Thursday, June 30, 2016

Brexit not likely to increase economic liberty

No, there’s not a market-liberal case for Brexit | Bleeding Heart Libertarians - Jacob T. Levy:

June 27, 2016 - "I’ve been dismayed to see how many – not a majority, but a long way above 'none' –  of my libertarian friends on social media are either enthusiastic about British exit from the EU or indifferent-leaning-favorable....

"The market-liberal case for Brexit blends together a view that eliminating a level of government is usually good; generalized skepticism of distant and central authority; and specific beliefs about the planning, socialist, or overregulatory propensities of the EU in particular relative to the UK. For there to be a good market-liberal case for Brexit, the weight of these arguments had better be overwhelming, given the obvious goods of liberalized migration and trade across the EU....

"Now, the 'one less level of government / distant bureaucrats' hunches should only ever be hunches. With Madison, Acton, and Hayek, I think there’s a great deal to be said for compound systems in which a relatively distant and unloved center exists to check the relatively local units that engender too much enthusiasm for state power, and that when 'decentralization' means 'vesting sole power in a Weberian nation-state,' the virtues of decentralization will be very hard to come by. The natural skepticism of a level of government like that found in Brussels gives way to considerable overconfidence in the level of government like that found in London. An system of both institutional checks and balances and popular vigilance against abuses of power is replaced by a system that has neither....

"The single-market rules and regulations have some genuinely market-friendly features. One of the most important of these is the set of policies that prohibit subsidies and trade distortions favoring national-champion firms. Think about the competition to lavish subsidies on professional sports teams in the United States … applied to much bigger and more important sectors of the economy. That kind of crony capitalism is ruled out by the EU.... And Brexit supporters are well aware of this....

"On the regulatory side – which is what the right-leaning British press talks about a lot – there's the usual number of silly and micromanaging stories that emerge out of any regulatory system. Bananas and vacuum cleaners and light bulbs, oh my. But these are anecdata....

"According to the 2015 Economic Freedom of the World report’s overall measure for regulatory burden, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Sweden, Ireland, and Romania are all less regulated than the UK. The most recent Heritage index of 'business freedom' ranks Denmark, Finland, Germany, and Sweden ahead of the UK; for labor freedom, Denmark, Austria, and Ireland. In all these cases, these relatively-liberal EU countries compare favorably with other developed countries in or out of the EU.... I don’t see any reason to think that there’s some tremendous unmet demand for deregulation in the British political system, or that overall leaving the EU will much lighten the total regulatory load when the UK is often above the EU floor anyway.

"One final thought.... The UK has been an important part of the relatively liberal bloc ... And the desire to placate Britain has put brakes on some of the most statist tendencies in Brussels. (This is similar the kind of thing I argue about federalism in general. A pluralistic federation like Canada is probably freer with a skeptical Quebec on the inside and always threatening to leave than either rump-Canada or Quebec would be post-separation).... [T]he likelihood is that overall economic freedom will decline even if there’s some increase in it in Britain — which, again, I don’t see any reason to expect."
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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

50,000 sign to put Libertarians on Illinois ballot

Libertarians seeking Illinois posts including U.S. Senate, state comptroller - News - State Journal-Register - Springfield, IL - Bernard Schoenberg:

June 27, 2016 - "Monday marked the deadline for independent or non-major party candidates to file for election, and several submitted petitions to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot. Illinois Libertarians filed more than double the number of signatures required.

"Kent McMillen, 54, a paralegal from Melrose Park, is running for U.S. Senate, and Claire Ball, 33, of Addison is entering the election for state comptroller.

"Brian Lambrecht, Ball’s husband and field operations director for the Illinois Libertarian Party, said the petitions will also serve to add to the ballot former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson – the party’s presidential candidate – and his running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld....

"Lambrecht lamented the 'disgusting' rule that statewide independent candidates or those outside established parties need five times the valid signatures to run – 25,000 instead of 5,000.
And he said the party turned in 53,000 signatures in order to have enough to withstand a likely challenge....

"McMillen said he wants to eventually abolish the Internal Revenue Service and federal departments of commerce, transportation and education. He also wants to transition away from the Social Security System to personal savings accounts for younger Americans.... He said the federal education department 'doesn’t educate anybody,' and as for the commerce agency, 'Businesses should deal with each other. (The Department of) Commerce kind of promotes certain types of businesses at the expense of others)'. Asked about transportation, McMillen said there should just be a 'very small' oversight agency to help coordinate projects carried out by the private sector.

"A news release said McMillen would also propose 'we begin closing our military bases overseas and bringing the troops home.' They wouldn’t all close 'on Day 1,' he told reporters at the Statehouse, but 'I think we have too many soldiers in places like Germany, Japan, Italy.' McMillen works for the Vedder Price law firm in Chicago.

"Ball stressed that she is an accountant seeking the financial job. She is employed by U.S. Cellular and said she is working toward being a certified public accountant. She said not being a Democrat or Republican would give her independence.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Plurality want cannabis legalized in Denmark

Danes want legal cannabis, but govt vows crackdown - The

June 27, 2016 -  "Amidst a new debate on cannabis, spurred by a massive police action at Christiania, a [plurality] of Danes are in favour of legalization.

"Berlingske newspaper published a Gallup poll on Monday showing that 45 percent of Danes think it should be legal to use cannabis, while 41 percent think it should continue to be forbidden.

"Additionally, a full 88 percent of respondents supported legalizing cannabis for medical use and of those who support legalization, 72 percent said the state should control the sales.

"The poll results come after police have cleared Christiania’s open-air cannabis market, Pusher Street, three times since June 17th. Each time, stalls are rebuilt and sales continue after officers leave the area.

"A number of prominent law enforcement officials have also spoken out in recent days about the 'hopeless' strategy currently embraced by the government.

"'I personally believe we should legalize the sale of cannabis because this is a fight we cannot win,' senior prosecutor Anne Birgitte Stürup from the Copenhagen Public Prosecutor Office (Statsadvokaten) told Jyllands-Posten. 'We’ve tried fighting this for so many years and have gotten nowhere. We cannot stop the use of cannabis by outlawing it. It is expensive and is of very little use.'

"Cannabis has been sold in Christiania’s Pusher Street ever since radical Danes squatted a former military barracks in 1971.... Pusher Street sales are estimated to total one billion kroner a year, money that legalization proponents argue currently ends up in the hands of organized criminals but could be redirected to state coffers if Denmark followed the likes of Portugal, Uruguay and several US states and opted to legalize cannabis....

"The Danish government, however, has chosen to not only continue its strict prohibition approach but is also suggesting new measures to further the crackdown. Justice Minister Søren Pind said that the government plans to introduce so-called ‘zone bans’, that would prohibit anyone convicted of being involved in the illegal cannabis trade of coming within 500 to 1,000 metres of certain areas, including Christiana."

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Let market determine how many workers to let in, Johnson tells NALEO conference (video)

Gary Johnson on Immigration: 'Nativism Is Not an American Value' - Bold - McCall Mishler:

June 23, 2016 - "Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson took a swipe at rival Donald Trump’s immigration stance, defending immigrants as hardworking people during a speech before a group of Latino lawmakers today.

"'Nativism is not an American value,' Johnson told the annual National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), adding that he thought the marketplace should determine immigration levels, rather than 'special-interest driven caps.'

"At the NALEO conference Johnson said: 'The overwhelming cause of illegal immigration and visa overstays is the fact that our legal immigration process simply doesn’t work, and that we impose absurd caps on various work visas. Let the market, not bureaucrats and special interests, determine how many workers we allow into the country.'

"He went on to say that he believes in reasonable border control and that the United States doesn’t need to recreate the 'Great Wall.' Along with that, Johnson said he thinks that the focus of border enforcement should be more toward the percentage of immigrants who are causing criminal harm."

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Porcfest as glimpse of libertarian paradise

In New Hampshire, Living for a Week in Libertarian Paradise - ABC News - Kathleen Ronayne, Associated Press:

June 24, 2016 - "T-shirts promoting 'Bitcoins not Bombs.' An ice cream stand selling cones of 'Bananarchy.' A refurbished school bus housing young men debating the presidential candidacy of Gary Johnson. "

"Welcome to PorcFest, a weeklong camping festival billed as a libertarian utopia of sorts in the mountains of New Hampshire. Run by the Free State Project, the annual festival attracts 1,500 people from across the nation, who started trickling in Sunday.

"Called 'porcupines,' the animal that serves as a logo for libertarians, they come to share ideas and be among others who dream of a small government society where taxes are limited, trade is free and people are allowed to eat, imbibe and inhale whatever they please. The festival, officially called the Porcupine Freedom Festival, offers a glimpse into the kind of libertarian paradise Free State Project leaders hope to one day create statewide....

"This year's PorcFest comes at a key moment for the Free State Project, a plan devised in the early 2000s to persuade 20,000 libertarians to move to New Hampshire en masse. New Hampshire was chosen, in part, because of its "Live Free or Die" motto and the relative ease of getting elected to office: The state's citizen legislature has 424 seats. In February, the movement earned its 20,000th "signer," the threshold that is supposed to trigger a mass move within five years.

"Matt Philips, the group's president since March, estimates 2,000 people have already moved. The group is now working to convince other signers — some of whom committed more than a decade ago — to join them. Philips knows all may not come, but his ultimate goal is to hit 20,000 incoming residents....

"Guns are indeed allowed freely at PorcFest; a posted flyer reminds gun carriers: 'Be respectful. Be careful. Be safe.' Marijuana is freely smoked too, as most participants believe the drug should be legal.

"Food and other goods are sold in a mini marketplace for cash or Bitcoin, the virtual currency that operates outside of government regulation....

"Philips said he hopes for a future where Free Staters can openly identify themselves as members of the project and begin to rapidly expand their message statewide."

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Libertarians positioned as moderates for choice

Libertarians Gary Johnson, William Weld endorse choice in CNN town hall - - Eric DuVall:

June 22, 2016 - "Participating in a CNN Town Hall event, the Libertarian Party presidential ticket of former Republican Govs. Gary Johnson and William Weld addressed a range of issues, promising, as Johnson said, to 'always come down on the side of choice'....

"Both men described themselves as fiscally conservative but accepting of social differences. They are pro-gay marriage and support protecting a woman's right to abortion, but have proposed across-the-board spending cuts of 10 to 20 percent in the federal government....

 "On gun control: Johnson said he is opposed to banning individuals on the no-fly list and the terror watch list from buying guns outright because some of the names on there are in error. He is in favor of prohibiting individuals with diagnosed mental illnesses from buying them, but expressed skepticism about increasing government involvement in determining who is and is not mentally fit to own firearms. He opposed a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles....

"On immigration: Both men oppose Trump's proposal to deport an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants and build a wall on the Mexican border.... Johnson said 'We should make it as easy as possible for somebody who wants to come into this country to work to get a work visa. They are not taking jobs U.S. citizens want'...  Weld went further, repeating his statement likening Trump's immigration policy to those of the Nazis, particularly for the 'fear' that would be created as federal agents attempted to round up millions of undocumented people for deportation.

"On legalizing drugs: Johnson supports legalizing marijuana completely, but said he opposes legalizing narcotics like heroin. He did express support for some foreign programs where heroin addicts can have their drugs tested for potentially lethal additives, and ingest the drugs under observation to prevent overdosing.... Weld said ...  'Society is coming to view people who have serious issues with either narcotics or alcohol, that that is a public health emergency and that is not a status crime'....

"On the use of military force: Johnson said he opposes 'interventionism' in U.S. foreign policy, but agrees the military needs to be funded to deter attacks and respond to them.... He called for a return to congressional authority over military action....

"On free trade: Both men support free trade agreements, saying they will help create jobs in America. 'I think, unfairly, free trade has come under criticism as crony capitalism,' Johnson said. 'Government can level the playing field for everyone. That level playing field really is free trade.' Weld agreed. 'In the purest sense, free trade is always going to benefit the United States because we have the highest rate of productivity and we are the most technologically advanced country in the world'...

"On taxes: Both men touted their records of cutting taxes as governors. Johnson said that, ideally, ... 'I would eliminate income tax, I would eliminate corporate tax, I would abolish the IRS and I would replace it all with one federal consumption tax'.... Weld did not go as far as saying he would abolish the IRS, but did call for across-the-board spending cuts of 10 percent to 20 percent, which he said would force federal agencies to eliminate wasteful spending."

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Marc Allan Feldman dead at 56

Cleveland Clinic doc who sought Libertarian Party presidential bid found dead in Brook Park motel | -  Chanda Neely:

June 23, 2016 - "A Cleveland Clinic doctor who recently lost a bid for the Libertarian Party's nomination for president was found dead Wednesday in a Brook Park motel, the party confirmed.

"Marc A. Feldman, 56, of Beachwood was found at the America's Best Value Inn in the 14000 block of Brookpark Road. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office has not released an official cause of death....

"In May, Feldman lost the nomination to represent the Libertarian Party in the November presidential election. The party selected former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson....

"Nicholas Sarwark, chair of the party's national committee, said: 'We will miss his dedication as a member of the national committee and candidate for public office, but most of all, I will miss a good friend.  He was a delightful, spirited, and dedicated Libertarian who inspired and won the hearts of many. Our deepest condolences to his family on their loss.'"

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Libertarian candidates in prime-time CNN forum

Libertarian candidates get prime time forum, with most eyes elsewhere - The Washington Post - David Weigel:

June 23, 2016 - "On Wednesday night ... former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson and former Massachusetts governor William Weld brought their campaign to CNN. A prime time town hall meeting that touched on drug legalization, foreign policy and gun rights was overwhelmed by news from elsewhere.

"To some libertarians, that was no tragedy. Johnson, running as the LP's presidential nominee for the second time, drew criticism for a performance that only occasionally found focus.... Still, the very existence of the hour-plus special was a tribute to how far into the spotlight Johnson had dragged Libertarians [s]ince convincing Weld to join his ticket and, thereby, creating the most politically experienced third party campaign since 1980....

"CNN, which promoted the Libertarian forum just as it had presented similar showcases for Republicans and Democrats, mostly let the candidates explain themselves. Johnson meandered with a question about a ban on members of the terror watch list being able to obtain guns, comparing the error rate on that list to the conviction error rate for criminals on death row. He found dry land again when explaining his tax plan — a national consumption tax — or health care.

"'If we could bring genuine competition to health care, health care would be one-fifth the cost of what it is right now,' said Johnson. 'You would have Stitches R Us.'

"Johnson, a teetotaler who went on to run an edible marijuana company, was challenged by a mother who blamed heroin for a crippling injury to her son. 'Can you people in positions of power please get rid of the drugs?' asked Maureen Morella.

"After calling her son's story 'heartbreaking,' Johnson offered an on-point libertarian solution. 'We are not espousing the legalization of any drugs outside of marijuana,' he said. 'But what you are pointing out is that prohibition is really what your son succumbed to.' Johnson imagined government regulation that could monitor the quality of drugs, like heroin, that would not become legal, and stuck to that position after Morella worried it would not stop the problem of young people being harmed.

"Weld got less thorny questions, and occasionally stepped up when Johnson wanted to skip one. When one questioner asked if the Libertarian Party's goal of deep military spending cuts would make America less safe, Johnson turned to his running mate.... 'Sure,' [Weld] said. 'I personally have never seen a layer of government that didn't have waste in it.'

"Both men, who had only won elections as Republicans, were at their best when trying to reframe Libertarian positions as sweet spots between the parties. After Johnson skidded around a question about whether he really could raise the Social Security retirement age to 75, Weld stepped in with a lecture about the failure of Republicans and Democrats.

"'It's almost like the parties exist more for the purpose of slandering each other than they do for the purpose of legislation,' he said. 'I think people's teeth are set on edge against each other as groups. A lot of the reason is Republican versus Democrat. Gridlock in Washington. Hyper gerrymandering. And I think the next president has to rise above that, as did President Eisenhower, President Reagan, make us all feel good about being Americans.'"

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Johnson opposes 'No fly, no buy' gun control

Gary Johnson Comes Out Against No Fly, No Gun Proposal | The Daily Caller - Alex Pfieffer:

June 15, 2016 - "Libertarian presidential nominee and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has come out against proposals to deny Americans on the no-fly list from purchasing guns on the grounds of due process.

“Gov. Johnson believes Second Amendment rights are too fundamental to be denied without due process, and being put on a list arbitrarily by the government is certainly not due process,' Johnson campaign communications director Joe Hunter told The Daily Caller in a statement Wednesday."

"His campaign pointed TheDC to a recent blog post by the ACLU titled, "Until the No Fly List is Fixed, It Shouldn’t Be Used To Restrict People’s Freedoms." The ACLU is currently in a legal challenge against the no fly list. They say it is 'unconstitutionally vague, and innocent people are blacklisted without a fair process to correct government error.'

"President Obama and Hillary Clinton have come out in favor of barring people from the no fly list and terror watch list from purchasing weapons. Donald Trump said Wednesday that he is going to meet with the NRA to discuss these proposals."

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Weld supports Massachusetts cannabis initiative

Bill Weld supports marijuana legalization in Massachusetts - Adam Vaccaro:

June 7, 2016 ' "Former Massachusetts Republican Gov. William Weld, the newly minted vice-presidential candidate on the third-party Libertarian ticket, said Tuesday that he supports marijuana legalization in Massachusetts, an issue that is expected to be decided in a ballot question this fall.

"'In Massachusetts, I would be supportive,' Weld said at a question-and-answer session hosted by the public policy think tank MassINC.

"On the one hand, Weld’s position is no surprise, as the party he will represent this fall believes in limited government and has long called for legalization of marijuana and the relaxation of drug laws.... And as governor in the 1990s, Weld supported medical marijuana legalization. But as a former federal prosecutor, Weld also had a tough-on-crime approach as governor, and he acknowledged Tuesday that his support for legalization is 'something of a shift from what my position would have been in the past.'

"'I’m not absolutely sure that I would have been for that before spending as much time as I have with Gary Johnson,' Weld said. 'He’s very much in favor of the legalization of marijuana.'

"Weld said Johnson 'wants to look' at legalizing other drugs as well as a form of criminal justice reform, and said alcohol and legal prescription drugs can be more dangerous than illicit drugs.

"'I don’t know the answer to those things.… That to me is at least worth a discussion,' Weld said. “And I do think there’s something to the idea that by decriminalizing something, you take it out of the shadows. And then the incentives are not there for the bad guys to do massive criminal sales. Again, you wouldn’t have heard it from me when I was in the Justice Department'....

"The Massachusetts marijuana ballot question would legalize marijuana in 2017, and establish a taxed retail sales system in 2018. It would be similar to laws that have passed elsewhere, including in Colorado.... It has attracted powerful, bipartisan opposition, with Democratic Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker among the elected officials who have actively voiced their dissent.

"Baker worked in Weld’s administration and is close with his predecessor. But even though the governor has said he will not support either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton as president, he has also said he would not back Weld’s Libertarian ticket. The reason? The party’s call for drug legalization is a big part of it, he told Boston Herald Radio last month.

"Asked about Baker’s plan to sit out the presidential election on Tuesday, Weld still seemed hopeful he could court his pupil’s vote. 'I bet he’ll think of someone to vote for,' he said to laughter.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

WV mayor leaves GOP, voting for Johnson

Charleston Gazette-Mail | After 45 years, Danny Jones leaves Republican Party - David Gutman:

June 17, 2016 - "Charleston Mayor Danny Jones, who has been a Republican for 45 years and has been elected mayor four times as a Republican, has left the party.

"Jones announced Friday that he has switched his party registration to 'unaffiliated.'

"He pointed to multiple factors, specifically the social conservative bent of the West Virginia House of Delegates and the rise of Donald Trump as the party’s presidential nominee.

"'For the first time in my life, I cannot support the Republican nominee for president,' Jones said, although he described himself as 'not a Trump hater.'

He also cited 'the obsession of the West Virginia House of Delegates’ leadership with the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act.'

"Republicans said that bill, which failed in the state Senate, was necessary to protect religious liberties, but opponents derided it as a thinly veiled rationale to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

"'The fact that the House speaker came down to the floor to talk, not about the budget which is in crisis, he came down to talk about RFRA,' Jones said. 'I’m basically a city guy, and I believe [in] live and let live and stay out of each other’s bedroom.'

"Jones said he had decided before his party switch to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, for president."

"'A whole lot of things make me uncomfortable about partisan politics, and I do not want to be identified with the political partisanship that is shaping so much of the debates nationally and in West Virginia,' Jones said. 'I plan to complete my current term, and have no plans to run for any office ever again. I am not trying to pick a fight with anyone and, in fact, I am proud about how we’ve made so much progress in Charleston, where partisan politics has been non-existent in the 13-plus years I’ve been mayor.'"

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Libertarians sense opportunity in Utah

Utah Republicans are sour on Trump, Libertarians sense opportunity - LA Times - Melanie Mason:

June 17, 2016 - "Utah is one of the handful of states where Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson plans to focus his energies, hoping to capitalize on the revulsion against Trump felt by many ... conservative Mormons.

"Winning the state, or even getting a significant share of the vote, will hardly be easy for the Libertarians. But the very fact that they’re being seriously discussed  — Mitt Romney, the Republican’s 2012 nominee, who remains a highly popular figure here, recently said he would not rule out voting for the party — has Libertarian activists dreaming big.

"The party faces some serious hurdles: Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, remains unknown to many Utah voters, as he is nationwide. And while the party’s fiscally conservative platform may attract Republicans, its permissive social views on drugs, abortion and gay rights may turn off staunch conservatives.

"'On too many of the social issues, they go against the basic grain that conservatives in Utah want,' said Dave Hansen, a veteran GOP strategist. 'When you get to legalization of marijuana, that alone kills Gary Johnson here.'

"That may eventually prove true. For now, however, a poll released this week  by the Salt Lake Tribune and the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah found 13% of voters backing Johnson while Clinton and Trump deadlocked at 35% apiece....

"The most visible face of Trump resistance is Romney’s. Last week, he reiterated his opposition, warning on CNN that Trump could inspire 'trickle-down racism' Romney also sounded open to the Libertarian ticket as an alternative, heaping praise on Johnson’s running mate Bill Weld, who, like Romney, served as a Republican governor in Massachusetts.

'I'll get to know Gary Johnson better and see if he's someone who I could end up voting for,' Romney said.

"Hamstrung by a lack of money and traditional political infrastructure, the Libertarians here are relying on media coverage and word of mouth to power their campaign. So Romney’s support could be an enormous boost; his mere mention of researching Johnson inspired Utahns to do the same."

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Libertarian Party wins recognition in SD

Libertarian now recognized party in South Dakota - KSFY TV, Sioux Falls, South Dakota:

June 17, 2016 - "South Dakota just added another political party in the state.

"Friday, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs announced that the Libertarian Party is now a recognized political party.

"The party submitted 7,859 valid signatures. A new political party is required to submit at least 6,936 signatures or 2.5 percent of the total vote for Governor in the last election. In 2014, 277,403 total votes were cast.

"Krebs says there are currently 1,570 active and inactive registered Libertarians in South Dakota.

"The only deadline for a new party is if they wish to participate in the primary election process. That deadline was the last Tuesday in March.

"The Libertarian Party may hold a party convention in which they would be able to nominate a candidate for Public Utilities Commission and the 3 Electors for President of the United States."
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Friday, June 17, 2016

Mangu-Ward new editor-in-chief of Reason

Katherine Mangu-Ward Named Editor-in-Chief of Reason - Hit & Run :

Jun. 15, 2016 - "Katherine Mangu-Ward has been named editor-in-chief of Reason, the magazine of 'free minds and free markets.' Mangu-Ward joined the magazine in 2006 and has been Reason's managing editor since 2011.

"'This is my dream job,' said Mangu-Ward. 'I couldn't be more excited about leading Reason magazine's incredible team of journalists as we dig deeply into policy and politics, catalog culture in its high and low forms, and serve up a steady stream of smart, skeptical, sassy libertarian analysis.'

"'Katherine embodies Reason's dedication to great journalism and developing talent,' said David Nott, president of Reason Foundation, which publishes Reason. 'Katherine's humor, smarts and strong work ethic have helped drive her rise from Reason intern to editor-in-chief. I'm thrilled that she'll now lead and shape the magazine's coverage and design with her original, provocative and witty vision for impactful journalism'...

"'Katherine was built for this job. She's a talented journalist and strong libertarian who combines Reason co-founder Robert Poole's rational, can-do optimism with former Reason editor Virginia Postrel's sense of wonder at what free markets will dream up next," said Matt Welch, who is shifting from Reason's editor-in-chief to editor-at-large. 'Her delight at arguing against prevailing opinion, and her futuristic vision make Katherine ideal to lead a vital American magazine'....

"First published in 1968, Reason is the monthly magazine of free minds and free markets. Reason's award-winning print, digital and video properties cover politics, culture and ideas through a provocative mix of news and analysis that always makes a principled case for individual liberty, free markets and the rule of law."

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Libertarians target mandatory 'gun-free' zones

Libertarian Party Calls for End of ‘Government-Mandated Gun-Free Zones’ in Wake of Orlando Attack | - Kaitlyn Schallhorn:

June 13, 2016 - "Nicholas Sarwark, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, warned Monday that the U.S. is at risk of 'more mass shootings as he criticized both President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump for 'recycling their calls for more failed and deadly policies.'  Sarwark also asserted that the Libertarian Party is the only political party that is 'calling for sensible, serious policy change that would reduce the frequency of mass shootings as well as minimize the damage they do.'

"'Virtually all mass shootings happen in "gun-free" zones,' Sarwark said. 'Regardless of the ideology of the shooter or the type of weapons used, the common link is that the event occurs where responsible gun owners are prohibited from carrying arms for self-defense.

"'Self-defense is a fundamental human right,' he continued. 'Every person has a right to defend herself and her loved ones against someone who would do them harm. When government takes away the right of self-defense, it is violating a fundamental human right and endangering its citizens.'

"According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, only a little more than 1 percent of mass public shootings since 1950 have occurred in places that were not considered to be a gun-free zone. In fact, as Crime Prevention Research Center President John Lott Jr. noted in October 2015, only two mass shootings in the U.S. since 1950 have occurred in an area where citizens were not prohibited from carrying a gun.

"Pulse, the popular gay nightclub in Orlando where a 29-year-old terrorist fatally killed at least 49 people and wounded 53 early Sunday morning, was reportedly a gun-free zone.

"'In each of these mass killings, the government prohibited people from exercising their life-saving right to self-defense. Government-mandated "gun-free" zones disarm those who want to defend themselves and their loved ones,' Sarwark said. '"Gun-free" zones create killing fields for mass murders who, by definition, do not care what the law says.'"

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

World's largest libertarian meetup June 19-26

PorcFest, 'largest gathering of libertarians in the world,' to meet in New Hampshire - Washington Times - Jennifer Harper:

June 11, 2019 - "While Democrats and Republicans are busy planning their national conventions in July, Libertarians have the upcoming Porcupine Freedom Festival — or “PorcFest” — next week.

"Staged in the piney woods of northern New Hampshire, this political and cultural gathering is described by organizers as the 'the libertarian version of Burning Man,' and 'the largest gathering of libertarians in the world.' They expect about 1,700 attendees.

"The prickly porcupine is the official emblem, “Don’t tread on anyone” is the  motto. Now in its 13th year, the event has been organized by The Free State Project, a liberty-minded non-profit seeking to inspire like-minded folk to make their homes in the Granite State....

"'With [Gary] Johnson breaking double digits in the polls, everyone’s asking: Who are these people? While the Libertarian Party convention was a good primer on the quirks and qualities of your average libertarian, there’s no better place to see what they’re all about than PorcFest,' a spokesman told the Washington Times. 'Visiting PorcFest is the best way to see Libertarianus Americanus in his or her natural habitat,' he added.

"There will be meet-ups for dogs, drum circles, much music, multiple family outings, a costumed gala, plus classes in bonfire making, 401K tax traps, fiber arts, homeschooling and 'gun etiquette'.... PorcFest’s lineup of speakers includes author and Fox News contributor Kristin Tate, Atlas Society founder David Kelley, George Mason University economist Christopher Koopman, Reason magazine editor-in-chief Matt Welch and several state lawmakers.

The event begins June 19, at a campground about two hours north of Manchester. Find the PorcFest here."

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Johnson: Don't play politics with Orlando shooting

PressTV-'We must not politicize Orlando shooting':

June 13, 2016 - "US Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson has said people should not politicize the Orlando nightclub mass shooting that left at least 50 people dead and 53 others injured on Sunday.

"'Thoughts are with the #Orlando victims & a community who has been attacked,' Johnson said in a Twitter message on Sunday. 'It's a time to mourn, be strong & be what makes America great.'

"The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said it is investigating both domestic and international connections to the mass shooting that was reportedly claimed by the Daesh terrorist group....

"Johnson called on Americans to allow the authorities continue their investigations and to extend their condolences to the victims of the deadly attack.

"'In this immediate aftermath of what is clearly a tragic and despicable attack, our thoughts must be with the victims,' Johnson said in a separate statement issued on Sunday afternoon.

"'Regardless of what the motivation is ultimately found to be, this violence against innocent people simply going about their lives is both cowardly and infuriating. We must allow the authorities to do their jobs, understand how this attack came about, and then respond accordingly. It is not a time to either politicize or jump to conclusions,' he stated.

"The remarks come after presumptive Republican presidential nominee used the attack to push ahead with his anti-Muslim rhetoric. Donald Trump said the shooting further proved his xenophobia campaign. 'Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic [sic] terrorism,' he said. 'I don't want congrats, I want toughness and vigilance. We must be smart!'

"Trump called for a 'total and complete shutdown of Muslims' entering the United States while campaigning in primary season.

"The New York real-estate mogul also called for a database to track Muslims across the United States, and he has also said that the US would have 'absolutely no choice' but to close down mosques."

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Michigan Libertarians suspend convention stripper

Libertarian stripper banned from party - Rick Montgomery, Livingston Daily: 

June 13, 2016 - "The Howell man whose impromptu strip tease last month at the Libertarian Party's national convention made headlines across the U.S. has been suspended from the party.

"James Weeks II announced Sunday evening that [Michigan] Libertarian Executive Committee officials approved his suspension earlier in the day because of his actions.

"Weeks, chairman of the party's Livingston County branch and an announced party candidate for county sheriff, said 'the reasoning behind this suspension is their disapproval of my use of free expression in lieu of a speech during my run for Libertarian Party chair at the national convention.'

"Weeks has maintained his dance was a statement protesting the powers that be in American politics.

"He also said he received emails and letters of support from Libertarian leaders present at the  convention."

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Petersen's social media 'campaign of the future'

Kansas Citian lost Libertarian Party race, but likely ran campaign of the future | Kansas City Star - Rick Montgomery:

June 10, 2016 - "Austin Petersen recently finished second in a national race to be presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party..... Welcome, perhaps, to the presidential campaign of the future....

"Last October, Petersen was living in a sixplex behind a midtown QuikTrip when he announced his candidacy on Facebook.

"Never a public officeholder, he was chided by some in his party as an attention-seeking, trash-talking internet troll. Yet he won the affection of former GOP strategist Mary Matalin and conservative radio host Glenn Beck.

"That helped Petersen break from what was a 16-person field of Libertarian presidential aspirants to challenge the front-runner, former two-term New Mexico governor Gary Johnson.... Johnson ultimately took the nomination again at the national convention last month. On the second ballot, delegates convening in Florida cast 518 votes for Johnson and 203 for Petersen.....

"Just two months earlier, Petersen had finished behind 'uncommitted' on the Libertarian ballot in the Missouri presidential primary. Now Matalin, Beck and others in the conservative podcast circuit (Dana Loesch called him her instant best friend) had made Petersen a third-party wunderkid.

"His campaign of a few paid staffers and assorted volunteers, livestreaming daily and crashing nightly at the Overland Park headquarters, raised about $100,000 through online crowdsourcing. His Facebook page swelled to more than 95,000 likes.

"'Millennials are growing up and becoming a political force,' said Joe Trotter, 29, a Petersen friend who served as campaign communications director.

"'And the technology we’ve grown up with lends itself to a more decentralized organization, where we can work together and communicate remotely,' Trotter said. 'You don’t need a TV studio to speak to voters'....

"Said Petersen of the technology: 'That’s democracy.'

"As for his future, ... Petersen plans to be in Washington next week to launch a nonprofit called the Stonegait Institute, a think tank and political action committee named after his family’s farm.... He is producing footage of himself that Matalin hopes to distribute among her cable TV friends, according to her office."

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

The conservative case for libertarian immigration policy

Conservatives Should Adopt Libertarian Immigration Policy - Alex Nowrasteh, The Federalist:

June 7, 2016 - "Former Republican governor of New Mexico and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has a vision for America fundamentally different from Donald Trump’s. Perhaps the most striking difference is on immigration. Johnson’s mantra of more visas and legalization lie in stark contrast to Trump’s call for less immigration, a huge wall, and a 'deportation force.'

"Johnson’s support for immigration is fully consistent with libertarian principles, of course. The tragedy is that people have forgotten it is also consistent with conservative principles.

"American conservatives can find their pro-immigration roots in the American Founding. The Declaration of Independence complained that King George III '[H]as endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither.'

"That dislike of immigration barriers carried over to the Constitutional Convention. As Antonin Scalia Law School professor Ilya Somin has pointed out, there is no enumerated power in the Constitution that grants Congress the power to regulate most immigration....

"[Q]uantitative research that shows steady immigrant assimilation.... The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s “Indicators of Immigrant Integration 2015” finds successful and rapid economic and educational assimilation of immigrants in the United States, especially compared to Europe.... Economist Jacob Vigdor finds that modern immigrant civic and cultural assimilation is very similar to that of early twentieth-century immigrants and are if anything stronger now than they were a century ago'.... Immigrants and their children are assimilating well into American society and culture ... fears over assimilation are not good arguments to limit immigration or to create a large-scale government assimilation program that will likely backfire if our experience with other government programs is any indication.

"The labor market adapts well to immigration and, at worst, the vast majority of American workers either benefit or face no difference in wages. That’s true for three big reasons. First, most immigrants are either less skilled or most skilled than Americans, so there isn’t much competition. Second, because immigrants and American have different skills, many of the newcomers are actually complementary — meaning that more of them actually increase Americans’ wages. Third, immigrants buy goods and services in America, boosting demand for employers. Those three effects largely offset the potential drop in wages.

"Welfare is another concern but one vastly overblown.... When they do sign up, poor immigrant adults consume $941 less on average than similar natives and typically have better health outcomes. Poor immigrant children consume $565 fewer dollars than similar native-born children.

"Immigrants have a positive long-run fiscal impact on Medicare and Social Security. From 2002 to 2009, immigrants made 14.7 percent of contributions to Medicare Part A while only consuming 7.9 percent of all expenditures, contributing a net $13.8 billion annually to Medicare Part A. Natives took out a net $30.9 billion more from Medicare Part A than they paid in. Among Medicare enrollees, average expenditures were $1,465 lower for immigrants....

"Estimated impacts on the Social Security system vary widely. Based on actuarial information provided by the Social Security Administration, Stuart Anderson found that an increase in legal immigration by 33 percent would reduce the actuarial debt by 10 percent over 50 years, boosting revenues to Social Security by a present value of $216 billion over 75 years. Interestingly, a moratorium on immigration would increase the Social Security debt by almost a third.

"The taxes immigrants pay directly or indirectly by growing the economy combined with their lower consumption of government services and demographics make immigrants a fiscal wash. Basically, they come very close to covering their own government consumption or maybe even produce a slight surplus.

"Immigrants are less crime-prone than Americans, despite what the mainstream media may portray.

"The most interesting conservative restrictionist complaint is that immigrants will overturn American political and economic institutions.... I spend a lot of time working on and studying this issue. In a recent academic paper, we compared economic freedom scores with immigrant populations across 100 countries over 21 years. We found that the larger a country’s immigrant population was in 1990, the more economic freedom increased in the same country by 2011. The immigrant’s country of origin, and whether they came from a poor nation or a rich one, didn’t affect the outcome....

"Every concern about immigrants ruining American life, our prosperity, or overturning our culture and institutions are as old as this country. Each time those concerns have turned out to be wrong.... A legal means for workers of all skill levels to work, live, and eventually become citizens will return our immigration system to its traditional roots, crush the black market, restore law and order, and grow the economy at little cost."

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Friday, June 10, 2016

Perry says he won't vote for Johnson

Libertarian Gary Johnson could swing votes from Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton - Politics - CBC News - Matt Kwong:

June 5, 2016 - "Newly anointed Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson served two terms as governor of New Mexico. His running mate, Bill Weld, served as governor of Massachusetts for six years until 1997....

"Philip Wallach, a Brookings Institution fellow who has written about third-party campaigns, ... foresees some disaffected supporters of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders finding alignment with Libertarian principles on issues like drug legalization....

To voters on the right, Wallach suggests the Libertarian ticket could appear more politically conventional. Particularly to displaced Republicans turned off by Trump and 'worried about Trump as somebody who could abuse power'....

"'I've had a lot of friends emailing me, saying, 'Do you know anyone on the Johnson campaign? Is there any way I could get involved?'' said David Boaz, executive vice-president of the Washington-based libertarian think-tank the Cato Institute. 'I can't remember that happening before.'

"Boaz believes this is the best opportunity the Libertarian Party has ever had, both in terms of the quality of its ticket and 'the low quality' of the major-party nominees....

"There may be resistance within the party, however....

"Libertarian candidate Darryl W. Perry, who debated Johnson on the stage and argued that all drugs 'should be as legal as tomatoes,' said he's still 'emotionally devastated' by the nomination outcome.

"Come November, Perry will either abstain from voting for president or write in 'None of the Above.'

"Neither Johnson nor Weld, both former Republicans, represent philosophically pure Libertarian values, Perry said.

"'There were a lot of Republicans ... that joined the party on Wednesday and showed up on Sunday. These are people that don't care about the party.'"

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

CEI raises $1.1M at annual fundraising gala

At huge libertarian annual fundraiser - The Washington Post - Roxanne Roberts:

June 3, 2016 - "900 libertarians walked into the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s party Thursday night. The theme was 'Casablanca' which provided a cinematic backdrop — complete with lots of whiskey, trench coats and gambling — for the sold-out fundraiser.

"In this oddest of all election years, there was no mention of Trump, Clinton or even libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

"'We don’t do electoral politics,' explained CEI President Kent Lassman. 'That’s not what we’re about.'

"The only hit on the 2016 race came from Steve Forbes, the multimillionaire who unsuccessfully ran for president in 1996 and 2000: "'To be blunt and since I’m not running for anything,' he told the crowd, 'certainly on the Republican side, this has been the most content-free campaign' in history.

"Forbes spent the next 20 minutes making the moral case for capitalism, but no one comes to CEI’s annual dinner (this year it raised a record $1.1 million) for the speeches. They come to meet other free-market capitalists who don’t like rules and regulations, at work or at play. This year’s after-party included generous open bars, lots of vaping, casino games and more."

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Johnson would end National Security Agency, IRS

Libertarian Gary Johnson: I'd eliminate NSA, IRS if elected | TheHill - Tim Devaney:

June 6, 2016 - "Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson says he would abolish the National Security Agency (NSA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other federal agencies if elected.

In an interview with The Hill on Monday, Johnson said he would sign an executive order as president eliminating the NSA, which sparked controversy with its domestic surveillance programs.

"The NSA is a complete executive order as it [was] under [President Harry] Truman,' Johnson said. 'We could turn those satellites on what is supposed to be the enemy. The fact that they’re pointed on us right now, doesn’t that cause everyone a bit of concern? It should. Look, there’s due process for spying, but due process is not blanket collection of all of our data.'

"Asked whether he could actually eliminate the NSA simply through executive order, Johnson responded: 'Apparently. I’m waiting for someone to prove me wrong. This is what I’ve been told.'

"Johnson also said he would eliminate the IRS and lower taxes. 'If I could wave a magic wand, we would eliminate income tax; we would eliminate corporate tax; we would abolish the IRS; and we could replace all of it with one federal consumption tax,' Johnson said. 'If we had zero corporate tax in this country, tens of millions of jobs would get created in this country'....

"Johnson also suggested he would eliminate numerous other federal agencies — including the Department of Commerce, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Department of Education — if presented with legislation to do so.....  'I’ll sign legislation to eliminate any federal agency that they present me with,' Johnson said. 'Any one'....

"Johnson said the Commerce Department fuels 'crony capitalism,' which he called 'all about giving those that have money more money, as opposed to leveling the playing field.'"

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

8 Libertarians qualify for ballot in Wisconsin

Libertarian Party of Wisconsin announces ballot access for candi - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports - Jule Carpenter Lotz, WKOW:

June 4, 2016 - "Several Libertarian Party candidates will appear on Wisconsin ballots for upcoming elections.

"Libertarian Party of Wisconsin Chairman Joseph Kexel says Phillip Anderson, the party's candidate for United States Senate, and four others who are running for seats in the House of Representatives have gained access to be listed.

"Kexel says the four candidates for the House include Jason Lebeck in the 1st District, Andy Craig in the 4th District, John Arndt in the 5th District and Robert Burke in the 7th.

"The party also has two candidates running for state assembly seats; Jordan Hansen for District 54 near Oshkosh and George Meyers, for District 66 near Racine.

"In a news release, Kexel says the Libertarian candidates support individual freedom and offer voters "a great opportunity to elect libertarians to all levels of government."

"The party's national candidates are Gary Johnson for president and Bill Weld for vice-president."

[In a comment, Kexel also mentions Matthew Bughman, running for state assembly in District 7.]
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Monday, June 6, 2016

354,000 sign Michigan cannabis initiative

Michigan marijuana legalization group submits 354,000 signatures - Michael Gerstein, Associated Press:

June 2, 2016 - "A group trying to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan said it turned in enough valid signatures just before the Wednesday deadline to place the issue before voters on the November ballot.

"But whether the state considers the roughly 354,000 signatures as valid is another question because a bill presented to Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday would stop such groups from counting signatures older than 180 days.

"Current law allows the group, MI Legalize, to count older signatures toward the roughly 253,000 they need to put the measure before voters. However, neither Snyder’s office nor the Secretary of State’s office would say whether the bill before Snyder would apply to the legalize marijuana group.

"'We would review the effect of the public act if petitions are turned in and the bill is signed,' said Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams.

"He said the state still has to review petition sheets and pull a sample of signatures to verify validity, and adds that people can also challenge signatures before the office makes a report to the state Board of Canvassers which votes on whether the group has enough valid signatures.

"Jeffrey Hank, the group’s director, said they turned in about 200,000 signatures older than 180 days. But he stresses that current law allows them to count those signatures toward the filing requirement, and said even if Snyder signs the bill it wouldn’t apply to them.....

"Snyder’s office said the governor is still deciding whether to sign the bill that stops such groups from counting signatures older than 180 days.

"Hank said they may pursue litigation if the Secretary of State doesn’t accept their signatures, which he says are valid.

"Another group — one trying to ban hydraulic fracturing in the state — didn’t have enough signatures to meet the requirement Wednesday....  The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan and LuAnne Kozma, the group’s director, filed a lawsuit Wednesday in the state court of claims in which they allege that the 180-day time limit on signatures is unconstitutional."

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Nirvana's Novoselic gives max to Johnson2016

Krist Novoselic endorses Libertarian Gary Johnson for president - Collette Shade, Death and Taxes:

May 31, 2016 - "Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to endorse Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson:
Krist Novoselić ✔ @KristNovoselic 
I just gave the maximum contribution to @GovGaryJohnson presidential campaign. 10:42 AM - 31 May 2016 · Washington, USA, United States
"Because, of course, nothing says indie rock like a universal flat tax or an obsession with the illegitimacy of fiat currency!

"Novoselic’s endorsement isn’t entirely out of the blue. In 2004, the bassist wrote the book Of Grunge and Government: Let’s Fix This Broken Democracy. In 2014, he gave a nearly hourlong interview with Reason TV, during which he told Nick Gillespie about his political evolution. 'I’m an anarcho-capitalist, socialist, moderate,' he said. 'I don’t know.'

"When Twitter user @RespectDaBass asked Novoselic if he was worried that his support of a third-party candidate would be problematic in a two-party system, Novoselic replied:
Francisco Herrero @RespectDaBass
@KristNovoselic @GovGaryJohnson do you think it'll take votes away from #Dems or #GOP?

Krist Novoselić ✔ @KristNovoselic 
@RespectDaBass @GovGaryJohnson This election is like Nirvana in 1991. The Johnson/Weld ticket can capture imaginations to bolt to the top. 10:50 AM - 31 May 2016 · Washington, USA, United States
"I guess that means that a Libertarian presidency will come seemingly out of nowhere, rule, drop an album produced by Steve Albini, then end in tragedy three years later, causing the group to disband in its wake?"

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Bernier comes out against supply management

Maxime Bernier parts ways with Conservative policy on supply management - Politics - CBC News - Janyce McGregor:

May 31, 2016 - "Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier says there's no way to reconcile his free-market principles with support for Canada's supply-managed agriculture sector, so he's parting company with longstanding party policy. Canada must change the marketing board system now in place for Canada's dairy, poultry and egg farmers....

'It is a government cartel,' Bernier told a press conference on Parliament Hill. 'It is the opposite of free markets'....

"As the minister for small business and tourism specifically, and as a Conservative MP since 2006 generally, he'd repeatedly voiced support for the supply-managed farm sector, a significant source of employment in his rural Quebec riding.

"'I was not in a position to question the party's democratic decision, or cabinet solidarity,' he said. 'And so I went along with it, even though I had grave misgivings about it for all these years'....

"Bernier echoed earlier studies that have suggested Canadian consumers pay $2.6 billion a year more than the world price for milk, part of a system he said was 'fundamentally unfair to Canadian families.'

 "'In order to protect 10 per cent of farmers, we are forcing all Canadian families, especially those with children and low-income families, to pay hundreds of dollars more every year for dairy, eggs and poultry products,' he said....

"The current fight over diafiltered milk — a product derived from milk and used in the manufacturing of dairy products that's currently exploiting a loophole to enter Canada tariff-free, displacing Canadian milk — is 'just the latest illustration of what happens when a system is too inflexible.'

"Bernier said supply management could be wound down with a multi-year phase-out of the quota system and the import restrictions that protect it.

"A 'temporary levy' on food products could be used to raise funds to compensate farmers for the cost of their lost quota. (Roughly $24,000 per dairy cow, with some figures putting the quota value for all supply sectors as high as $35 billion nationally.)

"He pointed to reforms in Australia as a model for Canada. But he did not explain exactly how his plan would work in a Canadian context, where both the weather (Canadian livestock needs to be in barns during the winter, for example, adding to production costs) and geographic location (right next to large U.S. suppliers) make for a different operating environment."

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Was Gov. Weld's defection a watershed event?

Was Governor Weld's defection a watershed event? - Keith Komar, special to GDPA:

June 2, 2016 - The events leading up to the nomination of Governors Gary Johnson and William Weld this past weekend were, in my eyes, nothing short of extraordinary. For Johnson to land an A-list VP candidate like Bill Weld was a political coup of legendary purportions. And this is only the beginning.

Quietly, as Johnson and Weld were giving acceptance speeches for the Libertarian party nominations, Senator Laura Ebke from Nebraska announced that she was leaving the Republican party after a life long party affiliation. In a statement written to her constituents she stated: "The notion that the Governor (of Nebraska) should be able to tell legislators how to vote because they are registered in the same party ... does a disservice to the role of the legislature and to the intention of the founders". She attributed her switch in parties to her realization that "the Republican party of 2016 is fundamentally different [from] the Republican party that (she) grew up in.". She also quoted Ronald Reagan to the effect that "the very heart and soul of conservatism is Libertarianism."

Earlier today, Montgomery County (Indiana) GOP chair John Pickerill stepped down to join the Libertarian Party as well. At a press conference he stated that "I don't see the Republican Party representing me anymore." His concern with local and statewide politicians accepting donations from contractors they are conducting business with was among the reasons for the switch. When asked if he was comfortable with Trump he responded: "Not at all. I think Trump is a roll of the dice.... He could be the worst thing since Hitler." State Libertarian party chair Joe Hauptmann, also at the conference, added: "We think the Libertarian party is the adult at the table this election."

I contend that these defections are the beginning of a mass exodus from the archaic ideals of a dying socially conservative platform, brought on in large part by the vision of Gary Johnson to seek out a very credible running mate in Bill Weld, and the courage of Governor Weld to step forward and lead the way to a more principled approach to Government. As more prominent politicians come on board with the ideals of liberty and join the Libertarian party it will get easier for the others to follow along.

What remains to be seen is whether the purists within the Libertarian Party are willing to welcome the influx of political refugees left in the wake of a Clinton - Trump nomination.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Nebraska state senator Ebke joins Libertarians

'Frustrated' State Sen. Laura Ebke switches from Republican to Libertarian - Legislature:

June 2, 2016 - "Saying demands for party loyalty don’t always result in good lawmaking, Nebraska State Sen. Laura Ebke has switched her affiliation from Republican to Libertarian.

"The senator from Crete, elected as a Republican in 2014, said she filled out online forms last week with the Secretary of State’s Office to make the change. But she said she’d been considering the switch for months.

"'I got frustrated with some of my colleagues who don’t recognize civil liberties and don’t seem to agree with getting government out of people’s business,' she said Wednesday.

"Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts’ recent hardball play with GOP senators like Ebke who don’t always vote along party lines was one of 'many factors' in her decision, she said. The governor called out several lawmakers by name last month during the state GOP convention, saying the Legislature needs more 'platform Republicans.'

"'I suspect that better policy would be made if there was more conversation and fewer demands of partisan loyalty,' Ebke wrote in a letter to donors explaining her decision.....

"Clerk of the Legislature Patrick O’Donnell said Wednesday that he could not think of another registered Libertarian who served, although other senators have had strong libertarian leanings. But because the Legislature is formally nonpartisan, his office doesn’t keep records of past members’ party affiliations.

"Michael Knebel, a party spokesman, said that a Libertarian now serves on a City Council in the state, but said Ebke is the first in the Legislature.

"Libertarians favor a limited, fiscally responsible government that does not infringe on personal freedoms — 'making sure government is out of your wallet and out of your bedroom as much as possible,' Knebel said."

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Libertarian donations, registrations spike in May

Libertarian Party sees spike in registration, fundraising | TheHill - Jonathan Easley:

May 25, 2016 - "The Libertarian Party has seen a sustained surge of new members joining, with first-time registrants in May on pace to increase 20-fold over the same period from last year.

"The party also expects to post its strongest fundraising haul since at least 2000, and maybe ever.

"New data obtained by The Hill shows that the Libertarian National Committee averaged around 100 new members a month last year, bottoming out with just 74 first-time registrants last May.

"But beginning in early 2016, as the contours of the Republican and Democratic races began [to take] shape, new membership began creeping upward to 148 in January, 323 in February, 546 in March, 706 in April, and now 1,292 in the first three weeks of May alone.

"Overall dues-paying members have increased by about 20 percent so far this year, from 11,680 to 14,444 as of May 23.

"The Libertarian National Committee has also seen a spike in fundraising, bringing in $205,000 in April, its largest monthly haul since 2004.

"A party operative told The Hill they are on pace to double that figure in May, estimating a $400,000 haul.

"Those figures come against a backdrop of polls that find the two likely major party candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, suffer from historically low approval ratings.

"Surveys indicate that there is a strong appetite for an independent or third-party alternative."

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