committee chair Mike Rogers, making this primary election perhaps the first real test of public support for NSA critics at the ballot box.

"In an emotional acceptance speech Amash demanded an apology from Ellis for running a 'disgusting and despicable smear campaign' and claimed his win represented 'a remarkable margin of victory' given the number of establishment interest groups against him.

"'I think we sent a message loud and clear,' added the libertarian-leaning Amash after securing some 57% of votes cast against 43% for Ellis. 'The people of this district want liberty.'"

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

GA Libertarian cut from ballot due to "notary error"

Libertarian candidate sues state for ballot access | - Nicholas Fouriezos, Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

August 5, 2014 - "A Libertarian candidate has sued after he was left off the ballot to challenge State Rep. Scot Turner, R-Holly Spings, due to a notary error.

"Jeff Amason filed a lawsuit last week to gain a spot on the ballot. He also announced plans to file Tuesday for an emergency motion in Fulton County Superior Court, to make sure the case is addressed before state law requires the ballot to be printed on Aug. 29.

"The Georgia Engineering Foundation president had collected 1,800 valid petition signatures, enough to be placed on the ballot.

"However, Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office disqualified the majority of those signatures.
That’s because Amason’s wife served as a notary and distributor of many of the petition’s pages, Kemp said, which she also signed. That would seemingly go against a Georgia law which requires that 'no notary public may sign the petition as an elector or serve as a circulator of any petition which he or she notarized.'

"Amason disagrees with Kemp’s reading of the law, saying that a conflicting notary statute made the signatures valid.

He also said the interpretation was made to restrict third-party candidates."

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Minnesota talk show host walks out mid-show

Radio host Jason Lewis quits to focus on libertarian website | Minneapolis Star Tribune - Kristin Tillotson:

August 2, 2014 - "Twin Cities talk-show host Jason Lewis made a sudden exit from radio Thursday night, quitting in the middle of his syndicated show, heard locally on Clear Channel’s KTLK (1130 AM).

"Reached Friday morning, the conservative commentator said he decided to end 'The Jason Lewis Show' to devote his full attention to his fledgling libertarian website,, but also to put his money where his mouth is on taxation and highly regulated businesses.

"'There’s a tipping point for everyone and for the economy as well,' he said. 'I’m going to try to make certain [Minnesota Gov.] Mark Dayton gets as little of my money as possible going forward. My ending may have been a bit dramatic, but it’s a suitable one, because it’s happening all over. If people who take capital risks keep getting demonized, they will stop playing the game.'

"Lewis made a 15-minute video that the site calls a 'parody of what it is like working in a highly regulated industry and some of the events that led to his decision' to end his show.

", named for John Galt, the protagonist of libertarian hero Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel “Atlas Shrugged,” will be a 'marketplace for causes,' said Lewis.... 'We want to reward activism, but have fun as well'....

The site was launched after an independent crowdfunding campaign last November that raised nearly $800,000, largely on the strength of on-air promotions by Lewis, whose show was carried by more than 50 stations nationwide.... The 7,000-member site had been invitation-only, Lewis said, but the goal is to expand membership and increase capital."

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Common Core and corporate welfare

Common Core Is Crony Capitalism for Computer Companies - Hit & Run : - Robby Soave:

July 14, 2014 - "In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Bill Gates insisted that his support for the Common Core education standards was purely philosophical — he was offended by the notion that anyone would suspect him of pushing a policy that helps his own bottom line. He has no reason to peddle Common Core, he said, except that he cares deeply about the state of education in the U.S. and sincerely thinks expensive new curriculum standards and rigorous standardized testing will improve U.S. schools....

"But wait a minute — doesn't Gates work for a pretty big computer company, or something? Oh, and doesn't the testing component of Common Core require schools to upgrade their computer software? Who wants to bet that Core-aligned standardized testing requires Windows 8?

"It does! As The Post's Valerie Strauss points out, a Windows web page actually recommends that schools hurry up and buy the latest Windows software in order to enjoy a smoother transition to tech-heavy standardized testing required by Common Core....

"As Strauss writes, this fact does not make Gates a liar. It seems likely he does indeed think that imposing a set of uniform standards on the states will improve students' educational outcomes. But it should underscore that massive, expensive public policy changes — even well-intentioned ones — carry ramifications for rent-seekers. (Indeed, many states only agreed to the standards because the Obama administration promised them federal grant money in exchange.)

"I have already noted that Common Core looks like corporate welfare for textbook giants, since Pearson — the largest textbook company in the world — won a non-competitive government contract to design tests for half the states. It may also be crony capitalism for computer companies."

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

High time to end marijuana prohibition: NY Times

End Prohibition, Again - - Sunday New York Times, editorial:

July 27, 2014 - "It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

"The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana....

"There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use. But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization....

"The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to F.B.I. figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.

"There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the Reefer Madness images of murder, rape and suicide....

"We recognize that this Congress is as unlikely to take action on marijuana as it has been on other big issues. But it is long past time to repeal this version of Prohibition."

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Libertas Institute sues in Utah over Common Core

Lawsuit claims State School Board violated law by adopting Common Core | Deseret News - Benjamin Wood::

July 31, 2014 - "The State School Board violated Utah law by adopting the Common Core State Standards without substantive input from parents and educators, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by the Libertas Institute.

"The lawsuit includes six educators and parents as plaintiffs who allege they were denied an opportunity to be consulted prior to the Common Core's adoption, and seeks an order barring further implementation of the education standards.

"'Utahns almost unanimously will say that they favor local control in education,' said Connor Boyack, president of the libertarian advocacy organization funding the suit. 'The question is: What does that mean? Does it mean having elected officials in Utah managing a multi-state or a federal program, or does it mean that everyone affected by that system in the state plays a part in it?'....

"Education officials have long maintained the board's adoption and review of the standards were conducted in accordance with established policies and during public meetings, but because the issue of Common Core had not yet become a cause célèbre, participation in those meetings was sparse.

"But Boyack said holding a public meeting and expecting parents to involve themselves is not sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the law.

"Having an open meeting is not the same thing as consulting proactively with specifically identifiable groups," he said."

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