Sunday, April 30, 2017

The 'libertarian way to tip'

This Little Trick Is Being Called The ‘Libertarian Way To Tip’- Allison Sanchez, Uproxx:

April 26, 2017 - "Anytime I see something viral about restaurant tipping, I brace myself.... Luckily, this customer in a restaurant in Missouri was able to make their political point while still leaving money for the server....

The picture, which surfaced on Reddit, shows that the customer wrote $0 as the tip, writing in that 'Taxation is theft.'

However, they did leave ... over 20% with a note saying, 'This is not a tip. This is a personal gift and not subject to federal or state income taxes.' Now, the internet is exploding over the message and calling it the 'Libertarian way to tip.'

"Libertarians famously don’t believe in the government taking taxes. On their party’s website they say that in the United States, 'all political parties other than our own grant government the right to regulate the lives of individuals and seize the fruits of their labor without their consent.' They believe strongly that people should be able to give money to whatever or whomever they want saying, 'If Americans want to give money to the government for one reason or another, they should be free to do so. If Americans prefer to spend their money on other things, then they should be free to do that also'....

"Most servers prefer cash specifically so that they don’t have to report it and get taxed. So while I can’t say I agree with the Libertarian way of thinking generally, I’ve been a server. And all of us who have been servers, I guess we have a little Libertarian in us after all."

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why are there no libertarian countries?

Why are there no libertarian countries? - George J. Dance, Nolan Chart:

April 29, 2017 - "'Libertarians and anarchists often get challenged with an annoying question,' Warren Redlich, the CEO of Independent Political Report and a former Libertarian Party candidate, recently wrote:  'If libertarianism is so great, why hasn’t any country tried it?'

"There is no doubt that the question has been asked often, and that it is meant to be annoying. Consider the source: Michael Lind. Lind, for those who have never heard of him, is a writer for the New America Foundation who has achieved some online notoriety as a professional anti-libertarian. (A google search on 'Lind libertarianism' turns up more than 100,000 hits.)

"Lind first came to my attention when he proclaimed 'the collapse of libertarianism as a political force' back in November 2007 – just in time for the birth of the Ron Paul Revolution. In fact, though, he was heralding 'the utter and final defeat of … the libertarian counter-revolution.' before that, and he has continued to do so since: most recently in 2015, when he pontificated that 'the libertarian moment [Rand Paul] symbolized is over.' (To be fair, he also pontificated in his 2015 article that 'There was never a libertarian moment in the United States' – which gets one wondering just what keeps collapsing.)

"But constantly heralding the end of something that never existed in the first place must get boring after a while; so in 2013 Lind came up with a new angle: the above question, smugly packaged as 'The Question Libertarians Just Can’t Answer.' That had such a great reception that he followed it up within days with two more articles, with equally-revealing titles, 'Why Libertarians are Basically Cult Members,' and 'Grow Up, Libertarians!'

Given this genesis, there is no wonder that anti-libertarians ask the question often, and that they do so mainly to annoy libertarians. But there is really nothing annoying about the question itself. The absence of libertarian countries is a phenomenon in need of an explanation, and trying to provide one could shed some light on little-explored areas of political theory. So it is worth attempting an answer."

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Bradshaw wants BC voters to have more options (video)

Kamloops-South Thompson candidate profile: Jessica Bradshaw (Libertarian) - Kamloops This Week - Cam Fortems:

April 24, 2017 -"Jessica Bradshaw was looking for something a little different on the ballot for the May 9 provincial election.... 'I want people to have another option,' said the Libertarian candidate in Kamloops-South Thompson. 'I [was] looking for one and couldn’t find it. So I became one'....

"She is joining a long list of Libertarian candidates across B.C. The party is running a candidate in nearly half of B.C.’s 87 ridings. It pledges to repeal the carbon tax, bring in school vouchers to let parents take children to private or public school and allow private medical care — stripping away many of the rules and regulations of living in B.C. The party would allow private competition to agencies including BC Hydro, ICBC and WorksafeBC.

"''It’s not like I don’t like rules,' she said. 'It’s just regulations and rules government sets out have done more damage than benefit. It’s overregulation that causes issues with people.'

"The party also advocates for decriminalization of drug use. 'I think the illegality of it forces a lot of addicts to the point where they’re getting fentanyl. If it were decriminalized or legalized it would bring up the safety factor. It puts them at less risk'.....

"Bradshaw said she is largely a one-woman campaign at this point.... 'I’m going it alone. Other people have campaign teams and I’m just doing it myself.'"

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

O'Leary drops out of Tory race, endorses Bernier

Kevin O'Leary drops out of Conservative leadership race, endorses Maxime Bernier - Politics - CBC News - John Paul Tasker:

April 26, 2017 - "Kevin O'Leary is dropping out of the Conservative leadership race and endorsing Maxime Bernier.

"The businessman and reality TV star is ending his campaign only hours before the last leadership debate in Toronto, and two days before party members can start casting their votes. O'Leary's name will remain on the ballots as they've already been printed and mailed, the party said.

"O'Leary said Wednesday he was confident he could win the Conservative race, but raised doubts he could defeat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the next election. He cited his failure to gain traction in Quebec and his poor French-language skills as reasons for dropping out of the leadership race.

"''The Liberals politically own Quebec. Without growing the Conservative base in Quebec, beating Trudeau in 2019 would be a huge challenge,' O'Leary said at press conference with reporters in Toronto.

"'It would seem foolish, even selfish, to win the leadership knowing I don't have the path, a high probability [of winning the next federal election]. The likelihood of me gaining a lot of seats in Quebec was low. I was weak in Quebec, it's a fact, people know this.'

"O'Leary said Bernier was best placed to pick up seats for the party in the province. 'Look at how many times Quebec has determined the federal outcomes. It is the Florida of Canada, it often decides for the country.'

"'Trudeau has to go, and this is the man to replace him,' he said of Bernier. 'We need to take back this country from a very weak manager who's destroying the economy.'"

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

NL man arrested for criticizing police shooting
has rights upheld by provincial court

N.L. court defends political dissent in case of man hospitalized involuntarily - Newfoundland & Labrador - CBC News - Canadian Press:

April 18, 2017 - "The Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal has issued a ringing defence of political dissent, in the case of a man held involuntarily at a psychiatric hospital after he sent a series of angry tweets about a police shooting.

"Andrew Abbass was detained and taken to the psychiatric unit at Western Memorial Hospital in Corner Brook, N.L., on April 7, 2015, two days after the fatal shooting of Don Dunphy in Mitchells Brook, N.L.

"Abbass had expressed anger about the death on social media, prompting Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officers to go to his home....

"Abbass, who has since been released, challenged his detention in provincial Supreme Court, claiming he was not suffering from a mental disorder and that the doctors' certificates of involuntary admission did not cite grounds for his detention. But the judge declined jurisdiction, and dismissed his application....

"The appeal court said the lower-court judge should not have declined jurisdiction.... 'The courts must always be there for the vindication of the citizen with what he or she views as the wrongful exercise of authority. Mr. Abbass was denied his day in court. He should have had it.'

"In its ruling, the appeal court said the first psychiatric assessment of Abbass took 19 minutes. before a doctor certified a certificate of involuntary admission.... The second certificate was completed five minutes later, and noted Abbass had expressed anger about the shooting.... The appeal court said both certificates appeared to rely on second-hand facts and made no attempt to identify the mental disorder in question.....

"'If anger about political events and words of defiance to authorities are dealt with as signs of mental illness … warranting involuntary committal, then our society is in a dangerous place,' it said.... 'As the history of authoritarian societies has taught us, confinement in a mental institution is a particularly insidious way of stifling dissent, directly and through intimidation'...

An RNC constable shot Dunphy on Easter Sunday 2015. Const. Joe Smyth, a member of then-premier Paul Davis's security detail, has testified he shot Dunphy, 58, once in the left chest and twice in the head in self defence.... Smyth has said he went to Dunphy's home to check out political comments Dunphy had made on Twitter."

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Second libertarian elected in Frostproof, Florida

Florida town now has two elected Libertarian officials | Libertarian Party:

Apil 21, 2017 - "The town of Frostproof, located in Polk County, Florida, now has two elected Libertarian officials, as Austin Gravley was elected to the city council on April 4.

"Even though the election was non-partisan, Mr. Gravley switched his voter registration to Libertarian the day before the election.

"Mr. Gravley won the one-on-one race with almost 62% of the vote. He ran for the city council back in 2015, losing by only 20 votes. The seat carries a three-year term.

"Martin Sullivan was elected to the Frostproof City Council in 2015, and is in the second year of his term. He was recently chosen by the city council as the Vice-Mayor."
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Monday, April 24, 2017

Innisfil, Ontario, uses Uber to meet transit needs

How a small town is using Uber to fill its public transit void | Toronto Star - Alicja Siekierska:

April 3, 2017 - "While many cities across the country have waged fierce battles against ride-sharing services, the town of Innisfil has found an ally in Uber. Innisfil is partnering with the global company to help bring subsidized, on-demand transit service to its residents, the first partnership of its kind in Canada.

"Innisfil’s council, which serves a community of about 36,000, south of Barrie, approved a partnership with Uber last month in which the ride-sharing service will offer discounted trips to certain destinations in the town.

"Mayor Gord Wauchope hailed the agreement as an innovative way to provide transit to Innisfil, which he noted is spread across an area nearly the size of Mississauga. 'Council was really being pressured to bring transit to the town of Innisfil,' Wauchope said. 'You can’t have taxpayers pay for a transit system which they cannot use. And this was a transit system that people can get from anywhere in the town of Innisfil, and use it for a reasonable price.'

"The town conducted a transit feasibility study in 2015 and found that a fixed-route bus service would cost about $270,000 for one bus per year. Council decided that was too steep a price for the limited service a single bus could provide. The town will instead provide $100,000 this year for the partnership, and a further $125,000 in 2018. The service will officially launch on May 1.

"Residents will pay base fees for trips to key locations in Innisfil, and the town will pay Uber the balance. For example, Innisfil residents will pay $3 per person for any trip to or from the Innisfil Recreational Complex and Town Hall area, and the town will cover the remainder of the fare, from $6 to $9. Trips to and from the Barrie South GO station, Innisfil Heights Employment Area and Hwy. 400 carpool lot will cost $5, and any trip to or from the closest GO bus stop on Yonge St. will be $4.

"Residents will also be able to book a trip from Innisfil to anywhere they wish and receive $5 off their fare....

"Paul Pentikainen, a senior policy planner with Innisfil, said the partnership will also provide data that can help assess ridership patterns and potential locations for fixed routes.

"'The feasibility study was great, but with Uber it’s going to show us exactly where people want to go,' he said.

"The town may also explore partnerships with local businesses, which could chip in to subsidize rides to various areas of town.... For those who don’t have smartphones, Uber will provide iPads in locations across town, including the town hall, recreation centre, library and high school."

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cannabis activists foresee further struggles (video)

Canada’s largest 4/20 rally a ‘protestival’ despite coming legalization | Vancouver Sun - Dan Fumano & Nick England:

April 20, 2017 "Last week, the federal government tabled long-awaited legislation to legalize recreational cannabis ... starting July 2018.  But after decades of protesting to legalize it, B.C. cannabis advocates argue the framework proposed will give rise to yet more dissent.

"Neil Magnuson, a [4/20] rally organizer and longtime cannabis activist, called the legislation a 'false promise' that would see U.S.-funded, federally-authorized licensed producers snuff out small, local cannabis firms.... Magnuson said 4/20 will remain a 'protestival' until cannabis users can grow and share as much of the plant as they want....

"Dana Larsen, director for Sensible B.C. ... believes the 4/20 rally will grow as people become more comfortable with public cannabis use after legalization..... Larsen slammed the federal government for allowing ongoing dispensary raids and possession arrests.... He said when legalization is finally, fully realized — and prohibition is ended — 4/20 might stop being called a protest, at which point he would expect even more public events and perhaps even political support.

"Jodie Emery, one of the most recognized figures at 4/20 celebrations ... said that while she’s glad Canada is moving to be the first G20 country to federally legalize cannabis, she believes what the government plans isn’t 'real' legalization.... '[T]his legislation is going to keep us criminalized and marginalized,' she said. 'We still have a lot to protest against as long as people are arrested.'"

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

NORML director: Canada 'addicted to prohibition'

Canada will legalize pot, after arresting a bunch of people for pot offences first: Neil Macdonald - CBC News | Opinion - Neil Macdonald:

April 19, 2017 - "'Too many Canadians,' declares the Liberal Party of Canada on its website, 'end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts' of marijuana.... Enforcement of cannabis law ... 'traps too many Canadians in the criminal justice system for minor, non-violent offenses'....

"Well said.... So. What's the government's solution?

"Well, it intends to continue arresting, prosecuting and criminalizing Canadians who commit this minor and non-violent offence, at least for another year or so. Young Canadians are particularly vulnerable to arrest.

"Why keep criminalizing? Good question, and the CBC's Carol Off asked it during an interview with Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.... In response, the minister delivered this clanging non-sequitur:

"'Well, we're working on delivering our campaign promise to legalize cannabis, strictly regulate and restrict access to it with the ultimate objective to keep it out of the hands of children and the proceeds out of the hands of criminals. . . "

"So Off asked again.... Not once in that As It Happens interview did Wilson-Raybould explain why the government intends to keep on criminalizing Canadians so unfairly.... Instead, literally every second time she opened her mouth, she re-spouted the line about 'strictly regulating and restricting access'....

"Meanwhile, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, a parliamentary lifer who mastered the art of repetitive dronetalk sometime back in the last millennium, was out peddling more or less the same line, but with an added warning: Not only will the government continue to criminalize Canadians for what it considers a trifling offence, enforcement will be vigorous.

"'Existing laws prohibiting possession and use of cannabis remain in place, and they need to be respected,' Goodale declared. 'This must be an orderly transition. It is not a free-for-all.'

"Why the government cannot simply decide to invoke prosecutorial and police discretion, and cease enforcing the cannabis laws it considers unjust, was not explained. Why that would necessarily be a 'free for all' also went unexplained.

"And Goodale went even further. All those Canadians who were prosecuted successfully in the past for this trifling, minor, non-violent offence will continue to bear the burden of a criminal record, even though this government says such prosecutions were wrong.... Goodale was explicit: there will be no blanket pardon. Again, no explanation. He was too busy administering stern warnings about continued enforcement, and, of course, 'strictly regulating and restricting access' once the law is finally changed.

"All of this is to satisfy conservative Canadians who, even though they probably can't explain it, continue to believe smoking pot should be a crime.

"Craig Jones, director of the Canadian chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, says that 'after 50 years of intense propaganda, we are essentially addicted to prohibition. It's the only way we know'....

"As for the government's strange desire to keep arresting and prosecuting Canadians for possession, Jones says: 'It's hard to extricate yourself from a policy error.'"

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Friday, April 21, 2017

State must reimburse wrongfully convicted, SCOTUS rules

Wrongfully Convicted Entitled to Refunds, Rules Supreme Court - David G. Savage,

April 20, 2017 - "People who are freed from prison when their convictions are reversed deserve a refund of what they paid in fees, court costs and restitution, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday....

"The 7-1 decision orders the state of Colorado to refund several thousand dollars to two defendants, a woman and a man, who were convicted of sex crimes but had their convictions reversed. Shannon Nelson, who was charged with abusing her children, was acquitted in a retrial, and the prostitution-related charges against Louis Madden were dropped.

"In both instances, the state insisted on keeping the restitution they had paid.

"UCLA law professor Stuart Banner and the UCLA Supreme Court Clinic appealed the case of Nelson v. Colorado to the high court last year, noting that Colorado was the only state that regularly refused to refund money taken from criminal defendants who were later exonerated.

"Arguing the case in January, Banner said that as a matter of common sense and long legal tradition, people who were exonerated had a right to get back the money that was taken from them.

"The state's lawyer had raised eyebrows among the justices by arguing that the money in question was 'the state's money' because it was 'obtained pursuant to a conviction.'

"Colorado had adopted an Exoneration Act that allowed 'an innocent person who was wrongly convicted' to file a civil suit to seek refunds, but only if they could prove they were innocent of the crime. Most states allowed exonerated people to file a motion with a trial judge seeking a refund.

"Ginsburg said Colorado's scheme violates the 14th Amendment's protection for due process of law because it presumes the exonerated defendants are still guilty.

"'After a conviction has been reversed, unless and until the defendant should be retried, he must be presumed innocent of that charge,' she said, quoting earlier rulings. 'Colorado may not presume a person, adjudged guilty of no crime, nonetheless guilty enough for monetary extractions.'"
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Trump targets Canadian supply management

Trump attacks Canada’s supply management for dairy as unfair to U.S. | Calgary Herald:

April 18, 2017 — "Donald Trump has put Canada on notice that he is taking aim at its much-coveted supply management system that protects the dairy industry.

"Trump levelled the threat during an event at a Wisconsin factory where he unveiled his 'Buy American-Hire American executive order.

"He says he will seek 'fair trade' with all of America’s trading partners 'and that includes Canada.'

"Trump says 'unfair things' have happened in Canada to U.S. dairy farmers.

"Last month, a free-market think tank suggested using more open trade in the dairy sector as a bargaining chip in upcoming trade negotiations with the U.S. in exchange for more stable trade in softwood lumber.

"The Montreal Economic Institute recommends limiting protectionism in both industries to help consumers, spur economic productivity, and ultimately create more successful businesses in both countries.....

"The current system limits the amount of dairy and poultry Canada can import before a tariff kicks in. Dismantling it would mean lower prices at the supermarket, and a more internationally competitive industry, says the paper.

"For his part, Finance Minister Bill Morneau will tell this week’s meeting of G20 finance ministers in Washington that Trump’s executive order runs contrary to Canada’s trading interests.

"Senior finance officials who briefed reporters on the meetings suggest the order would run counter to protections Canada has secured through NAFTA."

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

DeVos picks libertarian for Civil Rights position

DeVos pick for Office of Civil Rights opposes racial preferences, feminism – TheBlaze - Brandon Morse:

April 17, 2016 - "Candice Jackson, 39, is an attorney who graduated with honors from Stanford University. She got her law degree after graduating — with honors again — from the Pepperdine University School of Law. Since 2002, Jackson has been practicing law, specializing in entertainment and politics.

"She’s now been hired as the deputy assistant secretary in the Office for Civil Rights. Since this position requires no senatorial approval, Jackson will act as head of the office until the position can be filled by an approved nominee.

"But ... Jackson once wrote that she once suffered discrimination on campus because she was white. This discrimination occurred when she attempted to seek help with her advanced calculus class ...  but she was rejected because [the program] would only allow in minority students.

"'I am especially disappointed that the University encourages these and other discriminatory programs,' she wrote in the Stanford Review.... 'As with most liberal solutions to a problem, giving special assistance to minority students is a band-aid solution to a deep problem,' she would later write. 'No one, least of all the minority student, is well served by receiving special treatment based on race or ethnicity.'

"Jackson stands opposed to race-based programs, and focuses more on individual liberty. She did a summer fellowship at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a think tank of free market Libertarian scholars. While at the Mises Institute, she gave some editorial assistance to a book consisting of a collection of essays put together by Murray N. Rothbard, the institute’s co-founder.

"Rothbard opposed mandated schooling, as he wrote in his 1999 book, Education: Free and Compulsory.... Rothbard also opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, calling it 'monstrous,' though not for racially prejudiced reasons.... Jackson, a fan of Rothbard’s work ... wrote of his 1982 book, The Ethics of Liberty, that it 'shines as a monumental achievement, meeting Rothbard’s goal of setting forth ‘a positive ethical system … to establish the case for individual liberty’....

"In ... another article penned for the Review during her senior year, entitled, 'How I Survived Stanford Without Entering the Women’s Center,' she condemned feminism on campus....

"'In today’s society, women have the same opportunities as men to advance their careers, raise families, and pursue their personal goals,' she wrote. 'College women who insist on banding together by gender to fight for their rights are moving backwards, not forwards.'"

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Axe the carbon tax, says BC Libertarian Rempel

250 News | BC Libertarian Candidate Takes Aim at Carbon Tax - Greg Fry:

April 15, 2015- "Fort Fraser, B.C. – 'B.C. may be leading the country in job growth, but we’re sure not benefitting from it in the Interior.'

"That from Jon Rempel, BC Libertarian candidate in Nechako Lakes.

"'They (BC Liberals) talk about how great the economy is in B.C. – well the only places the economy is doing good is the Okanagan, the Lower Mainland and Victoria.'

"The Fort Fraser resident says he’d also like to 'axe the tax' – the carbon tax that is.

"'The single biggest damaging thing for the economy in the Central Interior has been the carbon tax. We think we should axe it,' says Remple.

"'There’s been no proof that it’s done anything to improve the climate and it’s a poor tax. It costs a lot to administer and it’s not truly revenue neutral. It also affects poor people disproportionately.'

"The businessman, heavy equipment operator, prospector and political hopeful says he likes his chances come election day May 9.

"'Yeah I do. I think I’ve got a real good chance actually. I’m finding people support the ideas of more freedom, lower taxes and more consumer choice when it comes to things like ICBC.'"

"Rempel is one of three declared candidates in the riding."

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Globe: Please, please think of the treaties!

The collateral damage of legalizing marijuana - The Globe and Mail - Steven Hoffman:

April 17, 2017 - "For decades, the world has collectively criminalized and controlled access to [cannabis] through three international treaties.... Article 4(c) of the Single Convention limits drugs’ use 'exclusively to medical and scientific purposes,' and Article 36(1)(a) requires state punishment for their possession, production, sale and delivery. Article 3(2) of the Trafficking Convention specifically criminalizes drugs’ possession, even if just for personal consumption.

Of course, countries do have some flexibility in implementing these treaties.... Yet the treaties’ flexibilities are rather limited. Unless we change our constitution, Canada cannot legally legalize cannabis without either renegotiating the UN treaties, obtaining special exceptions, finding creative workarounds, or withdrawing from them.

"Negotiations, exceptions and creative lawyering will only get Canada so far. In a report published last week, my University of Ottawa law students explained ... there is only one promising legal workaround – one that utilizes the treaties’ 'scientific purposes' exemption. This would involve claiming that cannabis legalization was necessary to conduct a big natural experiment on the inter-generational effects of legal cannabis and likely require enrolling every cannabis purchaser into a long-term cohort study....

"But if the government deems this workaround infeasible, then withdrawing from the treaties is the only other option. Yet this requires giving at least one year’s notice. If Canada wants to legalize cannabis on July 1, 2018, it needs to trigger its withdrawal by this July 1. That leaves only a couple of months for diplomats to try negotiating changes or special exceptions before just unilaterally withdrawing from the treaties....

"The consequences of undermining international law are severe.... This week, we saw Syria again use chemical weapons and there are rumours of a forthcoming North Korean nuclear test.... Canadians may not care about international law when it’s just about [cannabis], but they probably do care when these laws help fight chemical weapons, nuclear proliferation, and human rights abuses....

"While there may be significant health and social benefits from legalizing cannabis, we must not allow international law to become collateral damage in the pursuit of other objectives.... The alternative – undermining international law – is unacceptable, unfair and unjust to all."

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Republican libertarians' newly-won political clout

Jack Hunter: Libertarians are flexing their political muscle - My Statesman:

March 27, 2017 - "Before Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns spawned a 'liberty movement' of activists and political leaders, the influence of which is still being felt to this day (just ask Barack Obama or Donald Trump), you would have had a hard time finding libertarians in Congress period, with the exception of Ron Paul.

"But today, and for some time, libertarian Republicans have actually had measurable political clout. This has certainly been true on the foreign policy and civil liberties fronts, where, in 2013, it was Rep. [Justin] Amash who spearheaded the effort to reign in the NSA’s controversial mass surveillance practices with a bill that was unsuccessful by only 12 votes. Some could argue that Sen. [Rand] Paul has been instrumental in shaping President Trump’s state and defense cabinet with his denunciations of prominent neoconservatives whose names were floated.

"In the House, Rand Paul’s father Ron Paul would often be the sole 'no' vote based on his strict constitutionalist principles. Sen. Paul has been known to be the sole 'no' vote in the senate — among Republicans or among everyone — where his single vote can sometimes be more effective than a representative’s would be.... Paul held up the Balkan nation of Montenegro’s entrance into NATO all by his lonesome, causing the hawkish John McCain to accuse Paul of working for Vladimir Putin.

"In 2008, McCain dismissed Ron Paul during presidential debates as an 'isolationist,' and most Republicans probably agreed with McCain in that still very hawkish post-George W. Bush GOP environment. In 2017, the son of Ron Paul is mucking up McCain’s ability to put America on the hook militarily for yet another foreign country, and while Paul doesn’t have much Senate support, he does have it elsewhere in conservative and libertarian circles.

"Things have changed, and libertarians have benefitted....

“'This time, instead of merely standing against something, the Freedom Caucus is standing for what the Republican Party repeatedly promised constituents: a full repeal of Obamacare,' Boland notes. 'It also helps that Paul, a physician from Kentucky, has another replacement bill in the Senate that could actually lower the cost of insurance by eliminating government mandates, giving people the freedom to purchase insurance across state lines, allowing customers to join voluntary larger insurance pools and a host of other free-market reforms.'

"Libertarians favor less government, individual choice and free markets in most things, including healthcare. Most conservative Republicans pretend to favor these things too, or at least when Democrats are in control....

"But when Republicans are in control, these one-time small government advocates behave little differently than Democrats in their zeal to 'do something.' That’s precisely what Paul Ryan and others have been doing, in their rush to jam through a health care bill that retains the individual mandate Republicans used to say was the worst part of Obamacare.

"If not for libertarian Republicans, I wouldn’t want much to do with the GOP." They are the best Republicans precisely because they are the most principled. Thankfully, they also have political muscle now too, as this week reminds us."

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

BC Libertarians critique Trudeau's cannabis bill

BC Libertarian Party Response to Cannabis Legalization 2018 | BC Libertarian Party - Keith Komar:

April 3, 2017 - "Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada 'leaked' some information on their pending roll out of legalization in July 2018. Here are the main points that were addressed:
  • The Federal Government will be in charge of making sure Cannabis is 'safe and secure'
  • 4 Plants per household
  • Provinces ... to decide how to distribute & sell Cannabis and set prices
  • Ottawa will set minimum age of 18 but provinces may opt for a higher age limit
"[T]he BC Libertarian Party would like to discuss its plan for legalization under these regulations....

"As a place to start in BC, we would promote the dispensary option as the way forward with general retail sales, but we would also like to include, bars, cafes, nightclubs, vapour lounges etc. in this model, as they would be high income generating business ventures, helping our tourism industry greatly.... [T]he Licensed Producer / mail order model does not provide sufficient access to people who require Cannabis as a medicine. People deserve access to safe, quality medicine and the dispensary model has worked the best so far to provide that.

"We would also ensure that Craft Cannabis was included in our 'rights' as a province to regulate. BC Cannabis is world renowned and we will not allow Ottawa to squeeze us out of the economic equation. This is, and always will be, OUR industry and the BC Libertarian Party will not stand aside and watch the economic benefits be taken away from us.

"We would accept 18 years old as 'legal age' for recreational Cannabis use.

The ... rule that says we will only be allowed to grow 4 plants .. is a completely absurd, authoritarian rule that serves only one purpose: to ensure that people will continue to be consumers in this market. It is not acceptable and we would challenge it in court.... How do you enforce this?” What does the 4 plant per house street patrol cost? And how much authority will they have to make sure that people aren't growing 6 plants in their garden?....

"There is still another issue left untouched.... The federal government has refused to put a halt to the arrests of Canadians who are guilty of nothing more than possession of a plant. We cannot allow this to continue. One of the first orders of business for the Libertarians in Victoria would be to stop police from arresting people for Cannabis distribution, possession and consumption. We would then work with municipalities to set up legal framework to allow the Craft industry to 'come out of the closet' and flourish in a free market. This would be a huge economic boost to this province and [it] would be a travesty if we let the federal government push us out of the production of this plant.

"This election has become the most important election ever to the Cannabis community in B.C. Whoever we elect to Victoria this cycle will be in charge of rolling out legalization. Not one major party has been willing to go on the public record for whatever reason, but the B.C. Libertarian Party believes that the people of this province have spoken on this issue, the experts have given us their best advice and now it is time to end prohibition on this plant and allow the citizens of BC to enjoy its many uses."

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Idaho governor vetoes civil forfeiture reform bill

Idaho libertarian conservatives furious about Otter's vetoes of licensing, civil forfeiture | Bloglander Daniel Walter, Pacific Northwest Inlander:

April 10, 2017 - "A very long time ago, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter ran as a libertarian conservative. But these days, a lot of libertarian-leaning conservatives view him with something closer to contempt....

"The most recent outrage: Otter's vetoes of a cosmetology licensure bill and a civil forfeiture bill. Both are key issues for libertarians, who argue that requiring licenses for jobs like 'barber' or 'makeup artist' end up punishing entrepreneurs and newcomers, in order to artificially shield established businesses from would-be competition.

"Meanwhile, when they look at civil forfeiture — where police can seize cash and other personal property without a conviction if they suspect it may be connected to certain crimes — they see serious due-process violations....

"Compared to some attempted civil forfeiture reforms, like those that require a guilty verdict before any property is taken, the Idaho bill was modest. It would require more evidence that property had been associated with a crime than simply proximity. And it would require law enforcement agencies to start tracking how much civil forfeiture money is being collected, and what it's being spent on....

"The bill was popular in the legislature. Nobody in the Idaho Senate voted against it, and only a handful of state representatives, including Coeur d'Alene Reps. Luke Malek and Paul Amador, voted against it in the House....

"'There have been no allegations that Idaho law enforcement officers are illegally or inappropriately seizing property from alleged drug traffickers,' [Otter] says.... The accuracy of that statement depends on the definition of 'inappropriate.'

"An investigation in the Twin Falls Times-News  revealed a case in 2010, when Twin Falls County Sheriff’s deputies raided the home of a couple they suspected were selling drugs. They netted a small baggie of marijuana and $12,010 in cash. The couple was never charged with anything, but the sheriff returned only $3,000.

"Then there's an anecdote shared by the DKT Liberty Project, which alleges that Idaho State Police pulled over a 35-year-old driver and searched his car when they were alerted by drug-sniffing dogs.

"'Although they didn’t find any drugs, they did find $4,200 in cash, which the man had set aside to pay for his divorce lawyer,' writes AC Bushnell, program director for the Liberty Project. The state patrol refused to repay the money."

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Anti-fascist group wants to shut down Libertarian Party of Florida convention

Libertarians United Against Fascism: ‘To the Cowardly Collaborators of the Libertarian Party of Florida, and a Call to Action Against Them’ | Independent Political Report:

April 11, 2017 - "Found by way of pingback on a previous IPR article. Posted at Libertarians United Against Fascism: [This post is saved on and]

"On Friday April 7th, the Libertarian Party of Florida issued a press release retracting a statement made by the Executive Committee (EC) in Oct. 2015. This statement denounced the fascist lawyer and former Libertarian Party of Florida Senate candidate [sic - GD] Augustus Invictus for his advocacy of eugenics and state-sponsored murder. Invictus had recently threatened to sue the party for defamation if it would not issue a retraction. Faced with potential legal costs exceeding the party’s budget, the EC voted to accept mediation by their party gubernatorial candidate, Randy Wiseman, who decided in favor of Invictus. Char-Lez Braden, the LPF Chair, issued the retraction.

"Every single Committee member but one voted in favor in favor of mediation. Paul Stanton, the Region 7 Representative, was the only dissenting voice.

"On May 5th-7th, the Libertarian Party of Florida will be holding it’s state convention at the International Palms Resort & Conference Center in Cocoa Beach. They hope to sweep this matter under the rug and move along with business as usual. This includes reelecting Invictus’ allies on the EC.

"There will be no business as usual. Because unless the LPF bars all the named individuals from their organization, there will be no convention. We’re going to shut it down....

"Libertarian Party of Florida, ... You let this get out of hand by allowing this creep and others like him to infiltrate your organization and use it to their own ends. All of this could have been avoided, if only you had taken a stand against their inclusion. You either allowed it, or were powerless to prevent it. Either way, you are unfit to exist.

"Records of your internal communications indicate that you saw no way to afford the estimated $10,000-30,000 it would take to settle this case. The LPF would collapse and have to be dissolved. Well guess what? Destruction is preferable to becoming a de facto fascist front group. If that is the only option available to you, then there is no question what you need to do....  If you have to bankrupt and ultimately dissolve the party fighting to kick the fascists out, do it. No concessions, no collaboration. Burn everything to the ground....

"As for the rest of us, we’re not going to wait. We’re individualist anarchists who believe in direct action and consumer pressure. We’re going to expose Invictus and his collaborators and circulate this as widely as possible. Then we’re going to shut down your state convention. Perhaps if Florida libertarians are not ashamed of being used by fascists, then the rest of the world can help them discover that feeling. We’re going to peacefully burn your house to the ground with all the fascists inside....

"[W]e especially recommend contacting the venue, to inform them that the LPF is hosting known fascists on their property. These individuals are: Augustus Invictus, Raquel Okyay, Ryan Ramsey and Brandi Hicks. Let them know that Invictus and Okyay were responsible for similar outrage and cancellation of the Mid Atlantic Liberty Festival in Harrisburg Pennsylvania on April 1st. "

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

BackWordz #2 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart (video)

BackWordz Makes Billboard Charts: #2 New Artist (Heatseekers) and #5 Hard Rock - Being Libertarian - Nicholas Amato:

April 10, 2017 - "With ... Tuesday’s release of the new Billboard charts, BackWordz ... hit the Billboard charts with its album Veracity, racking up impressive numbers in their first week.

"The band, led by Being Libertarian’s own Eric July hit #2 on the Heatseakers Album chart, a chart dedicated to new and upcoming bands. They also snagged the #1 spot for Alternative New Artist, the #5 spot on the Hard Rock chart, the #11 spot on Rock chart, and the #14 spot for a band on an Independent label.

"In the Top 200 chart – the main current chart that ranks the top 200 albums in the US – BackWordz hit #68, an impressive feat for a band with a libertarian and anarcho-capitalist message....

"The album has a clear libertarian message and doesn’t back down; with track titles like 'Praxeology,' 'Statism,' 'Self-Ownership,' and 'Democracy Sucks,' as well as lyrics that discuss all facets of libertarianism and constantly critiques a society based on statism, Veracity doesn’t shy away from trying to convey libertarian and anarcho-capitalist themes."

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

BC election called; Komar running in Kootenay

Third candidate enters Kootenay East election race - Cranbrook News - Barry Coulter:

April 11, 2017 - "The 29-day provincial election campaign is underway, with the dropping of the writ today, Tuesday, April 11.

"And there is a third candidate in the riding of East Kootenay. Keith Komar of Cranbrook has entered the campaign, carrying the flag for the Liberatarian Party, which advocates for individual liberty, free markets, civil rights, low taxes, and limited government.

"'We believe in economic and social freedom,” Komar told the Townsman. “The freedom from taxation is the same as the freedom of same sex marriages'....

"Kumar, a bricklayer by trade and a single father of two, was motivated to throw his hat into the ring through great dissatisfaction with the two main B.C. parties (and the only two up to now in Kootenay East)....

"The BC Libertarian Party first ran candidates in the 1986 provincial election. This time, the Libertarians are fielding their biggest ever slate, with 30 candidates across the province, according to

"'We have several strong local candidates like myself who are well spoken and pragmatic in approach,' Komar said. 'We hope that people will see the effort we are making to balance freedoms with the State.'

"The main plank of Komar’s campaign is Cannabis legalization.

"'Whoever wins this election will be in charge on rolling out how the province handles the retail end of things and I would hate to see a huge economic opportunity lost in the Craft Cannabis industry,' he said.

"'Ultimately, our whole platform is about choice. Choice in Education, choice in Healthcare, choice in your insurance providers. People are smart enough to make their own choices and the cost of administrating the nanny state is stifling us.'"

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Monday, April 10, 2017

YAL labelled 'hate speech' group at Wichita U.

Wichita State Student Government Refuses to Recognize Libertarian Group -Mary Lou Lang:

April 7, 2016 - "The Wichita State University student government has refused to recognize a libertarian group on campus because of its First Amendment principles, and a nonprofit group that defends freedom of speech and academic freedom on campuses is asking the university president to reverse their decision.

"The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in a letter on Friday to Wichita State President John Bardo demanded he immediately reverse the student government's decision. The letter also asked Bardo to instruct the student government that it cannot discriminate against prospective student groups based on their own viewpoints.

"'The Wichita State student government is engaged in a full-frontal assault on the First Amendment: It unconstitutionally denied a student group official recognition because, ironically, the student group supports the right of freedom of speech,' said Ari Cohn, director of FIRE's Individual Rights Defense Program, in a prepared statement.

"'The Wichita State administration cannot give its student government authority to grant or deny recognition to student groups and then stand idly by when that authority is exercised in a viewpoint discriminatory manner,' said Cohn, adding that the university must reverse the student government's 'unconstitutional actions.'

"The student government questioned student Maria Church about her application to form a campus chapter of the Young Americans for Liberty on April 5. They also asked her about the group's political positions, the issues it will address, and even the group's views on the First Amendment....

"Several senators were against officially recognizing YAL because other chapters of the group have invited speakers such as former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulous to speak on campus.

"'We've seen very dangerous statements being said in the name of free speech,' said one senator. Another said, 'if you want to talk about having free speech, [YAL's] definition of free speech is highly skewed'....

"According to FIRE, their decision is directly in conflict with longstanding First Amendment jurisprudence. In Healy v. James (1972), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a public college may not deny recognition of a student group "simply because it finds the views expressed by any group to be abhorrent."

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Asking the wrong questions about Syria

We’re Asking the Wrong Questions About Syria -- - Thomas Knapp:

April 7,  2017 - "As I write this, two key questions remain unanswered, and a third mostly unasked, about a deadly daybreak attack on Khan Sheikhoun, a northwest Syrian city of (pre-war) 50,000. Hundreds were wounded and as many as 100 killed, apparently chemical weaponry (Turkey’s health ministry believes the agent in question was the nerve gas sarin), on the morning of April 4.

"The two most obvious questions are who did this, and why?

"The US government (and unfortunately most American media, acting as stenographers rather than journalists as is too often the case in matters of war and foreign policy) have settled on the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad as the culprit. That claim seems very questionable, if for no other reason than that there’s no plausible 'why' attached to it.

"After more than six years of civil war, the Syrian government has (with Russian assistance) turned the tide. Assad is well on his way to defeating both the Islamic State and the 'moderate rebels' (read: al Qaeda) backed by the US, restoring his control over the country.

"A chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun doesn’t seem to fit into that scenario. Not only does it serve no obvious military objective, but it’s precisely the kind of atrocity that American hawks will latch onto and use as an excuse to continue and escalate the US military intervention in Syria at Assad’s expense....

"But who and why are the wrong questions. The third question – the right question – is: Why is the US involved in this war?

"The Assad regime has not attacked the US, nor has Congress declared war on Syria. There’s simply no defensive – or for that matter even legal – rationale for a US military presence in Syria. Whatever horrors the civil war there may entail, American military adventurism makes them worse, not better. It perpetuates instability rather than bringing peace.

"Donald Trump ran for president on a platform of reducing US military meddling in other countries’ affairs. It’s time for him to follow through and order a US withdrawal from Syria."

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

GOP libertarians stand against Syria bombing

GOP’s war skeptics, once hopeful about Trump, wonder whether he’s changed - The Washington Post - David Weigel:

April 7, 2017 - "After the final confirmation vote on Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) walked into a crowd of reporters to inveigh against the airstrikes in Syria. He’d been doing so nonstop since Thursday night — first in a statement, then on TV, then in a column decrying the 'unconstitutional rush to war'....

"Until this week, and despite Trump’s early personnel moves, libertarian skeptics of foreign intervention thought they had an ally in the White House. But in the space of 24 hours, Paul — who came off a golf trip with Trump with praise for the president — found the anti-interventionist Republican posse shrunken back to pre-Obama levels....

"With President Barack Obama in the White House, Republicans and their voters were growing more skeptical of foreign intervention. The autumn of 2013 seemed to present a pivot point, when most Republicans rejected Obama’s call for airstrikes in Syria. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a rival for the libertarian vote, said that attacking Syrian airfields could turn the United States into 'al-Qaeda’s air force' and wondered whether Obama was asking Congress to approve military action because “his bluff was called.

"The vast majority of Republicans who opposed Obama’s 2013 strike plan have come out in favor of Trump’s — which, analysts acknowledge, was more limited in scope. An analysis by the Denver7 news channel found that every Republican member of the congressional delegation who had been critical of the Obama attack, some even calling it 'unconstitutional' without congressional approval, had backed Trump....

"To Congress’s libertarians, Trump’s decision to act without consulting Congress was an obvious contradiction of how he had campaigned. On a Friday episode of former congressman Ron Paul’s online show, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) hammered home the increasingly fringe — but once Republican mainstream — position that striking Syria without congressional authorization risked blowback.

"'ISIS is better off today than it was yesterday,' Massie said, using another name for the Islamic State....

"Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who joined Friday’s briefing for senators, said that Trump had been clear up until he became president. He had repeatedly spoken, tweeted and recorded short videos against the idea of bombing Syria.

"'Back in 2013, the situation was fairly similar,' Amash said. 'President Obama suggested that he might attack, and [Trump] opposed it.'"

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Friday, April 7, 2017

2 more Republican officeholders join Libertarians Two more Republican officeholders join the LP | Independent Political Report:

April 5, 2017 - "Kankakee County Board Representative Jim Byrne of Illinois, and Ed Zielinski, an elected councilman of Elsmere, Delaware, have joined the Libertarian Party.

"Byrne announced in December that he has officially joined the Illinois LP, and now serves as vice chairman of the new Kankakee County Libertarian Party central committee that was formed last fall.... He won re-election in November and will serve a four-year term. He will remain as an elected Republican official.

"'I have joined the Libertarian Party of Illinois, not because POTUS-Elect Trump was just elected or what Gov. Rauner is doing in Springfield,' said Byrne. 'I joined the Libertarian Party because, as I said ... on my first day on the board back in 2011, I am a Ron Paul Republican, a Libertarian who believes in small government that is accountable and transparent to the people.'

"Byrne’s future plans on the board include consolidating and eliminating redundant taxing bodies, and downsizing the county board. He also wants to work toward offering Kankakee County citizens greater government transparency by video-streaming meetings online and putting the meetings on public-access television.

"Zielinksi ... switched his party registration to the Libertarian Party in September. His seat will be up for election in April 2017.

"'I had received no support for liberty legislation,' said Zielinski about switching parties. 'The council has continually pushed for spending and tax increases.'

"'We’re proud to have Ed join the Libertarian Party of Delaware,' said Scott Gesty, chair of LP Delaware. “Ed has always been a strong advocate of liberty and we’re honored to have him representing the people of Elsmere as a Libertarian.'"

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

CA A-G's 'abusive' prosecution of Backpage

First Amendment Lawyers Ask New Calif. Attorney General to Drop 'Abusive' Crusade Against Backpage and User-Info Dragnet - Hit & Run : - Elizabeth Nolan Brown:

March 16, 2017. - "The First Amendment Lawyers Association (FALA) is asking new Attorney General of California Xavier Becerra to end the 'abuse of governmental power' perpetuated by predecessor Kamala Harris against current and former executives of the classified-ad site Backpage.

"On March 14, FALA — a nonprofit membership association launched in the late '60s that has boasted some of the country's top constitutional lawyers — sent a letter to Becerra condemning 'the abusive prosecution of individuals associated with the online classified advertising website, and also the use of expansive search warrants seeking vast amounts of constitutionally-protected material, including personally identifiable information about all of the website's users'....

"Harris' crusade against Backpage began last fall, when she had current chief executive Carl Ferrer and former owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larson arrested for pimping and conspiracy. The premise of the charges was that Backpage — a user-generated advertising site much like Craigslist — received payment for 'escort' ads that eventually resulted in prostitution, thereby making Ferrer, Lacey, and Larkin the 'pimps." But it's an argument that California Judge Michael Bowman rejected, on the grounds that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) prohibits the criminal prosecution of web publishers for content posted by users....

"As the FALA letter points out, 'at least seven other courts have expressly rejected the assumption underlying the California indictment that ads for escorts or those posted in an adult services section involve illegal speech, and none have concluded otherwise'....

"But it didn't stop there: after Bowman's ruling, Harris' office filed another criminal complaint against Backpage.... Note that the normal process would have been for the state to appeal Bowman's final ruling, but instead, Harris ... tried to simply bring the same failed criminal case in another court. This sort of 'forum shopping' is 'a gross abuse of prosecutorial discretion and a serious violation fo the First Amendment,' FALA alleges.' And that's still not all:
a subpoena was served on that calls for the production of massive amounts of information for a several-year period, including copies of all advertisements posted (in all content categories), all billing records, the identities of all of the website's users and their account histories, all internal communications, and even the source code for the operation of the website. This goes beyond the despised 'General Warrants" that prompted the Constitution's Framer's to adopt the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches, and violates numerous Supreme Court decisions limiting such demands for materials protected by the First Amendment."
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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cannabis industry can make political donations, Illinois court rules

Illinois Libertarian Candidates Win Federal Lawsuit Against Law Making it Illegal for Medical Marijuana Groups to Contribute to Candidates | Ballot Access News:

March 24, 2017 - "On March 24, U.S. District Court Judge John Z. Lee, an Obama appointee, struck down a 2013 Illinois campaign finance law that makes it illegal for any medical cannibis cultivation center or dispensary organization to make a campaign contribution to a candidate for state or local office. Ball v Madigan, n.d., 1:15cv-10441. The decision is 22 pages.

"The only two plaintiffs are Claire Ball, the Libertarian nominee for state Comptroller in 2016, and Scott Schluter, the Libertarian nominee for State House, 117th district, in 2016. Schluter was not on the ballot because of Illinois severe ballot access requirements for candidates for the legislature."
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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Support for legal cannabis hits new high in U.S.

More Americans Want Marijuana: Voters Across All Party Lines Support Legalizing Weed - Janice Williams, Newsweek:

April 3, 2017 - "Support for legalizing marijuana is at its highest with U.S. voters across the political spectrum — whether Democrats, Republicans or independents, according to a new poll by the General Social Survey. Although a higher percentage of Democratic voters agreed marijuana should be legal in the U.S. compared to Republican voters, overall, nearly 60 percent of Americans thought 'the use of marijuana should be legal' in 2017.

"The nationwide survey, which is conducted every two years, found 57 percent of Americans supported legalizing marijuana in 2016 compared to just 52 percent of the country in 2014. Support for legal cannabis has been steadily increasing among Americans since 2006 when it reached 35 percent.

"Although support for legalizing medical and adult use of pot has differed over the years among political affiliations, in 2016, 63 percent of Democratic voters and 63 percent of independent voters said they “think marijuana should be legal.” Although just 40 percent of Republicans backed legalizing marijuana—up just one percent from 2014’s 39 percent—support for the plant has continued to increase among the party since its lowest number, 12 percent, in 1990.

"Support was also up among all age groups. Just 42 percent of seniors thought weed should be legalized in 2016 and more than half of voters ages 18 to 34 — 66 percent — supported legal marijuana. Fifty-nine percent of people 35 to 49 and 56 percent of those 50 to 64 thought cannabis should be legal in the U.S."

"The survey comes as lawmakers from Colorado introduced legislation that would not only remove cannabis’ Schedule I classification under the Controlled Substances Act but would also allow the federal government to regulate the plant in a manner similar to the alcohol industry."

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Bernier raises another $1M in 1st quarter 2017

Maxime Bernier's campaign claims $2M in fundraising - Politics - CBC News - Eric Grenier:

April 3, 2017 - "Maxime Bernier has raised over $2 million so far in his bid to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, according to figures provided to CBC News by Bernier's campaign.

"In the first three months of 2017, Bernier has raised just over $1 million. That suggests that he remains one of the front-runners for the party's top job — along with businessman and television personality Kevin O'Leary.

"According to the data provided to CBC News, the Quebec MP raised $1,020,340 from 5,715 individual contributions between Jan. 1 and March 31, averaging $178.54 per donation. Since the beginning of Bernier's bid for the Conservative leadership a year ago, his total fundraising is $2,040,274, according to these figures — which should put Bernier well ahead of his rivals.

"For the first three months of 2017, Bernier is roughly even with the fundraising claimed by O'Leary. According to a tweet from O'Leary issued April 1, his campaign raised more than $1 million since the beginning of the year.... O'Leary entered the race in January, so did not raise any money in 2016.

"The veracity of the numbers cannot be confirmed until the end of April, when Elections Canada will release the official fundraising totals for all 14 candidates in the running for the party's leadership. But the up-tick in Bernier's fundraising — compared with the $586,165 he raised from 3,853 individual donations in the fourth quarter of 2016 — aligns with the increase claimed by some of his opponents.....

"Members of the Conservative Party will start voting for their next leader on Apr. 28. The winner will be announced on May 27 in Toronto."

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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Bitcoin recognized as legal tender in Japan

Japan Officially Recognises Bitcoin as Currency Starting April 2017 - NEWSBTC - Gautham:

April 2, 2017 - "Bitcoin has finally gained the recognition of a mainstream currency along the lines of other fiat currencies. The privilege follows the implementation of a new law in Japan which categorizes Bitcoin as a legal payment option within the country. The much-awaited law went into effect on April 1, 2017 (beginning of a new fiscal year in many countries).

"With the new law’s implementation, Bitcoin exchanges will also come under additional regulatory scrutiny. The recognition of cryptocurrency as a legal tender also means the applicability of regulations governing banks and financial institutions to cryptocurrency exchange platforms. They will be required to comply with strict anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, along with annual audits. Other requirements include meeting the stated capital and cyber security requirements to ensure consumer protection.....

"However, reports indicate that the cryptocurrency platforms are still trying to figure out ways to achieve compliance with the new regulations. Recognizing the exchanges’ needs, the Accounting Standards Board of Japan has announced that it has started working on creating an accounting framework for both user and businesses dealing with cryptocurrencies.

"It might take a while before companies and individuals get acquainted with the accounting practices, which has raised concerns about legal implications of inaccurate reporting’s/filings due to lack of understanding. Also, few publications have raised concerns about the volatility of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and how it might impact those making cryptocurrency transactions.

"The new developments are expected to drive the cryptocurrency usage in Japan to over $9 billion in the next three years (2020), which is more than five times the 2015’s $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in circulation."

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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Trump declares war on House Freedom Caucus

Why is Trump attacking the Freedom Caucus? Simple: They won, he lost | TheHill - Mark Meckler:

April 1, 2017 -"The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast,' President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday. 'We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!'  The entire day, he tweeted about individual members of the caucus, calling them out by name, urging others to defeat them in November, and comparing them to Democrats.

"And with that series of tweets, Trump is now engaged in a full scale, public war with the conservative Freedom Caucus. Characteristically, little restraint is apparent in his approach.  While the president has never been hesitant to attack, he's always described himself as a counter-puncher; someone who hits back twice as hard when someone lashes out at him.  But this is different....

"Freedom Caucus member Rep. Raul Labrador recalled this week in a message to the President. 'Freedom Caucus stood with u when others ran,' he tweeted. 'Remember who your real friends are'.... He's right.  When others ran for the hills, Freedom Caucus members stood by then-candidate Trump.  When Trump promised repeatedly to repeal ObamaCare, the Freedom Caucus reiterated those promises....

"After President Trump took office, however, he didn’t follow through with his promise to repeal ObamaCare; he backed the Paul Ryan plan which many mocked as 'ObamaCare-lite.'  The Freedom Caucus didn’t openly criticize the president.  Why?  Perhaps they felt that he’d just been bamboozled by the wonkish Speaker, into believing that this heaping mess of government controlled healthcare really was a repeal....

"Which brings us to the real mystery:  Why did President Trump throw a very brutal first punch against seemingly his staunchest allies in Congress?...

"Here's the best conclusion we've reached.  He's pissed off.  Really pissed off.  He made a mistake and decided to bet on the wrong horse.  He cast his lot with Speaker Ryan, not because he cared what was in the bill, but because Ryan told the president he could get it done.  More than anything, Trump's wants to be known as a man who gets things done.

"When Trump was misled by Ryan (who never had the votes)  he simply couldn’t admit he was wrong.  Instead, he blames, and the easiest target is the Freedom Caucus.  He can easily say they stopped him from 'getting something done'....

"This is his fundamental mistake.  The people didn't send Trump to D.C. to 'get something done'. The people sent Trump to D.C. to blow up the status quo, 'drain the swamp,' 'repeal ObamaCare'.... We don’t want want him to [just] 'get something done,' we want him to get the right things done.

"Hopefully, the president will soon learn from his mistake and will once again turn to the Freedom Caucus as his only true supporters on Capitol Hill.  Without them, he's going to have a very lonely four years, and his biggest fear — being known the guy who can’t get things done — will become a self-fulfilling legacy."

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