Friday, June 30, 2017

Nebraska Libertarian registrations top 12,000

Libertarian Party is trending upwards in Nebraska - Max Massey, 1011 News (KOLN):

June 29, 2017 - "[A] third party is growing across Nebraska: The Libertarian Party....

"Trevor Reilly .. is the chair for the Lancaster County Libertarian Party, but just a few years ago he was in the marines and a registered Republican, then he decided he wanted a change.

"'Being a prior Republican I didn't agree with a lot of it, I didn't agree with the Trump media going on, so when I found the Libertarian party, I jumped into the campaign,' said Reilly.

"Trevor's not the only high ranking Libertarian who is a former member of the Grand Old Party.

"Senator Laura Ebke is the only Libertarian senator in the unicameral, and said the political shift is becoming more and more apparent....

"Right now there are less than 13,000 registered Libertarians, but Senator Ebke believes this is only the start.... The latest registered voter numbers show the Libertarian party is growing at a faster rate than the two major parties.

"Party members understand they are still a very small percentage, but there are plans to grow.

"'Starting to run people for local elections, city county offices, school board and things like that, so I think that's a win and that's a way you build a party,' said Senator Ebke....

"'Right now the state party's goal is to actually get 50,000 registered Libertarian voters by 2020,' said Reilly.

"'If we get to 50,000 that's big, for Nebraska, that's a significant amount of the voting population, and we can make a difference in a lot of elections then,' said Senator Ebke."

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

3rd NH legislator switches to Libertarian Party

Rochester Rep switches to Libertarian Party -

June 27, 2017 - "Rep. Brandon Phinney (Strafford 24-Rochester), formerly a member of the Republican Party, announced Tuesday on the State House steps he is changing his party affiliation to Libertarian.

"For the third time this year, a sitting state legislator has left his party and joined the LP. Rep. Caleb Q. Dyer (Hillsborough 37) switched to Libertarian from Republican in February, and Rep. Joseph Stallcop (Cheshire 4) left the Democratic Party in May.

"Darryl W. Perry, chair of the New Hampshire Libertarian Party, welcomes any others, unhappy with their party leadership, to join the LP.

“'When the Libertarian Party had ballot access in the 1990's, the Libertarian House Caucus had four members,' Perry said. 'It is my hope and desire that the civil libertarians, classical liberals, and philosophical libertarians in the New Hampshire General Court will show the same courage shown by Reps. Dyer, Stallcop, and, now, Rep. Brandon Phinney, and abandon the two-party system that has for so long burdened us with taxation, regulation, and legislation that has trampled our freedoms.'

"Phinney will work with Dyer and Stallcop in the N.H. House Libertarian Caucus to minimize state government, lower taxes, and eliminate barriers to conducting business, and will work hard to increase individual freedom and personal liberty while protecting the rights of individuals and businesses within New Hampshire....

“'We were elected to the people’s house to serve their will, their interests, and limit government interference in their lives,' Phinney said of his differences with the GOP. 'I was not elected to do the bidding of a political party at the expense of my principles. Establishment partisan politics do nothing to protect the rights of people, but instead only serve to prop up and expand government with arcane plans to irresponsibly spend our money and enact burdensome regulations on businesses, small and large alike. The Libertarian Party platform gives us, as legislators, the best possible framework to expand social freedoms, support a free-market economy, and ensure the checks and balances on government power are enforced.'"

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Matt Bruenig on “Taxation is Theft”

Matt Bruenig on “Taxation is Theft” - George J. Dance, Nolan Chart:

June 25, 2017 - "The other day, while searching for new writing by my favorite progressive troll, Washington lawyer and online pundit Matt Bruenig, I stumbled across this blog headline: “Matthew Bruenig Dismantles the ‘Taxation Is Theft’ Slogan.” Always intrigued by a new Bruenig argument, I clicked on the link, and then on a second link to Bruenig’s original article.

"The argument of this article, 'Violence, Property, Theft and Entitlement,' is, like most Bruenig arguments, one by definition.

"Bruenig starts by giving his own definition of theft, which he calls “a straightforward definition of theft as a forceful taking: Theft occurs when (1) you threaten or use force against someone (2) to exclude them from scarce material resources (3) without their consent.”

"Despite the misleading headline on the fanblog, this definition does not ‘Dismantle the “Taxation Is Theft” Slogan.’ On the contrary, as Bruenig cheerfully acknowledges, “Under this definition of theft, clearly taxes qualify.'

"Like most Bruenig definitions, though, this one is not ‘straightforward.’ Condition (1) is one both libertarians and Bruenig-style progressives would deny: libertarians because by that definition both forcibly stopping a thief and forcibly recovering stolen property would be theft; progressives, because they deny that pure property crimes are uses of force: 'The scenario he described involves no force (strictly defined) because no body has been attacked.'

"Nor is this definition of Bruenig’s one ‘of theft as a forceful taking.’ In condition (2) he does not even use the word ‘take,’ opting for the much weaker  and over-broad ‘exclude’ instead; under this condition, not only taking property, but forcibly preventing it from being taken would be labelled ‘theft’, which is simply inaccurate. Armed soldiers guarding a military arsenal are not stealing the weapons, even though they are excluding intruders by military force. Property owners who post 'Trespassers will be prosecuted' signs are not acting as thieves, even though they are excluding trespassers by threatening legal force.

"Indeed, since Bruenig claims that all property ownership is implicitly based on exclusion by state violence, his definition implies that all property ownership is theft. Unsurprisingly, this is the very implication that he teases out: that, given his definition, 'A principled stand against force, coercion, aggression, and so on thus requires the conclusion that property is theft in the same sense as taxes are theft.'"

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

SCOTUS declines CA concealed-carry case

Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch Blast SCOTUS for Refusing to Hear Major Second Amendment Case - Hit & Run : - Damon Root:

June 26, 2017 - "Today the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a major case out of California that asked whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms includes the right to carry firearms in public. By refusing to get involved, the Court left in place a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that denied constitutional recognition to the right to carry.

"Writing in dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Neil Gorsuch, blasted the Court for its failure to act and for its 'distressing trend' of treating 'the Second Amendment as a disfavored right'....

"Thomas offered a sharply worded case for why the Court should have taken up the question. Federal circuits, he pointed out, have reached different conclusions and are therefore irrevocably split on this pressing constitutional matter. 'This Court has already suggested that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry firearms in public in some fashion' ... Thomas observed....

"Today's case, known as Peruta v. California, centered on a state law that says that conceal-carry permits will only be issued to those persons who have demonstrated to the satisfaction of their local county sheriff that they have a 'good cause' for carrying a concealed firearm in public.... In the words of one San Diego official, 'one's personal safety is not considered good cause' in and of itself.

"What this means in practice, as one earlier court ruling observed, is that 'in California the only way that the typical responsible, law-abiding citizen can carry a weapon in public for the lawful purpose of self-defense is with a concealed-carry permit. And, in San Diego County, that option has been taken off the table.'"

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Roger Stone launches Cannabis Coalition

Roger Stone Wants Donald Trump to Legalize Marijuana |

June 16, 2017 - "Roger Stone, a close confidant of President Donald Trump, is on a mission to convince Trump to legalize marijuana through a new lobbying group.

"Stone, a longtime Trump ally whose name has come up in the growing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, announced on Friday that he is forming the United States Cannabis Coalition, a new bipartisan organization that aims to get the Trump Administration to recognize the medicinal value of cannabis....

"'I am going to be working with a coalition of Republicans and Democrats, progressives and libertarians, liberals, and conservatives to persuade the president to keep his campaign pledge, and to remind the president that he took a strong and forthright position on this issue in the election,' Stone said at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo.

"While campaigning, Trump said he thinks legalizing marijuana should be a 'state issue, state-by-state.' In a 2016 appearance on Fox News, Trump said he was '100%' in favor of medical marijuana.

"But since taking office, the Trump Administration has indicated it wants to crack down on states that have legalized marijuana. In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has long opposed legalization, sent a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to allow the Department of Justice to crack down on businesses and people in states where medical marijuana is legal. Department of Homeland Security chief Gen. John Kelly has also criticized the legalization of marijuana.

"Stone said Trump's promise to uphold states' rights to legalize marijuana gave the President a 'slight edge' in winning the election.'It's our intention to identify, reach and mobilize millions of pro-cannabis voters to urge the President to keep his word,' Stone said."

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Slants win First Amendment suit (band video)

In Major Free Speech Victory, SCOTUS Rules for 'The Slants' and Strikes Down Federal Trademark Restriction - Hit & Run : - Damon Root:

June 19, 2017 - "Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-0 in favor of the Asian-American dance-rock band The Slants, holding that the First Amendment protects the rights of the band's members to register a trademark in their band's 'offensive' name.

"At issue in Matal v. Tam was a federal law prohibiting the registration of any trademark that may 'disparage...or bring...into contemp[t] or disrepute' any 'persons, living or dead.' The Patent and Trademark Office cited this provision in 2011 when it refused to register a trademark in the name of The Slants, thereby denying the band the same protections that federal law extends to countless other musical acts. Justice Samuel Alito led the Court in striking down the censorious rule. 'We now hold that this provision violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment,' Alito wrote. 'It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend'....

"Slants bassist Simon Tam told's Meredith Bragg, 'For me, this whole fight has not been just about the band name and our right to access the trademark registration.... When I found out what the government was doing and how they were doing it, how they were using it to suppress speech and how they were trying to take rights away from my own community, I decided that was not right. So all of a sudden it became about principle. When I believe they are violating the values of our country and violating my own values, I decided that had to be stopped, no matter the cost.'"

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Libertarians, conservatives, and progressives

The case for libertarianism in American politics | TheHill - David D'Amato:

June 8, 2017 - "Libertarianism is not conservatism, nor is it an offshoot of conservatism, a subset, or even a relative of common extraction ... because libertarian political philosophy is best understood as a radicalization of traditional liberalism.... The radical, going as she does to the root, hopes to provoke change at the deepest sub strata of society, motivated by the conviction that the political and economic status quo is fundamentally unjust.

"Libertarians believe that the best is yet to come, that history has been the bloodstained story of unscrupulous ruling thugs and their many misdeeds, their constant crimes against law, order, and justice....

"Historian Larry Siedentop goes so far as to argue that ... many of the concepts and modes of argument long credited to socialism were in fact 'introduced by liberal thinkers'.... For example, libertarians have been quick to call attention to the fact that early French liberals developed a pre-socialist (or perhaps proto-socialist) class theory, embedded in which was an argument for radical laissez-faire....

"In America, individualist anarchists like Benjamin Tucker explicitly identified themselves as socialists even as they advocated 'a perfectly free market,' in which only force or fraud would be out of bounds.... The capitalist, for Tucker, was 'guilty of criminal invasion,' of violating the central libertarian law against the use of aggression against the non-invasive individual. He worried that many of those employing what seemed libertarian-sounding language had actually become the mouthpieces of 'the capitalistic class.' That class had achieved wealth and power not by competing for consumers’ hard-earned dollars, but 'by abolishing the free market,' by using the coercive power of the state to artificially limit the range of competition.

"Throughout the 20th century, some stalwart proponents of the peaceful, cosmopolitan order produced by free trade and respect for private property rights have continued to identify as liberals.... Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, with whom modern libertarianism is so often associated, were such committed liberals, dependably opposed to conservatism and, in Hayek’s works, its 'propensity to reject well-substantiated new knowledge.'.... As a philosophy of universal individual rights, libertarian[ism] contemplates a deep break with centuries-old orders of power and privilege, in which a handful of political and ecclesiastical authorities made the rules and reaped the rewards....

"Because the dominance of today’s corporate powerhouses rests largely on government privilege, and thus violence — not voluntary, mutually beneficial trade — the anti-corporate rhetoric of progressives rings hollow; they emphasize wealth inequality and economic justice, yet they would expand the very power on which corporate abuses now rest. American political history finds self-described progressives among the most reliable guardians of corporate welfare.

"Libertarianism is a principled alternative to conservatism and progressivism, both of which, at base, represent authority against liberty."

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Linfield College YAL harassed, investigated

Students launch libertarian club at small Oregon college and get harassed, investigated, condemned - The College Fix - Max Diamond:

June 21, 2017 - "All they wanted to do was promote free speech and intellectual diversity. Instead ... their efforts were stifled and stymied through fear and intimidation, administrative power, and student hysteria at their small school in McMinnville, Ore.

"The liberty-loving students say they faced repeated and intense backlash from some professors and students after launching their club this past spring — mostly notably their event with controversial Professor Jordan Peterson was canceled by campus leaders. Peterson is the University of Toronto psychologist recently famous for his opposition to the requirement of made-up gender pronouns.

"The student group was also investigated for circulating a 'free speech ball' on which someone drew Pepe the Frog, the unofficial alt-right mascot. After an investigation, during which YAL leaders were called in and interrogated, the student who drew the image was forced to write a conciliatory essay.

"Another of their events, a screening of The Red Pill, a documentary on men’s rights activists and critical of the contemporary feminist movement, drew even more ire from campus leaders, with one even likening the libertarian students’ events to terrorism recruitment....

"The Linfield Advisory Committee on Diversity then held a free speech forum for the whole campus the Monday after the free speech ball [which] turned into three and half hours of 90 students and professors interrogating and slandering members of Young Americans for Liberty.... English Professor Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt alleged that YAL is 'funded by conservative dark money' and 'funded by alt-right white supremacists'....

"[T]he Associated Students of Linfield College, citing Peterson’s 'violation of Linfield’s harassment policy' and Peterson’s lack of punctuality in turning in an application – it was a day late – canceled the talk.... Nonetheless, the show went on. Peterson and YAL rented space at the Evergreen Aviation Center Museum grounds and, according to Smith, about 400 fans showed up, and more than 300 people watched it on livestream....

"Professor Dutt-Ballerstadt, in an op-ed in the Linfield Review, rhetorically suggested the YAL events “promote racism, homophobia, transphobia, bigotry, misogyny, rape culture, violence against women and a disregard for disabled individuals on our campus'.... Associate Dean of Faculty Dawn Nowacki wrote: 'Overt white supremacism, misogyny, and hatred of LGBTQTI people have not been strongly expressed in the events organized by the Young Americans for Liberty. In fact, these efforts are a lot more subtle. Just as becoming a terrorist is a gradual, step by step process, people do not become part of the alt right overnight. These events represent a kind of soft recruitment into more extremist ideas.'"

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

This year's evil libertarian: James M. Buchanan

Book Review: 'Democracy In Chains,' By Nancy MacLean : NPR - Genevieve Valentine:

June 18, 2017 - "[E]conomist James Buchanan — an early herald of libertarianism — began to cultivate a group of like-minded thinkers with the goal of changing government.... This sixty-year campaign to make libertarianism mainstream and eventually take the government itself is at the heart of Democracy in Chains....

"Buchanan headed a group of radical thinkers (he told his allies 'conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential'), who worked to centralize power in states like Virginia.... As MacLean lays out in their own words, these men developed a strategy of misinformation and lying about outcomes until they had enough power that the public couldn't retaliate against policies libertarians knew were destructive."

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James M. Buchanan, Economic Scholar, Dies at 93 - New York Times - Robert D. McFadden:

January 9, 2013 -  "James M. Buchanan, a scholar and author whose analyses of economic and political decision-making won the 1986 Nobel in economic sciences ... was a leading proponent of public choice theory, which assumes that politicians and government officials, like everyone else, are motivated by self-interest — getting re-elected or gaining more power — and do not necessarily act in the public interest.

"He argued that their actions could be analyzed, and even predicted, by applying the tools of economics to political science in ways that yield insights into the tendencies of governments to grow, increase spending, borrow money, run large deficits and let regulations proliferate....

"Buchanan contended that the pursuit of self-interest by modern politicians often led to harmful public results. Courting voters at election time, for example, legislators will approve tax cuts and spending increases for projects and entitlements favored by the electorate. This combination can lead to ever-rising deficits, public debt burdens and increasingly large governments to conduct the public’s business.

"In lectures, articles and more than 30 books, Dr. Buchanan amplified on the theory of public choice and argued for smaller government, lower deficits and fewer regulations — a spectrum of policy objectives that were ascendant in the 1980s conservative agenda of President Ronald Reagan.

"Over the years since Dr. Buchanan won the Nobel, much of what he predicted has played out. Government is bigger than ever. Tax revenue has fallen far short of public programs’ needs. Public and private borrowing has become a way of life. Politicians still act in their own interests while espousing the public good, and national deficits have soared into the trillions."

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Medical cannabis legalized in Mexico

Mexico Legalizes Medical Marijuana | Leafly - Lisa Rough:

June 19, 2017 -  "A decree issued by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto today confirmed that Mexico has legalized cannabis for medicinal use after overwhelming support from Mexico’s Lower House of Congress.

"Peña Nieto was once a vehement opponent of cannabis legalization, but has since called for a re-examination of global drug policy after a nationwide public debate on legalization in early 2016. 'So far, the solutions [to control drugs and crime] implemented by the international community have been frankly insufficient,' Peña Nieto told the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Sessions in April 2016. 'We must move beyond prohibition to effective prevention.'

"Last year, Peña Nieto even went so far as to introduce a measure that would allow Mexican citizens to possess up to an ounce of cannabis without repercussions, but the bill stalled in Congress"

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Chase Foundation gives $800K/year to libertarian policy network

Chasing Free Enterprise: An Investor Gives Steadily for Libertarian Think Tanks — Inside Philanthropy - Ade Adeniji:

June 20, 2017 - "The Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation's motto is 'free minds, free markets.' Among its trustees is Derwood S. Chase, Jr., who steers Chase Investment Counsel Corporation in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"Chase, who graduated from the University of Virginia and holds a Harvard MBA, also sits on the board of the right-leaning Fraser Institute in Vancouver, Canada, which starts to paint a picture of the type of organizations that Chase is interested in.

"His Chase Foundation of Virginia was established in the mid-1990s, and in recent years has given in the neighborhood of $700,000 to $800,000 annually to a number of libertarian or conservative policy organizations across the country and north of the border.

"Besides the Reason Foundation and Fraser Institute, Chase, via his foundation, has also backed Acton Institute in Michigan, a think tank whose mission is 'to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.' The outfit is named after English Historian Lord John Acton, behind the well-known dictum 'power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'

"Chase has also supported places like the Atlas Network, Buckeye Institute for Public Policy in Ohio, Cascade Policy Institute in Portland, Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Goodman Institute for Public Policy in Miami, Institute for Energy Research, Manhattan Institute for Public Policy, and Montreal Economic Institute....

"As we've reported in the past, such giving has allowed the right to scale up a comprehensive policy infrastructure to influence policy at all levels of government."

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Libertarian support surges after Bernier’s loss (video)

Staying true to liberty: Libertarian Party sees surge in support after Bernier’s loss - The Rebel - Holly Nicholas:

June 18, 2017 - "Maxime Bernier was the most libertarian candidate in the CPC leadership race, which is partly why after his unsuccessful bid, the Libertarian Party of Canada adopted his freedom friendly policies and offered him the leadership position in their party ... so it’s not surprising that the Libertarians are now seeing a surge in support.

"Watch to see my in depth interview with the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party, Trevor Schmidt. We discuss Bernier’s loss ... and what it will mean for the CPC if they don’t adopt at least some of his liberty-oriented policies too....

"Bernier captured a lot of votes in the race so it will be interesting to see if he goes on to have a significant influence on CPC policy and also to see what kind of role he’ll play in the party under Andrew Scheer’s leadership.

"Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party of Canada continues to want the government to get out of our lives.... They advocate for less government, lower taxes and more freedom and you can find more information about them at

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Rachel Carson's DDT ban killed millions

Millions Died Thanks to the Mother of Environmentalism - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world - Paul A. Ofit :

June 17, 2017 - "On Jan. 24, 2017, PBS aired a two-hour special on Rachel Carson, the mother of the environmental movement....  Unfortunately, the PBS documentary neglected to mention that in her groundbreaking book, Silent Spring, Carson had made one critical mistake – and it cost millions of people their lives....

"According to Carson, children suffered sudden death, aplastic anemia, birth defects, liver disease, chromosomal abnormalities, and leukemia – all caused by DDT. And women suffered infertility and uterine cancer.... Carson made it clear that she wasn’t talking about something that might happen – she was talking about something that had happened.....

"In May 1963, Rachel Carson appeared before the Department of Commerce and asked for a 'Pesticide Commission' to regulate the untethered use of DDT. Ten years later, Carson’s “Pesticide Commission” became the Environmental Protection Agency, which immediately banned DDT....

"Although DDT soon became synonymous with poison, the pesticide was an effective weapon in the fight against an infection that has killed – and continues to kill – more people than any other: malaria....

"Since the mid 1970s, when DDT was eliminated from global eradication efforts, tens of millions of people have died from malaria unnecessarily: most have been children less than five years old. While it was reasonable to have banned DDT for agricultural use, it was unreasonable to have eliminated it from public health use.

"Environmentalists have argued that when it came to DDT, it was pick your poison. If DDT was banned, more people would die from malaria. But if DDT wasn’t banned, people would suffer and die from a variety of other diseases, not the least of which was cancer. However, studies in Europe, Canada, and the United States have since shown that DDT didn’t cause the human diseases Carson had claimed.... DDT was arguably one of the safer insect repellents ever invented – far safer than many of the pesticides that have taken its place....

"In 2006, the World Health Organization reinstated DDT as part of its effort to eradicate malaria. But not before millions of people had died needlessly from the disease."

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

How regulation doubles infrastructure costs

Get those shovels in the ground - faster to rebuild our infrastructure: George F. Will |

June 12, 2017 - "Because the inaccurately named Center for American Progress has chosen to defend the impediments that government places in its own path regarding public works, it has done [Philip K.] Howard the favor of rekindling interest in something he wrote in 2015....

"In September 2015, Howard, founder and chair of the reform advocacy group Common Good, published a paper 'Two Years Not Ten Years: Redesigning Infrastructure Approvals.'

"In it, he argued that
America could modernize its infrastructure, at half the cost, while dramatically enhancing environmental benefits, with a two-year approval process. Our analysis shows that a six-year delay in starting construction on public projects costs the nation over $3.7 trillion, including the costs of prolonged inefficiencies and unnecessary pollution.

This is more than double the $1.7 trillion needed through the end of this decade to modernize America's infrastructure.
"The nation that built the Empire State Building in 410 days during the Depression and the Pentagon in 16 months during wartime recently took nine years just for the permitting of a San Diego desalination plant.

"Five years and 20,000 pages of environmental assessments and permitting and regulatory materials were consumed before beginning to raise the roadway on New Jersey's Bayonne Bridge, a project with, as Howard says, 'virtually no environmental impact (it uses existing foundations and right-of-way).' Fourteen years were devoted to the environmental review for dredging the Port of Savannah....

"In 2011, shippers using the inland waterway system of canals, dams and locks endured delays amounting to 25 years. In 2012, the Treasury Department estimated that traffic congestion wasted 1.9 billion gallons of gasoline annually. Diverting freight to trucks because of insufficient railway capacity quadruples fuel consumption....

"Twenty months after Howard published his article, the CAP's response shows how far we have defined efficiency down: It celebrates the fact that federal environmental statements average only 4.6 years.

"Actually, that would be bad enough if such reviews were all or even most of the problem. Actually, there are other kinds of reviews and other layers of government involved, as with the Bayonne Bridge – 47 permits from 19 federal, state and local agencies."

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Senate bill extends forfeiture to cryptocurrencies

Unraveling The “Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017” - - Jeremy Nation:

June 15, 2017 - "A piece of legislation, Senate Bill 1241 (the 'Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017'), introduced on May 25, 2017, by Senators Dianne Feinstein, John Cornyn, and Sheldon Whitehouse, would add provisions for regulation of digital currency relating to civil forfeiture. Specifically, the bill would add the terms 'digital currency' and 'or any digital exchanger or tumbler of digital currency' to definitions listed in 31 U.S.C. § 5312, broadening the definitions of these terms to encompass actionable penalization of those who fail to disclose financial holdings.....

"With these proposed amendments, institutions with government ties can now be compelled to participate as agents of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), aiding in investigations. The bill explicitly brings cryptocurrencies under the umbrella of civil forfeiture. It also requires the DHS to provide, within 18 months of ratification, a report on strategies to detect cryptocurrencies at border crossings....

"Further, the Bill expands a previously existing law, 31 U.S.C. § 5316, which requires reports on the export and import of monetary instruments, to apply to digital currency. The amended law would require those traveling with greater than $10,000 in assets to file a report indicating the total sum. Failure to comply can mean the civil forfeiture of all the individual's assets, irrespective of whether the $10,000 in assets are contained therein, and the possibility of up to 10 years in prison.

"However, questions arise as to how a government entity would be able to extract assets from digital wallets, which are often backed by encrypted codes inaccessible to third parties. While the possibility of regulators invoking a forfeiture of assets is a reality for those who fail to comply with the new legislation, it remains unclear as to how encrypted digital wallets will be accessed without the compliance of targeted individuals."

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Legal kidney market seen as way to end shortage

Paying kidney donors: time to follow Iran? - Rupert W.L. Major, McGill Journal of Medicine:

January 2008 - "Since the first kidney transplant was performed over fifty years ago, it has offered the chance of life and the freedom from dialysis for thousands of people. However, demand for organs has always exceeded supply. The gap between the two is widening....

"Renal transplants differ from most other transplants because living people are able to donate without significant adverse effects on their own health. Donated kidneys, therefore, have a potential to become a commercial asset.... Supply, however, is still greatly inferior to demand: the United States Department of Health and Human Services 2006 Annual Report recorded over 82,000 patients on the waiting list for a kidney, up nearly 7% from the previous year.

"In order to resolve the shortage of donors, some have advocated financial payments being made to donors. Despite being illegal in most countries, the trade appears to be booming in nations such as Turkey, Russia, and South Africa.... The dilemma physicians and health officials are faced with is whether to close their eyes to this trade, disregarding ethical implications and the adverse effects of surgeries done on the black market, or to legalize it and try to establish boundaries to protect organ donors that receive compensation....

"One of the few countries that has legalised the sale of organs is Iran.... In 1988, Iran legalized living non-related donation (LNRD) of kidneys and established an associated transplantation system. This government-organized system regulated and funded the transplantation process and compensated the donors for their organ.... Within the first year of the establishment of this system, the number of transplants had almost doubled; nearly four fifths were from living unrelated sources....

"Outside of Iran, the issue continues to be highly contentious. The end-stage renal failure population continues to increase in most countries.... Compensation for living non-related donors, once a taboo subject, has now begun to be discussed openly in transplantation meetings and the medical literature. The advocates for legalization argue that each of us has autonomy over our own body in every aspect of our health and that from this stems the right to donate a kidney to a related or non-related patient. Payment for sperm and eggs is legal in many countries, even though they arguably have greater long-term implications due to the potential to create a whole new individual.

"Whether talk will ever be turned to action in favour of monetary payments to donors remains to be seen. The medical profession may not agree with payments on an ethical level but the increasing problems caused by prohibition of LNRD and the prolific black market of transplants are starting to be considered as good reasons for legalization and tight regulation."

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

15,000 sign to put AR Libertarians on 2018 ballot

Libertarian Party turns in petitions to get on '18 ballot - Brian Fanney, Arkansas Online:

June 13, 2017 - "The Libertarian Party of Arkansas delivered more than 15,000 signatures to Secretary of State Mark Martin's office Monday to once again become a 'new political party.'

"In a news release, the party said this is the fourth consecutive election cycle in which it has registered as a new party.... Arkansas Libertarian Party Chairman Michael Pakko is asking for a change.

"'Libertarians are giving the voters a choice in races up and down the ballot. Moreover, people are choosing to cast their votes for Libertarians,' he said in a statement. 'In total, Libertarian candidates received 356,287 votes in 2016 -- over 7.5 percent of all votes cast....
Yet the election laws of the State of Arkansas say that's not good enough to remain a state-recognized political party.'

"In Arkansas, the party needs its presidential candidate to garner 3 percent of the popular vote to retain ballot access. Pakko said a more reasonable standard would be 2 percent.

"In 2016, the party's candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, received 2.6 percent of the vote in Arkansas. In 2012, he received 1.5 percent of the vote.

"Libertarians won recognition as an official Arkansas political party for the first time after collecting more than 16,000 signatures in 2011.

"The secretary of state's office has 30 days to validate the party's signatures to verify that at least 10,000 registered voters have signed the petitions.

"After some final paperwork to be filed, the Libertarian Party of Arkansas expects to be declared a 'new political party' sometime before the end of July."

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Rand Paul bill would repeal indefinite detention

Rand Paul Bill Would Repeal Indefinite Detention Provision of NDAA - Joe Wolverton II, The New American:

June 13, 2017 - "Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced his plan to reintroduce S. 1300, the Sixth Amendment Preservation Act, a bill aimed at reasserting the constitutional guarantee of a speedy trial in all prosecutions.

"Dr. Paul’s legislation would prevent any future authorization of military force from being used to justify indefinitely detaining any person in America without trial. 'Giving the accused their day in court isn’t a suggestion,' said Dr. Paul. 'It’s enshrined in our Constitution as a cornerstone of our judicial system. My bill reminds our government that the Founders did not put an expiration date on the Sixth Amendment.'

"The specific target of Paul’s measure is a key section of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012....

"On December 31, 2011, with the signature of then-President Barack Obama, the writ of habeas corpus — a civil right so fundamental to Anglo-American common law history that it predates the Magna Carta — became voidable upon the command of the president of the United States. The Sixth Amendment right to counsel also became revocable at the will of the occupant of the White House....

"Americans would not need to worry about being held without charge if the president was not authorized in the same act to deploy the armed forces to round up 'suspects' and detain them indefinitely....One of the most noxious elements of the NDAA is that it places the American military at the disposal of the president for the apprehension, arrest, and detention of those suspected of posing a danger to the homeland....

"Under the provisions of Section 1021, the president is afforded the absolute power to arrest and detain citizens of the United States without their being informed of any criminal charges, without a trial on the merits of those charges, and without a scintilla of the due process safeguards protected by the Constitution of the United States....

"Senator Paul’s Sixth Amendment Preservation Act restores our nation’s constitutional commitment to individual liberty by repealing Section 1021."

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Indiana Libertarians hold drink-in against beer law

Hoosier hoist a cold one for liberty | News | - Scott L. Miley, Terre Haute Tribune Star:

"John Boroughs drank a Budweiser tall boy to toast what he believes is his right to buy a cold beer on Sunday. He was joined by about 60 others in a standing-room-only crowd inside ... a Ricker’s convenience store in Columbus.....

"His beer came from a cooler inside the store where employees check IDs and serve from a refrigerated shelf behind the counter. He sat in one of 28 seats at the store which had been refitted to obtain a restaurant license.

"Like-minded Libertarians from Jackson and Bartholomew counties participated in a Drink In for Liberty in support of reforming Indiana’s alcohol laws.

"Jay and Nancy Ricker, co-founders of the Anderson-based chain, were on hand. 'We’re the only state in the nation that has a warm beer and cold beer law. I don’t think people understand how unique, in a bad way, Indiana is in that respect,' Nancy Ricker said....

"Although Steven Buffington doesn’t drink alcohol, he was at Ricker’s as vice chair of the Jackson County Libertarian party. 'It’s all about principle for me. We should be able buy where we want to, when we want to, how we want to. If the state is going to try to push markets on us and force to buy from specific places, I don’t think that’s reasonable or fair,' Buffington said....

"'What I don’t like is the government making decisions on who can sell things,' said customer Brent Land. 'The only reasons for not allowing other high-volume retailers to sell it cold is the package liquor lobby ... When the government supports that, is the government trying to prop up a dying business model?'...

"About 71 percent of Hoosiers favor allowing all state-licensed retailers the right to sell cold beer, according to a survey released last week by the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association which supports Ricker’s efforts.

"The survey of 600 registered voters also showed that 65 percent supported Sunday carryout sales and that 64 percent favored a repeal of the restriction on liquor.

"However, 67 percent opposed allowing minors into liquor stores and 59 percent opposed restricting the sale of spirits to only liquor stores."

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

When Worlds Collude: Hoppe, Bruenig, and their shared vision of the libertarian future (II)

When Worlds Collude: Hoppe, Bruenig, and their shared vision of the libertarian future (II) - George J. Dance, Nolan Chart:

June 10, 2017 - "Paleolibertarian economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe, and  progressive lawyer and internet troll Matt Bruenig, would appear to have little in common; yet they both have the same idea of what a libertarian world would look like.

"In this two-part article  (Part I is here), I argue that (1) the very idea of libertarianism that Bruenig claims libertarians should be following (2) is not only compatible with, but looks like it would result in, Hoppe’s theorized libertarian society of  the future; furthermore, while (3) Hoppe’s account of that society suffers from serious flaws and errors, (4) Bruenig’s account of that future society, being almost identical to Hoppe’s, has the same flaws and errors.

(3) Where Hoppe goes wrong

"Hoppe’s vision of what a libertarian world of proprietary communities would look like seems riddled with false assumptions. Let us examine a few:

"(1) 'the restoration of private property rights and laissez-faire economics implies a sharp and drastic increase in social ‘discrimination’ and will swiftly eliminate most if not all of the multi-cultural-egalitarian life style experiments.'

"No; there is no reason discrimination would increase sharply or drastically. Some property owners might discriminate on this or that grounds, but there is no reason to think that everyone would: no reason to think that any original community would stop people of different races, religions, or sexual orientations, from living together in it. Nor is there any reason for a community to prohibit “life style experiments,” from same-sex marriage to rock ‘n roll or hip-hop to marijuana use. Proprietary communities would be established for one reason only – to protect the residents’ property rights, and with it the division of labor – not for this other stuff.

"If there were enough people who wished to discriminate, they would be free to sell their homes, leave with their money, buy new land and set up their own new communities. However, for every one of those set up, discrimination would actually decrease in the communities those people left.

"(2) 'towns and villages could and would do what they did as a matter of course until well into the nineteenth century in Europe and the United States: to post signs regarding entrance requirements to the town, and once in town for entering specific pieces of property (no beggars, bums, or homeless, but also no Moslems, Hindus, Jews, Catholics, etc.); to expel as trespassers those who do not fulfill these requirements.'

"Yes, they could; but no, they probably would not. Why would any town or village in 21st-century America do, or even care about, what towns and villages did in 19th-century Europe? In today’s America, Moslems, Hindus, Jews (both Sephardic and Ashkenazi), and Catholics (Hispanic, Italian, Irish, and more) live and own property in existing small towns and villages all over the country. Why in the world would they agree to a community covenant whereby they immediately had their real property seized and were expelled 'as trespassers'?

"If Hoppe wanted to live in a community with such rules, he would be free to join with other grumpy old white men, leave, and found his own community somewhere; but he would have no freedom or power to take over and ethnically cleanse any existing community."

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

When Worlds Collude: Hoppe, Bruenig, and their shared vision of the libertarian future (I)

When Worlds Collude: Hoppe, Bruenig, and their shared vision of the libertarian future (I) - George J. Dance, Nolan Chart:

June 9, 2017 - "Progressive lawyer, online pundit, and internet troll Matt Bruenig has a question for libertarians: 'My first question for Cato and libertarians more generally is this: What is up with Hans-Hermann Hoppe?'

"I wish I could respond, 'Who?' Alas, I am well aware of Hoppe. Many libertarians and other readers, though, may have just that response. Fortunately, Bruenig has provided an introduction:
For the unacquainted, Hoppe is a very prominent libertarian academic, certainly well known within intellectual libertarian circles. He ironically works at the University of Nevada as an economics professor, making him a public employee. He publishes frequently in libertarian academic journals, is a Distinguished Fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, founded the Property & Freedom Society, is frequently referenced by other libertarians as one of them, and [authored a] 2001 book Democracy: The God That Failed. It is a tad on the long side, but it’s really good, the [following] quotes especially.”
"We will look at Bruenig’s quotes later. For now it is enough to say that, while Hoppe and some of his admirers self-identify as libertarians, many if not most libertarians who know of him want nothing to do with him.

"Here is an assessment of Hoppe that I suspect many libertarians who have read him or his admirers would accept:
The errors of Hans-Hermann Hoppe are regrettable for two reasons: Firstly, Hoppe is a highly intelligent and well-educated economist who – for whatever reasons – fails to notice when he does damage to the values of freedom and property, which he claims to support. This is the tragic personal side of Hans-Hermann Hoppe. But it is also tragic for academic discussions: At a time when we are surrounded by ever growing welfare states we badly need thinkers like Hoppe to show us how to tackle today’s problems. But instead of doing that, Hoppe prefers to take refuge in his pipe dreams of a so-called ‘natural order’, which rather resembles the abyss of a variation of right-wing totalitarianism. For all these reasons, for all his errors and mistakes and for his wrong-headed methodology we may expect Hoppe’s ideas to remain a footnote in the history of political thought. And it may well be better this way. An effective strategy of liberation would look very different. If Hoppe continues to use the terms ‘liberalism’ and ‘freedom’ for his authoritarian and pseudo-liberal agenda, it is time for the true liberals to claim back these terms from him.
"It is only necessary to add that (1) the very idea of libertarianism that Bruenig claims libertarians should be following (2) is not only compatible with, but looks like it would result in, Hoppe’s theorized future libertarian society; furthermore, while (3) Hoppe’s account of that society suffers from serious flaws and errors, (4) Bruenig’s account of that future society, being based on his reading of Hoppe, has the same flaws and errors. Making those four points is easy enough, but demonstrating them requires a bit more work."

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Friday, June 9, 2017

U.S. government cracks down on Bitcoin traders

Libertarian Party Blasts Government Case Against Bitcoin Trader - CoinDesk - Stan Higgins:

June 8, 2017 - "The U.S. Libertarian Party sharply criticized the sentencing of a bitcoin trader on an unlawful money transmission charge this week.

"In a statement, Nicholas Sarwark, who serves as chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, blasted the government's case against Randall Lord, who, along with his son Michael, was sentenced to a prison term late last month following an investigation into their alleged exchange activities.

"As CoinDesk reported on 30th May, Randall and Michael Lord were sentenced to prison terms of 46 and 106 months, respectively. Both were charged with running an unlawful money transmission, while Michael Lord was also charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics.

"Sawark said the Libertarian Party 'vigorously condemns' the case against Randall Lord, who previously ran as a Libertarian for a House of Representatives seat in Louisiana during elections in 2012 and 2014....

"'Trading bitcoins is perfectly legal. Major retailers such as Microsoft, Expedia, Dell, Overstock, and Whole Foods accept bitcoins. Prosecutors targeted Lord for not being registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the US Treasury, and for not being licensed to operate as a money service business in his home state of Louisiana'...

"He called for the sentencing to be overturned, asking supporters to “add your voice to ours in demanding freedom for Randall Lord”.

Lord's sentencing was a recent example of a trend of cases against bitcoin traders in the US. Similar cases have been pursued against traders in Michigan, New York and Arizona, among other states."

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

A brief account of property

by George J. Dance

Property is a relation between some people ('owners'), some things ('goods' or 'resources'), and, by implication, other people. Property rights are either liberty or claim negative rights that include rights (1) to appropriate things, or acquire them as property, (2) to use them as goods (usus), and therefore (3) to use them as resources to create new goods, which are also the creator's property (fructus). They comprise both basic property rights (to acquire and use things at all), which look inalienable, and derivative ownership rights to specific things, which are fully alienable. Because ownership rights are alienable, they include rights (4) to get rid of the property, either by destroying it, including consuming it or using it up to make something else (abusus), or by giving ownership rights to it to someone else.

Everyone has the basic property rights needed to be an owner, but only owners have derivative ownership rights. Because the latter are rights of owners only, it follows that there is an owner's right to exclude non-owners from using those specific things if she wants to.

Back in 1689, John Locke theorized that "Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself."[1, 27] In other words, while basic rights to negative liberty were held by everyone, only one person had the derivative rights over her own person (which both explains and justifies the idea of asymmetrical ownership rights).

Since people have to eat to live, their rights must include a right to eat, and therefore a right to gather food to feed oneself: "And will any one say, he had no right to those acorns or apples, he thus appropriated, because he had not the consent of all mankind to make them his? Was it a robbery thus to assume to himself what belonged to all in common? If such a consent as that was necessary, man had starved, notwithstanding the plenty God had given him."[1, 28] Since a right to feed oneself is a right to consume specific goods (meaning both to acquire, use, and destroy them, and to exclude everyone else from using them), it is a property right, which shows the necessity of property rights to some goods.

Locke did place four conditions on appropriation of things. The first three were necessary: The thing had to be "in the common state nature provided it," in other words not already owned;[1, 27] the owner had to have "mixed his labour with" (used) it;[1, 27] and no one could appropriate more than she could use.[1, 33] Without satisfying those conditions with respect to appropriating any specific thing, one could not become its owner.

The fourth, when added to the above, looks instead like a sufficient condition: if one's appropriation of a good satisfied it, one would be unquestionably an owner; "for this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others."[1, 27]
Since people have been eating, and letting others eat, since the dawn of time, one can place the first implicit property rights that far back. However, the first explicit property rights were probably communal. Robert Lefevre theorizes that, in primitive tribes, the food "would have been for the use of the entire tribe."[2, 13.] Tribal ownership persisted when hunters became nomads: Tribes followed their herds, a property right they enforced against outsiders; kills were probably divided among the whole tribe by its patriarch.[3, 16] It probably was the first type of property during the agricultural revolution (10,000 B.C.) as well; but given evidence that recognizing individual rights to a crop leads to higher productivity,[4] and given the enormous increase in productivity during the revolution, it is reasonable to think that individual or family ownership began to catch on then.

The increasing prosperity attracted the notice of the nomads, who began raiding and plundering agricultural sentiments. Beginning around 5,000 BC, some got the idea of conquering agricultural lands and settling down as rulers, managing the inhabitants like a herd. Von Rustow calls this process "superstratification," and sees it as the emergence of the first states:
Superstratification produced, for the first time in history, human social groupings that, in their inner structure, were based on bloodshed and violence.... For the first time outer morality, the morality of violence, penetrates, domineeringly and determinedly, into the interior of a social body.... [As Nietzche wrote,] 'The state originates in the cruelest way, through conquest, through the production of a race of drones.'"[3, 35-36]  
Not surprisingly, violence and blooshed invaded the sphere of property rights as well. First, the conquerors took over existing property by force and became the new owners. Second, they established property laws backed by a police power.

This historical sequence shows that ownership rights do not necessarily imply a right to use violence and bloodshed (since the first has existed without the second). Before the coming of the state, as Lefevre notes, whatever enforcement of property rights there was, played little if any role in their protection: "as properties multiplied, opportunity for theft far exceeded the ability of physical defenders, both in time and numbers." Property rights were mainly supported by religions: "Non-trespass of private property became one of the earliest taboos, substituted for still earlier taboos against tribal trespass. Here is the early root of the Golden Rule, and even of the late development of the Decalogue."[2, 7].

Religions are still the major support for private property rights in some communities, the pacifist Amish communities being a good example. Even where the state does enforce property rights, as Lefevre also points out, its violence and bloodshed play but a minor role in protecting them:
What is not easily grasped is the fact that ownership of property and its retention in private hands are dependent on understanding and belief, and not upon force. The only real protection we have arises from the unwillingness of individuals to commit trespass, and not upon the willingness of certain men, hired as a constabulary, to pursue those who have violated property rights, in order to bring restitution, or to punish the offenders, or both.[2, 9]

[1] John Locke, The Second Treatise of Government (edited by C.B. McPherson). Indianapolis, IN, & Cambridge, UK: Hackett, 1980. Print.

[2] Robert Lefevre, The Philosophy of Ownership. Rampart College, 1974. Print.

[3] Alexander Rustow, Freedom and Domination (translated by Salvator Attanasio; edited by Dankwart A. Rustow). Princton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980. Print.

[4] Gary Galles, "Private Property and the first U.S. Thanksgiving," GD's Political Animal, November 27, 2016, Blogspot, Web, June 7, 2017.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

PEI man taxed on his own solar power

P.E.I. man wants to know why he pays HST on electricity he generates himself - Prince Edward Island - CBC News - Kerry Campbell:

May 31, 2017 - "Every aspect of Kris Currie's home in New Dominion, P.E.I., was designed to minimize energy usage — from the thickness of the walls, to the position of the windows, to the choice of appliances, like a heat pump-powered clothes dryer.... The result is what's known as a 'net-zero home,' meant to generate all the power it needs over a year from the 35 solar panels on the roof.

"What Currie didn't know when he built the home is that 'net-zero' doesn't apply when it comes to the HST [Harmonized Sales Tax - GD].

"Currie pays nothing to Maritime Electric for his electricity, but is still billed for the HST on every kilowatt hour used, just like any other customer....

"Currie is part of P.E.I.'s net metering program, which allows individual homeowners to generate their own electricity, sending any excess into the grid in exchange for credits so they don't have to pay when they draw electricity back out of the grid.... Currie's home is generating more electricity than it uses, feeding the excess into P.E.I.'s electricity grid, where it's sold to other Maritime Electric customers — who pay HST on what they use.

"For April, Currie's bill shows he paid $13.49 HST on the 644 kilowatt hours of electricity he used — a third of the electricity his home produced over that period. In the winter, when his electricity usage increases, Currie said he'll be paying $50 or $60 a month in HST.

"He said he spent an extra $46,000, without government assistance, to build a net-zero home. In fact, he paid HST on the solar panels and the labour to have them installed. He did it, said Currie, partly to save on his monthly bills, but also to reduce his family's carbon footprint. "But the added tax means it will take longer for that investment to pay off, and he said that will discourage other homeowners from doing the same thing....

"The provincial government and Maritime Electric both told CBC News that federal tax law requires HST be charged.... They said homeowners could claim back the HST by registering as a business, although Currie said his accountant advised him the extra costs and paperwork involved in doing that would cancel out the benefits."

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Libertarians run 4 candidates in UK

Hull's Libertarian candidate Will Taylor on what the party is all about | Hull Daily Mail - Angus Young:

June 6, 2017 - "First-time general election candidate Will Taylor is raising the profile of the fledgling Libertarian Party in his home city.

"He is one of only four party candidates standing across the country....

"He said: 'The Libertarian Party is all about live and let live as long as you are not doing any harm. "We don't think the government has any right to interfere with your life.

"'We have five basic principles that we want to see introduced.

"'We want to see the amount of tax we pay reduced as we currently pay around 37 per cent of our income in tax. To do that we have got to cut out a lot of wasteful government spending. 

"'In terms of immigration, we are very much pro-Brexit but we don't mind people coming into the country so long as they fit in and are prepared to work.

"'We would like to see businesses get on and allowed to be businesses. There is too much bureaucracy and red tape, I see and hear that all the time from local businesses in Hull. 

"'Finally, I want politicians to be made accountable. They spend far too much time down in London in their ivory towers.'"

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Monday, June 5, 2017

More arrests of Libertarians in Cuba

Castro Regime Arrests Cuban Libertarian Party Members - Being Libertarian - Nicholas Amato:

June 2, 2017 - "All of the present activists at Cuba’s Libertarian Party HQ were arrested late Wednesday evening for 'illicit association.' Cuban law states that “anyone belonging to an unregistered association can be fined or imprisoned for between one and three months'....

"The formation of a Libertarian Party in Cuba immediately caught the eye of Raul Castro’s regime and resulted in forceful actions intended at halting the party’s growth. In a correspondence between our Managing Editor Dillon Eliassen and Libertarian Party of Cuba’s spokesman Nelson Rodriguez Chartrand, Nelson details the recent arrests....
Chartrand: At 11:00am [on Wednesday, May 31st], three members of the State Security Forces arrived at the Benjamin Franklin Libertarian Library, which is also the headquarters for the Cuban Libertarian Party. They threatened and accused us of public disorder, which is untrue from a strict perspective, because we were inside the house, completely quiet, and we were within our own private property. They said we could not leave the house nor let anyone inside. We were surrounded.

45 minutes later, more or less, a group of 15 agents specialized in murder, from the special brigade, entered our headquarters violently and attacked us while they ravished the house. Caridad (President), Heriberto (Vice-President) and Eduardo (party member) were transported to Vivac Detention, and Miguel and I were sent to Cotorro Detention Center. Written warnings were issued to each us for illicit association, which is a crime according to the criminal code. They know we are part of a political party, which is illegal. In Cuba, only the Communist Party is legal.

Caridad, Miguel and I were forced to leave barefoot. After numerous threats, we were released at 2:00 am.... Miguel and I were released 30 kilometers away from the library where we were captured. We had been fasting for four days in a row. We arrived at the party headquarters barefoot and exhausted at around 5:00....

[The government] demands we leave the party, they will not allow it to prosper. Warnings were issued, although they were not signed by any of the libertarians, for them [to] have legal effect.
"UPDATE ... From one of our sources that has direct contact with the Cuban Libertarian Party:

"The team received an indictment last night. Since 2 are on a hunger strike (the ones who were sent back walking), our president and vicepresident are paramedics, so they are being indicted for “abandonment” for not nourishing the hungry…
"They have to go to court today at 11:00am. We hope they don’t get detained. Those on hunger strike, in solidarity with our members illegaly imprisoned, offered to stop the strike tomorrow to avoid legal actions against the party itself…
"You don’t even have the right to fast in Cuba. In Cuba, dissidents can’t work legally, hence they don’t receive money. So they literally starve. The problem arises when you CHOOSE to starve, let alone choose to do it in solidarity with imprisoned dissidents."

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Newsmax ranks 100 most influential libertarians

100 Most Influential Libertarians: A Newsmax/FreedomFest List - Newsmax:

June 1, 2017 - "Being libertarian is trendy right now, so much so that many actors, activists, politicians, media personalities, financial gurus, professors, scientists, and authors call themselves libertarians, even when they don’t really qualify.... our editors defined a libertarian as a consistent advocate of free-market capitalism, minimal government, and social tolerance (thus distinguishing libertarians from conservatives). Their motto might be 'Keep government out of the boardroom and the bedroom.'

"Our first effort to rank the 100 most influential libertarians came from a recent survey of libertarians carried out by FreedomFest, “the world’s largest gathering of free minds.” More than 10,000 people participated in the survey.... Still, a list like this is subjective at best, and should be viewed as interesting and informative, rather than definitive....
  1. Ron Paul  — Perhaps no one has done more to bring the libertarian platform into the national spotlight....
  2. Rand Paul — The Republican Kentucky junior senator and son of Ron Paul has been ... one of the loudest voices against government overreach in Washington, particularly on issues of revenue, privacy, and justice.
  3. Thomas Sowell — The Hoover Institution’s Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at Stanford University is a writer of distinction having authored nearly three dozen books on economics, social policy, and race... 
  4. John Stossel — The longtime network and cable newsman has unpacked emerging stories with a libertarian viewpoint on his way to 19 Emmy awards and several best-selling books....
  5. Charles Koch — The Koch Industries CEO is one of the world’s wealthiest people and a fervent political donor and philanthropist who uses his influence to promote libertarian ideals... 
  6. David Koch — Executive vice president and co-owner of Koch Industries, David Koch, like his brother, is a generous benefactor....
  7. Gary Johnson — The former New Mexico governor is the most recent presidential hopeful from the Libertarian Party, and one of the most successful third-party candidates to date.... 
  8. Judge Andrew Napolitano — A former ... law professor, and youngest-ever life-tenured New Jersey Superior Court judge, ... and ,,, a best-selling author.
  9. Ed Crane — A former national chairman of the Libertarian Party, Crane is the co-founder and president emeritus of the Cato Institute.... 
  10. Steve Forbes — The chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes has been a Republican presidential candidate twice ... running on a flat-tax platform and a return to the gold standard."
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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Libertarian movement "on its last legs," says Campaign for Liberty official

A Revolution Squandered: National Libertarian Events Show a Moribund Movement on its Last Legs | The Liberty Conservative - Shane Trejo:

June 1, 2017 - "Back in 2013, Ron Paul had recently retired from Congress, and spirits were high.... Optimism permeated through the movement, and it was widely believed that his son, Rand, would realize its full promise....

"It took less than four years for all of those gains to be completely pissed away.... How could this movement fall to pieces so fast? The answer to this distressing question becomes self-evident when you pay attention to the actions of the Republican Liberty Caucus and the Libertarian Party. Both organizations held separate conventions this past weekend.

"The bulk of each conference consisted of nobodies telling other nobodies how not to achieve any tangible success. Reminiscent of chickens running around with their heads cut off, it is difficult to fathom what value a libertarian could possibly gain from attending one of these conferences....

"The RLC ... schedule was particularly underwhelming.... This time, the only elected official on the docket was Congressman Ted Yoho. Yoho, a Freedom Caucus member, was presumably chosen because the organization did not have the resources to fly out-of-state public officials to the Orlando event. This obvious lack of resources and functionality in the RLC is due to the gross mismanagement of the organization by the entrenched leadership.

"Of course, there was no change in the status quo.... The same officials returned to their spots despite chronic malfeasance. Most shamefully, liberaltarian crybaby Dave Nalle was retained as an 'At Large' board member of the RLC. Although he abandoned the organization and the Republican Party publicly last year ... to support his “Republicans for Gary Johnson' organization, which, like all of Nalle’s endeavors, achieved bupkis for the cause of liberty. The Gary Johnson Presidential campaign that was, of course, an incredible embarrassment that set the movement back immeasurably....

"As bad as the RLC may be, that organization still cannot hold a candle to the Libertarian Party when it comes to shaming the cause.

"The Libertarian Party held its Libertarian State Leadership Association this past weekend.... Keep in mind, this is not some ordinary event.... This is the heart and soul of the party. Always aching to put its best foot forward, here is what the official party posted on Twitter from the conference:
  • #LSLA2017: Keeping the Libertarian Party an unwelcome place for the #AltRight and Nazis.
  • Using fully informed juries to protect minorities #LSLA2017 panel #FIJA
"Never fear, minorities! These white people are coming to save you.

"LP members, it is time for a reality check. The organization is already doing a good enough job of keeping people out of the party. That is the last thing the LP needs to focus upon. Nobody with any dignity or self-respect wants to be anywhere near your clown show.... None of these alt-right bogeymen are ever showing up. They are already part of an interesting and vibrant movement that is gaining steam, so why would they ever want to trade down to some laughable freak show?"

Shane Trejo is the Media Relations Director of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Michigan, State Director of the Michigan Tenth Amendment Center, and County Coordinator for Michigan Campaign for Liberty.

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Ontario gov't rents a big rubber duck for $120K

Ontario to kick off 150th birthday celebration with giant inflatable duck - Postmedia, Toronto Sun:

May 29, 2017 - "The Ontario government will celebrate the country’s 150th birthday with a giant rubber duck — and taxpayers are taking a bath.

Ontario PC MPP Vic Fedeli said the $200,000 birthday duck tour — more than half of it covered by Ontario — is a sure sign of a government with 'messed up' priorities.... 'They’re laying off frontline health-care workers right across Ontario ... They can’t find money for alternative level of care beds, but they can find $200,000 for some kind of a duck promo?'

"The six-storey-tall, 13,600-kilogram yellow duck is being brought to Toronto by the Redpath Waterfront Festival, at a total cost of $200,000, combining a provincial contribution and other funding such as corporate sponsorship. The total grant for the Toronto portion of the tour was closer to $121,325, according to tourism ministry spokesman Jeff Costen....

"Stops are planned in Toronto, Midland, Brockville, Amherstburg and Sault Ste. Marie to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1, according to Ontario 150 co-producer Lea Parrell.

"He said the price tag includes renting the duck from a man in the United States who owns it, transporting it, inflating it, using a crane to lift it onto a barge, towing the barge, bringing it to Ontario communities, marketing, and on-site support such as portable toilets and extra fencing so people don’t fall in the water....

"'We’ve been aware of this duck for a few years,' Parrell told Postmedia, 'Tourists and children love it and it’s been all over but it has never been to Canada before.'"

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Rubber Duck by Florentijn Hoffman in Hong Kong, 2013. Photo by Mark Pegrum, Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, June 1, 2017

U.S. Libertarian archives moved to Colorado

The Libertarian Party’s national archives now live in Colorado | The Colorado Independent - Corey Hutchins:

May 30, 2017 - "Colorado, the birthplace of the national Libertarian Party, is now something else: host of the party’s trove of physical archives since its founding in 1971 in Colorado Springs.... Colorado, a state with about 1 percent of its registered voting population claiming membership in the party, has always had an outsized role in Libertarian history. Now, just this spring, the party’s physical history relocated from a storage facility in Alexandria, Virginia, to Parker, Colorado.

"Leading the effort to bring those records to the party’s birthplace was Caryn Ann Harlos of Castle Rock, the state party’s pink-haired spokeswoman who serves as the national party’s representative for nine western states. On a December trip to the East Coast on party business, she asked to see archives many thought were destroyed in a flood when they were housed in the basement of the famous Watergate building. Instead, Harlos found a room of records largely intact. Boxes of newsletters, convention material, even contents from the desks of former party officials.

"'I got a burr under my saddle and was like "This stuff needs to be preserved,"' she said over the phone recently.

"The national party set up a committee and formulated a $10,000 budget to make it happen. Party people packed the archives in a U-Haul and a staffer drove it west.

"For the past several weeks, Harlos, a paralegal with two decades of document management  experience, has, in her own words, been becoming one with the records.... Her goal is to organize and digitize the documents, and then upload them to the online crowdsourced Libertarian history site Lpedia.

"She stresses it is not a public Libertarian Party museum or anything, but anyone who wants to take a look can make an appointment with her.

"'There are people very passionate about the history,' she says. 'I have people planning weeklong vacations to come and work on these records in Colorado.'"

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