Saturday, December 31, 2016

4 New Year's resolutions for Trump & Congress

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : New Year’s Resolutions for Donald Trump and Congress - Ron Paul:

In the spirit of New Year’s, here are four resolutions for President-elect Trump and Congress that will enable them to really make America great again:

1) Audit the Fed….and then end it: The Federal Reserve Bank's easy money policies have eroded the American people’s standard of living and facilitated the growth of the welfare-warfare state. The Fed is also responsible for the growth in income inequality. Yet Congress still refuses to pass Audit the Fed, much less end it.

During the campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump promised that Audit the Fed would be part of his first 100 days agenda.... President-elect Trump should keep his promise and work with Congress to pass Audit the Fed and finally let the American people know the truth about the Fed’s conduct of monetary policy. Then, of course, end the Fed.

2) Bring the troops home: President Barack Obama has not only failed to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan and Iraq, he has further destabilized the Middle East [and] ... brought us to the brink of a new Cold War.

President-elect Trump has criticized the 2003 Iraq war and promised to end nation-building. However, he has also made hawkish statements... Trump also supported increasing the Pentagon’s already bloated budget.

America cannot afford to continue wasting trillions of dollars in a futile effort to act as the world’s policeman.... [I]f Donald Trump is serious about charting a new course in foreign policy, his first act as president should be to withdraw US troops from around the globe. He should also veto any budget that does not drastically cut spending on militarism.

3) Repeal Obamacare: Obamacare has raised healthcare costs for millions of Americans while denying them access to the providers of their choice. Public dissatisfaction with Obamacare played a major role in Donald Trump’s election....

While it is reasonable to have a transition to a new healthcare system, Congress must avoid the temptation to replace Obamacare with “Obamacare lite.” Congress must pass, and President Trump must sign, a true free-market health care plan that restores control over healthcare to individuals.

4) Cut Taxes and Spending: President-elect Trump and Congressional leadership both favor tax reform. However, some leading Republicans have recently said they will not support any tax reform plan that is not 'revenue neutral'....

"Fiscal hawks concerned with increasing federal deficits should stop trying to increase tax revenues and join with supporters of limited government to drastically cut federal spending. Congress should prioritize ending corporate welfare, reducing military spending, and shutting down unconstitutional federal agencies like the Department of Education.

"If President Trump and Congress spend the next six months passing Audit the Fed, ending our militaristic foreign policy, repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a true free-market health care system, and cutting both spending and taxes, they will begin to make America great again. If they fail to take these steps, then the American people will know they have been fooled again."

Copyright © 2016 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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Friday, December 30, 2016

Police to return student's $11,000 life savings

Victim of Airport Seizure Gets His $11,000 Back With Interest - Hit & Run : - Jacob Sullum:

Dec. 1, 2016 - "Charles Clarke, the college student who was robbed of $11,000 in cash by cops at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport two years ago, will get his money back with interest under an agreement he reached with the Justice Department this week. Claiming Clarke's checked suitcase smelled of marijuana, the cops argued that the money in his carry-on bag must have something to do with drugs.... Clarke challenged the forfeiture with help from the Institute for Justice [I.J.]....

"Clarke, who admitted smoking pot but insisted he had never sold it, had saved the money over five years from wages, financial aid, and family gifts. He took it with him for safekeeping while visiting relatives in Cincinnati and was stopped on the way back to his home in Florida by an airport detective and a local police officer who had been deputized by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Their agencies benefit from federal forfeitures through the Justice Department's Equitable Sharing Program.

"To take the money, the cops needed only probable cause to believe it was connected to illegal drug activity in some way; they did not even have to specify how.... Although the cops found no drugs in Clarke's bags or on his person and did not charge him with a crime, the [alleged] pot smell and the large amount of cash were enough to make the money disappear....

"To keep the money, the government theoretically had to show that it more likely than not came from selling drugs or was intended to buy them. But that burden applied only if Clarke had the means to challenge the forfeiture once the government had taken his savings. Innocent owners often find that standing up for their rights costs more than the value of the property they are trying to get back....

"'Charles is very pleased that he will get his life savings back and that the whole ordeal is now behind him,' said I.J. attorney Darpana Sheth. 'Civil forfeiture is wrong. It allows law enforcement to seize and keep property without ever charging someone with a crime. Even worse, it encourages law enforcement to seize as much money and property as possible by allowing agencies to keep the proceeds for themselves. The Institute for Justice will continue to lead the fight to abolish civil forfeiture and end this perverse financial incentive.'"

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Libertarians end year with 38-state ballot access

The 2016 Election's Biggest Winner: Gary Johnson and The Libertarian Party? - - W.E. Messamore:

November 12, 2016 - "The Libertarian Party is now an officially recognized party for the next election in [38] states, the highest ever for the burgeoning third party. Here’s a breakdown of the gains state by state from the LP’s website:
  • The Texas LP retained ballot access with Railroad Commission candidate Mark Miller receiving over 5 percent. The party would have had to collect over 80,000 signatures to get back on the ballot if no statewide candidate received 5 percent. This will save the party approximately $220,000 in petitioning cost.
  • The LP retained ballot access in North Carolina for four years with Gary Johnson and the gubernatorial candidate, Lon Cecil, each getting over 2 percent. The party would have had to collect over 100,000 signatures to get back on the ballot if neither the presidential nor gubernatorial candidate got 2 percent, saving the party approximately $250,000 in petitioning cost.
  • Iowa and Kentucky LPs are recognized parties for the first time, with Gary Johnson getting over 2 percent in both states.
  • The New Hampshire LP is a recognized party for the first time in two decades due to gubernatorial candidate Max Abramson getting over 4 percent.
  • The DC party is recognized for the second time ever, with candidate for Delegate to the US House of Representatives Martin Moulton getting over 17,000 votes.
  • The LP retained ballot access in North Dakota, with Gary Johnson getting over 6 percent.
  • In Connecticut, Libertarian Dan Reale for US House in the second congressional district, Richard Lion for US Senate, and Gary Johnson for President all received over one percent of the vote. As a result, the party will not have to petition in these races in the next election.
  • Massachusetts’ LP is a recognized party again, with Gary Johnson getting over 3 percent.
  • West Virginia’s LP retained ballot access for four years due to David Moran receiving over 2 percent in his race for governor.
"Instant ballot access in these states’ next election, just like the Republican and Democratic parties get, is a coveted status that will save the Libertarian Party a small fortune in money, time, and energy previously wasted on petitioning efforts just to get on the ballot.

"That’s resources that can go toward more fundraising, registering more voters, campaign ads, poaching disaffected voters from the two major parties, and making the case for Libertarian policies to unaffiliated independent voters."

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Rapper Fauconier running for Virgina senate

Libertarian rapper's anthem for Virginia Senate run: 'You can't win it if you don't get in it' - Richmond Times-Dispatch: Local News - Graham Moomaw:

December 26, 2016 - "On his latest hip-hop track, Corey Fauconier asks listeners to 'embrace things that are a little different' and jumps right to the hook.

"'You can’t win it if you don’t get in it. So it’s Fauconier for Virginia state Senate. Lyrics are sick like I’m straight out the clinic. MSB produced so you know that WE GET IT!'

"A 45-year-old Libertarian activist from Highland Springs, Fauconier, who goes by 'Sage' when he performs, is a firm believer in music’s power to rally people behind a cause.

With just a few weeks to run an independent campaign against longtime Del. Jennifer L. McClellan, D-Richmond, in a Jan. 10 special election in the heavily Democratic 9th Senate District, he’ll need a surprise smash hit.

"A New York native who moved to the Richmond area after Sept. 11, Fauconier has had a variety of sales and customer service jobs and currently works as a manager at a company that transports railroad workers.

"In his forays into politics, hip-hop is front and center. 'Delegate on Twitter talking hella spit. The Libertarian Party’s not having it. I got a right to bear arms, empty this lyrical clip. It’s a open carry state I’m not concealing it,' Fauconier raps in the song 'Get In It,' which he released last week along with a lyrics sheet bearing his campaign logo.

"In an interview, Fauconier, who supported Libertarian Gary Johnson in the presidential election, said he brings a fresh perspective and will work to appeal to the full range of political thought in the district.... 'There are tea party folks. There are Republicans. There are independents,' he said. 'You have to across the board address everybody'....

"Fauconier said he was inspired by Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who ran for Virginia governor in 2013 and U.S. Senate in 2014. He found the message intriguing, but at Libertarian gatherings, he was often the only African-American in the room. That, he said, was baffling.

"'Because all African-Americans have ever said since the earliest time is we want freedom and we want liberty,' Fauconier said."

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Over-regulation injuring Oregon cannabis industry

Are regulations crippling Oregon’s fledgling marijuana market? - - John Crowe:

December 19, 2016 - "Oregon is rolling out its new recreational cannabis market, but pro-pot groups say state regulations are already choking producers and retailers.

"The regulations, implemented Oct. 1, mandate the most stringent pre-sale testing requirements of any regulated cannabis market in the United States. The rules, which apply to dispensaries, growers and anyone who transfers marijuana for ultimate sale to consumers, set guidelines for pot labeling, transferring, packaging, testing and concentration limits.

"Don Morse, owner of the Human Collective, a Portland dispensary, says his business has suffered from the new regulations. The company has laid off five employees since October and is struggling to maintain its supply of marijuana products.

“'We went from one set of tests that seemed to be effective, where no one got hurt, to where we are today where the shelves are empty,' said Morse, who also serves as director of the Oregon Cannabis Business Council, an industry trade group....

"There are currently only four pesticide accredited labs tasked with serving the state’s more than 400 retailers.... Of the cannabis product that has been tested, Morse claims between 40 percent and 60 percent has failed because the list of chemicals is so inclusive, and the minimum threshold so low, growers have been unable to comply....

"While Morse and other pro-legalization forces initially accepted the new regulations as a necessary step forward, others warned that the lack of accredited pesticide testing labs would cause a supply constraint. A report produced by Beau Whitney, owner of Whitney Economics, a consulting firm specializing in the cannabis market, confirmed the predictions of industry naysayers.

"Based on a survey of 683 cannabis business owners in Oregon, Whitney found that a lack of accredited labs has created a production bottleneck. The decrease in available product subsequently has led to higher prices, a loss of tax revenue and a resurgence of the black market....

"Whitney projects a loss of $10 million in tax revenue for the fourth quarter relative to the average for the previous three quarters. In addition, he found that 22 percent of respondents said they were going out of business, and a majority of businesses said they would be forced to lay off employees. The report also estimates black market consumption will increase $187.5 million on an annualized basis due to higher prices and lower supply."

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Seasteaders negotiating with French Polynesia

Seasteaders Plan to Build a Libertarian Utopia on the High Seas | Big Think - Philip Perry:

December 22, 2016 - "Looking at the world today ... one might easily dream of escaping to their own small, well-designed utopia.... Usually, religious persecution was the push factor. For a group of modern day libertarians, it's government overreach. But today, with almost all the land on Earth accounted for, this group has set their eyes on a different kind of real estate, the high seas.

"The idea is to build a floating city at least 200 miles off of a country’s coastline. This is international waters by UN treaty, out of the reach of the world’s governments. But creating a seafaring utopia isn’t so simple. The Seasteading Institute is now in friendly talks with French Polynesia. Among the movements bigwigs is PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who is currently helping the Trump campaign in their transition into the White House. Jim O’Neil, who worked for the second Bush administration and is a possible Trump FDA appointee, is another.

"Thiel is a co-founder of the Seasteading Institute, along with Patri Friedman, a former Google software engineer and grandson of famed economist Milton Freedman. Thiel and Friedman announced their plan in 2008. Should the president of the French territory sign off, the project could begin as early as 2017. It is slated for completion in 2020. Thiel, who invested $1.7 million in the project, has spoken of the settlement as a libertarian utopia. Though no longer on the board, he continues to support the project financially.

"Originally, the plan was to be completely independent. But the estimated cost of such a project was $225 million, with an annual operating cost of $8 million. Soon, seasteaders were starting to see the benefits of having a nation to partner up with. French Polynesia was chosen because it has a fiber cable run from Hawaii which allows for the same kind of bandwidth would-be residents are used to, and it’s only an eight hour flight from Los Angeles. For French Polynesians, whose land is being threatened from sea level rise due to global warming, the idea of a floating city has tremendous appeal. Though for a period there, it looked as if the project may never see fruition, the plans are now awaiting the signature of the French Polynesian president....

"The plan entails building two or three platforms off the island chain, each about half a football field long. These will have on their surface communities housing around 30 people each. One model displays streamlined buildings reminiscent of a tech campus, along with a beachfront area, and a full size swimming pool....

"As it stands now, construction alone is projected at $30 million. Each platform will cost $15 million. A small group of anonymous investors are said to be footing the bill, all of whom will become residents. In 2013, the project raised $27,000 via a crowdfunding campaign. But according to the institute’s director, those funds have already been paid to Norwegian design company DeltaSync, seemingly to engineer models for the platforms....

"It was former software engineer Wayne Gramlich’s 1998 book, SeaSteading: Homesteading on the High Seas, that inspired this current venture. Gramlich and Friedman together developed the initiative, which Thiel initially funded. Though a long and strenuous process awaits, one with an unknown outcome, seasteaders are in it for the long haul."

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Scab Santa booted from NS school by union

Santa Claus Kicked Out Of School For Failing To Follow Labor Union Regulations - Ted Goodman, Libertarian Republic:

December 23, 2016 - "'Santa Claus' ran into trouble with a local Canadian labor union after attempting to bring some Christmas treats to a Nova Scotia elementary school this week.

"Three firefighters, including one dressed as Santa, showed up to a local elementary school in New Waterford, Novia Scotia, when a union representative forced the cheerful trio to leave the premises.

"'The principal came out and just informed us she had been contacted by a representative from the union. Someone had called the union I guess and … she was told we were in violation of the work to rule and we had to leave,' Raymond Eksal, fire chief of the Scotchtown Volunteer Fire Department in eastern Nova Scotia ... told the Toronto Star....

"Teachers in the province, represented by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, are in the third week of a 'work-to-rule' campaign, which includes the cancellation of all extracurricular activities, field trips, concerts and sports. Teachers are only supposed to focus on teaching, which means no guests in the classroom, including the big jolly red man himself.

"'We knew that the [local Christmas concert] was cancelled due to the work-to-rule, which we could understand … but I guess there was something lost in the translation,' Eksal said. 'We didn’t realize it was also cancelling Santa Claus,' he explained.

"'During work-to-rule, teachers are only focused on teaching. This means guest speakers are not permitted in the classroom,' Liette Doucet, a representative of the union, said....

"'That being said, at the discretion of the school board, there is nothing preventing Santa from visiting the students during their lunch hour,' Doucet assured the public and concerned parents."

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Festivus! Rand Paul airs his grievances

Rand Paul airs his Festivus grievances against Donald Trump - CBS News = Reena Flores:

December 23, 2016 - "Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, in a time-honored tradition started by television sitcom Seinfeld, aired a list of his grievances Friday for Festivus – a non-commercial holiday observed every year on Dec. 23....

"In a series of tweets, the Republican senator, who ran against Donald Trump in the GOP primary, blasted the president-elect and those he’s appointed to his incoming administration:...

New administration is lookin good. Haven't seen this many billionaires in 1 place since I staked out Bilderbergs w/ Alex Jones. Good times.
10:23 AM - 23 Dec 2016

I know I've said a lot about @AmbJohnBolton so you're probably expecting me 2 say something nice for the holidays. Nope.
23 Dec 2016

My favorite Cabinet pick is what's his name, umm it's that guy who wanted to eliminate the Dept. of @ENERGY. Hang on I'll think of it...
10:29 AM - 23 Dec 2016

New administration has some great people. But I wanna know who has to tell @realdonaldtrump he can't build a golf course on the South Lawn?
10:33 AM - 23 Dec 2016

My other colleagues @SenMikeLee & @SenTedCruz are rumored to be on the Supreme court short list. @survivorcbs is gonna be so nerdy this year

But I'm upset VP & cabinet wasn't picked w/ a reality show. I would have watched. You would have too, don't deny it. #AiringofGrievances
2:33 PM - 23 Dec 2016

"He also took some jabs at the media, taking no prisoners among both conservative- and liberal-leaning news outlets.

I'm gonna have to stop tweeting about Festivus soon, @FoxNews just asked me to come on & talk about my own personal #WaronChristmas. Rude.
2:35 PM - 23 Dec 2016

For the folks at @MSNBC, that was a joke.
2:36 PM - 23 Dec 2016

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Ohio Libertarians sue (again) for party status

Libertarians sue Husted, demand Ohio recognize them as political party | The Columbus Dispatch - Randy Ludlow:

December 22, 2016 - "The Libertarian Party of Ohio is suing Secretary of State Jon Husted, alleging his office is illegally refusing to acknowledge it is a recognized political party.

"In a lawsuit filed with the Ohio Supreme Court, five party activists claim that Husted improperly refused after the Nov. 8 election to certify the Libertarian Party.

"Since the party's presidential ticket, led by former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, received 3.17 percent of the vote, it exceeded the 3-percent threshold required to be recognized as a party, the lawsuit states.

"The ticket appeared on the ballot without a Libertarian Party designation because the party had been stripped of its status as officially recognized.

"In a Dec. 6 letter, Husted's office wrote that Johnson appeared on the ballot as an independent, and not a Libertarian, so the party had not received the 3-percent of the vote to regain certification, the lawsuit said....

"'Once again, the Republicans who control state government are risking taxpayer dollars to limit their voting choice,' said Scott Pettigrew, a nominating committee member and chairman of the Libertarian Party of Ohio Executive Committee. 'We're asking the court to compel Secretary Husted to do his job, no more and no less.'

"Joshua Eck, spokesman for Husted, said in a statement: 'There’s a clear path for establishing a political party in this state -- a process that has already been upheld by the courts and used by others. These laws exist not to deter or limit access to the ballot, but to ensure a level playing field for all.""

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ron Paul elector deluged with 80,000+ emails

Meet the Faithless Elector Who Voted for Ron Paul - Brett Chandrasekhar, Libertarian Republic:

December 20, 2016 - "As the electoral college officially voted on Monday, one delegate went against the grain and cast his vote for former Congressman Ron Paul. This was Bill Greene, a delegate from Texas.

"The Statesman first identified Greene, and later claims online stated the same thing. In response to the overwhelming reaction, Greene turned off his social media accounts and set up an automatic email responder:
If you are contacting me regarding my vote in the Electoral College on December 19th, I will probably never see your email, due to spam filters and email “rules” I had to set in place thanks to over 80,000 emails I’ve already received.
"For some background, Bill Greene is a professor of political science at South Texas College. Greene has taught courses on American Government, International Relations, European Politics, and Western Civilization. He also presented a paper at the Mises Institute in 2010 titled 'Ending the Federal Reserve From the Bottom Up,' where he argued for a state-by-state approach to ending the fed.

"In a Facebook post, Sam Moore, an apparent friend of Greene’s, suggested that the professor thought his actions were completely constitutional, and voted for Dr. Paul out of a sense of duty.
So why did he do it? I cannot put words into his mouth, but he didn’t do it because he thought Ron Paul would win. We all know better than that. From what he’s shared with me over the past few months however, he did it out of a profound sense of duty. That duty, as one of only 538 Electors, is to choose the best person for the POTUS/VPOTUS, period. That duty does not include the coronation of someone who may not be the best person for the job or the appointment of what they consider simply the lesser-of evil.
"The libertarian community is mostly ecstatic about the professor’s liberty-minded vote. However, Greene is also likely to receive backlash from the Republican Party and from hostile Trump supporters.

"For the time being, Professor Greene has gone on vacation. For his hard work and gutsy decision, libertarians might say: a vacation well-deserved."

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Free markets and the spirit of giving

Richmond County Daily Journal | Free markets and the spirit of giving - Robert Higgs:

December 20, 2016 - "Christmas will soon be here, and preparations for this holiday are proceeding apace.... Notice how much effort and expense are going into giving to and bringing joy to others. Notice, too, how much of the spending people do during this season would be impossible except for the affluence made possible by the remaining elements of the market society that the government, to date, has failed to destroy completely.

"The free-market society is often criticized or condemned root and branch for its alleged dependence on the unsavory human trait of greed ... but self-interest is quite different from greed and indeed often consists of the very opposite. People in general have an interest in, for example, earning more income, and a major reason for this desire is that they wish to have the wherewithal to give to or take care of others more effectively — their own families first of all in most cases, but hardly their own families exclusively....

"The amounts of money, time, and effort that people devote to making others happier or better off — amounts vividly on display during the holiday season — belie the slander of a free market’s dependence on greed. But such transfers also occur throughout the year and amount to an enormous proportion of all the uses to which people in free-market societies put their wealth.

"In contrast, the alleged compassion and caring for the unfortunate that many have supposed support socialism are scarcely to be seen.... [S]ocialism does not so much eliminate the greed that exists in a population as it alters the forms in which the greed can be directed and expressed.... Leaders of socialist societies have a habit of living lavishly amid the squalor of the system they control and despoil — Mao, Castro, and Chavez provide ready examples. Ordinary people in socialist societies, being deprived of free-market outlets for the pursuit of their self-interest must instead strive to better themselves and those for whom they care by struggling for political power....

"So, at this time of the year, let us remind ourselves not only of the love and compassion that Christmas calls forth, but also of the systemic economic underpinnings that permit people to express their love and compassion so effectively. The love of family, friends, and others is the greatest blessing, but the opportunity to live in a free-market society — even one as hogtied as ours — is also a great blessing."

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Cannabis foes concede in Maine; recount halted

Recount bid ends, clearing way for legal marijuana in Maine — Politics — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine:

December 20, 2016 - "The campaign that opposed a referendum seeking to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Maine abandoned its recount effort Saturday afternoon, clearing the way for Maine to become the latest state to allow use of the drug for nonmedical purposes.

"The citizen-initiated legalization effort appeared as Question 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot. Unofficial results showed the question winning by less than 1 percentage point, the closest contest on a ballot that included four other citizen-initiated referendums and a bond question.

"That narrow margin prompted opponents of legalization — organized as Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities — to ask the secretary of state to conduct a statewide recount.

"After a weekslong process that required ballots from all over the state to be collected and delivered to Augusta, the recount began earlier this month.

"The recount recessed Friday with plans to resume in January 2017.... However, Mainers Protecting Our Youth and Communities formally requested Saturday that the secretary of state’s office end the process....

"Preliminary estimates from Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap pegged the cost of a statewide ballot question recount at approximately $500,000. However, the No on 1 campaign in its release Saturday suggested the estimated cost of the recount was much lower, roughly $15,000, with little or no overtime costs incurred by state police or the secretary of state’s office.....

"The next step in the legalization process is for Gov. Paul LePage to send a proclamation to Dunlap affirming the validity of the election within 10 days after the secretary of state certifies the results. The Maine Constitution states that the law spelled out by the referendum would take effect 30 days after the governor issues that proclamation....

"Members of the incoming Legislature also have suggested that they will examine the law to see if added safeguards are needed to ensure marijuana does not become available to people younger than 21....

"Maine becomes the second New England state, after Massachusetts, to legalize marijuana use for recreational purposes. The state has allowed medical marijuana since 1999."

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Ron Paul campaigning for Fed oversight board

Ron Paul Wants a Spot on Federal Reserve Board of Governors:

December 19, 2016 - "Ron Paul's group, Campaign for Liberty, is trying to get him a spot on the U.S. Federal Reserve's Board of Governors, a senior politics editor with the Huffington Post reports.
Sam Stein ‏@samsteinhp
Ron Paul’s group, Campaign for Liberty, is pushing to get Ron Paul nominated to the U.S. Federal Reserve's Board of Governors.
10:45 AM - 18 Dec 201
"Paul, a former GOP member of Congress from Texas, earlier this week criticized the Federal Reserve, saying it was manipulating the economy.

"'We do not work on a free-market principle, we do not have sound money, it's all manipulated,' he told Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network.

"'Prices are going to go up and the money's going to be so bent according to political reasons and not because of business decisions, so we want the government out of it. We want people to save money, create capital, but capital cannot come from the Federal Reserve working with a computer; that's the fallacy and that's why zero rates of interest didn't work because they weren't realistic.'

"The Board of Governors oversees the work of the Federal Reserve Banks and plays a major role in crafting U.S. monetary policy. There are seven members, all appointed by the president of the United States.

"Paul established Campaign for Liberty, his nonprofit political organization, during his presidential run in 2008 with the purpose of spreading his idea that the government should be limited in its role."

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Ralph Raico, 1936-2016

Ralph Raico, RIP | Cato @ Liberty - Jim Powell:

December 14, 2016 - I was saddened by the news of Ralph Raico’s passing on December 13.

At Cato summer seminars during the 1980s, he delivered fabulous lectures about the history of liberty and its adversaries. He focused on European intellectual history and the development of classical liberalism. He was clear, concise and passionate, and his talks sparkled with memorable details. I still cherish audio cassettes of those lectures.

Ralph attended the Bronx High School of Science, earned a B.A. at the City College of New York, and joined the New York libertarian underground during the 1950s. His friends included Ronald Hamowy, Leonard Liggio, George Reisman, Robert Hessen, and other eager students of liberty. For a while, Ralph and his group, calling themselves the “Circle Bastiat,” met for discussions with Ayn Rand’s group, “the Collective.” Ludwig von Mises invited Ralph to attend his graduate seminars at New York University. Ralph became a close friend of Murray and Joey Rothbard.

By 1960, Ralph was at the University of Chicago for a Ph.D. in intellectual history. F.A. Hayek was his thesis advisor. Ralph started a quarterly student journal called New Individualist Review and served as editor-in-chief. Each issue featured about a half-dozen articles. The first issue appeared in April 1961. The lead article was “Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Friedman. The second issue featured “Freedom and Coercion” by Hayek. And so it went, a cavalcade of scholarly stars, including three future Nobel Laureates. The authors included George Stigler, Yale Brozen, Karl Brunner, Henry Hazlitt, W.H. Hutt, David Levy, Walter Oi, Sam Peltzman, Wilhelm Roepke, B.R. Shenoy, Gordon Tullock, Joe Cobb, and E.G. West, in addition to Hayek and Friedman. A few conservatives joined the fun, too — William F. Buckley, Jr., M. Stanton Evans, and Russell Kirk.

As it happened, in 1962, when I had to decide on a college, I received a subscription flyer for New Individualist Review. I was familiar with a number of the authors, because I had read issues of The Freeman that my father had in his home office, and they published some of the same authors. So, the University of Chicago was where I had to go. While many college kids did fraternities or football, I did NIR. I met Ralph, joined the staff of New Individualist Review, and altogether 17 issues were published. NIR involved insightful, inspiring, and sometimes amusing exchanges among students and professors in history, economics, philosophy, science, law, and business. For better or worse, NIR was a spontaneous phenomenon that never focused on becoming an institution. Gradually, everybody got their degrees and moved on. I was the last editor-in-chief (1968).

Ralph had so much literary talent that there were hopes he might produce a glorious history of liberty, like Lord Acton talked so much about but never started. Alas, time slipped through their fingers and—for now—that big story is still out there.

Nonetheless, Ralph became known for elegantly-crafted articles, pamphlets, and chapter contributions that helped illuminate the history of liberty.

Ralph translated Mises’ 1927 book Liberalismus, an excellent basic statement of classical liberalism, into English (1962), and a number of publishers have reissued his splendid translation.

He also wrote:
  • Die Partei der Freiheit: Studien zur Geschichte des deutschen Liberalismus (1999), about the fateful struggles of German classical liberals during the 19th century.
  • The Place of Religion in the Liberal Philosophy of Constant, Tocqueville, and Lord Acton (2010), his University of Chicago Ph.D. thesis.
  • Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School (2012). 

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

Saturday, December 17, 2016

2016 a good year for the Libertarian Party

2016 a Big Year for Libertarian Party - Bacon's Rebellion - James A. Bacon:

December 14, 2016 - "Unless you read the LP News, you probably didn’t realize that 2016 was a record-breaking year for the Libertarian Party. The national news media tuned out Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson after he suffered his “Aleppo moment,” and his poll numbers fell in the last weeks as the race tightened between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Yet he still won nearly 4.4 million votes — more than three times the previous number garnered by the Libertarian candidate in 2012.

"Other third-party candidates have fared better — anyone remember George Wallace and Ross Perot? But the Libertarian Party represents a movement that is bigger and longer lasting than any one candidate. Nearly 500,000 Americans are registered as Libertarians, a new high. Nearly 1.7 million votes were cast for Libertarian candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, also a new high. In Alaska, the Libertarian candidate won 30% of the vote, beating the Democratic candidate. Dues-paying member have passed the 20,000 mark, the highest level since 2005.

"Among other signs of progress, the Libertarian Party now has presidential ballot access in 37 states — more states than after any election in the party’s history. Ballot access means the party’s presidential candidate in 2020 will automatically qualify to run in those states without the necessity of accumulating enough signatures to qualify. The $760,000 it cost the Libertarians to get on the ballots of all 50 states this year may be pocket change to Republicans and Democrats, but it looms large for an independent party.

"Libertarians made progress in Virginia, too. Libertarian Jessica Abbott won 59% of the vote in a nonpartisan race for Virginia Beach City Council. Noting that city spending has increased 90% over the past decade while median household income has remained flat, she opposed a proposed $343 million light rail project in the city. As a certified flood insurance agent, she also promised to use her expertise to help Virginia Beach cope with coastal flooding.

"Another Virginia Beach Libertarian, Robert Dean, lost the race but won a healthy 41% of the vote."

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Stossel got libertarians ready for prime time

Thank You, John Stossel, for Teaching Libertarians How to Do Cable News - Hit & Run : - Matt Welch:

December 16, 2016 - "Tonight (at 10 p.m. ET) is the last-ever episode of Stossel, the weekly Fox Business Network program that for seven years explained free-market principles better than any show on television. Host John Stossel, as he explains here in his weekly column, is moving on to other pursuits, including creating great content right here with Reason TV, and he will still be a contributor over in the Fox building.

"His final episode, appropriately, is a survey through the show's persistent and often hilarious attempts to illustrate difficult-to-visualize libertarian concepts using props, costumes, stunts, and engaging conversation, including with such beloved locals as Katherine Mangu-Ward ... and Kmele Foster. I am honored to be one of the two live guests on tonight's program, along with our great friend and frequent collaborator Kennedy. And therein lies a brief story.

"I first met Kennedy in June 2011 in the exact same place you'll see us tonight: in Fox's Studio D, sitting next to John Stossel ... during an hour-long special he very generously put together to discuss The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America, which I had freshly co-written with Nick Gillespie. It was a galvanizing moment—I had been doing increasing amounts of cable news, but had never seen anyone with as much TV charisma and quick wit as this former VJ. Soon she would begin collaborating regularly with both Reason TV and Stossel, the latter of whom brought her on as a special correspondent)....

"For the rest of his run, John labored at the largely thankless and rarely acknowledged task of training questionably dressed free-market types like me to be less like Broadcast News' Albert Brooks and just a wee more William Hurt-ish. There were the green-room coachings ("Don't bore people with a bunch of numbers!"), the on-set eye-glazes when you wandered off point, the cutting quips about questionable ties. It was tough love, but, well, you have to consider the raw material here.

"The result of Stossel's conscious exertions is that the universe of camera-ready libertarians is much larger and considerably more polished than it was seven years ago. (Judge Andrew Napolitano's late, lamented Freedom Watch also deserves a shout-out here....) Next-generation shows like Kennedy get to take their libertarianism more for granted precisely because Stossel had done the shovel work (*cough*) of introducing fundamental concepts and breaking in nerds."

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Mexican Senate votes for legal medical cannabis

Mexico senate votes to legalize medicinal cannabis | News | DW.COM | 14.12.2016 - Deutsche Welle:

December 14, 2016 - "Following a national debate on narcotics policy, the Mexican senate passed a bill on Tuesday approving the use of marijuana for medical purposes.... Senators voted 98-7 for the legislation....

"In a major policy shift, President Enrique Pena Nieto proposed legalizing medical marijuana in April after his government organized forums to discuss changes to the laws.

"The bill fails to meet demands from lawmakers and civil groups, however, who argue that wider legalization can help the country which is mired in brutal drug violence. Nieto opposes a broader legalization of marijuana but has previously proposed increasing the amount of the drug that can legally be possessed for personal consumption [to] 28 grams (one ounce) from five grams....

"In the decade since then-President Felipe Calderon launched a militarized offensive against Mexico's drug cartels, more than 100,000 people have been killed and some 30,000 more are missing....

"Senator Angelica de la Pena Gomez, of the PRD, said there was consensus to 'do something different in drug policy' because prohibition 'has generated high levels of violence, more than 100,000 deaths and the systematic violation of human rights.'

"In a statement summarizing the debate, the Senate said the measure directs the Health Department to 'design public policies to regulate the medicinal use of this plant and its derivatives' - including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant's main psychoactive ingredient.

"It also would establish that industrial products with concentrations of 1 percent THC or less would be legal to buy, sell, import and export. The cultivation of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes will not be punishable.

"The bill, passed on Tuesday, will now move to the lower Chamber of Deputies for consideration."

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ohio should recognize the Libertarian Party

Recognize the Libertarians - The Toledo Blade - editorial:

December 14, 2016 - "In the wake of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson’s presidential run, the Ohio Libertarian Party is seeking state recognition and ballot access to make it easier to run candidates. The Libertarians seek to join the Republicans, Democrats, and Greens on Ohio’s ballots.

"Ohio law says 'any group' can become a recognized political party through a petition process. And if a group’s candidate for president or governor breaks 3 percent, it gets recognition for four years. Ohio’s Libertarians are circulating petitions, but they’re also seeking recognition through the 3 percent rule.

"State party chairman Scott Pettigrew argues that Governor Johnson broke 3 percent, and the committee of voters that placed the national Libertarian Party’s nominee on Ohio’s ballots as an independent candidate — a committee of which Mr. Pettigrew was a member — is now seeking recognition as a party....

"Meanwhile, the party is working on candidates for governor in 2018 and for partisan races across Ohio, Mr. Pettigrew said. But it must focus on the governor’s race, he said, in order to break 3 percent and keep recognition for another four years.

"The Libertarians are entitled to recognition as a party. Mr. Pettigrew is right: The law says 'any group.' Mr. Johnson didn’t carry the Libertarian label in Ohio, but he was placed on the ballot by a group of Libertarians, and he got in excess of 3 percent of the vote — he got 3.2 percent, or 174,498 votes....

"The only reason to deny the Libertarians party status and ballot access is that they would take votes from Republicans. Denying them for that reason would be unfair."

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

As smoking drops, FDA declares war on vaping

Today's Teens Say No to Drugs and Tobacco, Yes to Vaping | Generation Opportunity - Brittany Hunter:

December 12, 2016 - "According to a recent report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ... annual Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) fewer teens are having sex and using drugs or alcohol..... Even more shocking is the declining number of teenagers who say they smoke cigarettes.... [I]n 1991, 27.5 percent of the teens surveyed said they considered themselves smokers. In the latest report, only 10.8 percent of teenagers polled said they would label themselves as smokers.

"Though there are potentially several reasons for this decline, another finding in the report suggests that one of the biggest factor’s involved is the rise of e-cigarettes. Though this is the first YRBSS report that includes any data on teens and their use of vaping devices, 44.9 percent of the teenagers surveyed said they have used a vaping device....

"Recently, the FDA has passed new regulations which classify e-liquid, the substance used in vape devices, as a tobacco product. These new regulations require that each vaping device be put through a “Pre-Market Tobacco Applications” (PMTA) process before it can be sold on the market.... For each separate device needing approval, it will take the FDA upwards of 1,700 hours and cost the manufacturer millions of dollars.

"Continuing its war on the vaping industry, the Department of Health and Human Services just launched a campaign to persuade teens and young adults to 'just say no' to vaping. The campaign’s website claims that since nicotine is found in tobacco products, vaping still comes with the same risks as tobacco.... Even though there have been many studies which have shown e-cigarettes to be a healthier option than cigarette use, especially considering that e-liquid contains absolutely no tobacco, the federal government insists this is not the case and has even prohibited vaping devices from listing the health benefits of vaping on their product’s packaging.....

"According to the extensive research done by Britain’s Royal College of Physicians, using vaping devices instead of traditional cigarettes will, 'prevent almost all of the harm from smoking'.... Britain’s Royal College of Physicians was one of the first organizations to find the link between lung cancer and smoking cigarettes, a finding that the United States government denied until two years after....

"Though many opponents of the vaping industry have insisted that e-cigarettes will serve as a 'gateway to smoking,' as the latest YRBBS report has shown, teen smoking is down dramatically while at the same time, the use of vaping is up. If anything, the rise of vaping is actually doing more to deter teens from smoking.

"The same is true for the adult population. From 2005 to 2014, the adult smoking rate decreased from 20.9 percent to 16.9 percent, which also happens to coincides with the rise of vape use. This dramatic shift from cigarettes use to vaping should be celebrated, especially since fewer and fewer teens are finding themselves addicted to cigarettes."

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Institute sues for info on gov't-seized property

IJ Sues IRS, Other Gov't Agencies For Forfeiture Records | The Daily Caller - Kathryn Watson:

December 9, 2016 - "A nonprofit public interest law firm is suing the IRS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for withholding records of cars, cash and property seized by authorities under federal forfeiture statutes.

"The Institute for Justice [IJ] filed two lawsuits in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Thursday after both agencies denied requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for government forfeiture of database records for 21 months.

"'The lack of transparency surrounding forfeiture is deeply troubling, especially considering the vast power law enforcement has to take property from people without so much as charging them with a crime,' Lisa Knepper, IJ director of strategic research, said in a statement. 'The public ought to know how forfeiture is being used.'

"Forfeiture laws — which IJ and other critics deem unconstitutional — allow law enforcement agencies to seize cars, cash, and other property that may be involved in a crime, without charging the owner with a crime."

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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Libertarian city council shakes up Crystal, MN

Libertarians shake up Minneapolis suburb of Crystal - Steve Karnowski, Associated Press:

November 1, 2016 - "When most cities want to build something — a water plant, a convention center — they borrow the money on the bond market and pay it off over time with interest. Not Crystal, a middle-class suburb of Minneapolis.

"It paid $13 million in cash when it needed a new public works building, taking the money from its savings accounts and shrinking the city’s reserves by nearly one-quarter.

"Pay-as-you-go wisdom or long-term financial folly? However it eventually works out, the decision is just one example of how the Crystal City Council approaches civic issues a bit differently. The reason: A majority of its seven members are Libertarians or are sympathetic to the party’s philosophy of maximum personal freedom and minimum government....

"In addition to paying cash for civic improvements, Crystal has undertaken a cleanup of the municipal code to get rid of ordinances considered outdated, unenforceable or just plain silly. And it has all but eliminated the city’s human rights commission. At the same time, in a seeming departure from Libertarian principles of thrift, the city has raised property taxes and water and sewer fees.

"'I know a lot of fears that are out there: If Libertarians get into government, they’re going to be cutting government,” Libertarian council member Casey Peak said. “The reality is we just think differently because we come at it with a different core mentality'....

"Peak was elected in 2012 and recruited other Libertarians and like-minded people to run for the council two years later, leading to the current five-member majority.

"Peak defended the project to overhaul the code, which is as thick as an unabridged dictionary. He said several parts had become 'almost unenforceable' because they referred to state laws that have been eliminated or rewritten. None of the revisions fundamentally changed policy, he said.

"'Finally, the pool table at the community center is going to be legal,' said Mayor Jim Adams, who is not a party member but considers himself 'liberty-minded.' 'Because you [couldn’t] have a pool table within so many feet of a city building.'

"As for the human rights commission, which was set up in the civil rights era to advise the council on eliminating discrimination in the city, it still exists on paper, but there’s nobody on it.... Peak said that even under the previous mayor, it was difficult to find people to serve on the commission and that it no longer had a clear purpose....

"The Libertarian bloc was united on a vote to raise water and sewer charges 25 percent, saying it was the most cost-effective way to save for repairs and pay the higher rates Minneapolis is charging to tap into its water. Peak said the increase works out to only a few dollars per quarter for most households....

"Crystal’s experiment with Libertarian governing has drawn little attention, even within the city. Because the council is officially nonpartisan, few residents seem to have noticed."

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Stossel going off air, with last episode Dec. 16

EXCLUSIVE: John Stossel to Step Down From Fox Business Show | Mediaite - Justin Baragona:

December 7, 2016 - "John Stossel will step down from hosting his weekly Fox Business program, Stossel, this month.

"The show, which airs Friday nights at 8 PM ET on FBN, debuted in December 2009. Its last episode will air on December 16th.

"While Stossel will no longer host his weekly program, he will remain as a regular on-air presence for Fox, making frequent guest appearances on various shows for both Fox News and Fox Business....

"Stossel, a noted libertarian, will be working with ReasonTV to start up a libertarian-themed internet platform. He’ll also serve as an educator with the Charles Koch Institute’s new Creative Fellows Program.

"The 69-year-old Stossel has received 19 Emmy awards over the years. He spent a number of years with ABC News, working as a correspondent and co-anchor on 20/20 before joining Fox in 2009. He’s the first cable news host to moderate a libertarian debate and during the 2016 election, he hosted numerous town hall forums for the Libertarian Party."

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Friday, December 9, 2016

IL Comptroller puts Libertarian on transition team

Former Libertarian Candidate for Comptroller Tapped for Transition Team - Kitty Testa, Libertarian Republic:

December 8, 2016- "According to a press release issued by the newly installed Illinois Comptroller, Susana Mendoza, Claire Ball, the Libertarian candidate who also vied for the position during the election, has been named to Mendoza’s transition team....

"In a statement via Facebook Ball said, 'Before anyone thinks otherwise, let me make this perfectly clear and state that I *WILL* be running again in 2018 as the Libertarian candidate for state Comptroller. This transition team is to help get the new Comptroller up to speed so our state can, at the minimum, keep moving along. I want to help in any way that I can, so things don’t get worse, and help pinpoint some of the (many) issues that need to be addressed within the office'....

"This is a unique opportunity for a Libertarian candidate. Ball will be in the position to get a glimpse into the state-wide office she seeks and to influence its operations in a practical way."
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New Illinois comptroller faces red ink, asks 'Please bear with me' - Chicago Tribune - Monica Garcia::

December 5, 2016 - "Democrat Susana Mendoza was sworn in Monday as state comptroller during a small ceremony at the Capitol, asking for patience and prayers as she takes office with lllinois' pile of unpaid bills topping $10.4 billion....

"Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature remain deadlocked on a budget. The nearly two-year-long stalemate has led to a huge spike in debt as court orders and laws still require the comptroller to cut checks for some key services even if there's no money in state coffers to cover the costs."
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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Little Rock, Arkansas taxi monopoly struck down

Little Rock's Taxi Monopoly Struck Down - Story - Ellen Lampe, Arkansas Matters:

December 7, 2016 - "One Arkansas taxi driver scored a sweeping victory Wednesday evening after challenging Little Rock's long-standing taxi monopoly.

"A judge ruled in Arkansas Taxi Driver Ken Leininger's favor, deciding that Little Rock’s city code violated the Arkansas Constitution, which prohibits the government from creating an anti-competitive monopoly.

"In March 2016, Leininger, who owns and operates Ken’s Cab in North Little Rock, teamed up with the Institute for Justice to file a lawsuit against the city of Little Rock, claiming that a city law forbidding the issuance of new taxi permits had granted an unconstitutional monopoly to the city’s only taxi company, Yellow Cab....

"Under the old law, Little Rock prohibited any new cab companies from competing with its one existing company, Greater Little Rock Transportation Services, LLC (Yellow Cab), by allowing new taxi permits to be issued only if “public convenience and necessity” left no other choice and if doing so will not harm the existing permit holder.

"In other words, a newcomer to the Little Rock taxi market would need to obtain arbitrary approval from the city government and get permission from their competitor. That provision had prevented Ken Leininger from offering his services in Little Rock, even though the city’s own Fleet Services office had determined he was otherwise able to meet all of the city’s health-and-safety requirements.

"Under today’s ruling, Ken (and anyone else who wants to compete in Little Rock) will be able to secure taxicab permits without first proving that they will not take business away from their competitors.

"'In cities and states across the country, courts and legislatures are increasingly rejecting protectionist rules like Little Rock’s,' concluded IJ Attorney and co-counsel Allison Daniel. 'Today’s ruling is a victory not just for entrepreneurs and consumers in Little Rock, but a victory for transportation freedom nationwide.'"

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Libertarians won 'major party' status in Iowa

State Board certifies Iowa election results | Muscatine | - Rod Boshart:

December 5, 2016 - "It’s official. Republican Donald Trump outpolled Democrat Hillary Clinton by 147,314 votes in Iowa’s general-election balloting to claim the state’s six presidential electoral votes.

"Four members of the Iowa Executive Council – acting as the state’s Board of Canvass – unanimously certified the Nov. 8 election results on Monday closing the books on a near-record turnout year that drew 1,581,371 absentee and Election-day participants.

"'Iowans take elections seriously,” said Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a council member who also serves as the state’s election commissioner. 'They turned out, they voted and we had a good clean, open and honest election and we saw some real participation.'

"Iowa’s official election outcome saw Trump put Iowa in the Republican column by polling 800,983 votes to Clinton’s 653,669 votes – with 934,219 ballots cast on Election Day and 647,152 absentee, which was down a couple percentage points from absentee votes cast in 2012, Pate said. Overall, more than 72 percent of eligible Iowans cast ballots – a level about 9,000 higher than four years ago but not higher than the 2008 record turnout, he added....

"Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson finished third behind Trump and Clinton in Iowa’s presidential balloting with 59,186 votes, while Evan McMullin drew 12,366 by petition, Green Party candidate Jill Stein garnered 11,479 and 17,746 votes went to write-in candidates.

"Johnson’s total was significant because the 3.8 percent support surpassed the 2 percent threshold needed to qualify the Libertarian Party to be granted the same major-party status as the Republican and Democratic parties – meaning future Libertarian candidates automatically will be on Iowa’s primary-election ballot and have access to checkoff money as one of the eligible parties listed on the state income tax return, Pate said."

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The one House Republican still criticizing Trump

The One House Republican Who Can't Stop Criticizing Donald Trump | The Huffington Post - Matt Fuller:

December 1, 2016 - "Within the Republican rat race to shift core principles and cozy up to the Trump administration, there’s one Republican in the House who seems totally uninterested in running the maze.

"When Donald Trump proposed a year of jail or loss of citizenship for burning the flag, this congressman said no president should be allowed to 'burn the First Amendment.'

"When Trump said only the media thinks his potential conflicts of interest are 'a big deal,' he quote tweeted the president-elect to say that it was indeed a big deal, affixing Trump’s hashtag, #draintheswamp.

"And when Trump indicated he would nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be attorney general, he said he was 'deeply concerned' by the pick....

"'I’m not here to represent a particular political party; I’m here to represent all of my constituents and to follow the Constitution,' [Justin] Amash told The Huffington Post earlier this week.

"Amash, a 36-year-old lawyer entering his fourth term in Congress, has quite a bit of experience in breaking with his party. If there’s a bill that passes on the House floor with one member in opposition, there’s a good chance it’s Amash. He’s perhaps the most hated Republican in some orbits of the GOP conference ― Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) once called Amash 'Al Qaeda’s best friend in Congress' ― just as he’s perhaps the most respected lawmaker in Libertarian circles. He’s partnered with Democrats to lead the charge against detention at Guantanamo Bay and the National Security Agency’s blanket collection of telephone metadata, and he’s been an outspoken critic of Trump from the very beginning to the very end, when he wrote in Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on his ballot....

"'I ran on a set of principles, and it doesn’t really matter which party is in charge or who the president is; I’m going to stick by my principles,' he told HuffPost.

"He seems unworried by a potential backlash from standing up to Trump. In his congressional district, Amash noted, Mitt Romney did better than Trump  ― and Amash did better than [both] of them. "

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Oklahoma Libertarians keep hard-won ballot access

Even in losing, Libertarians see victory on election night | Oklahoma | - Janelle Stecklein, Norman Transcript:

"November 11, 2016 - "Oklahoma Libertarians ... didn’t win a single race on the state’s ballot. But against all odds and expectations, Libertarians managed to bank enough votes that the party’s candidate[s] will automatically be recognized again in Oklahoma for the 2018 gubernatorial election.

"'I think they are probably the biggest winners [Tuesday] night in Oklahoma in many ways,' said John R. Wood, associate professor of political science at the University of Central Oklahoma.

"This state has long been a notoriously difficult and expensive one for third-parties trying to squeeze onto the ballot.... 'Oklahoma’s ballot access requirements are so onerous that we hadn’t attempted this since 2000,' said Nicholas Sarwark, the party’s national committee chairman, in an email....

"Sarwark said Libertarians spent more than $100,000 to get recognized in Oklahoma, which amounted to about 14 percent of the $750,000 the party spent across 17 states for ballot access. Still, he considers the Oklahoma foray a victory.... Johnson’s showing here — he picked up 5.7 percent of the vote — guarantees Libertarians ballot access in 2018....

"Nearly 3,600 Oklahomans identified as Libertarians ahead of this week’s election. Thousands more voted that way....  In what Wood termed 'an incredible outcome,' Johnson had 83,334....

"The amount spent to get Libertarians on the ballot 'left virtually nothing for campaigning,' said Robert T. Murphy, 68, a Norman resident who launched an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate.... Murphy garnered 3 percent of the vote in his race.

"'Two years from now, I’m hoping that we can use that [money] and more to do some real advertising and affect the way people [really] think about politics,' he said.

"The party believes in free economic policies, more tolerant social policies and a non-interventionist foreign policy. Murphy said he’d like to see horse racing allowed in every county and laws that prohibit the seizure of homesteads for failure to pay taxes."

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dunn's Foundation gives libertarians $10M/year

This Foundation Is a Stalwart Backer of Libertarian Policy. Have You Heard of It? — Inside Philanthropy - Philip Rojc:

June 2, 2016 - "Most of the time, it’s hard to pick up on a foundation’s funding philosophy from its name alone. Dunn’s Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking makes it easier than most.... Founded in 1994, Dunn’s Foundation ... isn’t the oldest or most well-known funder around, but its low profile belies grantmaking of about $10 million a year, money that goes a long way in the think tank world.

"Dunn’s Foundation is devotedly libertarian in its outlook. While the foundation maintains no website or social media presence, public tax documents reveal a twofold purpose: to advocate for free enterprise and market capitalism, and to 'reduce the impact of the use or threat of force by coercive organizations (both public and private) against the people of America and the world, principally through education.'

"Since the year 2000, Dunn’s Foundation has provided major and ongoing funding to some of the biggest names in libertarianism like the Cato Institute, the Reason Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Atlas Society. Dunn’s persistent support for the Marijuana Policy Project cements the foundation’s libertarian status....

"Another feature of Dunn’s grantmaking is its direct support for several libertarian public interest law firms. Some highlights: the Institute for Justice ($5,910,000 between 2002 and 2013), the Pacific Legal Foundation ($3,713,000), and the Landmark Legal Foundation ($2,340,000)....

"A theoretical physics Ph.D., Dunn left the sciences for finance in 1974, establishing what is now Dunn Capital Management, LLC. According to the firm’s website, Dunn was an early pioneer of quant trading in commodity futures, applying then-new computer technology to manage financial portfolios.... Dunn ...  is a Reason Foundation trustee and sits on the board of the Cato Institute, both major recipients of his money....

"Dunn is said to maintain strict control over his foundation’s grantmaking. Despite assets of around $130 million, Dunn’s Foundation has a small, tight-knit board of trustees and few apparent staff. In addition to Dunn himself, officers include Dunn’s wife Rebecca Walter Dunn, Dunn Capital general counsel David Dreyer, and Thomas A. Beach, who is also current chairman of the Reason Foundation....

In addition to the grantees mentioned above, others include the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Americans for Limited Government, Chapman University, the Heartland Institute, and the Institute for Humane Studies.... The foundation has also given around $4 million over the past decade to the Property and Environment Research Center, a proponent of free market solutions to environmental problems and a critic of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts."

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Anonymous backs McAfee for cybersecurity czar

Anonymous Backs John McAfee to Help Donald Trump ‘Secure America From Hackers’ - Anthony Cuthbertson, Newsweek: 

November 23, 2016 - "A campaign for cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee to become Donald Trump’s ‘cyber chief’ has been started by the hacking group Anonymous.

"The Anonymous for McAfee campaign has called for McAfee to join the White House in “securing America from hackers,” with the amorphous collective of hackers planning to demonstrate on December 5 in front of Trump Tower in New York City.

"'Our nation is at risk from cyber-warfare,' the campaign’s website states. 'Our corporations are at risk from cyber-espionage and digital crime. Our citizens are at risk for identity theft, and their rights to digital privacy. Our kids are at risk for cyberbullying. Someone needs to raise the noise-level on all of this — and no one is better suited to be the White House Cybersecurity Czar than McAfee.'

"McAfee said that while he appreciated the gesture, he would not take the position if offered. He has since softened his stance, tweeting he would 'consider it if offered. No promises.'

"McAfee tells Newsweek: 'The government is populated with deadwood, out-of-date thinkers, immovable bureaucracies, nepotism and mini-dictators. I believe I can do more by working outside the system developing defensive tools that can at least keep our industries and private infrastructures alive'....

"Despite dismissing the call for him to be Trump’s cybersecurity adviser, McAfee says he is supportive of Anonymous and believes its members could play a role in protecting the U.S. from cyber threats.

"'Trump needs to fire the bottom half of all cybersecurity employees within the government,' McAfee says. 'Then he needs to replace them with the leaders within Defcon, Hack Miami and within every other major hacker organization in America.'"

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Libertarians not ballot qualified in Washington despite Gary Johnson's 5.01%, says SoS

Libertarian Party Becomes Qualified Party in Washington | Ballot Access News - Richard Winger:

November 30, 2016, 11:00 a.m. - "The Washington Secretary of State has completed the official canvass and has determined that Gary Johnson got 5.01% of the total vote. This means the Libertarian Party is ballot-qualified for the next four years....

"The Libertarian Party was also a ballot-qualified party in Washington for the period November 2000 through November 2004. It earned that by polling over 5% for Lieutenant Governor and Auditor in the 2000 election. Because Washington started using a top-two system in 2008, qualified status became much more difficult starting that year. Parties no longer have nominees in Washington for anything except president, so the vote test at that point became much more difficult."

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Washington Secretary of State Won’t Recognize Libertarian Party After All | Ballot Access News - Richard Winger:

November 30, 2016, 12:55 p.m. - "On November 30, the Washington Secretary of State said the Libertarian Party is not a ballot-qualified party, even though 5% for president gains that status and even though her web page says Gary Johnson got 5.01%. Even though the Washington Secretary of State has not reported any presidential write-ins since 1992, or even acknowledged the existence of any presidential write-ins since 1992, now she says the write-ins (the number of which she has not revealed) will pull Johnson’s percentage below 5%.

"It is likely the Libertarian Party will sue, because the presidential write-ins are not valid, because they are not in support of any particular slate of candidates for presidential elector. The party may also ask the legislature to lower the vote test. The median vote test of the 50 states is 2%."
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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Maine cannabis initiative recount begins Monday

Group withdraws request for recount of education surcharge vote - The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram - Gillian Graham:

November 29, 2016 - "The group opposed to a new income-tax surcharge on Tuesday withdrew its request for a recount of the Nov. 8 referendum results.... The recount of the tax referendum – Question 2 on the ballot – was scheduled to begin Thursday and would have been conducted at the same time as a recount of the marijuana legalization referendum, which was Question 1....

"Opponents of [marijuana] legalization in Maine requested the recount after unofficial results showed the question passed by a margin of less than 1 percent – 4,073 votes (381,692 to 377,619), according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s Office.

"The Question 1 recount is scheduled to begin Monday in the Florian Room of the Maine Department of Public Safety in Augusta. It is open to the public.

"Unless the referendum results are overturned by the recount, possession and recreational use of limited amounts of marijuana will become legal for adults 21 and older by Jan. 7.

"Maine was one of four states that voted last week to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. Eight states and Washington, D.C., now have voted to legalize a recreational cannabis market....

"State officials say even one recount could take four to six weeks to complete and, if it goes on that long, could cost up to $500,000 in staff time, overtime and additional costs, such as paying for the Maine State Police to pick up padlocked and sealed ballot boxes from 503 individual towns and deliver them to Augusta. State police estimate it costs about $70,000 to collect ballots from 100 towns. Dunlap said there are additional costs to his office, including overtime for employees who are being pulled away from their regular work.

"Maine has never had a statewide recount that included every ballot, because the requesting group dropped it after a partial review. In 2010, opponents of the Oxford Casino referendum stopped a recount after a review of about 25 percent of ballots showed no significant change in results."

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