Sunday, July 31, 2016

Spontaneous order in Pokemon GO

The Libertarian Economic Theory That Might Be Secretly Driving Pokémon Go | Atlas Obscura - Ernie Smith:

July 25, 2016 - "[T]he biggest non-politics story at the moment — the phenomenal rise of Pokémon Go — is seen by some libertarians as a validation of a philosophy that's key to their economic ideals: spontaneous order, the idea that in a world of chaos, order eventually organizes itself.

"The philosophy is closely associated with Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek, and borrows some ideas from the 'invisible hand' theory espoused by fellow economist Adam Smith.

"The theory basically follows as such: If you do nothing to set order or regulate flow, order will eventually show itself. By forcing order onto a structure, however, you limit possibilities and outcomes, and the weight of the system eventually falls over on itself. Here's how Hayek puts it in his landmark 1974 Nobel Prize speech, 'The Pretense of Knowledge,' which argues against heavy social engineering of economic structures:
In the physical sciences there may be little objection to trying to do the impossible.... But in the social field the erroneous belief that the exercise of some power would have beneficial consequences is likely to lead to a new power to coerce other men being conferred on some authority. Even if such power is not in itself bad, its exercise is likely to impede the functioning of those spontaneous ordering forces by which, without understanding them, man is in fact so largely assisted in the pursuit of his aims. 
"So, where does Pokémon Go fit into this?

"To put it simply, the design of the game is very hands-off, and its growth is basically pushed forward by the use of spontaneous social systems.

"''The game provides the opportunity for building social institutions, but it’s the actions of the individuals in the game that build it, forming a beautiful spontaneous order "of human action, not human design",' argues Tyler Groenendal of the Acton Institute.

"Young Americans for Liberty, a Ron Paul-affiliated nonprofit that brings together millennials who get excited about laissez-faire economic theory, has recommended the game as a perfect activity for its loose network of chapters.

"''You can find classical liberal ideas playing out in the real world every which way you look, even in your games,' the group's Derek Spicer writes. 'Pokémon Go is just one in the litany of examples of how spontaneous order affects how we play video games.'

"The question is, of course, whether the broader public will make that connection. Or even Pokémon Go players specifically, who already know plenty about chaos."

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

LP of Canada membership tripled in 2015 (video)

Libertarian Party holds convention in Calgary: Is liberty on the rise across Canada? - The Rebel - Holly Nicholas:

July 27, 2016 - "The Libertarian Party of Canada hosted a convention in Calgary over the weekend. I had a chance to talk to leader Tim Moen about some of the exciting things that have happened within the last year.

"With membership numbers tripling in 2015 alone and a big contingent of Libertarians in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, most of the party’s growth has occurred in liberty-oriented Alberta....

"Moen says he’ll be travelling the country encouraging new members to join, and hopes to have [a] full slate of candidates running in the next federal election."

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Civil forfeiture reform takes effect in Nebraska

Tenth Amendment Center Blog | New Nebraska Law Taking on “Policing for Profit” Via Asset Forfeiture Now in Effect:

July 20, 2016 - "Today, civil asset forfeiture officially ends in Nebraska as reforms to asset forfeiture laws passed in the spring go into effect. Under the new law, the state can no longer take property without a criminal conviction. The legislation also takes on federal forfeiture programs by banning prosecutors from circumventing state laws by passing cases off to the feds in most situations.

"Sen. Tommy Garrett (R-Bellevue) introduced Legislature Bill 1106 (LB1106) in January. The new law reforms Nebraska law by requiring a criminal conviction before prosecutors can proceed with asset forfeiture. Under the old statute, the state could seize assets even if a person was never found guilty of a crime, or even arrested.

"The unicameral legislature passed  LB1106 by a 38-8 vote.

"'Civil forfeiture is one of the most serious assaults on due process and private property rights in America today. By passing LB 1106, lawmakers will ensure that only convicted criminals — and not innocent Nebraskans — lose their property to forfeiture,' Institute for Justice (IJ) Legislative Counsel Lee McGrath said.

"LB1106 also closes a loophole that allows prosecutors to bypass more stringent state asset forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the federal government under its Equitable Sharing forfeiture program. The following language shuts the loophole in most cases:

"No law enforcement agency or prosecuting authority of this state or its political subdivisions shall transfer or refer any money or property to a federal law enforcement authority or other federal agency by any means unless
  1. The money or property seized exceeds twenty-five thousand dollars in currency or value;....
"Data analysis by the Institute for Justice found that in 2013, out of all properties seized under equitable sharing in Nebraska, 78 percent were under $25,000. In fact, half of all seized assets were valued at under $6,035.... In other words, under the new law, asset forfeiture without conviction will be ended for more than 78% of cases in the state....

"[F]ully closing the federal loophole can be taken up in new legislation next year. 'Police shouldn’t be allowed to circumvent the law just because the property value is high,' said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. 'We applaud these important first steps and recognize that it will have a significant impact going forward. But that loophole must be fully closed as soon as possible.'"

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Young Americans for Liberty like Gary Johnson

Convention draws libertarian students, who shun main party candidates - Maxine Joselow, Inside Higher Ed:

July 28, 2016 - "Washington.... This week, a convention here is offering a rare window into the views and strategies of young libertarians. The Young Americans for Liberty National Convention is drawing college students from across the country to the Catholic University of America for four days of presentations and speeches, including a keynote speech by Ron Paul. Young Americans for Liberty is the largest libertarian student organization, with more than 700 chapters and 204,000 youth activists nationwide. The group grew out of Students for Ron Paul, which formed during the former Texas congressman’s 2008 presidential campaign....

"Students at the convention were quick to shower praise on Johnson. At the same time, they did not shy away from bashing Trump or Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent.

"'I believe Johnson is a large step in the right direction,' said Preston Jones, a rising junior at Virginia Tech. 'Trump is louder and more obnoxious. There’s more of an apparent following for Trump on my campus, which just goes with the territory of being loud and attention grabbing.'

"Matthew Cover, a rising senior at Georgia Institute of Technology, said he thinks Johnson has the best ideas and seems the most capable of any candidate. 'You actually know what his plans are,' he said. 'With Trump, I have no idea.' Cover said he is also 'not a fan' of Clinton....

"'I think there are a lot of people like me who are fed up with both sides and rally around Johnson,” said Leland Nelson, a rising junior at DePauw University. 'But then you have a lot of econ majors who are fascinated with Trump and think his business résumé is qualified.'

"'It sucks that it took two terrible candidates to have third parties become viable,' said Michael Wood, a recent graduate of Catholic University. “A lot of people on a [Roman] Catholic campus don’t like Trump because of all the hatred and the fear-mongering. It doesn’t really fit with the message that Catholicism spreads.'

"Still, a few Trump supporters could be picked out of the crowd.... One conspicuous attendee wore a navy blue suit and a red baseball cap bearing the slogan 'Make America Great Again.'

"Gabrielle Chishinsky, who serves as vice president of College Republicans at American University, said she is undecided but may vote for Trump. 'I don’t think Gary Johnson will win,' she said. 'I think Trump has a better chance of beating Hillary. I just don’t want Hillary to win.'"

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Utah state senator joins Libertarian Party

Utah Pol Bolts GOP After RNC: Party's Direction ‘Makes Me Want To Cry’ - Allegra Kirkland, Talking Points Memo:

July 26, 2016 - "A Utah state senator announced that he was leaving the GOP in despair after attending the Republican National Committee last week.

"Sen. Mark Madsen (R-UT) said Monday that his experience as a Utah delegate confirmed all of his concerns about the future of the party.

"'Every decision and inclination I had before was reinforced,' Madsen said in a press conference where he announced he would become a Libertarian, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

"Madsen, a three term senator from District 13, supported Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and was disappointed by convention-goers booing Cruz off stage when he urged Republicans to vote their conscience.

"Like Cruz, Madsen seems himself as a strict constitutional conservative and believes that 'the scales tipped' away in the Republican Party from an emphasis on states’ rights and entitlement reform.

"The current direction of the party, he said Monday, 'makes me want to cry.'

"'I've invested a lot in that party,' Madsen said, according to the Tribune.

"The Utah senator will retire at the end of this year and acknowledged that his announcement was “largely symbolic."

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

California doctors call for cannabis legalization

Doctors Endorse Pot Legalization in California | L.A. Weekly - Dennis Romero :

July 25, 2016 - "Today the California Academy of Preventive Medicine (CAPM) became the second statewide physicians group to endorse the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, also known as Proposition 64.

"It joins the California Medical Association in backing the November ballot initiative, which would allow those 21 and older to hold up to an ounce of weed. The measure also would regulate cannabis retailing and, through a 15 percent tax on all marijuana sales, would send cash to law enforcement, youth drug intervention programs, substance abuse treatment groups, mental health organizations and others.

"'Proposition 64 is a thoughtful, comprehensive measure based on sound, evidence-based science that will protect public health and fund vital health programs for California’s youth,' said CAPM legislative director Donald Lyman. 'Now that Gov. Brown and the California Legislature have regulated medical marijuana, California needs a new and safe approach to controlling and regulating adult-use marijuana — one that ends improper diversion by healthy adults into the medical system, one that allows for evidence-based clinical research into the effects of cannabis and one that protects children and funds proven public health programs.'

"Opponents, including the California Police Chiefs Association, have argued that legalization will increase teen pot use, drugged driving and the presence of weed shops in your neighborhoods.

"The campaign for 64, of course, disagrees. In a statement, organizers said the bill 'includes strong safeguards for children, workers, local governments and small businesses and strict anti-monopoly provisions and the toughest warning label and marketing-to-kids laws in the nation.'

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Monday, July 25, 2016

DC Republican delegates voting for Gary Johnson

Vice Chair of D.C. GOP to Resign Over Trump Nomination - The Daily Beast - Alexa Corse:

July 22, 2016 - "The vice chairman of the Washington, D.C., GOP party plans to resign from his post and vote for libertarian candidate Gary Johnson in November, the longtime Republican operative told The Daily Beast. Gary Teal, a delegate at the Republican convention, said he had already told fellow delegates that he will resign.

"'If I’m not going to vote for the nominee, then I have to resign my position,' Teal said. 'I’m prepared to do that.'

"Three additional delegates from Washington, D.C., joined Teal to announce their support for the libertarian candidate. Justin Dillon, Kris Hammond, and Peter Lee — who were wearing #NeverTrump buttons — spoke to The Daily Beast in the hallway of Quicken Loans Arena, just minutes after Donald Trump finished his keynote speech on Thursday night.

"'The RNC has bungled this nomination process by having bad rules,' Teal said, referring to a controversy over nominating rules that caused chaos on the convention floor Monday. 'And now at this convention, they’ve sacrificed integrity in favor of unity.'"

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Donald Trump as an Ayn Rand character

Would Ayn Rand Approve of Rule by a Rich and Powerful Capitalist? | Foundation for Economic Education - Christopher Machold:

July 22, 2016 - "As we get closer to the full swing of the general election cycle, those sympathetic to Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism will face this question: 'Shouldn’t an Objectivist be in favor of Donald Trump? He’s selfish and a powerful businessman, right?'... USA Today’s Kirsten Powers, in an interview with the now-official GOP nominee back in April, wrote this nugget: 'He identified with Howard Roark, the novel's idealistic protagonist who designs skyscrapers and rages against the establishment'....

"It’s a common slur used any time a conceited, cold-hearted politician emerges within the GOP: He’s straight out of an Ayn Rand novel. As a student of philosophy and a fan of Rand’s literature and ideas, I completely agree. But, far from the ideal characters of John Galt (Atlas Shrugged) or Howard Roark (The Fountainhead), Donald Trump is a cozy fit with another figure in The Fountainhead: Peter Keating, Howard Roark’s classmate and competitor....

"About Keating, Rand writes this: 'The exact opposite of Howard Roark, and everything a man should not be. A perfect example of a selfless man who is a ruthless, unprincipled egotist – in the accepted meaning of the word. A tremendous vanity and greed, which lead him to sacrifice all for the sake of a "brilliant career".’

"In other words, the 'ruthless, unprincipled egotist' – in our case, Donald J. Trump – is not what she means when she talks of selfishness as an ideal....

"This is confirmed in Rand’s opening remarks in The Virtue of Selfishness: 'In popular usage, the word "selfishness" is a synonym for evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute ... who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.' One may note that these descriptions sounds much like Dan P. McAdams’ account of Trump’s narcissism in the Atlantic....

"A man constantly mired in fraud-related lawsuits and accused of defrauding his customers and contractors is not Howard Roark. The man accused by the ACLU of promoting countless unconstitutional violations of individual rights is not the same man who swore against violating the rights of any other man. A narcissist who brags incessantly and dishonestly about his wealth and IQ is not the self-confident and self-sufficient producer depicted in The Fountainhead. The candidate who has been dangerously anti-free trade is not the hero of a woman who believes in the morality of laissez faire capitalism.

"Donald Trump is an unprincipled, immoral and dangerous 'second-hander,' to use Roark’s (and thus Rand’s) own vocabulary.

"Peter Keating did, and was, those things too – 'everything a man should not be'."

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Republicans going the way of the Whigs

The GOP Is a Dying Party. That’s Why I’m Running Against Trump. - POLITICO - Gary Johnson:

June 19, 2016 - "As a former Republican, I’m shocked that the party of Abraham Lincoln is nominating a man with a vision of America that doesn’t even resemble that of the party I once knew.... Despite the calls at the GOP convention in Cleveland for national unity, Donald Trump sees our country as a land of exclusion. He wants Americans to act as powerless serfs bullied by someone who says he will protect them. Throughout world history, that has been the calling card of Big Government autocrats.

"His character assaults are unbounded. His campaign has been one of serial attacks on opponents and climbing to the top by hurting people. And frankly, his immigration and trade policies appear to consist of the same strategies....

"In the period leading up to the Civil War, American politics was dominated by a Democratic Party and the Whig Party. The controversy over slavery split the Whigs, and the party embraced nativism, opposing immigration and members of certain religious faiths. The Republican Party is on its way to becoming like the Whigs. The Whigs died, then a new party came forward with an inspiring and positive vision for America.

"We in the Libertarian Party hope to do the same. We start out from a fundamental premise: As Americans, we believe in freedom. Every individual has dignity and is worthy of civility and respect. The core of our character is one of generous and enlightened self-interest: Every man and woman has the right to choose what to do with their time, their talents and their lives....

"We provide an honest, principled and sane alternative to the madness that we see in two so-called mainstream political parties. Today, Bill Weld and I want to offer that vision. Americans are tired of games. They want and deserve simple, straightforward and good government — not overwrought theatrics and demagoguery....

"Bill Weld and I believe that fiscal responsibility is at the core of what our government needs to do. We believe in a free market that allows entrepreneurs to launch businesses and to trade freely. We reject Trump's efforts to impose a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports or a 35 percent tariff on Mexican imports.

"Gov. Weld and I propose to reduce government’s size and cost enough to make a balanced budget a reality rather than a talking point — without raising taxes. How can we say this so confidently? Because we did it as governors, in Democratic states.

"And about immigration.... As a governor of a border state, I understand that our nation needs to control our border. However, of the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., a minute percentage present any real threat to our safety and security. The vast majority are here seeking opportunities and better lives, and they wouldn’t be 'illegal' if we had a functional system that made 'legal' immigration a viable option for those excluded by arbitrary quotas and bureaucratic paralysis.

"Immigration is one more example of the promise that is in America. How our government reacts to those who want to work hard and become a part of our nation is a test of character. Trump fails that test. Americans must have another choice."

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Thiel gets standing ovation at GOP convention

Silicon Valley's Peter Thiel receives standing ovation at GOP convention - Mercury News - Julia Prodis Sulek and Matthew Artz:

July 21, 2016 - "Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel received a standing ovation at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night when he said he was proud to be gay.... The libertarian-leaning co-founder of PayPal and venture capitalist made his convention debut just days after the Republican Party adopted one of the most anti-gay platforms in history....

"Thiel received a warm reception in the convention hall, even after he essentially chided the platform committee for debating which bathrooms transgender people should use. He called the debate 'a distraction from our real problems'....

"He said he doesn't 'pretend to agree' with every plank in the party's platform, 'but fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline. And nobody in this race is being honest about it except Donald Trump'....

"Thiel, 48, has always been known for his contrarian political views, but he still raised plenty of eyebrows in Silicon Valley when he signed up to be one of three Trump delegates from San Francisco....

"In his speech, he said he supported Trump because he's a builder, not a politician. Although the economy looks strong in Silicon Valley, he said, 'Silicon Valley is a small place. Drive out to Sacramento, or even just across the bridge to Oakland, and you won't see the same prosperity. That's just how small it is. Across the country, wages are flat.'

"He said the government is 'broken' under Democratic leadership.

"'Our nuclear bases still use floppy disks. Our newest fighter jets can't even fly in the rain. And it would be kind to say the government's software works poorly, because much of the time it doesn't even work at all,' he said.

"'This is a staggering decline for a country that completed the Manhattan Project. We don't accept such incompetence in Silicon Valley, and we must not accept it from our government.'

"Thiel originally pumped $2 million into former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina's SuperPAC, but later switched to Trump in a move that stunned other valley leaders turned off by the Republican nominee's protectionist policies and jabs at Apple's Tim Cook, Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg."

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Johnson leads Clinton & Trump in military poll

Poll: Libertarian Johnson beating Trump, Clinton among active troops | TheHill - Kristina Wong:

July 20, 2016 - "Military troops favor Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president over Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, according to a new survey.

"Johnson garnered 38.7 percent of the active duty vote, versus 30.9 for Trump, and 14.1 for Clinton, according to the survey, which was conducted via the popular military personality Doctrine Man.

"Although the survey was not a scientific poll with a margin of error, it provides a snapshot of the preferences of about 3,500 active duty, reservists, retired and former members of the military and their family members, 95.7 percent of which were registered voters....

"Current, reserve and former members of the Army preferred Johnson at 35.4 percent. Trump, the Republican nominee, came in second at 31.4 percent, and Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, at 15.3 percent.

"Among the Marine community, an overwhelming 44.1 percent chose Johnson, while 27.1 percent chose Trump, and 12.7 percent chose Clinton.

"The majority of the Air Force respondents chose Johnson at 39 percent, but Trump next at 29.9 percent and Clinton at 12.9 percent.

"Trump ranked the top choice for the Navy community, at 32.4 percent, versus 31.7 percent for Johnson and 22.9 percent for Clinton.

"Despite Clinton's underwhelming performance among active duty troops in the poll, their family members preferred Clinton at 29.4 percent to 27.5 percent for Trump. Johnson came in third, at 24.5 percent.

"Trump came out on top among members of the military who retired after serving at least 20 years ...  at 37.4 percent, compared to 32.2 percent for Johnson and only 11 percent for Hillary Clinton.

"However, when former members of the military who served fewer than 20 years were included, Johnson came in first, at 36.1 percent, while Hillary Clinton garnered 12.6 percent."

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Amash, Liberty Caucus stop Patriot Act expansion

Amash and Liberty Caucus Defeat Bipartisan Attempt to Expand PATRIOT Act Power Over Banks - Joe Wolverton II, New American:

July 13, 2016 - "Score one for the Constitution, as the House of Representatives rejected a bill that would have expanded the government’s police power under the PATRIOT Act.

"The bill, HR 5606, would have required financial institutions to inform the federal government of any transactions bank officials suspect could be connected to the funding of terrorism.

"While a majority of congressmen voted in favor of the bill — it was approved 229-177 — a procedural tactic deployed by opponents required a supermajority for passage of the measure — a bar it failed to clear.

"Leading the coalition against the bill was Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a consistent foe of the expansion of federal surveillance and a consistent friend of the Constitution.

"In a statement posted on Facebook, Amash explained his position on the proposed PATRIOT Act expansion....
H.R. 5606 is not about anti-terrorism. The bill improperly extends an anti-terrorism statute, the Patriot Act, to the investigation of domestic, non-terrorism crimes. Section 314 of the Patriot Act encourages the government to share information on terrorism and money laundering with financial institutions.... Treasury regulations, however, have flipped Section 314 on its head; the department has applied the section to require financial institutions to share information with the government. If H.R. 5606 becomes law, this section of the Patriot Act will become substantially more powerful and susceptible to abuse, because the Treasury may require financial institutions to share information on countless private transactions that have no connection to terrorism.

H.R. 5606 violates our Fourth Amendment-secured right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, the government may not conduct unreasonable searches and seizures. With limited exception, a search or seizure is unreasonable if it occurs without probable cause and a warrant. Section 314 of the Patriot Act attempts to sidestep this constitutional protection by treating a domestic criminal investigation like a foreign terrorism investigation, and H.R. 5606 extends the applicability to a much wider range of criminal investigations....
"Fortunately, H.R. 5606 did not become the law, an accomplishment Amash says was 'against all odds.' Amash went on to thank his 'amazing staff for their tireless work.'

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top Massachusetts court OKs cannabis initiative

Massachusetts marijuana: Top court OKs legalization for ballot - Bob Salsberg, Associated Press;

July 5, 2016 - "Massachusetts’ highest court on Wednesday cleared the way for a November ballot question on legalizing small amounts of recreational marijuana, but it ordered changes in the wording of the question’s title and the brief statement that explains the measure to voters....

"The ruling from the Supreme Judicial Court [SJC] came hours before supporters of legalized pot turned in more than 25,000 additional certified voter signatures to the secretary of state, well above the 10,792 needed to assure a spot on the ballot.

"The court heard two lawsuits last month, one of which argued that tens of thousands of people who signed petitions supporting legalization were misled because they were not told on the petitions that the proposed law could allow the sale of food products such as cookies or candy with high concentrations of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.

"The court said it was disappointed that Attorney General Maura Healey did not prepare a summary for the petitions that included a reference to marijuana-infused food products that could become available in Massachusetts. But it ruled that the summary was nonetheless fair, and rejected other arguments that the question was unconstitutional as framed....

"The measure would allow people 21 or older to possess up to 1 ounce of pot for recreational use and impose a 3.75 percent excise tax on retail marijuana sales, on top of the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax. A state cannabis commission would be created to regulate the drug....

"Ruling it would be 'unfair and clearly misleading' to call the measure simply 'Marijuana Legalization,' the SJC ordered the title changed to 'Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana.'

"Several changes were ordered in the wording of the “yes” statement, the most significant of which the court said would make clear to voters that the proposed law would not only legalize small amounts of marijuana but products — including food — that contain marijuana concentrate."

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Gary Johnson hits 13% in 4-way poll

Clinton leads Trump in recent poll; Libertarian Gary Johnson gains ground | CBS 4 - Indianapolis News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | WTTV - CNN Wire:

"As the Republican convention kicks off in Cleveland, the status of the race for the presidency continues to be advantage Hillary Clinton.

"Little has changed in overall support for either candidate since the end of the primaries in mid-June, despite major moments in the campaign including Donald Trump’s announcement of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, Clinton’s endorsement by her main rival for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and the announcement by the FBI that Clinton would not face charges for her use of a personal email server while secretary of state.

"But one candidate has made gains since last month: Libertarian Gary Johnson. In a four-way matchup between Clinton, Trump, Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Clinton carries 42%, Trump 37%, Johnson 13% and Stein 5%. That represents almost no change for either Clinton or Trump, but a 4-point bump for Johnson.

"Typically, support for third party candidates fades as the major party tickets are set heading into their conventions. But Johnson’s support outpaces that of a typical third party candidate and may prove to have more staying power.

"One hint that it could fade: Support for both Johnson and Stein appears concentrated among those less enthusiastic about voting this year, suggesting their supporters may be less apt to turn out in the end. Nearly 4-in-10 voters who say they are “not at all enthusiastic” about voting this year say they back either Johnson or Stein, but among those who are extremely enthusiastic, that figure falls to just 6%.

"And the growing support for third party candidates also seems centered among younger voters, which could prove harmful to Clinton’s campaign. Among those voters under age 35, 46% back Clinton, 21% Trump, 20% Johnson and 10% Stein. Broad support among younger voters helped catapult Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008....

"The CNN/ORC Poll was conducted by telephone July 13 through 16 among a random national sample of 1,013 adults, including 872 registered voters. Results for the sample of registered voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Questions about Mike Pence’s addition to the GOP ticket were added on July 14."

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Entertaining, informative intro to libertarian ideas

An Entertaining and Informative Introduction to Libertarian Thought | Heartlander Magazine - Jay Lehr:

July 10, 2016 - "Libertarianism for Beginners is part of a series of books designed to introduce readers to complex topics, giving them a taste of a broader topic or issue of which they may not have been previously aware. As a lifelong libertarian, I can say with certainty that this book gives the reader a deep and broad grasp of the history and thought behind the libertarian political and philosophical movement....

"Seavey effectively explains the various internal disagreements among those in the movement. Libertarians, he writes, are generally socially liberal and fiscally conservative, and they wish to use government intrusion into individuals' lives as sparingly as possible.

"Envisioning a functioning libertarian society, Seavey explains, is not as hard as the reader may initially think. By imagining a world where everyone goes peacefully about his or her business, all exercising their own free will, the reader will have a good idea of what the world would look like if governments stopped their constant violations of individuals’ rights.... Resources would flow to those who provide valuable services to others, thus rewarding millions upon millions of individual contributions to peoples’ quality of life....

"Instead of objectively improving people’s quality of life, government continually prevents people from improving their lives and others’, Seavey explains. Government doesn’t merely make mistakes occasionally, nor does it just waste some money. Making mistakes, wasting money and resources, and violating rights is the natural behavior of government....

"In addition to explaining the thought behind libertarianism, Libertarianism for Beginners introduces the reader to many of its founders and greatest advocates. These brief biographies of contributors to the libertarian canon include descriptions of John Locke, Adam Smith, Frederic Bastiat, Ludwig Von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, and Robert Nozick....

"Seavey’s explanation of the different flavors and brands of libertarianism, and the differences and similarities among those flavors, is a gold mine for readers interested in philosophy. By defining the different kinds of libertarianism and explaining how adherents might feel about common issues such as economic monopolies, cultural matters, or immigration, he highlights the defining characteristics of what could otherwise be dismissed as distinctions without differences.

"Perhaps most importantly, Seavey takes care to include an excellent glossary, further defining terms discussed in the book for the curious reader. This epilogue also includes a set of frequently asked questions, so readers’ thirst for knowledge may be sated further.

"With its thoughtful and entertaining reviews of centuries of political thought, and engaging illustrations breaking up what otherwise might be a challenging book for those not fully initiated into political thought, Libertarianism for Beginners serves as both a great introductory primer to the world of libertarian theory and an enjoyable 'refresher course' for those already convinced of the failures of government."

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Alternatives to government licensing

Why Should Anyone Need a License for Anything? | Foundation for Economic Education - Kevin Currie-Knight:

May 23, 2016 - "Recently, the state legislature in my home state of North Carolina approved draft legislation that would undo licensing requirements for 15 professions, including locksmithing, pastoral counseling, and acupuncture..... It is tempting to assume that the only way professional certification can be effective is if the state does it and if it is mandatory. Neither assumption is true....

"First, let’s ask ourselves when certification is and isn’t valuable. Certification reduces what economists call information costs: if I am shopping in a field where choosing a bad provider may be costly, searching for a certified provider may be an easy way to ensure that the provider meets a minimum standard....

"In Kansas and Wyoming, two states where licensure is not required to practice acupuncture, the number of acupuncturists who voluntarily have certification from the NCCAOM is 42 and 26, respectively. That may not seem like many, but consider that Kansas has 1 voluntarily certified acupuncturist for every 49,000 residents, while neighboring Missouri has 1 licensed-by-legal-requirement acupuncturist for every 51,300 residents. That’s pretty comparable....

"And what if the state decides not to serve as licenser? Will private organizations step in? The answer is an almost certain yes.... Becoming an 'athletic trainer' in North Carolina requires a state license, but becoming a 'personal trainer' does not. It turns out, however, that most employers seem to want only certified personal trainers.... So where do personal trainers get certified?.... private certifying bodies for personal trainers, such as the National Personal Training Institute and the International Fitness Association. Why do employers tend to hire trainers who are certified? Presumably, it’s not because of any government demands, but because they find those trainers to be better for business.

"Locksmithing is another profession for which the North Carolina bill would dissolve licensure requirements. To help us predict the outcome for the state’s consumers, we can look to Great Britain, where the government imposes no licensing requirement on locksmiths. British locksmiths can, however, pursue certification with the nonprofit Master Locksmith Association and other similar organizations, which allow locksmiths to advertise as certified. And, true to form, a good many locksmiths voluntarily acquire this certification....

"Kosher food regulation is a well-studied example; kosher meats used to be certified by state governments, but over time, it was found that private organizations like Organized Kashrut Laboratories and the Union of Orthodox Congregation did a better job.... In his essay 'Kosher Certification as a Model of Private Regulation,' law professor Timothy Lytton suggests several reasons. Demand for kosher products, he says, 'gives food manufacturers incentive to pay for reliable, independent' certification. Additionally, 'brand competition among certifiers based on reliability has led to increasing expertise and accountability.'

"When customers demand a superior product or service, and they believe certification to be a good indicator of quality, businesses will generally realize the benefit of pursuing certification, even if the certifying bodies are private and licensure isn’t mandatory.

"Consumers will decide what the value of certification is by deciding what premium they will pay to go with a certified service provider. This outcome would offer the best of both worlds, because nothing would be imposed on anyone. Whether to obtain certification, and whether to use certified providers, will be voluntary. And voluntary is good."

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Jesse Ventura endorses Gary Johnson

Jesse Ventura — Why I'm voting for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president — CNBC:

July 13, 2016 - "I've always had the belief that you vote for someone you believe in. When you cast your vote, you want that person to be president. You don't vote for one politician so that another doesn't become president. And yet here you have an instance where people don't want either the Democrat or Republican nominee as president! People are going to vote for Donald Trump because they don't want Hillary Clinton — and people are going to vote for Clinton because they don't want Trump. That's a horrible way to pick the next commander-in-chief.

"What astounds me is that the American public willingly accepts that these are the two choices the political gangs that run our country are offering us. And until this country wakes up and realizes that there are in fact more than two choices, despite what mainstream media shoves down our throats, then this is what we're going to get.

"Ron Paul mentioned that he's probably going to vote Libertarian this year. He should. After all, he was their presidential nominee back in 1988. Come November, I will join him, voting for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson again, just like I did in 2012. He's on the ballot in all 50 states, and this year I hope voters won't be lemmings. This is the year for a third party to rise, if there ever was one. This is the time for the people to stand up and say, 'We've had enough, and we're still in charge.' Whether voters exercise that option, we'll have to see.

"I like everything Gary Johnson has said so far. He's fiscally conservative and socially liberal – something neither Democrats nor Republicans can offer. He also has a solid plan for bringing our troops home and restoring our economy. And, like me, he's a firm believer that marijuana should be legal.

"I know Gary Johnson personally — we were governors at the same time. He was always an honest, straightforward kind of guy who put the needs of the people first. That's the kind of person I want for our next president.

"If you dare sit there and say a third party can't win the presidency, then I want to know how many times you've won the lottery. Seriously, if you already know the future, how come you aren't banned from purchasing lotto tickets? Well, I have news for you: There are countries that actually care about political corruption and there are countries that actually do something about it. I'd be a proud American if I could say our country was on that list....

"[M]aybe we should really be working to abolish all political parties completely. If you don't go into office with an agenda — an agenda that is dictated to you by the special interest groups that got you elected in the first place — then you do what's best for the people. But first thing's first: This November, the time has come to vote for the third option."

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Maine Libertarians gain official party status

Libertarians say their candidates will be on November ballot | News | - Marina Villaneuve, Associated Press:

July 14, 2016 - "The Libertarian Party of Maine says it officially has enough signatures to become an official political party and have its presidential and vice presidential candidates appear on the November ballot.

"Party chairman Chris Lyons, of Brunswick, said that on Tuesday afternoon, a deputy secretary of state informed him that the party has 'comfortably exceeded' the 487 signatures it needed to gather since late May to reach a 5,000-signature threshold.

"Secretary of State spokeswoman Kristen Muszynski said results will be official in a few days, after all signatures are received.

"The national Libertarian Party's candidates are New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson for president and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld for vice president....

"The Libertarian Party of Maine was last an official political party in the early 1990s, though its presidential and vice presidential candidates also appeared on Maine's 2012 ballot as independents following a successful petition drive, former chairman Jorge Maderal said.

"The party went to court in January to defend its most recent signature-gathering effort after the state rejected almost 2,000 of its signatures.

"In late May, a federal judge gave the Libertarian Party of Maine until July 12 to get enough signatures to become a ballot-qualified party.

"Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. denied the group's request to place lower-office candidates on the ballot. He also said the Libertarian Party's likely to win an argument that Maine's Dec. 1 deadline to certify parties is 'unconstitutionally early'."

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Gary Johnson's 'radical pro-innovation message'

INNOVATE2016: Libertarian Presidential candidate says “We need to Uber everything” | TechCrunch - Andrew Keen:

July 10, 2016 - "Whatever one thinks of his ideology, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson may be the pro innovation candidate that Silicon Valley has been waiting for.

"We need 'to Uber everything' Johnson tells INNOVATE2016 guest interviewer CALinnovates’ Kish Rajan.

"The sharing economy, he believes, is the 'model of the future' and should be encouraged, rather than regulated against. It’s 'so short-sighted' of local authorities, he insists, citing his problems in trying to rent his own property, to outlaw Airbnb. If [he's elected] President, the 2016 Presidential candidate promises, 'we’ll stop with the restriction.'

"Johnson may also be more in sync with Silicon Valley on both surveillance and immigration. The mass collection by the government of our personal data, he argues, has been pointless. He is equally outspoken on immigration, saying that 'we are a country of immigrants' and we should 'embrace immigration' by getting government out of the business of establishing quotas....

"It’s going to be interesting to see how this radical pro innovation message plays out in 2016."

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Cannabis legalization on California ballot

Stakes high as California poised to vote on recreational pot - CBS News:

July 12, 2016 - "California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana 20 years ago. Soon, it could become the fifth and largest state to approve recreational use, with an initiative on the ballot for voters this November.

"California's medical marijuana industry is already worth an estimated $2.7 billion. Experts say that number would reportedly more than double if recreational use is allowed.

"As the country's most populous state and the world's sixth largest economy, passing this legislation could encourage other states to follow and pressure the federal government to confront the issue....

"Unlike 2010 when a similar measure failed, this initiative has drawn big-name backers, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Facebook President Sean Parker. Proponents say with a 15 percent retail tax on the drug, the California cannabis market could reportedly generate $7 billion a year....

"If the measure passes in California, the number of Americans living in states where pot is legal will more than triple....

"Those who support the measure have outraised opponents at least 40 to one. When Californians defeated a similar legalization initiative six years ag0, it was during a mid-term election. But a recent poll shows nearly 60 percent of voters now support the measure.

"Supporters say this year's contentious presidential election is likely to attract younger, more progressive voters, which could help the initiative pass."

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Johnson: Drug war root cause of police shootings

Libertarian Johnson: Drug war 'root cause' of police shootings - POLITICO - Burgess Everett:

July 8, 2016 - "Gary Johnson believes the tensions between police and minorities that led to two high-profile police shootings and the deaths of five Dallas police officers has a root cause: The long-running war on drugs.

"The libertarian nominee for president did not directly tie the drug war to the shooting deaths in Minnesota and Louisiana by police or the sniper killings of five officers in Texas this week. But poor relations between police and African-Americans stems from the criminalization of drug use, he said.

"'The root is the war on drugs, I believe. Police knocking down doors, shooting first,' Johnson said in an interview Friday in Washington. 'If you are (black and) arrested in a drug-related crime, there is four times more likelihood of going to prison than if you are white. And shooting is part of the same phenomenon.... Shootings are occurring with black people, black people are dying,' he added. 'This is an escalation.'

"The former Republican governor of New Mexico is pitching a complete rewrite of the nation’s drug policy as part of his underdog run for the presidency alongside his running mate, former Massachusetts GOP Gov. Bill Weld. Johnson wants to legalize marijuana and find other ways to deal with harder drugs than long periods of incarceration....

"'The focus on drugs needs to be as a health issue, not a criminal justice issue. It can be illegal but does it need to be criminal? Do you need to go to jail for drugs?' Johnson said. 'I do believe that the root of the militarization, knocking on doors, is a drug war phenomenon.'

"The laid-back libertarian, dressed in jeans and an open-collared button-down in a hotel dining room, declined to join Republicans in criticizing Obama for pointing to 'powerful weapons' this week as a cause of violence between police officers and minorities. But Johnson said the focus on assault rifles is misguided.

"'That is a category of rifle that contains 30 million rifles. If you ban those rifles tomorrow and said hand ‘em in,' only half of the weapons would actually be turned over, Johnson said. 'And we’re going to have a whole new criminal class of people.'

"Johnson said that as president he’d be open to proposals designed to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists and the mentally ill. But he said he’d seen no such workable proposals in Congress, despite unsuccessful attempts by both Democrats and Republicans."

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Some celebrity libertarians (celebritarians)

Are There Any Celebrity Libertarians? | - Stephanie Dube Dwilson:

July 2, 2016 - "Libertarians are often called a fringe group: too small and 'strange' to be taken seriously. But is that characterization accurate? As Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson's poll numbers have recently shown, Libertarians could be a serious contender in the upcoming presidential election. More than a million people voted for the Libertarian presidential nominee in 2012, and with a growing number of people leaving the two-party mentality, the Libertarian party has been growing by leaps and bounds. It isn't widely known that many celebrities have also been vocal in their support for the Libertarian party. So which celebrities have spoken out in favor of the Libertarians? Click through the gallery to find out....
  • Penn Jillette: "The way the media tend to present Libertarians is that we’re conservatives, or we’re people with money who want to smoke dope. And it’s really not true at all for me.... The government is the guys with the guns, and we are the people who tell the government what they can do. So in my morality, I shouldn’t be able to tell anyone to do something with a gun that I wouldn’t do myself." - Newsweek....
  • Drew Carey: "“I never thought I was a Libertarian until I picked up Reason magazine and realized I agree with everything they had printed..” - From an August 9, 2007 interview with Time....
  • Kurt Russell: "“I am by nature Libertarian… don’t tread on me, just leave me alone, that’s all.” - Kurt Russell, 1997 to Talking Pictures Magazine....
  • Vince Vaughn: "I would use the term Libertarian to describe my politics. I like the principles of the Constitution and the republic.... Ron Paul woke a lot of people up to the fact that government can’t handle everything for you. Once you start playing that game, where does it stop?"....
  • Trey Parker & Matt Stone: ""I think it (Libertarian) is an apt description for me personally, and that has probably seeped into the show. But we never set out to do a Libertarian show." - Matt Stone, in an interview with Reason in 2006....
  • Clint Eastwood: ""I've always been a Libertarian. Leave everybody alone. Let everybody else do what they want. Just stay out of everybody else's hair. So I believe in that value of smaller government. Give politicians power and all of a sudden they'll misuse it on ya." - In a 2008 interview with The Guardian....
  • Woody Harrelson: ""I don’t believe in government. In other words, I think we can all look after ourselves.... In my opinion, if you don’t actually have a victim who’s a human being, someone who’s been hurt or their property has been hurt, there’s no crime." - 2014 USA Today interview....
  • Rufus Wainwright: ""I don't like telling anyone what to do really. I don't feel like it's very polite." — A 2014 interview with The Guardian, when asked what he means when he says he's a "complete Libertarian." 
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Saturday, July 9, 2016

More Republicans turning to Libertarian Party

Meet the Republicans that Trump has turned Libertarian - - Story Hinckley, Christian Science Monitor:

June 22, 2016 -"The number of Republicans turning to the Libertarian Party rather than vote for Donald Trump are small. But they're growing, and for the party – and perhaps the race – they're significant.

"Robert Bentley, a history and political science professor from Colorado, says he has always been a libertarian at heart. 'But I officially changed my party from Republican [to Libertarian] back in February.'

"'We can no longer be Republicans. [Mr. Trump] sparked the exodus of me and others away from the party,' adds Professor Bentley. 'I thought I may as well go ahead and register with [the Libertarians] now'....

"In a CNN poll last week, one-third of undecided voters said they would choose Libertarian nominee [Gary] Johnson over Mrs. Clinton or Trump. Some 9 percent of voters said they would choose Johnson if he was featured on a four-way ticket with Clinton, Trump, and Jill Stein of the Green Party....

"Nationwide, the 5,000 new members since January represent a historic number, says Wes Benedict, executive director of the Libertarian Party. In Massachusetts, the state party has seen a three-fold increase in donations and a four-fold increase in volunteers, also breaking previous records, says state chairman George Phillies....

“'I got one of those quizzes on social media that said, "We’ll tell you who to vote for" back in 2012. And I talked to a lot of people, both Republicans and Democrats, and we all got the same answer: Gary Johnson is your guy,' says Bryan Stone, a radio talk show host from Tennessee. 'Now I’m going back to that poll four years ago. These are the two worst candidates in the history of American politics – [Johnson] seems like the most logical avenue'....

"'I was a Republican all my life, but the last three to four years I started leaning toward Libertarian. And this election cycle has really pushed me over the edge,' adds Brett Hamilton, a construction worker from Texas.

"Speaking of the people he works with, he adds, 'For whatever reason, they just don’t like Donald Trump and they’ll be damned if they vote for Hillary.'

“'A lot of people are taking a look at the Libertarian party because they don’t like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton,' says Mr. Benedict.... 'But once they come here and see what we’re about, they like what they see. It will take a year or two to find out if they’ll stay, but people see us and say "Hey, that’s what I am: fiscally conservative and socially tolerant.”'

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Friday, July 8, 2016

End drug war, forfeiture, says ND Libertarian

ND Libertarian candidate: 'War on drugs' a failed policy | INFORUM - Patrick Springer, Fargo-Moorhead Forum:

July 4, 2016 - "Marty Riske's platform is unconventional for a candidate seeking the North Dakota governor's office. He advocates legalizing marijuana and stopping civil forfeiture of property seized in criminal investigations.

"The Fargo businessman, whose only earlier run for political office was a bid years ago for the Grand Forks City Council, is running as a Libertarian Party candidate.... His candidacy is motivated by his drive to spread the Libertarian philosophy in the hope of altering public policy....

"At the top of his list: what Riske calls 'prohibition' of marijuana. It's a policy he said has failed, with disastrous results, including costly prisons crowded with non-violent drug offenders. 'I saw that as a major catastrophe,' Riske said of the nation's 'war on drugs.'

"Those opposed to legalizing marijuana are ignoring the drug's wide prevalence, even though it is illegal, he said. 'We are currently consuming vast quantities of marijuana right here in Fargo, North Dakota," Riske said.... 'Let's not pretend that this is going to be a new thing.'

"Riske also is a staunch backer of marriage equality, and supports gay marriage. The state has no role in deciding who should marry, he said.... The Libertarian view, Riske added, is, 'Everyone is sovereign in their own body.'

"Riske advocates performance audits of all state departments and agencies, which he said would determine whether taxpayer money is being effectively spent. Nonprofits must be audited so donors know how their money is spent, and the same should be true of state programs, he said....

"Riske owns the M.J. Capelli Family Hair Salons in Fargo, and got his start in business when he and a partner launched the Walrus waterbed stores in North Dakota. "His political past included hosting a fundraiser for Democrat Byron Dorgan and voting for Republican Ronald Reagan....

"'He's been one of the founders and leaders of our party," said Jack Seaman, who runs MinDak Gold Exchange in Fargo and is the Libertarian candidate for the U.S. House. 'Marty is a true champion of liberty.'

"At its most basic, the core of Libertarian philosophy is nonaggression, 'Live and let live,' Seaman said. This apparently is the first North Dakota election in which the Libertarians have fielded a full slate of statewide candidates, a sign the party is catching on, Seaman said."

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Libertarian candidates appeal to small business

The Libertarian Party's Appeal to Entrepreneurs - Fortune - Jeremy Quittner:

July 7, 2016 - "Gary Johnson won only 1% of the vote when he ran as the Libertarian candidate for president in 2012. And while most people still haven’t heard of him, the former New Mexico governor is slowly gaining traction in this chaotic election season, particularly among business owners....

"He and his vice presidential running mate Bill Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts, are likely to appeal particularly to Republicans who are uncomfortable with the populist campaign Trump has mounted. Not only are Johnson and Weld social liberals and fiscal conservatives, they espouse views traditionally associated with moderate Republican candidates on the economy, such as favoring international trade agreements and reducing the national debt....

"Johnson was most recently the chief executive of a company called Cannabis Sativa, which produces pot-based oils for treatment of health issues. Weld had high favorability ratings from state businesses during his two terms as Massachusetts’s chief executive in the 1990s, for cutting taxes and pushing welfare recipients into work programs, among other things....

"Such experience matters to Clint Greenleaf, co-founder and chief executive of HomePlate Peanut Butter, a four-employee company based in Austin, Texas. Greenleaf, a serial entrepreneur, describes himself as a fiscal conservative who has tended to vote Republican over the years....  For Greenleaf, the policies put forth by Johnson and Weld, plus their collective experience governing their home states, are likely to win his vote. 'I think the biggest thing is their ability to work across the aisle,' he says. 'They were both Republican governors in blue states'....

"Johnson, the former governor of a state that bordered Mexico, a U.S. trading partner that Trump regularly maligns, favors a more open immigration policy that would allow undocumented immigrants to get work visas to fill jobs that U.S. workers don’t want.

"He would reduce the federal debt and deficit by cutting federal spending, nearly in half. On taxes, always a top concern for entrepreneurs, Johnson would abolish the Internal Revenue Service, and ultimately replace the progressive income tax with a 'fair tax,' or a tax on consumption. That would eliminate the corporate tax, which in turn could create millions of new jobs, Johnson says.

"That certainly rings true for Jeff Koenig, owner of the business consulting firm Open Four Business, in Manhattan, Kansas. A registered Republican who says he has also voted for centrist Democrats on occasion, he respects Trump’s business acumen, but he says he has no idea what Trump stands for politically. And that troubles him. He also won’t vote for Clinton, whom he says he views as a 'corrupt' career politician.

"Like Greenleaf, he’s leaning toward Johnson and Weld. 'I don’t entirely agree with the foundation of Libertarianism, which is very anti-government,' Koenig says. 'By voting for the Libertarian party [this year], I would be voting for more common sense level-headedness.'"

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Atlantica Party registered in Nova Scotia

Atlantica Party rises again for next election | Halifax Chronicle Herald:

July 1, 2016 - "Elections Nova Scotia said this week it has approved the application of the Atlantica Party Asociation of Nova Scotia to again become a registered provincial political party....

"It was formed originally as an association in 2004 and gained party status in 2010 but was deregistered by Elections Nova Scotia at the request of party leader Jonathan Dean in 2012 after the party was suspended for failing to file its 2011 annual reports.

"In the 2013 provincial election, the Atlantica Party ran three candidates, in the ridings of Halifax Citadel-Sable Island, Hammonds Plains-Lucasville and Dartmouth South, as Independents because the party was not registered....

"Dean ran in the provincial election of 2009 in the riding of Halifax Clayton Park, placing fifth with 51 votes. In 2010, he ran in a byelection in the riding of Yarmouth, finishing last with 19 votes, and in 2013 ran in the Nova Scotia general election in Hammonds Plains-Lucasville, and got 104 votes....

"Dean billed Atlantica as a 'reform-minded, pro-democracy' party with policies that included adopting fixed election dates and allowing constituents to recall MLAs....

"The party’s website says they believe in individuals’ freedom and responsibility; free markets; prudent fiscal stewardship and Atlantic Canadian solidarity, hoping to turn Nova Scotia into a ‘have’ province and a model for democracy....

"Dean acknowledges there’s lots of work to be done before the next provincial election, but the party has already started ramping up its presence on social media and blogs to attract members and potential election candidates.

"Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Dean had a career in investment research in Toronto, working for various investment companies including Canada’s largest pension plan and a prominent hedge fund."

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Marijuana Policy Project endorses Gary Johnson

MPP Endorses Gary Johnson for President - MPP Blog - Michael Wilcox, Marijuana Policy Project:

June 15, 2016 - 'MPP has formally endorsed Libertarian Party nominee and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson in the race for president. Johnson is one of two candidates who received an “A+” grade in MPP’s presidential candidate report card.

'Below is a statement from our Executive Director, Rob Kampia, that contextualizes MPP’s endorsement.

'“MPP is a single-issue organization, and our mission is simple: ‘Regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol in the United States.’ We don’t take a position — and we therefore don’t take into account a candidate’s position — on other issues, such as abortion, guns, gay rights, Iraq, taxes, or Social Security. We also don’t work in Canada or Portugal.

'“Of the three presidential candidates who will appear on the ballot in all 50 states and D.C., Gary Johnson clearly has the best position on marijuana policy. When he first advocated for legalization in 1999, he was the highest-ranking public official in the U.S. to do so — as the sitting Republican governor of New Mexico, no less.

'“Shortly after he left office, Johnson and I drove around New England lobbying the governors of VT and RI, the speaker of the NH House, and staffers in the NY governor’s office. Johnson is a forceful advocate for legalization and is still one of MPP’s strongest allies.

'“Legalization has been Johnson’s number-one issue for 17 years. MPP’s endorsement of Johnson was an easy call; the more difficult question is whether MPP should support a candidate who’s good on medical marijuana but bad on legalization, when the candidate is facing an opponent who’s bad on everything.

'“It’s fine if voters prefer to consider a candidate’s marijuana position in the context of a dozen other positions, but that’s not MPP’s mission. We’re narrowly focused on marijuana policy and are happy to work alongside anyone who shares our mission, whether they’re Socialists, Republicans, or otherwise.”'
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Monday, July 4, 2016

A libertarian look at the fourth of July

What to a Libertarian is the Fourth of July? | Bleeding Heart Libertarians - Matt Zwolinski:

July 4,204 - "Most libertarians have a special place in their heart for the Declaration of Independence. With its ringing endorsement of natural, inalienable rights, its insistence of the right of the people to 'alter or abolish' those governments that trample upon those rights, and the stirring commitment of its signatories to pledge their 'Lives…Fortunes…and Sacred Honor' to defending those rights, the Declaration still stands as a masterfully inspirational document to lovers of liberty all around the world....

"Thomas Jefferson produced in the Declaration a brilliant synthesis, summation, and application of 17th and 18th century natural law theory to the particular situation of the United States, drawing not merely (if most obviously) on the work of John Locke, but also on a variety of lesser-known figures such as Frances Hutcheson, Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui, and Algernon Sydney....

"The Declaration of Independence is a promise of liberty. But libertarians recognize better than most that it is a frustrated promise.... It was frustrated, of course, right from the start. At the same time that Jefferson was declaring all men to have been endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights, almost 20% of the American population was suffering the most egregious violation of those rights imaginable under the institution of slavery...

"There have been numerous commentaries on the contradictions between the Declaration’s ideals of equal liberty and the monstrosity of American slavery. But none, I think, are so eloquent, or so appropriate to the day, as the words Frederick Douglass delivered on July 4th, 1852, in a speech that has come to be known as 'What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?.... in one of the speech’s most memorable passages, Douglass makes the following impassioned plea:
Fellow-citizens! I will not enlarge further on your national inconsistencies. The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base pretence, and your Christianity as a lie. It destroys your moral power abroad; it corrupts your politicians at home. It saps the foundation of religion; it makes your name a hissing, and a by word to a mocking earth. It is the antagonistic force in your government, the only thing that seriously disturbs and endangers your Union. It fetters your progress; it is the enemy of improvement, the deadly foe of education; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet, you cling to it, as if it were the sheet anchor of all your hopes. Oh! be warned! be warned! a horrible reptile is coiled up in your nation’s bosom; the venomous creature is nursing at the tender breast of your youthful republic; for the love of God, tear away, and fling from you the hideous monster, and let the weight of twenty millions crush and destroy it forever!
"Slavery, as Douglass experienced it, is gone. But the promise of the Declaration remains unfulfilled. Our government daily tramples upon our liberty and the liberty of those abroad. The reptile is still coiled. Let us lend our weight to Douglass’ effort and continue to work until it is destroyed forever."

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Ghostbusters most libertarian Hollywood film ever

Why 'Ghostbusters' is the most libertarian Hollywood blockbuster of all time | Washington Examiner - Philip Klein:

June 27, 2016 - "With the new Ghostbusters movie set to hit theaters, it's worth paying tribute to the original 1984 film, and recalling why it is the most pro-limited government film Hollywood ever made.

"In Ghostbusters, paranormal activity is becoming a growing problem in New York City. Government doesn't do anything to stop the problem, so private entrepreneurs set up a small business that successfully captures and stores ghosts — for a fee.

"But then, the villain — a regulator from the Environmental Protection Agency — decides to interfere with the private business by cutting off their power, thereby releasing all of the captured ghosts. Here is the clip. The EPA agent orders the shut down of the ghost containment unit over the protests of Ramis' character, Dr. Egon Spengler, who says: 'Excuse me, this is private property!'....

"The movie's heroes are taken into police custody after the release of the ghosts. Once the assault by the ghosts causes apocalyptic chaos in New York City and the government is completely helpless in solving the problem, the mayor releases the small-business owners who once again save the day.

"How many Hollywood blockbusters involve private businesses as the heroes and government regulators as the villains?

"Not to mention the fact that the film is also peppered with lines like this: 'I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities. We didn't have to produce anything! You've never been out of college. You don't know what it's like out there. I've worked in the private sector. They expect results.'

"The director of the original movie, Ivan Reitman, once told Entertainment Weekly, 'I've always been something of a conservative-slash-libertarian. The first movie deals with going into business for yourself, and it's anti-EPA—too much government regulation. It does have a very interesting point of view that really resonates.'

"Editor's note: The original version of this item was posted in February of 2014 following the death of actor and writer Harold Ramis and has been reprinted."

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Will Hammer wins LP's Patrick Henry Award

Local Libertarian candidate earns national award from party - The Daily Progress: Politics - Bob Stuart:

June 30, 2016 - "Staunton [Virginia] resident Will Hammer is the recipient of the National Libertarian Party's Patrick Henry Candidate Award for his work in two campaigns for political office.

"Hammer ran as a Libertarian candidate against 6th District Rep. Bob Goodlatte in 2014, and House District 20 Del. Dickie Bell in 2015..... Hammer garnered 12.3 percent of the vote in 2014 when running against incumbent Rep. Goodlatte. In 2015, Hammer received 24.1 percent of the vote in his bid to unseat Bell.

"'It's an honor to have my hard work recognized,'' Hammer said of the Patrick Henry Award. "But I really couldn't have done it without the volunteers working behind the scenes."

"Volunteers assisted Hammer in getting on the ballot for both of his campaigns, and in the actual campaigns. The release detailing his award also speaks of how Hammer spent one sleepless 40-hour stretch in the 2014 congressional campaign traveling to events, speaking and mounting yard signs between Lexington and Front Royal.

"The former candidate said he is hoping for the Libertarian moment. He describes that moment as when a Libertarian 'actually gains election to local or state office. Hammer said he is encouraged by the recent showing of Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson in the polls. The most recent Quinnipiac University poll gives Johnson 8 percent of the vote....

"The Libertarian philosophy is one of empowering the individual and making government as limited as possible, Hammer said. He said Libertarians are fiscally conservative and socially tolerant.

"Hammer, 29, co-founded the first Libertarian group on campus while a student at Hampden-Sydney College. The group was known as the Hampden-Sydney Classical Liberals. A graduate of Hampden-Sydney, Hammer works as a realtor and entrepreneur."

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Friday, July 1, 2016

NS man charged with swearing in public

Civil libertarian cries foul after Nova Scotia man charged for public profanity | CTV News:

June 24, 2016 - "In a case one civil libertarian warns could set a 'very chilling precedent,' a Nova Scotia man will face trial for swearing in public.

"Joseph Currie was arrested during a Halifax protest against the Conservatives' anti-terror legislation, Bill C-51, last year, and charged with 'unlawfully (causing) a disturbance ... by swearing.'

"The 26-year-old's lawyer said his client, who is alleged to have shouted obscenities into a megaphone, has no criminal record and will defend his 'right to criticize the government publicly'....

"According to police reports, Currie was one of 200 protesters in the Spring Garden Road area last June. Two other protesters were arrested for blocking traffic by sitting on a crosswalk, but police only laid charges against Currie.

"A video of the arrest on YouTube shows a handcuffed Currie telling police he 'won't swear again' as an officer takes off the activist's Guy Fawkes mask and puts him in the back of his car. Fellow protesters heckle the officer, who tells them he received 'numerous' complaints about the disturbance....

"Josh Paterson of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, who himself participated in protests against Bill C-51, said he worries restricting what people can and cannot say during political speech could set a 'very chilling precedent.'

"'If you feel strongly about something and those kind of words are the ones that suit your sentiment then you should be free to use them,' said the lawyer and executive director of the civil liberties organization. 'We don't have the criminal law to guard against people being offended by the use of indelicate language....

"'If what we've read about what happened is true ... that would then call into question the ability of Canadians right across the country to express themselves politically in public,' he said."

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BC moose rider charged under Wildlife Act

'Man riding a moose' video leads to charges under Wildlife Act | CTV Vancouver News:

June 30, 2016 - "Two suspects have been charged a year after a video of a man jumping onto a moose in the water was posted online.

"In the video posted to YouTube in June 2015, a shirtless man is seen standing at the front of a boat as it approaches a large moose wading or swimming in the water.... The driver moves the boat closer to the moose, until it is directly behind the giant creature. The man then jumps off the boat and onto its back, where he stays seated, fist in the air, for a few seconds before falling off.

"The video, posted by B.C.-based group Wolftracker TV, ... sparked an investigation by B.C.'s Conservation Officer Service. As officers investigated, the video reached more than two million views on YouTube.

"A year after that investigation began, a report was submitted to Crown counsel recommending charges against two men from Fort St. John. Bradley Crook and Jaysun Pinkerton have each been charged with three offences under The Wildlife Act: harassing wildlife with the use of a boat, attempting to capture wildlife and hunting big game that is swimming."

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