Friday, July 31, 2015

Oregon approves recreational marijuana sales

Oregon governor OKs early sales of recreational-use marijuana | Reuters - Shelby Sebens:

July 29, 2015 - "Oregon residents will be able to buy marijuana for recreational use starting in October, about a year earlier than originally expected, under a new law backers hope will help curb the black market, state officials said on Wednesday.

"The law, signed Monday by Democratic Governor Kate Brown, will effectively let adults visit existing medical-use marijuana dispensaries in the state to buy certain strains just to get stoned.

"Possessing and growing pot became legal in July after voter approval in a November referendum, and the state expects to start accepting applications in January for recreational pot retail stores likely to open by the fall.

"'The bill ... passed with significant bipartisan support in both chambers after a great deal of work by an implementation working group,' said Brown's spokeswoman Kristen Grainger.

"In November, Oregon and Alaska sanctioned the use of marijuana for recreational purposes in state-regulated schemes that will usher in retail pot shops similar to those already operating in Washington state and Colorado....  The new Oregon law lets adults 21 and up buy marijuana for recreational use at medical dispensaries that choose to sell it starting on Oct. 1, said state representative Ann Lininger, a Democrat and sponsor of the bill....

"State Senator Floyd Prozanski, a Democrat and another bill sponsor, said the state will keep the medical and recreational marijuana markets separate once the recreational shops are up and running.

"The law contains a provision that ends the sale of weed to recreational users at medical dispensaries on Dec. 31, 2016.

"The purchases will be tax-free until January 2016."

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Israeli gov't OK's medical marijuana in pharmacies

Medical marijuana – coming soon to an Israeli pharmacy near you - Health & Fitness - - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News - Jonathan Lis & Ido Efrati:

July 28, 2015 - "Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman announced Monday that medical marijuana will eventually be available at pharmacies for patients with a doctor’s prescription.

"Speaking to the Knesset Committee on Drug Abuse Monday morning, the Health Ministry’s Prof. Boaz Lev added that the agency also intended to increase the number of physicians who are authorized to prescribe cannabis to patients....

"Regarding the concern that the drug will end up diverted to the open market, Litzman said, “The moment it will be in pharmacies by prescription, we will make sure to wage an aggressive battle not to let it leak out. The growers will also be strengthened. The moment we issue a tender [for growers], it will become subject to a doctor’s prescription, and I’m sure it’ll be accepted.”

"Litzman noted there was a petition pending before the High Court of Justice filed by farmers seeking to grow marijuana. He said he hoped the High Court would allow the ministry to issue a tender.

"Committee chairwoman MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) welcomed the decision. 'The field had been exhausted and reached a dead end,' she said. 'People were desperately awaiting this kind of news.'

"Around 22,000 Israelis are currently eligible for medical marijuana, but the number who could potentially qualify has sharply increased. The Health Ministry unit that issues permits to patients has become overwhelmed by applications, with people often having to wait months for approval.

"The Health Ministry’s plan is to exempt patients from having to be approved by the ministry’s medical cannabis unit; instead, it plans to certify more physicians to give permits without having to go through the ministry. 'We plan to train a list of senior physicians, as well as patients, so they will become familiar with all the risks. We want to see [the prescribing of marijuana] become as similar as possible to the process of prescribing any other narcotic,' Lev said.

"The Pharmaceutical Society of Israel, representing the country’s pharmacists, supports the move, stressing that the current procedure – in which patients with permits get their cannabis directly from the handful of authorized growers – can be unsafe."

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Standoff in Liberland

Inside ‘Liberland,’ the Place of No Taxes Where Crowdfunding Rules - Bloomberg Business - Ed Kiernan:

July 21, 2015 - "Liberland, or the Free Republic of Liberland to give it its full title, is a would-be sovereign state founded April 13 by Vit Jedlicka and two fellow libertarians. Its total area of approximately seven square kilometers would make it the third smallest sovereign state in the world, after the Vatican and Monaco.

"It's sandwiched between Croatia and Serbia on the western bank of the Danube River. On some maps, this area is referred to as “Gornja Siga'.... When the former Yugoslavia was split into new countries this small patch of land was forgotten about. Neither Croatia nor Serbia claimed it, making it a terra nullius or no man’s land.....

”According to the founders the objective is to build a country where honest people can prosper with minimal interference from a centralized government. 'We need more countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Monaco, especially in Europe,' Jedlicka says. 'We really needed another tax heaven, not tax haven'.... All taxes will be voluntary, and the nation’s services - such as power, healthcare and waste disposal - will be run either by private enterprises or through crowdfunding campaigns....

"According to Jedlicka, Liberland has established embassies in several countries including the U.S., the U.K., France and the Czech Republic. He plans to open embassies in 'a hundred more countries by the end of the year.'

"Liberland is attempting to use the homestead principle, which states that unclaimed and undeveloped land can be legally claimed by any group willing to develop it. But some legal experts have stated that even though the land may appear unclaimed, it is most probably already part of Serbia....

"Croatian border police are arresting anyone who sets foot in Liberland. However, this has not deterred members of the Liberland Settlers Association, which attempts to reach it on a daily basis and often clashes with local police in the process.

"The Liberland Settlement Association (LSA) is an NGO based in Serbia, funded by the Liberland Settlement Corp. It is made up primarily of volunteers who attempt to maintain an active presence on Liberland to help it become a recognized country.... According to CEO Niklas Nikolassen, the Liberland Settlement Corp. (LSC) “is a group of liberty-minded investors who are funding the LSA.” The corporation, based in Switzerland, has a claim on 80,000 square meters of Liberland and is hoping that the actions of the LSA will help Liberland achieve recognition as a sovereign state and thus make the land valuable."

"Liberland has already received almost 400,000 applications for citizenship, however only around 45,000 of these are considered to be serious. According to Jedlicka there will probably be a total of 30,000-40,000 Liberlandians, not all of whom will actually live in Liberland."

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Super PACs raise $6 Million for Rand Paul

Libertarian Donors Put up $6 Million for Rand Paul GOP Bid - ABC News - Julie Bykowicz, Associated Press:

July 27, 2015 - "Deep-pocketed libertarians are giving big to help Rand Paul win the Republican presidential primary.

"Three super PACS supporting the libertarian-leaning Kentucky senator said they raised a combined $6 million through June 30. That's on top of the nearly $7 million that Paul's campaign reported pulling in between his April announcement and the end of last month.

"'There are some very wealthy libertarians out there, and they're all going to be hearing from me,' said Ed Crane, president of one of the pro-Paul super PACs, called Purple PAC. 'It's a strong potential base for Rand.'

"Paul's top backer so far is Jeff Yass, managing director of high-frequency trading firm Susquehanna International Group, who split a $2 million contribution last month between Purple PAC and another pro-Paul super PAC, America's Liberty.

"Yass and Crane know each other through the Cato Institute, a free market think tank in Washington that began in the 1970s with the backing of billionaire energy executives Charles and David Koch. Crane is a co-founder, and Yass is a board member.

"Joining Yass in the $1 million donor club is George Macricostas, head of a data center company called RagingWire. Those two accounted for most of America's Liberty's $3.1 million in fundraising so far this year.

"A third super PAC, Concerned American Voters, has not yet filed a fundraising report, but its leaders said they've raised $1.9 million. Scott Banister, a tech investor in Silicon Valley, is among the donors....

"Paul is one of an expected 17 Republican presidential candidates, and he's in the top half of the class for fundraising."

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Trump tried to seize widow's home for parking lot (video)

Remember When Donald Trump Tried to Bulldoze an Elderly Widow's Home to Build a Limo Parking Lot? : Anything Peaceful : Foundation for Economic Education:

July 20, 2015 - "Donald Trump is leading the GOP primary polls with 24 percent. Trump, as Reason's Matt Welch put it, may be a 'vulgar anti-intellect who cannot string a coherent paragraph together.' But he's also a consummate bully and crony capitalist who has never been shy about using government to coerce people who get in his way.

"In 1994, Trump got Atlantic City to condemn Vera Coking's home so that he could build limo parking for his Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. The Institute for Justice took on Trump in one of its first big eminent domain cases....

"Thanks to IJ, she was able to beat Trump and the city government and win the right to keep her property.

"Coking moved to a retirement home in 2010, having lived almost 50 years in her Atlantic City home. Coking's grandson finally sold the house in July 2014; less than two months later, the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino closed for lack of business."

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

True Detective: The most libertarian show on TV?

‘True Detective’: The Most Libertarian Show on TV - The Daily Beast - Nick Gillespie:

July 19, 2015 - "Is there any TV show more flat-out libertarian than Season Two of True Detective? For that matter, is there any TV network airing more flat-out libertarian agitprop than HBO? There you find hour after hour of spectacular, balls-out displays of the inherent incompetence, greed, and corruption of government — especially when it joins forces with crony capitalists....

"Indeed, the True Detective world, filled as it is with crooked cops and perverts in high places and massive, state-funded land grabs and billion-dollar high-speed rail boondoggles, seems ripped right from Ron Paul’s nightmares.

"The characters and the actors are incredible, especially Rachel McAdams as Ani — short for Antigone, the first great libertarian heroine who disobeyed the state in accordance with higher law — Bezzerides, the sexually haunted daughter of a creepy guru and sister to a webcam performer (whose studio is mistaken for a whorehouse by the vice squad in Episode 1). Colin Farrell is a classic crooked cop, Ray Velcoro, who abuses his power for personal reasons but also to line his pockets with graft.

"But the key character is Velcoro’s paymaster, Frank Semyon, whose dirty fingers have been in every racket a town can offer, from drugs to gambling to booze — all of which flourish under the watchful eye and greased palms of law enforcement. (That Frank is played expertly by Vince Vaughn is kind of the cherry on top of all this. Best-known for comedies such as Old School and Dodgeball, Vaughn is an unapologetic libertarian who introduces Ron Paul to adoring crowds, praises Edward Snowden, and stumps for Second Amendment rights like nobody’s business)....

"But here’s the real genius part of True Detective: The corruption on display in True Detective is bigger than Frank, Cesere, Velcoro, or any single individual and is thus uncontainable. It’s systemic and inevitable in a world where politicians, gangsters, and businessmen form a sort of human centipede that’s impossible to disentangle or rein in. When the government controls who gets to build what where and what sorts of permission is needed to run a bar or a restaurant — not to mention a whorehouse — you end up building graft and corruption into everything. That’s the deepest libertarian insight of the show and it infuses every frame."

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Libertarians and the U.S. Civil War

What Should Libertarians Think About the Civil War? - Philip Magness, Newsweek:

July 18, 2015 - "The current national debate over the display and meaning of the Confederate battle flag has reopened a number of longstanding arguments about the meaning of the American Civil War, including within libertarian and classical liberal circles.... Unfortunately, bad history often accompanies this politicization, and libertarians are by no means immune from this tendency.

"The first and perhaps best known 'libertarian' approach to the Civil War attempts to find sympathy with the defeated Confederacy because of its resistance to the federal government and northern military authority or its professed cause of free trade and political self-determination.

"Some aspects of this position have intuitive appeal that produces sympathy for the Confederate cause: It professes outrage against a Union that is said to have conquered by force, trampled on the rights of states and individuals, unleashed a military invasion, suspended civil liberties, denied government by consent, elevated Lincoln to a 'dictator' and effected a lasting centralization of federal power....

"This interpretation falters in what it neglects: slavery....  A continuum of classical liberal thinkers from Adam Smith to John Stuart Mill and J.E. Cairnes forged the main intellectual case against the slave system.... [P]ro-Confederate libertarians ... abandon what is perhaps the single most important and beneficial contribution that classical liberalism has made to the human condition: the abolition of slavery.

"[L]ibertarian defenders of the North are keenly aware of both the centrality of slavery to the conflict as well as the importance of the abolitionist cause to the liberal intellectual tradition.... This view recognizes slavery and celebrates its abolition, but it tends to neglect or even rationalize the war’s uglier features and consequences: a dramatic weakening of the constitutional federalism laid out in 1787, a rapid acceleration of the scope and power of the federal government, a precedent-setting assault on habeas corpus and expansion of presidential war powers that persists to the present day — and the horrendous destruction itself....

"In place of both views, and in recognition of their deficiencies, libertarians might develop a better appreciation for the Civil War’s complexity by turning their analysis to the nature of the ruinous agency of the conflict itself.

"War, whether waged to hold human beings in bondage or subjugate a political rebellion, is a consciously coercive action of the political state in its most expansive and direct form. And armed warfare, as both the Union and Confederacy came to discover across four destructive years, is horrifically messy, unpredictable and destructive of human life and human liberty."

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Friday, July 24, 2015

NB retiree sues for right to buy Quebec beer

Retiree at heart of cross-border booze-run case getting funding help - Colin Perkel, Canadian Press:

July 23, 2015 - "A man whose drive from New Brunswick to Quebec to buy cheaper beer ended in arrest said Thursday he's looking forward to airing his constitutional challenge in court next month as a defence crowdfunding campaign gets underway.

"In an interview from Tracadie, N.B., Gerard Comeau said he just wants to know whether he has the right to buy his beer in Quebec....

"As part of a sting operation, RCMP arrested Comeau, now 62, in October 2012 when he returned with 12 cases of beer and three bottles of liquor which he bought legally in Pointe-a-la-Croix, Que., just across the river from Campbellton. Police seized the booze and charged him with illegally importing alcohol into his home province.

"Cross-border alcohol shopping is a regular thing in the area and the retired power lineman had been making the run two or three times a year into Quebec to score beer — which costs about half the New Brunswick price — and lottery tickets.

"However, provincial law in New Brunswick — related to federal anti-smuggling efforts implemented at the height of Prohibition — forbids importing more than one bottle of wine or 12 pints of beer — about 19 regular bottles — from any other province. The restrictions, stiffer than importing alcohol from the U.S., carry a $292.50 fine for violators.

"Comeau's case has drawn support from the Canadian Constitution Foundation, which this week launched a crowdfunding drive in an effort to raise $20,000 for a fight that seems destined to be decided by the Supreme Court of Canada.

"A lot of people don't even know that provision is in the law," Karen Selick, the foundation's litigation director, said from Ottawa.... Section 121 of the Constitution is supposed to allow for the free flow of goods across provincial borders but, Selick said, a Supreme Court decision dating to 1921 that narrowly interpreted the section is at the heart of the dispute.

"'We think that case was wrongly decided and that enough time has gone by that the Supreme Court should look at it again,' Selick said.

"The foundation, a registered charity that bills itself as an independent, non-partisan organization that aims to defend Canadian constitutional freedoms, said the trade barriers benefit government monopoly sales agencies while constraining private business and citizens."

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

110,000 sign to put libertarian on Bogotá ballot

Libertarians Clinch Historic Candidacy for Bogotá Mayor - Sabrina Martin, PanAm Post:

July 22, 2015 - "The Libertarian Movement of Colombia have made history. By collecting 110,255 signatures, they have enough to register Daniel Raisbeck’s candidacy as the first ever Libertarian for mayor of Bogotá.

With the signatures in tow in time for registration on Friday, July 24, he can now focus his campaign on the October 25 election. Raisbeck’s plan is to offer a change in management, with clear principles of independence and freedom....

"Raisbeck told the PanAm Post that he faced a series of hurdles when gathering signatures for the campaign.... The Libertarian candidate said that not until the last month of the campaign was he able to assemble a worthy team to surpass the required number of signatures.

"Another notable obstacle his team had to face was the certification of a sufficient bank balance with the registrar, valued at COL$128 million (US$45,000). They could not lean on an established donor base or institutions to invest in the candidacy.

"Raisbeck said that the campaign will now focus its outreach strategies through social media, mass media, and public debates to engage bogotanos about the Libertarian Movement’s proposals.

"The traditional political parties in Colombia 'are smeared' and have not fulfilled the citizenry’s expectations, Raisbeck added. 'Almost 80 percent of citizens reject political parties'....

"For Raisbeck, increasing taxes does not serve Bogotá’s citizens. Money will always be better in the pockets of citizens, he said, adding that 'it is they who better manage their funds.'

Regarding the state of education in Colombia, the Libertarian candidate contends that public education has failed to accomplish its purpose. If elected mayor of Bogotá, he would offer alternatives, such as school vouchers for parents, so families could decide the type of education they want for their children."

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bill-C-51 challenged in court

C-51 sees charter challenge from civil liberties, press freedom advocates - Politics - CBC News:

"New powers for Canada's spy agency are unconstitutional and represent an extraordinary reversal of the traditional role of the judiciary, two national groups say in a newly filed legal challenge of the Conservative government's omnibus security bill.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression are asking Ontario's Superior Court of Justice to hear their constitutional case against the federal anti-terrorism measures, commonly known as Bill C-51....

"The notice of application in the court challenge says the measures amount to 'an extraordinary inversion' of the time-honoured role of the courts and the principles of fundamental justice by asking the judiciary, and not Parliament, to authorize limits on charter rights 'as opposed to protecting such rights and preventing their violation.'

"The legal challenge objects to someone being added to the no-fly list 'on mere suspicion' he or she might commit an act that threatens an airplane.

"'Once placed on the no-fly list, it is very difficult for the individual to remove their name from the list,' the court filing says. 'There is no due process, no fundamental justice, and no natural justice under the scheme.'

"The application also says the concept of activity that 'undermines the security of Canada' is unconstitutionally vague and leaves a person in the dark as to whether information about — or related to them — has even been shared.'

"In addition, the provision outlawing promotion of terrorist offences has 'a chilling effect on freedom of expression and association' and encourages people to remain silent 'rather than risk the perils of prosecution,' the application charges."

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

3 Libertarians running for Clarksville, IN, council

3 Libertarian candidates plan to run in Clarksville council race - News and Tribune: News:

July 21, 2015 - "Clark County’s Libertarian party has three candidates running for Clarksville Town Council this election cycle — the most that Party Chairman Kelley Curran can remember since becoming involved with the Libertarian Party around 2000.

"Russell Brooksbank, who also is the vice chairman for the Clark County Libertarian Party, is running for office himself as a District 2 candidate for Clarksville Town Council. Greg Hertzch is running for District 1 and Thomas Keister recently joined the race as a District 3 candidate....

"Brooksbank attributed the large number of Libertarian candidates this cycle to a new strategy from the party that focuses on local politics.

"'I think in order for people to trust us with the big things, they have to learn to trust us with the little things,' he said.

"The Libertarian Party believes that the government’s only role is to help defend individuals, and that each person has a right to control their own 'body, action, speech and property'.... This philosophy extends from national to local politics.

"'I think a Libertarian candidate brings smaller government to the town council,' said Brooksbank. 'I think just about everything that [the Clarksville Town Council is] doing is all about growing government and growing government’s interaction in our lives, and a Libertarian candidate will reduce that.'"

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Paul sues IRS over foreign account regulations

Rand Paul Sues IRS Over Foreign Account Taxes, Disclosures - Bloomberg Business - David Voreacos & Richard Rubin:

July 14, 2015 - "Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul sued the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service over rules on how Americans abroad are taxed and what foreign banks must disclose about U.S. customers.

"The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act is supposed to make it harder to hide assets overseas, yet its regulations are unconstitutional and violate privacy rights of U.S. citizens, Paul said in the complaint.... The tax act, or Fatca, 'imposes enormous economic costs on individuals and financial institutions,' according to the suit by the U.S. senator from Kentucky and six others. It makes millions of Americans living abroad report accounts above $50,000 with their annual tax returns. Fatca also requires foreign banks to report any account held by a U.S. taxpayers....

"President Barack Obama signed the law in 2010, and the Treasury Department reached cross-border agreements that are easier for governments and banks to use than the strict rules in the law itself.

"Those accords, which didn’t get congressional approval, are unconstitutional because they exceed the president’s authority, Paul claims. He asked a judge to strike down the Canadian, Czech, Israeli and Swiss agreements....

"The lawsuit also targets the Treasury requirement that U.S. residents abroad disclose accounts through a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or FBAR. Americans who willfully violate the law are subject to penalties of 50 percent of the high balance of the account -- a levy that can run into the millions of dollars....

"The case is Crawford v. U.S. Department of Treasury, 15-cv-00250, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio (Dayton)."

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Donald Trump and the appeal of fascism

Is Donald Trump a Fascist? - Jeffrey Tucker, Newsweek:

July 17, 2015 - "Just a few weeks ago, Donald Trump was a crank and joke.... This week, he leads the polls among the pack of Republican aspirants to the office of president of the United States. While all the other candidates are following the rules, playing the media, saying the right things, obeying the civic conventions, Trump is taking the opposite approach. He doesn’t care. He says whatever. Thousands gather at his rallies to thrill to the moment.... Suddenly he is serious, if only for a time, and hence it is time to take his political worldview seriously....

"So, what does Trump actually believe?... Of course, race baiting is essential to the ideology, and there was plenty of that. When a Hispanic man asked a question, Trump interrupted him and asked if he had been sent by the Mexican government. He took it a step further, dividing blacks from Hispanics by inviting a black man to the microphone to tell how his own son was killed by an illegal immigrant.

"Because Trump is the only one who speaks this way, he can count on support from the darkest elements of American life. He doesn’t need to actually advocate racial homogeneity, call for whites-only signs to be hung at immigration control or push for expulsion or extermination of undesirables. Because such views are verboten, he has the field alone, and he can count on the support of those who think that way by making the right noises.

"Trump also tosses little bones to the religious right, enough to allow them to believe that he represents their interests. Yes, it’s implausible and hilarious. At the speech I heard, he pointed out that he is a Presbyterian, and thus he is personally affected every time ISIS beheads a Christian.

"But as much as racial and religious resentment is part of his rhetorical apparatus, it is not his core. His core is about business, his own business and his acumen thereof....

"He speaks of the United States as if it were one thing, one single firm. A business. 'We' are in competition with 'them,' as if the country was IBM competing against Samsung, Apple or Dell. 'We' are not 300 million people pursuing unique dreams and ideas, with special tastes or interests, cooperating with people around the world to build prosperity. 'We' are doing one thing, and that is being part of one business....

"Trade theory developed over hundreds of years plays no role in his thinking at all. To him, America is a homogenous unit, no different from his own business enterprise. With his run for president, he is really making a takeover bid, not just for another company to own but for an entire country to manage from the top down, under his proven and brilliant record of business negotiation and acquisition....

"What’s distinct about Trumpism, and the tradition of thought it represents, is that it is not leftist in its cultural and political outlook (see how he is praised for rejecting 'political correctness'), and yet it is still totalitarian in the sense that it seeks total control of society and economy and demands no limits on state power.

"Whereas the left has long attacked bourgeois institutions like family, church and property, fascism has made its peace with all three. It (very wisely) seeks political strategies that call on the organic matter of the social structure and inspire masses of people to rally around the nation as a personified ideal in history, under the leadership of a great and highly accomplished man....

"This is how strongmen take over countries. They say some true things, boldly, and conjure up visions of national greatness under their leadership. They’ve got the flags, the music, the hype, the hysteria, the resources, and they work to extract that thing in many people that seeks heroes and momentous struggles in which they can prove their greatness....

"This is a dark history, and I seriously doubt that Trump himself is aware of it. Instead, he just makes it up as he goes along, speaking from his gut...  This penchant has always served him well. It cannot serve a whole nation well. Indeed, the very prospect is terrifying and not just for the immigrant groups and foreign peoples he has chosen to scapegoat for all the country’s problems. It’s a disaster in waiting for everyone."

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Australian Senate launches inquiry into 'nanny state'

AM - Senator David Leyonhjelm pushes for parliamentary inquiry into 'nanny state' 26/06/2015 - AM with Michael Brissenden, Australian Broadcasting Corp.:

June 26, 2015 - "MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The independent libertarian Senator David Leyonhjelm has won support for a broad ranging parliamentary inquiry into what he calls the 'nanny state'.

Essentially an examination of laws and regulations that restrict personal choice, with things like bicycle helmets, alcohol laws and pornography in the spotlight....  Senator Leyonhjelm joins me now. Senator,  ... where do you draw the line? The inquiry will be looking at areas, like I said, that restrict personal choice like bicycle helmets, but not drugs or firearms.

DAVID LEYONHJELM: Well, we're looking at marijuana, certainly not firearms.

The issue here is, to what extent is the Government entitled to legislate – and we're not talking about just giving advice - but to legislate, to protect you from your own bad choices. Bicycle helmets are a very good example of that: nobody is hurt if you fall off. If you don't wear a bicycle helmet, you're head's not going to crack into somebody else and damage them.

It's all about you and your safety, and yet the Government has decided that it's an offence to ride a bicycle without a helmet. Now, I personally think that's going too far, but the inquiry will be looking into that, looking for justifications.

 MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: But you have a view about firearms as well too, don't you, that that goes too far. So do you concede that those sorts of restrictions go too far? Do you concede that there's a role for the state in any of this?

DAVID LEYONHJELM: Yes, there's a role for the state. Firearms won't be brought into this inquiry, because that's not a nanny state thing; that's an issue about to what extent do you regulate the availability of firearms to protect other people if they're misused. That's a different matter.

What we're talking about here is, to what extent do you intrude, does the Government intrude into an individual's life to protect them from themselves.

So we'll be looking at the sale and service of alcohol, smoking and e-cigarettes, bicycle helmets I've already mentioned, classification of films and video games. That sort of stuff.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: And do you have much support for this?

DAVID LEYONHJELM: Yes, it went through without objection from any of the other senators. It went through on the voices.... [O]ne of the reasons why the Liberal Democrats are a good party to take this up is because we take a philosophical view of it; we don't like the Government intruding into our lives except to protect other people.

But in each party, and I'm talking Greens, Labor, Coalition, there is always an issue, an individual issue that bugs them, and they'd like something done about it. But individual senators find it hard to do something about that when their party has a position."

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Kochs win praise for criminal justice reform efforts

Democrats Fight — With Each Other — Over The Kochs - BuzzFeed News - Evan McMorris-Santoro:

July 17, 2015 - "Democrats are defending the efforts of the Koch brothers. And they’re defending the Kochs from attacks by other Democrats, who say the brothers’ criminal justice work is just a 'scam'....

"It’s a weird turn of events, but the unsurprising conclusion to the drug war collision course: progressives and libertarians, led by the Kochs, agree that the tough-on-crime policies of the 1980s and ’90s need to change, from mandatory-minimum sentencing to the use of criminal records in hiring. President Obama even praised the Kochs this week, a week in which he commuted the life sentences of 46 drug offenders and advocates say big changes could really be coming....

 "Beyond the politics, many progressive-leaning advocates inside the criminal justice movement actually don’t think the Koch brothers ... are trying to pull a fast one with their support for the cause. Mark Holden, Koch Industries’ general counsel, can talk for hours about the minutiae of the criminal justice system and the ways it should be changed to be fairer to the poor and minorities. Liberal advocates often single him out as a powerful ally.

"Outside of the legislative fight, the Kochs have won praise from the left for instituting changes within Koch-owned companies [that] advocates on the left have long said would mitigate the impact a conviction could have on felons long after they leave prison. In April, Koch Industries stopped asking prospective employees about their criminal history on applications.... Holden said the banning the box was an effort to make hiring at Koch Industries a model. 'We removed the box from our application because we are focused on finding the best candidates for employment based on who they are now and their entire person,' he told BuzzFeed News....

"The recent success of the criminal justice advocates can be traced back almost entirely to Koch-backed efforts in red states like Texas and Georgia to reduce nonviolent drug sentences and release prisoners into less expensive community outreach programs and supervised probation. That effort linked libertarians, evangelicals and social justice progressives....

"In Washington, progressive lawmakers who had pushed for changes to the criminal justice system as it relates to the drug war for years found themselves with Republican allies as the libertarian wing of the Tea Party movement took power. Those Republicans quickly became the most vocal supporters of criminal justice legislation on Capitol Hill, joining with progressive Democrats to support bills aimed at eliminating mandatory minimum sentences and other priorities....

"The two sides formally combined their national efforts after Republicans won the Senate in 2014. Criminal justice was on the short list of agenda items the White House said could be possible in the new political reality, and it wasn’t long before the Kochs and CAP linked up to to create the high-profile Coalition For Public Safety, which promised to pour millions into a push to pass new criminal justice laws.

"Koch-funded advocates and their allies are a regular part of the coalition to make bipartisan criminal justice legislation happen before the end of the year. That group has the support of the White House, which has regularly hosted meetings between criminal justice advocates, including Koch-backed advocates, and administration officials".

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Trump pandering to racists, says Gary Johnson

Libertarian Gary Johnson: Donald Trump Appeals to “Racist” Voters - Milad Marvasli, Profit Confidential:

July 16, 2015 - "Donald Trump is pandering to bigots and destroying the Republican Party. At least, that’s according to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.

"He 'is appealing to a segment I’ll just label racist,' explained the former two-term Republican governor and 2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate in an interview with Reason magazine. 'I don’t want to have anything to do with it'....

"Trump announced his Presidential candidacy in June, which has been marred by controversy regarding his comments about Mexican immigrants.

"'When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.' Trump explained in his campaign commencement speech, 'They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.'

"While Trump’s comments have sparked controversy, his views have struck a chord with voters. According to the results of a Suffolk University/USA Today survey released on Wednesday, July 15th, Trump is leading in the Republican primary elections with 17% support among voters....

"'It embarrasses me,' Mr. Johnson explained. 'The electorate will paint the entire Republican Party with a broad brush as a result of Trump and it won’t be positive'....

"Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee’s Chief Strategist and Communications Director; other GOP candidates among the[m] former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose wife is Mexican-American; former Texas Gov. Rick Perry; and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have expressed their frustrations about Trump’s comments."

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Americans trending libertarian on 1st Amendment freedoms

Study: On First Amendment Freedoms, Americans Are Trending Libertarian - Daniel Davis:

July 8, 2015 - "Does the First Amendment go too far? According to a new survey, most Americans say it doesn't.... The study, conducted by the Newseum's First Amendment Center, surveyed Americans on a range of hot-button political issues that pertain to the First Amendment. Should businesses be forced to violate their consciences and serve gay weddings? Should the government's domestic spying programs be more limited? Should corporate spending on elections have limits?....

"Seventy-five percent of respondents said the First Amendment does not go too far, and only 19 percent said it does. That's nearly a 20-point shift in favor of First Amendment rights from one year ago, when 57 percent of respondents said the First Amendment goes too far.... Only 9 percent of Americans under age 30 think the First Amendment goes too far, while 22 percent of seniors (above age 65) think it goes too far. This same correlation holds for the intermediary age groups as well, creating a steady gradient between young adults and seniors on the issue.

"Should state governments be able to deny people license plates that display the Confederate flag? Fifty-six percent of respondents said no, and 35 percent said yes....

"Last year, 52 percent of Americans believed that businesses should not have the right to decline service to gay weddings, regardless of their religious or conscientious objections. In 2015, that number has shrunk to 38 percent — a 14-point drop....

"54 percent of respondents said they are against government spying on phone calls and online messages in order to catch terrorists. Thirty-seven said they support such spying operations. Interestingly, independent voters showed the least support for these operations, with only 31 percent approving them....

"When asked whether drawing cartoons of Muhammed should be legal, 60 percent said yes, while 32 percent said no....

"The one First Amendment issue where public opinion trends less libertarian is the issue of campaign finance. When asked whether corporations and unions should have more limits placed on their campaign spending, 73 percent said yes. Only 23 percent said spending should remain unlimited. This represents a 10-point shift in favor of stricter spending rules since 2012."

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ohio GOP paid $590k to get Libertarian off ballot

Ohio GOP payouts in ballot fight nearly $600,000 | The Columbus Dispatch:

July 12, 2015 -"A recent court filing showed the Ohio Republican Party’s legal bills in the challenge to 2014 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl are almost $600,000 — nearly double the amount previously disclosed.

"The additional spending was documented as part of the Libertarian party’s lawsuit against Secretary of State Jon Husted. It challenges Husted’s decision to disqualify Earl.

"The GOP reported and previously disclosed payments toward the disqualification effort totaling $300,000.

"Records show that, by March, the bill had risen to $592,000.

"The party paid Zeiger, Tigges & Little, a firm hired by a Republican consultant Terry Casey, who spearheaded the challenge.

"Casey says he acted on his own.

"The party says Casey only sought its financial help after the fact.

"Earl might have drawn votes from Republican Gov. John Kasich."
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Monday, July 13, 2015

Eyebrow threader licensing law struck down in TX

Is This the Most Libertarian Legal Opinion Ever Written? - Hit & Run : - Damon Root:

July 8, 2015 - "In a resounding victory last month for economic liberty, the Texas Supreme Court struck down a state licensing law that required eyebrow threaders to complete 750 hours of costly and unnecessary cosmetology training in order to receive the state's permission to charge customers for the harmless act of removing unwanted eyebrow hairs with a loop of cotton thread.

"'The requirement of 750 hours of training to become licensed is not just unreasonable or harsh,' the Texas Supreme Court held in Patel v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, it is 'so burdensome as to be oppressive'....

"As the Texas high court pointed out, 'persons licensed to apply eyelash extensions — a specialty involving the use of chemicals and a high rate of adverse reactions — are required to undergo only 320 hours of training.' Eyebrow threading, by contrast, is an entirely safe occupation that involves no chemicals and requires only that practitioners follow the most rudimentary of sanitary practices, such as the regular washing of hands. To force would-be eyebrow threaders to spend as much as $9,000 on 750 hours of pointless training in order to obtain a pointless license is practically the definition of arbitrary government....

"Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett filed a lengthy concurring opinion of his own, in which he launched a full-throated defense of economic liberty under both the Texas and U.S. Constitutions.... Here's an excerpt from Justice Willett's superb concurrence:
This case concerns the timeless struggle between personal freedom and government power. Do Texans live under a presumption of liberty or a presumption of restraint? The Texas Constitution confers power — but even more critically, it constrains power. What are the outer-boundary limits on government actions that trample Texans' constitutional right to earn an honest living for themselves and their families? Some observers liken judges to baseball umpires, calling legal balls and strikes, but when it comes to restrictive licensing laws, just how generous is the constitutional strike zone? Must courts rubber-stamp even the most nonsensical encroachments on occupational freedom? Are the most patently farcical and protectionist restrictions nigh unchallengeable, or are there, in fact, judicially enforceable limits?"
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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Dallas mag profiles libertarian bluesman James

The Dallas Libertarian Blues: Stevie James’ Protest Music | FrontRow - Jeremy Hallock:

July 10, 2015 - "Stevie James started studying the blues after hearing Nirvana cover Lead Belly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” on MTV Unplugged. The leap from grunge to blues exemplifies James’ restless thought process, and from there he went to study the history of American music. During regular sets at The Freeman Cafe, Twilite Lounge, The Underpass, and various other Dallas clubs, he covers legendary blues artists and American songs that are hundreds of years old.

"James’ passion for music is matched by his Libertarian political convictions. Whenever there is a cause that gets his attention, he turns his profession into a platform for activism, using music as a hook to draw people to fundraising events and political rallies. It all started when he came across No One Here Gets Out Alive, the Jim Morrison biography. Morrison appreciated the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, which led James to Beyond Good and Evil and on to Aristotle and Plato....

"In 2007, James’ political awakening occurred when the words of Ron Paul started to resonate with him. 'There was an alternative voice coming from the most unlikely of parties,' he says. 'You’d never think to hear this anti-war, no drug law, open immigration, gay marriage platform from a Republican.' James visited Ron Paul’s website, browsed a huge list of recommended books, and ended up reading them all. He cites Economics in One Lesson as particularly important. When James finds himself in arguments with 'people who just don’t get it,' he’ll often ask for their address and send them a copy of the book.

"In 2011, The Free Man opened up in Deep Ellum.... After James met Free Man owner John Jay Myers, the two quickly realized they shared many beliefs. Myers, who had also taken an interest in politics because of Ron Paul, was then running for the Senate seat taken by Ted Cruz. James ended up joining Myers on the campaign trail along with Gary Johnson, a presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party."

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Do average Americans commit 3 felonies a day?

L. Gordon Crovitz: You Commit Three Felonies a Day - WSJ - Wall Street Journal:

September 27, 2009 - "Technology moves so quickly we can barely keep up, and our legal system moves so slowly it can't keep up with itself. By design, the law is built up over time by court decisions, statutes and regulations. Sometimes even criminal laws are left vague, to be defined case by case. Technology exacerbates the problem of laws so open and vague that they are hard to abide by, to the point that we have all become potential criminals.

"Boston civil-liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate calls his new book Three Felonies a Day, referring to the number of crimes he estimates the average American now unwittingly commits because of vague laws. New technology adds its own complexity, making innocent activity potentially criminal.

Mr. Silverglate describes several cases in which prosecutors didn't understand or didn't want to understand technology. This problem is compounded by a trend that has accelerated since the 1980s for prosecutors to abandon the principle that there can't be a crime without criminal intent."

"In 2001, a man named Bradford Councilman was charged in Massachusetts with violating the wiretap laws. He worked at a company that offered an online book-listing service and also acted as an Internet service provider to book dealers. As an ISP, the company routinely intercepted and copied emails as part of the process of shuttling them through the Web to recipients.

"The federal wiretap laws, Mr. Silverglate writes, were 'written before the dawn of the Internet, often amended, not always clear, and frequently lagging behind the whipcrack speed of technological change.' Prosecutors chose to interpret the ISP role of momentarily copying messages as they made their way through the system as akin to impermissibly listening in on communications. The case went through several rounds of litigation, with no judge making the obvious point that this is how ISPs operate. After six years, a jury found Mr. Councilman not guilty.

"Other misunderstandings of the Web criminalize the exercise of First Amendment rights. A Saudi student in Idaho was charged in 2003 with offering 'material support' to terrorists. He had operated Web sites for a Muslim charity that focused on normal religious training, but was prosecuted on the theory that if a user followed enough links off his site, he would find violent, anti-American comments on other sites. The Internet is a series of links, so if there's liability for anything in an online chain, it would be hard to avoid prosecution."

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Three Felonies a Day website:

Friday, July 10, 2015

Bachman's absurd argument for copyright extension

Randy Bachman: Canadian Music ‘Could Stop Being Made' Without Copyright Extension - Daniel Tencer, Huffington Post Canada::

June 24, 2015 - "Canada may stop creating great musical acts like Arcade Fire or Joni Mitchell if the country doesn’t extend copyright terms, rocker Randy Bachman says....

"As part of its latest budget, the Harper government extended copyright terms for sound recordings to 70 years, from the previous 50 years. Bachman, echoing the calls of certain artists’ groups, is calling for that extension to apply to songwriters and composers as well.

"The copyright extension in the budget 'helps only those who performed on the recordings,' Bachman writes. “The creators’ copyright protection is frozen at the life of the author plus 50 years. This would leave Canada lagging behind most other G20 countries, including the United States, the U.K., and almost all of the European Union'....

"He concludes by saying society 'should pay the creators what they have rightfully earned, so that a middle-class career (at least) can be the reward for solid songwriting skills, and so that they can keep creating — in Canada. Otherwise, Canadian music could stop being made.'

"University of Ottawa e-commerce law professor Michael Geist says Bachman’s column 'contains some of the most absurd claims about copyright in recent memory'....

"Geist wrote that Bachman’s claim Canadian artists would stop making music 'is simply not credible' because, with or without the copyright extension, they are protected for life.

"'The reality is that songwriters and composers typically get far more than 70 years since their work is protected for their entire lives plus an additional 50 years,' he wrote.

"'In Bachman’s case, "Takin’ Care of Business" was written in 1973. That means it has already been protected for 42 years. It is entitled to another 50 years after Bachman dies, meaning that it is guaranteed to get at least 92 years of protection'....

"He adds: 'Does Bachman seriously believe that there are any Canadian songwriters, composers, or authors who would decide not to write because they receive copyright protection for their entire lives and their heirs get 50 years of protection rather than 70 years?'"

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ecuador libertarians offer way out of national crisis

Ecuador's Libertarian Movement Rolls Out a Rescue Plan - Rebeca Morla, PanAm Post:

July 3, 2015 - "Wipe out tariffs to promote trade, submit indefinite presidential reelection to a referendum, revoke the Media Law, and start a direct dialogue with President Rafael Correa. These are but a few of the proposals announced on July 1 by Ecuador’s Libertarian Movement, a free-market group organized in 2005 by “Ecuadorians worried about the country’s situation.

"The movement’s leaders held a press conference on Wednesday in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, to explain to local media what they dubbed 'the way out' (La Salida) from the South American nation’s economic and political crisis.

"'This [plan] will allow us to solve our current and future problems,' argued Joselo Andrade, director of Guayaquil’s Libertarian Movement chapter....

"They went on to offer 'President Correa, the national government, and the whole country' an eight-point program, divided into two main fields.

"On the one hand, to solve the 'political crisis,' the Libertarian Movement recommends holding a referendum to avoid indefinite reelections in public offices, repealing the Media Law so Ecuadorians can exercise their right to freedom of speech, and a direct negotiation channel with Correa.

"On the other, to address economic issues, they advocate substituting the current social-security system for one 'that gives Ecuadorians full control over their savings and money' and the elimination of protectionist measures and tariffs. The libertarians also request that Correa stop 'scaring investors away' and instead promote 'friendly and special treatment for foreign investment,' as well as free-trade treaties with the rest of the world.

"'Mr. President, the way out you need more than ever consists of promoting and stimulating savings and trade. Listen to us; every country that has progressed has achieved growth this way,' Andrade concluded."

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tim Moen reinstates Southern as LPC candidate

The Future is Bright for Liberty - Dan Dicks, Press for Truth:

July 8, 2015 - "On July 3rd 2015 I interviewed Lauren Southern of The Rebel Media to get her views on being removed as a candidate of the Libertarian Party in response to her viral slut walk video. After hearing from Lauren that Tim was 'very supportive, he said he thought that it was a non issue and he congratulated me' ...  I suggested to Tim that he come visit the PFT studio and meet with me and Lauren to clear the air. Tim ended up doing just that and today PFT is proud to announce that a mutual agreement that works for all sides has been reached."
Statement from Tim:
Lauren Southern and I met face to face last night to see if we could reconcile. In this conversation I was able to confirm Lauren's commitment to the party and our team and I was able to affirm my commitment to Lauren's freedom of speech. I am happy to announce that Lauren's suspension has been lifted and she has been reinstated as a candidate. This reconciliation has been an ongoing process that has been difficult due to inflammatory media and social media. I apologize to people who have been hurt or let down in this incident, particularly those volunteers who have received unfair criticism and characterization in the media. Going forward I will be working hard to fix the issues that could have prevented this incident: lines of communication and accountability will be clarified, candidates will be offered more training and support, we will strengthen our on-boarding process and I will be personally calling all candidates in the upcoming weeks. - Tim Moen

Statement from Lauren:
Yesterday Tim Moen and I had a productive conversation about the future of the Libertarian party and my part to play in it. We both agreed that what transpired over the past two weeks was bad for the party. I have been assured that Tim completely supports my freedom of speech and right to express it through mediums such as The Rebel and other social media platforms. I have also agreed to communicate better with the party and maintain a level of professionalism so the party can go forward as a team. Diversity of thought - protecting each individual's opinions, values, and expressions - is central to libertarianism. In a time of growing cultural and political intolerance, I look forward to promoting a libertarian party that stands up for this kind of diversity. I very much appreciate all of the support I have received, and I hope those of you who felt alienated from the party in recent days will regain some of your confidence in us. Canada needs a libertarian party, and Canada needs liberty. Tim Moen and I are going to stand up for it. I hope you stand with us. - Lauren Southern
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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Libertarian candidate announced in Fort McMurray

Libertarian candidate announced | Fort McMurray Today - Cullen Bird:

July 6, 2015 - "Scott Berry says his road construction job is perfectly suited for his run as a Libertarian candidate in Fort McMurray-Cold Lake.

"Berry, 27, works in the asphalt lab at E-Construction, doing quality control tests on local roads built by the company.

"The argument against a lot of libertarians leaving it to the market is no one will build the roads,” Berry said. “Well, I can build the roads.

"'I think it’s insane that we have to sometimes lobby for federal funds to get our bridges and our roads built in this riding.'

"Berry moved to Fort McMurray two years ago, shortly after graduating with an economics degree from Trent University. His interest in Libertarianism began in his student days.

"'The way that I see it, Libertarianism, basically it sort of shakes the very foundations of what people think of government, and what they think they should or should not get out of government,' Berry said....

"The Libertarian Party would repeal the Firearms Act and make it possible for anyone to own a firearm after a criminal background check, Berry said. The party would also safeguard property rights and ensure property could not be expropriated by government.

"Libertarian Party leader Tim Moen, a former captain with the Fort McMurray Fire Department, said First Nations property rights in the riding would be respected. Moen ran in the 2014 Fort McMurray-Athabasca byelection....

"'We come from a position of humility, that we really don’t know what is the best way to run your life,” Berry said.

"The Libertarian party would also support a flat tax rate of 15%, he said. Moen stated the main objective this election is to tell voters what their party stands for.

"'We understand that our chances of winning a seat and forming government aren’t very good this election, but for us it’s about changing hearts and minds and connecting them with a new fresh message that is lacking on the political stage,' Moen said. 'I think there’s only one kind [of liberty] and that is the freedom to do whatever you want as long as you don’t harm another person in the process,' he added."

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Left & right misuse libertarian ideas for partisan gain

How conservatives and liberals are both hijacking libertarian principles for partisan gain -  Shikha Dalmia, The Week:

July 6, 2015 - "Libertarianism has been at the forefront of the gay rights cause from the get-go. Reason magazine, the flagship libertarian publication where I work, has always maintained that the government has no business regulating — much less criminalizing — what two people do behind closed doors so long as they don't hurt anyone....  As Cato Institute's David Boaz points out, libertarians were making arguments in support of gay marriage way before the cause became hip among progressives. The Libertarian Party demanded equality for gays back in 1972, when the Democratic vice presidential nominee was still referring to gays as 'queers,' and endorsed gay marriage in 1976....

"But now, in the wake of the gay marriage revolution, conservatives and progressives alike are turning to libertarian ideas — and both for the wrong reasons.

"Progressives are doing it to settle a vendetta against religious conservatives and reverse-persecute them for their private beliefs. And religious conservatives are trying to refight the wars of the sexual revolution.

"Let's begin with the left. As if on cue, no sooner did the ruling come out than progressives such as Felix Salmon started calling for scrapping the tax-exempt status of religious non-profits that preach against gay marriage, just as conservatives had feared would happen.... But since denying some faith-based organizations a tax exemption because of their faith would be a violation of their First Amendment rights ... Salmon hinted he would be fine with the 'libertarian' solution to 'abolish tax exemption for all religious organizations'....

"However, today's opposition to gay marriage ... is arguably more prevalent among blacks and Latinos than religious whites. Yet their churches perform vital services for minority children, offering a semblance of stability in a sea of poverty and family breakdown. Taking away their tax exemption ... would make gays-rights activists look like fanatical Jacobins willing to sacrifice living, breathing humans to satisfy a thin-skinned need to purge every last vestige of anti-gay animus.

 "But progressives are not the only ones misusing libertarian ideas when it comes to gay marriage. Conservatives are ... already looking for ways to flout the Supreme Court ruling. Since Justice Kennedy ruled that states can't selectively withhold marriage licenses from gay couples ... Rand Paul, the libertarian-leaning Republican presidential aspirant from Kentucky, is calling on them to simply get out of the marriage business. What's more, Texas and Mississippi are heeding his call and have announced they might stop issuing marriage licenses altogether.

"Privatizing marriage is a long-standing libertarian idea whose whole purpose was to foster John Stuart Mill's 'thousand experiments in living.' Pulling it out now to deny gays an opportunity to get married — in a sense, keeping alive discrimination by privatizing it — will not just pervert the idea but also discredit it."

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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Rand Paul channels inner libertarian on western tour

Rand Paul 2016: Libertarian politics and his campaign - POLITICO - Matt Dixon:

July 1, 2015 - "Rand Paul’s raising money with the marijuana industry in Colorado. He’s holding private meetings with anti-government ranchers in Nevada. Ask him about same-sex marriage, and he’ll say the feds shouldn’t be in the marriage business anyway — it should be left for states to sort out.

"The Kentucky senator has always held libertarian views. But he’s leaning pretty hard into his anti-government cred during a campaign swing out West, championing states’ rights and excoriating Washington and federal overreach at every turn....

"The return to Rand Paul 1.0 comes after weeks of trying to break out of a crowded GOP pack. His poll numbers aren’t terrible — the Real Clear Politics average of national polls puts Paul at sixth place among 15 Republican contenders for the nomination, enough to put him on stage at the first GOP debate in August — but show a worrisome lack of upward momentum. In both Iowa and New Hampshire, he’s stuck in fourth place.

"Paul’s move back into his comfort zone also underscores a key priority for his presidential campaign: Lay the groundwork for a strong showing in caucus states where strong organization can pay off and where the live-and-let-live mentality thrives. An early state like Nevada is a plum target for any Republican in the field but holds special appeal for Paul, whose father won the second-most delegates in the past two Republican presidential caucuses there.

"A win there or even a strong showing would help Paul distinguish himself among a large Republican primary field that is clamoring to dominate in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina....

"'Nevada is a very important state for Rand Paul’s campaign. The state has a very prevalent libertarian streak,' a Paul campaign official said. 'As far as the other Western states, Sen. Paul has made it a priority to reach out to nontraditional Republican voters. His goal is to turn purple states red by expanding the Republican Party.'

"And thus Paul’s Western swing. On Tuesday, Paul’s campaign was slated to meet privately with donors during the annual Cannabis Business Summit in Denver. A day earlier, Paul granted a private audience to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, the anti-government activist who clashed last year with federal officials and briefly became a celebrated figure on the right.... (The campaign denies that: 'There were no scheduled meetings at Sen. Paul’s stop in Mesquite. He spoke to many people who came to this public event, none for 45 minutes and none planned,' Paul spokesman Sergio Gor said.)

"Paul told the crowd, 'I think almost all land-use issues and animal issues, endangered species issues, ought to be handled at the state level.

'I think that the government shouldn’t interfere with state decisions, so if a state decides to have medical marijuana or something like that, it should be respected as a state decision,” he added.

"That came days after Paul, after initially staying silent, finally issued a statement on the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling. Paul, like the rest of the GOP field, made sure to note he considers marriage to be between a man and a woman but directed most of his fire at the federal government weighing in on the institution of marriage at all.

"'Since government has been involved in marriage, they have done what they always do — taxed it, regulated it, and now redefined it,' Paul wrote in an op-ed published on Time magazine’s website. 'It is hard to argue that government’s involvement in marriage has made it better, a fact also not surprising to those who believe government does little right.'"

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Libertarians ahead of the curve on gay rights

Libertarians and the Long Road to Gay Rights | Cato @ Liberty - David Boaz:

June 26, 2015 - "Justice Anthony Kennedy has been called the most libertarian member of the Supreme Court... So maybe it’s no surprise that in the Lawrence (2003), Windsor (2013), and Obergefell (today!) cases, Kennedy wrote a majority decision finding that gay people had rights to liberty and equal protection of the law.

"As I note in The Libertarian Mind and in an article just posted at the venerable gay magazine The Advocate, libertarians and their classical liberal forebears have been ahead of the curve on gay rights for more than two centuries:
As the Supreme Court prepares for a possibly historic ruling, most of the country now supports gay marriage. Libertarians were there first. Indeed John Podesta, a top adviser to Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton and founder of the Center for American Progress, noted in 2011 that you probably had to have been a libertarian to have supported gay marriage 15 years earlier.

Just seven years ago, in the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton all opposed gay marriage. The Libertarian Party endorsed gay rights with its first platform in 1972 — the same year the Democratic nominee for vice president referred to “queers” in a Chicago speech. In 1976 the Libertarian Party issued a pamphlet calling for an end to antigay laws and endorsing full marriage rights.

That’s no surprise, of course. Libertarians believe in individual rights for all people and equality before the law. Of course they recognized the rights of gay people before socialists, conservatives, or big-government liberals.
"In the article, and more so in the book, I talked about some of the history of classical liberal-libertarian thinking on gay rights in earlier centuries, perhaps beginning with the pioneering criminologist and reformer Cesare Beccaria in 1764.
The Declaration of Independence promised life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to Americans. Of course, not everybody enjoyed those rights at first. But eventually those ideas took root and led to the abolition of slavery and later to civil rights and women’s rights. It took even longer for people to take seriously the idea of homosexual activity as a matter of personal freedom and to recognize gays and lesbians as a group deserving of rights.

It was the classical liberals, the ancestors of libertarians, who first came to that recognition. From Montesquieu and Adam Smith in the 18th century to the Nobel Prize–winning economist F.A. Hayek in 1960, it was libertarians who insisted that (in Hayek’s words) “private practice among adults, however abhorrent it may be to the majority, is not a proper subject for coercive action for a state whose object is to minimize coercion.”
"More in The Libertarian Mind and at The Advocate."

This work by Cato Institute is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Rand Paul speaks at Cannabis Industry conference

Why Marijuana Merchants Love Rand Paul (And What Could Make Them Love Him More) - Forbes - Jacob Sullum:

July 2, 2015 - "This week about 40 people paid at least $2,700 each to hear Rand Paul talk about drug policy during the National Cannabis Industry Association’s conference at the Denver Convention Center. That 'private briefing' made the Kentucky senator the first major-party presidential candidate to hold a fundraiser aimed at people in the marijuana business.

"'We are now establishing ourselves as a true industry with a professional focus, and we have issues that we need to have dealt with on the federal level,' Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, told The Washington Post. 'We have candidates and elected officials who are seeing that need for reform.' Tripp Keber, CEO of Dixie Elixirs & Edibles, a Denver-based manufacturer of marijuana products, called the fundraiser 'a historical moment, that our industry is now working together with a presidential candidate'....

"Although Paul has refrained from endorsing marijuana legalization, he opposes federal interference with the industry, which is the biggest obstacle it currently faces....

"Four days before his appearance at the cannabusiness conference, Paul received an A– in the Marijuana Policy Project’s report card on 22 presidential candidates. It was the highest grade received by any candidate of either major party. 'Sen. Paul has consistently supported states’ rights to establish their own marijuana policies,' MPP noted, 'and he has been a vocal supporter of decriminalizing or reducing criminal penalties for those arrested for marijuana possession.' The organization also noted Paul’s sponsorship of the CARERS Act, which would make the federal ban on marijuana inapplicable to people who produce, distribute, or use the drug for medical purposes in compliance with state law. Another provision of the CARERS Act is aimed at eliminating federal barriers to banking services for state-licensed marijuana businesses, including those that serve recreational consumers.

"Paul is also a vocal opponent of excessively harsh penalties for drug offenses, including marijuana possession, cultivation, and distribution. He has criticized Republican rivals who used marijuana with impunity in high school or college for continuing to support laws that result in hundreds of thousands of petty pot busts each year."

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

LP of Canada suspends candidate Lauren Southern

Canadian Libertarians in Revolt After Party Leadership Suspends Anti-Feminist Candidate Lauren Southern - Breitbart - Allum Bokhari:

July 2, 2015 - "The Libertarian Party of Canada is in turmoil following the bizarre suspension of Lauren Southern, one of the party’s most visible and popular candidates, at the behest of a small group of aggrieved feminist activists....

"Southern, a libertarian activist and commentator for The Rebel Media, rose to global prominence last month when a video emerged of her challenging feminist campaigners at a 'Slutwalk' demonstration in Vancouver.

"The footage showed her holding up a sign proclaiming 'there is no rape culture in the west' and telling feminists at the protest that far from being protected, rapists in western countries tended to be prosecuted and jailed.

"[Some] activists responded furiously, calling Southern a 'bitch,' physically assaulting her and her cameraman, and ripping up her placard. She later faced a campaign of online slander which she was forced to respond to on her YouTube channel. Feminists then began to email the Libertarian Party, asking them to suspend Southern as a candidate.

"But Southern’s lone-soldier activism struck a chord. The initial video of her challenge to feminist protesters was watched over 750,000 times.... Feminist scholar Christina Hoff Sommers applauded Southern’s activism, calling her a 'fabulous young woman.' Freddy Gray, deputy editor of The Spectator, said she should be 'given a medal' for her efforts.... 'We need more women like Southern,' wrote Ella Whelan, a writer for the British libertarian magazine Spiked Online. 'Lauren Southern – 2, Feminists – 0,' concluded Laura Meyers of the website Libertarian Republic....

"I asked party leader Tim Moen to explain his reasons for suspending Southern.... According to Moen, Southern’s actions had 'broken message discipline' and undermined the party’s efforts to 'connect hearts and minds to the message of liberty and achieve a tipping point of 10% of the population adopting an unshakable belief in Liberty'....

"According to sources within the party, the new 'hearts and minds' ... strategy is championed by Rehan Basson, the Party President, Mark Burnison, Vice President for Political Action, and David Clement, Vice President for Communication.... As footage of Southern’s protest at the Vancouver Slutwalk began to spread, these three began lobbying Tim Moen to remove her as a candidate. Basson in particular is said to 'hate' Southern for her criticism of feminist narratives and pressed for her removal as a candidate as soon as she saw the video."

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bill C-51 a threat to indigenous Canadians

Bill C-51 is a threat to reconciliation - The Globe and Mail - Paul Seesequasis:

June 22, 2015 - "It is ironic that the same week the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was closing in Ottawa, the federal government’s new security bill, C-51, passed Parliament. With talk of reconciliation from many perspectives and much public dialogue about a new relationship with indigenous peoples in Canada, the majority of Canada’s members of Parliament voted in a bill that impedes reconciliation and threatens our fundamental rights....

"Residential schools were about surveillance. They were about monitoring. They were about brain washing.... And, importantly, even the most cursory of glances at Canada’s history with indigenous people, from the initial land thefts, to wars, to disease, to the Indian Act and residential schools, reveals that the state has consistently viewed indigenous aspirations for sovereignty and respect as a threat to security....

"How would the broad powers of C-51 have been utilized to deal with the Oka crisis, Ipperwash, Kinder Morgan, Haida Gwaii, Idle No More and other protests? We know that the completely peaceful activities of spokespeople, such as Pam Palmater and Cindy Blackstock, were monitored prior to the passing of Bill C-51, so it should be no surprise that many indigenous individuals and organizations look at this bill as the latest infringement on inherent rights. Our ability to protest, which has historically been essential to calling attention to injustice and defending our communities, is slowly being diminished....

"With its lack of oversight or watchdog body, the expanded powers available through Bill C-51, could allow authorities to identify young people taking part in a round dance as a threat to Canadian security. It could put participants of a peaceful flash mob under information/intelligence gathering surveillance and preventative detention and disruption tactics. Peaceful drumming and singing could be met with force and our songs, language, drums and ceremonies could be viewed as a threat. As with any other form of public speech, these expressions of culture and heritage should be protected and not put at risk of criminalization....

"No ethnic or social group in the history of Canada has been as monitored, legislated, disenfranchised and had their freedoms curtailed as indigenous peoples.... With this in mind, it may be easier to appreciate why, for many indigenous individuals and organizations, Bill C-51 is viewed as a warning."

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