Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Major cannabis reform bill introduced in Congress

Path-Breaking Bill Would Legalize Medical Marijuana In States That Allow It - Jacob Sullum, Forbes:

March 26, 2015 - "This week Georgia’s legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill that allows people suffering from certain medical conditions, including epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, to treat their symptoms with cannabis oil that is low in THC but high in cannabidiol (CBD)....  But like the CBD laws adopted by 11 other states, Georgia’s bill ... does not legalize production or sale of the medicine it permits patients to take....

"A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on March 10 and in the House on Tuesday would address that problem by decriminalizing transportation of CBD oil from states that allow its production to states that allow its use. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act also would help patients in the 23 states that allow medical use of cannabis itself. The bill, which has bipartisan support, would amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) so that the federal ban on marijuana does not apply to people who grow, distribute, or use the drug for medical purposes in compliance with state law. Since this is the first time a bill legalizing medical marijuana has been introduced in both houses of Congress, the CARERS Act could represent a turning point in the national debate about this much-maligned plant.

"The bill’s chief Senate sponsors are Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)....So far the CARERS Act has attracted two additional cosponsors in the Senate ... Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). The bill was introduced in the House by Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Don Young (R-Alaska)....

"The bill would eliminate a Department of Veterans Affairs rule prohibiting physicians who work in its medical facilities from recommending marijuana to their patients....

"The bill would eliminate the extra layer of review by the U.S. Public Health Service that is required specifically for studies involving marijuana, and it would instruct the Drug Enforcement Administration to license three sources of cannabis in addition to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. NIDA’s marijuana monopoly is a major barrier to research....

"The CARERS Act also would move marijuana from Schedule I, supposedly reserved for drugs with no accepted medical use, to Schedule II, the most restrictive category for prescription drugs.... [M]oving marijuana to a lower schedule would officially acknowledge the evidence that it is a safe and effective treatment for symptoms such as nausea, pain, and muscle spasms....

"Borrowing language from the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2013, the bill would bar federal prosecutors and regulators from penalizing financial institutions for serving 'marijuana-related legitimate businesses.' It would also relieve banks of the requirement to file “suspicious activity reports' on such customers.

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2015/03/26/path-breaking-bill-would-legalize-medical-marijuana-in-states-that-allow-it/
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Monday, March 30, 2015

Canadian medical marijuana rules under fire

Focus: Medical marijuana continues to be source of litigation - Shannon Kari, Law Times:

March 30, 2015 - "There has been one constant since the Ontario Court of Appeal struck down the prohibition against possession of marijuana for medical reasons in 2000: the subsequent rules imposed by the federal government have been subject to repeated court challenges.

"The courts have found the regulations that govern medical marijuana to be invalid on more than one occasion and there are two current proceedings before the courts that could again require the federal government to go back to the drawing board.

"A Federal Court judge in British Columbia is presiding over an ongoing challenge to regulations that require those authorized to possess medical marijuana to buy from approved producers in the private sector.

"Late last month, the Supreme Court of Canada reserved its decision in an appeal from British Columbia on whether the rules permit only cannabis in dried form for medical marijuana patients.

"The result is ongoing uncertainty in an area where the government has rarely addressed the complaints of the medical marijuana community without a court challenge. At the same time, it’s a field where a number of private sector investors are eagerly trying to get into what they see as a growth market with even Health Canada officials estimating there could be at least 400,000 legally registered medical users by 2024.

"To add to the complicated legal landscape, a Tax Court judge ruled last year that even approved medical marijuana is subject to the goods and services tax because it’s more like an over-the-counter product than a prescription drug.

"Meanwhile, a new medical marijuana policy adopted earlier this year by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario states that approving cannabis use for a patient is equivalent to a prescription.

"For both people who are registered medical users and individuals and companies seeking to grow cannabis, it’s a confusing time."

Read more: http://www.lawtimesnews.com/201503304568/focus-on/medical-marijuana-continues-to-be-source-of-litigation
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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Human Events on Paul’s "Libertarian Meltdown"

POTUS 2016: Hillary’s Mob, a Cruz Missile and Rand’s Libertarian Meltdown | Human Events - Brian Darling, "Daily Events":

March 27, 2015 - "Libertarians are absolutely freaking out about Rand Paul these days.

"First, they melted down when he wrote a bill declaring war on ISIS. The bill also removed the 2001 Afghanistan and 2002 Iraq Authorizations for the Use of Force (AUMF), prevented the Obama Administration from using old AUMFs to fight new undeclared wars and limited the battlefield to Syria and Iraq. David Weigel of Bloomberg wrote that it limited the President’s war powers....

"Next, Sen. Paul signed Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-Arkansas) open letter to the leaders of Iran saying that any treaty or oral agreement that qualifies as a binding agreement between the nations would have to be submitted to the Senate pursuant to the Constitution for ratification. Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com wrote that Paul was 'the Neville Chamberlain of the liberty movement.' Libertarians ... ignored the fact that the letter’s contents were an accurate description of the constitutional authority of a president.

"Finally, Paul filed an amendment to the budget this week to make cuts to programs to pay for new military spending.... Nick Gillespie of Reason wrote a good analysis of the amendment while other libertarians were throwing [Paul] under the bus. The Amendment assumed that if the sequester was eliminated and projected levels of spending on defense were restored, cuts were necessary to pay for the new spending. Paul cut $21 billion in foreign aid, $14 billion from the National Science Foundation, $10 billion from the EPA, $20 billion from the Department of Education and $41 billion from HUD.

"On this common sense amendment, Senator Paul only received 4 votes (Sens. Paul, Enzi, McConnell and Vitter). Every Senator, and presidential aspirant, who voted against this amendment, believes that defense spending should not be offset. Ironically, this was the most libertarian amendment offered during the budget debate."

Read more: http://humanevents.com/2015/03/27/potus-2016-hillarys-mob-a-cruz-missile-and-rands-libertarian-meltdown/
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Saturday, March 28, 2015

What's up with Paul's defense budget amendment?

Breaking: "The Gist" of Rand Paul's Controversial Defense Budget Amendment 940 - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Nick Gillespie

March 26, 2015 - "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) [has] submitted a budget amendment calling for increased defense spending in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. As Time originally reported, the amendment called for increasing spending by a total of about $190 billion over those two years, or a 16 percent increase over current totals....

"In the proposed amendment, Sen. Paul provides an increase in defense spending with offsets from the following accounts:
  •  $21 billion from Foreign Assistance accounts (budget 150 function) 
  •  $14 billion from the National Science Foundation and Climate Change research
  • $10 billion total from the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Commerce ... 
  • $20 billion from Department of Education  
  • $41 billion in discretionary spending from the Department of Housing and Urban Development 
"These reductions would occur in both FY2016 and FY2017....

"Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has proposed an amendment to increase spending by about the same amount as Paul's, but Rubio's plan specifies no offsets in spending, says Bloomberg Politics' Erik Wasson. Like Paul, Rubio is a presumptive candidate for the GOP presidential nomination. According to various reports, declared candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has signed on to Rubio's plan and voted for its passage.

"So in this narrow sense, one can see meaningful difference between Paul and his fellow Senate colleagues: He is willing to pay for increases in defense spending by stipulating cuts elsewhere. And it's worth pointing out that his insistence on trimming foreign aid by $21 billion has already raised the ire of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

"Yes, it's great news that Paul is serious about debt and deficit in a way that escapes Cruz and Rubio — and virtually all Republicans, especially when it comes to Pentagon spending.

"But there remains a serious question about reducing the size, scope, and spending of government.... Now more than ever, the country needs a strong and unambiguous voice to argue that $600 billion is far more than enough to secure the safety and security of U.S. citizens and interests. If anything, we seriously need to be talking about cutting down the drag that debt-financed military spending puts on the economy and, more important, the awful outcomes the past dozen years of U.S. foreign policy has visited not just upon our armed forces but people around the globe....

"It's to Rand Paul's immense credit that he, alone among even his Tea Party compatriots who were sent to the Senate to reduce federal spending, wants to pay for any and all increases in defense spending.

"It will be better still, for the country and the wide, wide world, if Paul once again channels his earlier self and calls for a reduction in overall spending, including the reckless piling up of arms and men that have not advanced national security in any observable way."

Read more: http://reason.com/blog/2015/03/26/breaking-the-gist-of-rand-pauls-controve
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Cruz quotes Ayn Rand in Congressional Record

Ted Cruz and Ayn Rand | The Democratic Daily - Hart Williams:

March 23, 2015 - "from my book Ayn Nation Under God:
"Introduction to Special Government Shutdown Edition

"As I write this, the United States of America are in the ninth day of the Federal 'government shutdown'.... A week or so ago, when Ted Cruz of Texas was making himself a household name, he had a strange 'non-filibuster filibuster' and, for twenty hours or so, he laid out his reasons for wanting to shut down the U.S. Government. The Congressional record recalls the fateful moment when Senator Cruz explained WHY this shutdown was necessary. He was going Galt. It was Wednesday, September 24, 2013:

"'We are a nation that was founded on liberty,' Senator Cruz intoned, 'Always defend liberty. You can’t go wrong with that as a mantra. In the interest of that, I would like to share a few excerpts of one of my favorite books, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.'

"And, after some filibustering that wasn’t actually a filibuster, Senator Cruz tipped his hand, quote: 'I want to point to some more excerpts from Ayn Rand that I think are relevant to the battle before this body. First, from Atlas Shrugged:’ [sic]
We are on strike, we, the men of the mind. . . . We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties…[Congressional Record Vol. 159 WASHINGTON, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2013 No. 127—Part II, page 57.] - See more at: http://thedemocraticdaily.com/2015/03/23/ted-cruz-ayn-rand/#sthash.jvtCDKY1.dpuf
"This was not enough of a plug for Senator Cruz, however, who continued: 'Let me encourage any of you who have not read Atlas Shrugged’ to go tomorrow and buy Atlas Shrugged and read it. What is interesting is in the last 3 years sales of Atlas Shrugged have exploded, because we are living in the days of Ayn Rand,' adding, 'I will share a few excerpts that are all fundamentally about liberty and the liberty that ObamaCare infringes.'

Read more: http://thedemocraticdaily.com/2015/03/23/ted-cruz-ayn-rand/
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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Massie co-sponsors bill to repeal PATRIOT Act

House effort would completely dismantle Patriot Act | TheHill - Julian Hatten:

March 24, 2015 - "Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) on Tuesday unveiled their Surveillance State Repeal Act, which would overhaul American spying powers unlike any other effort to reform the National Security Agency....

"The bill would completely repeal the Patriot Act, the sweeping national security law passed in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, another spying law that the NSA has used to justify collecting vast swaths of people's communications through the Internet.

"It would also reform the secretive court that oversees the nation’s spying powers, prevent the government from forcing tech companies to create 'backdoors' into their devices and create additional protections for whistleblowers.

"'Really, what we need are new whistleblower protections so that the next Edward Snowden doesn’t have to go to Russia or Hong Kong or whatever the case may be just for disclosing this,' Massie said.

"The bill is likely to be a nonstarter for leaders in Congress, who have been worried that even much milder reforms to the nation’s spying laws would tragically handicap the nation’s ability to fight terrorists. A similar bill was introduced in 2013 but failed to gain any movement in the House.

"Yet advocates might be hoping that their firm opposition to government spying will seem more attractive in coming weeks, as lawmakers race to beat a June 1 deadline for reauthorizing portions of the Patriot Act."

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/technology/236769-house-effort-would-completely-dismantle-patriot-act
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Andrew Napolitano criticizes Cruz; Cruz responds

Ted Cruz Campaign Addresses Two Key Criticisms From Prominent Libertarian Judge Napolitano | TheBlaze.com - Jason Howerton:

March 23, 2015 - "Appearing on Fox Business Network on Monday, Judge Andrew Napolitano, a prominent figure in the libertarian movement, noted two key issues that he feels Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is getting wrong. However, a spokesperson for the Cruz campaign told TheBlaze that it seems Napolitano misinterpreted some of the conservative lawmaker’s positions."

"Napolitano said his 'heart sank' when Cruz spoke about a 'federal right to education' during his first campaign speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, on Monday. Here’s the exact wording from the transcript of Cruz’s speech:
“Imagine embracing school choice as the civil rights issue of the next generation, that every single child, regardless of race, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of wealth or ZIP Code, every child in America has the right to a quality education.”
"The campaign spokesperson told TheBlaze Cruz absolutely was not claiming that every person has a federally guaranteed right to education, and he never mentioned the federal government in making the point. Instead, the spokesperson said Cruz was advocating for 'bottom-up' education reform centered around school choice, the 'right' to choose....

"Secondly, Napolitano argued that he believes Cruz 'probably would join all the other Republicans but Rand Paul with the idea that we should — to use Woodrow Wilson’s phrase — make the world safe for democracy, which means perpetual death and perpetual war.' Again, the spokesperson said the interpretation wasn’t quite right.

"The campaign official directed TheBlaze to a Bloomberg View article titled, 'Ted Cruz, Tea Party Hawk,' as a resource to get an accurate representation of Cruz’s view on foreign policy issues. You can read the portion of the article cited by the Cruz spokesperson below:
"The central touchstone for U.S. foreign policy should be defending the vital national security interests of the United States," he said. He called weakness on that obligation "the most central failing” of the foreign policies of President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton."
"In his brief Senate career, Cruz has sometimes sided with libertarians such as Paul on big national security issues, as when he opposed Obama’s request for authorization to attack Syria after Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons (Obama later withdrew that request). But Cruz has also sided with the hawks in opposing Obama’s nuclear negotiations with Iran and pushing for more sanctions on the Tehran regime."

Read more: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/03/23/ted-cruz-campaign-addresses-two-key-criticisms-from-prominent-libertarian-judge-napolitano/
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The importance of David Boaz's Libertarian Mind

The 'Live And Let Live' Philosophy That Informs The Policies Of Rand Paul - Ralph Benko, Forbes:

March 23, 2015 - "Libertarianism no longer seriously can be considered marginal. It has emerged as an important part of our public discourse.

"Sen. Rand Paul writes, 'They say the libertarian moment has arrived.  If you want to understand and be part of that moment, read David Boaz’s The Libertarian Mind where you’ll be drawn into the "eternal struggle of liberty vs. power," where you’ll learn that libertarianism presumes that you were born free and not a subject of the state'....

"David Boaz, gentleman and scholar and long time friend, has picked a great time to help clarify libertarianism and define it with his revised and retitled book The Libertarian Mind: A manifesto for freedom.

"Once upon a time conservatism, too, was a tiny, marginal, and not very influential school of thought.... Thinkers on the Right lamented the condition of conservatism and the seemingly irresistible tides against it. To many, like F.A. Hayek, it seemed as if the whole world was turning Left. Seeking support for his new conservative magazine, William F. Buckley Jr. conceded that the Left easily dominated the realm of ideas in America and that 'the few spasmodic victories conservatives are winning are aimless, uncoordinated, and inconclusive.'

"There the matter might have rested, with liberals gloating and conservatives lamenting, except for the publication of a remarkable book by a young assistant professor of history at a Michigan 'cow college.' The unknown historian was Russell Kirk; the book was The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Santayana (1953); and modern American conservatism has never been the same.

"The days of irrelevance for conservatism and libertarianism are long gone. Libertarianism is gaining both in popularity and stature. The Libertarian Mind belongs in the canon with the writings of Nozick, Hayek, and Epstein....

"As it happens, long ago conservatism and libertarianism came to an intermittently tense but mostly happy modus vivendi, challenging and strengthening both. The rapprochement came about primarily thanks to National Review’s Frank Meyer. Meyer postulated, and brought forth upon this continent, a new doctrine. He called it “Fusionism,” wherein, to oversimplify, conservative ends are to be achieved by libertarian means.

"As contemporary conservative pillar Donald Devine wrote, last November, in The Federalist:
Reagan identified his philosophy with the great Western tradition especially as elaborated by the conservative theorist Frank S. Meyer, who "in his writing fashioned a vigorous new synthesis of traditional and libertarian thought—a synthesis that is today recognized by many as modern conservatism."

[Reagan stated:] “It was Frank Meyer who reminded us that the robust individualism of the American experience was part of the deeper current of Western learning and culture. He pointed out that a respect for law, an appreciation of tradition, and regard for the social consensus that gives stability to our public and private institutions, these civilized ideas must still motivate us even as we seek a new economic prosperity based on reducing government interference in the marketplace"....
"Boaz’s manifesto for freedom presents as the contemporary gold standard of the libertarian creed ... 'the philosophy of live and let live,' which might serve well as any libertarian’s bumper sticker, and as extolled in The Libertarian Mind: A manifesto for freedom, has much to recommend it."

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2015/03/23/the-live-and-let-live-philosophy-that-informs-the-policies-of-rand-paul/2/
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Monday, March 23, 2015

A free market solution to food waste

A Libertarian Perspective on Food Waste - Jeff Siegel, Green Chip Stocks:

March 20, 2015 - "We've been going out to the orchards to pick our own apples for years. And I suppose I'm pretty spoiled, because I can barely stomach apples from the grocery store these days....

"The apples we pick don't look like the apples you find at the grocery store. Most are oddly-shaped, speckled with insect nibbles and visible scars and blemishes. None of these would ever get pas[t] a grocery store buyer, yet the flavor and nutritional value of these apples is superior to anything offered at the food store....

"Of course, even the orchards that source most grocery stores don't exclusively produce 'perfect visual specimens.' And in many cases, the apples that don't meet the prerequisite for observable perfection are often wasted or used in a capacity that devalues the product, leaving the farmer with produce that can't command a decent price....

"However, ... [a]s reported in SFGate …
"We waste 40 percent of our food, and the National Resources Defense Council reports that 20 percent of produce is wasted at the farm. Fruit and vegetables that don’t meet strict supermarket standards for size and appearance usually go to waste....

Palo Alto’s Bon Appetit Management Co. has now started a program that could make a dent on some of this waste on the farm, since it feeds vast numbers of people at the corporate, university and museum cafeterias it runs across the country, including at Google locations.

Called Imperfectly Delicious Produce, the program connects with produce aggregators and farmers to bring items like just-barely scarred apples and broccoli fines (loose broccoli florets) into Bon Appetit kitchens.

Since launching in May, Bon Appetit’s Northern and Southern California sites have purchased 35,000 pounds of produce that might have otherwise been thrown out....
"Eliminating food waste while honoring free market principles – without the assistance, demands or objections from government.

"It'll be interesting to see if this idea catches on. But if the economics work (which I'm sure they do), I can easily see a lot of higher-end restaurants utilizing this model to provide quality ingredients while improving margins."

Read more: http://www.greenchipstocks.com/articles/a-libertarian-perspective-on-food-waste/2339
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Sunday, March 22, 2015

The four pillars of libertarian feminism

Meet The Four Pillars of the Libertarian Feminist Movement - The Libertarian Republic:

March 20, 2015 - "The birth of the libertarian movement itself can be credited for the most part, to the incredible work of three remarkable women. However, there are many strains of libertarianism, and movements within the movement, so today we’ll telling you about four more women, who were tremendously influential in the libertarian feminist movement....

"Some of the most striking anarchist thought at the turn of the century was written by the incredibly eloquent feminist, Voltairine de Cleyre. She was a prolific writer and orator, opposing the state, marriage and the domination of religion over sexuality and women’s lives. Her essays have been collected into a book, and many can also be found online....

"Suzanne LaFollette was a journalist and author, an early feminist and a rigorous opponent of government intervention. She founded several magazines for the causes of libertarianism, and wrote one of the first full-length books on libertarian feminism, Concerning Women, in 1926. An excerpt of it called “Beware the State” can be found in The Feminist Papers, an anthology by Alice Rossi....

"The author, editor, journalist and political activist, Joan Kennedy Taylor, played a significant role in the development of the modern libertarian movement, and was an advocate of individualist feminism. My short little blurb about her cannot do her resume justice.... She was national coordinator of Association of Libertarian Feminists ... 1989-2003, and wrote numerous essays for the organization. She also wrote two books: Reclaiming the Mainstream: Individualist Feminism Rediscovered and What to Do When You Don’t Want to Call the Cops: A Non-Adversarial Approach to Sexual Harassment....

"Barbara Branden.... This Canadian writer, editor and lecturer was known best for her marriage to Nathaniel Branden and her friendship and dramatic estrangement from Ayn Rand. Barbara Branden’s book, The Passion of Ayn Rand, was a controversial but humanizing look at a woman many have trouble understanding. She also contributed the lead essay “Ayn Rand: The Reluctant Feminist” to the anthology Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand. She was eloquent and nuanced, as evident by the quote above.

"These four women were trailblazers in setting out to bring feminism and libertarianism together, addressing the concerns of the growing feminist movement with libertarian ideas, instead of authoritarian ones. Their tradition continues."

Read more: http://thelibertarianrepublic.com/meet-the-four-pillars-of-the-libertarian-feminist-movement/
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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Paul draws libertarian flak over Tom Cotton letter

Why Real Libertarians Hate Rand Paul - The Daily Beast - Olivia Nuzzi:

March 20, 2015 -  "Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) penned an open letter to 'the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.' The letter stated, rather condescendingly, that Iranian leaders 'do not fully understand our constitutional system.' Soon a new president would be in office, Cotton wrote, and that president could (if Republican, would) 'revoke' any executive agreement President Obama signs.

"Cotton, a neoconservative ... opposes U.S. engagement with Iran, and he has previously expressed a desire to halt any dialogue between the two countries over Iran’s nuclear program. 'The end of these negotiations isn’t an unintended consequence of congressional action,' Cotton told the Heritage Foundation in January. 'It is very much an intended consequence. A feature, not a bug, so to speak.'

"Paul has historically favored the negotiations Cotton seeks to stop. In 2012, he objected to new sanctions on Iran. In January, as his likely Republican primary competitors Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio warned of the threat of a nuclear Iran, Paul appeared skeptical.... Paul’s position on Iran has always been closer to Obama’s than to that of his fellow Senate Republicans — until March 9, when he joined 47 of his fellow Senate Republicans in signing the letter.

"'This is more than a flip-flop. This is a backflip,' Justin Raimondo, the editorial director of Antiwar.com, told me on Wednesday. 'This was the last straw. I’ve put up with a lot from that guy! I’ve had to defend him like a Jesuit. I’m done. Let somebody else do it'....

"Raimondo acknowledges that he was much like many of the other Paul supporters I’ve spoken to: not entirely satisfied with the senator but willing to tolerate him if it meant hearing some of what Raimondo believed expressed on the national stage. 'I thought he was going to start a real debate about foreign policy in this country, and I thought he was a reasonably principled yet pragmatic politician,' Raimondo said. 'And now, apparently he’s just a panderer who would do anything to please people who hate him anyway and will continue to hate him no matter what he does — even if he changes his last name'....

"'He is taking his base for granted,' Raimondo complained.... 'I think he’s counting on the organizational muscle of the Ron Paul groups like the Campaign for Liberty [and] Young Americans for Liberty — but these are libertarians! They don’t take orders from the central committee!'....

"'It’s curious,' Christopher Preble, the vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, said of Paul’s decision. 'There’s a certain level of disappointment and surprise,' he said, but 'it’s not unique to libertarians'...  Overall, Preblo said, the Iran letter is 'just sort of embarrassing'....

"Jack Hunter, a reliable Paul defender and co-author of his first book, told me: 'I don’t necessarily agree with him signing the letter. I guess he has his reasons.' He acknowledged the letter was 'perhaps' a departure from the senator’s pro-negotiation position."

Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/20/why-libertarians-hate-rand-paul.html
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Greenpeace invents COI rule to attack scientist

In Defense of Dr. Willie Soon from Politically Motivated Attacks | Heartland Institute - James M. Taylor:

March 4, 2015 - "Dr. Wei-Hock Soon is a first-generation American who stands out in the predominantly white male world of climate science research. Not afraid to challenge the orthodox establishment, Dr. Soon (known to friends and colleagues as “Willie”) has published powerful scientific evidence that the Earth’s climate is not very sensitive to changes in carbon dioxide concentrations.

"After publication of his most recent coauthored paper in China’s leading journal of scientific research, the peer-reviewed Science Bulletin, published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and National Natural Science Foundation of China, environmental and partisan activist groups such as Greenpeace and MoveOn.org have attempted to smear Dr. Soon and his coauthors. These groups claim Dr. Soon violated academic ethics by failing disclose to the Science Bulletin some prior funding grants that might pose conflicts of interest....

"Contrary to media reports, the grants from 'energy interests' used to support Dr. Soon’s research were solicited and received by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, not by Dr. Soon himself.... Dr. Soon’s critics ... have presented no facts or evidence to show the Smithsonian was acting dishonestly in approving Dr. Soon’s grants or that the process used to approve those grants deviated from the policies it used to approve grants supporting the work of other scientists... .

"Objective evidence shows 'fossil fuel interests' fund many different research programs and institutions that have weighed in on all sides of the global warming debate.... Exxon-Mobil donated $100 million to support Stanford University climate research. General Electric also funds Stanford University climate research.... Similarly, the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation donated $150,000 to Berkeley Earth, a project run by Richard Mueller, a climate scientist who argues that humans are causing substantial global warming.... Large 'fossil fuel' companies also give sizeable donations to activist groups who adamantly support carbon dioxide restrictions....

"Few if any scientists working for universities and other research organizations receiving funding from 'fossil fuel interests' report the grants to the editors of scholarly journals when they submit subsequent and unrelated articles for publication. Such prior grants almost never appear in 'acknowledgements' of subsequent and unrelated published articles....

"Accordingly, the standard for disclosure proposed by Greenpeace, and which the media has widely condemned Dr. Soon for 'violating,' in fact is a new and unprecedented standard that few if any scientists, journal editors, or university administrators have ever applied. Worse, Greenpeace is calling for it to be applied retroactively and selectively, against a single scholar whose views happen to be at odds with Greenpeace’s declared views on a controversial topic.

"There is no logical justification for arguing Dr. Soon should have been aware that such a new standard would be invented and applied to him alone. Without such logical justification, it is preposterous to claim Dr. Soon violated ethical guidelines."

Read more: https://www.heartland.org/policy-documents/defense-dr-willie-soon-politically-motivated-attacks
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Allan Paley is LPC candidate in Lakeland (Alberta)

Libertarian candidate hopeful for 2015 | Lloydminster Meridian Booster - James Wood:

March 3, 2015 - "The official Libertarian candidate for the upcoming federal election in the riding of Lakeland has no illusions about his chances.

"Allen Kenneth Paley was born and raised in the Lakeland area. Born in Pierceland, Saskatchewan, Paley lived outside Bonnyville for most of his early life, later going to school in Red Deer until Grade 10, when he came back to Elk Point and finished his high school career. With the exception of a year spent in Vancouver, Paley has been living and working in the Lakeland area ever since. He now works with SAGD technology in the oil patch.

"Paley’s political awareness became a part of his life after the death of his father in Bonnyville. After his passing, Paley inherited his father’s guns, and began to read up on the legal framework regarding firearms in Canada. He soon grew frustrated with rules that he saw as 'draconian,' and became a supporter of the Conservative Party. However, he later distanced himself from the party in 2013.

"'As time went on, I discovered they were perhaps not all that they presented themselves to be,' said Paley. 'It seemed to me that they were merely giving lip service to the firearms community. Once I took off those rose coloured glasses, it became clear to me that it wasn’t the right fit for me.'

"Fresh off the dissatisfaction of the Conservative Party, Paley found an online community of podcasts and Internet radio that proposed ideas that sounded more appealing than what he had been hearing. Paley read up on the Libertarian movement, and agreed with the idea of a more limited government.

"'Some of the hardliners will say that taxation is theft, and there are arguments to support that,' said Paley.  'However we’re not trying to seize the levers of government to abolish it on our first day. We are stepping into the arena to make improvements to things.'

"Paley is now getting ready to submit papers and enter the political arena. It will be his first time running for office."

Read more: http://www.meridianbooster.com/2015/03/03/libertarian-candidate-hopeful-for-2015
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Libertarian vs. Progressive constitutionalism

National Review Urges Conservatives to Reject 'Libertarian Constitutionalism' - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Damon Root:

March 17, 2015 - "Writing in the March 9 issue of National Review, conservative writer Carson Holloway examines my new book Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court. His focus is on the book’s treatment of competing libertarian and conservative approaches to constitutional law. 'Conservatives are defenders of judicial restraint or judicial deference,' Holloway writes, which means they 'admonish the courts to show deference to the will of the majority' and uphold most democratically enacted statutes. 'Libertarian constitutionalism,' on the other hand, seeks vigorous judicial action “in defense of individual rights'....

"Holloway invokes the founding fathers, who, in his telling, consistently embraced the philosophy of judicial deference.... [Yet] James Madison, one of the primary architects of the original U.S. Constitution, argued in a 1789 speech to Congress that amending the Constitution to include a Bill of Rights would prompt the judiciary to serve as 'the guardians of those rights.' In fact, Madison wrote, the judiciary 'will be an impenetrable bulwark against every assumption of power in the legislative or executive.' Not exactly a roaring defense of judicial deference....

"In reality, today’s advocates of conservative judicial deference owe less to the 18th century founders and more to the turn-of-the-20th century Progressives, particularly to Progressive hero and thought leader Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. 'A law should be called good,' Holmes wrote, 'if it reflects the will of the dominant forces of the community, even if it will take us to hell.'

"Conservative hero Robert Bork expressed that same idea (albeit in less colorful terms) in his 1991 book The Tempting of America. 'In wide areas of life,' Bork wrote, 'majorities are entitled to rule, if they wish, simply because they are majorities.”

"What’s more, this Holmes-Bork/Progressive-conservative connection has never been a secret. When President Ronald Reagan nominated Bork to the Supreme Court in 1987, for example, Bork was explicitly advertised as a Holmes devotee. 'I would ask the committee and the American people to take the time to understand Judge Bork’s approach to the Constitution,' Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) told the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Bork hearings. 'That approach is based on "judicial restraint".... Now, Judge Bork did not invent this concept,' Dole explained. 'It has been around for a long time. One of the most eloquent advocates was Oliver Wendell Holmes.'

"According to National Review, 'conservatives must decide whether to buy what the libertarian legal movement is selling.” I agree. But at the same time, conservatives must also decide whether to buy another round of what the Progressive legal movement already sold them."

Read more: http://reason.com/blog/2015/03/17/national-review-urges-conservatives-to-r
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Monday, March 16, 2015

Seasteading Institute negotiating reality TV series

Reality show about an unregulated offshore techno-libertarian Utopia in the works | VentureBeat | Business | by Gregory Ferenstein:

February 23, 2015 - "Silicon Valley’s favorite libertarians have pinned their hopes of an unregulated utopia on floating cities. Paypal billionaire Peter Thiel is among the Silicon Valley elite supporting so-called 'seasteading', manufactured ocean colonies not bound by the nagging government that taxes and regulates tech companies in California.

"The Seasteading Institute confirmed to VentureBeat that earlier reports last Friday by Fusion of its planned reality show, are, in fact, true. 'While the show is still in development we aren’t able to release any additional information on our end,' wrote Seasteading’s Randolph Hencken to VentureBeat in an email.

"'The Seasteading Institute is consulting with a new unscripted television series for a major cable network. The show is seeking a variety of experts and survivalists ready to create a new community on the ocean while building, engineering, and rehabbing residential quarters.'

"So, if you think the last tech reality show, Start-ups: Silicon Valley, could have been a lot more like Survivor, get excited."

Read more: http://venturebeat.com/2015/02/23/reality-show-about-an-unregulated-offshore-techno-libertarian-utopia-in-the-works/
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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Why cats are natural libertarians

Cats are natural libertarians: nothing less than equality is acceptable to them | David Leyonhjelm | The Guardian:

March 12, 2015 - "There is reason to believe that cats are natural libertarians. I’m managed by four of them, and I speak from experience. They are all individuals and refuse to identify with groups.

"I say managed, not owned, because while my cats make demands on me that I sometimes ignore, and I have no idea of their views on my new job as senator, my wife and I nonetheless devote a lot of time to meeting their needs....

"I’ve always liked Winston Churchill’s quip to the effect that dogs look up to us, cats look down on us, while pigs treat us as equals. When I was in veterinary practice long ago, I’d periodically make this observation to clients. It didn’t always go down well (my bedside manner, I suspect, left something to be desired).

"But when George Orwell wrote in his novel Animal Farm that 'all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others', he could just as easily have had cats in mind instead of pigs. Cats will accept being equal, but nothing less is acceptable. It’s very libertarian of them."

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/13/cats-are-natural-libertarians-nothing-less-than-equality-is-acceptable-to-them
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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Indefinite detention laws should concern minorities, says Rand Paul

Rand Paul: Jews, Blacks Should Worry About Indefinite Detention - US News - Steven Nelson:

March 13, 2015 -"Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Friday at the historically black Bowie State University in Maryland that minority groups should be concerned about possibly languishing in the Guantánamo Bay detention camp without trial.

"Paul, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, was speaking about criminal justice reform, giving a wide-ranging address focused on his efforts to roll back civil asset forfeitures and mandatory minimum sentences, and to restore voting rights and employment opportunities for ex-felons.

"Paul has helped bring such issues into the mainstream, but sounded more like his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, during one point in the speech with a dire warning about the erosion of constitutional rights.

"'We have something now in America called indefinite detention,' Paul said. “This means an American citizen could be indefinitely placed in prison and sent to Guantánamo Bay forever without trial.

"'Who should be afraid of this? Anybody think that you might want to be afraid if you’re Jewish?' he said.

"'Have people ever seen any kind of animus towards the Jewish people? Anybody ever think there was any animus towards African-Americans in our country? Anybody [who thinks] there’s been an animus towards any kind of minority in our country ought to be concerned about incarceration without a trial.'

Paul said there’s no reason to suspect racial and religious minorities will be rounded up and indefinitely jailed anytime soon, but pointed to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II as an example of why such fears aren’t baseless.

"Paul has supported amending the annual National Defense Authorization Act to bar the possibility of indefinitely detaining suspects who are U.S. citizens, and made similar arguments in 2012 when such an amendment passed the Senate but was then dumped by a bicameral conference committee."

Read more: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/03/13/rand-paul-jews-blacks-should-worry-about-indefinite-detention
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Friday, March 13, 2015

Why "Right to Work" laws are not libertarian

No, Scott, “Right to Work” Isn’t Libertarian » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names - Thomas L. Knapp:

March 13, 2015 - "On March 9, governor (and likely presidential candidate) Scott Walker signed legislation making Wisconsin America’s 25th 'right to work' state. Anti-union conservatives rejoiced. They were joined by some self-described libertarians.

"But 'right to work' isn’t libertarian. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of libertarian. It abridges freedom of association and right to contract for both unions and employers.

"The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (the 'Wagner Act') was the first major government intrusion into American labor relations. It provided for elections in which workers could choose unions to represent them and negotiate contracts with employers.

"Because Wagner was crafted by employers and big union bosses, its provisions were designed to empower employers and big union bosses, not workers....

"But then came 'Taft-Hartley,' the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947. Taft-Hartley leaves the Wagner framework in place, but allows states to adopt 'right to work' laws which forbid 'closed shops' (even if unions and employers both want exclusivity), while simultaneously requiring employers and unions to treat non-union workers as if they are union workers.

"Under 'right to work,' an employer can’t require an employee to join a union as a condition of employment … but if the employer has a contract with a union, he has to give that non-union worker the same pay, benefits and disciplinary protections as the contract specifies for union members.

"Under 'right to work,' a union can’t collect dues from non-members in workplaces it represents … but it’s required to represent those non-members in contract negotiations, disciplinary proceedings, etc. exactly as if they were dues-paying members....

"If legislation was subject to truth in advertising laws, 'right to work' would be labeled 'right to freeload on employers and unions'."

Read more: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/13/no-scott-right-to-work-isnt-libertarian/
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fantasy author Terry Pratchett dead of Alzheimer's

How Terry Pratchett Made Me a Libertarian - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Scott Shackleford:

March 12, 2015 - "It may [be] difficult to explain how remarkable Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel series is in the way it expressed concepts of liberty and self-determination to a libertarian who has never read him.... He never used the word 'libertarian' in any of his books. Though his characters could work up a good rant or two when somebody had done something breathtakingly stupid, there were no Ayn Rand-style multi-page screeds about how people should live or behave. That's because he made it all live and breathe as a writer. He used the fantasy setting and familiar fantasy concepts like dragons and magic to explore themes of power, corruption, authoritarianism, and the problem with thinking you know what's best for everybody else....

"Today, Pratchett's publishers announced that the writer has died at the age of 66 following a struggle with early onset Alzheimer's disease....

"It was actually the villains who helped define the libertarian streak of Pratchett's books. The villains were the ones with the big ideas and schemes. Of course, fantasy novels are known for evil wizards and warlords trying to conquer the known lands for greedy goals. Pratchett took these villains and gave them a twist: Many of the antagonists in these books were insistent that their authoritarian goals of conquest were serving to improve the lives of others. Books like Small Gods (one of Pratchett's best — I encourage everybody to read it) tackled how mass religious movements can be captured from within to serve the aims of just a few, taking it to a place that even its own god never intended and destroying so much. Jingo took on the privileged rich who beat the drums of war to bolster the state. Night Watch took on police corruption and abuse in the service of authority. It even had a side plot about the use of its own version of waterboarding. The book was published in 2002, before we even knew what was going on in our name overseas. He won a Prometheus Award from the Libertarian Futurist Society for that book, and the previous year for The Truth, which tracked the development of Discworld's first printing press, and subsequently the idea of what a 'free press' actually is (the villains in that novel obviously thought dimly of the concept). Pratchett's ultimate villains were 'the auditors,' shapeless cosmic beings who craved nothing so much as order and complete stasis in the universe. They hated humanity for how uncontrollable they were and how much everything people did changed the nature of the world around them in completely unpredictable ways.".

Read more: http://reason.com/blog/2015/03/12/howterry-pratchett-made-me-a-libertarian
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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ohio Libertarians' 2015 ballot access in legal limbo

Ohio Libertarians face quagmire in seeking state, local ballot access - Ann Sanner, Bucyrus Telegraph Forum:

March 11, 2015 - "Libertarian candidates seeking some local offices in Ohio face uncertain access to the ballot this year as they await a judge's decision over new rules for minor political parties.

"At issue is a 2013 state law that imposes stiffer criteria for minor political parties to reach and maintain their party's label on ballots in the perennial swing state....

"Libertarians and third-party allies including the Green Party challenged the new rules in federal court, contending that they placed hurdles before candidates who already were actively seeking to make the 2014 ballot.

"Last year, Judge Michael Watson issued an order temporarily barring the law from being applied while he decides [the] case.

"But the pending court ruling has created a quagmire for some Libertarian candidates this year as a May primary approaches.

"Election boards in Tuscarawas and Guernsey counties recently declined to certify candidate petitions of two Libertarians. The boards said they had been told by the office of the state's elections chief that the Libertarian Party did not meet the minimum minor party qualifications in 2014.

"Libertarians accuse Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted of violating the judge's order that blocks him from applying the law....

"At least one Libertarian candidate was certified in Hamilton County last month and is expected to appear on fall ballots. Jerald Robertson, mayor of Elmwood Place, successfully filed his petitions to seek re-election, the county's board of the elections said. He won't appear on May primary ballots because he is unopposed.

"Husted spokesman Matt McClellan said the office has not directed boards to accept or reject candidate petitions."

Read more: http://www.bucyrustelegraphforum.com/story/news/state/2015/03/11/ohio-libertarians-face-quagmire-seeking-state-local-ballot-access/70137142/
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Conservatarian Manifesto "first-rate"

"Conservatarians" Welcome Both Cowboys, Community - Peter Berkowitz, Real Clear Politics:

March 8, 2015 - "Limiting government to protect individual freedom is the precious inheritance of the American constitutional tradition. Conserving that legacy is American conservatism’s unifying task.

"It is an appreciation of this task that lies at the core of Charles Cooke’s first-rate contribution, The Conservatarian Manifesto, to the robust debate within conservative circles about the future of conservatism. A writer at National Review and a proud immigrant to the United States from his native Britain, Cooke sets forth with vigor and subtlety a summons to conservatives to unite around the “timeless principles” that inform the American founding. In applying those principles to a host of prominent issues of public policy, he demonstrates refreshing common sense, a confident command of empirical realities, and savvy political judgment.

"What, specifically, does Cooke advise conservatives in America to conserve? His answer embraces the fundamentals of freedom: 'property rights; separation of powers; hard limits on the power of the state; staunch protections of the rights of conscience, assembly, speech, privacy, and self-protection; a preference for local governance over central planning; a free and dynamic market economy that permits rapid change and remarkable innovation; and, above all, a distrust of any government that would step in to answer questions that can be better resolved by civil society'....

"Cooke the fusionist, or 'conservatarian,' embraces the formula of Ronald Reagan, who 'reduced taxes, cut regulations, and relentlessly attacked the popular conceit that the answer to the nation’s problems was invariably more government intervention,' while recognizing that new times require new applications of that formula. For Cooke, as for Reagan, the essence of conservatism is limited government.

"But that does not, Cooke emphasizes, imply indifference to the moral questions. To the contrary, proponents of limited government, he argues, regard the virtues and moral beliefs as of the first importance, and therefore reserve the people’s responsibility for them and seek to assign legislation that touches them most directly to the level of government nearest to the people.

"Whereas progressivism, according to Cooke, 'is built on the core belief that an educated and well-staffed central authority can determine how citizens should live their lives,' Cooke’s conservatarian is a federalist who wishes, in conformity with the Constitution’s design, to decentralize power. Federalism promotes genuine diversity by offering Americans in different regions with varying sensibilities the opportunity to 'thrive on their own terms.'

"The conservative defense of federalism is not, as progressive critics and some misguided conservatives contend, anti-government. Rather, it strives to keep federal and local government focused on their proper tasks. Accordingly, the principled federalist whole-heartedly affirms the federal government’s constitutionally mandated responsibility to protect constitutionally proclaimed rights and uphold federal law everywhere in the United States."

Monday, March 9, 2015

Libertarian files to run for president of Poland

Libertarian maverick Korwin-Mikke raises signatures for presidential campaign - National - Radio Poland:

March 9, 2015 - "Libertarian politician Janusz Korwin-Mikke, currently an MEP [Member of the European Parliament], has filed over 200,000 signatures to the State Electoral Commission to formally register as a presidential candidate. -

"The move comes as each presidential hopeful needs to collect 100,000 signatures in order to register their candidacy.

"Korwin-Mikke is the first presidential runner to announce that he has collected the necessary signatures required.

"Korwin-Mikke, along with his supporters, handed over the signatures on Monday morning. The State Electoral Commission is expected to register Korwin-Mikke as a candidate once the signatures have been verified.

"The deadline for submitting the necessary 100,000 signatures is billed for 16 March, while the presidential elections are slated for 10 May."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Leonard Read's collected works online at FEE

The Digitization of Leonard Read : Blog : Foundation for Economic Education - Jeffrey A. Tucker:

March 2, 2015 - "The collected works of FEE’s founder are now on FEE.org! We are super excited about this development because it gives new and permanent life to some of the wisest writings on freedom you will ever read....

"At the height of the New Deal, and four years before US entry into World War II, a new intellectual voice appeared on the national scene. His name was Leonard E. Read, head of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. His book was Romance of Reality. It was a large book on economics published by Dodd, Mead, & Co., a prestigious publishing house, and it came out in 1937, just as hope that government planning would end the Depression was waning.

"Read’s approach to economics was different from almost anything else you could get your hands on at the time. It completely dismissed FDR’s New Deal in all its forms, but it went much further. It rejected all forms of control of people’s right to peacefully create, bargain, and associate. It saw government intervention, which he saw as the policy application of the principle of violence, as contributing nothing positive but only draining human energy from the project of creating prosperity.

"It was a defense of free enterprise on different grounds than most people would expect. It sounded different, and it felt different. There was nothing 'reactionary' about it. His prose was humane, with an emphasis on the future. His focus was on ethics. It traced the roots of the national problem to a failure of imagination. His proposed reform was not a political program but an intellectual and spiritual enlightenment....

"Romance of Reality appeared nearly a decade before that great moment in 1946 when Leonard Read would take the dramatic step of founding the Foundation for Economic Education. This was the realization of the dream he mapped out in this marvelous 1937 book. FEE was the nation’s first market-oriented think tank. In the postwar environment, FEE became a sanctuary for dissident European intellectuals like Ludwig von Mises, a platform for journalists like Henry Hazlitt, and a publishing venue for emergent geniuses like Milton Friedman....

"Throughout all his years at FEE, Leonard remained an active writer and intellectual force. His most famous essay on the division of labor, 'I, Pencil,' is a timeless classic, but his writings include so much more, on every topic you can imagine. His works were pored over by a generation of businesspeople and professionals who so badly needed inspiration in dark times. He provided it with his continuing themes: celebrating human creativity, warning against all forms of control, calling for individual improvement as a path toward freedom, eschewing politics as a workable solution, and pursuing the path of peace in all aspects of life."

Read more: http://fee.org/blog/detail/the-digitization-of-leonard-read
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Read's books can be accessed from the Libertarianism wiki - GD

Saturday, March 7, 2015

New Rand Paul scandal: The "clap gap"

The Rand Paul clap gap: Why the GOP is afraid to have a real debate about foreign policy - Michael Brendan Dougherty, TheWeek:

March 5, 2015 - "As Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress on Tuesday ended, cameras panned around the chamber and focused on a few important senators who were giving the Israeli prime minister a standing ovation. For a few seconds they landed on Rand Paul.

"And that's when people lost their minds. You see, Paul wasn't clapping enthusiastically enough. It was a clap gap! How did he fail to catch the clap as it spread through Congress?

"Perhaps the outrage is understandable. Bibi's supporters believe that the president of the United States is undermining Israel's long-term security in its negotiations with Iran over that nation's nuclear capability....

"But none of that justifies the creepiness of judging an American legislator on such a fine grading system. Sen. Paul, who is known for standing outside the hawkish mainstream of the Republican Party, was not making gagging gestures, or cough-snarking 'bullsh-t' at Netanyahu's speech.

"Monitoring the relative enthusiasm of applause has an ugly history, mostly in dictatorships.... In the nightmare prison-state of North Korea, Kim Jong Un's own uncle (and the rest of his uncle's family) were executed by the state for 'thrice-cursed acts of treachery.' Listed among the traitorous deeds: 'half-heartedly clapping.'

"Foreign policy hawks don't have the power to jail Rand Paul, but they should at least have the good sense to disagree with him like a normal human being....

 "But ... I understand the suspicion. If I ever exerted myself so frantically on behalf of a cause, if lobbying for it required investing so many millions of dollars, and if maintaining party discipline on it required 'brutal' ad drops on congressional obscurities, I would worry that some of the response I sought was perfunctory and insincere. The sonnets you receive don't sound as sweet. The applause seems forced. Almost like they are faking it."

Read more: http://theweek.com/articles/542480/rand-paul-clap-gap-why-gop-afraid-have-real-debate-about-foreign-policy
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Friday, March 6, 2015

LSD ban worst censorship in history of science, says former top UK drug advisor

Psychedelic drugs like LSD could be used to treat depression, study suggests | Science | The Guardian - Hannah Devlin:

March 5, 2015 - "Psychedelic drugs could prove to be highly effective treatments for depression and alcoholism, according to scientists who have obtained the first brain scans of people under the influence of LSD.

"Early results from the trial, involving 20 people, are said to be 'very promising' and add to existing evidence that psychoactive drugs could help reverse entrenched patterns of addictive or negative thinking.

"However, Prof David Nutt, who led the study, warned that patients are missing out on the potential benefits of such treatments due to prohibitive regulations on research into recreational drugs.

"Speaking at a briefing in London, the government’s former chief drugs adviser, said the restrictions amounted to 'the worst censorship in the history of science'.

"After failing to secure conventional funding to complete the analysis of the latest study on LSD, Nutt and colleagues at Imperial College London, are now attempting to raise £25,000 through the crowd-funding site Walacea.com....

"There has been a resurgence of medical interest in LSD and psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, after several recent trials produced encouraging results for conditions ranging from depression in cancer patients to post-traumatic stress disorder.

"A US study in 2014 showed that LSD helped patients with life-threatening illnesses overcome anxiety about death, in 2012 MDMA (the active ingredient in ecstasy) in combination with psychotherapy was shown to be effective at treating post-traumatic stress disorder and a 2006 study from scientists in Arizona found that psilocybin relieved symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

"But government and funders in the UK remain unwilling to engage with the potential clinical benefits of psychoactive drugs, Nutt claimed.

"He equated the barriers to research to the Catholic church’s censorship of Galileo’s work in 1616. 'We’ve banned research on psychedelic drugs and other drugs like cannabis for 50 years,' he said. 'Truly, in terms of the amount of wasted opportunity, it’s way greater than the banning of the telescope. This is a truly appalling level of censorship.'"

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/05/psychedelic-drugs-like-lsd-could-be-used-to-treat-depression-study-suggests
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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Canadian charged for not giving up phone password

Man charged for refusing to give border guards his phone password | CTV News - Josh Dehaas:

March 5, 2015 - "Canadian border officials in Halifax have charged a man after he refused to hand over the passcode for his smartphone, but an expert in the law says it’s not clear whether such demands are legal.

"Alain Philippon is charged with 'hindering' under section 153.1 of the Customs Act, according to Canadian Border Services Agency representative Cindy MacKenzie.

"That section of the Customs Act, which governs border inspections, reads: 'No person shall, physically or otherwise, do or attempt to do any of the following: (a) interfere with or molest an officer doing anything that the officer is authorized to do under this Act; or (b) hinder or prevent an officer from doing anything that the officer is authorized to do under this Act.'

"Rob Currie, Director of the Law & Technology Institute at Dalhousie University’s law school, said it’s [an] 'open question' whether border security can demand passcodes and then search electronic devices, because the question has not been tested in Canadian courts....

"'Customs officials do have quite a license to fish,' he said. 'They have a fairly broad discretionary power and we have said through parliament that that’s a good thing, that we want them to have those powers to search things where they have reasonable grounds at all (to) suspect something untoward.'

"He said that the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent 4-3 decision that police can conduct limited searches of suspects' cellphones without warrants does not apply here.

"If found guilty, Phillipon faces a minimum fine of $1,000 and a maximum fine of $25,000, 'and could include possible jail time,' according to the CBSA’s MacKenzie."

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/man-charged-for-refusing-to-give-border-guards-his-phone-password-1.2266576
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

TX Republicans rethinking marijuana prohibition

Meet the 85-Year-Old Texas Lady Pushing Republicans to Embrace Marijuana | Mother Jones - Josh Harkinson:

March 4, 2015 - "Early last year, John Baucum, the political director of a group called Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP), cornered Sen. Ted Cruz at a GOP event in Houston. Cruz, a former Texas prosecutor who talks the talk on states' rights, had criticized the Obama administration for declining to prosecute Colorado pot growers. Baucum wanted to point out the disconnect: 'It sounded like you were making an argument against federalism,' he recalls telling Cruz.

"Perhaps his comment got Cruz thinking, because last week, at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC, Cruz reversed course on pot: 'Look, I actually think this is a great embodiment of what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called "the laboratories of democracy,"' he told Sean Hannity during the Republican go-to event, where RAMP had a table set up. 'If the citizens of Colorado decide they want to go down that road, that's their prerogative.'

"On the heels of CPAC, state representative David Simpson, a Republican from East Texas whom RAMP had lobbied heavily, introduced a new bill that would abolish dozens of state marijuana statutes, essentially legalizing pot in the Lone Star State. 'I don't believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that the government needs to fix,' Simpson wrote in the Texas Tribune. 'The time has come for a thoughtful discussion of the prudence of the prohibition approach to drug abuse.'

"RAMP, launched two years ago in Texas, has 100 dues-paying members and satellite chapters in Maine and North Carolina.... 85-year-old RAMP founder Ann Lee ... never questioned Texas' draconian pot laws until her son, Richard, was paralyzed in a work-related fall. He began using pot to treat muscle spasms. 'He looked at us and said, "Mom and dad, marijuana is good for me",' she recalled. 'I didn't want to hear that, because I had fallen for all of the propaganda.'

"She founded RAMP in 2012 'to reform marijuana laws by working within the GOP'. Prohibition, she told me, 'is a very liberal philosophy, really. Look at all the things Republicans talk about: smaller government, fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility. What does prohibition do? It trumps all of them'."

Read more: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/ted-cruz-texas-republicans-against-marijuana-prohibition
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Libertarians shield Muslims from protestors in OK

VIDEO: Oklahoma Libertarians Form Human Chain To Protect Muslims From Bigoted Tea Partiers - Nick Bernabe for Antimedia, Mint Press News:

March 3, 2015 - "As Oklahoma Muslims descended on the state’s capital last week on February 27 for ‘Muslim Day’, they were met by bigoted reactionaries fearful over the supposed takeover of Sharia Law in America.

The protesters resembled ‘Tea Party’ groups and were flying Israeli flags.... According to the Tea Party News Network, these (protesters) included conservative groups Overpasses for America and III Percent Patriots of Oklahoma....

"State Rep. John Bennett reportedly, 'Distributed Bibles and what some described as Islamophobic questionnaires during the state’s first Muslim Capitol Day on Friday […] An official in the office of state representative John Bennett confirmed that staffers were dispatched to distribute Bibles and fliers at the capitol in Oklahoma City during the Muslim Day proceedings'....

"But the story that isn’t being told here is the role Oklahoma Libertarians and other groups played on Muslim Day. Members of the Oklahoma Libertarian party as well as groups working though an Interfaith alliance anticipated the ugly protest and organized a human chain to shield Muslims from the bigotry as they entered the building.

"I spoke to Dax Ewbanks from the Oklahoma Libertarian Party about what happened on Muslim Day, and he had this to say,
'Participants to the event had to encounter a “gauntlet of hate” as they entered the building. Protesters were shouting insults against Islam as well as against the participants. A group of volunteers that included Libertarians but was organized by the Interfaith Alliance walked as “body guards” to shield the Muslim people entering the Capitol from the vulgar display of hate.'
"According to Ewbanks, the Libertarian volunteers even served coffee and donuts to the anti-Islam protesters at the request of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations). 'It was very cold outside that day,' he told me."

Read more: http://www.mintpressnews.com/video-oklahoma-libertarians-form-human-chain-to-protect-muslims-from-bigoted-tea-partiers/202841/
'via Blog this'

Monday, March 2, 2015

Rand Paul wins CPAC straw poll 3rd year in row

Rand Paul wins CPAC straw poll, with Scott Walker right behind - Ben Schreckinger - POLITICO:

February 28, 2015 - "Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul won the presidential straw poll at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference — his third such victory in a row. But Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came in a strong second, reflecting a rising popularity among the GOP grass roots.

"Paul earned 25.7 percent of the vote and Walker took 21.4 percent. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a favorite of the GOP establishment and donor class but not so much of the conservative base, finished fifth, with 8 percent, results showed.

"Paul’s showing illustrates his popularity among the GOP base, but a straw poll win at CPAC, even one held just a year out from the first primaries and caucuses, is no guarantee of a presidential nomination. The event draws a strong contingent of libertarians, a group long identified with the Paul family, and although it is a barometer of Republican activist sentiment, it is not especially representative of the broader party....

"Paul fared better in last year’s CPAC straw poll, taking 31 percent of the vote, well ahead of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 11 percent and neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s 9 percent. In 2013, he won, but it was closer: He picked up 25 percent of the vote, edging out Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who took 23 percent....

"Paul, Cruz and Carson, enjoyed the most visible support at this year’s conference. News of Paul’s straw poll victory was met with loud cheers and chants of 'President Paul.' He tweeted his thanks to his supporters — along with a link to his political action committee’s website."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/115619.html
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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Some important new libertarian books

Some important new books on libertarianism - The Washington Post - Ilya Somin, The Volokh Conspiracy:

February 26, 2015 - "A number of new books on libertarianism and related issues have come out recently or should be in print soon. If you are interested in libertarianism, these books may well be of interest to you....

"Perhaps the one with the broadest appeal is The Libertarian Mind, by David Boaz of the Cato Institute. It is the best recent introduction to libertarianism for a popular audience. Boaz does an excellent job of surveying both the history of libertarianism and libertarian positions on a variety of modern political issues. He is especially good on 'noneconomic' issues that many people with only a passing knowledge of libertarian thought don’t normally associate with the movement. For example, he emphasizes that libertarian thinkers were calling for the abolition of anti-sodomy laws, the War on Drugs, and other pernicious 'social' regulations long before these became mainstream positions elsewhere on the political spectrum.... Boaz also does a good job of raising and addressing a variety of standard objections to libertarian ideas that are traditional advanced by critics (particularly mainstream liberals and conservatives in the United States)....

"Jacob Levy’s Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom is a great overview of a longstanding issue in libertarian thought (and liberal thought more generally): the appropriate role of 'intermediate groups' such as religious organizations, voluntary associations, and organized ethnic groups. While such groups can enhance individual liberty, they can also undermine it....He argues that neither pure freedom of association nor complete homogenization of groups to eliminate illiberal tendencies is defensible. Thus, he concludes that the tension between group pluralism and the possible need for centralized control of these groups in order to protect individuals can’t be completely eradicated....

"Finally, I very much look forward to Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski’s book Markets Without Limits. Despite the title, the authors don’t claim that markets should be literally without limits, in the sense that any and all possible commercial transactions are morally defensible. Rather, as the authors put it, they argue that '[i]f you may do it for free, you may do it for money.' For example, if it is permissible to donate organs, it should also be permissible to sell them in organ markets. On the other hand, it is wrong for a hit man to commit murder for profit, because committing murder is wrong regardless of whether he gets paid for it or not."

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/02/26/some-important-new-books-on-libertarianism/
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