Monday, November 30, 2015

Mens rea bills introduced in U.S. House & Senate

In reforming federal criminal law, intent is key | TheHill - James R. Copland & Rafael Mangual:

November 27, 2015 - "On November 17, the House Judiciary Committee unveiled four bills to address what we and other reformers have called 'over-criminalization.' The first of these, The Criminal Code Improvement Act, was principally sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and bipartisan cosponsors including Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the House’s longest-serving member. The bill sought to clarify federal criminal standards regarding criminal intent. The next day, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced his own, similar criminal justice reform bill.

"On November 18, Sensenbrenner’s bill sailed through committee markup unanimously, but left-wing groups such as ThinkProgress and Public Citizen came out in opposition, falsely characterizing it as a sop to business. The White House followed suit — placing in jeopardy the Obama administration’s stated desire for criminal-justice reform, including changes to federal sentencing laws.

"That’s unfortunate. Over-criminalization, which refers to the vast expansion of what is deemed criminal under law, is a very real concern. The federal criminal code now contains nearly 5,000 crimes and more than 300,000 criminally enforceable regulations. Thus, it is impossible even for trained attorneys, let alone the everyday citizen, to know what may be considered criminal. According to civil-libertarian lawyer Harvey Silvergate, the average American unknowingly commits three felonies a day....

"Traditionally, individuals could be held civilly liable for accidentally transgressing legal norms, but to be criminally convicted, an individual had to have mens rea, Latin for a 'guilty mind.' The federal legal and regulatory codes, however, are now rife with offenses that lack such protections: According to a 2010 study by the Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 57 percent of the 446 new nonviolent crimes proposed in the 109th Congress lacked the traditional intent standard, as did 64 percent of those crimes ultimately enacted into law....

"Sensenbrenner’s and Hatch’s bills squarely address this problem by making 'knowing' or 'willful' violations the default rule for criminal violations in federal law: Though Congress may make certain actions criminal without a showing of intent, courts would no longer be permitted to assume that Congress meant to do so unless a statute says so explicitly.....

"Indeed, fourteen states already have statutes that explicitly create a default criminal-intent standard. Ohio most recently enacted such legislation, in December 2014. Like Sensenbrenner’s bill in committee, Ohio’s default criminal-intent act passed both houses of its legislature unanimously, and there is no good reason why there shouldn’t be similarly broad, bipartisan support for the idea at the federal level.

"Reasonable minds can differ about the merits of various federal laws and regulations, but it’s indisputably impossible to navigate 300,000 rules without risk of error.... The White House’s stated opposition aside, let’s hope Congress takes up the new bills — and starts taking criminal intent seriously."

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

NAFTA suit alleges Ontario gov't cronyism in wind power contracts

For Pickens, Wind Claim May Be Last Power Play - The New York Times - Alexandra Stevenson:

October 15, 2015 - "T. Boone Pickens made billions drilling for oil and gas and squaring off in bare-knuckled corporate takeover bouts. Now the 87-year-old tycoon ... is using his rights under the North American Free Trade Agreement to bring claims against the Canadian province of Ontario.... He is seeking $700 million in damages for future losses related to bids that his wind power company, Mesa Power, lost in wind power auctions in Ontario.

"Mr. Pickens and Mesa Power contend that [a] Florida company, NextEra, was granted exclusive access through private meetings with important government officials that ultimately tilted the bidding in its favor.

"The province of Ontario granted NextEra $3.8 billion in energy contracts. Mesa Power contends that $18,600 in donations that NextEra made to the ruling Liberal Party in Ontario before elections in 2011 had undue influence on the auction.

"NextEra did not respond to a request for comment....

"When Ontario enacted a Green Energy Act in 2009, ... the government created a program to provide incentives for companies to invest in renewable energy projects. Companies that were awarded contracts would be paid premium guaranteed prices set by the government.... Cole Robertson, who was vice president of finance for Mesa Power at the time, not[ed] that the government’s set price in 2011 was double that in Texas at [that] time.

"Mesa Power submitted several project proposals through the program. But when the first rankings came out in late 2010, its executives disputed the assessments, arguing that Mesa Power’s projects should have been higher.... Ontario government officials have countered that Mesa Power did not submit its applications properly....

"Mesa Power later disputed an auction in the spring of 2011, complaining of a lack of transparency around the process of awarding contracts and insufficient time for public consultation. Mesa Power executives wrote to Shawn Cronkwright, an official with the power authority, seeking clarification and meetings with the agency and the Ministry of Energy. Mr. Cronkwright told Mesa Power executives that these meetings would not be possible because the agency had yet to award contracts, according to court documents....

"A review of documents and emails between NextEra executives, lobbyists and government officials show that NextEra met and held calls with high-level officials at the Ontario Ministry of Energy, the premier’s office and the power authority, even as Mesa Power executives were told they could not speak to officials until contracts were awarded. When NextEra lobbyists requested more information, officials sometimes responded within hours.

"Mr. Pickens’s lawyers argue that NextEra was able to wield influence because of its chief lobbyist, Bob Lopinski at Counsel Public Affairs. A former adviser to the Ontario premier, Dalton McGuinty, Mr. Lopinski was hired in 2010. He contacted former colleagues in the premier’s office to set up meetings for senior NextEra executives including Mitch Davidson, the chief executive. He also arranged for meetings at the Ministry of Energy and the power authority....

"For NextEra, whose operations include electricity plants in Hawaii and wind farms in North Dakota, such political contributions are not unusual. In the United States, the company has spent millions of dollars in political donations to both the Republican and Democratic parties.

"'You can’t win an election in Florida without the support of NextEra,' said William Pentland, managing partner at Brookside Strategies, an energy consulting firm."

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Paul and Cruz have best tax plans, says Laffer

The Paul And Cruz Flat Tax Plans Are Best Tax Proposals - - Arthur B. Laffer & Stephen Moore:

November 20, 2015 - "The good news on the presidential campaign trail is that almost all Republicans are now for serious pro-growth tax reform and simplification. Every candidate wants lower rates (some a one-rate flat tax), fewer loopholes and carve-outs, and a reduced role for an abusive IRS....

"All the GOP tax plans look good to us — though some are admittedly better than others. The danger now is that too many conservatives have formed a circular firing squad and are shooting down nearly all proposals on purity grounds or attacking trivial differences.

"This is the surest way to derail tax reform altogether....

"Which brings us to Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.... Paul's rates are 14.5% on business net sales and wages and salaries. Cruz has a 16% business net sales tax and a 10% wage and salary tax. These would be the lowest tax rates since the income tax was devised 100 years ago. Both are estimated by the Tax Foundation to grow the economy by a gigantic $2 trillion in extra GDP per year after 10 years.

"Both eliminate almost all deductions and special-interest carve-outs.... They completely kill the corporate tax, the estate tax and the FICA payroll tax.

"Yet conservatives are strangely griping. Economists at the Cato Institute have joined with Larry Kudlow to complain that the business tax is a value-added tax (VAT). Such a dreaded tax, they fear, would be a giant new source of revenue and lead to government gone wild, as has happened in Europe....

"But nearly all leading flat-tax plans have some form of VAT to replace the god-awful corporate income tax.... When we designed our Complete Flat Tax in our book Return to Prosperity, we came up with this business tax system with no deductions, simple as can be, and the lowest rate just about anywhere in the world....

"Almost every economist will agree that the right way to tax businesses is on their income minus their allowable expenses.

"The crux of the complaint here is that the Paul and Cruz tax plans are too efficient and too pro-growth and thus raise too much revenue.....

"The sole reason we need taxes is to raise the requisite revenues to fund government.... Criticizing the Cruz and Paul VATs based on worries about providing too much revenue to government is like arguing against cutting the capital gains tax rate — because every time we cut that rate, the feds get more revenue."

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Illinois Libertarians challenge ban on donations from medical marijuana companies

Illinois Libertarians Sue Over Medical Marijuana Campaign Finance Ban | WUIS 91.9 - Brian Mackey:

November 25, 2015 - "A federal lawsuit is seeking to overturn Illinois’ ban on campaign contributions from medical marijuana companies.

"The case was brought last week by two Libertarian Party political candidates: Claire Ball of Addison, who says she's running for comptroller, and Scott Schluter of Marion, who says he's running for state representative. They say they favor legalization of drugs, and that companies that agree with them should be able to support their campaigns.

"When Illinois legislators approved the medical marijuana pilot program in 2013, they boasted of passing the strictest medical marijuana law in the country. Rep. Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, was a lead sponsor of the bill. He says the contribution ban, which applies to cannabis growers and dispensaries, was among a number of provisions meant to appease 'conservative' and 'hesitant' colleagues....

"'I would prefer this not be in the bill,' Lang said in a telephone interview. 'Not because I’m looking for campaign donations from people in the marijuana industry, but because I’m not sure that it’s great public policy to pick out one particular industry or two particular industries, and single them out for a clouding of their free speech rights, and not do it to all (industries)'....

"The specificity of the Illinois law piqued the interest of Benjamin Barr, a lawyer with the Pillar of Law Institute in Washington, D.C. He’s one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Ball and Schluter.

"'It’s strikingly bizarre to me for the state of Illinois to take this blatant and open of a position,' Barr said in a telephone interview. 'Usually, campaign finance (prohibition), when it has problems, applies heavy-handedly to one group. But they’re not named out in the law, because that’s just jumping up and down and signaling, "Look, we’re going after this particular organization or this set of speakers."'

"Barr says he’s not aware of a similar ban in any of the other roughly two-dozen states experimenting with medical marijuana....

"The U.S. Supreme Court in recent years has repeatedly ruled that spending on campaigns is essentially political speech, and thus protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution.

"Barr says it’s particularly important that his clients, who favor the legalization of drugs, be able to seek support from like-minded businesses: 'They're third parties. They have new ideas. They're disrupting the status quo. And what's most important to them right now? To be able to associate and to be able to get funding, so that they're able to speak to people in Illinois, and they're able to share their message.'"

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Folk-rocker Frank Turner says, "I’m a libertarian"

Frank Turner: ‘I’m a libertarian. That doesn’t go down well in the music industry’ - Music - Hampstead Highgate Express - Charlotte Beale :

November 26, 2015 - "Frank Turner is back home in Holloway, for a brief stint, between three months on the road across the US, Europe and the UK.... Turner’s respite in Holloway is short-lived, however; after returning to his regular haunt at Alexandra Palace tonight, he and his band The Sleeping Souls will set off to the US and Mexico for more tour dates, finally wrapping up in December. It will mark the end of yet another hugely successful year for the former Million Dead frontman, who, since releasing his first solo record, Sleep is for the Week in 2007, has become one of the biggest folk rock stars in the UK.

"The singer’s latest album, Positive Songs for Negative People, which reached No. 2 in the UK charts in August, opens with a song called The Angel Islington, which mourns a separation. 'I’ve broken all the things that I could break', Turner sings.

"Does he agree that Islington is being broken – 'socially cleansed', as his MP Jeremy Corbyn claims – by the combination of Tory housing benefit cuts and exorbitant property prices?

"'I think "social cleansing" is taking it a little too far, myself. Obviously there are concerns about the disadvantaged, but Holloway is a resolutely mixed area in my experience, and I don’t see much sign of that changing myself.”

"Turner, 33, won’t be drawn further on his MP’s new leadership of the Opposition. 'For personal reasons, I try to maintain a distance between my art and my politics, partly because I operate within a left-wing milieu and I’m a libertarian. 'Being pro-market, libertarian, extreme liberal - however you want to put it - doesn’t go down particularly well in the music industry.

"'It’s a moral conundrum for me, because part of me wants to stand up for what I believe in, but at the same time I’m much more interested in making music and in sound and art and song-writing, than I am in spending my entire life arguing with people on Twitter and Facebook about politics.'"

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Palin calls legalizing marijuana "no big deal"

Sarah Palin: Legalizing Weed Is 'No Big Deal' - Marina Fang, Huffington Post:

November 19, 2015 - "Supporters of marijuana legalization may have an unlikely ally: Sarah Palin.

"Breaking with many members of her party who oppose legalizing marijuana, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee on Thursday said it is 'no big deal' and argued that it should not be a controversial issue.

";I look on the national scene and think, wow, of all things to be fighting over and battling over, especially when it comes to medical marijuana. I think, hmm, this is just not my baby,' Palin told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

"When Hewitt expressed disbelief that Palin's home state legalized recreational marijuana last year, she said the vote 'didn't surprise me.'

"'We've got that libertarian streak in us,' she said, explaining that Alaska, the most conservative state to legalize marijuana so far, already had lax marijuana laws, so it was a less divisive issue than in other states.

"'"I grew up in Alaska when pot was legal anyway. It was absolutely no big deal'....

"Though she did not explicitly say that she supports legalizing marijuana, she has come out in support of decriminalizing it. In 2010, she told Fox News that marijuana is a 'minimal problem.'

"'If somebody's gonna smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody any harm, then perhaps there are other things our cops should be looking at to engage in and try to clean up some of the other problems we have in society,' she said."

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Arm citizens to stop terrorism, Interpol SG suggests

Exclusive: After Westgate, Interpol Chief Ponders 'Armed Citizenry' - ABC News - Josh Margolin:

October 23, 2013 - "Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said today the U.S. and the rest of the democratic world is at a security crossroads in the wake of last month's deadly al-Shabab attack at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya – and suggested an answer could be in arming civilians.

"In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Noble said there are really only two choices for protecting open societies from attacks like the one on Westgate mall where so-called 'soft targets' are hit: either create secure perimeters around the locations or allow civilians to carry their own guns to protect themselves.

"'Societies have to think about how they're going to approach the problem,' Noble said. 'One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you're going to have to pass through extraordinary security....  How do you protect soft targets? That's really the challenge. You can't have armed police forces everywhere," he told reporters.....

"In the interview with ABC News, Noble was more blunt and directed his comments to his home country.

"'Ask yourself: If that was Denver, Col., if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly?' Noble said, referring to states with pro-gun traditions. 'What I'm saying is it makes police around the world question their views on gun control. It makes citizens question their views on gun control. You have to ask yourself, "Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past with an evolving threat of terrorism?" This is something that has to be discussed.'"

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... but Democrats want to disarm more Americans

Sorry Democrats, But There Is No ‘Loophole’ That Allows Terrorists To Legally Buy Guns -Sean Davis, The Federalist:

November 23, 2015 - "Having overwhelmingly lost the public debate about whether the Obama administration’s Syrian refugee screening policy should be enhanced, Democrats have retreated to more comfortable rhetorical ground: demanding more gun control.

"Their new secret weapon? A bill that would ban anyone whose name appears on a terror watch list from buying or possessing a firearm. The idea sounds reasonable enough until you dig into the details and realize that the proposed Democratic legislation is a shocking assault on the constitutional right to due process. What makes the proposal even worse is that the Democrats’ assault on due process isn’t necessary to accomplish what they say is their only goal: preventing 'dangerous terrorists' from legally purchasing or possessing a firearm.

"The new bill, which Democrats have dubbed the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015, ... would allow the attorney general to deny a criminal background check clearance to any individual whose name appears on the national terror watch list. The huge problem with this expansive new power is that there are precisely zero statutory criteria for inclusion on this massive list.... If some faceless Beltway bureaucrat decides you might be a terrorist, then you’re a terrorist. End of story.

"It gets even worse, though. If your name erroneously appears on that watch list, which as of 2013 included nearly 900,000 names, the Democrats’ proposed legislation renders you virtually powerless to find out why your name is on there, let alone to have it removed.

"Under the Democrats’ proposal, the government doesn’t have to tell you why your name is on the list. The proposed law allows the government to keep that information secret. And if you decide to take the government to court over it, the Democrats’ bill creates a brand new legal standard that tilts the scales of justice against you.

"Unlike a standard criminal trial, in which a jury must decide beyond a reasonable doubt whether you have violated a criminal law, under this proposed law the government must only show a preponderance of evidence – evidence which will almost certainly be redacted....

"There may actually be an even bigger reason to reject [the bill]: it is completely unnecessary, because the U.S. attorney general already has the power to prevent 'dangerous terrorists' from legally buying guns, and that power can be exercised without unconstitutional deprivation of due process.... All the attorney general has to do to prevent 'dangerous terrorists' from legally purchasing firearms is to indict them....

"Engaging in terrorism is a federal crime. Providing material support for terrorism is a federal crime. Preparing to engage in terrorism is a federal crime. If there is sufficient evidence to show that these individuals are engaged in terrorism, the best way to make America safer is to indict these terrorists and arrest them."

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Benton & Tate indicted again on same charges

New Indictment Revives Charges Against Ex-Ron Paul 2012 Aides - David Pitt, Talking Points Memo:

November 20, 2015 - "Federal prosecutors continue to pursue criminal charges against three top campaign advisers to 2012 presidential candidate Ron Paul.

 "In a new grand jury indictment filed Thursday in federal court in Des Moines, Paul's 2012 campaign chairman Jesse Benton, campaign manager John Tate and deputy manager Dimitri Kesari are charged with conspiracy to cover up $73,000 in campaign payments to former Iowa Sen. Kent Sorenson. Sorenson dropped his support for Michelle Bachmann and endorsed Paul in December 2011, six days before the Iowa caucuses.

"Benton, Tate and Kesari also are charged with causing false campaign contribution reports to be filed to the Federal Election Commission and participating in a false statement scheme. Benton and Tate are charged with causing the campaign to file false records of the payments. Kesari was convicted of that charge last month.

"The three men were originally charged in August, but a judge dismissed charges against Tate and all but one charge against Benton because they were based on information the government obtained during FBI interviews last year that the judge said was not admissible.

"In the new indictment the charges are based primarily on emails and other communication the prosecutors plan to offer into evidence.

"Benton was tried on one count of lying to the FBI, but a Des Moines jury acquitted him of that charge last month. At the same trial Kesari was convicted of causing the campaign to file false records but jurors said they could not reach a verdict on counts alleging conspiracy, causing false campaign expenditure reports and a scheme to falsify statements. Those charges are refiled against Kesari and Benton in the new indictment....

"The men have previously said they believe the prosecution is politically motivated and that they are another example of the federal government going after tea party-backed conservatives. They said Sorenson's job as a subcontractor is common in campaigns and the law doesn't require disclosure of payments to subcontractors.

"In last month's trial Paul told jurors he suspected federal prosecutors unsealed the indictment against them one day before his son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was set to appear at the Republican Party's first debate of the 2016 campaign....

"Tate is the founder and president of America's Liberty, one of several super political action committees supporting Rand Paul's presidential campaign. Benton, who also helped lead the PAC, is married to Ron Paul's granddaughter, Valori Pyeatt, Rand Paul's niece. Tate and Benton took a leave of absence from the PAC when they were charged."

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Libertarian ideology

by George J. Dance 

It has become increasingly popular in recent years for libertarian intellectuals to try to define the "libertarian ideology." An "ideology" is the fundamental beliefs about man and society that determine and justify the goals of a political group. For example, religion and tradition are components of conservative ideology, humanism and progress of the liberal, collectivism and dialectical materialism of the communist, and so on.

Is there then a distinct libertarian ideology? Many libertarians are convinced there is. Quite a few libertarian thinkers and publications believe that they express this ideology. Some even go so far as to set themselves up as "plumblines" of libertarian thought and use that position to denounce "deviations" from and "betrayals" of this ideology.

This trend is understandable, as modern libertarianism did develop, as a popular movement, as a political application of a particular philosophy – in short, as an ideology. This trend is also useful insofar as it has dissociated libertarian principles from conservative ideology, with which they are too often exclusively identified. But this trend is also intellectually and politically dangerous.

Dangerous because it restricts libertarianism's universal appeal by making it the handmaiden of non-political views. Dangerous because, by making these other views logically prior to liberty, it confuses the basic libertarian message. Dangerous becaue each non-political addition to basic libertarianism narrows our base of support, and alienates even hitherto committed libertarians.

These dangers would be necessary, if belief in a libertarian ideology were correct. But it is not correct.

Libertarianism is not an ideology. It is a method, a process – a principle, if you like – for settling disputes between adherents of competing ideologies. It is then, it has to be, compatible with all and identified with none. It is indifferent to conflicts over altruism vs. egoism, materialism vs. idealism, natural law vs. utilitarianism, religion vs. atheism; it can only establish rules for resolving such conflicts. Belief in non-initiation of force not only can stand independently of any of the above concepts – indeed, it is cheapened by any suggestion of dependence on them.

The reason democracy has swept the world (as an idea, anyway) was precisely that it was such a method of resolving differences. In Hayek's terminology, it is an agreement on means, not ends. And, as Hayek points out, widespread agreement is possible only on means, and only because it is not known which ends will be promoted.

We know that, as an attempt to resolve disputes peacefully, democracy has not always been successful. Unsuccessful because inconsistent: it allows the use of force for the promotion of the dominant ideology, asserting only that force should play no part in determining which ideology should become dominant. Hence liberty, a more consistent set of rules for social peace, unalterably opposed to no ideologies but to the messianic element in all.

Should there then be no libertarian ideology? On the contrary: there should be hundreds. Thinking persons are bound to have their own, individualized, beliefs about society, man, and nature – this is a point on which we all can agree. We can also agree that there will not be unanimity on the entire gamut of these beliefs. (Try disagreeing with that belief.) If we deduce libertarian methods as a means of resolving our differences, we are libertarians; if statist methods, we are statists. But if we try to pretend that such differences do not exist, we are either fools or liars.

from Principle 8:4 (September/October 1981), 14.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Barrie Examiner won't print pro-capitalist column

Paolo Fabrizio, a Libertarian who writes a regular opinion column in the Barrie Examiner, has had his latest column pulled. It's reprinted in full below, with permission.
Fabrizio comments: "Once again the left socialists pigs win , they managed to shut down my column by blasting the paper with so many anti-liberty emails the paper bows down. My column will not be printed this week because I'm such a bad guy who hates the climate, earth and tax stealing. Here is my column that was supposed to be in today's paper, you read it and judge for yourself. Please comment so I know where I went wrong with it and if you feel like emailing the paper to complain about me or to support me go ahead. "
As of press time, the Examiner has not responded to a request for comment.

Capitalism key to freedom
by Paolo Fabrizio

I never fight with anyone; that’s what separates me from the left socialist green communists.

If you don’t agree with any of my ideas or beliefs I’m fine with that. I love sharing ideas and listening to ideas, but what distinguishes a capitalist like me from a communist socialist green is that I never want to force my ideas on you.

I would never think I’m so perfect and my ideas are so righteous that the government should use the power of the gun or law to force you to believe me.

I can handle you not agreeing with me, but I dare you to try and confront a left socialist communist green and go against what they are force-feeding you. I dare you!

The LSGC (left socialist green communist) will attack you, will claim that you are a racist or a homophobe or that you are an idiot for believing in God or creation. They will come at you in numbers with loud, angry faces demanding that you give up your right to any self-thought or free speech.

Yes, the LSGC will make you feel bad for having a mortgage and a bank account and a job, at the same time they are talking on their iPhone or checking the time on their iWatch and driving around in their German imported cars.

Yes, the LSGC wants you to feel ashamed for loving your family; heck they want you to be ashamed that you actually have a family and that you’re calling your son, your son and your daughter, your daughter. How dare you.

It’s getting tougher and tougher surviving nowadays, with the cost of living soaring and the cost of trying to keep your family sheltered, clothed and fed that it takes both husband and wife working everyday just to make ends meet.

How does your government respect you, how does your government show appreciation for your hard-earned tax dollars? They give it away to people that don’t deserve it or haven’t contributed anything to society.

Now the LSGC will say that working for years on creating a music CD is a contribution to the community, and will also claim that giving tax money to these well-deserved artists will be a benefit to society. They will also force you to believe that these music projects bring culture to us, because you know that without these artists taking our money we would be left with no culture. That’s to say we are culture-less without them.

Many of these so called musical artists that sit around all day working on their music feel that capitalists like myself are the evil demons of the world. Without this devil working all night long, I wouldn’t be able to keep seven employees employed. Without this devil keeping these employees employed, there would be no tax collected and with no tax collected the government wouldn’t have any money to give away to LSGC wannabe musical artists.

I’m a capitalist and I show my displeasure or happiness with my money.

If I don’t like a company’s environmental policy or how they treat their employees, I will not patronize them with my business. If they want my business it’s my capitalist money that will get them to change, not some forced government policy.

Capitalism is what keeps this country great and it’s capitalism that will move it forward to bring better healthcare, better workers’ rights, and it’s capitalism that gets companies and people to change.
So if you think your LSGC beliefs will bring you prosperity, just look into the ocean.

I have never seen people escaping capitalism on plastic bottle rafts to head over to a socialist paradise.

Friday, November 20, 2015

U.S. Border Patrol oversteps mandate by searching & threatening citizens

Libertarian Party: Stop Border Patrol drug-busting U.S. citizens : Frost Illustrated::

October 27, 2015 - "Agents of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) in the southwestern United States are unconstitutionally harassing and detaining American citizens, on a fishing expedition for drug busts, sometimes as far as 100 miles from the border.

"According to a report by the Arizona American Civil Liberties Union, Border Patrol agents are routinely 'stopping and searching motorists without justification; threatening residents with assault rifles, Tasers, and knives; destroying and confiscating personal property; interfering with efforts to video-record agents; and using dozens of false alerts by CBP dogs to search and detain innocent people.'

"'Americans should not lose their constitutional rights just because they live within 100 miles of the border,' said Nicholas Sarwark, chair of the Libertarian National Committee. 'Border Patrol should be ordered to stop busting Americans for drugs and to stick to the border.'

"The ACLU reports that the CBP is 'systematically disregarding the law with impunity'” and that Border Patrol checkpoints are more directed at drug busts than at immigration enforcement. Eighty percent of recorded Border Patrol drug arrests were of U.S. citizens.

"'Not only is Border Patrol grossly overstepping its authority,' said Sarwark, 'It is prosecuting the failed War on Drugs, a war that most Americans now realize has been a complete and utter failure.'"

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Blaming Snowden for Paris massacre: "How dumb do they think people are?"

Exploiting Emotions About Paris to Blame Snowden, Distract from Actual Culprits Who Empowered ISIS - The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald:

"Whistleblowers are always accused of helping America’s enemies... So it’s of course unsurprising that ever since Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing enabled newspapers around the world to report on secretly implemented programs of mass surveillance, he has been accused by 'officials' and their various media allies of Helping The Terrorists™....

"I was a bit surprised just by how quickly and blatantly — how shamelessly — some of them jumped to exploit the emotions prompted by the carnage in France to blame Snowden: doing so literally as the bodies still lay on the streets of Paris.... But now ... credible news sites are regurgitating the claim that the Paris Terrorists were enabled by Snowden leaks — based on no evidence or specific proof of any kind, needless to say, but just the unverified, obviously self-serving assertions of government officials....

"The implicit premise of this accusation is that The Terrorists didn’t know to avoid telephones or how to use effective encryption until Snowden came along and told them. Yet we’ve been warned for years and years before Snowden that The Terrorists are so diabolical and sophisticated that they engage in all sorts of complex techniques to evade electronic surveillance....

"Any terrorist capable of tying his own shoe — let alone carrying out a significant attack — has known for decades that speaking on open telephone and internet lines was to be avoided due to U.S. surveillance.... The Snowden revelations weren’t significant because they told The Terrorists their communications were being monitored; everyone — especially The Terrorists — has known that forever. The revelations were significant because they told the world that the NSA and its allies were collecting everyone else’s internet communications and activities.

""As but one of countless examples, here’s a USA Today article from February 2001 — more than 12 years before anyone knew the name 'Edward Snowden' — warning that al Qaeda was able to 'outfox law enforcement' by hiding its communications behind sophisticated internet encryption... The Christian Science Monitor similarly reported on February 1, 2001, that 'the head of the U.S. National Security Agency has publicly complained that al Qaeda’s sophisticated use of the internet and encryption techniques have defied Western eavesdropping attempts'.... All the way back in the mid-1990s, the Clinton administration exploited the fears prompted by Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City attack to demand backdoor access to all internet communications.

"How dumb do they think people are to count on them forgetting all of this, and to believe now that The Terrorists only learned to avoid telephones and use encryption once Snowden came along? Ironically, the Snowden archive itself is full of documents from NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, expressing deep concern that they cannot penetrate the communications of Terrorists because of how sophisticated their surveillance-avoidance methods are (obviously, those documents pre-date Snowden’s public disclosures)....

"U.S officials are eager here to demonize far more than just Snowden. They want to demonize encryption generally as well as any companies that offer it. Indeed, as these media accounts show, they’ve been trying for two decades to equate the use of encryption — anything that keeps them out of people’s private online communications — with aiding and abetting The Terrorists. It’s not just Snowden but also their own long-time Surveillance State partners — particular Apple and Google — who are now being depicted as Terrorist Lovers for enabling people to have privacy on the internet through encryption products.

"Then there’s the blame-shifting benefit. For most major terror attacks, the perpetrators were either known to Western security agencies or they had ample reason to watch them. All three perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo massacre 'were known to French authorities,' as was the thwarted train attacker in July and at least one of the Paris attackers. These agencies receive billions and billions of dollars every year and radical powers, all in the name of surveilling Bad People and stopping attacks.

"So when they fail in their ostensible duty, and people die because of that failure, it’s a natural instinct to blame others: Don’t look to us; it’s Snowden’s fault, or the fault of Apple, or the fault of journalists, or the fault of encryption designers, or anyone’s fault other than ours. If you’re a security agency after a successful Terror attack, you want everyone looking elsewhere, finding all sorts of culprits other than those responsible for stopping such attacks."

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Argentine dentist founds libertarian education org.

Meet Argentina's Dentist Turned Libertarian Activist - Fergus Hodgson, Pan-Am Post:

November 15, 2015 - "The latest RELIAL conference in Mexico City drew quite the crowd from across Latin America, but it wasn’t the professional political class that caught my eye. Rather, it was a layman who had made the trip all the way from her home in Rosario, Argentina.

"Lucrecia Pellerino, a dentist by trade, was there in late October to join with other liberals in the fight against the false promises of populism. In particular, she did not want Argentina to go the way of Venezuela, which has been the nation’s trajectory of late under President Cristina Kirchner.

"She and I sat down to chat about what had pushed her to take time away from her busy schedule to become a pro bono activist with Fundación Bases. She now organizes events for the educational organization that promotes the “ideas of liberty and an open society.'

"It began in 2002, she told me: 'I was very annoyed with the politics of my country, and I began to participate [with my accountant husband] in the party of Ricardo López Murphy, which was a liberal party.'

"But López Murphy subsequently lost his bid for the presidency in 2003, and the party is now defunct. In 2004, Pellerino decided that the populace needed to be better educated on economic matters before political outcomes would change. She thus helped get Fundación Bases started, and they targeted university students and academics with their programs.

"'I want an Argentina open to the world,' she said, as opposed to closed markets. In her work as a dentist and orthodontist, she feels the pain of hefty tariffs and quotas, since her materials are all imported and simply not made in Argentina. These costs inevitably get passed on to consumers who often cannot afford the inflated prices.

"But taxes on the border are just the start. Business Insider recently reported that Argentina had the highest taxes on corporations in the world, to feed the ever-larger state apparatus and achieve what amounts to a ban on profits. In fact, the central government’s spending grew from 17 to 33 percent of the economy in just the last 10 years, under the late Nestor Kirchner and then his widow Cristina."

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Bill Maher: U.S. should get out of Muslim lands

Maher: US Should 'Get Out of Muslim Lands' To Stop Terrorism, 'Good For Rand Paul' - Breitbart - Ian Hanchett:

November 13, 2015 - "HBO’s 'Real Time' host Bill Maher wondered, 'why don’t we get out of Muslim lands?' to prevent terrorism, adding, 'bombing them over there is what is causing the Paris thing to happen,' and praised GOP presidential candidate and Kentucky Senator Sen. Rand Paul’s views on military spending on Friday.

"Maher, in response to his own question of why terrorists hate the West, said, 'When you capture one, or when [they] leave a note, you know what they say? "Because you’re there. Because you’re in Muslim lands." I have a crazy idea, why don’t we get out of Muslim lands?'

"He added, 'if they watched the Republican debate, on Tuesday night, that’s exactly what they saw. the biggest cheers were for republicans who got up there and said we have to kick a*s militarily. this nonsensical argument … let’s show a little bit of the debate. This is the debate that Ron Paul — he actually, good for Rand Paul, he sounded a little like his father, and that’s what we loved about him at the beginning.'

"After playing a clip of Rand’s exchange with GOP presidential candidate and Florida Senator Sen. Marco Rubio at the last debate, Maher remarked, 'Yes, what a great thing to say, because these — all these other Republicans talk about rebuilding the military. It’s already built. We’re — if we’re already 10 times where all the other countries combined are, why do we have to keep adding to it?'....

"He later added, 'bombing them over there is what is causing the Paris thing to happen. That connection needs to be made. We don’t have to be bombing them there. … Remember after 9/11, Bush was all about we’re going to not make any distinction between countries that harbor terrorists and terrorists, and it was kick a** sh*t, everybody loved it, because we had to wipe out the safe havens, right? That was Afghanistan. Okay, all these years after 9/11, there’s way more safe havens than there were then.'

"Maher also asked, 'Where are all the other Arab countries who pretend to hate ISIS so much? I tallied up their armies one night. There are over five million people under arms if you look at all these countries, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, and Turkey that could send troops to fight an army of about 25,000 a**holes who have 1970 Toyota pickup trucks.'"

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Monday, November 16, 2015

French prisons breeding grounds of jihadism

What is going wrong in France's prisons? - Telegraph - Harriet Alexander:

January 17, 2015 - "Mohamed Merah, the 2012 Toulouse attacker, moved from being a wild petty delinquent to a hardened jihadist while behind bars, and on his release travelled to Afghanistan and Pakistan to train for jihad. He returned to France and murdered seven soldiers and Jewish civilians.

"Mehdi Nemouche, author of the May murder of four people in Brussels, was also radicalised in prison – travelling to Syria when he was freed and then coming back to attack the Jewish museum.

"Chérif Kouachi was already involved in jihadi circles when he went to prison, and found the experience a Petri dish for his extreme views. Coulibaly, like Merah and Nemouche, went in a simple delinquent from the banlieus, but came out a dangerous Islamist.

"What is going on in France’s prisons?

"Of the 67,500 people currently behind bars in France, it is estimated that 70 per cent are Muslim – when they comprise only eight per cent of the French public. It is illegal under France’s strict laicity laws to count the number of Muslim prisoners, but experts agree that the figure is an accurate average – with some prisons, like those near Paris and Marseille, seeing an even higher percentage....

"French authorities state that 283 people are currently in prison for terrorism, of whom 152 are classed as dangerous Islamists. Sixty of them – almost all incarcerated in Paris – are deemed particularly dangerous.

"France is the country in Europe which has the highest Muslim population, and has also seen the highest number of people - estimated by the Brookings Institute this month at over 900 - travelling to Syria to join Islamic State....

"On the front line is Mohamed Boina M’Koubou, imam inside Fleury-Merogis – the prison where Kouachi and Coulibaly were both pushed towards extremist views.... He said that when he arrived in 2004 at Fleury-Merogis – a vast concrete pentagon, 20 miles south of the centre of Paris – there was no dedicated space for Muslims to pray, which emphasised the feeling of discrimination that the prisoners felt....

"Mr Boina attends prison twice a week, for an hour or two. He teaches prisoners how to read the Koran or talks to them about Islam. He also shows them how to pray, and follow the pillars of Islam.... Mainly he works with the young, aged 14 to 35.

"'Some of them leave prison as grown men. They regret what they have done'... But some, he added, do not find leaving prison easy. 'They can’t survive like that for long if society doesn’t help them,' he said. 'If they find nothing out there for them, they will slip back into bad ways.'

"One such prisoner was Coulibaly, who predicted his own return to a life of crime when he left behind Fleury-Merogis, having spent seven months in the same wing as Chérif Kouachi and hardened Islamist Beghal.

"Behind bars for armed robbery – one of his many sejours at Fleury – he filmed life inside with a secret camera, footage from which was used in an April 2009 documentary. It showed the violence of life in Europe’s largest prison – but also the ingenuity; food was cooked on improvised stoves, marijuana was given to the guards to keep them on side, and messages were passed from cell to cell with “Yo Yos”, plastic bottles swung between bars on a ripped strip of a bed sheet.

"'It’s a school of delinquency,' said one of the inmates."

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Meet the "brutalists" (I): Hans-Hermann Hoppe

A Realistic Libertarianism - - Hans-Hermann Hoppe:

September 30, 2014 - "Psychologically or sociologically, the attraction of non-discrimination policies to libertarians can be explained by the fact that an over-proportionally large number of libertarians are misfits or simply odd – or to use Rothbard’s description,  'hedonists, libertines, immoralists, militant enemies of religion …., moochers, scamsters, and petty crooks and racketeers' – who became attracted to libertarianism because of its alleged ‘tolerance’ toward misfits and outliers, and who now want to use it as a vehicle to free themselves from all discrimination typically, in everyday life, dished out to their likes....

""From that vantage point, the ‘victim’ groups and their ‘victimizers’ are easily identified. As it turns out, ‘victims’ make up the vast majority of mankind. Everyone and every conceivable group is a ‘victim,’ except that small part of mankind composed of white (including northern Asian) heterosexual males, living traditional, bourgeois family lives....

"While this view of human history strikes one as bizarre in light of the amazing civilizational achievements originating from precisely this minority group of ‘victimizers,’ it coincides almost completely with the victimology also propagated by cultural Marxists....

"You, you small group of ‘victimizers,’ must always be especially ‘nice,’ forgiving, and inclusive vis-a-vis all members of the vast majority of ‘victims,’ i.e., the long and familiar list of everyone except white, heterosexual males! And as for enforcement: All ‘victimizers’ not demonstrating proper respect to some victim-class member, i.e., victimizers who are ‘nasty,’ unforgiving or exclusive or who say ‘nasty’ or disrespectful things about them, must be publicly shunned, humiliated, and shamed into obedience!

"Why should anyone be particularly nice to anyone else – apart from respecting ones’ respective private property rights in certain specified physical means (goods)? To be nice is a deliberate action and takes an effort, like all actions do. There are opportunity costs.... Time devoted to ‘niceness to others’ is time lost to do other, possibly more worthwhile things ... in rewarding the vast majority of ‘victims’ with extra love, care and attention, one accomplishes precisely this: less time and effort is devoted to exhibiting nasty behavior toward those actually most deserving of it. The power of the State will not be weakened by universal ‘niceness,’ then, but strengthened.

"And why is it in particular the small minority of white, heterosexual males, and especially its most successful members that owes some extra-kindness to the vast majority of all other people? Why not the other way around? After all, most if not all technical inventions, machines, tools and gadgets in current use everywhere and anywhere, on which our current living standards and comforts largely and decisively depend, originated with them. All other people, by and large, only imitated what they had invented and constructed first. All others inherited the knowledge embodied in the inventors’ products for free. And isn’t it the typical white hierarchical family household of father, mother, their common children and prospective heirs, and their ‘bourgeois’ conduct and lifestyle – i.e., everything the Left disparages and maligns – that is the economically most successful model of social organization the world has ever seen, with the greatest accumulation of capital goods (wealth) and the highest average standards of living? And isn’t it only on account of the great economic achievements of this minority of ‘victimizers’ that a steadily increasing number of ‘victims’ could be integrated and partake in the advantages of a worldwide network of the division of labor? And isn’t it only on account of the success of the traditional white, bourgeois family model also that so-called ‘alternative lifestyles’ could at all emerge and be sustained over time? Do not most of today’s ‘victims,’ then, literally owe their lives and their current living to the achievements of their alleged ‘victimizers?’

"Why not the ‘victims’ giving special respect to their ‘victimizers’? Why not bestow special honor to economic achievement and success instead of failure, and why not give special praise to traditional, ‘normal’ lifestyles and conduct rather than any abnormal alternative that requires, as a necessary condition of its own continued existence, a pre-existing dominant surrounding society of ‘normal’ people with ‘normal’ lifestyles?...

"In effect, by outlawing all discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, age, race, religion, national origin, etc., etc., a vast number of people are declared State-certified ‘victims.’ Anti-discrimination laws, then, are an official call upon all ‘victims’ to find fault and complain to the State about their own ‘favorite’ ‘oppressors,’ and especially the more wealthy ones among them, and their ‘oppressive’ machinations, i.e., their ‘sexism,’ ‘homophobia,’ ‘chauvinism,’ ‘nativism,’ ‘racism,’ ‘xenophobia,’ or whatever, and for the State to respond to such complaints by cutting the ‘oppressors’ down to size, i.e., in successively dispossessing them of their property and authority and correspondingly expanding and strengthening its own monopolistic power vis-a-vis an increasingly weakened, fragmented, fractionalized and de-homogenized society.

"Ironically, then, and contrary to their self-proclaimed goal of wanting to shrink or even eliminate the State, the left-libertarians with their peculiar, egalitarian victimology become accomplices to the State and effectively contribute to the aggrandizement of its power. Indeed, the left-libertarian vision of a discrimination-free multicultural society is, to use Peter Brimelow’s phrase, Viagra to the State."

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The above text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0) license

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Few jailed drug offenders are real criminals

Most people in federal prison for drug offenses have no serious criminal history - Vox - German Lopez:

November 13, 2015 - "In October, the [U.S] federal government conducted the largest ever release of federal prisoners, letting 6,000 drug offenders out into the world. As bipartisan support pushes criminal justice reform forward at the state and federal levels, Americans should expect these types of releases to continue. But many people, such as Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, are worried this will lead to more crime and chaos.

"But there's a good reason not to worry: There's little indication most federal drug offenders are violent or dangerous, even if they were involved in drug trafficking.

"A new report from the Urban Institute ... found that a majority of drug offenders in federal prison have no serious, violent criminal history. A little more than one in five have a minor history, such as simple assault and other crimes that don't typically lead to serious injury. Fewer than one in four drug offenders in federal prison has a serious history....

"Only 14 percent were sentenced for being a manager, supervisor, leader, or organizer in an offense. Fewer than 14 percent were sentenced for using violence, making a credible threat to use violence, or directing the use of violence during the offense. And more than 75 percent didn't have or weren't in the presence of a weapon during the offense.

"The result: There are a lot of people serving long prison sentences — on average, more than nine years, according to Urban Institute — for what amounts to small-time drug dealing. The general consensus among criminal justice reformers is that there's little reason to think this population is a serious risk to society and should be in prison at all or for very long, so maybe releasing them a little early isn't a bad idea."

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Friday, November 13, 2015

59% of Canadians want marijuana legalized

Poll: 59% Of Voters In Canada Say Legalize Marijuana | The Weed Blog - Johnny Green:

November 13, 2015 - "The 2015 Election in Canada was a very big victory for marijuana reform .... when Justin Trudeau was elected it dramatically increased the chances that Canada will legalize marijuana sooner than later.... Trudeau included marijuana legalization as part of his campaign platform, and said after he was elected that he would push for marijuana legalization straight out the gate.

"As if electing a pro-marijuana candidate wasn’t enough to show how popular marijuana reform is in Canada, a poll was recently released which found overwhelming support for marijuana legalization. Per Forum Research:
In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1256 Canadian voters, the majority, close to 6-in-10, approve of the Liberal government’s promise to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana (59%), and this is an increase over the proportion who said they agreed marijuana should be legal in mid-August of this year (August 20 – 53%).

The government’s policy promise is especially popular with the youngest (67%), the wealthiest (66%), in Atlantic Canada (75%) and BC (68%), among Liberals (70%) and New Democrats (65%) but not so much among Conservatives (28%).
"The same poll found that roughly 20% of Canadians have consumed marijuana in the last year. All eyes in the marijuana community are tightly locked on Canada right now, waiting to see what the next move is."

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Rand Paul wins 4th Republican debate (video)

Post-Debate, Is Rand Paul Back? - Hit & Run : - Brian Doherty:

November 11, 2015 - "Pundits from The Week to the generally libertarian-hating Salon credited Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul for winning last night's Republican presidential candidate debate aired on Fox Business News. The Week said Paul was 'the calmest, most relaxed' guy up there and won for offering opinions on foreign policy that might have the most independent appeal, vital for national victories if not for getting GOP audiences to applaud. Salon found Paul winningly coherent and reasonable and willing to say things the GOP red-meat audience might not want to hear.

"Vox declared him a winner, if not the winner, for making himself flashy and relevant tussling with Marco Rubio over fiscal conservatism and militarism and fact-checking Trump. National Review, generally not a pal to Pauls, also gives him a winner status for being 'more cogent and less peevish' than they think he usually is. (A different NatRev writer hat tipped to Paul for being right in opposing a Syrian no-fly zone.)

The Washington Post gave him credit for having a 'strong' debate and both the Los Angeles Times and Vanity Fair gave him cool points for being the only person smart or brave enough to point out Donald Trump seemed to believe, mistakenly, that China was a party to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact....

"[L]ast night's debate performance did, I'd say, demonstrate he's the most thoughtful guy on the stage, combining a sense that we need severe changes in the way government taxes, spends, and behaves with a demeanor and style that feels comfortably mainstream, both in the GOP context and perhaps more importantly in a national context."

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why I’m not wearing a poppy

Why I’m not Wearing a Poppy | The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG - D.J. Webb:

October 30, 2013 - "Once again the annual row on the wearing of poppies is taking place.... However, the issue has been rather muddied for me by Britain‘s habit of sending young men abroad into wars that have no conceivable connection to our national interest. I support our soldiers unconditionally, whether the wars are justified or not, as they are British soldiers. I also feel very sorry for those wounded, or killed, in wars staged for the convenience of the liberal elite. But I have not worn a poppy for several years now.

"I know many conservatives will be pained to read a short article explaining why a poppy should not be worn. But to my mind, the wearing of a poppy is tokenism at its worst, considerably cheapened by the wearing of poppies by BBC correspondents and members of the political class – in most cases, people who are not remotely interest in Great Britain as a nation-state. I don’t watch television, and so I don’t know if David Cameron has been espied this year wearing a poppy, but I expect he has done so or will be doing so very shortly, and the juxtaposition of that with his decisions to support 'the bringing of democracy to Afghanistan', as well as similar campaigns in other countries, just illustrates to me the false nature of the whole thing.... In the Queen’s case, as she does sign off on the sending of young men, without proper equipment, into wars that are not for the national interest, her wearing of a poppy is rather to be deprecated....

"Worst of all for me is the fact that the poppy seeks to depoliticise Britain‘s wars. After the First World War, when 'lions were led by donkeys', an accounting with those who had encouraged an unnecessary war would have been appropriate, including a public explanation by King George V as to why he, as commander-in-chief, had authorised Great Britain‘s joining of the war in the first place. Yet the bringing in of the poppy tradition has encouraged a non-political 'commemoration'. What is the point of commemorations if our political class are committed to sending more and more young men abroad into 'wars of choice' in the years ahead?

"I would not want to show disrespect to Britain‘s war dead, but to me the greatest respect that can be shown is to mount a political discussion of Britain‘s role in the world and whether it should be attempting to remain a military power in the way it is and whether it should be continuing to intervene in distant countries in fatuous attempts to impose democracy. I cannot wear the White Poppy that is used to symbolise peace, as I would support war for the national interest (such as the Falklands War), but not the staging of foreign wars for the political convenience of British leaders where no national interest is at stake."

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rand Paul budget deal video gets 19 million hits

Rand Paul’s viral video surprise - The Washington Post - David Weigel:

"Last week's 'filibuster' of the deal to raise the debt limit was widely seen as a bust for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). With great fanfare, one day before the CNBC presidential debate, Paul said that he would take the floor and make life difficult for the deal's backers 'until we talk about proposals.' In the end, he talked for less than two hours -- and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) arrived to talk even more.

"Then, to the Paul campaign's surprise, one video of his speech transformed into a hit. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a member of Paul's 2010 Tea Party class, shared the longest stretch of the Paul speech on Facebook. 'I was proud to vote with Senator Paul on his point of order that would have protected Social Security, and I ask you to help me shine a light on what Washington has tried to hide from you in the darkness of night,' Lee wrote. 'If everyone who sees this message shares it, it will reach millions of Americans.'

"Paul's campaign had not uploaded much of the speech to its YouTube account; none of the clips that made it up got more than 3,500 views. But over two days, the Lee video got more than 19 million impressions. (By contrast, the most popular YouTube video posted by Cruz has nearly 600,000 YouTube views.)

"'Virality means increased traffic, sign ups, and of course digital donations,' said Paul's digital strategist Vincent Harris. '[It's] a huge number in a short amount of time by any standards, especially considering the fact the campaign didn't pay a cent to promote it. Seems to be the most 'viral' moment since the senator stood up for life against Debbie Wasserman Schultz in New Hampshire months ago in a video that went around as well. It happened because people online appreciate Senator Lee, who shared the clip, and the senator's message on spending and our broken congress.'"

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Monday, November 9, 2015

ND Libertarians select candidates for 2016

Libertarians select slate of candidates for 2016 - Brett Williamson, Bismarck Tribune:

November 7, 2015 - "Libertarians from North Dakota and South Dakota gathered Saturday at the Baymont Inn and Suites in Mandan and selected candidates for the 2016 election.

Candidates selected for North Dakota were: Jack Seaman for U.S. House, Robert Marquette for U.S. Senate, Joshua Voytek for lieutenant governor, Kevin Johnson for District 16 representative, Nick Bata for insurance commissioner, Tom Skadeland for public service commissioner, and Roland Riemers for state auditor.... The Libertarian nominations for governor and state treasurer were postponed to a later date.

"This was a convention for the people looking for a change in their government.

"In the 2014 elections, the Libertarian Party was able to capture more than 5 percent of the vote for certain races and was added to the 2016 ballot. This is not their first year on the ballot, but it is the first year the Libertarian Party was added because of votes rather than petition....

"The convention was a time for change for the North Dakota Libertarian Party. Along with selecting candidates for 2016 races, the four-year North Dakota Libertarian party chairman, Roland Riemers, was replaced in a vote by Anthony Mangnall....

"In 2014, Mangnall ran for tax commissioner and was able to pull 6.4 percent of the vote to the Libertarian Party."

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

I wanted to print a defense of 'libertarian brutalism', but ...

Yesterday I excerpted, and linked to, an article by Jeffrey Tucker contrasting two types of libertarians. The first holds culturally 'liberal' or 'cosmopolitan' views: "human co-operation," "the rights of all", "allow[ing] human associations of all sorts to flourish," and "getting along rather than tearing each other apart." The second holds culturally 'conservative,' 'reactionary' or 'tribalist' views: wanting to "form homogeneous tribes" "work out their biases," "ostracize others based on 'politically incorrect standards," and "hate to their hearts content" in their own set-apart space.

The above is a conflict over ends, not means: both types are libertarian insofar as they see liberty as the way to their ends, and state power as an impediment to them. However, Tucker sees inescapable conflict when these two come together. And even the terms he adopts for them - "humanitarians" vs. "brutalists" - show his bias.

That's a bias I share, by the way. But that is not what the blog is for; it's meant to present the "Big Tent", libertarianism in all its facets. So, while I printed Tucker's article, I didn't want to leave it at that, giving only one side of the issue.

Today, then, I went looking for a defense of 'brutalism': a response to Tucker that would either explain why 'brutalism' is fine, or, at minimum, show how 'brutalists' and 'humanitarians' can work together. But ...  I could find nothing on the web. There were a lot of responses to Tucker's article; but none that met his argument directly. Instead, they decided to talk about a different issue.

Christoper Cantwell, for instance, describes Tucker's article thusly: "In the ongoing conflict between leftist infiltrators who want to redefine libertarianism, and purists who wish to stay on message, yet another high profile libertarian has ditched principle for popularity, and condemned principled action as racist, and misogynist." Huh? How are promoting tribalism, ostracism, and hatred "staying on message?" When did promoting those values become "principled action"?

They didn't, of course, and Cantwell does not even try to pretend they did. Instead (while accusing Tucker of attacking a strawman), he attacks a strawman of his own, the idea of "thick libertarianism": "According to Jeffrey Tucker, the people Tom Woods referred to as 'thick libertarians' are the 'humanitarians' who love all that is beautiful about liberty."

"Thick libertarianism" is the idea that liberal, and even progressive, end-values are or should be somehow part of the libertarian message. "Thin libertarianism," on the other hand, is the idea that libertarianism, per se, is end-value-neutral. That does not mean, as Objectivists like Peter Schwartz would have it, that libertarians espouse no end-values: it means that each libertarian espouses his or her own end-values, and advocates liberty as a means to those.

Holding to a "thin" libertarianism indeed means staying on message: if something doesn't affect liberty, the movement and party should leave it up to the individual. So it's not surprising that Cantwell tried this dodge. What is surprising is that virtually everyone else writing against Tucker's article did, too.

For instance, TJ at The Anarchist Notebook responded: "Once more there is an attempt to define libertarianism as something more than simply being against the initiation of violence or aggression against an innocent person or their property." Matthew Muncel, at Divine Anarchy, wrote an "Intro to Brutalism" explaining that was the whole point:  "Jeffery Tucker joined ranks among the Thick libertarians and wrote an entire article in which he labeled himself and all those like him as 'humanitarian' and the 'thin libertarians' as Brutalists."  Daniel Phillips of The Intellectual Conservative chimed in that "I certainly side with the 'thin' 'brutalists' associated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute and"

Even those who tried to see both sides did the same, like Henry Moore at The Libertarian Liquidationist: "As someone who respects individuals and ideas in both camps, I can sympathize with each. My alliance with certain humanitarians (roughly left/center thick libertarians) is more pragmatic, and my identification as a brutalist (roughly right/center thin libertarians) is more principled."

And that was it for the day: No attempts to deal with Tucker and his thesis; nothing but attacks on a "thick libertarian" strawman, perhaps in the hopes that the resulting pile of straw would succeed in hiding the issue. Perhaps I'll try again tomorrow.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

2 types of libertarians: 'humanitarians' vs. 'brutalists'

Against Libertarian Brutalism | Foundation for Economic Education: Jeffrey A. Tucker, The Freeman:

March 12, 2014 - "Why should we favor human liberty over a social order ruled by power? In providing the answer, I would suggest that libertarians can generally be divided into two camps: humanitarians and brutalists.

"The humanitarians are drawn to reasons such as the following. Liberty allows peaceful human cooperation. It inspires the creative service of others. It keeps violence at bay. It allows for capital formation and prosperity. It protects human rights of all against invasion. It allows human associations of all sorts to flourish on their own terms. It socializes people with rewards toward getting along rather than tearing each other apart, and leads to a world in which people are valued as ends in themselves rather than fodder in the central plan.

"But they are not the only reasons that people support liberty. There is a segment of the population of self-described libertarians — described here as brutalists — who find all the above rather boring, broad, and excessively humanitarian. To them, what’s impressive about liberty is that it allows people to assert their individual preferences, to form homogeneous tribes, to work out their biases in action, to ostracize people based on 'politically incorrect' standards, to hate to their heart’s content so long as no violence is used as a means....

"These two impulses are radically different. The first values the social peace that emerges from freedom, while the second values the freedom to reject cooperation in favor of gut-level prejudice. The first wants to reduce the role of power and privilege in the world, while the second wants the freedom to assert power and privilege within the strict confines of private property rights and the freedom to disassociate....

"Humanitarianism ... seeks the well-being of the human person and the flourishing of society in all its complexity. Libertarian humanitarianism sees the best means to achieve this as the self-ordering social system itself, unimpeded by external controls through the violent means of the State. The goal here is essentially benevolent, and the means by which it is achieved put a premium on social peace, free association, mutually beneficial exchange, the organic development of institutions, and the beauty of life itself....

"[B]rutalism is rooted in the pure theory of the rights of individuals to live their values whatever they may be. The core truth is there and indisputable, but the application is made raw to push a point. Thus do the brutalists assert the right to be racist, the right to be a misogynist, the right to hate Jews or foreigners, the right to ignore civil standards of social engagement, the right to be uncivilized, to be rude and crude....

"Further, the brutalist believes that he already knows the results of human liberty, and they often conform to the throne-and-altar impulses of times past. After all, in their view, liberty means the unleashing of all the basest impulses of human nature that they believe the modern state has suppressed: the desire to abide in racial and religious homogeneity, the moral permanency of patriarchy, the revulsion against homosexuality, and so on. What most people regard as modernity’s advances against prejudice, the brutalists regard as imposed exceptions from the long history of humanity’s tribalist and religiously based instincts.

"Of course the brutalist as I’ve described him is an ideal type, probably not fully personified in any particular thinker. But the brutalist impulse is everywhere in evidence, especially on social media. It is a tendency of thought with predictable positions and biases. It is a main source for racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic strains within the libertarian world — at once denying that this sentence is true while asserting with equal passion the rights of individuals to hold and act on such views....

"It all comes down to the fundamental motivation behind the support of liberty itself. What is its overarching purpose? What is its dominant historical contribution? What is its future? Here the humanitarians are fundamentally at odds with brutalism."

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Marijuana use a human right, Mexican Supreme Court rules

Pot gets green light from Mexico's Supreme Court - Mexico Daily News:

November 5, 2015 - "By four votes to one, the court’s first chamber approved the cultivation, processing and possession of cannabis for personal use. However, the ruling will only apply to four activists – Josefina Ricaño Vàndala, Armando Santacruz González, José Pablo Girault and Juan Francisco Torres Landa Ruffo – who challenged the law by applying to set up a marijuana club in 2013 for recreational, non-commercial use....

"'The ruling will only apply to the persons it protects – the resolution of the first chamber does not legalize the supply or sale [of cannabis],' said Humberto Castellejos, legal counsel in the office of the president. 'Growing it with any other objective, even for recreation, is a crime according to the law.'

"Nevertheless, campaigners for legalization including the four activists who challenged the law, are optimistic that the ruling will pave the way for an eventual dismantling of Mexico’s strict marijuana laws....

"The ruling is the first of its kind and establishes a precedent for similar cases in future. Four more like it would establish jurisprudence and require the federal government to change Mexico’s cannabis laws.

"Another legalization campaigner, Hector Aguilar Camín, also welcomed the ruling. 'This is a watershed decision; we have to start separating the substance from the hell produced by its persecution,' he said in reference to Mexico’s drug wars, which have killed thousands of people.

"'Our objective was always to change drug policy in this country, which is one of the main motors for the violence, corruption and the violation of human rights in Mexico,' said Santacruz Gonzàlez.

"Mexican law permits possession of up to five grams of cannabis, but activists say this is a halfway measure as few users buy such small amounts....

Supreme Court Judge Arturo Zaldivar, who proposed the ruling, based his argument on the human right to 'personal development' and recreation that did not harm others."

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Marijuana legalization defeated in Ohio

Future of Legal Marijuana in Doubt After Ohio Defeat - News, Sports, Jobs - The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register - Associated Press:

November 5, 2015 - "The future of marijuana in Ohio faced an uncertain future Wednesday after the resounding defeat of an effort to legalize cannabis for both medical and recreational use in a single vote - though few believe the fight is over.

"The proposal rejected by voters on Tuesday is expected to be followed in 2016 by a more conventional legalization initiative, one that doesn't give exclusive growing rights to private investors....

"'I think there is consensus that it's not over and done, that some type of legalization of marijuana in Ohio is still going to be a part of the public discussion,' said Joe Cornely of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

"Farmers who would have been shut out of growing opportunities under the plan had joined business groups, children's hospitals, the state NAACP and a host of other groups in opposing the initiative brought by a group called ResponsibleOhio.

"Gov. John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, praised voters for their decision to reject marijuana, which he said would have been bad for families....

"Concerns about possibly creating what was dubbed 'a marijuana monopoly' appeared to be the major factor in its defeat, and a leading voice in the mainstream legalization movement said that sent an important national message. Economists more likely would have considered the growing site setup an oligopoly, a not-so-voter-friendly word.

"'The silver lining of the defeat is it's going to discourage anyone else from trying the oligopoly model in other states,' said Ethan Nadelmann, founder and director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation's largest drug policy reform organization.

"At least 10 other states are working on some sort of legalization initiative next year, whether for recreational or medical cannabis. In Ohio, the Cleveland-based Ohioans to End Prohibition has been working on its own hybrid plan, which leaves cannabis production to the free market....

"A Quinnipiac University poll released last month found that 53 percent of Ohio voters supported recreational marijuana, as opposed to 44 percent who opposed it. The poll also found that 90 percent of Ohio voters supported medical marijuana, compared with 9 percent who opposed it. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points."

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Arkansas LP nominates 23 before early deadline

 October 26, 2015 - "The Libertarian Party of Arkansas selected 23 candidates to run for office Saturday in a special nominating convention, including individuals to run for the five congressional races on next year’s ballot.

"Frank Gilbert was nominated to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark. Gilbert won 2% of the vote running for governor in 2014.

"Nathan LaFrance, who won 2% of the vote running for Senate in 2014, will campaign for the 3rd District House seat held by U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers. Chris Hayes, who won 6% of the vote campaigning for state treasurer in 2014, will run for the 2nd District House seat held by U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock. Mark West of Oil Trough is the party’s nominee for the 1st District House seat held by U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro. Kerry Hicks of Mena is campaigning for the 4th District House seat held by U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs....

"In a press release, the party said it could nominate more candidates if it wins a lawsuit asking for more time.

"Third parties must nominate candidates for the 2016 general election by the first week of November, which is the end of the filing period for Republican and Democratic candidates. The early deadline is a result of a law passed this year in order to make it possible for Arkansas’ primaries to be on March 1, the so-called 'SEC primary' involving other Southern states.

"Attorney James Linger will represent the Libertarian Party in the case in U.S. District Court, where Judge James Moody will preside.....

"Libertarians finished their ballot access drive in June by gathering the required signatures of 10,000 registered voters. To avoid collecting signatures again in 2018, the Libertarian candidate for president must receive 3% of the popular vote in the 2016 general election.

 "The party also nominated two candidates for the Arkansas Senate and eight candidates for the Arkansas House."

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Kochs invest millions in free-market education

Koch Foundations Invest in Libertarian Education | Al Jazeera America - Dave Levinthal:

October 30, 2015 - "Higher education has become a top Koch priority in recent years. And their funding — as well as pushback against it — is increasing.

"During 2013, a pair of private charitable foundations Charles Koch leads and personally bankrolls combined to spread more than $19.3 million across 210 college campuses in 46 states and the District of Columbia, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Internal Revenue Service tax filings....That represents a significant increase from the $12.7 million the Koch foundations distributed among 163 college campuses in 41 states and the District of Columbia during 2012....

"The Kochs are among many wealthy political patrons who give money to education, along with conservative Robert McNair, independent Michael Bloomberg and liberal billionaire financier George Soros.... The Kochs’ giving, however, has a laser-like focus on a specific, politically relevant discipline — free market economics — unmatched by other political mega-donors. Koch officials routinely cultivate relationships with professors and deans and fund specific courses of economic study pitched by them.

"Detractors argue the Koch brothers’ college-focused money, by helping advance a philosophy of economic liberty, is eroding a fundamental aspect of higher education: academic freedom....

"But some conservatives and libertarians consider the Kochs’ investments in higher education a much-needed counterweight to an American higher education system that historically tilts leftward....

"'Since the ‘60s, they’ve been imbued with the sense that the world would be a better place if the country instituted their libertarian values,' author Brian Doherty said of the brothers.

"'For Charles, his time horizon, as he gets a little older, has become a little shorter. He has lots of money, and he wants to see action in his lifetime,' continued Doherty, the author of Radicals for Capitalism: A freewheeling history of the modern American libertarian movement and senior editor at Reason who’s interviewed both Koch brothers."

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